When most people hear the term budget travel, they often think first of the hordes of young backpackers who traverse Europe on shoestring budgets each summer.
This image is very true, and backpacking is one of the best ways to see the most sights, in the shortest amount of time and for the smallest amount of money.
Backpacking is one of the very best ways to travel light, and traveling light often allows you to travel more cheaply. Learning how to back your backpack the right way and to pack as lightly as possible, is an important skill, whether you are trekking through Europe for a month or just enjoying a weekend in the country.
The first thing is to start with a lightweight but well built backpack that is able to withstand the rigors of travel. A quality backpack should have heavy zippers, pockets and flaps that close easily and stay closed, and lots of easy accessible compartments.
Buying a backpack with a lock can be important as well, particularly if your backpack will be out of sight often, such as when you are on a crowded train or staying at a hotel or hostel.
Another good alternative for many backpackers and other budget traveler is to buy a backpack that has wheels. The upside of such a design, of course, is that the backpack will be easy to wheel from place to place, and will function much like a rolling carryon suitcase, but without the bulk.
The downside of the rolling backpack, however, is that such backpacks are considerably heavier when you do have to use them as backpacks. Whether or not a backpack on wheels is right for you will depend on your style of travel and your personal preferences.
Of course what you put in your backpack is just as important as the backpack itself. It is important to pack wisely when planning for your backpack adventure.
A good approach is to pack only a few quality and versatile items of clothing and combine them in new ways for variety. Packing a few accessories, such as scarves, ties and jewelry, are a great way to make the clothes you pack go further. They take up little room in the backpack, and they can provide new ways to wear the same clothes.
It is also important to pack travel size toiletry items into your backpack. Shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, toothpaste and even toothbrushes all come in small travel sizes, so be sure to gather these travel size items for your trip. These travel size items are a great way to keep the weight of your backpack to a minimum.
It is also important to buy a good pair of comfortable walking shoes, since you will be wearing them for a long time.
Shoes take up a great deal of space in a suitcase or backpack, so stick with one pair of good shoes, and use the rest of your backpack for clothes and other items.
One good rule of thumb when deciding what to pack and what to leave at home is to pack those items that are not easily or cheaply purchased at your destination, and leave behind those items you can easily purchase once you arrive.
One important consideration for those who wear glasses is to pack an extra pair of eyeglasses. The importance of this tip will depend on the strength of your prescription and how important your glasses are go getting around.
Most people who wear glasses have at least one extra pair. Investing in a hard sided case and packing it in your backpack could potentially save you a lot of money and trouble if you lose or break your glasses.