If you’re like most 20 somethings, you’re probably want to spend some of this fun and unique time in your life traveling. Whether if it’s to work abroad, be a tourist, volunteer, or backpack, traveling is an important thing to take advantage of in your 20s while you don’t have many responsibilities. Sadly, traveling is traditionally quite expensive.
With my budget packing, tips, however, it doesn’t have to be!
When I decided to pack up my life and quit my job to travel abroad alone, I didn’t have a ton of money saved up to do so. But that’s ok! I don’t need it. I quit my job with little savings and without an income to turn to, so while I needed to be sure that I would be safe and comfortable abroad, I also needed to master budget packing. Here are my top tips on budget packing.
My two favorite tools in purchasing for budget packing are Amazon and Ebates.
Ah, Amazon. There’s just nothing better. I use Amazon Prime for an embarrassing amount of shopping and found it very useful in packing for my move abroad. If you don’t have Amazon Prime because you don’t want to pay the annual fee, an idea is to share an account with roommates so you can split the Prime fee yet it still goes to the same address, like families do! (Plus, you and your roommates are likely basically siblings at this point anyway.) Even without Prime, though, Amazon is still an excellent resource.
For travel, Amazon has everything you’re looking for, with reviews from other travelers, and without the REI crazy price tags. Plus, Amazon will usually allow you to return whatever you buy within 30 days. This is a huge advantage in comparison to buying something off Ebay or Craigslist, especially if buying something like a backpacking backpack, where you need it to fit correctly.
Use Amazon for it’s “buy used” section, it’s plethora of reviews, and the variety of brands it carries for an item to get the lowest price. Another useful aspect of Amazon is that you can buy in bulk. For example, I like to always travel with these because I have a lower back problem, and buying them in bulk on Amazon is much more affordable than at a drugstore.
This goes hand in hand with Amazon. Ebates is a third party website that directs you to retail websites, and in doing so they receive a small commission and so do you. You’ll get a percentage of whatever you spend online shopping back to you. If you don’t have Ebates, I can’t recommend it enough. Just from signing up in my link below, you’ll receive an automatic $10 sign up bonus. Ebates isn’t just good for shopping on Amazon, either. It gives you cash back for shopping on countless online sites. I honestly can’t think of any store that doesn’t use Ebates. The cash back isn’t huge, but who doesn’t like free money?
When preparing for my trip abroad and using Amazon nearly exclusively to do so, I logged onto Ebates first and then onto Amazon through Ebates. In doing this, I received a 3% cashback credit from Ebates, which will be delivered to me in check form. You can sign up here:
I don’t know much about couponing and don’t use them often, but in this situation, I definitely found researching them was worth it. There are always tons of coupons to drug stores like Rite Aid and Walgreens available online, and also don’t be afraid to simply ask while checking out at the stores! Coupons saved me tons of money when shopping for the (what seems like a lifetime) supply of personal items, medicine, and toiletries necessary for traveling abroad. Between the coupons I found for these drug stores and simply asking the pharmacist if there were any coupons available for the prescriptions I needed, I saved almost $50 in my toiletry/medical packing expenses.
While I didn’t find Craigslist helpful for a lot of the gear I needed (microfiber towel, backpack, etc.), I do think it’s a great tool for electronics you may need for the trip. For instance, I wanted a kindle for this trip so that I wouldn’t have to haul my library of books with me in my backpack, but there was no need for me to buy a new one since I only really wanted it for this trip. I found a used Nook for $55 on Craigslist. I also think this could be a great resource to buy a used camera if you want something a bit more professional than your iPhone, as photographers always seem to be upgrading cameras.
Other Budget Packing Tips
Do your research.
Even if you’re going to a country that is typically overall less expensive than your home country, sometimes common items to you will be less common there, and therefore much more expensive. For instance, sunscreen and bug spray are notoriously expensive in Central America and Southeast Asia (and perhaps other parts of the world, I only know of those two from experience), so you don’t want to end up paying silly high prices for things that don’t cost you much at home. Spending a bit of extra time looking into this will pay off, literally.
On the flip side, researching your location will also help you realize what you don’t need to bring because it’s cheaper in that location. I’ve often found that buying clothes to go abroad is often unnecessary because you’ll buy clothes in the location you’re going to that are less expensive and more culturally appropriate, anyway. So, save your money and make sure you’re not purchasing items to pack that you don’t need.
Prepare for costs while abroad.
If you’re trying to live on a small budget while abroad, take note to what you can bring with to mitigate costs when budget packing. For instance, opting for bus rides while abroad instead of flights. Bring an eye mask, a retractable luggage lock, and travel blanket with you so that you can maximize safety and comfort during budget friendly travel options.
Overall, I packed for three months of traveling/living alone in Asia AND my costs for the first week for under $500. This is just another reason I truly don’t believe money is a legitimate reason for stopping you from quitting your job to travel and chase the dreams that you have! Money is only an issue if you let it. To get the complete, detailed breakdown of this budget, sign up below. You’ll get this access to my entire Travel Resouce Library with this budget and so many more travel resources.
This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are entirely my own.