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Backpacking for beginners: The best tips for budding backpackers

With this guide you are perfectly prepared for your next backpacking adventure!

 

Backpacking Guide: Your companion on the way to your first backpacking adventure!

A backpacking trip is a matter of course for many people today. No wonder, after all, you can immerse yourself in the culture of an unknown country, expand your horizons and satisfy the urge for freedom and adventure.

In this article we show you how to prepare perfectly for a backpacking trip, what you need for a backpacking trip and which travel destinations are good for backpacking beginners. You will also receive the Backpacking Packing List and the best tips on how to pack your backpack best.

“Collect memories, not things”

There is hardly a better description for the lifestyle of a backpacker: You embark on an adventure, invest your time and money and are ultimately rewarded with unique and incredibly beautiful moments. And by the way, you get to know yourself, shape your own personality and meet many great people.

But it is usually not as simple as it sounds in theory. Do you also know the sleepless nights in which thoughts circulate and you doubt the feasibility of the whole project?

How should I raise enough money for my backpacking trip?

Which country is the right one for my first backpack trip?

Can I just travel around the world for a long time?

To alleviate your concerns, we have gathered all the important information and lots of tips in this detailed post and after reading this guide you are perfectly prepared for your next backpacking adventure!

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Backpacking adventure

You have been hiking through the Peruvian rainforest for several days. Your clothes are dirty, your shoes full of mud. In front of you is an almost endless staircase made of stones and your heart is pounding. But not just with effort, but above all with excitement. You look up and go up step by step. With the last step, a radiant grin spreads across your face – you’ve finally made it: around you are the ruins of an ancient Inca site!

You turn around yourself and you feel like you can see the whole country. A feeling of pride spreads in your chest: you have mastered this adventure! You climbed Machu Picchu in Peru!

A few months ago you secretly googled for backpacking travel destinations while you were working in the office. You couldn’t imagine ever having the courage to travel South America alone with a backpack.

But you pulled it off and jumped into the cold water. Nowadays you experience a moment almost every day in which you have to pinch yourself to make sure that you are not dreaming – just traveling with a backpack was the best decision of your life!

Your backpacking tour could look something like this. But where does the term backpacking actually come from? And what is it about?

Origin of backpacking

The term backpacking originated in the 1970s and means something like backpack tourism. The origin of this type of travel lies in the hippie movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which rejected package tours and instead wanted to discover new countries and cultures as cheaply as possible.

The most famous route was the so-called hippie trail along the former silk road from Europe to South Asia. The purpose of a backpacking trip was to find yourself, gain spiritual experiences and enjoy limitless freedom. All of this should best be free or very cheap, since many followers of this movement had little property. You knew roughly which direction you wanted to go, but how to get there, where to stay or where to get something to eat was usually not clear beforehand. You just went and let yourself go.

Modern backpacking

Nowadays, the main focus of a backpacking trip is no longer on traveling as cheaply as possible. The main thing is to let yourself drift on your journey and see where the trip takes you. Well-to-do people now also travel with their backpacks: the so-called flash packers.

It is very common to travel without a return ticket and only have a rough schedule of when you want to return. In addition, a backpacking tour does not necessarily have to be a month-long trip. Backpacking trips of 2-3 weeks are also perfect for escaping everyday life and experiencing the feeling of freedom!

Many backpackers book only the first or maybe the first two accommodations in advance and then look where the journey is going. So be aware of these principles during your backpacking trip: Prepare yourself for the trip as best as possible, but then just let go and see where your adventure takes you!

 

Frequently asked questions

Where is backpacking particularly cheap?

The cheapest way to do a backpacking trip in Southeast Asia. In countries like India, Cambodia or Thailand you can find a place to sleep for just $ 5 a night. The cost of living is also very low here.

What is backpacking?

Backpacking means only traveling with a backpack. It doesn’t matter which country or how long you are traveling. It’s about feeling free, breaking out of everyday life and just letting yourself go. So you get to know foreign cultures and experience one adventure after the other.

Why backpacking?

