Backpacking 101

If you’re planning or thinking about planning your first backpacking trip, there are a few things you need to think about:

1. Budget

The first and foremost is to determine what your budget will be for the trip and how long you want to travel. You need to make sure to have enough money to complete your trip if you’re not planning on working while you travel. Make sure to plan for inconveniences and unexpected events.

2. Destinations

How does one go about choosing his or her first backpacking destination? It comes down to comfort level (after your budget is defined). Different continents will require different backpacking skills so it all depends what you’re comfortable with.

• North America, Europe, Oceania: These are the easiest places to travel because they are developed continents with good transportation and easy access to commodities.

• South America and Asia: You may suffer from a greater culture shock when visiting these two continents because they are completely different than what you may be used to. Infrastructures aren’t as developed and you will also most probably experience language barriers which will make communication and getting around that much more difficult.

• Africa: Africa will be that much more difficult to adapt to because the quality of transportation and accommodation may not be at your expectation if you’re backpacking. Due to lack of infrastructure, it can take very long bus rides to get from point a to b. Finding western type bathrooms may also be difficult or not to your expectation.

3. Booking your transportation

Once you choose your first backpacking destination (s), you can go ahead and book your flight via a travel agency or online (expedia.com, kayak.com). As for internal transportation, it really depends on where and when you’re going and how you plan to get around. If you’re planning a trip during the holidays you should definitely book in advance if you don’t want to pay ridiculous prices or find available seats for the days you need to travel. If you’re traveling during off-season there is no need to pre-book everything. You can book as you go regardless of the method of transportation. It provides greater flexibility in your travels.

4. Booking your accommodation

Depending on your budget, you may choose to stay in campgrounds, hostels, B&B, convents or hotels. Similarly to the transportation, you may want to book your accommodation in advance if you’re traveling during high season- especially if you’re set on sleeping at a certain place. If not, you can wing it without any problems.

For hostels: hostels.com, hostelz.com. hihostel.com, hostelbooking.com

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About the Authors: Tanya and Nara are the creators and writers of Off-Track Backpacking blog. The two combined have traveled to over 40 countries and lived in 3 different countries. You can enjoy additional backpacking tips and stories on their blog.


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