There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing the world, and one of the best ways to do this is backpacking. Backpacking is incredibly popular, especially amongst those taking a gap year from university or college, but it takes a lot of planning and preparation. Here is a step by step guide to help you along when you plan your backpacking trip.
Choose Where To Go
This may seem like a simple first step, but I assure you, it won’t be. Often, people who choose to go backpacking are incredibly adventurous, so will have a lot of countries and places that they want to visit. This can make narrowing down any one destination difficult. If you’re stuck, you could randomly choose a destination from a hat. You could even choose a continent to explore, rather than just one country, such as Asia, or Europe.
Choose When To Go
You’ll find that it is likely to be much busier, not to mention more expensive if you choose to travel over the summer. For this reason, it makes much more sense to travel during autumn and winter, as long as the weather of your chosen destination allows this. Click here for more reasons why you should travel during off-peak season.
Book Time Off Work
It makes sense to book time off work, before you book or pay for anything important, like your flights. This avoids you paying for anything, and then being told by your boss that you can’t have the time off work. While this may work for a week or two, if you’re planning on traveling for a month or more, you may need to apply for an extended leave, or even hand your notice in.
You will need to write a budget to see how much money that you’re going to spend on what. This budget should include the maximum you are willing to spend on flights, as well as accommodation, food, day trips, souvenirs, and other expenses. Preferably, you should figure out the maximum you are willing to spend each day of your trip, and not spend any more than that. Add a little bit of extra money on top of your budget for if you want to splash out on anything, like a nice meal, and then a little more on top of that, in case you have an emergency.
Save Up Money
It is easy to go backpacking on a tight budget, but being on a tight budget doesn’t mean that you can afford to have no money whatsoever. You will need to start saving up as soon as possible and be sure that you don’t touch this money for any reason. Start by cutting out non-essential expenses, such as your coffee on the way to work and takeaways – This may not seem like much money at first, but it will quickly add up.
Book Your Flight
The earlier you book your flights, the cheaper they tend to be, so it’s sensible to do this as soon as you have the cash saved up. Be sure to shop around on different websites to try and find the best deal possible for them, to save even more money.
Book Your Accommodation
If you are traveling for more than a couple of weeks, it’s likely that you are going to find hostels and other accommodation on the road. However, it’s probably a good idea to book accommodation for at least the first few days of your trip, so that you have somewhere to go when you arrive. This doesn’t even need to be a hostel; You could ease yourself in gently and rent a hdb flat or apartment, on a website like Airbnb.
Make Home Arrangements
Like with your job, you are going to need to make arrangements for your home, and potentially your pets. If you’re only going away for a few weeks, you may simply need to find a house sitter, whether this is a friend, family member, or someone you have hired. If you’re going away for a while, then it may be that bigger decisions need to be made in regards to your house and pets. Of course, if you live with someone else, then you going away for a while shouldn’t be a problem.
Buy Travel Passes
Unless you plan to take your car with you when you go away, then it’s likely that you will be using a lot of public transport to get you around. To make the whole experience a lot easier, you should at least consider buying some travel passes for public transport. This means that you won’t have to buy tickets every time you want to go anywhere, and is certain to save you a lot of money.
Buy Your Gear
There is a lot that needs to be brought for you to be able to go backpacking, the most important being a sturdy backpack. You also may need to buy some new clothes, decent walking boots, and a sleeping bag. A lot of people take a tent with them, as well as a stove and a pot so that they can pitch up wherever they like and save money for a hostel. However, you should only purchase these items if you know for sure that you are going to be camping. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of money and backpack space.
Plan Your Days
While you will probably wing most of your days away and will visit things when you’re near them, it makes sense to have some sort of general plan for your trip, especially if you visiting more than one country, or even more than one city. Start off by making a list of all of the places that you want to see and where they are; This will help you to decide how long to spend in each area. Then you can pick a few days where you know you are definitely going to visit a particular place or attraction. You can also plan cheap places to eat for when you’re on the road. This will provide a sort of timeline for your trip, that you can then give to loved ones so that they always know where you’re supposed to be, in case you lose contact with them for any reason.
Pack Your Bag
At this point, it is time to start packing your bag. Try to keep it as light as possible, as you are going to have to carry it with you everywhere. Pack the least important things at the bottom, and the most important things at the top, so that you can access them easily. You may also want to buy a small padlock for your bag, to avoid pickpocketing. Also be sure to leave a little room, to carry food and water with you throughout the day, and in case you pick up any souvenirs.
With all of this completed, all that is left to do is for you to get your bag on your back, get out there and see the world. Make sure that you have fun and try to see as much as you possibly can while you’re away, but be sure that you keep yourself safe too. I hope you have a truly wonderful time.
Of course, this is only a simplified guide for you to follow, and there may be other things that you need to fit in during your planning processes, such as getting visas and vaccinations. However, everything on this list is incredibly important and can’t be missed under any circumstances.