Traveling the Balkans can be a life-changing experience if you’re prepared. When people plan their journey, they often fixate on the cost of flights, accommodations, and nourishment while overlooking the expense that comes with packing a bag.
From medication to sunscreen, simply packing for a trip can be a huge expense. Fortunately, with careful planning and a little budgeting savvy, you can pack for your adventure without breaking the bank. If you really know what you’re doing, you can even pack to help save on other aspects of your trip.
Here are some helpful tips for creating a budget travel packing list.
Assess Your Baggage
For the experienced traveler, foregoing the use of a suitcase and being able to keep everything in a backpack is the ultimate goal. To do this, you need the right bag. A few considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a backpack are:
- Size – Will it be accepted on an airplane based on its measurements? Take prices of charter jets into consideration as well. Check the guidelines of multiple modes of transportation.
- Support – If you’re carrying around your worldly possessions, you want to be sure the weight of your world is distributed along your back and hips properly.
- Weight – If your backpack is too heavy to be able to pack enough for your trip and still make the airline weight restrictions, you may want to reconsider your purchase.
- Access – Does your bag open only at the top, or are there different zippers and access panels that will allow you to get what you need without tearing everything apart?
- Quality – Read the reviews online and see if anyone had trouble with wear and tear in an unreasonable amount of time. You want something durable.
Depending on your travel goals and length of stay, additional luggage may be a necessity. Rather than dragging suitcases with you, consider using a service that will help you with shipping your luggage anywhere. It will be worth the budget adjustment.
Tiny bottles of shampoo and soap add up quickly. Save some money by purchasing empty travel containers from the local dollar store and transferring some of your products from home. Remember to make cuts where you can. Conditioner makes for a great alternative to shaving cream, reducing the need to worry about an aerosol can.
Not only do tiny bottles of goods save packing space, you can take them in a carry-on bag and try to forego taking bulky, costly luggage with you. For a truly economical approach, top up your bottles from the complementary stash of toiletries at the hotels you visit during your trip.
Reusable Water Bottle
Like drinking water at restaurants, bringing a reusable water bottle is a fantastic way to save money during your trip. Believe it or not, bringing your own water bottle could save you hundreds of dollars. Simply fill it up each time you come across a fountain or ask a server at the restaurants you visit to top you off.
A word of caution as you travel: while touring the Balkans you might not run into the same clean water challenges as you would elsewhere, but some areas do present issues. To be safe, make sure you are asking if the water is potable before filling up your bottle.
If you plan on staying a few weeks or months, chances are you won’t be packing an outfit for each day of the trip. Bringing laundry gear is not only a great way to prepare for budget traveling, but it also helps drastically reduce the clothing you need to pack. Some must-haves include laundry soap, a travel clothesline, and a dry bag.
Don’t be ashamed to do your laundry in a hotel sink! Hang it on the travel clothesline to dry, and if you must move on before the clothes are entirely ready, throw them in the dry bag and hang them at your next location.
Bedding and Towels
You may think that bedding and towels are standard rights in travel accommodations. In most cases, you are correct. However, many budget hostel options charge extra for bedding and towels and offer ones that look less than sanitary.
Sleeping liners are like a sleeping bag made out of less material. You can get them in a variety of fabrics, including silk and cotton. Like a sleeping bag, they have a closed bottom, preventing anything creepy or crawly from touching your toes at night, which is great if you spend a night camping at Lake Ohrid or Auto Kamp Blagaj.
When you’re packing, avoid spending money on frivolous or excessive gear. Buy what you need and leave the rest at home.
Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about travel and focuses her efforts on finding the sunniest places to spend cold winters. She runs a huge influencer marketing site The Blog Frog