I'll throw in a couple of thoughts.
My first budget travel was '73 spring break. A buddy on a CB350 and me on my Mach III left Tacoma, Wa for SoCal. We packed camping gear, 2 lb. bologna, a loaf of white bread, and a jar of mayo at the start of the trip. Bologna sandwiches and water rationed for three meals a day. When we made it to Big Sur we ate out once and got burgers. Then it was 2 lb. salami, a loaf of wheat bread (healthy ya know), and a jar of mustard to get us home. Two bikes from Tacoma to Big Sur and back for 11 glorious days for $66 total expenses including fuel. Yes, gas was cheap but we never ate at restaurants (except the once) and never paid to camp.
Lessons learned then and since:
- Grocery stores and markets are the cheapest places to get food. You can live quite happily on crappy food for a while if that's the difference between taking a trip and staying home.
- Alcohol is the quickest path to overspending - anywhere in the world.
- Arriving late, leaving early, and not making much noise are the keys to free camping.
- The amount of money you spend doesn't change how much fun you have on the road.
- Be friendly, polite, thankful, and don't look scruffy or odd. People will open up.
- Don't sweat the tool kit and spares too much. Passers by will help if they see you in need. There is a solution to your problem.
- Adding a few red pepper flakes will make most food taste better. Save up the free to-go packets at pizza parlors.
- If you are totally self sufficient, have everything you need, and never get in a bind you'll miss out on the generosity of your fellow man and not make as many friends as you could have.
- Do what you can to stay out of hospitals. Same with jails.
- If you see somebody that needs help, stop and do what you can. It doesn't matter if they are on a motorcycle, bicycle, cage, or walking. It doesn't matter if you speak the same language. You will be glad you did.
- Ramen, a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter, and some red pepper flakes taste almost like pad Thai.
- Keeping your stuff dry is good.
- The number of locals you meet is inversely related to the size of your group. You are more approachable if you travel solo, especially on a motorcycle. If you run into trouble while riding solo, you won’t have your old friends to help you out. Instead, you’ll meet new ones.
- Having more time is better than having more money.