The Ultimate Guide To The World Of Backpacking Backpacking offers you a chance to see the wonders of the world on a budget…

The Ultimate Guide To The World Of Backpacking

Backpacking offers you a chance to see the wonders of the world on a budget…

Have you always wanted to travel and see the world? Maybe after two years of lockdowns and closed borders, you've decided you want to live a different type of life? Maybe you want to meet new people? Or climb the highest mountains the world has to offer?

Whatever your reason for wanting to get out there and explore, we recommend that you go on a backpacking trip. Why?

Because if you want to meet real locals, experience the communities of the world for how they really are, not get weighed down by checkout dates, and save a little bit of money - backpacking can offer you all of that and more.

Over the last few years, most of us haven't been able to travel. We don't know about you, but we have got seriously itchy feet and are ready to get out there.

If you are in the middle of planning your first backpacking trip, then you have come to the right place. In this guide, you will find tips and tricks for planning your trip, packing for it, and for enjoying it. Let's start with the planning.

Planning Your Trip

There are 7 main things you need to do when

planning your first backpacking trip:

  1. Choose your destination
  2. Choose who you will be traveling with (if anyone)
  3. Decide how long you will be traveling for
  4. Choose if you want to visit just one country or multiple in one trip
  5. Decide if you will be working while you travel
  6. Set up your budget
  7. Pick up any essential items you will need before you leave

These steps aren't small, but we're here to guide you through each one of them.

Remember, that you are planning a trip for yourself, so, don't plan your trip based on other people's criteria. Think about what you want to get out of your trip and what will make the most enjoyable trip for you.

Choose Your Destination

If you are completely lost about where to start planning your backpacking trip, then head over to the end of this article.

There we list the 10 best places to visit on your first trip. We break down what each country has to offer and why you might want to visit it. Most people know exactly where they want to go on their first backpacking trip. You have probably been dreaming about it for years.

But, there are many things you need to consider when planning your first trip. You need to think about when you will be traveling - i.e. you don't want to end up in the Amazon during the rainy season - how much you want to spend on this trip, and what you want to do while you are out there.

Talk to other backpackers, and see where their favorite places to visit were if you are struggling to pick a destination. Once you have picked your location, you are ready to move on to the next step.

Quick Tips

  • Do your research thoroughly before you decide on a destination.
  • Make sure you have plenty of time to apply for a Visa (if necessary).

Solo Or Group Trip?

ice you will need to make is

if you will be traveling alone or with others?

It is generally recommended that women not travel on their own. However, most people under 30 should consider traveling in a group when they can.

There are benefits to traveling alone, like being in control of your own plans and agenda, not having to worry about falling out with the people you are traveling with, and being able to meet new people without having to worry about keeping your friends company.

However, you must weigh up the pros and cons. Traveling in groups is a lot safer and can significantly cut your travel insurance premiums. If you do decide to travel alone then you need to make sure you are checking in with people at home as often as you can.

Quick Tips

  • Take extra precautions if you are planning on traveling alone.
  • Tell someone all of your trip information
  • where you will be staying
  • for how long
  • and always try to keep in contact with others).

Will You Work And Travel?

If you are planning a long or indefinite trip, then you are either going to need to save up a lot of money before you go, or you are going to have to find a way to make money while traveling. Both are possible to do. Countries like Australia offer working visas that will allow you to travel around the country while you work. Working visas will let you stay longer than travel ones. There are many different types of jobs you can do while backpacking:

  • Teaching English
  • Au Pairing
  • Tour Guide   
  • Bar Work
  • Fruit Picking
  • Cruise Work
  • Chauffeuring
  • Freelancing
  • Professional Photography
  • And more…

Quick Tips

  • Long trips can be made less stressful by picking up work to get a little bit of extra cash
  • Work visas usually last longer than travel visa

Your Finances

Once you know whether you are planning to work while you travel, you will need to take a closer look at your finances.

Knowing how much money you will be traveling with and how much money you have to spend on a day-to-day basis is essential. You do not want to run out of money while backpacking in another country.

