A few tricks I use for cheap backpacking

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Here is a picture of Machu Picchu in Peru because, well, I got there super cheapo!

It’s no secret a lot of backpackers like to travel cheap.

The writing of this article has been on my mind for a while now. I have given my friends who were heading on their first or second big journey a few tips before just to give them a bit of a head start on their round the world travel.
As the following of ultimatebackpacking.com seems to be of the real deal genuine type of backpacker too that actually cares about travelling and the places they visit, I decided to give some of my tricks away to you too.

These tricks I’ve figured out after having literally negotiated hundreds of deals while backpacking. They have saved me so much money on my travels. I have seen far too many other backpackers around me just simply throwing their hard earned dough to the streets. What a shame!
Doing this can literally save you up to 50% off your monthly expenses, which means you can travel for double the length of time! (Hey if you cut down on all that alcohol in the party hostels maybe you could save up to, I don’t know, 75%?!)

There even are ways of getting free stuff but I’ve found the biggest money for the littlest effort is made in deals. It will work for nearly everything:
Hostels, hotels, dinners, taxis, bus rides, tours, rental of cars and motorbikes, etc.

This is how it works:

Realise your position!
The competition in these places usually is so fierce, that they want your business NO MATTER WHAT. The bottom line of this is you are in the strongest position of the negotiation. A lot of people actually don’t realise this, think it’s scary or “don’t feel like it”. But how would you like to travel for another few extra months then?
They are used to the way they buy stuff at home; they ask for the price and hand over their money. Done deal. The expensive way.
What you rather need to do is this, and it’s way more fun:

Knowing the actual going rate
A scenario could be you coming of a bus. You generally get swarmed by taxi drivers. Then there’s always one who will be very persistent.
Actually do talk to the guy! Tell him where it is you are wanting to go, while you drag your backpack from the bus’s luggage hold. He will give you a price.
Then comes the first fun part of the negotiation, you always say no. Followed by making out you know where you are going, walking in any general direction.
Never seem interested.
The same goes when you’re not harassed and you stop a taxi at the side of the road by free will. Ask the price, say no. Make him go so low that he drives off. That’s a good sign.

Always walk away!!!
Never go for the first offer. Usually they will instantly lower their price and yell something at your backside. Say no, and continue walking.

Now walk to the main street and find another random taxi. You have left tourist-central and are aware of the going rate. Look self-confidant.
Any deal from now will be a proper negotiation and you will save loads! I’ve had taxi rides to the airport started at 20,- and lowered to 2,- within just a few minutes of this.

For tours pretty much the same applies:
Go to the first tourist office. Negotiate a deal, get to know what is being offered. Get to know the going rate.
Let them actually write down their best price on a piece of paper, preferably something with the name of their company on it. Also let them write down all which is included and which is not. They tend to get you with stuff like this.
Never fully trust the salesman. A lot of the time they try to play at your fear, don’t give in.
Now, walk away.
You can (nearly) always walk back and get it anyway.

Go to the next place, try to get a lower price, if it isn’t the same as the other place present the piece of paper. Now get them to set up a deal.
Continue doing this for a few until you have found the best price. I’ve done this with all my tours, dives etc. and it has saved me so much money!

Now guess how to work the ticket booths at the bus station, or restaurants, hostels and hotels.

Playing the game this way is going to work for SO many expenses on your trip. Knocking of 50% or more is easily done this way. Doing that on all your expenses, travel, bed, dinners and tours means you actually cut the money down you spend by, yes you guessed it, 50% too!
Now go out there and enjoy your trips to the most and longest lengths of time without being ripped off.

 

Please do let me know in the comments what your favorite tips for saving money are!
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