For those of you looking for your next great getaway, I've reached out to a peer adventurer and writer, Jason Peterson, to share with you his travel tips for backpacking. Although I'm an outdoors lover with a list of great adventures under my belt, I figured having a second opinion is always a good idea. Enjoy the post, but most importantly let it inspire you to dust off your pack and hit the trails!
Five star hotels and luxury getaways are great, there’s no denying that. But there’s more to travel, and other ways to see the world than just this. Backpacking is a cheap yet incredible way to see the world since you get to see a place beneath the glitz and glamour of tourism and visit places that are off the beaten path. Going backpacking this year, or considering booking a trip? Here’s what you need to do.
Consider your health
One of the first things to think about when you’re considering a backpacking holiday is your physical health. All of the walking can be very demanding, the climate will be different from what you’re used to and you’ll be carrying a heavy pack on your back. If you have any previous injuries or ailments that limit you when it comes to long distance walking then this might not be the trip for you. In other cases, you might just need to work on getting in shape in the months leading up to your travels. Hit the gym, do plenty of cardiovascular activity to give your fitness a boost. Practice incline walking on the treadmill, it will come in handy when you’re walking up mountains. You could even go rambling or hiking in the place where you live to get you prepared physically. Other things to consider with your health are travel vaccinations, depending on where you’re going, the season and other factors you might need immunising against common diseases.
Get the right insurance
Regular travel insurance might not cover you as a backpacker, as there are increased risks of illness and injury. So find a company that will cover you and be sure to read the fine print, you need to know that they’ll pay out if you need to make a claim. Hopefully, nothing will go wrong while you’re away but you never know, any aviation lawyers will tell you that even the unexpected can happen. Don’t overthink it or let it ruin your trip, but do take reasonable precautions and ensure you’re covered if the worst were to happen.
Backpacking alone vs going with a tour
If you’re new to backpacking or are travelling alone, it can be worth going with a group like Trek America- especially for your first visit. You can still explore and get that gritty backpacking experience but you know there’s no risk of getting lost or ending up in some kind of trouble, and you have a tour guide to take you to all of the best places. If you’re a bit more experienced or have your own group to travel with, creating your own route and going it alone might be best. But it’s something to think about.
Think about your Visa
You don’t always need a Visa to travel, but a lot of places you will. Before you hop on that plane, be sure to check in advance what paperwork you’ll need so you can apply with plenty of time to spare. You might well have a million and one other things to think about when you’re planning on living out of a backpack for months on end, but this should be a top priority. You literally will not be able to enter the country without one if it’s required.
**Post contributed by Jason Peterson, a travel writer and outdoors enthusiast from the U.K. Jason is currently in the United States backpacking on the East Coast.**