Monday, April 18, 2011

10 tips for backpacking - by MAS Traveller

An article by MAS traveller with my own take of it!
Here's the original extract -

10 tips for backpackers
You, a bag and the world at your feet. The adventure of a lifetime awaits.

No matter where you’re trekking off to, these few simple measures will ensure a safe, savvy trip.

1. The bag
While backpacking is all about thrifty travel, the one thing you shouldn’t stinge on is your bag. The key to choosing one that’s right for you comes down to comfort – usually, unless you’re doing heavy lifting, it shouldn’t be more than 4500 CUI (cubic inches). Also, buy yours from a reputable maker – shoddy workmanship or material will tear only too easily.

Its not just about size. The weight of the bag does matter! Most haversacks weighs about 1.8kg to 2.5kg. Imagine thats dead weight that you are carrying!
For me in the order of most important to least important:
1. Comfort
2. Light
3. Price
And thankfully I found one which fits all 3 criteria for me!

2. Packing essentials
Every traveler should have these:
• Flip flops: A must-have for use in those communal showers
• Pillowcases
• Extra wallet: Pickpockets are in backpacker inns. Dividing your money into different wallets reduces the risk of losing everything should you become a victim
• Wet wipes: A shower may not always be available
• Space saver bags: Available at camping stores, these allow more to be bundled into a small space

I have gone without pillowcases when staying in hostels. Instead be prepared! Research for more information about the hostel, read the reviews, check around with friends - all these is just to find a clean, good and affordable hostel to stay in! (with shower facilities!)

3. The cash stash
The general rule of thumb is to have enough currency to get you through 2 or 3 days. The rest of your journey can be covered by a series of travelers cheques.

Most places takes credit cards too! Check in advance.... best is if the accomodation takes credit card then its one chunk of cash down....

4. Packing smart
Roll clothes instead of folding them to avoid wrinkles. Pack zip-lock bags to seal used socks and shoes in. Medication and important documents should always be carried on you, not in checked-in luggage. When packing, stack in chronological order, with what you’ll need first at the top of your bag.

All the heavy stuffs should be close to your back! Sleeping items at the bottom. If you are traveling in a cold places make sure your jackets/wind breaker and fleece are all easily accessible...

5. Travelling wallet
It goes without saying that your wallet and travel documents should always be with you at all times. Never stuff them in your backpack. And, always have copies of your travel document – a set on you and a set in your backpack.

And a photograph with you in case you need to apply for emergency visas etc...

6. Keep a travel journal
All those memories you collect along the way can be stored with free mobile apps. On the iPhone, ‘Off Exploring’, ‘GPS Log Lite’ and ‘Daily Tracker Lite’ are available.

Fully agreed but then I myself have not started this yet! I am sure that this will be a great tool!

7. ‘Ruin’ your stuff a little
The newer your stuff looks, the tastier it is to a thief. Wear in your shoes and wear out your bag before your trip. Looking like a seasoned traveler will also deter thieves. On long train or bus rides, sleep on your pack.

Becareful of pick pockets too! They are more professional than you think you are! Important documents should never be in your back pack nor in your day pack. A pouch is good but it makes you looking like a tourist!

8. Make your presence heard
At least one person at home should always know where you are. Keep a mobile number on you with clear instructions that it is your in-case-of-emergency-contact and always send an email from every destination you arrive at.

9. Don’t be a good Samaritan
Never offer or accept to carry anything for anyone – it’s the cardinal rule of travel, perhaps more so when backpacking. Backpacking tends to become a very communal activity with many friendships forged along the way. However, proper care must always be taken.

Do not take taxis with other backpackers too just to save costs! Travel on the public transport if you are alone. One can never be too safe!

10. Safety in numbers
The bigger the travel group, the better. But, if you’re travelling solo, any friends made along the way is always useful. Avoid travelling at night, even if this means you save money on one night’s accommodation.

If you are traveling with a group, the night travels are great! You can always watch out for each other and save the night's accomodation and most importantly save precious traveling times.

No comments:

Post a Comment