Backpacking is the best way to see the world at low cost, to immerse yourself in foreign cultures and to experience exciting adventures. You can broaden your horizons, get to know yourself and just have an incredibly nice time.

Which backpack for a backpacking trip?

Backpacks with a volume between 50 and 70 liters are suitable for longer backpacking trips. These models are designed to be worn for a long time. Also take a small, easily stowed backpack with a volume of 10 – 20 L to be well equipped for day trips

How much does a backpacking trip around the world cost?

If you focus on cheap countries in Southeast Asia or South America, you can get by with a monthly budget of between 800 and 1000 dollars. On the other hand, if you want to travel to more expensive countries and do a lot of activities, a budget between $ 1,200 and $ 1,500 is more realistic. Depending on which countries you visit, your budget for a year round the world can be between $ 12,000 and $ 20,000.

What are the best backpacking countries?

Of course, it always depends on what you expect from your trip. You can travel as cheaply as possible in India, Thailand or Cambodia. Western or a little more expensive and suitable countries are Australia or New Zealand. Countries in South or Central America such as Costa Rica, Bolivia or Peru offer a bit of both.

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So you will find the necessary time and save enough money for your backpacking trip

Even if backpacking was originally associated with little planning and little budget, the right preparation is essential today. Many dream of a backpacking trip and often this dream does not become a reality, simply because there is no time or money or both. We show you how you can both find the time and get the money together to make your very own dream of backpacking come true!

Use semester break, vacation and sabbaticals for your backpacking trip

No matter in which situation you are currently, whether you have just finished your school education, are in the middle of your studies or already have a permanent employment relationship, there is always a way to give you enough time for your backpacking trip.

In particular, shorter trips of a few weeks can be easily implemented, be it in the weeks after your last day of school, during the semester break or just with the help of vacation days. But there are also solutions for longer trips from several months to a year or even longer.

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The gap year: the solution for graduates and job changers

If you are currently in a kind of change phase, for example, have finished school or your studies or are looking for a new job, a gap year is the perfect opportunity to fulfill your dream of a backpacking trip!

The term gap year means something like a gap in your CV: This means that you postpone the start of your apprenticeship or a new job by a certain period of time. A gap year does not necessarily have to last a whole year, but can only be a few months or half a year.

In the past, such a gap in the résumé was considered a knockout criterion for an application. Nowadays, however, many hiring managers see it differently because you learn a lot of important personal skills such as responsibility, independence or assertiveness during a longer trip.

The Sabbatical: The solution for employees

But even as an employee you can implement a longer backpacking trip – the magic word is: Sabbatical! So instead of quitting your job and simply giving up everything you have worked for in the past few years, you can talk to your employer about the possibility of a Sabbath year.

The great thing about this option is that you neither lose your job, nor do you stop paying your social security contributions. Exactly what a sabbatical can look like differs from case to case. For example, there is the possibility to take unpaid leave. However, this option is not the best because you will not be paid any wages during your entire break. So only choose this variant if there is no other option.

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Does a part-time solution or a time account make more sense in a sabbatical?

Instead of taking unpaid leave, you can also ask for a part-time solution or a time account. With the part-time solution, you officially work part-time and are paid that way. In fact, you are working full-time, so to speak. You can then use the time saved for your Sabbath year. The advantage of this solution is that money continues to be deposited into your account during your time-out and the payment of social contributions is not interrupted. However, you no longer earn as much as in your time as a full-time employee.

When using a time account, you also work ahead by working overtime and then celebrating it during your sabbatical. In contrast to the part-time solution, you are paid in full. However, you also have to work a lot more before you take time out.

What do employers think of a sabbatical?

The basic requirement for a Sabbath year is that your employer is involved. However, there are now many companies that are quite willing to grant their employees such a break. It is best to sit down with your supervisor and discuss your wish with him. Make it clear to him why this time-out is important to you and what advantages the company will have.

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Set a travel budget and save money on your backpacking trip
In addition to the time required, money plays a major role. Many let their dream of backpacking burst again because they believe that they can never afford it. A backpacking trip does not have to be expensive and after all that was the basic idea behind this type of travel.

