How to prepare for your first backpacking holiday

How to prepare for your first backpacking holiday

backpacker 1Any sort of travelling is exciting, and if you are the adventurous type, a backpacking holiday is the perfect opportunity for you to see different parts of the world that you might not usually get to see, whilst having an adventure at the same time. Whether you decide to go by yourself or with a travel buddy, it is advisable that you put an element of planning into it, particularly if it is your first time.

Before you even start the planning process, it is likely that you will have an idea of what you want to do – as in, any hikes you want to take, or area that you would like to travel. The nature of a backpacking holiday suggests that you would be away for longer periods of time, and might not be staying in hotels like you have been used to on other holidays. Depending on the level of backpacking you are planning, additional preparation might be necessary, and certainly recommended. If you know that you would like to go on different treks whilst you are away, do some preparation for them before and ensure that you have the capabilities to match. There is no point getting all the way to your destination, only to find that a couple of days into the hike, walking isn’t the best pass time for yourself. So, start by going on gentle hikes during the day, and then longer, ones over rougher terrain, before progressing to overnight hikes. This is your time to establish what kit you should bring with you, so when you are off travelling, you will be confident in what you are required to bring with you.

Many people are nervous about a backpacking trip, particularly if it your first one, and this is only natural. Try and remember the reasons that you wanted to go in the first place. If it was to see more of the world, think about where you want to go, and keep focused on that. If it was to gain confidence and independence, it is obvious that you will have nerves and reservations, but just keep focused on everything you want to gain from the trip, and think about how much fun you will have during your trip. You will meet new and amazing people from all walks of life, and the majority of people who have been travelling would thoroughly recommend it, with many saying it is one of the best things they have ever done in their lives. You also have to think about what stage of life you are at. If it is a gap year, or just after you have graduated, this is the perfect time for you to get out and gain some incredibly life experience; plus, it looks brilliant on your CV and is something that employers will notice, especially if you have engaged in independent travelling. Don’t not do something now that you will either not have to chance to do, or will regret not doing in ten years’ time.

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One of the hardest decisions that you will have to is decide where it is you want to travel. Whilst you might want some of your trip to be a bit more spontaneous, it is still important to do your planning beforehand, and definitely to decide which areas you want to visit. Like we have previously said, deciding where to go the first time you do any travelling is always the hardest, as you have no idea where anywhere is like. The likelihood is that wherever you choose to go, you will be stepping outside of your comfort zone to some degree, but this really is a good thing; however, there are certain things to consider that could make your decision that little bit easier. First of all, consider your language ability. Communication is incredibly important when you are travelling, particularly if you are going by yourself; however, this should not be a reason to dismiss somewhere. Before you go, take the time to learn a few local words, should you find yourself stuck; but if in doubt, head to a local who works in the tourism industry, as they are likely to speak your language. Don’t forget, it is easy to make yourself understood with generic hand symbols too, should you really find yourself in trouble!

Your first time backpacking should be something that you enjoy, so try and relate your trip to your hobby or passion, to ensure that you will be interested throughout the trip. The same can be said with the country that you choose. If there is a particular country that you have a connection with, choosing this as your travelling destination will mean a lot more to you, and will make your trip seen a lot more worthwhile. Just remember though, you do not have to be overly ambitious with regards to where you go. If you are going travelling for a matter of weeks, you simply will not be able to do a spectacular round the world trip. Start with a smaller trip, visiting just a few places that are near each other, before moving on to bigger adventures later. By your second and third travelling adventure you would have learnt not to go overboard with your budget as well, which will inevitable happen the first time you go backpacking.

backpacker 3One of the most important things that you must consider and plan before you go is the backpack that you will take with you. This will essentially become your lifeline and home during your trip, so it is important that you get one that is capable of standing up to the demand. Take your time when picking one, and don’t always go for the cheaper option, unless you think it will make it through your trip. One of the most important things that you can do, is look for a bag that is made from completely waterproof material if you know that you are going to a particularly wet area, and a semi waterproof material for all other trips. Not only will this prevent your belongings from getting wet, but it also gives the impression that the bag will be quick drying, and will therefore not become musty during your trip. When you are looking for backpacks as well, be mindful that you will not be staying in hotels for the duration of your trip, and there are likely to be times where your backpack will not be in a secure area, so ensure that your zips can be locked. Not only does this prevent anything being taken from your bag, but also, anything being put into your bag. For organisation and ease, look for a bag with different pockets. This makes grabbing different things a lot easier and means that you do not have to open you bag every time, which could put your valuables at risk. Finally, you need to consider the bags comfortability. You will be carrying your bag with you throughout the whole trip, so it is important that you look for one with padded shoulder straps, and preferably a padded hip belt. The hip belt will provide support, taking more of the strain off of your back, and the shoulder straps will put less pressure on your shoulders and generally make your bag more comfortable.

How much luggage you take is entirely up to you, but do be aware that what you take, you will be carrying. When you do your overnight practices prior to your trip, try and take as little luggage as possible, to see what is essential and what isn’t. It is advisable to leave any small valuables, such as jewellery at home as well. This will prevent you from having to replace too much should anything happen to your belongings whilst you are away.

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Ultimately, travelling is all about having fun, and being prepared will help this. If you have a bad experience on this trip, or any practice ones, do not base all assumptions on that one bad experience. Ensure that you have thoroughly researched the area that you are travelling to, and make sure that you are properly equipped. At BagsDirect, we have an extensive range of backpackers, which are ideal for first time backpackers. To view our full range, please click here

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