The thrill of backpacking, the excitement of arriving at a new destination, friendships forged with other backpackers and the common mistakes that backpackers make; these are all part of the adventure of backpacking and this is what lifelong memories are made of. Backpacking is for the budget traveller who will try to see as much as possible for as little cost as possible. There are pitfalls and many things to be aware of before setting out on the backpacking nomadic trail.
It is just as easy to over pack as under pack. Depending on the weight of your backpack, it is not necessary to fill it to capacity. Space is valuable! By filling to capacity, your backpack may become uncomfortable and you will have no spare room for any knick knacks you might pick up along the way. Always pack clothes that layer well for climate changes.
Not enough planning
It is best to book ahead for the first couple of nights stay in a city. Make sure to familiarise yourself with your new surroundings before booking any side tours. Always be aware of cultural traditions when visiting temples and shrines in certain countries; this shows respect to the local people. If planning on hiking, research whether the area you are going to has wild animals, during what season natural disasters occur and whether thieves or gangs may cause problems.
The right footwear
Sore feet or blisters can be absolute torture for the backpacker. Plan ahead if you are going to trek or do a lot of walking and always ensure you have the correct footwear. Pack thongs, a decent pair of shoes and the best pair of hikers or runners you can get. Your feet will be grateful and you won’t have to waste days recovering from blisters and raw skin.
Solo or with friends
If you are planning to backpack with a friend or group of friends, have a trial run first. Take a short trip of a week or two to see if you really want to be with these people 24/7. Once you hit the backpack trail for real, ditching them is not an option. When travelling with friends, it is a good idea to occasionally give each other space.
A backpacker’s mantra should be ‘Never get caught without money’. Never rely totally on an ATM when travelling. It is better to split your money into cash, card and traveller’s cheques and always keep your money in separate places in case of theft. Make sure to take a photocopy of your cards and passbook prior to travelling. Never flash a wallet full of cash; only keep what is necessary for the day as you never know who is looking over your shoulder.
Your backpacking adventure will certainly be filled with excitement. You can avoid many of the common mistakes by doing some research and if in need of further advice, contact myadventurestore.com where adventure experts can make your backpacking dream a safe reality. Thousands of travellers of all ages backpack and the rewards are discovering new destinations, making new contacts and not having a 9 to 5 timetable.
By Kim Blair