Travel With Mates

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Your Basic Backpacking Questions Answered

If you’re thinking of heading off travelling for a few months or more, there are many factors you’ll need to take into consideration. From packing dilemmas, to the fear of being so far away from home – there are many questions you might have. For instance, how will you pack for varying climates? How will you fit your worldly goods into one (albeit back-breaking) rucksack? Should you try every local delicacy going? Here at Travel With Mates, we thought we’d help out any potential wanderers by compiling a list of handy hints and tips.

Take your CV
Regardless of whether you’re planning on getting a job abroad, you never know when you might need a CV. For off-the-cuff opportunities or potential change in plans – have it on you! We’d advise taking both an electronic and some paper copies – after all, walking into a bar and saying you’ll email it in later just isn’t practical.

Take a basic health kit
Travelling increases your likelihood of getting sick. With all those people crammed into hostels and public places means you’re likely to pick up bugs and germs all over the shop – so be smart and pack the essentials. Things like general painkillers, diarrhoea meds for the dreaded dodgy tummy and hand sanitising gel are always going to come in handy. Another great tip is earplugs, an often forgotten item but one that could save you from any dreaded sleepless nights; hostels aren’t the quietest of places.

Less is more
You’re probably tempted to pack the entire contents of your underwear drawer, but trust us when we say: don’t! The best strategy is undoubtedly wash-as-you-go; take a few pairs that you can rotate and hand wash with detergent. Furthermore, keep the same mindset when it comes to clothes. Basic is best, and you can always pick things up along the way if you need to. A good test to go by is, if you’re doubting whether you’ll need it, chances are you probably won’t!

Leave the valuables at home
You might be thinking of taking your fancy smart phone, tablet, iPod or watch (or all of the above), but you’d actually be well advised to leave these types of valuables at home. For one, they could make you more of a target for thieves, but also – they are easy to damage or lose, and frankly it’s just not worth the hassle. Buy a cheap phone you can top up, and use cheap and accessible internet cafe’s for emails home. Simple!

Plan in advance
One of the greatest things about backpacking is its ad-hoc, spontaneous nature; however, it is smart to think about a plan before you leave home. For example, are you going to be travelling within one country for a long period of time? Why not pre-buy a train pass? These tickets allow you to travel anywhere and everywhere with just a one-off payment. Furthermore, make sure you’re well equipped with maps. You might find you’re tempted to pay over the odds on cab fares abroad, but if you’ve got a detailed map, you can always check to see whether it would be quicker – and not to mention cheaper – to walk or take an alternative mode of transport.

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