Backpacking in South America: Low on Cost, Big on Adventure

07 May of 2012 by

Backpacking has emerged as one of the alternative ways to travel internationally for many age groups. It is small on cost and big on adventure which understandably appeals to a wide range of tourists. More so, backpacking has become quite an easy way to journey around South America. The continent has excellent road connections linking countries together, which makes it practical for many to go backpacking in South America. Here are some guidelines on how to work out your trip:

Set your budget

A good backpacking trip should start with a good mapped out plan. The basic question is how much money you can spare for the trip. From there, you can choose which South American country to begin your trip with. A budget of at least $50 per day can take you far and wide depending on how you will consume that amount. Normally, $15 can find a good place to stay for the night then just divide the rest for food and transportation.

Follow your own schedule

Backpacking in South America takes no definite time to complete; it will only depend on your own schedule. Some travel for 2 weeks while others spend a year on the trail. Either way, know the direction that you want to take and start from there. Bolivia is the cheapest South American country to go backpacking but it can also be the most expensive country to get a flight to. With that in mind, start your trip from the more popular countries like Brazil or Chile to save on the flight going to the continent.

Pack the essentials only

The road can be difficult sometimes and it can be very taxing on inexperienced travelers. One important thing to know in order to be a good backpacker is you must aim to pack a bag that can fit under the seat of a bus. Packing the backpack has its own art, so to speak, but in the science of backpacking, the only rule to follow is to pack light and pack small. Two moisture wicking shirts are fine as well as two pair of pants with a lot of pockets too. If you plan to go deep into the Amazon, get some rain gear that will hold up against the elements.

Bring extra cash

Backpacking in South America does not mean going remote, it only means travelling independently and on a low budget. So if you have extra cash, the stores you see along the way can provide for the extra needs. It’s best to pick them up along the way as this will eliminate stuffing too much. Just pack neutral to dark colored t-shirts, it would be easier to wash them that way. Also, you might suddenly need some replacement supplies, so to be safe, bring some extra cash.

Sleep on the bus

Another secret to travelling the continent is to catch the bus during nighttime. Travel or go sightseeing in the day then transfer from one part of the region to another via bus, which is the cheapest form of travel. Sometimes, like the Colombia to Ecuador link, distances can be covered by at least 12 hours and trips are scheduled at nighttime. Sleeping on the bus saves money since you will not be paying for overnight accommodation.

The ultimate backpacking in South America experience will not be free of hassles and discontentment but that is why it relies largely on the spirit of adventure. The South America is not just a rugged terrain; it is actually a somewhat dangerous one. Remember, travelers have gone before you and it is important to learn from their experience.

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