Making the decision to travel is the best thing I’ve ever done. I already felt the first day of our great adventure that I was so happy and that the backpacking life suited me perfectly. I love to experience new things, new places, new cultures and to meet new people.
Are you also thinking about backpacking in Asia? Or anyplace else in the world for that matter. Here are some tips to help you along the way and to help you with your preparations.
1. Do not over plan things! The worst thing you can do as a backpacker is to plan your trip too much. You will meet so many lovely people along the way who share cool and beautiful places they’ve been to. We never plan more than a week ahead just to not be to held back by set dates and destinations. Create an approximate route with which countries you want to visit, but do not plan too much for each country. Be spontaneous!
2. Do not pack too much! There is nothing worse than having to carry around a heavy backpack for several months. You do not need a lot of things and you can make do with a minimalistic wardrobe. You can wash your clothes in the sink and there are laundry places everywhere that will wash your stuff for almost no money at all.
3. Here are a few things we would survive without: An extension cord with multiple outlets, antibacterial wipes, our own toilet paper in the bag we bring on our day trips (also the bag we use as a carry-on), mosquito repellent, a ticket case where we can keep all of our important papers and documents in one place, motion sickness pills!
4. Save money by booking rooms with fan only and without AC. We’ve done excellent without AC and we’re really saving a lot of money skipping it. You get used to the heat quickly and it is always cooler in the evenings and nights.
5. If you are traveling for a long time and don’t have a tight scedual, I would really recommend you to skip the airplane rides and travel by bus and train instead. It takes longer but it’s so much cheaper. We usually travel with night buses and night trains, which allows you to sleep all the way and also save you money by not having to pay for a hotel for one night. It’s worked great for us so far, and you won’t believe how easy it is to find good transportation options between all the locations in Southeast Asia.
6. Calculate an approximate budget before you leave so that you know how much money you can spend. It’s good to have an idea of how much you can spend everyday on food, drinks, hotels/hostels and so on!
7. Follow different travel blogs and travel vloggers on YouTube to get as much tips as you can. It’s also a great way to find new destinations!
8. Bring a small bag to take on day trips, preferably a backpack as it is more ergonomic and easier to carry.
9. A waterproof bag or so-called “wet bag” is a must, especially if you are going to travel between the islands of Asia. Whether you travel on water or just walk around and encounter a sudden rainfall, it’s nice to have all your electronics in a waterproof bag. Then you do not have to worry about things being water-damaged.
10. Leave the hair dryer and hair straightener at home, it is too hot to want to use and the hair does whatever it wants anyway because of the humid climate.
11. Always read about the place you are going to and the places to visit. You are in another culture and some things that are completely acceptable at home are not as acceptable here. For example, you have to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees when visiting religious temples and places. Sometimes they let turists with tank tops and shorts in anyway because they don’t want to be rude and tell you that you’re dressed wrong. But it’s incredibly insulting. Always research the places you visit so you can present yourself in the most acceptable and respectful way possible!
12. Do not go on elephant rides. If you do, you’re supporting one of the worst forms of animal abuse. If you want to see the elephants, please visit an elephant sanctuary instead, where there’s no form of abuse going on towards the animals.
13. If someone “bows” to you, put the palms together and bend their heads, do it back to them show respect to the person doing it to you.
14. Do not worry!
15. And as always, if you have any more questions, just leave a comment below!