They say travel is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer. We agree, but it’s all about what you make of it!
Backpacking is the ultimate travel experience. It’s just you and the open road before you, and your experience depends completely on your choices. It’s a build-your-own-adventure kind of travel!
When you strap on your backpack, you have the choice of what you want to do on your trip. You can make it an uneventful one, or you can follow these tips on how to make your backing journey a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Go Alone or With a Friend
Backpacking by yourself can be an exciting and slightly scary experience. You are completely in control of what you do, where you go and the activities you take part in. It can be an empowering and freeing experience.
If you prefer to go with someone else, choose a travel buddy whose company you enjoy. You are going to be together for many hours.You may end up going through stressful situations together too, like staying in dodgy hostels or trying to build a fire in the forest to keep you warm!
You will also need to take each other into consideration when planning where to stay or things to do. It might be on your bucket list to go bungee jumping, but your travel partner is afraid of heights. You will need to compromise, but you’ll have someone to share all the excitement and memories with.
Part of traveling is experiencing new, unusual things. If you’re backpacking, you can’t live off of energy bars and Ramen. Try out the local cuisine in the area. If you are in a place where the cuisine is very different to your local food, then it may be unappealing.
But part of the adventure is trying new things! Many places will have a local McDonald’s or Burger King, and it can be tempting to just stick to what you know. But often, it’s not only an interesting experience but it’s also cheaper to eat local.
Try out the local food as well as the local snacks. If you’re backpacking, snacks are essential for when you’re hiking or walking. It’s okay to not like the local food, but you’ll never know until you’ve given it a chance! Be open-minded and you may just find something that you really like.
Live Off the Grid
You can choose to stay in hotels, motels or hostels when backpacking. But for an adventurous experience, why not try living off the grid for a while? This idea may not be for everyone, but it can be an exciting adventure to camp in the woods and stay off the grid for a different experience.
You may need to do some planning before you go off the grid. You will still need a cellphone so you can contact someone if there’s an emergency. But you will have to be disciplined enough to avoid spending a lot of time on it.
Plan your route so you know where you can pitch a tent for the night. You’ll also need to be aware of rules and regulations for camping in the area. You may need to learn how to make a fire, or catch and cook your own food, and you will have to pack some useful items like solar chargers or a water purification bottle or straw.
Do Something That Scares You
If you’ve decided to go off the grid, you may already be doing this! But if you truly want your backpacking experience to be memorable, try to step out of your comfort zone. You don’t need to do something huge, but be open to new experiences and try to do something that you wouldn’t normally do.
It can be something as simple as trying some local food that doesn’t look appealing to you. Or it could be something like letting go of your fear and going zip lining or river rafting.
Being open to new experiences also means saying “yes” to offers more often. If you’re invited to a food festival, or to join a local in their home for dinner or to go on a trip to a new place, it can be easy to politely decline because it’s just more comfortable.
But you may be missing out on an amazing experience! Obviously take safety and security into account, but be open to new and exciting experiences.
Make New Friends
Especially if you’re backpacking on your own, meeting new people along the way is inevitable. Sometimes they will just be passersby, but other times you will have the opportunity to meet like-minded people who can become good friends if you let them.
It can be tempting to avoid people while backpacking for safety. While we do encourage being discerning and careful, we also recommend speaking to locals and learning from them about their home and customs.
You may also meet other backpackers from a variety of different places. Making friends and building relationships with other travel lovers can not only lead to some of the best friendships of your life, but it can also bring about opportunities that you would never have had otherwise.
Although we do encourage travelers to be open-minded and take part in new experiences, safety should always come first. We recommend investing in some safety gear like pepper spray or a panic button, and always trust your gut instinct in a situation.
When choosing places to stay, make sure they have a good reputation and are safe and secure. If you are camping, take safety precautions like setting up your tent against a cliff where it can only be approached from one direction, and keeping your pepper spray nearby.
Always let someone know your schedule or route, and check in regularly with people back home. Freedom is part of the excitement of backpacking, but safety should always be considered in order to have the best experience.
Start a Travel Blog
If you don’t know what to do with all the photos you take and stories you have, starting a travel blog could be the perfect way to show them off!
It’s very simple to do. Just choose your platform—Wix or WordPress are good ones—sign up, create your website and start writing about your experiences. You can add your photos, talk about your experiences—good and bad—and maybe even turn it into your business later on!
If you aren’t ready for a full blog, sharing your photos on Instagram is a good way to start sharing your backpacking experiences with the world. You may even meet like-minded individuals there too.
Backpacking doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. It’s easy to make your backpacking journey a once-in-a-lifetime experience just by stepping out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in the local culture and area.
Safety should always be your first priority, but the world is full of amazing things. Backpacking allows you to experience them first hand and be in charge of your own journey! Whether you’re preparing for your first backpacking trip or you’re a seasoned backpacker, these tips will spice up your trip and encourage you to do something different and new.