Make Your Trip Unforgettable: Feel the Spirit of Backpacking
Jonas Geisler, GA Writer
Reasons to travel as a backpacker
Of course there are many different kinds of traveling. Therefore every traveller should create a very unique trip. Whether it is an all-inclusive-stay, a guided roundtrip or even a self-organised trip as a backpacker. In my own opinion the latter is the best choice if you really want to experience a country.
I am a backpacker from Germany myself, and I already traveled different countries including Australia, the Dominican Republic and even Cuba. I wrote this article to tell you about the spirit of backpacking, and also to give you some advice and encouragement for your next trip.
So what is so special about backpacking, compared to conventional traveling? Well, I think the most important point is independency. You just choose a destination, and start traveling without so much organizing. That means everything may happen; there is nothing restricting during the trip. The backpack is your very best friend. You brought everything you need to have a good time. So you can really focus on all the different impressions the country will provide you. I always feel like immersing into a different world every time I leave an airport and get into another country for the first time.
Of course there are some things to take care of. You need accommodation for example. Travellers on a budget often choose a hostel to stay in. I truly fell in love with them through my travels. Check In is often possible without reservation, and once you have arrived in the hostel you will meet new people straight away. And indeed it is a very special kind of people. They are travellers like you are, so everybody has a catchy story to tell. In a hostel it is natural to get to know each other very easily, often through a nice barbeque or a cool beer at nighttime. If you have ever been in a hostel you will agree: There is no place to meet more interesting people and to find good friends for lifetime then in a hostel. It is also the place to spot highly motivated travel buddies. There are several people waiting for you that are very similar to you: inquisitive and thrilled – ready to find adventure.
You will get to know that traveling as a backpacker is isn’t so complicated. But nevertheless you should inform yourself about the country before you start travelling.
Once you arrive at your destination, just let your desires lead you. It does not matter if you are into big cities or beautiful national parks, or even the loneliest beaches: there are no borders disturbing your trip. I mean literally no borders, because locomotion is no problem at all. Just do some research before you start travelling to get to know the easiest way of moving in your destination. That may be renting a car, but usually the public transport is very suitable as well. In developing countries particularly you will experience the greatest adventures. I remember when we got a ride in the loading area of a pick-up-truck, surrounded by local Caribbeans.
This should always be the guideline: throw yourself into the native crowd, right between the locals. This way you will experience the spirit of a country and make great memories.
Choose your destination
Choosing the destination always is an amazing venture. Usually I just stare at a map for a while, curious about all the adventures waiting for me in the different countries.
I want to give you two pieces of advice to help you choose a destination.
First you should think about your expectations for the trip. Do you want to stay in a warm and sunny country with many beaches, are you searching for the quietness of huge mountain ranges or do you prefer a lonely island to do some scuba diving? Once you settled this you can choose the country, considering your own budget as well.
Talking about the budget: There is a suitable destination for every wallet. Let me give you an example. The expensive country Australia is not the only place that combines nice beaches and tropical landscapes. You will enjoy a similar setting for less money in Southeast Asia.
My second piece of advice is to think outside the box. Of course there are some countries very known for their tourism and interesting sights. But did you already search for uncommon destinations? If you choose to visit a less popular destination like Ecuador or Kazakhstan you will benefit from two things: you can save money as those countries are usually pretty cheap, and you actually meet way more locals and backpackers instead of your typical tourists like packs of families and couples.
If you’ve got some spare time just start searching online a little bit. You will find very thrilling destinations, and a couple of months later you might find yourself in a place you never even knew existed.
The manner of prudent organizing
In spite of everything I wrote about the spontaneity of backpacking you should not start the adventure too careless either. It is important to find the balance between adventure and responsibility.
It is never wrong to get as much information as you can before you leave; where the good spots are, how much money you might need for transportation and food.
The next step is to provide every required document. Your passport is always most important. Regarding a ranking from 2017 the German passport is the most powerful in the world as we can visit 160 countries without any visa. People from America are in possession of a very good passport too, 157 countries are visa-free for you. Nevertheless you will need a visa for some countries, make sure you include the time to get the visa. This can take several months in some cases. Actual information about other countries visa requirements are provided online at https://www.passportindex.org/.
In addition there is often required a health insurance for travellers to get access to another country. An international driving license might be handy as well if you want to rent a car.
Other terms vary from country to country. I was asked to show the address of my accommodations when I entered the Dominican Republic for instance. Sometimes you are also requested to show the ticket for your flight back home.
Last but not least make sure that you will be prepared for the country’s conditions. A power adapter is often necessary. In some countries like Cuba you will also need cash to get the foreign currency. Even in our modern age your credit card is not working everywhere.
Please keep in mind: you will do more with less. Backpackers often make the mistake of bringing to many items. But a big backpack often is a heavy load, preventing you from flexibility.
Don’t forget to challenge yourself
When starting a trip there is one tip that you need to remember. A very simple and also very important one: make sure that you challenge yourself. Travelling is a unique chance to acquire skills you always wanted to have. I myself chose diving as a skill that I work to develop during every vacation. Others are more into surfing, skydiving or driving a boat. You get my point here, right? It is all about what you can achieve if you dare. Next I want to travel Nepal, and that is where I want to get a paragliding license.
I wish you an eventful and blessed trip. I might meet you somewhere around the globe one day.