10 Tips For Cheaper Travel – Backpacking South America

While on the road for extended periods of time, it’s more important than ever to make consistently good economic decisions in order to keep your trip going as long as possible.  Here are 10 tips for cheaper travel while Backpacking South America.

10 Tips For Cheaper Travel While Backpacking South America

cheaper travel while backpacking south america

1:  Try to find hostels with kitchens and cook at least one meal per day.  Sometimes cooking doesn’t save you a whole lot over what you can find for cheap on the streets, but there is a small difference, and it’s usually healthier than the cheapest street food!

2:  If you do eat out, try to make it at lunch time.  You can usually find “almuerzos” or set lunches that are the cheapest and largest portions.  Prices generally go up for dinner time.  Also, places with gringo food are ALWAYS more expensive and usually unsatisfying (just never as good as the “real thing” back home)!

3:  Stay at hostels that aren’t in the guidebook.  Most of the time these places are just as nice as the ones that everyone else is staying in.  However, lots of times these spots will do a bit of bargaining as soon as you say something about the price being too high.  Tell them that you are “going to look at other places and might come back later” and see how low they will go.

4:  Never get in a taxi until the driver tells you the price.  We have made this mistake too many times.  A simple “Cuanto cuesta?”  in advance will save you tons when it’s all added up.  Also, always ask a local how much it should cost before even flagging down a cab and then don’t settle until you get the right price.

5:  If you have a tent, use it.  Camping is super cheap if you can find the places to do it.  Look around, sometimes you can find campgrounds with kitchens and everything.

6:  Steer clear of international buses.  It’s almost always cheaper to take the domestic bus to the border town, taxi across, then pick up another bus on the other side.

7:  Wash your clothes in the sink.  Laundry services are cheap but they add up over time.  Lots of hostels have signs telling you that it’s not allowed but just be sneaky.  Wear your jeans in the shower and scrub them there.

8:  Drink water and boil it yourself when you get the chance.  Soda and beer are expensive.  Bring a water bottle on your trip and boil the water in your hostel’s kitchen.

9:  Volunteer, especially if you are staying one place for an extended period (over 1 week).  There are thousands of volunteering opportunities throughout the continent.  Some are completely free, some cost a little.  Find something that you enjoy and help people out while getting some help yourself.

10:  Couchsurfing is amazing and if you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing out.  It’s all over the world and we have never had a bad experience.  Even if you don’t need a place to crash, check it out for locals that can show you around new cities.

Enjoy this post about cheaper travel while backpacking South America?  Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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The Backpacker Packing List

Woah!  We packed!  Ya know why?  ‘Cause our flight leaves this Thursday!!!  Oh my goodness; so excited!!!  Packing is always a challenge for me.  Thankfully, Zach is really good at it.  It also helps when you have tons of video and camping equipment and have to fit everything in two backpacks.  The solution this problem is basically to bring no clothes.  Following is our official backpacker packing list, if you’re interested.

Carrie’s Backpack
daypack
water bladder
umbrella
sleeping pad
water bottle
dSLR in case with accessories
camcorder in case with accessories
lavalier microphone
tripod
laptop
2 external hard drives
iPod
iPhone
Nook
chargers and cords for every electronic device
journal and pens
Spanish flashcards
Chacos
rain jacket
3 pairs of socks
3 bras
6 pairs of underwear
swimsuit
1 pair of shorts
1 pair of pants
1 pair of gauchos
1 skirt
1 dress
7 shirts
2 hats
toiletries/cosmetics Pack
sleeping bag strapped to outside
 
Zach’s Backpack
daypack
water bladder
umbrella
tent
2 headlamps
empty sandbags
camp stove
cooking pot
bowl and utensil set
water bottle
mini towel
waterproof camera
external hard drive
AAA batteries
iPod
journal and pens
Books: Spanish dictionary, Spanish textbook, South America on a Shoestring
Chacos
swimsuit
1 pair of zip-off pants
3 shirts
1 hoodie
1 rain jacket
2 pairs of underwear
3 pairs of socks
medicine kit
sleeping bag strapped to outside
sleeping pad strapped to outside
 

Insane backpacker packing list right???  I can’t believe everything fit in there!  Well, we are now equipped to live out of 2 backpacks for the next while…and to get really buff while doing it because these things are HEAVY!!!!

