Backpackers Guide to Planning a Trip


Authored by Jackie Acosta in Travel Preparation 
Published on 11-28-2008

Travelling is a fun activity that many are dreaming of doing, with the expenses it involves though; many find themselves having to postpone travel plans indefinitely until they are comfortable with the budget. For some, this may take years and even centuries. The sad fact is, travelling is very expensive – and it is even more costly if not planned well. For those who really would like to explore the world with a tight (but realistic) budget, the “backpacker” route may be the way to go. Backpacking is not for everyone though, before anything else, set expectations straight and clear – no 5-star luxury treatment. This does not mean less fun though; with a well-planned itinerary backpacking is a great way to experience new places and cultures. Planning a backpack trip is no easy task; it requires tedious research and a substantial amount of time.

The first step in planning is setting a budget and checking if this is enough for the trip. On an excel file, make a travel expense chart that shows the budget on the top most section. Then enumerate all the details that need to be deducted from the budget (e.g. plane fare, hotel, visa, etc.). When the items are identified, start a search online for the actual cost. Placing the detailed expenses on an excel sheet and setting up the functions to automatically total the items and then deduct it from the budget would first save a lot of time from manual computations and secondly prevent human errors.

Setting up basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and functions on an excel file is very easy to do – certainly easier than doing it with a calculator and paper. Each cost entered would be deducted from the set budget, making the planner check easily if the money is enough. If the expenses go beyond the budget, then check the list again and see if there are items than can be crossed out. Some frills may need to be sacrificed. In doing this list, the trip organizer should remember to leave provisions for food and miscellaneous expenses.

Once the backpackers are comfortable with the excel sheet of expenses, it is then time to check each item again and make the necessary bookings for things such as the airfare, train fares, hotels and transportation. It is often cheaper to book online and way ahead of time. When making a booking for the plane fare, the organizer should note that most (if not all) budget airlines enforce a “touch move” policy wherein booked tickets cannot be postponed or refunded. Thus, everyone should be sure that the schedules can be followed. File vacation leaves ahead; get the necessary parental permission and final the tour list at least 2 months in advance for a sufficient planning time.

The next step is organizing the list that the group needs to pack. Hop back on the cyber world to research on the country of destination. Check what type of clothes to wear and advisable extras to bring such as mosquito repellent, sun block lotion, lotion, etc. depending on the season. There are sites that provide insights from travelers who have been to the country of destination.

One must remember that in a backpack tour, the success of the trip heavily relies on proper preparation. Allow sufficient time to avoid unexpected expenses that is way beyond the set budget.


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