First time I tried backpacking I was 23, ready to go on a InterRail. I had 1000€ (for food, accomodation) to spend in 3 weeks.
Four years later I was flying to Asia to travel 2 or 3 months and ended up backpacking 7 months and spent around 4000€. (food, accomodation, bus/train, 4 flights and 5 weeks in the most expensive country: Australia).
Last year I decided to travel Europe, backpacking and hitch hiking, WE spent around 450€ for 3 months. (food basically)
I'm just giving you 3 exemples of some of my travels costs (I didn't include but I also spent money in night life, museums, some clothing and other stuff) and you can see that during the years I develop skills to travel on a budget, using as less money as possible. But we are all different and I cannot tell you to hitch hike just because you don't have money, I'm just saying it's possible if you really want to.
Today I have 5 tips for you, to travel with some money. Depends where you are going: Australia, Costa Rica, USA, Europe (besides Eastern Countries), Canada are expensive. Asia, Central and South (mostly) are cheap. But this is my point of view, my concept of money.
- If you have good weather bring a tent with you, so you go camping, connecting with Mother Earth for free.
- Hostels or Guesthouses are the best choise for less money, sometimes you gotta sleep in a dorm with 7 people!! :) You usually have Free Wifi and shared kitchen so you save if you cook for yourself. It's a great place to meet other travellers and ask anything you need to the staff (usually locals).
- CouchSurfing: Wanna travel but afraid? Join this brilliant travellers community :) You can find people with same interests that can give you a couch or a bed. I posted about CouchSurfing here.
- Search for your friends location on facebook: type friends in the search box in your facebook account and in your left you have the option to find your friends by location. Maybe you have friends who moved to the place you are going :)
Note: Hotels are expensive and non personal. It's comfy and nice but what you gonna do there during the night? Watch TV?
- Local Markets: It's the best place to eat, you get local food and it's cheap. I remember to eat the best shrimps ever in the Koh Phangan Market in Thailand.
- Budget Restaurants: If you open your eyes, you can find restaurants that aren't fancy but cheap with delicious food. Oh the great chicken with rice, beans, salad for less then 2€ in Guatemala.
- Cook yourself: Go to the vegetables market in the morning and buy fresh, good quality and cheap. Or collect veggies/fruits that are in the trash because aren't good for selling but still good to eat. Then cook yourself in your camping stove or in the hostel kitchen. Many times I shared my meals with other travellers, it's so nice to try out their food and you feel at home with your family.
Note: Fancy Restaurants are expensive and usually packed with tourists taking pictures all the time :)
When I left to Asia I didn't know how to organize my money so my friend Pedro on the Road suggested me to think of a daily budget. I started to spend 10€ per day... or try to. Some days you will spend only 7€ and others you will spend 20€ but try to stuck with your daily budget as much as possible, this will help you to know how much money you are spending.
When looking for a flight, search on SkyScanner or E-Dreams or Momondo for the best deals. Then go to the cheapest flight company website you found and compare prices. Also search for big cities airports nearby you. For eg. a round trip flight Lisbon-San Francisco was 900€ but Madrid-San Francisco was 600€ and It's just 5 hours driving from Lisbon to Madrid, you can catch a bus or a train, worth it hein?
If you aren't a student, find a way to get a student card. Many museums, tourist atrattions, parks, bus, train, you only pay half of the price or less because you are a student!!
Mostly, try to avoid tourist areas, everything is way more expensive. In Koh Phangan I found the east of the Island very touristy, also because the famous Full Moon Party is there so I decided to go west and I paid 6€ for a bungalow in front of the sea, in the east area you pay 30€ or more for a room in a hotel!!
Hope that this was useful for you. The little things make all the difference.
My motto is: Spend less, travel more!