Top 10 tips and tricks for backpacking. Backpackers have many things to consider when planning a trip. In addition to the usual list of any traveler or tourist (the weight of the suitcase, the flights, the accommodation, the activities …) they also have to take into account trying to make the budget last as long as possible, preparing to change transportation several times … and adapt to always be on the go.
Obvious, but as much as it is, you must not stop doing it. Although a good part of the backpacking experience should be spontaneity and freedom of movement, this does not mean that you stop investigating your destinations. Taking a look at the travel guides will help inspire you to structure your trip and, by the way, it will still make you want to embark on the adventure.
2. Pack the suitcase with your head
A good backpacker (like everyone else) has to stick to airline baggage restrictions, but they also have to pack their bags thinking that they will have to carry more than just a tourist on their backs. So pack your head. Do you really need 40 pairs of socks? 10 books? 9 cans of moisturizer? Remember that even if you are abroad you can always wash clothes and buy cleaning products or cosmetics, so save space for the things that really matter. And while you may be on a tight budget, things like a digital book reader or tablet will save you a lot of space.
In the same way, the way you pack it can save you time. Keep the essential things (the ones you will use the most) above everything to be able to access them without having to undo the backpack. The best place for shoes is at the bottom of the luggage.
3. Book in advance or not
We return to the subject of spontaneity and improvisation. Will you plan the trip and accommodation in advance or will you leave the agenda blank? The response is reduced to time. Are you going on a three-week trip to France or a six-month trip in Southeast Asia? Perhaps if you go backpacking for a short time (two months or less), having the itinerary somewhat defined will help you make the most of your time away. However, if you have months and months ahead, it is difficult to make detailed plans. A good idea may be to book the first two or three destinations in advance, and then let yourself be carried away by the adventurous spirit.
4. Save money on attractions
Once you are in the race you will realize that money flies much earlier than you thought. Don’t worry, they aren’t stealing from you (at least, we hope so). What happens is that you are spending as if you were on a normal vacation, and not going backpacking. Do not panic! There are many ways to save money without having to sacrifice the main tourist attractions you’ve always dreamed of visiting. If you have a student card, remember to show it whenever you can, as if it were a VIP pass, because it could be the way to enter for free or get a discount in places. Many museums have days (or hours) when they are free.
5. How to eat
You will visit many places later and it is normal that you want to try new things. How to fit the budget with all that delicious food looking you in the face? It would be great to always be able to eat in good restaurants, but it would cost you dearly. Treat yourself and eat somewhere cool every now and then, but we recommend that the rest of the time you try street food (in Southeast Asia it is to lick your fingers) or buy in the supermarket and cook the hostel. The latter, by the way, is a good way to start a conversation with other travelers.
6. Don’t waste long trips
It can be easy to disconnect on long commutes but they are usually a fabulous opportunity to enjoy the experience. If the person next to you is nice, you can try talking to him/her. If they are local, they can also give you some good advice. If you are not very nice, take the opportunity to write your impressions about the trip in a notebook, consult the guide and get used to the idea of what you want to see in your next destination. Without being superficial, you will look very cool.
7. Talk to people
Backpackers can finish on two terrains. While some only relate to their compatriots (type “Spanish around the world”) there are also snobs who only and exclusively want to talk to local people. They both have good and bad things. The ideal would be to combine the two attitudes and enjoy the trip. While other travelers can give you advice on what they’ve seen, interacting with the local population can be incredibly helpful… as well as enriching.
8. Enjoy your destination to the fullest
You will spend a lot of time on trains and buses watching movie landscapes pass by. When you finally reach your destination, try to make the most of not having a boss or anyone to tell you what to do. Avoid public transportation and walk as much as you can. You will discover things that you would not know in any other way, such as urban art, beautiful shops and good cafes. Or maybe rent a bike and take a tour of the countryside. Try to soak up as much of each place as you can before hanging up your backpack and leaving.
9. Don’t bore people
Yes, you have made the trip of a lifetime and you have many stories to tell about romances on the road, adventures, incredible moments … but for those who have stayed at home, perhaps your Facebook status and photos of sunsets on Instagram are more than enough. . When people ask you about your trip, try to be brief. If they want to know more, they will ask you. After all, you don’t travel to show off, do you?
10. Immortalize your memories
You will have collected hundreds of notes, travel notes, photos, tickets to places and memories of all kinds during the trip. Much better than leaving them lying in the bottom of the suitcase, why don’t you take advantage and turn them into an album? Or if your memories are digital, perhaps you could make a video with the photos and videos, in addition to that song that you have not stopped listening to throughout the adventure. And always take a physical souvenir like a kimono from Japan or a fridge magnet. It is a good way to start a conversation with someone … if you want to tell them more about your great trip.