The ultimate in freedom, backpacking is an adventure like no other, but it’s not one that you should be going into lightly. Proper preparation means you will not only enjoy your trip more, but it means you will also get to the end as planned, without running out of money halfway through, or having a problem that could have been avoided if you’d done your research ahead of time.
You need the right insurance
You need do your research properly when it comes to insurance, because a general insurance policy is not going to see you through your trip if you need to claim. Most companies have special backpacker insurance which covers the special requirements of this kind of trip. These policies generally allow you one trip back home during your adventure, and also cover you for staying longer in one particular place, on a flexible basis. Certainly do your research into this and shop around for the best policy.
You need to budget
Sorting out a realistic budget is the only way you’re going to get to the end of your trip with enough money behind you. Ask advice from those who have already done it, don’t embark on your trip until you have enough money saved up, and do a little research into what you’re going to be spending your money on whilst you’re away. Once you set your budget, stick to it.
The pros and cons of a RTW ticket and DIY tickets
Again, this is something you need to look into, because there is no hard and fast rule; what works for one person, might not work for another, and what works for one route, may not work for a different one. You need to price up a RTW ticket, as well as individual tickets for your particular route, and see which one works out cheaper. You also need to read into the small print of any RTW ticket you purchase, because there are restrictions and loop holes depending on where you’re travelling and how.
The best way to carry your money
Don’t be travelling around with huge amounts of cash in your bag, this is a recipe for disaster, so instead look at different ways. Traveller’s Cheques aren’t generally that widely used anymore, so this isn’t the best option, but many travel companies do a card which you can pre-load and carry with you. If you’re planning on using your credit or debit cards whilst you’re away, you also need to make sure you tell your bank of your intentions, to avoid your card being blocked due to suspected fraud. On top of this, look into charges for taking money out of ATM machines overseas.
Do you need any immunisations or anti-malaria medication for the places you’re heading to? You also need to check that your regular immunisations are up to date, and that you have enough of your regular medications with you for the duration of your trip. Any medications should be stored in the labelled box, in your hand luggage at all times.
A successful backpacking trip is all in the planning and research, so if you put enough time into it beforehand, you will be on track to an amazing experience.