LetsG: How to start a backpacking trip

Can you imagine travelling without suitcases? Of going to a new place you’ve never been to carrying only a backpack?

Well, many people do! Backpacking – a form of low cost, independent travel – has become a trend among millenials in recent years. For many who’ve tried it, it is a way of pushing yourself to be resourceful outside your comfort zone, of getting to know yourself better by exploring the unknown.

You may be dreaming of someday going on your first solo backpacking trip, of experiencing new cultures like Bill Bryson, or tasting new cuisines like Anthony Bourdain. For sure, backpacking is awesome. But how do you really start? Here are some tips that can give you that extra push to finally start your backpacking experience.

Choose the right destination.

Choose a destination that you are confident to explore, especially if it’s your first time. In choosing, do some research about the place, join travel groups on social media and check their reviews, or even ask your friends who’ve tried backpacking. I research ahead of time because I always consider the travel experience I want to have, as well as my personal safety. I check the maps, browse the Internet about the place, and read tourist reviews. Doing these will give you a lot of insights that will prepare you for your trip.

Budget ahead of time.

You’ll need to plan your budget way ahead, especially if you’re going out of the country or to a place with limited access to electronic financial services. Depending on the activities you plan to do, you need to consider the cost of your fare and accommodation, your food expenses, tour expenses, and emergency cash. When I travel, I always make sure that my budget is larger than my expected expenses. It is better to have extra cash in case emergencies arise. If you’re going to a remote area, don’t expect to find ATMs. Bring enough cash in advance.

Pack what is essential.

Your mantra in backpacking is to pack only what is essential. You will carry all the things that you put on your back most of the time. When I pack, I only carry a couple of clothes, travel gear and essentials, food, and my valuables. When packing, always make sure to put your valuables near you. And don’t forget to bring a first aid kit. Accidents can happen along the way so it’s better to be proactive.

Choose your clothes wisely.

In choosing the outfits you’re bringing, make sure that your clothes are suitable for the weather and climate conditions of the place you are going to. Quick-dry clothes are recommended, especially when backpacking. You can bring cotton clothes with you, but know that these are harder to dry and are chilly when worn wet.

Leave no trail behind.

When travelling, you can take photos for your memories, but leave no trail behind. What you see when you arrived should be the same when you leave. Throw your trash in the proper place, or bring your trash with you. When I go to a new place, I always ask the locals where the trash bins are. I ask because I care for the environment and for the cultural relevance of the place. The logic really is simple – whether you’re going out of the country or just out of town, you’re only visiting. No one wants visitors thrashing their house!

Plan smart, pack light, and travel safe. Go start that backpacking trip!

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