Backpacking as defined, generally includes the use of a backpack that is easily carried for long distances or long periods of time; the use of public transport; inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels; often a longer duration of the trip when compared with conventional vacations; and often an interest in meeting locals as well as seeing sights. Here are the ultimate backpacking tips that you need to know.
Do Your Research
The essence of backpacking experience is spontaneity. However, researching before you travel can give you deep insights about the area, telling you places to avoid and places you must go as well an endless amount of additional information which will aid your journey. A flick through the guidebooks will give you a bit of inspiration on how to go on your trip at the same time give you the excitement about embarking on your forthcoming travels.
Every backpacker’s mantra should always be “pack light“. You need to leave unnecessary stuff behind and streamline what you’re bringing with you. Only pack what you can replace because bringing valuable or sentimental stuff is like asking for a disaster. If you pack light, you won’t have to pay for overweight luggage fees when you fly. The way you pack could save a lot of hassle. Have essential items such as travel documents and smartphones near the top and put things that you won’t need straight away at the bottom of your backpack.
Get a Hostel with a Kitchen
Staying in hostels is one of the best things about backpacking and there are hundreds of backpacker-friendly hostels across the world. They often have all sorts of cool facilities, from swimming pools to on-site bowling alleys. Hostels are also affordable. The best ones have free breakfasts or even a communal kitchen with access to cooking stuff. If you buy groceries and make a couple meals in the hostel, you can save a lot of money on a long trip. Plus you get to make new friends in the hostel kitchen.
As nice as it would be to eat in amazing restaurants every day, it’ll begin to put a lot of weight in your budget. Eating local means saving money. You may indulge yourself in one good meal per location but other than that, try some street food or some interesting things from the local supermarket and cook in the hostel. Also, experiencing the local culture is a huge part of traveling and trying local food is largely connected with that cultural experience. Trying local foods is a good way to taste a small part of that place’s culture.
Avoid taking a cab if possible and walk everywhere. There are mileage costs and you have to give a tip to the driver. Don’t let the convenience of a cab ride lure you in. There are also sometimes when cab drivers take you on the “scenic route” to hike your fare, or just flat-out overcharge you. Walking is good for your body and for your budget. When you walk, you’ll discover things you would never have found otherwise like amazing street art, cool cafes and quirky shops. If possible, you can also rent a bike for the day and venture out into the country. If you want to go somewhere and it’s too far of a walk, look to public transit to get you there. Busses and trains are cheap and usually reliable
Watch Out for Pickpockets and Scam Artists
No matter where you’re backpacking, there are always pickpockets or scam artists lurking in the corner. Secure you cash in hidden pockets or money belts. It’d be a bummer to be staying on budget and then have that all ruined by a theft.
Backpacking with a Group
It’d be liberating if you go backpacking solo, but there’s always strength in numbers. Traveling in a group can save you cash by sharing various duties. Backpacking with a group helps reduce travel expenses since everyone will be sharing the costs of accommodation, transportation, food, and even tour tickets.
Talk To People
Traveling is one way of meeting new people. If you’re backpacking in another country, part of the fun is battling with language barriers and learning from the locals. While talking to strangers might not always be a good idea, it may also be worthy to assume the good in people. Locals, generally, would love to introduce their place and give tips about the cheapest beautiful place to go or any traditional food you must try. Other backpackers may give you some extra tips on where to go next or share some budget hacks. Overall, meeting people while you’re traveling can be a hugely rewarding experience.
Document Your Memories
When you go backpacking, try to always bring back a memento. You can make a scrapbook for your collected hundreds of scraps of paper, napkins, beer caps, photographs, tickets and other souvenirs from your trips. Or make a video of your photos, stop motion images and videos so you’ll have something to look back to.