10 Tips for Backpackers
1. The bag
While backpacking is all about thrifty travel, the one thing you shouldn’t stinge on is your bag. The key to choosing one that’s right for you comes down to comfort – usually, unless you’re doing heavy lifting, it shouldn’t be more than 4500 CUI (cubic inches). Also, buy yours from a reputable maker – shoddy workmanship or material will tear only too easily.
(Normally I’m using 55 litter Deuter backpack plus 22 liter Deuter for daysack)
2. Packing essentials
Every traveler should have these:
• Flip flops: A must-have for use in those communal showers
• Extra wallet: Pickpockets are in backpacker inns. Dividing your money into different wallets reduces the risk of losing everything should you become a victim
• Wet wipes: A shower may not always be available
• Space saver bags: Available at camping stores, these allow more to be bundled into a small space
3. The cash stash
The general rule of thumb is to have enough currency to get you through 2 or 3 days. The rest of your journey can be covered by a series of travelers cheques.
4. Packing smart
Roll clothes instead of folding them to avoid wrinkles. Pack zip-lock bags to seal used socks and shoes in. Medication and important documents should always be carried on you, not in checked-in luggage. When packing, stack in chronological order, with what you’ll need first at the top of your bag.
5. Travelling wallet
It goes without saying that your wallet and travel documents should always be with you at all times. Never stuff them in your backpack. And, always have copies of your travel document – a set on you and a set in your backpack.
All those memories you collect along the way can be stored with free mobile apps. On the iPhone, ‘Off Exploring’, ‘GPS Log Lite’ and ‘Daily Tracker Lite’ are available.
7. ‘Ruin’ your stuff a little
The newer your stuff looks, the tastier it is to a thief. Wear in your shoes and wear out your bag before your trip. Looking like a seasoned traveler will also deter thieves. On long train or bus rides, sleep on your pack.
8. Make your presence heard
At least one person at home should always know where you are. Keep a mobile number on you with clear instructions that it is your in-case-of-emergency-contact and always send an email from every destination you arrive at.
(Always updated with your family or someone that you close every time you reach the place)
9. Don’t be a good Samaritan
Never offer or accept to carry anything for anyone – it’s the cardinal rule of travel, perhaps more so when backpacking. Backpacking tends to become a very communal activity with many friendships forged along the way. However, proper care must always be taken.
10. Safety in numbers
The bigger the travel group, the better. But, if you’re travelling solo, any friends made along the way is always useful. Avoid travelling at night, even if this means you save money on one night’s accommodation.