Before we set off to travel the world, we had no idea what to expect. And when I say no idea, I mean absolutely zero, null.
There is no doubt that the trip will be going to change your life. You’ll see things you never thought you would, meet amazing people, learn more about yourself than you ever imagined and, honestly, experience things you’ll never, ever forget. But, before you set off, there are a few things you need to know. Packing your life into a bag to travel the world for the first time can be very daunting. However, when it comes to travel, a little advice goes a long way (literally).
You’ll have hundreds of questions, irrational fears, and some pretty rational ones too, but once you return they’ll all seem so trivial.
So, to help you prepare appropriately, Here are my Top Tips on what you absolutely MUST know as a first-time backpacker.
1. Don’t over-pack
As a first-time backpacker, there is going to be soooo much stuff that you take with you that you don’t need. Of course, your packing list is obviously a very personal choice but simply suggesting you pack essential things to enjoy your long-haul flights and trips. The best advice is to pack as little as possible; everything else can be picked up along the way.
2. Earplugs are a good investment
Pack earplugs, and be prepared to use them. It may sound entertaining now, but when you’re sleep deprived, hungover or exhausted, those Discovery Channel mating calls are going to send you into a rage. Also, snoring. Lots of loud snoring. Get earplugs.
3. Take your time
I do not recommend trying to see 20 countries on a 2-month trip. If you’re serious about having a great back-packing adventure, be sure to take your time. Spend a good amount of time in each place. Take it slow. Savor it. Enjoy it. Relish in the freedom.
4. Insurance is absolutely essential
Don’t even think about doing this without travel insurance. Chances are you’re going to need it at some point, especially as a backpacker. You’ll be staying in hostels, sleeping on airport floors and living out of a bag. It’s absolutely essential that you get backpacker insurance.
5. It’s okay to get lost
6. Not everything is online
There are still amazing places that don’t have a presence online. Smart backpackers learn not to limit themselves to the restaurants, hotels and restaurants they’ve seen getting good reviews on the web, as often it’s personal recommendations that lead to the best experiences.
7. Cheap doesn’t feel cheap for long
8. Learn to go with the flow
Pre-planning every minute of your adventure isn’t going to work out for you. Learn to let go of your fears and surrender to the flow of travel. Let your journey take you where you’re supposed to go. Surrender yourself to destiny.
9. ‘Too good to be true’ is a real thing
If someone offers you an unbelievable deal, be wary. Scams are rife and you should definitely be wary of them while you’re traveling. Keep your wits about you, be alert but not alarmed and always, ALWAYS follow your instincts.