Trips are part of life. There are lone backpackers, backpackers who prefer to be in a group, backpacking couples, there are artisans, musicians, climbers, photographers, journalists, explorers, scientists, athletes. But a trip is suited for all of them.
Life is that little time is given to us to enjoy the details and the great moments of life. We have said a hundred times; that we have only one life and we must take full advantage. We know. But, do you really do? We are many lovers of travel, destinations and what we can learn from elsewhere in the world. Remember the feeling you get when you see pictures of amazing places you’ve always wanted to go?
This is the time to be an explorer.
Obviously, being young and with a low budget requires a set of special skills to travel. There are no fancy hotels, concierges, drivers or service when you are travelling with an open mind and a heavy backpack.
I put together a list of things to never forget when putting together your backpacking trip, and that are not on every list.
A heavy-duty backpack
The backpack is something that has to carry every day and for several hours. It may initially seem that it’s not so heavy, but as days go by, it starts to feel like torture.
Choose a backpack suited for the task; there are many options that give you extra support: back ribs, clasps in the waist and the chest, and adjustable belts.
When backpacking through Europe, I realized some of my friends were carrying their moccasins and heels in case we “attended a party”. You know when they wore them? NEVER. Get cozy with sneakers, boots, or hiking shoes. You’ll be thanking me after you have walked a full day trying to find a museum you heard was “a few blocks away”.
Many hostels offer lockers, but not so many provide the padlock or key to remain closed (usually the cheapest hostels have lockers that remain open). So if you want to have your stuff safe, nothing better than taking a padlock.
Believe me, they are not so easy to find when you don’t speak the language. It’s also something you won’t want to spend money on when you’re counting EVERY cent.
Almost no hostel includes towel unless you pay for it. And when you get one, it’s always close to disintegration. Invest on a fast-drying, compressing towel. They are light as feathers and they will always be ready to go again.
A fanny pack
I know it looks ridiculous (I’m not advocating fashion here), but it is truly necessary. Bring cash, your documents -passport, insurance, vaccination certificates- and an extra ID from your country. Also, it’s important to take advantage of your student ID! Many museums, trains, and even hostels make student discounts.
There is nothing like bringing medicines on a trip. NONE OF US ARE INVINCIBLE. Being in a place you don’t know, in an environment that may be prone to diseases your body is not familiar with. Bring antibiotic, pain pills, aspirines, fever pills and anything for a sensitive stomach. You never know how you’ll react to local food.
Always check with your doctor and ask him to help you out.
Last but not least
Other things that are not to be forgotten (but are quite obvious):
- Plug adapter
- All-purpose coat/jacket
- Comfortable clothes
- 2 in 1 shampoo
- Local Cellphone
Get trippy on your trip!
Above all, the most important thing you should bring is a big smile and a great attitude. Whatever your plans are, they will certainly change. Hit it off with the locals! You can meet people of all kinds, from all over the world who are living the same experience as you, or you’ll hear local people who can also give you advice, interact with the local population can be incredibly useful in addition to enriching.