Traveling alone with a backpack on your back is a unique experience, in which you can get to know a new place in depth. However, there are some tips to keep in mind to keep errors to a minimum.
Last update: 03 October, 2021
There are many ways to take a trip. There are the most conventional, with packages and itineraries established in advance, and the most adventurous. In the second case, the main feature of travelers is a backpack on the shoulder. It is common for uncertainty to be obstacles to knowing the world in this way. However, there are a number of fundamental recommendations for beginning backpackers.
It is possible to travel longer than the estimated time on a conventional vacation. In addition, financing can be generated with different strategies and alternative accommodation can be obtained. Traveling as a backpacker, both alone and in a group, is a different experience.
What defines a backpacker?
An initial idea indicates that the backpacker is a traveler with an essential element on his back: the backpack. Inside is everything you need to move anywhere in the world for weeks, months and even years.
In the general conception, he does not have great economic means and his itinerary is planned on the process, as he meets new people, places or landscapes. It is a much more adventurous way to travel.
In this way, it is possible to know places in depth, in addition to customs, traditions and indigenous ways of life. Any traveler, including first-time backpackers, can earn money with part-time jobs or in the same lodging.
Common mistakes of beginner backpackers
Most likely, beginning backpackers will make mistakes when starting out. Although it is not bad to make mistakes and learn from it, there are some things to keep in mind to minimize inconvenience. For example, not filling the backpack to the top. Remember that it is a journey on foot and in constant movement.
Several lodges have laundry options or nearby laundries, so there is no need to carry more than three or four changes. Another not recommended aspect is the money belt. Many travelers keep their most important items there, however, it is a sure indicator that something valuable is deposited there.
The idea of having everything reserved before leaving should be changed. Although it is true that, with regard to tickets, the more anticipation there is, the better prices are obtained, in the accommodation it is not the same. It is advisable to have the first two or three nights insured and then look for a place in person, according to personal needs and budgets.
Another important aspect for beginning backpackers is company. Traveling alone is a type of experience, but if the idea is to be accompanied by a friend or partner, communication is essential. It is about getting to know the other person as well as possible or, at least, their intentions during the journey.
Keep in mind that many hours and moments will be shared, so it is normal for conflicts to arise. The important thing is to face them and learn to overcome them. It is advisable to generate individual spaces to distance yourself from time to time.
Tips for Beginning Backpackers
It is common for certain insecurities to appear before embarking on a trip like this. From the fear of running out of money to getting lost.
However, it is a matter of overcoming all those fears and encouraging yourself to an unforgettable adventure. The following series of tips for beginner backpackers can help with this process.
1. How to assemble the backpack
It is clear that the assembly depends on the size of the backpack and the specific priorities of each person. But there is a list of basic elements to consider:
Passport: the most important identification for any international destination.
Clothing: depending on the time and destination of the trip, select between three and four changes. It is important to know the weather to determine the level of shelter.
Extra socks: It seems a banality, but in many cases they can be a salvation.
Towel: although some lodges provide towels, others do not, so you have to be prepared.
Personal hygiene: You can not miss the toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and sunscreen.
Water bottle: you always have to have one on top. If it is thermal, the better.
Flashlight: Although most phones already have one, it can sometimes be used to not drain the battery.
First aid kit: It is important to carry basic items for emergencies, such as gauze, bandages, band-aids, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.
2. Visit tourist offices
Local tourist offices are one way to get a warm welcome. Many beginning travelers and backpackers do not take them into account, but the guides at these offices are willing to guide, recommend walks, paid or free, and accommodation.
It's their job and they generally enjoy doing it. On the other hand, many hospitality employees also have important information that they like to share.
3. Combination lock
A padlock is recommended for the protection of the important elements of the backpack. It can be with key or combination, although it is more likely to lose the small key than to forget the key.
As for security, it can help to have pictures of luggage and belongings on the phone. If they get lost, they work as backup.
4. Find out about the destination
Experienced travelers often know this aspect, but for beginner backpackers it is useful to remember that you should know the minimum characteristics of the place you are traveling. At least, cultural guidelines, history and language. Although knowing English is a path to understanding in many parts of the world, local people will appreciate that the traveler knows basic expressions of their language.
On the other hand, the more information you have, the better you can plan a visit to museums, historical buildings, monuments or important streets. There are voluntary paid tours that explain very well the general characteristics of the cities.
5. Recommended transport for beginner backpackers
If the idea is to travel saving money, it is important not to stay with the first ticket options. There are internet sites that compare prices and dates.
If it is possible to be open and not have a specific date, cheaper alternatives can be found. Once at the destination, explore buses, trains and other routes that are also cheaper. Of course, stay away from taxis.
6. Wi-Fi spaces
There are times when accessing the internet is a necessity And perhaps getting an access card is not easy. However, many public spaces, such as museums or libraries, often have free Wi-Fi access. On the other hand, the best-known fast food or cafeteria chains are also an option.
7. Enjoy gastronomy
With regard to food, it is possible to find ways to spend much less and, in addition, to know the typical gastronomy of a place. It is necessary to depart a bit from the usual tourist circuits, where prices are usually higher. Look for street food places, as there are good quality and local foods.
If you have space to cook in the lodging, do not hesitate to explore the supermarkets in the area, where it is also possible to save money and get local meals. The best thing is to be open to new flavors and gastronomic experiences.
8. Accommodations for beginner backpackers
Beginning backpackers should know that they have to stay away from hotels or luxurious accommodations. There are other ways to stay that can be much cheaper and even free, in exchange for a few hours of work. Of course, it is possible to indulge yourself from time to time.
But for long trips, familiarize yourself with terms like couchsurfing or guest houses. These are rooms that locals offer travelers for a lower price.
9. Be confident
On long trips it is important to trust people and be open to meeting new people. Always with a certain level of caution, be prepared to listen, interact and share experiences, since it is one of the most enriching experiences of travel.
10. Health situation
A fundamental prior activity is to know the sanitary conditions of the destination. Ensuring possible demands is vital, both vaccination and any other type.
The first step for beginner backpackers
To start a backpack adventure it is important to detach from certain prejudices and fears. You have to be aware that you have to give up comfort to be ready for new experiences.
On the other hand, not being too tied to a specific itinerary is key. It is common that, during these trips, the same path surprises with spontaneous activities. There is no doubt that, alone or in a group, backpacking is a unique, deep and learning experience.
About The Author
Catherine A. Johnson