Guest post: Backpacking Abroad, How to Save Money & Travel Well May 31 2013, 0 Comments

In college, I constantly have to juggle many different things at once and you probably do the same. Every so often, I get the urge to just set aside the books and head off on a great backpacking adventure abroad. You might be wondering how I manage to pay for an expensive trip, but the reality is that traveling is just as a much a part of my education as the classes so I make time and money for it. I budget for my trips to make sure I get the most of my traveling experience and it’s worth it every time.

The Finances of Traveling

You're probably wondering how a college student who has to work to pay for classes and extracurricular activities can afford to backpack through the world. I don't like to ask for money so I'm on my own when it comes to getting enough funding for a great trip. The plane ticket usually eats up a lot of my budget, but after that, I really don't spend a lot once I'm overseas. How do I do it? For one thing, I use credit card specifically tailored to students in my situation. It has some cool travel features and according to Credit Card Insider, many students who travel use a line of credit to help them fund their vacations. This allows me to travel all over the world without having to carry much cash (which can be dangerous). Traveling with a credit card allows you to automatically exchange currencies without hassle, leave on your trip without having the funding up front (this could take a while) and it can save you from a pickpocket who is just looking for some cash.

Working on the Road

One of the best ways I've found to earn some money while I'm backpacking is by getting a job while I'm there. It might sound drastic, but actually jobs can be great for a variety of reasons. Bartending, for example, allows me to meet new people, earn extra cash and save money on food and drinks. One of the biggest expenses in Europe is food and beverage and while I was working, I could eat and get paid at the same time. Plus, I was always meeting new people and making great new friendships. Being immersed in the culture allowed me to get outside of my comfort zone and really explore places like Paris beyond the mere tourist attractions. I should note that as a bartender in Europe, you will not be tipped by locals because tipping is considered an insult. But don't worry about the money. Bartenders overseas often make better wages than they do in the states.

Packing Essentials

People often ask me about the best things to take on a backpacking trip around the world and while I could name a dozen things that could come in handy, I always recommend a few items to bring along. First and foremost, I suggest that people bring the proper clothing. If you’re going to be bouncing around from country to country, you have to not only look good but also, you have to be comfortable. I was almost pickpocketed in London last year and since then, I only travel with Clever Travel Companion shirts. Their “secret pocket” shirt is brilliant! Not only is it very comfortable and lightweight, but it also allows me to store my credit card, passport and some cash. The pocket has a high quality zipper on it so I never have to worry about things falling out.

Next, I always suggest people bring a power converter as one of their top items. In order to be prepared for anything, I always take a power converter with me to charge my phone. The outlets work differently from the ones in the United States and some offer different currents from what you might be used to. Having a power converter on hand will ensure that you always have a way to reach home, send emails, upload pictures and book flights. My converter cost around $11, and you can find them anywhere.

KC Owens has written and submitted this article. KC is a college student who loves traveling, college life, fitness and a good survival kit. He enjoys studying different cultures, meeting new people and leaving his footprint somewhere most people only read about.