Travelling/Backpacking Tips

I’m going to be travelling for around 7 or 8 months so will pick up a few things along the way which hopefully will help future travellers. I will also write a quick summary for each country i visit so search for travelling tips on the homepage.  I saw a few myself before I left so hopefully these can help:

Contacts:

  • Get in touch with anybody you may know whether it is a relatives friends or old school friend. Getting local information is invaluable and can save you money and time. Also having a local tour guide is great and the majority of the time they will be more than happy to show you about and possibly even have a place for you to crash. 

Phone:

  • if your in one country for a month or more get a local sim card. This means you can get in touch with local people and places cheaply and you don’t pay through the roof for using your home number.
  • Second to this you can use apps like hostelworld to find cheap hostels and then ring the hostel and book over the phone. This way you cut out paying third party website fees and if you need to cancel at short notice you can without being charged.
  • Finally make sure the phone is unlocked or you will have to pay to get it unlocked on arrival. 

Packing:

  • no whites as after a few washes they won’t be so white anymore! 
  • It’s better to have more layers than big bulky jumpers. They take up less room and weigh less.
  • Vests, I was apposed to wearing these before going away but you sweat less in them so you don’t have to wash them as much.
  • Rather than throwing T-shirts away that you don’t use because its to hot. Cut the sleeves off of them and turn them into a vest.
  • Less is more, you will be able to get a couple of days out of some clothes depending on the weather.
  • Most hostels have washing and drying facilities so I reckon a weeks worth of clothes is good enough. You will buy things along the way as well so will come back with more clothes.
  • Micro fibre towels are the way forward, admittedly they don’t dry as well as a nice fluffy cotton towel but they don’t take up much room and dry quickly.
  • If your planning on camping take a multi tool they can be handy for opening beer bottles to cutting bread.
  • Take a compact sleeping bag, ideal for camping and some hostels are freezing so sleeping bags make sure of a good night’s sleep.
  • Get a multi USB plug, most electricals are USB and plugs are few and far between in hostels so this way you can charge multiple things with one plug, also save a space.

Planning:

  • I love to plan but soon realised that all plans go out of the window once you get away but it’s good to have a rough idea of how long you want to stay in places if your pushed for time.
  • Have an idea of what you want to see and where as once you get to a place you know some of what is on offer.
  • Some activities get booked up quick so if you can try and book more popular activities in advance and you might save some money.
  • Visas, make sure you know what visas you need as you don’t want to get to a border and be stuck somewhere waiting for a visa.

Hostels:

  • Look for hostels that offer free breakfast or dinner as this can save a lot of money.
  • If you want Internet make sure they offer free WiFi as lots charge.
  • Check reviews before of possible lonely planet guides or trip advisor are the best.
  • COOK! it took me a while to figure this one out but you can eat like a king if you buy your own food especially if you cook for more than one.

Money:

  • Make sure you find a good card before you go currently the Norwich and Peterborough card gives you free overseas cash withdrawals. You just have to put £500 into the account a month so you can set up a standing order to put in one day and take out the next.
  • Some credit cards such as the Halifax clarity don’t charge for oversea purchases. One error I made was quitting my job and then looking into cards. Make sure you get the card whilst you still have an income or they won’t give you one no matter how much savings you have.
  • These two cards above make a great combination and you shouldn’t really have to pay any fees to use your money, just be careful of ATM’s that charge.
  • Try and go for ATM’s attached to banks rather than ones in stores as they tend to not charge.
  • My card has a withdrawal limit of £250 per day in England. But if you time it right you can withdraw £500 in one day due to the time difference (for example 11:30am in NZ is 11:30pm in England so you can make a withdrawal at this time and then another just over half an hour later).