Backpacking Around the World: 5 Master Tips

By Jared Alster
July 21, 2015

Taking a backpacking trip around the world is a rewarding experience, and something everyone should try at least once. But before you strike out into the unknown, doing some prep work is important. Here are 5 master tips to help you get ready!

1. Have a rough itinerary. You don't need to plan every detail before you leave, but have an idea of the cities/places you want to visit and ideally how long you'll want to spend in each. To help with this, research the route you plan to take. Familiarizing yourself with the towns along the way will help you know where you'll want to stop.

2. Buy a comfy pair of shoes, or two! You're going to be on your feet - a lot - and will appreciate having some quality footwear along for the ride. Sandals are great for hot destinations, but make sure they are supportive. Flip flops are usually not a good call, unless you're going to beach destinations only. If you can, bring two pairs to switch between. Your feel will appreciate the break!

3. Scope out your public transportation options (if you're not joining a guided tour). For Europe, this means getting acquainted with Eurail and pass options. Other destinations, such as VietnamMorocco, and even Burma have somewhat reliable train transport. Most of Central America, including Costa Rica, have safe and cheap public buses.

4. Add 10-15% to your expected budget. The great thing about being a backpacker is coming away with awesome memories, all while being frugal and saving money! Set a rough budget for yourself, including the obvious things like hostels, transportation, entertainment, museum entrance fees. But also think of some of the not-so-obvious items such as a souvenir for mom and gifts for any host families you might stay with. When you think you have a budget ready to go, add 10 or 15% for intangibles. You never know what might happen on the road!

5. Join a group tour. Group tours can be a great way to meet new friends (you might even find yourself traveling with them in the future!), and change up your routine a bit from traveling alone. After a few weeks, or months, on the road, it's also nice to have everything planned out for you - hotels, transportation, meals - so you can just relax and not worry about logistics. 

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