Backpacking is a form of low-cost, independent travel, which often includes staying in inexpensive lodgings and carrying all necessary possessions in a backpack. Once seen as a marginal form of travel undertaken only through necessity, it has become a mainstream form of tourism.
Tips to Backpacking
- Which hemisphere are you traveling to?
Cross check the weather of where you are travelling to. For example in June it’s nice and warm in Europe and cold in Argentina. Which you could mistakenly plan your trip in June not knowing its cold during this period and you stay in Europe which is actually warm during this period and end up making the mistake of packing for a warm weather not knowing its winter down there. Make sure you know when you are traveling where and what the weather will be! You don’t want to pack your summer clothes for a trip to the arctic!
- Pick your destination
Where do you want to go and why? Are you going because of a special place or event? Maybe you want to visit this special retreat?
You might be very spontaneous and confident in things you do, you might be so spontaneous and end up not booking places on time where you could stay or flights etc. Make sure you inform yourself in advance. If you want to go because of a special event, ask if there are any free tickets and then start booking the flights etc…
- Find and book cheap flights
Finding cheap flights isn’t difficult. You just have to know where to look for!
You can always check at Skyscanner and also book them directly via their site. When the ticket is offered by a site you don’t know and trust, you can go to the airline directly and check the prices there.
If you are flexible with your schedule you can check the flights per month and pick the cheapest flights. You can find some great bargains there.
Something that isn’t that common but will help you finding cheap flights are so called Open Jaw Flights. Fly out from one airport and return to another.
- How to pack a backpack? By leaving half of the stuff at home!
As a newbie backpacker you might end up packing for things that are completely irrelevant. For a fact, half of the things you pack can be so unimportant try to pack only things that are absolutely necessary and it will benefit you greatly by carrying around a light load.
Below are some tips you could try to make your travel lighter.
Compression Packing bags – Makes it easier to categorize your belongings and faster accessible. No more unpacking every time you need something!
Sleeping Mask – This thing, keeps the light outside and enhance your sleep
Noise Cancelling Headphones – They are expensive but effective. Now you can sleep in the crowded and loud dorms again. You won’t notice anything with these headphones on.
Travel Towel – Lightweight and dries really fast!
Inflatable Pillow – As big as your fist but will make your sleep and travel much more comfortable.
Relax Ally – You don’t really need it, but will make your life on the road so much more comfortable. Are you also that uptight after sleeping in a plane or in a bus? This invention from Finland helps you to relax your shoulders when sleeping!
- Best Backpack Size
The bigger, the better!
The bigger your backpack, the more you will pack!
It might be difficult but I recommend to buy a smaller backpack with only 40-50 litres instead of a 70 litres one. I promise you, that you will use all 70 litres while 50 would be enough too… You will hate it to run around so much stuff on your back!
- Backpacking beginner? Pick an easy country to start with!
If you haven’t backpacked before, pick an easy country to start with. Thailand is great for beginners and so is Australia. Both countries welcome thousands of backpackers every year and the infrastructure is great. Try one of them before going to India or China.
The culture shock is also not that bad like in other, more extreme countries!
- Don’t plan your whole trip!
Don’t do it! Never…
Imagine following scene: You arrived somewhere and booked an accommodation for two nights but you are having such a great time that you don’t want to leave. The problem: You’ve already booked flights and accommodation for the next two weeks and would lose all the money. So you will leave this place that you like so much and leave behind the people that you just met but get along so well and keep doing the things as you planned them from home, ticking off one thing after another on your bucket list!
Allow time for spontaneity. Less if more! It is better to have a few more intensive rather than many superficial moments!
You can always come back and do the rest you’ve missed on your next trip!
- To travel with a partner or a good friend
When you decide to travel, be 100 % sure that you are also going to be a couple when you travel. If you aren’t better postpone it or do it alone. There is nothing worse than getting into fights when traveling.
Same for friends, make sure you are really good friends and that you know what the other person want. At home, you might see each other every day for a few hours each day, when you travel you will be together 24/7. Are you sure you can handle this?
- Which travel insurance is the right one?
There are many insurances. Make sure to check what and how much they cover. Do they cover rides on a scooter? Often they don’t if you don’t have a driving license. But you will probably ride a scooter in Thailand.
What about outdoor injuries?
Don’t be cheap with a travel insurance. Make sure you find a good one in your home country!
- Best Bank for Traveling
Do you also pay expensive fees every time you withdraw money from an ATM abroad? Subscribe to a card plan you can bank with no banking fees and zero withdrawal with the credit. The signup process can be very easy and within a few days you can have your credit card with all information in your mailbox.
- Jetlag – Why am I so tired?
Sometimes you can be still be shocked about Jetlag. When you are tired for days and don’t feel like doing anything except crawling back into bed. Get ready for this, and know that it isn’t a disease and that it’s normal that you feel this way when you travel across a few time zones. You know people go to the hospital looking for treatment because they had no idea what jetlag is.
- Australia & New Zealand – Drive on the other side
Your first trip is to Australia or New Zealand and you are afraid of driving on the other side? No worries! It’s easier than you think but requires a lot of concentration! Make sure you book a van with insurance.
- Go to the right airport!
Might sound easy, but many big cities have more than one airport. Often there is an international airport and an airport for LCC’s (Low Cost Carriers).
In Bangkok for instance all AirAsia flights fly from Don Mueang and not from the main airport Suvarnabhumi.
Hope this article was expository and ill help you on that backpacking journey. Do have fun.