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Date: 11/03/2011

Backpacking on a budget

Many people entertain the romantic notion that a round the world trip, or even just exploring Europe, involves little more than throwing some clean underwear in a rucksack and heading off into the sunset. However, the reality is very different with many things to arrange, such as accommodation, travel, connections and essential extras, such as backpacker travel insurance.

A conventional package holiday does exactly what is says on the tin and the total cost is transparent from the outset. However, the free-spirited nature of backpacking can also be its biggest downside when trying to establish a budget for the trip.

Many backpackers plan an extended travelling period and, as such, are usually quite challenged to be able to fit all their desired plans into their budget. It can be very tempting to forego the boring stuff, but rather than cut it out completely, many travellers opt to pare it down to the basics and just travel on a single trip travel insurance policy rather than the more specialised backpacker travel insurance (which generally offers more comprehensive cover).

Investigating train prices ahead of the trip will prove a money saver, with EuroRail cards a cheaper way to travel. However, for large groups it sometimes works out cheaper to share the costs of driving or hiring a car – just remember to check that your single trip travel insurance policy provides breakdown cover.

Booking accommodation ahead of the trip not only offers peace of mind but can very often mean a cheaper deal and allows a comparison of hotels and hostels in the area. Also, when travelling longer distances by train, by pre-booking a sleeper berth and travelling later, not only is a day's worth of holiday saved, but also the costs of accommodation for that night.

The general rule of thumb tends to be allow £1000 per month of travelling for all costs, but if spending time primarily in major cities, add a bit more on.