As with most financial decisions, it is important to have a precise budget and a realistic savings goal – you do not believe how much money you can save in everyday life and how quickly you can fill your travel budget!

Step 1: set your travel budget

You can only save for it if you know your budget. First of all, you should therefore calculate how much your backpacking trip will cost you: How much do the plane tickets cost, how expensive are accommodations, food, transport and activities on site?

The easiest way is to calculate a sum for one-time expenses such as your flights or activities on the one hand and then a daily rate based on the average price for accommodation, transportation and meals.

For example: You are planning a backpacking trip to Vietnam. The flights there cost you 750 dollar, two further domestic flights again 120 dollar and your planned activities around 300 dollar. So you have a fixed sum of 1,170 dollar. Now you calculate your approximate daily rate, include accommodation, meals and the transport on site, and it is best to add another 10-15 percent as a buffer.

So you get a total of 35 euros a day. You multiply this by the number of your travel days and add them to your fixed costs – et voilà: your travel budget is set! So if you plan to travel through Vietnam with your backpack for 3 weeks, you will get a total of 1,905 dollar.

Step 2: How to save money in everyday life with simple tricks

Once you have set your goal, you must now consider how you can achieve it without extremely great effort. It is best to go through your everyday habits and running costs for this purpose. You will quickly find that there are a number of ways to save money every month through small changes.

Whether it’s coffee to go, a weekly restaurant visit or daily lunch in the canteen. Cook your daily meals yourself and you not only automatically eat much healthier, but also save a lot of money! Also try to avoid unnecessary expenses such as unused gym membership, insurance premiums or overpriced cell phone contracts.

These tricks quickly add up to several dollars a day and you can save a large sum of several hundred euros over several months – even a thousand can come together!

Step 3: actively fill up your travel budget

However, it does not only have to be passive savings, you can also actively earn money and thus fill your travel budget. Is your apartment too big for one person? Rent a room! So you can reduce your rental costs to a minimum. Pay a visit to your basement or loft and take a look in your closet. Sell ​​all the things that you haven’t used in the last year – you really don’t need these things anymore and with the proceeds you get a lot closer to your dream of backpacking!

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Step 4: Plan to make money during your trip

You can not only earn money in advance of your trip, but also while you are on the go and fill your travel budget again and again. Many countries offer the possibility of a work & travel stay or you work as a self-employed person from your laptop when traveling.

Fulfill the dream of backpacking thanks to Work & Travel

As the name suggests, with a Work & Travel you combine working with travel. It is up to you how much you ultimately work and how much you travel around in time. So you embark on “job hopping” abroad and move from one casual job to the next. Alternatively, you can do a single job for a longer period and then travel.

There are several countries that offer such a working holiday visa. The basic requirement is that you are between 18 and 30 years old – in Canada this can even go up to the age of 35. In addition, you can only do one Work & Travel per country, but again there is an exception: In certain cases it is possible to enter Australia twice with a working holiday visa.

Countries you can travel to with a Work & Holiday visa:
This kind of work is waiting for you at Work & Travel

1. Physical work

If you have no problem with physical work, there are many jobs on farms or in construction. The advantage of this is that the work can be extremely sweaty at times, but it is also paid very well. With fruit picking, for example, you work on large plantations and mostly help with fruit harvesting. If you like dealing with animals, a job on a ranch can be worthwhile. There you can help with the care of cattle, horses or sheep, for example.

2. Spiritual work

If you prefer to take it a little more relaxed, there are many ways to make money with intellectual work. So you could try to make some money with your hobby. Do you love yoga, can you dive well or do you enjoy surfing for your life? Then try yourself as a teacher and pass on your knowledge to others.

The same naturally applies to your language skills. Since you probably speak English as well as German and possibly a third foreign language, there are many ways to use your language skills profitably. So you can earn money with things that you enjoy and also get to know new people.

