Backpacking For Beginners!

Backpacking for beginners is a free guide that will teach you how to backpack. We want you to know all the backpacking tips to make sure you get the most from your next adventure!

The awesomeness of backpacking: Okavango Delta- Africa

What Is Backpacking?

Backpacking is travelling with all your belongings in a backpack! But, it is also much more! Backpacking is a way to travel, a way of life while you are on the road. To help you understand the essence of backpacking we will refer to some stereotypes or typical things that are expected of a backpacker. Backpackers are travelers rather than vacationers or holidaymakers  Backpacking is about learning, soaking up new cultures, experiencing new things and living in the moment! 

Backpacking for Beginners - myths: 

  • Backpackers are smelly
  • Backpackers have no money
  • Backpackers are students
  • These myths may apply to some backpackers, but most certainly not all of them! I have been a backpacker on most of my adventures and I pride myself on showering and washing my clothes (often in the hostel sink!)! Gone are the days when backpackers are poor students! I can't emphasise enough that backpacking is a great way to travel; a way to experience and live; a way to meet new people and create adventure!

    Backpacking in India - would't recommend the 'green' bags!

    backpacking: India

    Backpacking for Beginners: Backpacking Accommodation

    Backpacking accommodation is most commonly a hostel. Hostels provide backpackers with all the facilities they need to travel on the road for long periods. It is a place to meet new people and swap stories.

    Common hostel facilities include: 

  • Dorm rooms
  • Private rooms
  • Internet
  • Breakfast
  • Lockers
  • Kitchen
  • 24 hour reception
  • Share or private bathroom facilities
  • Common room
  • Tourist information
  • Tips

    • Not all hostels will include towels or sheets, most will include sheets but be prepared to use your own sleeping bag, or pay a additional charge. Make sure you call ahead and ask. Click here for what to take: backpacking for beginners.
    • Hostels are held accountable for there services and standard of cleanliness by web sites such as hostel world and hostel bookers which encourage backpackers to leave a review. Be sure to check out the reviews but make sure you don't take them all seriously - I'm not sure how the hostel is meant to stop you fellow backpackers from snoring! 
    • Another popular accommodation option for backpackers is couch- surfing. This is a reciprocal program which links people up around the world. The idea is you host backpackers and then when you travel you can stay with someone in the couch-surfing community for free! Couch-surfing requires you to set up a profile and it has many measures in place to keep both the host and the backpacker safe and honest!
    • Air BnB is another great way to backpack as a beginner. We have used this site regularly.  The idea with this one is that you can pay to stay in someones spare room or even take over their whole house. Once again you have to register and set up a profile. The ensures accountability and safety  This style of backpacking is a good way to meet local people and stay in some awesome places for very reasonable prices! Make sure you repay the favor by adding your spare room to the accommodation listing. That way this alternate way to travel can continue (and you might even make some cash!)

    Typical backpacking dormitory style room

    Backpacking for Beginners: What to take

    Packing your backpack is all about the 'less is more' principle! Remember whatever you take you will have to carry. Don't forget to leave room for shopping either! Make sure you leave plenty of time to pack for your trip. Lay everything out and check, then recheck that you need it.

    The way I decide what to take is to ask myself: does this item have a purpose? For example, will it keep me warm? Is it for security? Is it essential to my health? Where you are going will influence what you take. Consider not only the weather but also what you can buy such as replacement toiletries or basic medical supplies. When I travel to more remote parts of the world such as India, my first aid kit is the biggest item in my backpack but also the most important! 

    Make sure you checkout our packing checklists: Winter packing check list; female summer packing checklist, Male summer packing checklist.

    Backpacking Made Easy

    We have put together a list of your next step towards your backpacking adventure:

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