step 1

Do your planning

The appeal of backpacking is surely the prospect of just heading off into the sunset at a moment’s notice, right? Though it may seem like a bit of a bummer, you’ll avoid your chances of having a nightmare trip by prepping before you lace up your boots and head off.

  1. Points on the map

    Decide where you want to go, and what time of year. Sure, you don’t need to have a full itinerary, but knowing which countries/cities/locations you plan to visit is a great place to start. Do your research into the area, find out what accommodation and food options are available, and if the area is safe for tourists. Head online and check out backpacker community forums and sites like Air B’n’B & Trip Advisor for local recommendations, too – they’re worth their weight in gold.

  2. Get the right gear

    Whether you’re new to backpacking or class yourself a veteran, you don’t want to realise you’re missing essential kit once out on the road. Consider whether you’ll be camping or staying in hostels/hotels, the local weather conditions, whether you’ll be hiking, whether you’ll be cooking your own food, and look into the local dress customs for the locations you’ll be hitting up. Getting what you need now means you won’t be scrambling later.

step 2

Know how to budget

Budgeting and backpacking go hand in hand. It’s a style of travel that isn’t shy to skimp on some of the creature comforts to stretch a dollar. If you’ve never been backpacking before, and your budgeting skills aren’t up to scratch, you might be home sooner than you expected.

  1. Funding your trip

    Once you know where you’re headed, you should be able to put together a bit of an idea of how much your trip will cost. This should factor in the purchase of any essential gear, as well as accounting for a bit of a contingency or emergency fund, should the unexpected happen. Once you have this figure, you can save towards your target using a savings account, like our Life Saver.

    Use our Savings Goal Calculator

  2. On the road

    Having a good knowledge of the basics of budgeting will help you make sure you’ve got enough money to play with once you set off on your trip. Knowing how to account for essentials and exercise restraint are essential skills for anyone, let alone someone trekking across the globe solo.

    Check out our guide to budgeting

step 3

Access your money anywhere

Even though you’ll probably be trying to limit your spending and focus on experiences, it’s good to know you’ll be able to have access to your money when you need it. Speak to us before heading off and give yourself one less thing to worry about.

  1. Foreign Cash

    If you know which countries you’ll be in, and which currencies you’ll need, speak to Greater Bank and order your foreign cash ahead of time. Too easy – now you just need a fashionable bum-bag to put it in!

  2. Visa Debit or Credit

    If you prefer not to carry cash, enjoy the convenience and security of accessing your money through the Visa network. Open an account with a Visa Debit Card or apply for a Visa Credit Card online today.

  3. Cash Passport

    If you’re after flexibility, a Multi-Currency Cash Passport could be the way to go. Purchase before you leave home, and load money onto your card online from anywhere in the world, in the currency of your choice. Use it anywhere MasterCard is accepted.

step 4

Stay connected

Your mum and dad will no doubt hammer you with this message, but it’s important for you to stay connected to the real world while out on the road. It serves two purposes – firstly, checking in on social media every once in a while will let people know that you’re OK and having a great time, and secondly, you’ll be able to make sure that you can access your money through online banking or your mobile banking app.

Just be aware of data roaming abroad, and take advantage of secure Wi-Fi wherever you can find it – just look for the crowd of laptops…

step 5

Stay safe

While out on the road it’s also imperative that you stay in the know when it comes to your surroundings. It’s a big world out there, and things can move pretty quickly these days, so be sure to register your travel details with DFAT & smartraveller.gov.au before you leave, if you’re planning to visit any locations off the beaten track.

One more thing – make sure you get all your shots, and think carefully about getting the right level of Travel Insurance cover to suit your needs. Knowing you’re covered will help you sleep soundly in your swag at night, wherever you find yourself.