Are you a student or about to be one and want to take an adventure before you settle into “real life”?
Are you tired of staying in the usual name hotels when traveling and want to see more of the local culture when you visit places? Do you feel the need to connect with nature and the outdoors more? Are you budget conscious and want to travel, but the cost is holding you back? If one or more of these describes you, then you need to take up backpacking.
Backpacking is a broad term that includes wilderness adventures, and local, national and international travel that is off the beaten path. All in all, it is an awesome experience for people who love adventure. Here are some tips to do it like a professional.
Tips on Being a Good Backpacker
Plan Your Air Travel and Local Commutes
Your airfares will definitely be your biggest travel expense, so make sure you book ahead for the biggest discounts and to be sure there is availability. If your plan is to not plan, keep yourself abreast of flight information for where you may want to go, so you can quickly get yourself there. Also, consider the local traveling you will be doing. Some backpackers love the feeling of being adrift in a foreign country, but professionals know that to be safe, you should always have a clear idea of how to get back to places with which you are familiar. Research the local train and bus lines and get a sense of their schedules. Many local trains and buses runs at odd hours. You do not want to be stuck somewhere with no access to transportation when you might need it.
Stay in Hostels But Pick the Right Ones
Hostels are a less formal type of accommodation. In every country today, these dorm-style accommodations are available much cheaper than traditional hotels. Most hostels have shared rooms and bathrooms, with free breakfast and other amenities and tend to take on the feel of their local city. Make sure when you research a hostel that it has an English speaking staff, free Wi-Fi and hot water. You have to get used to being in a dormitory type atmosphere, and be cautious of your surroundings and belongings, but the benefits can really outweigh the downsides.
One of the best things about hostels, is that you meet new people. It is really easy to find someone with your same interests, and with whom you can backpack. Hostels are perfect for college students and those who are sociable or looking to be.
Pack as Light as Possible
Remember that you will have to carry your backpack often and a long way. So the key is to make sure you pack as light as possible at all times. Only bring the basic clothing you will need for the trip and plan to find ways to wash your clothes, when you are on the road. Do not pack any heavy shoes or boots (unless really needed), and any toiletries should be travel size. Leave any food items at home, (you can buy locally), and be sure if you are going to be in a cooler climate, that you do pack clothes for that climate. Finally, if you plan on sleeping outside during some parts of your trip, you need to pack a bed roll or sleeping bag. There are some that are very light weight and do a great job keeping you warm. This is a great investment to make as a backpacking professional.
Learn a Bit of the Local Language
Professional backpackers understand that when you can speak to the locals in their own tongue, things work out better. Take the time to learn a few phrases in the local language and be prepared to use these phrases as often as possible. Local shop owners and vendors will appreciate your efforts (even if you accent is a bit off), and it will definitely make you some local friends. Also, at markets, shopkeepers are more likely to give you a good price if you greet them in their tongue.
Follow these tips and you will certainly be on the road to being a professional backpacker!