20 Essential Tips for Backpackers


If you are one of those who has been saving for a backpacking trip for a long time, then it is equally possible that you have also been reading up all that you can on how to manage a successful trip. Given below are twenty tips that will help you further in your planning as well during the trip itself and though some of them may be known to you, they are still worth a recap.

1) Travel insurance is a must
This should be the first task you should manage as without it you could end up spending a lot of money on medical costs. The absence of one can also mar your trip severely and put you through a lot of hardship.

2) Finish your documentation
Your planning must start well in advance and ensure processing of all visa related procedures on time. Many of the countries you may be planning to visit take time to process applications and you need to make that time available such that there is no last minute rush.

3) Correspond through email
Ensure that while you are on your trip, you do not lose contact with your folks. Thanks to the internet, communication is not an issue and you can always keep them posted about where you are through email if you are not able to use the phone for any reason. If your family members do not have access to email, establish contact with any of your friends and request them to pass on the message.

4) Avoid carrying a lot of cash
Though for such a trip, you may want to be well prepared in terms of cash and monetary resources since you feel that you may not get access to cash machines, it is still advisable not to carry a lot of cash with you simply because you may lose it or even get mugged. Keep money that may be required for a couple of days at a time and also keep them in small denominations. If you intend drawing money from the cash machine, ensure you have two cards so that you are not handicapped just in case you happen to misplace one.

5) Do not be the good Samaritan
Many backpackers try to do somebody a good deed by carrying their stuff for them with often undesirable results. Hence politely refuse to do this and take care of your own things. There is no harm in looking after your own interests.

6) Preserve your camera and film rolls
Try to develop the film rolls already clicked at the earliest as they hold precious moments of your trip that you want to keep for posterity and you do not want to end up losing them. If you are carrying a digital camera, ensure you can take a copy onto a disc so that you have a back up should anything go wrong with your camera. You may even try emailing it to your own account on a regular basis so that backups are there to fall back on.

7)Do not take brand new or good looking backpacks
This may seem quite daft on the surface but experience says that thieves normally do not touch those backpacks that appear battered or worn out. They take the brand new ones or the ones that appear pretty good on the assumption that they would contain precious things. So go for a backpack that is a bit worn out and does not look very attractive.

8) Be prepared for night travel
By being mentally and physically prepared to travel at night time, you by pass the need for accommodation and related expenses. This will bring down your cost but you need to be aware that you would place yourself in a vulnerable position every time you travel at night. Hence proper security measures need to be taken by you when undertaking such travel.

9) Do not travel heavy
Though this is the normal advice given to everybody before a journey, it is surprising that most of us do not follow it. You should not pack things just as you would during a normal trip for your backpacking one as you would not be able to find half the things you want when you need them the most. Moreover, why add to the burden; remember you are going to be carrying the load.

10) Your pack should be distinctive
Since many of the backpacks are often very similar to look at and come in very common colours, you have to make yours distinctive so that you are able to spot it and pick it up from a bunch. You can do so by doing something as simple as fixing a nicely coloured cord to your backpack handle.

11) Use your backpack as a pillow
When retiring for the night, use your backpack as a pillow so that no thief dares to rob you. Keeping it separately will invite thieves who would fancy their chances and you would end up losing money and some of your belongings.

12) Take your Flip-flops along
You will do well to take your flip-flops since it would be extremely embarrassing to stand barefoot when taking a public shower.

13)Do not take many pairs of jeans
Taking along jean pairs can only add to your burden as they are not only heavy but also occupy space. They also take a long time to dry when you wash them and it is therefore advisable to take just one extra pair of jeans for your trip.

14) Carry along some strings
You would do well to take along some strings so that you can put up a clothesline, mend things, tie up things. They can also be used as emergency shoelaces.

15) Carry safety pins or fastening clips
Take along enough safety pins since they are handy and have multiple uses especially during emergencies.

16) Maintain a travel journal
Whether the trip is a short or a long one, it would help if you can maintain a neat travel journal where you record daily events as they happen at the end of the day. It requires a lot of discipline and effort but you will be glad if you did it as it can bring to life wonderful memories when you look at the journal some months or some years down the road.

17) Do not forget your own pillowcase
You would think that the blankets and pillows provided in some of the hotels would be good enough to suit you. However, from the point of hygiene as well as comfort, it is recommended that you take your own pillowcase along. You could even use it to stash away some of your money and valuables at night as you sleep on it.

18)Keep track of time by taking along an alarm clock or a cheap watch
You must have a watch on you that helps you take flights on time, wake up on time and generally helps you keep to schedule. You can either have an alarm clock or have a cheap watch that has a good alarm facility. Do not carry an expensive one since you would be vulnerable to mugging.

19)Be prepared with data on taxi fares
It is well known that travelers are often ripped off by taxi drivers since they are new and do not know the fares existing. When planning your trip, visit the internet sites and know the taxi fares prevailing in the cities you intend to travel to. Also ensure you decide the fare with the driver beforehand so that there is clear understanding and he does not get the opportunity to rip you off.

20) Carry only necessary things
Check out what you can legally carry into some of the countries you are planning to visit so that you do not get into trouble. Have a check list with you on hand so that you do not carry anything unnecessary and which could land you in trouble.