Backpacking Travel Advice

Backpacking Travel Advice: Planning and Packing Essentials

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Hey, everybody, I Have traveled to many countries so in this post I am going to share a few tips for Backpacking Travel Advice: Planning and Packing Essentials.

Backpacking Travel Advice: Planning and Packing Essentials

It is a super-easy way to be able to travel for cheap and prioritize experiences over spending a ton of money. I have been backpacking through dozens of countries over the span of many years. I absolutely love it. I’m a total advocate for it. And I’ve learned a lot along the way in terms of just general travel advice. So I’m going to share that travel advice with you today.

1: Airport Luggage Lockers:

Airport Luggage Lockers

The first tip I have for this video is about luggage lockers at major international airports. These are super convenient if you want to schedule a long layover in another country so that during your layover you can go out and tour that country as well.

The luggage lockers allow you to store your baggage safely at the airport so that you don’t have to carry it around as you’re roaming around the city. So for example, a few years back, I went to Morocco with one of my best friends.

And on my way back from Morocco, I scheduled a long layover in Spain. So I was able to store my bags in the luggage locker that was located in the international airport in Madrid and that enabled me to be able to go out and explore a ton of places in Madrid without having to carry my backpack with me.

If you want to plan for a long layover in a city so that you can leave your stuff in the luggage lockers there and go explore the city, you want to do some research before you actually make it to that city to ensure that one – they do actually have luggage lockers, but then also, where those lockers are located.

It’s helpful if you write this information down on your itinerary or keep it somewhere actually, physically written down because if you get to that location and you don’t have WiFi service or you don’t have any ability to be able to look on the internet to try to do the research at that point to find where the luggage lockers are located, if you have pre-planned to store your stuff there, then you already know which terminal the luggage lockers are located in, so you can go there.

I will say about luggage lockers, they’re basically always going to be located outside of the terminal. So you’re going to have to leave the secure area. And when you come back, and pick up your bags, you’re going to have to go through security again. So make sure that you plan, in terms of timing, for getting through that security line.

2: International Driver’s Permit:

International Driver's Permit

The second piece of advice International driver’s permits If you’re planning on renting a car in a foreign country, you want to do some research beforehand to see whether or not that country is going to require you to have an international driver’s permit.

Now, if you live in America, these are super easy to get. I usually always go to AAA to get mine. You can get it on AAA.com if you have some leeway time. You just fill out the application form online. It costs twenty dollars. You submit it. And they’ll mail you back your international driver’s permit. If you’re crunched for time, you can go into a brick and mortar AAA shop, and they can do it on site.

These international driver’s permits are good in over one hundred and fifty countries and they last for twelve months. I’m not sure how many people actually know about international driver’s permits. I only learned about it because I was in a situation where I was driving in a country and all I had was my U.S. driver’s license, and I got pulled over at a checkpoint and I didn’t have my international driver’s permit and I got fined for it.

So I learned my lesson from that. And on that Morocco trip that I mentioned before, I got an international driver’s permit before I went on the trip, and again, when I was driving in Morocco, I got pulled over at a checkpoint but I was able to present my international driver’s permit and I was let go. No problem at all. Another thing, if you’re going to be driving in a foreign country, you’re going to want to have car insurance. Most U.S. policies don’t have international driving as a standard provision of their plan. So it might be something you have to add on. But in a lot of countries, it is illegal to drive without insurance.

3: Staying Connected While Overseas:

Staying Connected

The third piece of advice involves staying connected with your friends and family back home while you’re abroad. Nowadays, so long as you have internet access, staying connected with your friends and family should not be a limiting factor for you or something that you really need to worry about all that much.

If you’re going on a short trip, my advice would be to turn your phone on airplane mode which will ensure that you’re not being charged for data overseas. U.S. international calling plans are ridiculously priced. It is a major gripe for me because there is absolutely no reason why it costs so much to make an international phone call in the United States. Other countries do it so much cheaper. I literally cannot think of a reason why it is so expensive. You do not have to pay for that.

I never have and I’m going to tell you how to get around it. If you have Apple products, so if you have an iPhone and the person you’re trying to connect with has an iPhone too or maybe an iPad, even, then you can still connect with each other using iMessage and FaceTime. FaceTime doesn’t have to be a video call. You can do FaceTime audio, too.

And that’s one way to be able to make calls essentially for free because all you’re using is the internet and if you’re connecting to the WiFi and turning your cellular data off, then you’re not going to have to pay for it, and neither is the person who you’re calling. If you don’t have an Apple product, or even if you do but you’re having trouble using iMessage or FaceTime, or you’re trying to connect with somebody who does not have an Apple product, there are other applications that you can use like WhatsApp – that’s the main one that I use where it still allows you to have texting capabilities and also make phone calls all using internet connection.

