Backpacking is a fun way to explore a new place. All you really need is a sense of adventure and some basic gear. Then you can set off on any journey you choose, anywhere in the world. It’s a much more affordable way to visit new places too. But whether you’re trekking through Thailand or following your spiritual guide in Bali, there are some things you should know to make the best of your experience.
Here are our top tips to enjoy a successful backpacking holiday.
Choose a location you and your mates can master
Think about your skill level as well as those that you plan to travel with. For new backpackers, a steady uphill trail that goes on for meters and meters isn’t a good idea. Make sure you pick a place that everyone will find just challenging enough without causing difficulties.
Chart your course
Look up maps, images of trail maps, your walking gps, weather forecasts, and reports from previous trekkers. You should know where you are going and what is around in the event of an emergency. Additionally, you should always let someone outside the backpacking group know your trekking plans from the amount of people in your group to when you plan to return. Should something go wrong, you’ll be much easier to locate.
If you will be backpacking through cities in Europe, you’ll require fewer items. After all, you can stay in hostels quite affordably. But if you’re backpacking in more rugged terrain, you’ll need a bit more equipment. For either scenario, you’re going to need a good waterproof rucksack. If you don’t yet have one, finding one that you can carry comfortably on your back is a must. Ones that have straps that secure around your waist in addition to over your shoulders will be the most comfortable because they will help distribute the weight more evenly.
Additionally, your ideal backpack for a backpacking holiday should feature plenty of zippered pockets for stashing all your stuff. Always keep money in the pockets deep in the inside so when you’re in town, you’ll be safe from theft. For those roaming the wild, other items to consider are a sleeping bag that is suitable for the type of climate of your destination and if you choose, a backpacking tent or popup tent for quick access.
Remember the essentials
Clothing is obviously important, however when backpacking, you’re going to have to pack smart. There’s not enough room for 10 different pairs of shoes or jeans. A good rule of thumb is to pack what you can layer and things that can coordinate together. You can find places to do your laundry when your clothes start smelling funky. Basic hygienic items are a good idea including hand sanitizer for when you can’t get to a sink and a toothbrush and toothpaste. Don’t forget a flashlight with replacement batteries too! It may come in handy! If you are travelling with infants you should consider a purpose made baby carrier for hiking.
Prepare for first aid
Whether backpacking from city to city or out in the wild, it never hurts to have a first aid kit. In other countries, it can be hard to find what you need, especially if you don’t speak the language. Save yourself the hassle and keep bandages and other helpful first aid items with you at all times.
Use the right shoes
When you’re backpacking, you can expect a lot of walking. It’s definitely not the right time to try out your new pair of trainers. Make sure you try out the shoes you plan to wear beforehand to be sure they won’t cause you to develop blisters or pinch your toes. Sometimes, even with our most comfortable and reliable shoes, irritations can occur so be sure to pack something to protect against foot discomfort. Moleskin works wonders on problem areas.
Wherever you’re backpacking, you’re going to need snacks. Sometimes you’ll be in cities with gobs of cafes, but other times you’ll be far from anywhere. Always make sure you have portable and shelf-stable snacks with you. They will be a godsend when you’re in need of food.
Don’t forget water
Because of airline restrictions on bottles of water, not to mention the added weight you’d endure lugging premium bottled water around, it’s best to take a reliable and easy to clean thermos or water bottle. You can fill it up anywhere as needed though be aware of all water precautions in the countries you plan to backpack through.
Above all, don’t forget to enjoy the adventure. Backpacking is a great way to meet other adventurers like yourself and to explore other lands that would normally be out of your budget. It can be a very fun, thrilling and enlightening experience so long as you’re amply prepared for the road ahead.
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