I've been lucky enough to do a bit of traveling in my life. It's always been a passion of mine and a lifetime goal to see the world. While I have nowhere near the travel experience I wish I had, or the experiences I had planned to have by my age, I've done enough to be able to come up with a few helpful tips & tricks. Below, you'll find my A to Z guide to backpack traveling. Enjoy!
A - Apartments. Look for them instead of hotels. We stayed in a lovely little apartment in Cinque Terra which cost about the same and allowed us to cook our own meals.
B - Book ahead. When I backpacked Europe, I didn't get to see the Alhambra in Spain or any museums in Florence because we didn't book anything.
C - Clif bars make great travel snacks on the go, especially if you're worried about not liking local food.
|...or, ya know, a bag of carrots can make for good snacking, too.|
D - Diva Cups are a must for traveling; no need to pack a big box of tampons!
E - Electronics - keep them in Ziplock bags just in case!
F - Flashcards! Make a few little cards with basic questions and statements if you're traveling somewhere that you don't know the language. Wish I'd had these in Spain & Italy!
G - Gravol. I'd never gotten car sick before going to Thailand. I'm so thankful my friend had Ginger Gravol!
H - Hide some cash. I've never done this but it's a great idea to put at least $20 in an empty lip balm tube discretely tucked away.
I - Inform the bank that you're leaving the country so they don't put a stop on your account if they think there's suspicious activity.
J - Journal your trip, even if it's only making a list of what you did every day and the places you visited & stayed. You'll appreciate it later.
K - Know your camera before you go on your trip! Test out the nighttime settings, different "modes", etc.
|Played w/ my cool colour settings to make this fruit pop!|
L - Laundry. You can get multi-purpose soap for dishes, laundry and washing that's super concentrated and handy. You can also get little clothes lines with suction cups on each end. These turned out to be really handy when I needed some clean undies in Thailand.
M - Mesh bags - These little laundry bags from the dollar store are the best way to organize your backpack.
N - Numbers. Write down important numbers & put them in your wallet - anything from your travel insurance company to the hotels you booked.
O - Opt for local transportation like tuc-tucs and street cars!
|I'm a fan of boats, too.|
P - Peanut butter - Bring it if you're traveling in Europe. Breakfast is expensive and peanut butter is hard to find! Slap some on a piece of bread and you're ready to go!
Q - Quick & easy vacation memories & home decor in one! Find yourself a really big vase or even a jar to display some postcards you sent yourself while on vacation with the best memory of the day/week written on it.
R - Reviews... read them! Especially if you're booking from hostels.com!
S - Scarves & sarongs. Bring one or two. They can make any outfit feel nicer and can be useful in situations where you need to dress modestly like when visiting a temple in Thailand.
T - Train station closing times. My friends and I got stuck in a sticky situation in Nice, France where the train station was closing for the night (weird, eh?!) but we didn't know that and had expected to just sit around the station till our morning run.
U - Undies in your carry-on... just in case your bag gets lost.
V - Voluntourism. Going on trips with Habitat for Humanity were some of the greatest experiences of my life!
|On a Habitat trip in Poland|
W - Washroom kits. Make one with a bit of toilet paper and sanitizer to carry around with you. In Thailand, I encountered many a squatty potty with no tp or soap in sight.
X - Xerox all of your important documents, especially your passport, and keep them separate from the originals.
Y - Yves Rocher 2-in-1 Cleanser + Toner... I love it. So quick! No rinsing, just put it on!
Z - Zzzzzzzz! Eye mask & earplugs are a must, especially if you're staying in a large hostel room!