This is the place to look for my subjective tips while backpacking, merely just my opinion of things to keep in mind to have a more enjoyable experience! Take them or leave them, do with them what you will. They’re in no particular order of importance.
Backpacking Tips (BT):
BT #1: Guidebooks- invest in one! Lonely Planet, Rough Guides… They’re all good. Get one specific to the country you’re going to or the region if you’re planning on traveling through many (i.e. Southeast Asia). You’ll thank yourself later–it’s much easier to pull out your guidebook than look for an internet cafe.
BT #2: Pocket Dictionary- if you’re going to a country that speaks a language different from your own, get one. They help loads. Emphasis on the “pocket.”
BT #3: Luggage- leave your roller bag at home. A 65-liter backpack is the best investment you’ll make. Don’t cheap out on it, either. You don’t want your pack to fall apart on you.
BT #4: There’s no room for your emotional baggage in that 65-liter pack. You can take a trip down memory lane without paying $900+ for a airline ticket. Either save your money or don’t bring it. Not to mention, people don’t want to travel with Debbie Downer.
BT #5: Skin Supplies- if you’re going to Asia, stock up. They like to put “whitening” in all their lotions, face wash, sunscreen and deodorant. Unless you want to mess up the pigmentation in your skin, bring enough to last your entire trip.
BT #6: Live on a budget. The less money you spend, the longer you can stay abroad. Plan on a budget, then give yourself a couple extra hundred dollars (but don’t tell yourself you did).
BT #7: Couch Surfing- if you don’t know what it is, go to http://www.couchsurfing.org and create yourself a profile. Here’s the link to mine:
BT #8: Backpackers Hostels-these are the easiest places to meet people who might be going to the same places you’re going. Hostels are also the cheapest places to stay and pretty much everyone there is also on a budget! Your Lonely Planet (especially if you have the “…On A Shoestring” Edition) Guide or whatever guidebook you have will tell you where to go.
BT #9: Hitchhiking- use your judgement. Don’t be stupid about it. If you’re a female, best not to do it alone.
BT #10: Refrain from discussing the following topics with your travel companions unless traveling in groups of 5 or more (because 5 seems like a fair number) and only if everyone is really relaxed and in good spirits: Politics, Religion, Environmental Issues.
BT #11: Don’t be afraid to travel by yourself! Sometimes you meet more people that way, and sometimes you just need a little “you” time.
BT #12: Always have a good book to read. And when you’re finished, be willing to share it with someone else! It’s nice to trade good books with fellow travelers.
BT #13: Bring a light jacket… I don’t care if you’re traveling somewhere ridiculously hot. There will always be some place you get a little cold (an airport, a bus, etc.) or it can double as a pillow. If you have a light jacket with a hood, it’s nice for “nap-time” on bus rides during the day.