So again, you’re not being charged for the texts or the calls and neither is the person that you’re contacting. Now, let’s say that you want to call a business. If the business has a toll-free number, like a 1-800 number, then if you call them via Skype, that call is going to be free. But what if you want to call a business that doesn’t have a toll-free number? For that, I usually just end up using Skype. Skype calling credits are pretty cheap.

Even five dollars can get you a very long way in terms of actual minutes that you can talk. If you’re going to end up staying in the country for longer — So, I’m talking like a matter of months — then you might want to look into getting an actual phone number in that country even if it’s just so that you can contact emergency services, if you need. Each country differs in how they establish calling plans. I’ve been in countries where I’ve had to sign contracts to be able to get an international sim card.

But then I’ve also been in countries where I can just go to a convenience store [and] buy a sim card. I don’t have to sign a contract at all. So it really all just depends. But if you are going to live in a country that requires you to sign a contract to be able to get a local phone number, just be aware that that contract might be in the country’s language. So for instance, when I was living in Kyrgyzstan, I remember signing the contract, but the contract was all in Russian. So keep that in mind. If you’re the type of person who usually does read the contract — like me — then… well… you might have trouble.

4: Keeping a Journal:

Keeping a Journal

The fourth piece of advice I have for you is a pretty invaluable one if we’re talking long term, and that is keeping a journal of some sort. Now I’ll admit I am absolutely horrible when it comes to keeping up with journals. But when I am traveling, I do at least make a concerted effort to try to sit down every evening just for twenty minutes, at least, and jot down my impressions from the day.

So I’m talking, what you did during the day, any experiences that stuck out to you, any type of interaction that might have changed your perspective on something, things like that. I guarantee you — If you think that you are going to write these things down when you get home, you are probably not going to write these things down when you get home.

But more so, you are going to forget the details a lot more quickly than you think. So keep a journal. And you don’t have to do, like, a paper and pen type of journal. Honestly, I don’t do that because that just even more work for me to keep up with. I use an application called Day One Journal. I like Day One Journal because it’s quicker for me to type than it is for me to write.

Also, Day One Journal has the ability to sync across all of my different devices. So even if I’m out on the go and I need to jot something down on my cell phone, I can still do that and then come home and elaborate on those thoughts using my iPad. However you want to do it, it really doesn’t matter. Bottom line: Just get it done. Keep a journal. You will regret not having kept a journal for years to come.

5: In-Country Transportation:

In-Country Transportation

The fifth piece of advice: In-country transportation. Let’s say that you’re planning your trip and you want to be able to visit different parts of the country that are not geographically close to each other. How do you get around? The first place that I look when I’m trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B is a website called Rome2Rio. They also have an application that you can download for your phone or your tablet. Rome2Rio allows you to input your origin city and your destination city and they’ll pull up all of the different modes of transportation that are available to you so that you can pick whichever one is best for you.

They’ll also include the estimated amount of money that it’s going to cost you to travel by each mode of transportation. So for instance, how much it’s going to cost you in gas to travel by car, or how much a train ticket is going to be. But what’s convenient about the website is that they usually provide the official links to the places where you would need to make the reservations. So I’m talking, like, the bus station or the train station. So that way, directly through the website or the application, you can link to the official website where you can make your own reservations.

If you’re traveling to two locations that are very far apart, then consider using domestic airports. That’s an option for you, too. Otherwise, you can travel by train or car but it’s just going to take you a lot longer. Though, if you travel by train or by car, you’ll be able to see a lot more of the countryside.

And the last thing that I’ll say about transportation — If, when you’re planning your trip, you realize that you want to travel to a bunch of different cities in the country and you’re starting your trip at one end of the country but you’re ending it at a separate end of the country, you can always plan your trip so that you’re flying into one international airport but then flying out from another international airport. It’s an easy adjustment to make while you’re doing your booking. Just make sure you look for that option.

BONUS: SAY YES!:

SAY YES

And so finally, I promised you a bonus tip and here it is: Just say yes. Unless it is something that is truly an absolute no-go because of a high risk of death or loss of eyesight or limb, just say yes. If it’s something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone or something that you would have never thought to do yourself, then say yes. Some of my most amazing travel memories have come from doing exactly that — just blindly saying yes to something that I otherwise would probably not have done on my own. Now, mind you, some of my worst travel memories have come from doing the exact same thing. So there’s always going to be a bit of a gamble there. But no matter what, however that ends up going for you, you’re still going to have an amazing memory of this crazy thing that you did when you visited this unforgettable place. So say yes. That’s All For This Blog.

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