Some people were lucky enough to be introduced to traveling at such a young age, but not everyone has that luxury. As for me, traveling started to grow on me by the time I was 18 years of age.
I was still in college at the time, which meant I didn’t have sufficient resources to make way for the most comfortable traveling experience. Lucky for me, I happened to belong to a large circle of friends who shared the same interest.
With that, I have a lot of friends with whom I can share expenses with as I traveled to Hungary, Australia, Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, and many more.
Although I’ve already managed to visit many different countries, I like to think of my travel adventure as still being on its initial stage. There are still a lot of places I have yet to cross out in my bucket list.
But for people who plan to get started with long-term traveling and backpacking, here are some tips we’ve gathered from bonafide travelers we know combined with my real-life experience in traveling.
What To Pack
No matter the occasion, you need to keep in mind the most important things you need to bring with you. We highly recommend only carrying one backpack when traveling. This will enable you to make the most of your vacation. We know that you can bring so many items in one bag. In line with that, you need to know what to prioritize.
Jodi Ettenberg from legalnomads.com suggests you bring a doorstop, sarong, headlamp, whistle, and sleep sheet.
Jodi’s original career was a lawyer. However, back in 2008, she decided to quit her job so she can utilize her time to travel the world. Jodi admitted that her travel backpack contained more items than these items, but if you are a beginner whose travels can range between short and longer ones, you won’t go wrong with the things we just mentioned here. They are the ones that would come in handy the most.
Liz Carlson, an American blogger from Young Adventures, agrees with Jodi. She confessed that she has not heard of anyone else bringing a door stop to the airport before. However, after thinking about it for a while, having one in your apartment or hostel can prevent people from merely entering your room. Liz says the trick is most advisable for people who like to engage in solo travels.
As for your clothing, all our traveler interviewees recommend going for function over fashion. When someone plans to visit another country or city, there will surely be a lot of picture taking. So, we can’t blame people for wanting to bring their best clothes. However, if you think your reason for carrying a specific wardrobe lacks functional aspects, you might as well skip fitting it into your backpack.
Space is essential when it comes to long-term traveling. With that, you might as well use the extra space that you have to fit in other crucial items for your trip.
It depends on the coldness level of the country you plan to visit. We know that this can depend per season. In line with that, it is also recommended that you do your research before purchasing your ticket and packing your stuff. If you find out that the weather will be extreme, our advice is for you to pack a few clothes and buy most of your comfort wardrobe when you get to your destination.
You might also want to bring lots of cash with you, or at the very least, you need to make sure that the ATM cards you carry with you are accessible in the country you plan to visit. Unless you have gotten permission from your bank that you will be using your account overseas, they might charge you a high fee when withdrawing from abroad.
How To Budget
It can be quite intimidating to think about all your expenses for the trip. What if you didn’t have enough money by the end of it? What if you made a mistake thinking that your trip would only cost this much and then realized later when you have already out of the country that you need more funds?
Due to all the complications that could occur the moment money is involved, we highly recommend you use a guidebook or guide website for your travel expenses.
If you’re worried about your transportation and food costs, you can look at websites like Numbeo to help you calculate your estimated costs.
Eliot Pepper from Eliotpepper.com suggests that you be conservative when doing an estimate of your overall costs. Aside from that, he also advises you to add a 20% buffer above your estimation. This will help you ensure you didn’t under-budget when you arrive in the country. It also means you have wiggle room in your budget for souvenirs or a fancy dinner.
Planning The Trip
Coming up with a budget and packing your bags are some of the initial steps in long-term backpacking. The next big thing is the actually planning for the trip.
If you plan too much, you might end up hopping from one city to another unable to breathe the fresh air the country brings. You would be too focused on seeing everything. Make sure you leave room to explore, get lost and improvise.
On the other hand, if you plan too little, you might miss the best parts of the country. You might never get to witness the Taj Mahal or the Statue of Liberty. Figure out the main sites at your destination and plan around the must-do excursions.
The purpose of planning your trip isn’t to make sure everything is perfect by the time you arrive at your destination. What it does is give you an idea of what to do and expect while you’re away.
If you plan to engage in trekking activities for a couple of months, we advise you to find a place where you can settle down for a while during your stay.
You can check out websites like Workaway where you can work in exchange for a place to stay. You’ll be made to volunteer for bartending or other hotel activities. In return, you will have a comfortable place to stay.
Travel bloggers like Liz recommend this as well. She says that the best way to enjoy a destination is to stay there for at least a month. This will enable you to breathe in the kinds of people there, as well as the culture.