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It was in April 2010 when I made my first trip as a backpacker, where I toured Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Although I had been abroad before, it was on this trip that I decided to spend more than a month away from home, and from then until now the experience I have acquired with each trip has been more than invaluable. Before you check out my tips and advice, this Travel Calculator can help you keep check of your travel distances.

1- Sit somewhere and watch people

It will sound boring to do this, but it is the best way to know firsthand how the daily life of the inhabitants of a city is. It can be a park, the corner cafe, a restaurant or open-air bar, even the square of a remote village, any public place of this type allows you to see how people live in other parts of the world.

2- Do not be afraid to spend money once in a while

As a backpacker I know what are the advantages of saving, I know the importance of spending as little as possible, so that the money gives you more and so you can continue traveling for a long time. Having said this, there comes a time when sometimes it is not enough to give your tastes and spend a little more to get what you want. Whether it's a $ 25 lunch, a night at a high-end hotel or paying for a first class tour, going over the budget to achieve self-satisfaction or greater comfort is not something that should be seen as a sin.

3- Use Couchsurfing

At this point, it will seem strange that a backpacker does not know what Couchsurfing is about, but if you are one of those, do not worry. You are not the only one. This website is a huge community of travelers who contact guests to stay in their homes. Couchsurfing is very thrifty if you travel for long periods of time, but the special thing is to be able to interact with the local hosts, an experience that you can hardly get in another type of accommodation.

4- Do not plan so much

I remember when I went through Central America in 2010, with my Lonely Planet in hand, tracing and following the route suggested by the guide. I can hardly say that I improvised, since for being my first backpacking trip I was afraid that things would not go as planned, so I stayed anchored to the route I came up with with the Lonely Planet.

5- Do not leave without travel insurance

Most will see buying insurance as an unnecessary cost, but nothing is further from reality. The desirable thing to have an insurance is not to use it, and I understand that nobody loves to spend money, but keep in mind that life brings with it all kinds of surprises and changes that can not be controlled by the human being (diseases, natural disasters ), and therefore it is better to be prepared for any eventuality. If you want to know more details about this topic, in this article you can be aware.

6- Do not pack too much

If there is one thing that you learn by force when backpacking is to decrease the amount of luggage you carry with you, and not because you presume to go with little, but because there is no other option. Several times it has happened to me that I end up giving away or selling what is left over in my backpack, and I have never regretted it. If at the time of packing you are hesitant to carry something, it is because you do not need it. In case you require something that you forgot to bring, it is more than sure that you will find it in the country you visit.

7- Always keep your mind open

When you are abroad, never forget that you go to regions where opinions and lifestyles are very different from what you usually understand. Therefore, use sympathy in your favor and do not judge those habits that you do not know, nor presume that your point of view or opinion is superior to that of others. If you do not know something, it's as simple as asking and so you come out of ignorance.

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Budget holiday destinations abound in Europe, despite its stereotype as a centre for luxury travel. Beyond the expensive locations in Southern Europe (think Spain, France, and Italy), a plethora of astounding, lesser-known countries are waiting to be discovered.

Many of these places have only recently been opened to tourists, which makes a trip an even more remarkable journey of discovery and unique attractions. So if you’re someone who likes to go ‘off the beaten track’ and visit the places your parents haven’t been, get ready to find out more about these wonderful European delights.


It is truly amazing that Romania isn’t awash with tourists – but shhhh! Whether you want to see lovely medieval villages, stunning rural landscapes or spectacular ancient castles, this country has it all.

Undoubtedly the lack of tourists only benefits this beautiful place, saving it from the corporate chains that seem to copy and paste throughout most of Europe. The prices are well suited to a budget holiday, with the attractions accessible for only a fraction of the entry fee at any English historical venue. In particular, a visit to the splendid historic town of Sighisoara is highly recommended, which is adorned with beautiful cobblestones and charming cottages.

Valetta, Malta

Budget holiday ideas nearly always benefit from a healthy dose of sunshine. If this sounds like the case for your next trip, the Maltese city of Valetta should be right at the top of your list. The cost of living here is still very affordable, making a stay add up to that most rewarding of sums: good for the heart and bank balance. Valetta is doused almost constantly in the dazzling Mediterranean sun, which lends a warm tone to its ancient streets. The main Cathedral stands proudly near the seashore, surrounded by myriad buildings adorned with paint-peeling shutters. Wandering around this gem of a place island is a fantastic way to spend a relaxing holiday.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Romania’s neighbour gives it a good run for its money in the competition for most beautiful landscapes, that’s for sure. Whilst it is impossible to make the final adjudication between the two when it comes to history, Bulgaria’s capital Sofia might edge ahead. The city has numerous important ruins, which are millenniums old. The capital is also consistently ranked as Europe’s most affordable, making it a bargain to stay for a weekend… or a week.

How to Get There

All of these underappreciated European destinations are easily reachable from any major airport. None of the places takes any longer than a three-hour flight, making them perfect for a budget holiday or just a weekend away. The best way to get your break off to a hassle-free start is to pre-book an airport shuttle for your arrival. Choosing a shared shuttle is a fantastic way to save yet more money, and get there quickly and safely – ready to start the fun!

Author: Laura Jeeves

Which other destinations do you think should have been included in the list?