You don't want to travel with a lot of physical cash on you, so make sure you set up a travel bank account before you go. This will allow you to use ATMs without paying extortionate fees every time.

If you are traveling for 6 months or more, you might even want to consider setting up a bank account in the country you plan to backpack around. You will need a long-term address to do this.


  • Create a daily budget for yourself.
  • Save as much money as you can before your trip.
  • Always have an emergency fund.

Get Your Essentials Sorted Out

You do not have to plan every single minute of your day before you leave, but you should get some essential parts of your trip planned before you leave.

For example, you should get all of your travel arrangements sorted before you leave. You should also sort as much of your accommodation out beforehand. Pre-book popular activities you want to do, or at least check to see if you have to book in advance.

You would be surprised by how many mountains there are where you need to book before you climb.

If you are on any sort of medication you are going to need to work out how you will get hold of it while you are out there. Or you need to take enough with you to last you the whole trip.

We also recommend that you take out travel

insurance before you leave. If you get hurt, your medical bills could drain your whole budget and cut your trip short. It is best to be prepared.

Quick Tips

  • Make sure you have somewhere safe in your luggage to store your essential and valuable items
  • If you are traveling for a long time, make sure that you stock up on any medication that you need

Helpful Tips And Tricks

Now, let's look at 12 things every backpacker should know before they set out on their first trip.

1. Travel During Off Seasons

If you want to save money then do not travel during the tourist season. Everything will be more expensive, all the attractions will be full, and you will have to spend a lot of time queuing. Just remember to check when the rainy season is in the country you are going to visit. If the hostel seems far too cheap, it could be because of the bad weather.

2. Make Copies Of Your Passport And Visas

Make copies of every important document that you bring with you and keep them in a separate place from the real items.

That way if you lose one of them, you won't have lost both. You may also want to save copies of the scan to the cloud so you can print them out anywhere in an emergency.

3. Be Mindful Of Your Health

When you first set out on your adventure, it can be tempting to stay up late every night and get up early the next day. All while living on street food and alcohol. If you do this for too long you will burn out and won't be able to enjoy the rest of your trip. Make sure you are drinking enough water, eating enough fruit and vegetables, and getting enough sleep. This is an easy recipe to enjoy your trip.

4. Always Keep Your Backpack Insight

Trust us. Your backpack will be your home for your trip. You don't want to lose it.

5. Stay In Hostels That Offer Free Meals

If you see a hostel that is offering free meals make the most of it. They may not be the tastiest meals in the world - but they're free and will allow you to spend your money elsewhere.

6. Enjoy The Local Culture As Much As Possible

Remember why you are traveling. Take time to talk to the people around you, learn about their lives, and the things they love. Ask them where they think you should visit. We have had some of our best trips after getting advice from locals.

7. Carry A Water Bottle

This is the best way to beat heat stroke.

8. Take As Many Pictures As Possible

This will be an incredible experience and you don't want to forget it. You never know which photos might mean the most to you in 30 years' time.

9. Wash Your Own Clothes

Using the hostel's washing machine can quickly burn through your money, so, if you can wash your own clothes. You can wash them in the shower, or in any clean body of water that you find.

10. Haggle

We don't do a lot of haggling in America, but it is common practice in other parts of the world. When you haggle you let the seller know that you are not a gullible tourist and you won't just pay whatever they ask. Not all sellers are trying to swindle you, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

11. Bring Your Own Toilet Paper Everywhere

This is a mistake that nobody makes twice.

12. Stay Organised

Keep all your documents in a sensible and safe place. Try to keep them in a logical order. Unpack your bag and do an inventory of your belongings when you can. This will make sure that you don't forget or lose anything important.

How To Pack For Your Trip

Worried about packing for your trip? Don't fear, here are 8 tips from someone who has been around the block a few times.

Only Pack Lightweight Clothing

This may sound obvious, but the best way to pack light is to avoid packing anything too heavy. When you are backpacking, it is best to think about practicality over style. Take the lighter t-shirt even if it doesn't look as cool. Don't pack the jean, pack your cotton pants instead.