A selection of possible work & travel jobs:

construction worker
Farm helpers
Fruit picking
Waiter
Nanny
Language teacher
Moving helpers
Yoga, surf or diving instructor

The most popular backpacking destinations:

Argentina
Australia
Chile
Hong Kong
Israel
Japan
Canada
New Zealand
Singapore
South Korea
Taiwan
Uruguay

 

Fill up your travel budget thanks to independence

Instead of a work & travel, you can also earn money as a freelancer on the go. In this way you are independent of the local labor market and can organize your working hours flexibly. All you need is your laptop, electricity, internet and of course your time and special skills.

For example, as a virtual assistant you can take on tasks such as editing, copy writing or the management of social media accounts for your clients. The basic requirement for this is that you register a self-employed activity in Germany. This is the only way your self-employment is recorded for tax purposes and you can officially write bills. From where you then do your work, whether from Germany or New Zealand, is ultimately up to you.

And how do you find your clients?

There are various websites on which clients specifically search for suitable freelancers for their projects. It is best to register with one or more of these websites and create a meaningful profile. Then keep an eye out for advertised tasks and apply for projects. At the beginning it is certainly not easy to get orders and you will not earn much. However, as soon as you have completed some orders and have been able to collect good references, the order situation will get better and better.

 

Platforms where you can register as a self-employed person and search for orders:

the eye
eAssistant
expertlead
Fernarbeit.net
Fiverr
Freelance.de
Freelance market
Freelancer map
Gulp
manage my business
my-vpa
ONANDOFFER
project work
twago
upwork

Maybe you already worked as a self-employed person on the side or even full-time before your backpacking trip? Wonderful! As long as your work can be done on the laptop, you can do it from anywhere in the world and combine work with travel!

 

Step 5: save money during your trip

You can not only save money in advance of your trip, but of course also when you are on the go! Again, it is important to avoid unnecessary vices in everyday travel and to choose cheaper alternatives.

Does breakfast have to be in the hotel or is a croissant from the bakery next door enough? How about a small apartment instead of a hotel room, where you can prepare your own food and save yourself the daily visit to the restaurant? Or is it maybe the couch of a local who takes you in for free and gives you a great insight into the culture of the local people? Can you just travel in the low season instead of in the high season?

Here are a few ways you can save money while traveling:

Plan your trip in the low season:

During this time, the prices are significantly cheaper and, in addition, you only share sights with few others.

Travel with hand luggage:

Traveling minimalist is not only liberating, it also saves your wallet, especially when you fly with low-cost airlines.

Go on foot or rent a bike:

Many cities now offer inexpensive and sometimes even free bike rentals.

Use public transport:

The bus, the tram or the metro are usually much cheaper than the taxi.

Call an Uber instead of a taxi:

If it should be a taxi ride, just order an Uber.

Ride a bus or train instead of taking domestic flights:

In Asia and South America in particular, you can get much cheaper by bus and train, even if it takes longer.

Stay for free:

There are many ways to stay for free when traveling, such as with the help of couch surfing or house sitting.

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Put on street food or take care of yourself:

Avoid expensive restaurant visits and instead pay a visit to delicious street food stands or rent an accommodation with cooking facilities to take care of yourself.

Activities and adventures on your own:

Guided tours or hikes are offered in many places, which you can often do alone without any problems.

Take part in free tours:

Free city tours are offered in many cities – but a tip is of course welcome here.

Look for offers:

You will often find small coupon books with discount coupons for attractions in hostel or hotel lobbies.

Dare to negotiate:

Feel free to ask for a discount – it can’t be more than a “no” and in some cultures action is part of it.

Use an inexpensive credit card:

Even small bank charges can quickly add up to a large amount, which is why you should definitely use an inexpensive credit card.

Keep an eye on your budget:

It is particularly important that you keep an eye on your budget even when traveling, e.g. using apps like Trail Wallet or You Need A Budget (YNAB)

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The best tips for choosing your backpacking route, cheap flights and suitable accommodations

You now know how you can find the time for your backpacking trip, but also how you can get the money you need for this adventure – now it is up to the actual planning of your backpacking trip!

