Full of adventure and the unknown, there’s something so special and exciting about heading off on the open road with a backpack on. They say everyone should take one backpacking trip in their lives and we couldn’t agree more. If you’re about to set off on the trip of a lifetime, it’s important to know what to expect as, although you’ll have an amazing experience, there may be a few surprises along the way. Interested to hear more? The following are nine things no one will tell you about backpacking.
1. It’s More Expensive Than You Think
The days of fifty-cent beers and one-dollar meals are long gone in all the major backpacking hotspots. Accommodation is also more expensive than you might think, even if you plan to stay in a dorm with other travelers. Depending on what country you’re in, public transport is generally cheap but it can get expensive if you decide to use taxis and other private modes of transport. To avoid any problems, be sure you have enough money to travel comfortably before leaving home. You will be able to pay for a dream trip with a personal loan from a private lender from this site here. You can use that money to fund your everyday expenses and keep the excess in a rainy-day fund.
2. You Don’t Need Hiking Boots
Backpackers and hiking boots go hand in hand but the truth is you don’t need expensive hiking boots. They are bulky, so heavy to carry and they take up a lot of room when packed away. Some cheaper boots also harbor nasty smells and don’t hold up well in wet conditions. So, what do you wear? Unless you’re really interested in hiking big mountains or you’re a seasoned climber, a pair of covered sandals or sneakers will do. Just be sure you break them in before you leave home.
3. Pack Light
Everyone makes the mistake of bringing too much stuff once – a mistake that they quickly learn from. Remember, you’ll be carrying this bag for hours on end. You’ll be walking to bus stops, dragging it onto trains, off boats, and into tuk-tuks. There will be no escape from the weight dragging your shoulders down so pack light and you will thank yourself for it. You can always pick things up on the road so don’t stress about not bringing the kitchen sink with you.
4. You Can Get Sick
Have you ever heard of Deli belly? You will once you set off on your adventure, especially if another country that you may not be used to is on the list of places to visit. Being away will force you to drink water that may not agree with you as you won’t always have access to bottled water. You’ll try food from street stalls and you’ll enjoy home-cooked meals in the homes of locals that you meet. The spices will be different and your stomach may take some time to adjust to this new way of eating and drinking. Be sure to drink bottled water whenever possible and carry some medications for an upset stomach as a backup when things get really bad.
5. You’ll Never Feel Clean
If you don’t like germs and you like to always feel clean, backpacking is probably not for you. The truth is that you’ll rarely feel clean when you’re out adventuring. You’ll be mucky from climbing hills. You’ll be sweaty from sitting on a crowded bus with no air con for 14 hours. You’ll be dusty from the desert sand that will lodge in your ears and under your fingernails. It’s a good idea to carry deodorant, hand sanitizer, and wet wipes to keep you presentable between showers.
6. You Won’t Like Every Place You Visit
Social media is guilty of making us think that every place is amazing or stunning. The truth is that travel is subjective and you’re sure to visit places where you’ll feel very underwhelmed at what you find. Not every city will have amazing architecture and not every tourist hotspot will live up to your expectations. And that’s ok. The world would be a very boring place if we were all in awe over the same things. Lower your expectations a little and you’ll have fewer “is this it?” moments.
7. Don’t Leave Home Without Breathable Clothes
See those breathable shorts in your bag? Them, along with the other breathable items of clothing you have packed away will be your new best friends. You will want to wear them every day so pack breathable shorts, pants, t-shirts, jumpers, and underwear. Make sure you pack a breathable jacket that’s also waterproof and quick drying. You’ll thank yourself later.
8. You Won’t Sleep Very Well
Chances are you will be a walking zombie for much of the trip. You’ll want to see so much during the day and you’ll want to party at night so it’s inevitable that your sleeping pattern will be all over the place. To maximize your experience and come home in one piece, it’s always a good idea to dedicate at least one night per week to get a full 10-12 hours of deep sleep. Rent a private room instead of the usual bed in a dorm if you have to. Those few hours of shuteye will be more than worth the cost investment.
9. You’ll Meet Random People and You’ll Love Them
We’re always told to stay away from strangers but this concept will go completely out the window once you land in your chosen destination. You’ll automatically let your guard down and begin to approach people that you don’t know. It might be to ask for directions or it might be to buy a drink or some snacks. Or you may just want to say hello and ask questions about what daily life is like for locals. Either way, it’s the memories of the random people you meet on your travels that will stay with you forever. It won’t be the food, the attractions, the clothes you buy or the beaches you visit. It will be the people you meet and the experiences you share together.