Backpacking as a form of traveling has been used for many years and has intrigued many, new and old. There are important and useful information that any traveler should know before going off on their travels.
1.Copy your passport. It is important to leave a copy of your passport at home with your family and to have multiple copies with you in case of an emergency. There is a chance that a hotel/hostel or attractions will want to see your passport, rather than an American driver’s license. It is also a useful to have copies in case you lose your passport in your journeys.
2.Bring an actual backpack. It is not called suitcasing. The backpack will be easier to hold and store. It is also able to be used as a carry-on bag when using airlines. The use of a backpack also brings authenticity to the concept. You are backpacking, not luxury vacationing. There is no need for your entire wardrobe and unnecessary items that will only add weight to your bag.
3.Don’t fear the cheap airlines. Yes, they are cheap and may seem out of your comfort zone, but they are safe and get you where you need to go fast, efficiently, and inexpensively. Make sure to check their regulations before booking though. Some have hidden fees and most only allow one bag per person. Some also have weight restrictions of 8 kg (16 lbs). Their carry on dimensions are very similar to those of American airlines, but again, the backpack is easy to maneuver into different shapes if necessary, whereas a suitcase is not.
4.Stay at a hostel. Hostels are a safe and cheap place to stay. They are reliable and often cleaner than people may think. Do your research on Hostelworld.com; they have recent reviews and are a great source for accommodations. Don’t let people talk you out of staying at hostels because of movies. These places have changed, and if you do your research correctly, you will have a very pleasant experience.
5.Bring locks. Most hostels have lockers or storage for your bags, but they do not usually provide locks. Bring a couple to ensure that your belongings are safe.
6.Bring clothes and items that you can get rid of. Backpacking through countries means wanting to get a few things for yourself and others, but you can only carry so much. Disposable clothing allows you to make room for interesting souvenirs you find along the way.
7.Print out all your documents prior to your trip. Keep them with you in a safe and accessible place. You should have your hostel reservations, boarding passes, and any other documents that will make your journey easier. Hostels may have printers, but it is easier and more cost efficient to have everything with you. Often you can check into your flights days before boarding, unlike American flights.
8.Get metro cards. If you are staying outside of the city or in parts where you need public transportation, check out the prices of metro cards. They are often more reasonable than individual tickets. And with that, be sure to grab a metro map to keep track of where you need to go.
9.Watch for pickpockets. They are around and they target tourists. Make sure to keep everything in your front pockets, zippered clothing/bags, and in your sight at all times. You don’t want to ruin your trip by getting something stolen.
10.Be respectful of the locals. There is nothing anyone hates more than annoying tourists. Do not speak loudly on public transportation because that is seen as being disrespectful in many countries. Do not be obnoxious or do anything that will call attention to you. Just try to be polite and respectful; who knows maybe a local will stop and talk to you, giving you an experience that you couldn’t have without them
11.If you are a student, bring your id. In many countries students are given discount rated rates to many of the attractions. Make sure to have your student id with you at all times. The prices are significantly lower, making it worth your while to have it with you. Watch out though, sometimes the discounts only apply to European Union students. You can’t bargain with them about this, so don’t even waste your time or energy.
12.Buy food from supermarkets. If you are staying in one place for more than 3 days, check out the supermarkets. You can purchase water bottles in bulk at a much cheaper price than individually. Also, buy yourself some breads and local meats and cheeses to make lunches on the go. It will save you money and allow you to see some of what they local eat.
13.Figure out what you want to do and have fun! You’re exploring the world; take it to its full advantage and enjoy it! Don’t be disappointed if you don’t have time to see everything. Do research and figure out what is a must-see and what is leftover. Don’t be too strict on schedules. Allow time to explore and take in the city. After all, who wants to only be a tourist when you can have a couple of local experiences.