If you’re looking to explore the world, visit new places and have a ton of incredible experiences why not consider backpacking? You don’t need a whole lot of money to be able to go and it can really give you a new perspective of the world. Sure, five-star hotels and luxury restaurants are nice. But it’s not the same as meeting the locals, exploring destinations that are off the beaten path and getting back to basics. As let’s face it, when you’re backpacking you need to take it back to basics there’s only so much you can physically hold. A wise man once said backpacking is the ‘art of knowing what not to take’! If you’re thinking about travelling this year, here are some of the key things you need to bring in your backpack to stay safe and get the most from your trip.
Of course, you’ll need a backpack! Be sure to shop around here and find something that’s right for you. It should be the right size, comfortable straps, and a hard-wearing material. When you’re out on the road for long periods, the last thing you need to deal with is a broken backpack. Work out exactly what you’ll need based on where you’re going and for how long, then you can put together the items you need. Don’t be tempted to overfill it, you might want to come prepared, but there’s no use carrying items you might not use and contribute to the overall weight. You’ll make yourself miserable and could even do yourself an injury if it’s too heavy.
The destination and time of year will greatly influence the kind of clothes you need. Be sure to do plenty of research on the climate and weather conditions, and also the culture. Certain cultures and religions, for example, don’t approve of certain types of clothing, so this is something you will need to be aware of. In a hot country go for pieces that are lightweight and breathable but with long sleeves and trousers. This provides protection from the sun as well as mosquitos and other biting insects. If it’s cold where (or when) you’re going pack things like thermal socks, hats, and gloves.
Tent or Accommodation
Again this depends on where you’re going and what you’re doing. If you’re wondering how to travel the world for cheap, one of the main things to get right is cheap accommodation. If you’re going to be doing a lot of camping, you’ll need a tent or hammock and well as a mosquito net. If you plan on staying in hostels, you can save weight in your pack, although it’s still advisable to bring your own sleeping bag. Go for something that doesn’t weigh too much and rolls up very small so you’re not wasting precious space.
Food and Water
When you’re doing a lot of walking, not to mention with a heavy pack on your back, you need the right nutrition. You can call into grocery stores and eat at markets and things while you’re on the road, although it’s advisable to always have a day or two food and water in your pack too just in case. Especially if you’re traveling to quite remote areas as it might be a while before you come across anywhere to get food and water. Go with high energy and nutritious foods, cereal and protein bars as well as dried nuts and fruit all work well. They don’t take up much space or weigh a lot but can deliver on calories and nutrition. They will also last without going out of date or becoming dangerous. Another thing that’s worth always having in your pack is a water filtering kit. At least that way if you get stuck in the middle of nowhere you can safely drink from streams and other water sources.
A First Aid Kit
Don’t be tempted to pass this up. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but you can’t be too sure. From plasters (band-aids) and Tylenol for minor issues like blisters and headaches to gauze and bandages for something more severe. Antiseptic wipes will help to prevent any cuts from getting infected which is particularly important to watch out for if you’re in a warm climate. If you’re going to be traveling for weeks or even months at a time, it’s worth going on a first aid course. That way you know how to attend to any injuries you or anyone in your group sustains. Being able to patch someone up properly until you can seek medical advice can be the difference between life and death in some cases.
Camera and Accessories
This could quite possibly be the trip of a lifetime and is something you will always want to look back on. So make sure you have a camera to capture the memories! Bring lots of spare batteries and memory cards so you can document everything, you can always go through once you’re home and delete the shots that aren’t the best. But while you’re away, get snap happy. Take pictures of yourself, your group and your surroundings! A digital camera means you won’t have to use your phone camera and keep running the battery down.
A Light Source
If you’re traveling to less populated destinations, countryside, deserts or woods then a good light source is so important. You’ll struggle to put up your tent and getting around in the evening without one, especially when many places in the world lose the light in the evenings very quickly. If you have things like night fishing and other evening activities on your itinerary, consider a light that you can strap to your head, so you have both hands free. Otherwise, a standard, powerful hand-held flashlight will do the trick. Find one that’s bright without being too heavy as again this is additional weight you will be carrying around with you.
Will you be going backpacking this year?