A truly wonderful way to see the world and discover yourself is to sort out backpacker travel insurance, chuck a few belongings in a bag, book a flight and head on out of there, ready to explore every inch of Mother Earth.
But before you do hop on that plane and disappear for a few months, make sure that you do sufficient research, planning and preparation so you can enjoy your time away safely and responsibly, but also so that you can make the most of your trip and really achieve everything you set out to do.
To help set you off on the right foot, we’ve come up with some expert tips from the Down Under Insurance team to make sure that you have the holiday of a lifetime, with nothing but positive memories to look back on over the years.
This might seem like an obvious one but it’s very tempting to pack your bag with all sorts of items that you may find you have no need of and which you wish you’d left behind after all. Just remember that you’re likely to have to carry your bags around with you a fair amount and you don’t want to be lugging lots of unnecessary weight with you as you go.
Keep it simple where your wardrobe is concerned and avoid packing anything that you think you’ll only wear once. Versatile clothes that work for numerous occasions is also a good idea, so you can dress up or down depending on what you’re doing.
This is very important as you don’t want to run out of money halfway through your trip. Try to work out what you might be able to afford as a rough guide and see what you may be able to have as a budget per day. Don’t try to stick to your budget too rigidly, however, as this can take all the fun out of travelling. You don’t want to run out of cash, but you want to have a wild time while away.
For some people, looking like a tourist is something they want to avoid like the plague but you may well regret not taking that photograph or that snapshot when you get home and you’re recounting the tales of your trip. Of course, don’t spend your entire backpacking holiday looking through the lens of your camera, but don’t be shy about looking like a tourist, either.
Don’t expect the places you’re visiting to be the same as your hometown! You’d be wise to read up on the different customs you’re likely to come across in any given destination so you know what to expect and can prepare yourself as far as possible.
It’s all too easy to forget yourself when you’re travelling the world but do your best to keep your overall health and wellbeing in mind at all times. You’re sure to want to go out and party with your newfound friends, but try to limit your alcohol intake if you can and make sure you eat properly each and every day.
Staying hydrated is a must as well - and, as ever with alcohol intake whether you’re at home or in foreign climes, make sure you stay safe and don’t go anywhere by yourself if you’ve had too much too drink. Safety in numbers is worth remembering and, sadly, backpackers are often targeted by pickpockets and muggers… so keep this in mind as well.
Doing your research into the different hostels in your current location is wise as some are sure to be better than others and some may well suit your needs far better.
See if you can find hostels that offer a free breakfast, since this will mean you only have to cover yourself for two extra meals that day… and there’s nothing better than a big breakfast to start the day off right.
If you know you’d rather camp out under the stars than spend your nights under an actual roof, make sure that you splash out on a quality tent that you know will last the distance, no matter what the weather does. There are some areas that you can skimp on but this certainly shouldn’t be one of them if your tent is going to be your home over the course of a few months.
Staying hydrated is key when travelling and you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no access to fresh water - so a reusable water bottle is most certainly your best friend.
You’ll also be helping the planet no end by reducing the need for single-use plastic bottles… meaning you’re on your way to becoming an eco-conscious backpacker with a heart.
Something else to make sure that you always have in your backpack is a roll or two of toilet paper. You’ll find this comes in very handy for all sorts of reasons (including the obvious) and you really will curse yourself if you find you need some and you don’t have it.
You might also want to make sure you carry both wet wipes (the flushable kind) and hand sanitiser around with you so you can give yourself a quick wash as and when you need to.
Anyone on a backpacking holiday should purchase the right kind of insurance policy that will suit this type of trip. Make sure that your policy is flexible enough to cover trips that last longer than the average holiday and that it suits your budget, as well as covering adventure activities and sports that you may like to try while away.