Being a backpacker requires much preparation! From remembering to include all the necessities in your backpack to making sure you know where to go next, and what time to catch your manner of transportation. To see a lot of the things the country has to offer in a short span of time you need to keep on the ball of everything and, of course, remembering to look after your health as well. That includes a good nights rest!
I am by no means an experienced backpacker, but I have picked up a few tips while backpacking in Italy last year and currently through South America. Hopefully, you find my advice helpful, and it makes you want to experience the thrills of backpacking.
No.1: Be mindful of money!
It can be super expensive going to different places and still having to buy food, necessities and paying for entrance tickets to museums and, of course, flight tickets and rooms to stay the night. Everybody has different budgets but do not let money be an obstacle. Think wisely and make good decisions. If you are going to, stay one or two nights pick a cheapish hotel as long as it has a bed and bathroom you will not need much else! Along with food. Make a list before shopping to make sure you are not buying too much! Buy as you go along. It may be difficult to sum up your purchase using a different currency and converting it to your original country’s origin, but there are great apps now that can help such as ‘Convert It’ and ‘Currency Converter.’ Calculate your money and spend it on necessities before spending it on souvenirs. You may have to control your cravings a little and only eat fresh food when visiting restaurants once in a while, but you’ll survive and enjoy the experiences you make without worrying about money or priorities because travelling will be your only priority!
No.2: Pack true necessities!
The more you pack, the heavier your backpack will be, you do not need me telling you this. So forget about stylish for a while and think more on the side of comfort and quality. I usually pack an extra pair of shoes, trainers, and two extra trousers, one for lounging/sleeping and either leggings or jeans whichever I am not wearing. Underwear is always necessary and doesn’t take too much room so be sure to pack plenty! I’ll wear a tank top and throw on another t-shirt on top, and my hoodie that is super comfy and practical just in case the weather changes for the worse. Never forget your bottle of water as well, passport, money, sunscreen, phone a good camera to record your memories, and buy smaller sized toiletries because it will not take up much room or cause a mess inside your backpack, ending in a win-win situation. It may seem like a bit of a waste of money buying super small bottles, but it is totally worth it due to you not needing to carry that extra weight on your back. Obviously, everybody will require different things, so this is just a guideline of how to save storage space. Then you are ready to begin exploring!
Luckily living in the twenty-first century means we can access so much through the internet and apps on our mobile devices. There are many useful apps for converting and managing your money, ebooks to read on the go, and you have the ability to speak another language even if you do not know it! Certain apps such as ‘Universal Translator.’ and ‘Translator with Voices’ allows you to type what you desire to say in your native language, and it’ll translate it to whichever language you need. This can help in
No.4: Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Being new to a country can be difficult. You’ll get lost and not know when to get off at the bus stop or which path to take when walking. A great help would be to know at least important phrases in a language such as ‘Do you speak English?’ ‘How much will it cost’ when taking a taxi, knowing the important places before heading to the country so you know where about certain points and places you want to visit are. It is much easier to pick a beautiful comfortable hotel where everybody speaks your language and visit only what covers a 5 mile radius, but that way you will never learn and grow and experience wonderful life changing opportunities many fear of trying.
No.5: Be safe!
I’m a night owl and wake up late and stay up way to late. It is a curse. However when backpacking I’m always sure to be awake early to make the most of my day! Having a good nights sleep and being alert in the morning is important. Attempt to travel with at least one other person or even better in a group. Travelling alone can get very tiring and stressful but so rewarding! Aim to be in a place you know well when it gets dark. Don’t take random taxis which don’t look professional. Try not to look lost, and if you do ask for help and don’t accept rides from ‘kind’ people offering. Take your belongings with you at all times! If somebody steals your backpack with anything in it, you won’t be able to do much exploring instead you’ll be spending more time with your embassy.
No.6: Be open to new cultures and lifestyles!
Forget about your lifestyle and be open to change. One of the best parts about backpacking is not only you’ll be able to explore great parts of the world, but also it’ll open your mind to new cultures and make you appreciate your own life. Every country is different and you’ll meet people from all different walks of life. You’ll realise that the same people are everywhere in the world, and forget about stereotypes. You’ll learn to appreciate a basic way of living by hopping from hostel to hostel and having little clothes to change into or worry about how it looks together. I certainly prefer saving up my money to travel even more, instead of spending it on clothes or make-up because the thrill and experiences I gather from travelling beats everything else. Don’t worry if travelling changes you as a person, that is what it is meant to do and you’ll become a better person after it.
Hopefully you’ve learnt more about backpacking and it’ll entice you to jump out of your comfort zone and grow into becoming a more confident and better version of yourself.