Are you thinking of taking a gap year from your education? Or maybe you are retiring and want see more of the world on a budget? If you are interested in taking a backpacking vacation there these tips will help you make the most of your travels whilst avoiding some of the common pitfalls of this exotic type of travelling.
- The Lonely Planet is your friend.
- Always look out for bargains.
- Give Wwoofing a go!
- Get Good Insurance.
- Remember to check if you need any vaccinations.
- Pick your travel buddy carefully.
- Or go solo?
- Try to meet the locals.
- Remember to put your phones down!
- There is more to life than getting drunk!
The Lonely Planet is your friend – The Lonely Planet is an excellent backpackers travel guide. You can buy a book for pretty much any country in the world. Then each book has a break down of all the main towns and cities in each country, sharing advice on where to stay, where to eat, what to do, what to see etc.
Always look out for bargains – The idea of backpacking is to do as much as possible on a budget so you can travel to more places for longer. So it is a great idea to become an expert on looking for bargains and getting good at haggling. One great tip is to always book in the country you are in, never before hand from another country.
Often travel agents will claim they are giving you great deals but when you get there you realize you have over paid by a large amount. There are always small local companies offering great packages on everything from scuba diving holidays to white water rafting adventures.
Give Wwoofing a go – is an organization that gives volunteers the chance to work on organic farms. Each offer is different but basically you can work for a few hours a day in return for food and lodgings. Not only do save a lot of money doing this but also you get to see the countryside and also meet people outside of the normal tourist traps.
Get Good Travel Insurance – When backpacking you are very often carrying everything important on your person. [Read more about packing your knapsack for travel. We just wrote a new article with diagrams and all kinds of tips.]
Also, you tend to stay in cheaper less secure hostels etc. And the chances are you will be doing fun but more risky activities, maybe snowboarding or sky diving for example. So it really is worth getting some good backpackers travel insurance including medical travel insurance.
Remember to check if you need any vaccinations – Every country has different vaccination requirements; you should speak to you doctor, ideally three months before you go. This will give you time to get all the shots that you may need as some of them you need multiple visits over a period of weeks. Another good tip is to always travel with a mosquito proof sleeping bag to avoid diseases like malaria and dengue fever.
Pick your travel buddy carefully – Just because you are friends at home does not mean that you are the perfect match for travelling. People “do” travelling and vacations in very different ways. And if you are not careful you could have a terrible trip and lose a friend in the process.
Or go solo – Solo travelling might sound scary but actually it can be great fun. You are forced to mix and mingle and you will find amazing people will welcome you into their fun. Obviously you have to be sensible, but still there is no reason why you can at least think about travelling solo!
Try to meet the locals – And not just as they sell you things. One of the best ways to understand a country is to play, work, eat, and laugh with the locals. Once you get beyond the surface veneer of tourists sales, you can open a whole other world of new culture to learn about.
Remember to put your phones down – Photos and videos are great, so is sharing them on social media. But there is more to travelling that capturing moments and sharing them with you mates back home. Do your best to soak up and really appreciate the new cultures and experiences that you are encountering. You wont regret it, we promise!
There is more to life than getting drunk – Most of us like the odd tipple every now and then. But the more you drink the less you notice and the less you remember. Travelling is in our opinion about experiencing things. You can get drunk anywhere but you can only experience culture by paying attention to it and being open enough to enjoy it.
We hope you find these tips useful. Here’s a video with a few more and you can also check out our detailed guide for more backpacking tips and advice.