Nowadays more and more people are deciding to go backpacking around the world. It’s an experience that will change your life: it will strengthen your inner self, make you meet amazing new people and, most of all, it’ll allow you to discover a great number of places around the world that you couldn’t even imagine actually exist. It’s an experience that will leave you with one simple question: when’s the next trip? Before heading out there are a few things that might help you make the most of the adventure:
1. Pick the right season to go
It only takes a moment to google the weather. Friendly advice… do it! Some regions you’re better off avoiding during rainy season unless you’re a fan of a daily downpour and difficult travelling conditions. Really.
2. Plan in advance but stay flexible
Have travelling goals, key cities, highlights – but be flexible too – you’ll learn on the road so be ready to adapt your route!
3. Know the visa requirements
There will be countries that you’ll need special visas to get in. Usually it isn’t too tricky to get tourist visas, but it’s better to check in advance!
4. Think about Festivals
Don’t miss out on festivals… by arriving the day after. How annoying would that be?! It’s a perfect opportunity to get to know the locals.
5. Research but let the magic happen
Sometimes you need to go with the flow and seize the day!
6. …but always ask locals
Who knows their home better than the locals? Often you’ll find locals working in the hostels – they are always ready to help and suggest the best spots to visit.
If you aren’t travelling solo, pick the right travel buddy to go with. Hostels are also full of travellers to meet and share your experience with!
8. Be open-minded and embrace the bizarre
This golden rule turns a nice holiday into a great adventure!
9. Go Hostelling
If you stay in hostels you will meet lots of awesome people, from around the world – friends for life!
10. Check the reviews
Reviews are the best way to know if you’re choosing the right hostel for you. Listen to other travellers and share your own reviews after your stay!
11. Booking in advance might be cheaper
If you really don’t want miss out on a great hostel deal, check it in advance. You can of course book on your way if needed!
12. Great apps make things so much easier! (Hostelworld, skype, whatsapp,…)
Do some research on the apps you might need on your travels. Think about talking with friends and family at home, buying train/flight tickets and the Hostelworld App to book your next fantastic stay!
13. Spend more time in fewer places
14. Practice smiling
Smiling breaks down barriers in all languages!
15. Use public transport
It will be not only cheaper, but you get to live a little like a local.
16. Cycle if you can, or just use your feet!
Explore the world in slow motion: it is so much better! Take your time to enjoy places, people and landscapes. Make the most of every experience!
17. Take advantage of student discounts
Did you know that most of the attractions are free in Paris if you are a student under 26? Always check if you can get any discount. This is one of the easiest way to save some money while you #MeetTheWorld
18. Think about visiting some cities at night!
Have you ever noticed that some cities really come to life at night? Budapest, Barcelona and Hoi an to name a few!
19. Take photos of key documents
Passport, visas, insurance etc. Save them to the cloud so you can access them anywhere! Trust us, if there’s an emergency there is nothing worse than being without your documents…
20. Book a hostel serving breakfast
Hostel breakfasts are usually cheap or free – make the most of this and fill up for the day!
21. Stay on budget but not too much
If you can treat yourself sometimes: have you ever heard of boutique hostels? Or Poshtels! Don’t miss out on once in a life time experiences if you can afford it!
22. Have a look at weather forecasts and fill your backpack accordingly
Going to Central America? That’s great! Check here how to make the most of the experience and bring the right gear!
23. Pack as a group
Travelling with your friends? Don’t carry multiple versions of things you can easily share (i.e. sun cream.) Your experience will be so much better with efficient packing!
24. Pack light but over pack first
It’s a good idea to pack everything you think you might need, and then cut down to fit the size of your backpack!
25. Take at least 2 comfortable pairs of shoes
ALWAYS take at least 2 pairs of shoes with you. You don’t want to travel with wet shoes… right?
26. Eat like the locals
Fresh. Good. Cheaper. Can a backpacker ask for more?
27. Explore local markets
Markets should be your first stop for good, local food. Vintage, fashion and flea markets are also favourites.
28. Pick up tips from other travellers… but take all advice with a pinch of salt
Travellers have a lot to share and they can help you to make the most of your experience. Don’t be put off from visiting somewhere just because they didn’t like it though – we’re all different! Look for tips when you travel and question those who have already been where you are going.
29. Buy a train pass
If you are travelling around Europe check out the Interrail. It may be worth buying a country pass as it could make your experience cheaper than buying multiple train tickets!
30. Separate your money
We love travelling and if you’re reading this you probably do too! It’s common sense but try and separate your money into different areas of your bag.
31. Turn off data roaming and use hostel Wi-Fi
Hostels nearly always have great wifi, so no need to run up big phone bills.
32. If you get lost…
Our golden rule is: Stop, Think, Observe and Plan (S.T.O.P.) People are friendlier than you think, and in most cities you’ll find a tourist information spot.
33. Let go of your inhibitions
Nobody knows you, so you can reinvent yourself and really learn so much about yourself and what you like!
34. Be a conversation starter
Hostels are the perfect hub to meet new people and people want to know you too! So don’t be shy. When you travel it’s so much faster making friends than in ‘real-life’!
35. Respect local customs and dress appropriately, always!
Keep your identity and personality but it’s really important to make sure you’re not offending the locals by dressing inappropriately.
36. Obviously use social media to brag about your journey
Social media has completely changed our way of travelling (“let me take that pic, I’m sure it will receive tons of likes!”) Give your friends and followers their own dose of wanderlust!
37. …but embrace time-out from the internet and enjoy the experience
Try to also live the moment. Take pics and videos to refresh your fantastic memories and to support your stories, but don’t let your phone distract you from the amazing new experiences around you!
38. Be happy, live in the moment and never judge anyone else’s travel
Everyone’s journey is unique 🙂
Thanks to Steven Gerner, Giuseppe Milo, Visit Greenwich, Tiago J. G. Fernandes, Maks Karochkin, Garry Knight and Miwok for the great pics on Flickr! Thanks to Mochileros TV and Festivalholics for the pics too!