Backpacking and flying on the cheap

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Flexible flights and backpacking basics

No matter who you are or how old you are, you can enjoy backpacking. What’s better than heading out on a new adventure armed with nothing more than a map, a compass and your backpack? Whether you decided to do it in the good old U.S.A. or abroad, backpacking is the lowest of low in low-cost travel. Follow these tips from the Cheapflights team to ensure your backpacking adventure is just that: an adventure. Make memories and an amazing time, even while saving money.

Keep costs down when you’re on the ground

Chances are, you’re flying between major destinations, and you’re traveling on a tight budget. Once on the ground, it’s fairly simple to keep costs down – eat as local people do and stay in hostels or other low-cost lodging. Your major cash outlay will be for your flights. But with a great airfare deal from, you can jet off to where you want, and hardly spend a dime.

Stay flexible to find cheap airfares

Backpackers don’t typically stick to a tight schedule or want to spend lots of money. Consider these options when looking for cheap plane tickets for backpacking:

  • U.S. multi-city flights – save when you fly between 3+ domestic cities
  • International multi-city flights – save when you fly between 3+ cities abroad
  • Around the world tickets – exceptional value for multi-stop international trips
  • Air passes – an affordable way to see more of a region or country

Need more strategies to find cheap airline tickets? Learn the basics by checking out our cheapflights-ology. Then find and compare thousands of cheap airline ticket deals or reserve your tickets online with our booking engine.

Backpacking basics

You need to find cheap flights for your trip. But what other planning should you do? In addition to our air travel planning tips, the following advice should help you plan the ideal backpacking adventure.

Choosing a destination

When you’re deciding where to backpack, it’s not such a small world. The sheer number of possible options can be overwhelming. This is the fun part. Start by considering key factors such as geography and weather. Think about the season you’re flying into. If you’re traveling in the dead of winter, you’ve got to carry more clothing, but you’re likely to get a much better airfare deal in the off season. The top five backpacking destinations are Europe, Asia, South America, U.S.A. and Africa.

Safety first

The United States is a pretty safe place for backpacking. But if you’re headed out of the country, you need to be sure that your destination is safe at the moment. Third World countries aren’t the only ones that can be unstable, and there are times when it is simply best not to visit. The U.S. Department of State is loaded with current safety information and travel warnings by country.

Understanding the culture

Researching the basic customs of a foreign country before you head out is smart. You’ll learn a lot and may find that what you’re learning is really fascinating. Simple things like body language and gestures can vary dramatically from place to place and when you’re backpacking, you’re up close and personal with the local population. Make sure to check on acceptable dress codes for the culture you’re traveling to, especially for women. It would also be very helpful for you and the people you interact with if you would learn a little of the language. If you can say “please,” “thank you,” and “goodbye” in each of the places you visit, you’ll get a much warmer reception. Take a phrase book with you. They really come in handy for emergencies and when ordering food.

Do your homework

There are loads of great books and maps available about particular destinations and cultures and plenty of info online. One of the best places to get information to help you plan for backpacking is Lonely Planet. For online maps, see our maps section. Furthermore, you need to know how to get around so familiarizing yourself with the local transportation is very important. Unless you plan to do your whole trip on foot, check train timetables, bus schedules, and short, regional flights in advance. Plan a rough schedule before you go. Sticking to it might ruin the fun of backpacking, but know the connections that you can’t afford to miss.

In case there are problems

Get in touch with your embassy to help you out if there is an emergency or you run into trouble. They can do everything from arranging a replacement if your passport is stolen to contacting your family to let them know you’re OK. Carry a mobile phone for emergencies, if possible. Don’t forget to enable it to make calls from abroad before you go. If you choose to do your backpacking in the U.S., get in contact with local authorities if you have any problems. They’d be more than happy to help you out of whatever sticky situation you’ve found yourself in.

With these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy an exciting trip through a land you may be unfamiliar with and you can make the most of it. The most important thing is that you stay safe but that you also have fun, so go out and have the time of your life, but keep these tips from your friends at Cheapflights in the back of your mind so you can avoid surprises – and not the good kind. Everything will go as smoothly as planned.

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Backpacking and flying on the cheap was last modified: August 21st, 2015 by Melisse Hinkle
Author: Melisse Hinkle (383 posts)

A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has traveled throughout North America, biked through rice paddies in Bali, seen the Northern Lights in Iceland, walked alongside llamas in Machu Picchu and made her way around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Head of Content and Social Media for North America at Cheapflights.