Backpacking Tips

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Backpacking, when Googled, means to travel carrying one's belongings in a backpack. It involves carrying said backpack for a long period of time, using public transportation to get from one place to another, and lodging in inexpensive forms of accommodations. It's different from the usual trips with organized tours and staying at luxurious hotels. Backpacking can be both exciting and challenging. 

Personally, it was a challenge for me in terms of packing because I don't really "pack light". So when I was planning my backpacking trip five months ago, it was a struggle. Another challenge was budgeting my expenses while maximizing the trip. I wanted to see all the sights while spending as little as possible. But of course, I managed. So here are some tips that I can give you, as learned from my own experience.

Plan.
While the fun part of backpacking comes in spontaneity, it is always good to have a plan. When visiting multiple cities, provinces or towns, plan the order that you want to visit these places and plan how many days you will stay in them. This will help you budget your time when going on tours. Planning the places that you will be visiting will also help you in packing. For example, if you will be going to somewhere with a nice beach or waterfalls, then it would be best to bring swimwear.

Research.
This is the most important part of backpacking. Research the tourist spots that you can visit in a certain place. Check for activities that you can do such as cliff-diving, snorkeling, surfing, or ATV rides. This will help you get the most out of your trip. Check for transportation fares, tour fees, and entrance fees, to help you estimate your expenses. This is to ensure that you have enough money on the road. Check the location via Google Maps if there are nearby convenience stores and ATMs, just in case. It's always good to know these things. Read travel blogs to help you map out your itinerary. Research on the best places to eat so you can get a taste of the local cuisine. 

Pack light.
This was the most difficult for me. I guess it was because my kaartehan came into play. I didn't want to be seen wearing the same clothes again and again in photos. For clothes, here's a helpful list of what to bring: one cardigan or jacket, two sweaters, three plain shirts in black, white, and gray, two walking shorts, two tank tops, two dri-fit shirts, two dri-fit shorts, at least one set of swimwear, a pair of flip flops, and a pair of sneakers. Trust me, this is good enough for a two-week trip but you have to do laundry at least once during the trip. Of course, don't forget to bring underwear. For towel, bring a micro-fiber one - the ones that absorb really well and dry out really fast. Also, pack a smaller bag that you can use for when you're going on tours. A waterproof one would be better. When packing, roll your clothes tightly and put them inside a zip lock bag to compress them. Also, re-pack your toiletries in smaller bottles and your makeup in tiny containers. Contact lens cases are great for this.  

Be friendly with the locals.
Say "hi" to them. Be polite when asking. Thank them. Get them to teach you basic words and phrases in their dialect. Ask them about their culture. Ask them about the best places to try local cuisine. You will learn a lot from locals. Also, if you're traveling solo, it would be nice to have some company once in a while.
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