Pack A First Aid Kit

Some people may think that a first aid kit is a waste of space. We are here to promise you that it is not. If you travel with a first aid kit then you may be able to save someone's life. You never know what might happen on your trip and it is best to be prepared.

Wear Your Heavier Clothing Whilst Travelling

We understand that sometimes heavy clothes are unavoidable when traveling. So, to make the most of your space in your backpack, wear your heaviest clothing when you are moving from place to place. This will allow you to optimize your space. It will be worth overheating for a few hours.

Roll, Do Not Fold!

Folding is a really inefficient way to pack your clothes. Ask any backpacker, solider, or international businessman. Not only will your clothes take up less space if you roll them, but they will also get fewer creases in them while you travel.

Only Pack Essential Toiletries

You will be able to buy toothpaste when you arrive. You will be able to buy shower gel when you arrive. You do not need to travel with a full bottle of mouthwash. As long as you have suncream, aftersun, a toothbrush, and a first aid kit with you then you're good to go. Ladies, you might want to pack sanitary items - these are not always easy to find on the road.

Pack Your Necessities First

If you are worried about not being able to fit everything in your bag then try this trick. Split everything you want to bring into three piles - (a) necessities, (b) would make my life easier if I had it, (c.) I could go without it. Then pack everything in pile A. Then pile B. And then, only if you have space, start packing pile C. As long as you have everything from your necessities pile then you will be just fine.

Limit Your Amount Of Shoes

Only take two pairs of shoes. Take walking boots wherever you go. If you are going somewhere cool then you will want a nice pair of close-toed shoes to wear to parties. You will want to bring a pair of trainers or sandals if you are going somewhere hot.

Pack A Tent

You might decide that you don't want to say in a hostel on your backpacking trip and that you actually want to wild camp. Firstly, you should check that this is legal in the places you are visiting. If it is then you should make sure that you get a high-quality tent that can survive the elements. You should also invest in a thermal sleeping bag.

10 Locations You May Want To Visit

Before we leave you, let's take a look at 10 locations you should visit if you want to go on a backpacking trip.


Thailand is one country spread across multiple islands. Its most popular towns are Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Samui, Krabi, Phuket, and Phi Phi Island. Thailand is the first most popular backpacking destination. It is particularly popular with younger travelers, who choose to explore the country's party destinations as well as enjoy the beautiful scenery. Thailand is full of beautiful beaches, forests, and mountain ranges. If you are interested in learning more about the country's culture then you must visit The White Temple, sample some Oolong, and visit one of the country's many elephant sanctuaries. The Thai are famous for their hospitality, their cooking, and their love for their islands. It is no shock to us that this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.


Australia is the second most popular backpacking destination with most travelers choosing to explore the East Coast - also known as the Gold Coast. If you love beautiful weather, beaches, drinking, and people with a laid-back approach to life then Australia might be the perfect place for you. Australia is a truly amazing country that offers trips to the outback, fascinating metropolitan areas, white sandy beaches, and really good food. You could take a trip out to see the Great Barrier Reef, meet some Koala Bears, and try some of the best Japanese food outside of Japan. Most things are quite expensive out in Australia, so be prepared to spend a little bit more than you would if you were visiting Asia or South America. They speak English in Australia, so it is very popular with Americans going on their first backpacking trips.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a popular destination for slightly older travelers. It is not a big party destination. Instead, it is a relaxing destination with a variety of beaches, mountains, and cultures to be explored. If you like the sound of visiting Thailand but want to go somewhere a little less busy then you should head over to Sri Lanka. It is full of breathtaking views, and unique wildlife, and the locals are always friendly and welcoming. While you are in Sri Lanka you must take a tour of a tea plantation and try freshly picked tea. It is an unforgettable experience. Sri Lanka offers a mix of Chinese, British, and its own architecture to look at. It has a wonderful range of wildlife sanctuaries too.

