It’s been a wild ride. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I decided that I wanted to pursue my dream of seeing the world. When I quit high school and finally had the freedom of doing whatever I wanted to, I worked my ass off, saved up a bunch of money and left for Southeast Asia. I thought that I would eventually settle down after “seeing the world” but I just felt the opposite. I had to see more! And that’s what I continued doing. I’ve since been backpacking in South America, the rest of Asia including Central Asia, Europe and lived in numerous countries such as Israel and Romania. I’ve now traveled to over 60 countries and I don’t have any plans on stopping! Are you also ready to take the leap and travel? Then check out my 10 best travel tips that will hopefully help you on your way of becoming a backpacker.
1. Be flexible if you want to save money
When you’re booking flights for example and there’s only one date that suits you, you might not get the best price. So instead of focusing on that specific date, try to be flexible. Look for the cheapest flights and try to plan around that. I’ve never booked a flight that I felt was quite expensive. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever booked an expensive flight. Since I’ve always been quite flexible with when I’m going, and sometimes even where, I’ve managed to find the cheapest flights.
2. Want to avoid the crowds? Wake up early!
Whether you’re going to see famous landmarks such as Angkor Wat or Borobudur, waking up early is the best way to avoid the big crowds. It’s also great if you want to avoid the hottest hours of the day. It might not always be fun to wake up at 5 am in the morning, but you’ll thank yourself for doing it when you’re all alone in a place and can enjoy it in a much different way than if you’d be surrounded by hundreds of others.
3. Get a travel insurance!
Don’t take any risks, get a good travel insurance. It doesn’t have to be about you getting hurt, things such as canceled flights can also be covered with a good travel insurance. Do some research and see which one suits you better, but just don’t travel without insurance. You never know what can happen when you’re on the road.
4. Don’t forget to take your shots!
Do your research and see what necessary shots you need to take. Getting the twinrix shots are always a good thing for example. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends you as well.
5. You will make plenty of mistakes
It’s easy to get stressed out when we travel and book the wrong flights or something like that. You will make plenty of mistakes when you travel and that’s okay. You just have to learn to deal with it and make the best of the situation. Just don’t stress yourself up about it too much. See it as another experience in your life and know that you’re not the only one who’s doing these mistakes.
6. Slow down and learn to unwind
We often try to squeeze in so much in our itinerary that it sometimes feels overwhelming. We want to see everything there is to see, but in a limited amount of time. We don’t allow ourselves to just relax and unwind, which is exactly how a vacation should be – taking time off. Yes, it might be tempting to cross off another country on your list, but it won’t benefit you. You’ll just be stressed out and not be able to enjoy wherever you are.
7. Take a lot of videos and photos, but don’t let it be the sole reason for why you travel
Videos and photos are a way of us to remember our trip and to share our trip with others. With photos, you can remember the people and places forever. It’s the ultimate souvenir that you can bring with you forever. Just don’t let it be the sole reason for why you’re traveling. Instead, travel to a place because you really want to see it and capture the moment by snapping a photo or video. Just make sure to enjoy the view!
8. Break out of your comfort zone
Traveling gives us an excellent opportunity to try things that we perhaps normally wouldn’t do – such as bungy jumping. I remember in New Zealand when I had the chance to bungy jump and just thinking about it gave me such anxiety. But I also really wanted to do it. So I broke out of my comfort zone, did it and I’m so proud of myself for doing it. Although bungy jump is quite extreme, you can always just do things such as hike more for example or try surfing for the first time. Perhaps you feel uncomfortable traveling solo? Just go for it! You’ll see how easy and fun it is. You’ll learn so much about yourself this way.
9. Always be open minded
Embrace new cultures, possibilities, new opinions, etc. Even if you don’t agree with other people’s opinion, listen. Don’t judge before you’ve spoken to someone or visited a country. Always keep an open mind and be friendly towards locals. Don’t expect everyone to know English either. I was actually traveling around with a friend in South America and she complained about people not being able to understand English, which baffled me.
10. Don’t be scared to get off the beaten track
Some of the best memories I’ve had was when I decided to get off the beaten track. I’ve gotten to see so many incredible places, met friendly locals that became my friends and learnt that sometimes the most unexpected places are the most beautiful ones. But also be smart about where you go! Some travelers I’ve met think that getting off the beaten track means getting to the most unsafe places in the world. You don’t really have to do that to see hidden places. Be smart about where you’re going!