Where exactly should you go? How do I find cheap flights and what should I look for when choosing my accommodation?

Even if the planning of your backpacking trip is not done in a few hours, it is still a lot of fun! And as the saying goes: “Anticipation is the most beautiful joy!”

But do not forget: Backpacking is about drifting as far as possible and not just going through everything from the start. Better always leave a few gaps in your planning, which you can then use for spontaneous actions. Or just have a rough route in your head, but you can change it at any time.

It all depends on your own feelings: do you just want to book the outward flight and accommodation for the first few days and leave the rest open? Or has your exact route and return flight already been determined?

No matter what you ultimately choose, a certain amount of organization in advance is still important. In this way you avoid unnecessary beginner mistakes and can fully focus on the many experiences during your backpacking trip!

How to find the right backpacking destination

Probably the hardest part of planning your backpacking trip is choosing your backpacking destination. The question of what are the best countries for backpacking beginners cannot be answered in general. However, there are a few countries that are particularly suitable for a backpacking trip due to their infrastructure and the low cost of living. Your trip doesn’t have to end at the border of a country. With your backpack you can explore an entire continent or even go on a world tour!

 

These are the most popular backpacking destinations:

Backpacker destinations in Central and South America:

Bolivia
Chile
Costa Rica
Guatemala
Nicaragua
Panama
Peru

Backpacker travel destinations in Asia and Southeast Asia:

Indonesia
Cambodia
Laos
Malaysia
Myanmar
Nepal
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Vietnam
 

Backpacker destinations in Oceania:

Australia
New Zealand

 

How do I choose the right backpacking destination for me?

In order to set a good destination for your first backpacking trip, you should consider which features are most important to you: Do you like it warm in the tropics, are you interested in culture and love chaotic cities? Then countries in Southeast Asia or Central America suit you well. Do you especially want to spend time in nature and experience outdoor adventures? Then countries like New Zealand, Nepal or Chile fit perfectly!

But you don’t have to cling to the most popular backpacker destinations. Almost every country can be traveled with a backpack! The USA or Canada also offer great opportunities for a backpacking trip, just like Argentina, Mexico or South Africa. Or you go on a backpacking trip through Eastern Europe.

It all depends on you, your wishes and of course your budget. Basically, countries in Southeast Asia are the cheapest, but you can also travel cheaply in South America. You save yourself expensive long-haul flights on your trip through Eastern Europe, while you can finance your backpacking trip through expensive Australia thanks to Work & Travel – you will notice: almost everything is possible!

The advantage of the backpacking destinations listed above, however, is that they are particularly suitable for backpacker beginners: They have already been traveled by many backpackers, so that not only the infrastructure is in place, but also the locals are used to backpackers and adjusted to them. So you are spoiled for choice, but the good news is: it doesn’t have to be a backpacking trip!

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Make your backpacking trip a trip around the world!

And it doesn’t have to be just one country or a few countries: A backpacking tour is also the perfect way to travel around the world! On a trip around the world you will discover several continents and are usually on the road for several months. Again, it is not easy to decide on a route and find suitable flights.

There are so-called Around the World tickets especially for this purpose:

These cover one or two destinations per continent and thus offer you a cool route at a flat rate. This gives you a good mix of different countries and you don’t have to worry about booking individual flights. On the other hand, of course, with the fixed flight data, you take the liberty to change your plans spontaneously – again, it depends on your preferences.

Your backpacking world trip route could look like this

To give you an idea of ​​what a backpacking world tour could look like, here are a few route suggestions for you: Backpacking world tour from three months to one year:

Backpacking World Tour Route No. 1 (3 months): South Africa – Indonesia – Australia – North America – Iceland

Backpacking around the world Route No. 2 (6 months): Thailand – Laos – Cambodia – New Zealand – Argentina – Chile

World tour route no.3 (9 months): Ghana – Tanzania – Kenya – Nepal – South Korea – Japan – Hawaii – USA

World tour route no.4 (12 months): Namibia – South Africa – Sri Lanka – Malaysia – Indonesia – Australia – Chile – Bolivia – Peru – Mexico – USA

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With these tips you can book cheap airline tickets for your backpacking trip!

