How to prepare for your first backpacking experience.
Backpacking for beginners is a great adventure. These are some tips I learned throughout the years that will help you if you are a backpacking newbie:
First Backpacking experience: You finally decided to buy a backpack and travel around the world. However, you have no clue where to get started or what to expect. Don’t worry, I have been through this as well. Get ready as I am going to share with you a few tips that I wish I knew when I began traveling. Being an old-school backpacker, I did not have a smartphone to guide me or help me to book a hotel before getting to a new place. Was it bad? I don’t think so, but to be honest, it is much easier nowadays, especially if you are traveling with children. I have been using “Hostelworld” and “Agoda” for many years and I highly recommend you to give it a goal too.
Pick the right backpack
The bigger, the better!
The bigger your backpack, the more you will pack!
You are probably going to laugh at me for this photo. As a matter of fact, I had no idea what I was doing. First of all, picking the right travel backpack is very important. too big, and you will fill it up with things that you never use and too small, and you will end up sticking and attaching the extra stuff on the outside and will regret not buying a bigger one from the beginning. Buy a cheap one, and it will suddenly break it in the middle of nowhere, pick the wrong material, and your stuff will be soaked in the rain.
Even tho your backpack is not 100% waterproof ( Unless you are going on some long multi-day hike), make sure your bag is made out of a semi-waterproof material so everything doesn’t get soaking wet (most travel backpacks come with rain proof cover that you can put over them in case of a severe downpour
Accommodation blog post. Finding a place to stay is not always easy and it will also depend on your budget. Backpackers will looking for the cheapest accommodation possible and will not mind sleeping in a dorm with another 10 people. In fact, if you are traveling with your loved one, you probably will be looking for something a bit more cozy and romantic. On the other hand, if you are traveling with children, you are going to need accommodation that is more spacious and maybe with a swimming pool.
It has been among the internet since the 1999 and is one of the leading website that will help you finding the best hostel for your next destination. With over 18000 properties across 180 countries and 13 million customers review you can’t go wrong with them.
It’s based in Singapore and was created in 2005. Not to mention that It is the world’s largest online platform with over 2 million properties registered across 200 countries. In addition, the Agoda mobile App is available in 38 languages.
Pick your destination
There are thousand of website where you could buy your ticket flight to your future destination, and if you do not be careful you may ending up paying twice the amount. If you want to save money while booking your flight follow these easy steps:
- Avoid direct flight it will always be more expensive
- Think outside the box. For example: If I was flying from France to Kuala-Lumpur (Malaysia) I will be checking on how much does it cost from my neighbor countries. Sometimes it could be cheaper to book a small connection flight to Germany than if I was flying from Paris.
- Book your flight ticket at night. There is less people online at 2 am than there is at 2 pm and for that reason prices can drop significantly.
- Book early. Airline fares will keep rising the closer you get to departure. The best time to book is around 3 months in advance.
Lots of people will tell you to use famous website to book your destination and because they are famous they are also have more expensive fares. I always use “Jetradar” and I have never been disapointed with them. (Switch to English on the top right corner)
What shall you bring with you?
Backpacking across South-East Asia is pretty popular among the backpacking community!
Why? It’s cheap, perfect for your tiny budget, ideal for partying and meeting friends along the way! You only have to add in a few bonuses such as food, a tropical climate, and breathtaking scenery to want to book your flight!
When it comes to packing your backpack for the trip of a lifetime, it can be a mission. Especially if this is your first backpacking trip to Southeast Asia! I thought I’d help you guys prepare for your big trip by making an easy packing list including all the packing essentials.
What to take with you while backpacking ? In this post, you’ll find different sections that should cover all your Asia travel list essentials.
I already mentioned this. Back in the days, when I started traveling, I packed weeks before departure, and then my mum went through everything convincing me to leave at least half of the things I packed. Nowadays, I know what to pack for which destination but I had to learn it the hard way.
Here some tips that will make your travel more comfortable and easier:
Camping Sleeping Bag: A 3 seasons sleeping bag will probably be the best choice for you (designed for 10~20 Degrees Celsius). In fact, it will allow you to use it during summer and also during the chill night if you sleep in your tent.
Lightweight dry towel: Lightweight & Compact: The biggest towel around, packing down so small, take up almost no space in your bag, easy snap onto everything.
Packing Cubes: Do you love to travel? Are you tired of fumbling inside your luggage and unpacking everything to look for an item the same old way? Packing cubes may be the solution for you.
Backpacking beginner? Pick an easy country to start with!
If you haven’t backpacked before, pick an easy country to start with. Malaysia is great for beginners and so is Australia. Both countries welcome thousands of backpackers every year and the infrastructure is great. Try one of them before going to India or China.
The culture shock is also not that bad like in other, more extreme countries!
Check out my video in Malaysia: What can $10 get you in Kuala-Lumpur
Don’t plan your whole trip!
Don’t do it! Never…
Imagine the following scene: You arrived somewhere and booked accommodation for two nights but you are having such a great time that you don’t want to leave. The problem: You’ve already booked flights and accommodation for the next two weeks and would lose all the money… So you will leave this place that you like so much and leave behind the people that you just met but get along so well and keep doing the things as you planned them from home, ticking off one thing after another on your bucket list!
Allow time for spontaneity. Less is more! It is better to have a few more intensive rather than many superficial moments!
You can always come back and do the rest you’ve missed on your next trip!
Traveling with your partner or a good frien
When you decide to travel, be 100 % sure that you are also going to be a couple when you travel. If you aren’t better postpone it or do it alone. There is nothing worse than getting into fights when traveling.
Same for friends, make sure you are really good friends and that you know what the other person wants… At home, you might see each other every day for a few hours each day, when you travel you will be together 24/7. Are you sure you can handle this?
Which travel insurance is the right one?
Here comes the most expensive part of your budget but it is also one of the most important of all. Let me share with you what happen to friend while we were bike touring in Kazakhstan.
We stopped at Almaty for few days and we wanted to do a small hike on Shymbulak resort, I checked the weather and I told my friend that it will turn pretty bad in the afternoon and that we should postpone it. He insisted to go and I stayed at our friend’s place. Later on, around 5 pm I received a text from him saying that he was stuck in the mountain and that he had maybe few broken ribs.
It was getting dark and we had no idea where he actually was & we started to freak out for him. When we arrive at Shymbulak resort we could see a flashlight signal on the top of the mountain, the rescue team spotted him and it took around 7 hours to bring him down.
If he did not have insurance his trip would have come to an end and he would have spent lots of money on the rescue procedure.
Worldnomad insurance is one of the best travel companies out there, especially if you plan a backpacking trip for a long period of time. it is recommended it by thousand of bloggers on the internet and it by far more affordable than other travel agency online.
Jetlag – Why am I so tired?
Sometimes I’m still shocked about Jetlag myself when I’m tired for days and don’t feel like doing anything except crawling back into bed… Get ready for this, and know that it isn’t a disease and that its normal that you feel this way when you travel across a few time zones.
I know people that went to the hospital looking for treatment because they had no idea what jetlag is 🙂
Go to the right airport!
Might sound easy, but many big cities have more than one airport. Often there is an international airport and an airport for LCC’s (Low Cost Carriers).
In Bangkok for instance all AirAsia flights fly from Don Mueang and not from the main airport Suvarnabhumi.
What were your concerns when you were a backpacking newbie? Any more tips to add to this list? Comment below