This is a re-post from CheapOair’s blog: http://cheapoair.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/ten-tips-for-backpackers/
Traveling abroad excites most of us, but it can be difficult to read situations in another country, with its different languages and customs. So, whether you’re a young traveler or a retiree, there are a few more things apart from passport, tickets and packing your bags, you should do to make your trip as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible.
1. Research your destination: Before you depart, it’s a good idea to do some research on your destination and make sure you have the necessary documentation and items you need. Collect all the necessary information on the safety and security situation of your destination.
2. Travel light: For reliability and ease, a backpack is still the best friend of those interested in budget travel’s. But don’t pack what you don’t need. There is nothing worse than lugging around a cumbersome pack while trying to find a place to stay. Whatever you think you’re missing, you’ll certainly be able to buy it on the road.
3. Beat up your pack: This might sound a little crazy, but if your backpack looks as though it has been around the block a few times, would-be thieves are more likely to avoid it. They’re bound to go for the brand spanking new pack next to yours which they’ll think contains lots of expensive high-tech gizmos.
4. Don’t over-plan: The basic rule for backpacking is to be as flexible as possible. You’re bound to meet new friends on the road, so don’t plan your route too far in advance. That said, booking a hostel bed for the first few nights in a new city is a good idea. As for the rest, be spontaneous and have fun!
5. Wear comfy shoes: Comfortable shoes are a must! But they’re bulky and awkward to carry, so limit what you take — perhaps just a good pair of lace-up boots or trainers for hiking and a casual pair of sandals. And don’t forget your flip-flops — they’re a must-have for public showers.
6. Don’t carry too much cash: Never carry huge amounts of cash. Beside the possibility that you could be robbed, you may simply lose it. So if possible only carry a couple of days’ worth of money, kept in small denominations. Take a variety of money options such as credit card, some cash and perhaps some travelers’ cheques. And whatever you do, don’t keep all your money in the one place.
7. Sleep on it: Money belts are great for concealing your cash and passport. But if you’re worried about someone swiping it while you sleep (or even if you’re not), keep it in your sleeping bag or tuck it in your pillow case. It’s unlikely any thief would be brave enough to look for it there!
8. Keep a travel journal: Unfortunately, memories fade with time. So keeping a travel journal is a wonderful way of recording your activities, storing photos and mementos and collecting information to share with others when you get home.
9. Take a guide: While a guidebook certainly shouldn’t be considered the “Bible”, they do give extensive rundowns on accommodation, transport and sightseeing and also offer heaps of information to help make backpacking easy. If nothing else, reading your guide will help pass the time while you wait for the next bus.
10. Get connected: With Internet cafes sprouting up like mushrooms in almost every city and backwater town around the world, it has never been easier to stay in touch. Not only is it vital to have a few regular contacts at home who can keep tabs on you, but they’re great places to meet fellow travelers.