Perhaps you have just stumbled across the $ 1,500 and, yes, you read that right: you can book flights for a complete world tour for less than $ 1,500! But not only for a trip around the world, you can also find cheap flights with a few simple tricks for a shorter backpacking trip.

We want to give you the very first tip straight away: take enough time to search for a flight! You won’t even find a cheap flight within a 2-minute search. Because searching for a flight is a lot about trying and changing, and about being as flexible as possible. And with a little luck you can save several hundred euros!

Tip 1: Use flight search engines and bargain pages

The best way to start your flight research is to visit a flight search engine such as Momondo, Skyscanner or Kayak. Google’s flight search, which you can access under Google Flights, is also practical. Flights that are not listed in the search engines, such as domestic flights of relatively unknown, smaller airlines, are also sometimes displayed here. With the search result you have a first overview of the offers and costs.

Tip 2: Be flexible with your data

It can often make a huge difference in price if you fly just a day earlier or later. It is the same with your place of departure: Must it be the Cologne / Bonn airport or can it also be a flight from Düsseldorf or Frankfurt am Main? Airports are not only served by different airlines, but also charge different fees, which in turn has an impact on the flight price.

So when you search for a flight, play a little with the departure date, but also with the location. Sometimes you save a significant amount and have even integrated the train ticket in the flight price! Depending on where you live, airports abroad are also possible, such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris or Zurich, all of which are easily accessible by train.

The same applies, of course, to your place of arrival: Does it have to be Sydney or can your trip also start in Melbourne? Either you can then fly on to your destination with a mostly cheap domestic flight or you will discover another cool place on your backpacking trip that you hadn’t actually planned.

Tip 3: Visit the bargain pages and look for Error Fares

In the next step, it makes sense to browse bargain websites such as Tripdoo or holiday pirates and search for suitable offers here. There are also so-called error fees: These are extremely cheap airfares that result from an error, be it a simple typing or comma error, or missing fees and taxes. You can also find these via bargain sites, portals or blogs like You Have Been Upgraded.

Tip 4: Use fork and tail flights

Especially when backpacking, fork and tail flights are perfect! With a fork flight you start at location A and fly to location B. However, the return flight does not bring you back to starting point A, but takes you from location B to location C. Because such flights are often cheaper and you want to see the world anyway , such offers can be extremely worthwhile for you. An example would be a flight from Frankfurt am Main to Bangkok and back from Bangkok to Düsseldorf.

The situation is similar with tail flights: Here you book another flight to your actual route and thus sometimes have a cheaper price, even though you take one more flight! For example, you book a flight to Johannesburg and on to Port Elizabeth. This flight may be cheaper than the flight to Johannesburg only.

You notice: Again, this is about trying different options and keeping your eyes open!

Tip 5: Sign up for newsletters

Sign up for newsletters and airline newsletters. So you don’t have to search for cheap flights for hours in advance of your trip, but automatically receive a message directly in your mailbox when there are suitable offers or special offers.

Tip 6: Earn bonus miles

Also get a credit card that you can use to earn miles. Then you will receive additional bonus miles for all payments that you process with the card and that you would make anyway. So you can earn your next flight on the side!

Tip 7: fly with cheap airlines

If you don’t want to fly to the other end of the world on your next flight, the best thing to do is to use cheap airlines for shorter distances. In Europe, for example, Easy Jet or Ryan Air and in Asia Jetstar or AirAisia. You can fly with the Premium Airlines much more comfortably, but the safety standards must also be met by the low-cost airlines. For a short two-hour flight, choose a low-cost airline.

Tip 8: fly with hand luggage

You can also save money by traveling with hand luggage only. With low-cost airlines in particular, you pay a lot for one piece of luggage and this can quickly add up for several flights. But ordinary airlines are also increasingly offering special fares for people who only travel with hand luggage.

