Backpacking is awesome. It’s a rewarding experience, that can be relaxing, fun and educating all at the same time. Or just one of it, if you choose so. Traveling independently on your own terms and with your own itinerary in just a week will teach you more about yourself than anything else.
However, there are some things you need to know before your first backpacking trip. Knowing these things not only will help you to make most of your trip but what might be even more important in some cases, it will reassure you, that it really is something worth going for! Let this mini-guide be your checklist and reminder that backpacking is cool!
It’s OK to Be Scared
As Nelsona Mandela said: ”It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
For some that might be their business idea they aren’t sure whether to pursuit or not, but for you it’s your first backpacking trip. It’s natural to be afraid. And it’s OK not to know everything. That’s how you start something new. You ask others. You read and watch videos. You learn. And you try. If something doesn’t work. You try again.
How to overcome that fear? Make a plan. Write down a list of things you need to do prior the trip and follow it. Step by step. Day by day.
Yes, you can organize a trip for yourself . You can do it. And you will not get lost in that new place you are heading to. The same like many others doing exactly the same thing every day, going on independent backpacking trips.
Remember – it’s worth it!
Don’t Wait, Go Now
Your friends are too busy and you can’t find anyone to go and travel together with? Go solo!
Traveling solo doesn’t mean traveling alone unless you choose so. Because of thousands of other solo travelers, whom you meet wherever you go. At hostels. At bars and restaurants. On the streets and during adventure tours. There are solo travelers everywhere. And one hello is what it mostly takes to start a new friendship.
Because you see, these people you meet most of them are in the same situation like you. They are in a new city and they are alone here. You already have these 2 things in common. Ask this person whether he or she would like to join you for a walk around the city! Or ask if you could join him or her. Making friends abroad really is that easy.
However, if you do want to be all on your own it’s your choice!
You Don’t Need the Best Travel Gear
Just google what to pack for a backpacking trip and you might be scared off the idea of traveling. Because it looks so expensive, right? If you buy only the best and accordingly most expensive travel gear, yes, that will add up significantly.
Do you really need all of that?
No, you don’t need the best travel gear available to have the best memories. Because it isn’t about the gear. It’s about you, people you meet and experiences you go through.Though, there is one thing worth considering – a decent travel backpack is that one piece of travel gear you might want to get the best your budget allows you. Check out this guide, if you need a travel backpack.
Other than that – go with what you have!
It’s very easy to overpack. But, look, I’ve traveled for months at a time with a single carry on sized backpack, and I never missed a thing. That’s the thing – you need less than you think.
Where to start and how to pack light? Take a bag, that is exactly the size of carry on or smaller. And try to fit everything you think you need in that bag. Leave all the „what if” stuff at home. Take things you really know you are goig to use. Be practical! There are shops everywhere nowadays and so you can always buy that one thing you miss. If there will be such at thing.
Speaking about the carry on sizes and weight restrictions, do check this with your airline first, if you aren’t sure. Because these things differ from company to company.Though, not that significantly mostly.
Don’t Try to Plan Everything
Having an itinerary or list of places you would like to see and experiences you would like to have, all of that is great.
But don’t try to stick to it too hard. If something doesn’t work as you have planned, adjust to these new circumstances. If a new friend invites you to do something cool you haven’t thought about – maybe it’s worth saying yes?
Go for it!
Kaspars Misins, WeAreFromLatvia.com Travel Writer