Each year the number of backpackers traipsing across the world continues to increase. And while international backpacking is unlikely to ever be something that you regret, there are a number of common mistakes that can greatly hamper both your overall travel experience and of course, your budget. If you plan on heading off into the great unknown in the near future, make sure that you avoid the following nine incredibly common backpacking mistakes.
Choosing the Wrong Travel Partner – If you are embarking upon a trip of at least a month, choose your travel partner wisely. Not only will choosing the wrong travel partner ruin your trip but it is also likely to ruin your relationship with that person. Remember that enjoying going to the pub with somebody once a week is not the same as enjoying traveling with them 24 hours a day. Not only can long awaited trips turn into nightmares, both friendships and non platonic relationships can be permanently tarnished by harshly worded train station screams.
Top Backpacking Mistakes
Source – alanenglish
Too Many Cities, Too Little Time – Many backpackers come up with ambitious itineraries and while there is not necessarily anything wrong with this, moving too fast through too many destinations is a great way to make sure that you don’t really experience any of them. Not only do most destinations require a few days to really see all the sites but constantly being on the move is not good for either your body or your mind. In my opinion, you are better off limiting yourself to two cities per week and really experiencing them rather than just passing through four.
Rigid Planning – This mistake is particularly common in those who are new to backpacking. Having some sort of plan when traveling is certainly important but having absolutely everything booked and no flexibility whatsoever is never a good idea. During your trip, you will meet people that you will want to spend more time with and you will find cities that you won’t want to leave. There are some aspects of a trip that need to be planned for financial reasons but wherever possible make plans that can easily be changed.
No Hostel Bookings – Although flexibility is important, one thing that should always be booked ahead of time is your hostel at your next destination. Despite the fact that hostels are significantly cheaper to book online at sites such as hostelworld.com and hostelbookers.com, many backpackers continue to arrive in major cities without a reservation. Arriving in a city without a reservation not only means that you will pay the higher prices paid by a walk-in, you also have to waste time looking for somewhere, all the time carrying a heavy backpack.
Packing Everything – Speaking of heavy backpacks, an incredibly common site in hostels all around the world are backpackers with so much luggage that they can barely walk. While it is understandable that a long trip requires a large bag, the line has to be drawn somewhere and many backpackers only draw it around where they start considering how portable their TV is. Therefore before you put anything into your backpack, ask yourself whether you really, really need it. This question is particularly important for girls traveling with their boyfriends. Although in the short term, your boyfriend will carry your bag, in the long run he will grow to hate you.
Not Backing Up Photos – While most people believe that passports and/or money are the worst things that you can lose while traveling, those that have lost a camera’s worth of photos may disagree. As you progress through your trip, you will amass a collection of photos that will mean a hell of a lot to you and you will be inconsolable if you were to lose them. Therefore it is essential to regularly backup your latest snaps online. While this step only takes a few minutes, I have lost count of the number of people that I have heard complain that they lost or had their camera stolen and with it, their only photos of their trip of a life time.
No Budget or The Wrong Budget – Although most people cannot stick to their budget completely over the course of their trip, there are some people who seem to set off without a budget at all. Unless you have some very rich parents, make sure that you divide up your money over the course of your trip and don’t blow the majority of it in the first month. Not only will you be left broke for the remainder of your trip, you may even find that you run out of money completely and are forced to take an unfortunately ahead of schedule flight home.
Forgetting About Seasons – While not quite as important as where you go, when you go to the place that you choose will have a significant impact upon your trip. Many travelers fail to consider just how different a destination can be from one season to another. Many parts of Asia have significant monsoon seasons and in Europe, you can expect to pay twice the price for your hostel bed if you visit in Summer as opposed to Spring or Autumn. Therefore unless you are only available to travel at a certain time of year, always take into account both the seasons and the crowds when choosing when to start your trip.
Taking The Long Way Around – When backpacking it’s important to remember how many ways there are of getting from one place to another. It’s also very important to remember that just because one option is cheaper that does not necessarily mean that it is the best choice. Many backpackers happily skip onto twenty hour train rides when they could easily fly and while this makes sense if the price difference is significant, just how many hours are you willing to spend on a train to save twenty dollars? Therefore always do your research and determine just what your options are. You might be very surprised at how affordable some budget airlines make it to take to the sky.
Tags: Backpacking Mistakes