Getting ready for a big backpacking trip can be a daunting task. The knowledge that you are going to have to carry everything you will need in one bag and include items for varying climates and environments is enough to make anyone stress out.
So here are some pointers from some of the biggest online travel experts…
The biggest danger according to Travel Independent Info is over packing. Over packing is not good – it makes your trip that much harder as you carry unnecessary weight around. No one intends to pack too much and yet the urge to pack for every eventuality is hard to shake. Travel Independent Info state that nearly everything you need can be found at your destination and even if you are heading to the deepest darkest parts of Peru you will still have to pass through an airport at some point.
One way to under pack would be to turn up with nothing but your passport and wallet and find everything you need. We don’t suggest you do that, unless you have nerves of steel, but we recommend finding a halfway point and trying to only pack the essentials such as a good jacket, essential clothes, and shoes. Adam Seper, editor at BootsnAll Travel Network told went so far as to say that you should “never buy a backpack/suitcase that is bigger than carry-on size. If your travel pack/suitcase is small, there is no possible way to over pack.”
Planning for the worst
Preparing for a long trip includes many other aspects than just packing. Back Country recommends considering what you would do if something bad happens. They go on to mention that you should always let someone know where you are going and give them the contact info of the local authorities. They also suggest that if you are going somewhere remote by yourself then you can carry a Personal Locator Beacon that can track your progress by GPS.
When it comes to travelling, and life in general, it is always the things we didn’t think of that trips us up such as getting to the airport on time. Most people don’t consider it until they are leaving and yet it can suddenly become one of the most stressful parts of a trip that you haven’t even properly embarked on. If you’re lucky enough to get dropped off at an airport such as Heathrow in London, then there are variables, which can work to your advantage. For instance, if you’re on an early flight, then consider booking in a hotel the night before to make sure you get a good night’s sleep before you embark on your big trip. Parking4Less, who operate out of Heathrow and other major airports in the UK reveal that there are a ton of airport hotels that offer great deals for people wanting to avoid travelling the morning of their flight. With a little bit of planning you can have a bit of extra comfort before hitting the road.
Always try and think ahead where possible especially when it comes to transport – how do you get to the bus terminal? How long do you have to be there before departure? etc. etc. There is nothing worse than booking onward transport and then missing it because you didn’t take into account rush hour traffic and haven’t reached the departure point on time.
Know before you go
At Backpacker Bible our biggest piece of advice is to ‘know before you go‘ – a little bit of research can go a really long way. We’re not saying you need to read several guide books on every destination you visit but if you are aware of general do’s and don’ts, health requirements and cultural differences of the countries you are travelling to then you are much more likely to have a safer, trouble free trip.
Make sure you bring the right gear for the journey. For example, if you are going Europe, do some research on the best travel backpacks for Europe, a bag you can fit bulky clothes in for the climate, if you are going to SE Asia, you can get away with a much smaller backpack.
Hopefully this article has given you some points on preparing for your big trip. Remember not to worry if you forget something. It is the unwritten backpacker law that the chances are you will bring many things you don’t need and forget the one thing you really shouldn’t have forgotten. After all, we all learn by our mistakes.
You’ll find tons more advice on planning, insurance and responsible travel in our Global Travel Advice section.