Globetrotting: Four Things You Need to Know Before Going on Your First Backpacking Trip
“Without new experiences , something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” -Frank Herbert
At a glance, backpacking might seem like a more affordable alternative (but no less than exciting way) to see the world. The prospect of being on your feet while making your way through various destinations is a bit intimidating at the least, but nonetheless thrilling at the same time.
However, what people need to realize that backpacking is not like your ordinary travel. While you get to see the sights you wish to see and throw yourself in the experience of being in a new country, it is without all the glamour. At times, you would need to be spontaneous and think on your feet which means this type of travel would constrain you to be flexible. You do not get to stay in fancy hotels and more often than not, you would not even have access to the most basic of amenities (toilet included). In this regard, backpacking is definitely not for the faint of heart and is only for those who have enough fortitude and pluck to try and push past their boundaries and comfort zones. One thing prospective travelers must realize is that there is a marked difference in comfort and convenience between backpacking and traveling. To seasoned backpackers, it is less about where they stay but more about the journey and the sights they see. In a way, they see backpacking as a more immersive way to see new places and experience foreign cultures. As a result, it can be very rewarding. However, like it was stated above, it is not for everyone. But if you definitely think it is one that you can manage, here are some things you ought to consider before going on your first trip:
1.) You have to be flexible
To be a backpacker, you need to be flexible insomuch that you are able to adapt to different kinds of situations. You are not going to be staying in a room in Holiday Inn Suites Makati or any hotel room for that matter. You are almost always going to be in the wild and mostly on foot. In this regard, you need to be flexible as you cannot always expect your plans to follow through. This would mean being prepared in case you got lost or have a travel mix up. Remember that a lot of things can happen while you are on the road and you need to understand that your itinerary is not set on stone insomuch that you might need to change it from what you initially planned.
2.) Gourmet food is not necessary but stock up on the food that you do like
More often than not, you would not be able to eat the food that you like while you are on the road. With this in mind, you would need to adjust your palate to be more receptive to food that you do not normally find yourself eating back at home. Alternatively, you might want to pack as many of the food you do like with you. However, you need to keep in mind that you need to pack as light as possible and if you can do without your favorite food, then it would be all the better for you. In this way, you would not be encumbered and slowed down by your heavy luggage which brings us to our next tip.
3.) Do not overpack
Think of your backpack as your entire life which means that everything you need should be there. However, as you will be taking your bag with you most of the time, you need to have a minimalist approach as to how you interpret “everything you need” and “your entire life”. This means packing only what is necessary as you are inevitably going to feel the weight of every item you pack. In this regard, you need to be a little meticulous about what goes into your backpack such as including only those clothes that you are sure you would wear. Be incredibly thorough about what you place inside and go over each item carefully. Your backpack should not weigh you down, so be sure to include only your barest necessities. If you can leave it at home, then do not bring it with you.
4.) Travel on ground where possible
Save air travels for those big journeys wherein it is necessary to book an airplane ticket, otherwise take the train or bus as much as possible. The journey is even more immersive and you would get to see so much of the country you are visiting. Furthermore, there is just something about getting to a country by going through it. Sure, plane travels might be less of hassle but they are not as immersive and gratifying as getting to a foreign country through land travel. The journey will definitely be a lot more amazing and would certainly give you so much to do than just sitting in a plane for hours staring out of the window.
If you have ever given backpacking travel any considerable thought, be sure that you are amenable to the four things stated above before attempting it for a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience.