If you are one of the thousands of people who dream of backpacking around the world, then this is the post for you. It is a dream of many to pack the bags and head off on a one way ticket around the world.
We know it can be frightening and intimidating to take that leap of faith, perhaps packing up a job and venture forth backpacking around the world so in this blog post I am going to share with you some of the tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years. Hopefully, I can answer some of the questions that are playing on your mind and put you at ease about your big trip.
Top Tips for the First Time Backpacker
Do your research. Make a list of all the places you want to go and things you want to do. What do you want to achieve out of your travels? Give yourself time to organise your trip so you can try to fit in as many of your “must-see” locations as possible. While planning is important, leave room for some change and variation while on the road.
2. Think Outside The Box
When planning your trip, always try to think outside the box. Try the activity you will remember forever and have the experiences of a lifetime. When booking think of some alternative things to do. Instead of taking a flight, see if you can rent a car or take a scenic train journey. Chat to people from the area and experience places like a local. If travelling alone, book group tours to help you make friends.
3. Experience it, don’t just see it
Many people go to places to tick them off their list. Instead of just going to see something, why not organise an unforgettable experience. If you are going to a famous beach, book a surf lesson. Instead of going to see the Great Barrier Reef, go snorkel in the turquoise waters. You will remember the experiences you have over the places you see. Memories last a lifetime.
4. Stay a little longer
We are all guilty of this. We try to pack in as much as possible into our trips. We want to see everything and go everywhere. I would highly recommend cutting down on the amount you want to do and actually spend more time in fewer locations. You will regret it if you spend your time rushing from one place to the next. Give yourself time to relax, immerse yourself in the place and enjoy the experience.
5. Be spontaneous
Yes, planning is key to a successful trip but try not to plan every single detail. Have a general plan of what you want to do and where you want to go but leave space to allow you to wander off your plan a little. If you are given recommendations from locals or other backpackers, you want to have a little space in your diary to go explore those gems. Sometimes it’s the places you stumble upon or you don’t expect to visit that make the most impact on you during your trip.
6. Be Prepared
I know this might be very obvious but check your driver’s licence and passport’s expiry date before you head off on your trip. This is something you don’t want to figure out at the airport or car rental desk. Another key essential is your travel insurance. You never know when you might need it so be sure to be covered before you go.
7. Stay Calm
If you are travelling for a long time, be prepared that sometimes things don’t go to plan. Expect something to go wrong along the way but don’t panic. You will sort it out and it will all be ok. What is meant to be, will be.
There are a few things that are always on my packing list. Items I have realised are so handy on trips.
Ear Plugs – You will thank us when you are in a shared dorm with a few people snoring or a loud bus or train journey.
Adapters – Get a worldwide adaptor for your travels to keep your phone and camera charged.
Extensions Leads – Instead of buying lots of adapters, pack a small extension lead so you only need one adapter and you can charge a few items off your extension lead. Also sometimes hotel rooms or dorms don’t have many plugs so this will help you on your travels to charge everything at once.
Trainers – Pack a comfortable pair of trainers or hiking boots. Comfort is key when backpacking.
Long Pants – You will thank us when trekking through bushes or the forest.
Rain Gear – Nobody likes being caught in the rain, especially when you have an activity or something planned. Be prepared with rain gear so you can still continue with your plans.
Notebook & Pen – This is great for taking down notes from people you meet along the way or locals in a location. You can jot down their recommendations and tips so you don’t forget them. Sometimes the old-fashioned way is best!
First Aid Kit – You can never be too prepared. Have a fully stocked first aid kit in case of any accidents on your travels. You never know when you might need it.
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Laya Healthcare Limited acts as an intermediary for travel insurance products underwritten by AIG Europe Limited. Laya Healthcare Limited, trading as Laya Healthcare and Laya Life, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.