Travelling is an enriching experience, and backpacking is one of the best ways to travel. Not only does it make travelling affordable, but it also allows the traveller to gain a deeper and in-depth experience of the land. A traveller on a conducted or organised tour usually confines themselves to the trodden path, or the most popular places of interest. A backpacker, on the other hand, often gets to see sights and enjoy experiences that depict the real nature and culture of the land, away from the facade put up at the prime tourist destination.
The success of any trip, and especially backpacking, depends on adequate research. With budget airlines and hotels offering significant discounts for early bookings, it makes sense to start the research months in advance. Budget airlines and hotels rarely refund the booking amount, and as such, it becomes important to undertake the research, and finalise the itinerary months in advance.
The spread of the Internet makes research very easy. Websites such as agoda.com, booking.com, and others, make the task of comparing hotel prices and making booking easy. Travel websites and forums, such as, TripAdvisor, and LonelyPlanet, provide in-depth on-the-ground information on just about anything related to the destination. The travel forums are a good place to connect with fellow traveller, and even local residents, to clarify doubts.
Get Paperwork in Order
Any international travel requires paperwork. Many countries offer visa-on-arrival, but a substantial number of countries require applying for a visa beforehand. Visit to some countries in tropical Africa and elsewhere may require vaccinations and immunizations. It makes sense to clarify the entry requirements and get the paperwork in order. Improper paperwork can result in unnecessary delays and expenses, and make the best-laid plans to go awry.
It makes sense to memorise important telephone numbers, and keep a backup copy of important travel documents such as passport. It is also important to guard passports and cards diligently, at all times. A loss of the passport is an avoidable nightmare, sure to cause delays and stress.
The adage “less luggage, more comfort” is true for all travellers, without exception. The world is now a global village, and most of the items that a tourist requires would invariably be available at the destination. Tagging along luggage, on the contrary, may become counterproductive. Budget airlines are strict about the luggage size and weight, airlines regulations prohibit certain types of luggage on board, and the metro or the light rail network in most cities, very often the cheapest, fastest, and safest mode of transportation, do not allow entry for people carrying heavy or bulky luggage.
While a backpacker enjoys utmost flexibility and freedom, they are also subject to high risks. It makes sense to assess the security implications of every decision. For instance, if tourists or foreigners do not generally venture out to some region, area, or event, it is probably for a good reason. One safe approach to backpacking is to try out innovative alternatives within the trodden path, experiencing every attraction in an in-depth and relaxed way, compared to the harried and busy schedule of organised tours.
It is a good idea to keep a low-profile, so as to avoid coming in the radar of criminal gangs looking out to target vulnerable strangers. It is also a good idea to keep someone informed about the travel plans, and have some sort of backup available in case of emergencies.