New Zealand

New Zealand attracts nature lovers and thrill-seekers from around the world. As well as fans of rugby and The Lord Of The Rings. If you have a phobia of spiders then you might want to consider skipping Australia and heading over to New Zealand. New Zealand is made up of two main islands - Te Ika-a-Māui (north) and Te Waipounamu (south). The North Island is generally considered to have better weather and it is where you want to go if you are a surfer. The South Island is a little colder and wetter, but is extremely lush and is the perfect place for wildlife fans to visit.


Over 6 million people visit Cambodia every year. Like many other countries in South Asia, it has its fair share of stunning temples, white-sand beaches, and mouthwatering foods. This country is particularly rich in history and if you love visiting sites of historical interest then you will find no shortage of these in Cambodia. The most notable of course is the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat. Which is the largest religious complex in the world. If you want to visit every temple in Angkor Wat then you are going to need 4-5 days. There are also a great number of places to party in Cambodia.


Malaysia is the 10th most searched country for backpacking trips but is one of Asia's hidden gems. If you love hiking and good food then you are going to want to put it on your travel bucket list. Malaysia is the perfect destination for anyone who is interested in diving, hiking, or both. It has some of the best sites in the world for both of those activities. You must also visit Taman Negara National Park where you can see wild monkeys, deer, boar, butterflies, and much more. There is also an amazing jungle and waterfall walking trail at this park. If you are interested in architecture then Malaysia also has a lot to offer. Like many places across the region, it has been invaded a few times and each of these empires has left behind a series of juxtaposing and bizarre buildings.


Japan is one of the most expensive countries in the world to visit so it's not the best option for backpackers unless you really want to visit the country. Which many people do of course. Japan is a fascinating hybrid of the modern and the traditional world. There really is something for everyone in this country. However, it really is expensive. If you want to travel to Japan then you will need to save up in advance. If you want an experience that truly sums up Japan then head over to Izu Shaboten Zoo. Here you will find native Japanese monkeys bathing in hot springs filled with oranges alongside capybaras. Yes, the same capybaras that are native to South America (not snowy Japan…).


If you love to climb mountains then you are going to want to visit Nepal. Nepal has 8 out of 10 of the largest peaks in the world - including Mount Everest. You can probably see why it is an extremely popular destination for hikers. If you're not a fan of climbing then you might want to make the most of Nepal's white water rafting experiences. Or if you are looking for something altogether more serene then you might want to go visit one of the country's hundreds of temples and shrines. Remember that June to September is the monsoon season, so you will not want to visit the country during these months. The best time to visit is between March and the end of May. The country can offer a lot of what Tibet does, but is a lot safer to visit.


If you are on a tight budget, then you should consider traveling to Vietnam, as it is one of the cheapest countries you can visit. Vietnam might be the ultimate destination for all backpackers. Not only is it one of the most visually impressive countries in the world but it is also cheap. It ticks every box for a backpacking trip. If you love coffee and good food then it really doesn't get much better than Vietnam. The street food and roadside coffee are to die for. If you want to get around the place then we recommend you pick yourself up a motorbike. You can take it out on the amazing ocean drives and even park right next to the beach.


Peru might not be the first place you think to visit - but it has a lot to offer. If you head out to Peru you will be able to explore the Amazon. Its Pacific coast also offers relaxation, surfing, and partying - there is something for everyone. Peru is currently one of the safest South American countries to travel in. It offers an incredible range of biomes despite being a fairly small place. You will want to head over to the amazing city of Lima, as well as surf on the coast, trek through the rainforest, and pick coffee beans on one of the plantations.


If you take the time to prepare properly for your first backpacking trip, you can make it one of the most amazing times of your life. Backpacking may seem a little overwhelming at first. Traveling to a new country, living out of a bag, not knowing anyone, and maybe no one around you knows any English. But don't worry, you will find that you thrive in these conditions. Backpacking offers you the chance to see some of the most beautiful places in the world without the stress or the cost of traditional traveling. It is perfect for young people looking to explore the world for the first time or anyone with an adventurous spirit. If you fully prepare for your trip before you leave, then you will find that most things go smoothly and you are able to cope when things don't. So, what are you waiting for? It's time to back your bag and get out there!