If you are a first-time backpacker, listen up! Backpacking is not for the weak, but if you can get it right and make the correct preparations, it will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. There is no perfect backpacking guide. You can choose to backpack wherever and however you like, but some essential tips will make the journey much more streamlined, and most importantly enjoyable!
In this blog post, we will discuss the most important things to consider if you are backpacking for the first time, and some tips to get you through unexpected events!
Plan your route beforehand
First things first, you should plan your exact route to save wasted time once you are there. As nice as it sounds, to simply let life take the reins and see what opportunities come up once you are there, you also need a level of stability when travelling around a new continent. Plan the first few towns and counties you will be visiting, including where you will stay. In the most popular spots for backpackers, hotels will often get completely booked up, so you don’t want to be stranded and homeless in a foreign country! Plan at least 3 months for your trip, and if you are staying longer, use the knowledge of the other backpacker you meet to decide where your next heading will be.
Have enough money to spare
Money when backpacking is crucial. Although you will be in countries where the exchange rate will likely be in your favour, you will still need a lot to get you through the months you will be away. If you are not planning on working whilst travelling, spend some time in the lead-up building up your pot to go travelling.
Do not expect the countries you visit to have apple pay. In most cases, they will not even have a good enough internet connection to use your phone! You should; bring your whole life savings in cash, but do make sure you have enough for 4 weeks. Always take out cash in banks and authorise buildings that will prevent the risk of your card details being stolen. Also, consider bringing a card that has low withdrawal fees for use in foreign countries.
Keep your belonging safe
It goes without saying, but there will be a lot of risk of your things being stolen when travelling. With so many people going in and out of the hostel you will be staying in, you need to make sure your belongings are kept safe and secure. If you aren’t with your beginnings, consider using a backpack lock to prevent the zip from being opened. Store your valuables such as bank cards, and other things in a separate container with its own lock. Keeping an Apple air tag inside will ensure you can track the items even if someone tries to steal them. Avoiding this kind of drama when backpacking will ensure a smooth, and enjoyable trip.
Don’t forget first aid
You will be eating lots of different cuisines, and be exposed to a whole world of new experiences. With this unfortunately comes the risk of getting poorly. Having a good first aid kit will ensure that you have all the basic medical essentials that will help you to cure any minor illnesses yourself, without needing to rush to the hospital. This should include bandages, disinfectants, painkillers, and also stomach settlers in case you contract food poisoning when there. Have a first aid kit fully stocked to avoid suffering when you are trying to have fun.
Research the hostels before you book
Be prepared to experience not the most glamorous accommodation spaces. You are probably spending most of your trip staying in hostels, in which case you should do your research into how others rated their experiences. Although you shouldn’t expect a 5-star hotel, it would be good to know what facilities the hostel has. For example, if you are looking for a hostel that has organised events for the guests to explore the local area, you should be able to find the best hostels to do this. Take a look at the best hotels to stay in and read the experience of others. Book ahead of time, as the best hostels will sell out quickly during peak season.
Pack the right amount of gear
One mistake that so many backpackers make is overpacking! With the many miles you will be walking with the volume of items you have, you can expect your backpack to be heavy. There are however ways you can limit the volume of items, whilst still keeping all of your essentials with you. When packing clothes, only bring light and breathable clothing that is quick and will keep you cool. There will be places to wash your clothes when you get to the towns, so do not worry if you have not brought enough. Also, bring lightweight shoes that offer the comfort and support that you will need when travelling. One pair of sturdy shoes for hiking, one pair of beach shoes and a pair of shower flip-flops will suffice for the whole trip. Any accessories such as accessories are best bought at the lively local markets, but keep valuable items such as NATO watch straps on you at all times to avoid them getting stolen.
Find a group of people to stick with
For the final tip, we would suggest that all travelling backpackers make sure that they find a group of people to stick with once they reach each location. This is especially important for solo travellers who may feel a lot safer if they are with a group of people. Also, you will make life long lasting friendships with these people, so do not feel scared to put yourself out there!
Overall, backpacking is one of the most memorable experiences that many people engage in. You will meet life-long lasting friends and see the wonders of the world that many others will not. Make sure that you pack light when possible, research your route, book your hostels in advance, and of course find a group of people you can trust to stick with!