Many backpackers are exploring the world and sometimes, for the lack of needed guides and tips, get stumbling blocks along the way which can be annoying if only earlier detected and skipped. Like many who love to travel, backpackers are those who are free of any encumbrances of a left-out career or a worrisome spouse or partner. They sometimes stay longer than most travelers do and sometimes too, they embark on a solo backpacking or in a group of friends. In what form and nature, backpackers are dotting the globe as speak and as you read this, may be some of these tips have not been given serious thought or some may have been taken by heart.
The success of any backpacking venture is in the manner one sees the journey. The jaunt one lays an eye on for months prior to the first step out of the door is materially influenced on how one carefully weighs the needed results for each trip. At the bottom line, what lies in each journey is a fulfilled dreams and a better understand of life.
The following are my suggested tips for a worry-free backpacking to your dream destinations.
- Plan to travel – each fulfilling journey one takes every time requires careful planning and execution. How to get there and where to stay are primary questions that has to be answered. When you plan for your travel, you may want to look ahead more than 6 months at a time. I usually embarked on a backpacking trip overseas way ahead and usually is 6 months to a year planning. It gives me latitude of choices, in transportation, in accommodations, in food and in places to sightsee. For a better life, plan at least 3-4 travels a year, but these trips need not be foreign or lengthier. The best tip is go out and travel, explore the world.
- Travel Fund – a few years back, I came across an epic adventure of a backpacker who travels the world with not much of a fund and enjoyed it. To someone like him, that is far more rewarding but mostly, as one travels, one must have a travel fund and sufficient it should be for the planned trip. How much will it be? It depends on where you want to go and backpack. There are far cheaper choices of a destination to visit and free sightseeing but altogether, it still needs a travel fund. Include in your travel planning, how to get the funds. It is primary in every trip to be able to finance it sustainably, one which will make you enjoy the experience. Important: Build on a travel fund. Answer key questions like how much and where to get it.
- Travel itinerary – I am a backpacker who shuns itinerary however I paid costly for it. It will still be great of an experience to get yourself a schedule, an itinerary which you jot down and record, include printed photos of destinations in each so it reminds you where to head next and also, it helps you communicate better with the locals. A photographic itinerary can save you more time and money locating the next destination even if the locals do not speak your language. In your itinerary, make sure to include columns for side-comments where you jot down your observations and how to. It is helpful for the next traveler friend who follows your footsteps.
- Passports and Visa – Universally, passports of each backpacker needs to be updated and renewed when it reaches 6 months to expiration dates. Reckon the dates of your passport for it gives you hassles when you notice it too late that you only got too close of an expiration date and the immigration officer will bar your entry. Also, passports of those who frequently travels overseas needs to be thicker than usual. If you intend to travel longer, make sure your passport has more blank visa pages and if it is almost filled on, go to the embassy and get a new passport. Visas are required to certain nationalities including Filipinos. Check if visa upon arrival can be bought or will the visa have to be obtained prior to boarding your next flight. It will save you enough time and money if you know you hold on to your passport with a visa on it.
- Airline booking online– I have experienced this so many darn times. It is better and cheaper to get airline tickets online than with travel agencies and book 6 months or to a year to save more. If the travel requires you to be out to any destination for the next 3 weeks, check the online airline ticket comparison to get promos and discounts. There are myriad of choices of airlines offering promo fares and that saves you up on your precious travel fund. Also, it saves enough funds when you book online for connecting trains and ships.
- Buy extras – it is easier and cheaper to buy at home those extra batteries, spare chargers, universal sockets, roaming SIMs, DSLR lenses, mobile internet etc than getting them overseas or in the destinations you have just arrived. If you are the kind of carries gadgets like laptops, tablets and mobile phones, know the country’s allowable electrical sockets and get those ahead of time. I experienced getting myself the needed socket for my laptop when I noticed that their electrical outlets are designed differently from where I came from. It cost me more for unwanted sockets when I get back home.
- Choose the lightest backpacks or bags – The perennial question is how light is traveling light when you backpack and see the world. A good backpack will save you energy when you needed it and when it is not straining too much of your back when you carry it around. Remember, the bags or backpacks you carry will get heavier every step of the way and you will not dare like the idea of getting to see the doctor for a sprained back due to your travels. Important is to know how much lightweight you want to be for your bags and backpacks.
- Travel insurance – Some friends I knew who book online skipped the airline insurance option and proceeded to embark without it. If they get away with it online, how much more with a travel insurance. The need for a travel insurance makes a traveler secure from all the inevitable challenges along the way in the trip. When travelling long-term, getting great travel insurance will give you and your family peace of mind and the confidence that should there be eventualities, you are protected wherever you may be in the world.
- Dress for the runway – if your travel requires you to be in flight for more than 5 hours at a time, make sure you are appropriately dressed. Hollywood celebrities are starting this and so it should make you appear chic too. Forget the skinny jeans but wear the lightest and cotton-material pants and flats. Make sure to be stress-free during flights by wearing the right amount of clothing when you travel. Of course, common sense dictates that when in winter; do not wear your leopard printed leotards.
- When lost, talk to the locals –The most disappointing and stressful part of backpacking is getting lost and the destination is so far remote from your comprehension and from your grasp. Relax, breathe deeply and talk to the locals. I have heard so many great stories of how talking to locals help one getting to destinations and hostels, etc in safe and faster manner than those who choose to consult their wits and interpret a foreign map. Remember, when you are in a place like Russia or China even Japan when the maps are written in the local language and no English translation in it, it will compound your worries a hundred more. Why not try the locals, they can genuinely lead you to where you heads for.