Are you a budget backpacker?

Are You Really a Broke Backpacker

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I’ve been travelling for a while now and I have gotten pretty good at spotting the signs – tattered trousers, expert haggling skills and the ability to walk pretty much anywhere – a budget backpacker will tick the following boxes…

  • You eat street food at least once a day.
  • You eat just twice a day.
  • You walk an hour to save a quid.
  • You will work an hour to earn a quid.
  • You are excited to be paid a quid.
  • You get drunk and blow a quid on a colourful hat.
  • You constantly lose your hat.
  • You walk at least an hour a day.
  • You are a hitchhiker.
  • You sleep rough to avoid paying for a room.
  • A dry patch under a bridge is a bed to get excited about.
  • You can sleep in places nobody else can.
  • Your back constantly aches.
  • You take Valium to sleep and stop your back aching.
  • You steal toilet paper from posh restaurants and cinemas.
  • You steal napkins from grotty cafes and vendors.
  • Napkins can be used instead of toilet paper.
  • You attempt to purify potentially lethal water to save buying bottled water.
  • You give up and just drink the tap water.
  • The tap water stops making you violently sick after a couple of weeks.
  • Anything free is to be taken in as large a quantity as possible.
  • You can fix literally anything with tape.
  • You argue over twenty pence for up to twenty minutes.
  • You wear the same clothes for as long as possible to save on laundry.
  • Rather than buying boots, you trek through snow in trainers lined with plastic bags.
  • You steal plastic bags.
  • Your cure for any illness or injury is to drink a coke.
  • A thirty plus hour bus journey is preferable to spending twenty pounds more and flying.
  • You steal multiple baskets of free bread.
  • You buy stuff to sell for a profit of under a fiver back home.
  • You refuse to pay even five pence more than the local price.
  • Your rucksack is your best friend.
  • You no longer notice how filthy everything is.
  • Socks can be washed in the shower.
  • Showering out of a bucket is perfectly normal.
  • You haven’t had a proper shower this month.
  • You haven’t had a hot shower this year.
  • Staying with a potential psychopath for free is preferable to paying for a room.
  • You despise but are secretly jealous of flashpackers (backpackers with lots of money).
  • You have eaten bugs.
  • You consider hunting bugs so you don’t have to pay for dinner.
  • You prefer to travel spontaneously.
  • You have an overwhelming urge to explore the whole world.
  • You will explore the whole world.

This is just a little list I scribbled on the back of a napkin about a week before I left India to head home, I had been travelling for about 18 months straight at this point and although I had not ‘found myself’ I had certainly learnt a lot.

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  • Avatar Kieran says:

    I traveled around a bit when I was younger, but would probably class myself as having been more of a short term flash packer! In Ceske Budejovice in the Czech Republic I once met and got talking to an Italian guy who said he always traveled without money. He counchsurfed, carried a tent and took trains without a ticket (hid in the toilet when inspectors came round.) He had traveled all over Europe in this way .I couldn’t quite understand the appeal of this type of travel back then but reading your post reminds me of this guy.

  • Hilarious! Thanks for making my day Will! I really liked your tone in writing. Very funny! I’ve been following you for almost a year now. Thanks for inspiring me. Haha

  • Avatar Ey says:

    You are the funniest travel blogger ever. And believe me, I read a lot.
    Here, have some of my laughs. “hahahahhahahahahahahah”

  • Avatar j0jj3m says:

    My envy is at an absolute high. I am a prime example of what you talk of, I love travelling, do it way to seldom.. but to lazy and afraid to just pack my bags and get going !
    I must conquer my fears and seeking inspiration right now, I got some money and can easily put off work for a year or two.

    I hope I am on the road before 2016.. god I hope… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar Carlee says:

    I can relate to so so many of these things!!

    In particular those darn flashpackers!!

  • Avatar Jub says:

    Scored roughly 20/46! Winner. Though I think could fall under the ‘Idiot backpacker’ rather than budget backpacker haha.

    Well played. Bloody coke tho.

  • Avatar Shiatsu Dave says:

    Nearly 100%, nearly all experienced while in India in the 1990s. Glad to know that little has changed…

    I think my blog was called a “diary”, not sure if that counts. It’s a device that works without wifi and uses a manual printing device called a “pen” I believe…

    Being a veggie I wouldn’t have tried the bugs, although I am sure I did get one by accident when a tribal dude in the Tamil hills offered me honey he had just removed from a forest tree.

    Would drink anything except urine and petrol before cola, but that’s my own preference.

    Apart from that, full marks. Brilliant list, can’t think of much to add to it apart from escaping to the rooftop of a bus to escape the mingling of sweat and the distorted “music” blasting from the speakers.

    Keep on keeping on, glad I just found out about you.

    • Hey man! Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it! – Glad to see there’s a few of us budget adventurers out there!! I kind of agree with you on the cola, I hate to get addicted to sugar but I have to say, it always fixes me up if my stomach is playing up! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar Tara- Hippie Hits The Road says:

    I love this list! I have definitely done many of these things, although I haven’t had the chance to toughen up my gut with water in India yet…
    I’m new to your site, but really enjoying it!

  • This is classic! We also take night buses or boats or cars or find an airport to avoid paying for a bed!

      • Avatar Robert Doucette says:

        That was Great!!!

        Most of what I expected. I leave on a 5 year RTW Backpacking trip April 1, 2016. I’m 51 and don’t have anything else to do for the rest of my life. Been physically training (lost 100 lbs.) and planning for two years. Don’t even own a bed. Been sleeping on the floor for 1 1/2 years now in preparation. Work back and abs hard. Back is great. Had bedbugs here in the summer…wasn’t nice when you sleep on the floor, but I guess as I read this, I will likely experience them again. I used to drink 1 1/5 litres of Coke/Pepsi for over 30 years and eat fast food daily. ( self employed) Haven’t touched it for 2 years now, but I will try that tip on my Journey.
        Great work,

  • Avatar jennifer says:

    “Your cure for any illness or injury is to drink a coke.”


  • Avatar Zascha says:

    This list made me laugh!
    I’ve just started reading your blog and I love it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar Shobha says:

    I thought this was a tongue-in-cheek list until I read some of the comments saying how people identified with the list. Pretty much confirms I am not ‘hard’ enough to be a backpacker even when I was 20. I’d probably have died from dysentery in the first month. Or called daddy to send the private jet to pick me up ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Haha, it is a little tongue in cheek… but if your on the road for years it becomes a little less tongue in cheek! You have a private jet!? Looking for a travel companion?? ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Avatar Crystal says:

    OMG this is awesome! It’s like you just dot-pointed my current status in life. I decided to start drinking the tap water because my stomach needed to harden the F**k up. It went moderately well in India, but tasted like chalky metal in Mexico ๐Ÿ™ Roughest place I’ve slept in so far was in a concrete storage area on a river because I couldn’t afford to hire a tent.
    I’m about to attempt to do all of the Caribbean Islands on 5grand. Think it’s possible?

    • The fact that you have 5 grand is pretty amazing!! Yeah, I reckon you can do it… maybe buy a cheap dinghy and a compass and sail from island to island?

      • Avatar Crystal says:

        Ha ha ha ha yes! I wish but my stupid computer (and way of earning money) would probably get wet. What a downer. My next plan is to use and jump on someone else fancy yacht. So far no go but still hopeful!

  • I’ve never slept rough anywhere other than an airport/bus station, but other than that I can sympathise with nearly all of them. Once I was so poor and ants got into my last loaf of bread- i sat there all day picking them out. :/

  • Avatar david says:

    I agree with your list. HILARIOUS . did india make you write this. if yes then the place can certainly inspire one

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