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17 more days in the United States!

Hello followers.  Sorry we have been bad bloggers.  We are very busy preparing for the journey and collecting the last bits of equipment.  Today we purchased travel health insurance coverage and designed thanks you cards for those who donated.  Here is the updated checklist:

It’s time to start getting excited.  Almost there!

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Traveling as a Couple

Zach and I have now been traveling for 3 weeks!  Road trips are something we’ve gotten very good at, but the idea that this is only week 3 of an entire year(!) is pretty mind-boggling to us.  The adjustment is definitely taking some time…I’m only now getting used to the idea that we’re NOT going back to Arizona in a  few days.  Living out of the car has it’s downsides, but really, this is the easy part.  Once we get to South America we will begin the real voyage, in addition to trying WWOOFing for the first time, speaking a new language, and making a documentary!  And this will be our first REAL overseas, new-culture, long-term travel experience together.  We’ve been together for so long, lived together, moved across the country together, and traveled so much in close quarters.  But South America will DEFINITELY bring a whole new set of challenges.  We’ve been working on our communication and mentally preparing ourselves to work together as well as possible when we’re there.  This road trip is also a great warm-up.  However, there’s no advice as great as the experts can give, so here are some links to some great blogs about traveling in a relationship.  Enjoy!

Traveling as a couple

Traveling Couples: Are We Insane?  The Survival Guide

How to Travel the World Together without Killing Each Other

What Sailing Across The Ocean Teaches You About Marriage

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Too Legit to Quit!

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to our indiegogo campaign so far!!!  You guys are truly awesome.  We are up to $350 with 90 days to go!  Click here if you want to donate!

In recent news, Zach got his travel shots!  He has been “a little bit infected with several tropical diseases” for the past few days now, hahaha.  So there will be a lovely video post of that experience coming soon!

The most exciting news is that we officially registered our production company as a business!  That basically involved filing a notarized form and paying $15 at the courthouse to make Journey Lost Productions legally recognized.  We also opened up a business account with Chase so that we can keep all of the funds we raise for the film completely separate and provide copies of our bank statement to donors if they ask.  It also means we can write off all of our equipment as business expenses when we file our taxes next year.  This is all so new to me but the fact that I’m now officially a business owner makes me happy.  Journey Lost Productions is real, yo!

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The not-so-planned plan

Honestly, planning a trip like this is not easy.  Split with also trying to make a film at the same time, learning a new language, and preparing to to leave all of our things being for an entire year, it is overwhelming.  The next question is WHERE ARE WE GONNA GO?

“Not where that one guy is…” my Dad hopes, meaning Hugo Chavez.  I reply, “Of course where ‘that one guy’ is, they are suppose to have the nicest people and the most beautiful beaches!”

We will arrive in Medellin, Colombia with a previously-contacted Couchsurfing host ready to meet us and help us get acclimated.  After we are feeling comfortable with our environment, we will set out to our first farm in the WWOOFing organization and volunteer/relax in the high jungle countryside.  After around 1 month in Colombia, we will enter Ecuador and experience the beaches of the equator.  Then southward through the land of the Incas, through the Bolivian Salt Flats, down through the Andes, and hopefully we will arrive in Patagonia before winter sets in.  After putting our tent into good use in the southern wilderness, we will take the only bus northward, overnight to Buenos Aires, Argentina!  And so on and so forth until we wind up back where we started, in Colombia.

I’m sure everyone gets the point.  We are going counter-clockwise from north to south.  We will travel on a boat, upstream on the Amazon.  We will travel socialist nations and not be afraid, because, frankly, we don’t buy this “All socialists are bad people” BS.

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