Backpacking is a fun and rewarding method of travelling, particularly for those of us who have limited money. It gives you the chance to see everything from the Louvre to trek Machu Picchu in Peru, all whilst on a budget and with minimal baggage. The 5 dos and do nots of backpacking however, should be taken on board when it comes to travelling this way. Here are some pointers to give you a heads up when backpacking through multiple countries and cities.
What to do when travelling
- Embrace the culture of every place. You may never get the chance to dance to Latin music in the streets of Argentina again, so make the most of everything in the moment.
- Eat all the food! Try everything. Even just once.
- Take photos. There are loads of people out there who prefer to embrace their surroundings rather than take a photo, but I assure you, take photos of every place, even if it’s just one on your phone, it will help you remember how good it felt to be in that place.
- Make friends with the locals and other backpackers. Be open minded and strike up conversations with people because everybody has an interesting story. You never know, your new friend might give you a lift into your next destination.
- Learn the language. Learn how to say hello, thank you and goodbye in a few languages. It will benefit you when it comes to shopping, bargaining, and dining out. Even when you’re in a hostel/hotel or bar and if you decide to alter your route of travels of the local language will help.
What to not do when travelling
- Pack a massive suitcase. You won’t need a hair straightener; you definitely won’t need five pairs of jeans and three coats. Be smart when you pack, and roll your clothes to make room for other things, like a map and a packet of band aids (you never know).
- Be Bossy. If you’re travelling with a group, the key to having a good time is to compromise. Plan a rough route before you leave so that you know where you definitely want to go, but be open to suggestions to visit other landmarks along the way. You don’t want to be fighting with friends on your holiday.
- Buy loads of unnecessary items. That brand new “designer” bag you bought from a market in Paris is now part of the baggage you have to carry through the next five countries of your trip. Be smart, buy stuff in your last destination or buy items that are small and light to carry.
- Put yourself in danger. You can say no to things. If you feel uncomfortable about a situation, sit it out. There’s nothing worse than an unplanned trip to the emergency room because somebody was stupid (“yolo” is never justification for jumping off a roof into the hostel pool).
- Forget your family and friends at home. Buy them postcards and send them photos of you travelling along the way so that they know you’re safe and so that they remember to pick you up from the airport when you get home in three weeks time. The most important thing to take from all of this information is to have a good time on your backpacking adventure; live without regrets. You’ve earned it, after all.