Each time I go away, I always believe that I’ve budgeted for the essentials, food, accommodation and fun.  Its simple and generally effective, although there’s always little things that crop up and eat into that budget.  Annoying little things.  Things you would never have considered until the moment you desperately need to spend some of your hard earned cash on them.  Its frustrating that you have to spend the money when usually such items are usually free or more easily sourced, and its frustrating that you didn’t consider them before you set out your budget.  Still they are generally essential and so must be purchased.  Here’s my top 5  …

1. Laundry

– What an annoyance. Spending $5 on a wash and then another $5 to dry said washed clothes, all the way up the east coast of Oz seriously ate into my budget. Plus its annoying having to wait for the washes, or to return to the laundry room and find someone has emptied your wash for you and dumped half your clothes on the floor. Days doing laundry felt like days wasted. There were a few tricks to the trade where you could swindle free washes using some astutely placed cotton buds, but hostels seems to be catching onto this and installing CCTV cameras in the laundry areas.

2. Toiletries

– Shower gel, shampoo etc. Used every day, quite often ‘borrowed’ by someone else if left in your bathroom, they soon get used up. Leave the branded stuff behind and go cheap and cheerful. Also get yourself a wash bag where you can keep all of your own toiletries, don’t leave them all sprayed around your bathroom, as mentioned they’ll get ‘borrowed’ by wandering hands.

3. Footwear

– With regular flip flop blowouts and my trainers getting battered (or lost) on nights out and treks, I spent quite a bit on footwear. Double plugger flip-flops are recommended even though they might not be the most aesthetically pleasing.

4. Internet

– Whether it’s to email the parents, update your STA travel diary or just to add new friends on Facebook, twitter or Google+, internet isn’t always cheap. Some hostels now do free wifi, but you’d have to take your own laptop to benefit from that and I’d advise against taking a laptop with you if I’m honest. Internet adds up though! I tried only to use internet cafes for essentials, going online just to browse the web for a couple of hours to kill some time was a waste.

5. Water

–There’s not always an abundance of clean safe drinking water available in typical backpacker destinations, and even if the locals deem it to be clean, your body may not agree with it. This leads to the purchase of bottled water, and lots of it if you’re in a particularly hot, sticky country. Budget for this essential!