It’s a big wide world out there, and there is a whole lot to see. Backpacking is an incredible way to experience the countries of the world. It’s an opportunity to travel simply and as fast or slow as you like. If this is your first trip, there are a few things to bear in mind. This list of 5 things every backpacker should know before traveling abroad will help you avoid common pitfalls, help you to prepare, and guide you while you travel.
Do Your Research
Before you leave for your destination, make sure that you spend some time getting to know the place you’re traveling to. A guidebook such as Lonely Planet is a good place to start, as are blogs from other travelers. They’ll help you to understand the best sights to see and the unmissable locations. It’s also worth getting an understanding of where it is good to stay and eat. Most popular tourist spots will have areas that are popular with backpackers. Usually, that means affordable accommodation and cheap eats.
Beyond the actual process of traveling, you should do some research into local culture. You don’t want to be the person who turns up to a temple in shorts and a vest. Understanding the nuances of local culture will garner you a far friendlier reception from people you meet. The same goes for learning a bit of the local language.
Health and Safety
Before you leave for your trip, make sure that you understand the necessary vaccinations and/or medications that you might need. Many vaccinations require a few weeks to become effective, so make sure you organize these well in advance.
Travel insurance shouldn’t be seen as an optional extra. It will help you in many unforeseen situations. You might never need or use it, but if you do have cause to use it, you’ll be happy that you have it.
You’re almost guaranteed to overpack for your first trip, and that’s okay. It’s part of the learning process. You’ll need a few essential items that you’ll find on backpack packing lists, which we won’t go into great detail about now. We would, however, strongly recommend using packing cubes to make everything as accessible as possible.
Try and pack as lightly as you can. Be wary of weight limits for flights, too. You might not be familiar with metric or imperial, so be sure to learn facts such as how many pounds to ounces there are.
You might not be earning money for large portions of your trip. That means you’ll need to set a budget and stick to it. Work out how much things cost in the local currency and create a budget accordingly. You’ll also need to consider payment methods. Most of the world takes cards now, but you should make sure it’s a card that won’t charge you a high percentage for every transaction. It’s also smart to have an emergency fund.
When you get to your destination, throw yourself into it. Experience the local food and visit places that are off the beaten path. Simply spending some time getting lost is a great way to see the location as the locals do. Speaking of which, for a genuine experience, try and befriend some locals to really see what life is like there.
There’s a surprising amount of preparation required for a backpacking trip. It is definitely worth doing, and you’ll be pleased you did when you arrive. Then, once you’re there, try and relax into it. You’ll probably have a healthy dose of culture shock. Just remember you’re going to have an amazing time.
- Always take into consideration the cultural nuances of the country that you’re visiting.
- Pack for the prevailing conditions and climate.
- Money makes the world go round; make sure you have a solid budget.