I cannot say that being a backpacker is the way of traveling I used the most, but I traveled in any case for more than four months overall, so I learned in this period some things that could be useful for people going on a trip like this.
1- Don’t save on shoes
Really, that’s important. You’re probably going to walk a lot, in different weather and types of ground, so you need to have with you the pair of shoes you feel perfect for that. Do yourself and your body a favor, use some proper shoes for the trip you’re going to do. No All Stars, no flip-flops, you need something lightweight, resistant, suitable for city walking or hiking (you know better than me where you’re going to go!) and comfortable!
From my side, I can recommend with no doubt The North Face shoes: I traveled South America with a pair of that, and they were still good also after some years. Another brand to have a look at is Salomon: very comfortable as well and with no laces to take care of. I can’t say anything about the option “hiking sandals” because I never had a pair of those.
2- You’ll bring too many clothes
That’s subjective, but you can definitely go with two t-shirts, two pairs of socks and some underwear (well, and pants too…). Depending on the trip you’re going to do, you’ll move continually, so don’t bother to wear always the same stuff, probably no one will notice it. The day you wear t-shirt A, you wash t-shirt B and vice versa, same with the other clothes. Don’t bring things you COULD need, bring things you WILL need. You can always buy that hat to protect you from the unexpected sun once you’re there, leave the one you already have at home.
3- Toilet paper is a must
If you’re not planning to visit cities, you may be unlucky enough to sleep in places where there is no toilet paper (or, more simply, you’re in the middle of nothing and nature calls… who you gonna call?). Take a roll, flatten it and put it in the backpack. It’s better to have it and not use it rather than not having it at all, I can guarantee you…
4- Shield your backpack
During your trip, that thing on your shoulders will be your world, and you can’t afford to ruin its content. Clothes, documents, whatever, if it starts raining or worse, you’ll get wet and your backpack too, with everything inside. Buy a plastic cover that fits your backpack, you can find several of them in shapes, sizes, and colors. Take a look at here, for example.
5- Use your brain
That’s probably the most obvious one and still the most difficult to put into practice. Don’t act stupidly, remember you’re not in your country, you could be alone or with people that speak a language you’re not proficient into. Laws too are different, what could be legal in your country could lead you to jail in another, and that’s not funny at all. Respect people and places and enjoy your trip as a smart traveler and not as a moron.
There are for sure other important things to say, but that’s my top 5. And what about yours?
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