Excited to head out with a backpack. We too are, for you. There could be nothing better than having everything together, and be the master of your journey. Hopping from trains to cab to hotels and hitting the road with all your stuff behind your back. First timers must be feeling little obnoxious, well trust me everything at first attempt is little strange and awkward. But if you keep that backpack close you will soon start to love it. Here are some tips if backpack travel is on your radar.
Packing Light is the key – Be assured that on this backpacking trip your backpack will literally be your responsibility to shoulder. Yes that is how backpacking trips are. In such a case we would not want you to exhaust, so please pack it light. The lesser the baggage will be the lesser it will require the efforts to manage those belongings.
Trust me that you don’t need everything. Just shed the stuff that has no value for a trip. Instead of carrying two pairs of shoe in your baggage, wear a one that will last during the entire trip. If you are going to pack lightly, you will have many benefits. Right from being able to commute through public transportation because of light baggage to being able to fit in a bunk bed of a hostel.
Train passes will save you money – Backpacking is not just carrying your stuff along with you, but saving money is on the top of the list. We recommend that you buy train passes, or a pass that will make you eligible to travel in any kind of public transportation. This way you will save a lot of money which else wise could be spent on rental cars, or private cabs.
Many countries have tourist train passes that will save a lot of trouble for standing in queues, and will also save you money. Some countries will have prepaid cards that you can recharge through public kiosks and can travel in any mode of public transportation. In present times almost every popular destination in the world has transit lines or metro facility. Make sure to make most of them.
Transportation comes with plenty of options – We have already said it but will assert on it again to make the best out of local commute. There are transit lines, buses, and shared taxis, available all over the world. The more popular destination you are visiting the more number of options you will get to commute.
Be assured that you won’t run out of ways for a backpack travel. But you have to be open to it. For example to navigate Italy you can choose to rent a Vespa, which will come at a fraction of cost than a rental car. For example if you are in Bangkok and do not want to enter a overcrowded bus then you can chose to hop on a tuk tuk which will be affordable and a little bit airy too.
Be cautious of Tourist traps – Tourist spots are often flooded with over pricey traps. Being a backpacker it’s not okay to fall in them. They could be pricier restaurants, Fluent Tourist guides, flashy souvenir shops, anything that can be easily alluring. If you are travelling to some foreign country and do not know to speak their local language, then you will be among the first ones to be targeted.
Make sure while visiting any popular tourist spot, do not engage with locals unless it is very necessary. The moment you start talking to them, we mean the local vendors, they will spot you and start selling their items. Shopping and eating should always be done out from the circle of any tourist spot. At the same time feel free to connect and talk with fellow travelers.
Make use of public wifis – As a backpacker it is a sin to buy some international data package and not make use of public wifis. Yes there is no need of buying some international roaming data package, which is certainly going top cost you a lot more. Instead of that use public wifis that are available in airports, train stations, restaurants, shopping malls and even in cafes.
The first thing you should do is to check the genuineness of the wifi. Make sure that you are not falling into online trap which will hack all your data and your passwords. The next thing you got to do is download all the offline maps of the destination you are in. Trust me it will be your best friend to help you navigate through the destination you are in.
Stay away from modern Trappy destinations – Traveling is for sure a synonym for exploration. But you don’t have to visit each and every spot in the city. You also have to be extra cautious about staying away from modern made trappy attractions. They could be madam Tusaaud like museum, a park with high promises. Such places will cost you more and you could be left disappointed.
If you are not on a backpacking trip you can always chose to visit some of these attractions as probably you do not have budget constraints, but not while backpacking trip. The idea is to remain traditional throughout your trip. Take help of internet, or the first hand experiences and create an itinerary of all the places that are worth visiting. Pay attention to the details of such touristy spots.
Clubbing is not a good idea – Folks this is backpacking not a Night out in Ibiza. So stay away from clubs, they are very distracting. Clubs in most of the popular destinations are over priced. They will sure allure you to walk inside, but you got refrain yourself from doing so. IF you have already set a budget for clubbing before your trip, then its okay, as you know what you are doing.
Not just clubs, but even stay away from bars they are pricey in tourist spots. In popular tourist destinations a glass of drink can also burn a hole in your pocket. You have to be careful about your choices. But we aint stopping you from having a drink. Check the local laws and play around. There is always some place from where you can buy the booze and some place where you can drink it freely.
A bit of local language – Backpacking trips mean that you will be exposed to locals a lot during your time being there. You will be commuting on grounds, you will be talking to grocery shop owners, you will be talking to local food vendors, hence it becomes of utmost priority that you also learn the local language before visiting the destination.
Of course you do not have to do masters in their local language, but learning words in local language like hello, how can i take a train, how much will it cost, than you for your help, can be helpful in your trip. It will also create a bond between you and the local listener. Do not be overly dependent on translation apps, but learn few basic words.
Backpacking is all about flexibility – If you are checking in to a city early morning and leaving by night, because of any reason which could be a tightly packed itinerary, or lack of tourist spots in the city, or even if the city is just a layover in the greater journey you have to make. In such cases don’t book a hotel if you are okay with public washrooms.
You can use these washrooms in the airport or in the train stations. They have ample amount of facility to brush your teeth and take a quick shower. In most of the cases if you have the ticket of the plane or the train, then this facility is going to be free for you. It can save you a lot, plus it will be fun to try such a thing. It will also be a story to tell your friends how you managed to save some.
Reach out to find travelers alike – You will find lots of backpackers looking for company on internet. In fact nowadays there are portals that provide such facility. They will match you to a fellow traveler who will be there in that city at that given point of time. Everything will be fine tuned according to your preferences, interests and availability. This goes especially if you are traveling solo.
By finding a fellow traveler, your long walks will shorten, your pictures will get an extra dose of life, and you will probably not be bored which is last thing a traveler wants. It is not necessary that you spend the entire trip with that traveler, you both can meet for a day or two. If the bonding goes on well who knows you will make a new friend for lifetime.
Student discounts are good – If you are a student, world is on a rebate for you. Be it transit lines, bus passes, museums, gardens, popular monuments, you will get discount or a free entry to almost all of them. That is the perk of being a student, and a surprise for you if you thought that being a student can only be boring.
The money you will save through student discounts can be put on some other things, like shopping, or fine dining, etc. So to make the most of it, you just need to do some research through the official tourism website of the destination or you can also inquire about it at some of the smaller offices of local tourism board on what touristy spots offer discounts for students.
VISA is a hectic process – If this backpacking trip of yours is to a foreign country, then the first thing that should come to your mind is VISA. The process can be hectic, and tiresome. There are also chances that your VISA can get rejected and all your planning will go down the drain. The best way to avoid this is to travel to a destination which doesn’t requires VISA for your home passport.
Top search for such foreign countries the first thing that you need to do is head over to the official website of the government or the website of ministry of aviation or external affairs or even a search on internet can also do. Then find the countries that allow VISA free visit from your country. Most likely it will be a long list and will have at least one destination that suits your interests.
Take the road less traveled – We all have a habit of putting those popular destinations from post card in our bucket list, but that is so old school. Nowadays everyone wants unique experiences. Nowadays people want to go to the places that are off the radar from tourists. The reason can be many including lesser crowd, navigating hidden beauty, or boast about it to friends.
But before you move ahead to an offbeat location be sure it’s safe. Research about the locals there, as remote locations can have unfriendly locals. This is very common. If everything goes right and this offbeat destination matches your preferences, you might find some amazing eye soothing street art, or a historic fort that has not made up to UNESCO heritage site.
Camping plus backpacking – If you want to double the fun, then i think blending a backpacking trip with camping can be some serious fun. It is not just about being homeless and be vulnerable to external factors, but this combination is lot more fun. Just imagine yourself staying under the stars, well of course you will have the tent. But the point is that it’s really fun.
The foremost thing that you need to do before this camping cum backpacking trip is research about some safe and convenient camping sites. Remember you cannot camp anywhere as per the laws. It is also recommended that while doing such an adventure you chopse a hill station or some national park, which will add even more beauty to this experiment of yours.
Overnight and overland – Instead of buying costly air tickets, and checking in to hotels or even hostels, what if i tell you that you can do something different and can save lots of money. Yes the best way to deal with it is to book train tickets or bus tickets to your destination and travel through night. It will help you save the cost of spending a night in some accommodation.
It will also help you save time. Travelling in trains and buses is not that uncomfortable as you think. There are many such trains and buses that will give you enough room to sleep. They might be costlier than the traditional ones, but on a overall picture you are only going to save much more money.
Master the art of haggling – While on a backpacking trip you are definitely going to have strict budgets. You will be expected to save the money to the maximum possibility. You will have to look for cheaper options than going with the options that involve luxury. You will have to ditch the comforts of your home and be open to vulnerabilities of this world.
Hence it is highly recommended that you brush up your haggling skills. Use these haggling skills at all times whenever there is a flow of money from your pocket to anybody else’s. Right from the booking in hostels to buying groceries for food. Apply it everywhere, especially if you are travelling to some Asian country where haggling is a norm.
Carry your own snacks – Carrying your snacks around is not weird people. People do it all the times. It is not just a money saving hack to save you from pricey vendors of your destination, but it is also a way to keep healthy lifestyle while traveling and falling prey to unsafe street food. But remember you don’t have to carry that from your kitchen back home.
Local grocery stores exist in foreign countries be it third world. By visiting the local grocery store you can also find some delicacies, in which you might find your next favorite snack. These days there literally is no limitation when it comes to packaged food, and you will have plenty of options to chose from. Don’t over buy, but keep limited stock, enough to fuel you. It will cease your food cravings.
Deal with homesickness – Feeling homesick is natural when you are out. Missing your day to day life is one of the things that you are going to miss. You are also going to miss the regular people by whom you are always surrounded. You will also miss the great food cooked in the kitchen of your house. This is all very normal.
To deal with homesickness, simply pull out your phone, and talk to your loved ones. Yes do not make it feel you dull, and act instantly. If that is not also helping, then turn on the Skype on your iPad. If that is also not enough, then no need to buy tickets back home, do a favorite thing you do while at home. Any activity that is relatable to your house. It will help for sure.
Backpacking is a lifestyle!