How it works
You and your backpacking travel buddies don’t have to be experienced wanderers to pack a bag and head off. Backpacking travel has easily become of the most popular choices of travel among all types of travellers.
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Backpacking travel buddy
Backpacking allows you to experience the world up close. You can touch, smell and see so many things that you can’t see from an airplane, bus or train window. You don’t have to live according to schedules or check-in times. Carrying your life on your back allows you to focus on experience and not things. You can get to places that suitcases aren’t allowed. Backpacking gives you options.
Define Your Ride
The word “backpacking” can mean different things to you and your backpacking travel buddy. Are you throwing your belongings on your back to save the costs of checking a bag on a plane? Or will your rucksack hold a toothbrush and a utility knife because that’s you’ll need as your rough it across a lush nation? Being patient and reasonable will lead to an interesting itinerary that should satisfy you and your backpacking travel buddy.
Pick the right destination
Once you know what kind of trip you are going to take, then you pull out your imagination and a map. Do you want to explore some place distant, a new area, a city, somewhere hot, a cold locale, a familiar location, a rainforest? After you decide on a few spots, then you must examine entry requirements. Germans can visit Vietnam for two weeks without a visa, but Americans cannot. Make sure you and your backpacking partner can both have a good trip.
Here are the top backpacking destinations for 2020. Those searching for mountains to climb should check out Nepal, Switzerland and Austria. Backpackers thirsty for wild plains should head to Tanzania, Thailand, the Philippines and South Africa. While those who want to see the city and the suburbs should head to Spain, Morocco, Alaska or Chile.
One of the good things about backpacking is the ability to be flexible. However, don’t let that lull you into being careless. Research as much about your trip before you go. If you plan to visit national parks, find out if reservations or fees are required. Check and double-check close to departure. Rules and prices can change without much warning.
A really popular place in the world for backpacking is Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia has many amazing countries that you might want to explore in a matter of a few weeks so the easiest way to do this is by backpacking. If you need some more tips on this topic, read our blog on the 5 most important tips for backpacking in Southeast Asia.
Another great continent to explore by backpacking across it is Europe. You could, for example, do it by interrailing across countries such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. There are so many countries to choose from but to make the backpacking part a little easier, read our blog on tips for backpacking in Europe.
Select the correct intensity
If your backpacking trip requires camping and hiking, make sure both you and your backpacking travel buddy can handle these activities. Check with guidebooks, national park websites, volunteer backpacking organizations, and veteran backpackers, hikers and campers for advice about interesting locations to hit, secret spots, techniques, the best time of year to visit, and other insider information.
Armed with a good understanding of what to do and where to go, then you and your backpacking travel buddy can fill your backpacks. Of course, the same advisors can tell you what to pack. Here is a list of basics:
Hiking boots or shoes
Sleeping bag and sleeping pad
Flashlight (batteries if necessary)
Plenty of food
Stove and fuel
One cup, bowl, plate, fork, spook and knife
Water bottle and water-treatment supplies
Clothes that can withstand low temperatures, snow or rain
Small repair kit
It’s the 21st century, so consider bringing a portable power bank, a charger and an adaptor for electronic devices. Load up your smartphone, laptop or tablet with reading material, podcasts, videos and music. But if you’re really roughing it, just make sure to bring a good paperback.
In case you're a little worried about how to stay safe while backpacking, read our blog on the best travel gadgets for safe travel. This way you can concentrate fully on having a good time.
This seems obvious, but you would be surprised to know how many backpackers regret the 15 kilos they have stuffed into their bags. Remember you are carrying this on your backs for days or weeks at a time. Plus, you’ll probably be picking up the odd tchotchke at local markets along the way and adding that to your backpack Another good thing about traveling with a backpacking travel buddy is that you can share staple items, like phone chargers and sweatshirts.
In case you need some more tips on how to travel with a backpack, read our blog on tips about how to travel with just one bag.
Set a Realistic Budget
It’s a good idea to find a backpacking travel mate who’s on the same page as you about spending money. Savers and spenders rarely make good travel partners without some discussion before the trip. Money comes and goes and neither you nor your backpacking travel buddy wants to miss memorable moments because of disagreements about money.
First, decide what you and your backpacking travel buddy need and what you and your backpacking travel buddy want. Backpacking is a low-cost way to see the world. Needs take priority over wants. Be honest with yourself. If you need a large coffee with a shot of espresso from Chez Mocha to start your day, make room in your budget for this cost. Don’t buy a small coffee from Maison No Name for the first three days of a 3-week tour and then switch to the more expensive brew. Your budget cannot accommodate this change. You and your backpacking travel buddy will have to downgrade or get of something later. That time is usually at the worst occasion.
A budget is a guide, not the Ten Commandments. Be flexible, because life happens. Somewhere along the way, your boots may be stolen or your mother sick and more data to video chat with her. Allocate money for unforeseen emergencies. You decide the space. Plus, if you get down to the last days with this money untouched, you can treat yourself.
If you need some more help on how to save some money while traveling, read our blog on tips about traveling on a budget.
Talk to the locals
Familiarizing yourself with the local people will open more doors than you can imagine. Talking to locals will give you insider tips, hidden gems and must-sees. At the end of the day, you and your backpacking travel buddy will feel good that you spoke with residents and not only to fellow travelers. You can even practice some basic words of the local language with your backpacking travel buddy and impress your new local friends.
Backpacking allows your and your backpacking travel buddy to be flexible with your calendar. If you are really enjoying a place, then stay longer rather than rushing off to the next stop on your destination list. You will truly appreciate this in the long run, because you won’t feel like you missed anything.
Capture the Moments
Landscapes are nice but try to photograph activities with you and your backpacking travel buddy. Snap photos of everyday activities, like conversing while sipping an evening beer, and cool activities, like bungee jumping. When you flip through these photos, they are going to be more interesting than a shot of an old castle.
Maybe you're a real photography pro & are always on the lookout for the next best photo opportunity. Then you must read our blog on the best places for travel photographers. Read about the countries that make for the perfect shot!
Check out these incredible destinations and find unique backpacking trips and inspiration: