Backpacking holidays are becoming more popular with travellers from all around the world. They used to be purely the domain of gap year students and budget holidaymakers who had no other option but to ‘slum it’ around countries where they could enjoy a cheap trip.
Today, people from all backgrounds enjoy backpacking holidays. It didn’t take long for everyone else to realise that backpackers were having relatively cheap trips in some of the most exotic locations around the world, from South East Asia down to Australia and New Zealand, as well as throughout Europe and South America.
What are the essential elements of any backpacker holiday that will ensure a memorable trip, whether you travel solo or with family members or friends?
You probably look at a backpacker holiday and think getting around is easy, you just walk or pick up public transport to get from one location to another, and perhaps even hitchhike. All of those are fine, so long as you have a plan that isn’t going to see you stranded in a remote location.
Consider other options, too. Relocation campervans are widely available in Australia and New Zealand, meaning you could potentially see more of the country free of charge.
Vehicle hire is also a great idea because it maintains an element of flexibility. How annoying is it to discover somewhere you would love to spend some time exploring only to realise you need to head to the airport?
A backpacking trip isn’t one where you can simply pack your best Bermuda shorts and t-shirts and look forward to hot weather at all times. You do get that, of course, but the trade-off with heading to some of the most beautiful and exotic places is that it will rain sometimes. And when it rains, believe me it rains.
The trick is to ensure you have a range of clothes that will serve you well on your trip. Remember you will be able use laundry facilities in hostels, too. When it rains, it will still be steaming hot, so a thin waterproof coat and trousers will do the trick. Malaysian rainforest in a khaki parka is not a good look.
There is no need to over-plan when heading on a backpacking holiday. Instead, take a small ‘micro tent’ so if for some reason better accommodation isn’t available you’ll always have somewhere to sleep. Sometimes, not knowing where you’re staying is part of the adventure, so rather than make any bookings, take the tent but also have an idea of where the best hostels are in each area.
A Backpacker Job
This is one for the old-school backpacker, such as the student or the budget traveller. A backpacking trip is not the same if you don’t spend a few days working on a farm, or in a café, to earn a little extra money during your trip.
As well as the financial help, you’ll have a great time and meet potentially thousands of new people, some of whom may even be heading the same way as you.