After I studied abroad in Australia, I took the opportunity to backpack throughout Indonesia and New Zealand. This was my first time backpacking and I learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts about traveling. Here are my top 7 tips.
- Don’t be afraid to travel by yourself. I decided to travel by myself and while this was a scary thought at first, after my first couple days I was very happy I was traveling by myself. I had the ability to change my plans at any given moment and was not bound to anyone else’s plans.
- Bring a towel. This may be a ‘no brainer’ to some or a ‘how I almost forget that’ to others. If you plan on staying in Hostels while you are traveling I learned that a lot of hostels would actually charge you for towels. I suggest you buy a microfiber towel. They are extremely compact and dry quickly. Having one in your bag of gear will save you some money and frustration for those moments you just need a towel.
- Bring a lock. While I never experienced anyone messing with my gear while I left it in my hostel, I had peace of mind knowing that my gear was locked up and safe. There is nothing worse then having something stolen while your far away from home.
- Figure out how much money you are going to bring and now double it. When your traveling the expenses will add up quicker then you think. My philosophy is that you should never half ass anything. If your going to go on trip you got to do it right. Bring more then enough money to do what you want and then some. It’s also a great feeling of security to know you have back up money for whatever reason.
- Pack the clothes you would like to bring and now cut it in half. I found myself very frustrated with the amount of clothes I bought because I realized I never need this many options and also because I found myself wanting to buy clothes along the way from different places I visited. I ended up actually ditching some of the clothes I brought along to make space for new stuff I bought while traveling.
- Invest in a good backpack. This may seem like a no brainer but your going to have your backpack on you more then you can imagine. This is something that I learned while I was traveling. I did not have a dedicated backpacking backpack; I just had my basic school bag. However you can get creative. I traveled with my surfboard bag because I was traveling mainly to surf. I got a double surfboard bag, which fit my surfboard and all of my clothes. This was very convenient and prefect for how I was traveling.
- Have a general destination but nothing set in stone. My favorite part of traveling was the spontaneity. My trip started in Indonesia and I had a very concrete plan of what I wanted to do going from location to location but it soon became to stressful to follow the plan to a ‘T’. I quickly became flexible and this was the best thing that could have happened to me. I meet other people traveling by themselves and it was very easy to join them for a couple days and at any moment I had the freedom to go off on my own and get on to a new destination. This is the freedom you are looking for.