Tip 9: adapt your backpacking route

You may not find any cheap flights for your planned backpacking route. If you have to pay attention to money, it makes sense to adjust your travel route a little. Perhaps when you are looking for a flight, you also come across a country that you have not yet had on your screen? Or are you discovering a route that is not only cheaper, but also much cooler? As always, be flexible and possibly change your actual plan!

 

Here is an overview of all flight search tips:

  • use flight search engines such as Skyscanner, Momondo, Kayak and Google Flights
  • choose flexible departure times
  • choose flexible arrival and departure locations
  • use fork and tail flights
  • visit bargain sites like Tripdoo or vacation pirates
  • Subscribe to newsletters from bargain websites and airlines
  • collect bonus miles
  • fly with cheap airlines
  • fly with hand luggage
  • adapt your backpacking route
airplane

From budget to luxury: choosing the right accommodation for your backpacking trip

The choice of your accommodation has a big impact on your travel experience: You can treat yourself to a certain luxury and spend a large part of your travel budget on your sleeping places. On the other hand, you can also try to stay as cheap as possible to have more money for unforgettable adventures or delicious food.

Here again it depends entirely on your preferences and your travel budget! Now let’s take a look at the accommodation options for your backpacking trip!

Free or very cheap accommodation options:

There are many ways to stay as cheaply as possible or even for free. Most have the nice side effect that you get to know the country and its people better and immerse yourself more quickly in the local culture.

Couchsurfing

A very good option on your backpacking trip to spend the night free of charge is couchsurfing: You can stay for one or more nights free of charge on the sofa of a local – sometimes you even have your own room with a bed.

If you are lucky, your host will take good care of you, show you his homeland and take you to friends in the evening. In return, you also have to offer your own sofa and you should let people stay with you every now and then – that is the idea of ​​the couch surfing community.

House sitting

The best way to get a free overnight stay is at first glance house sitting: You live in a stranger’s house for a certain period of time and take care of it. You may also have to take care of the house owner’s animals, which can be cats, dogs, but also chickens or horses.

However, you have to keep in mind that you can live there for free, but you are also bound to the location and cannot take a trip to the area for several days. Even if that should be clear: you have to love animals too!

Woofing

If you are interested in nature and country life, maybe woofing is something for you: You work on a farm during the day, you can spend the night on it free of charge and receive meals. With this variant, however, there is just as little time to explore the area.

Hand against bunk

If, on the other hand, you are a real sailor, the Hand vs Koje website could be the right one for you: As a traveler, you can use this platform to offer your helping hand for work during a sailing trip and sail along for free. Your tasks can be very different and go from childcare to scrubbing the deck to cooking.

Camping

If you want to be completely independent and travel inexpensively, you should consider sleeping in a tent regularly. Of course, you cannot set up your tent wherever you want. However, if you observe the regulations of the respective country or spend the night in designated places, you can fall asleep under the stars and enjoy the sunrise in the middle of nature the next morning!

Paid accommodation options

If you do not want to exchange your time for accommodation and have enough budget available, you can choose between various paid accommodation options. The great thing is that there is something for every budget and taste!

couch sleeping

Hotels

If you attach great importance to your privacy and would like to be for yourself, you can book a hotel. You don’t have to invest huge sums here either. With a little time spent searching, you can find cheap and beautiful hotels.

Hotels are perfect for switching off during your backpacking trip, spending some time with you and enjoying a certain level of service. However, you usually don’t meet other backpackers here and you rarely meet new people.

Hostels

Hostels are often the cheapest accommodation option. In Southeast Asia you can get a place to sleep for a few euros. In addition, you will usually meet a lot of like-minded people here, who travel around the country with their backpack just like you.

If you don’t want to spend the night in a dormitory with several people, you can book a single room in most hostels. Hostels are the ideal place to meet new people, get cool insider tips or to celebrate. However, it can be difficult to keep calm and be for yourself.

Apartments

In order to explore a city or a region in more detail, it is worth moving into an AirBnB apartment as a base camp. You live in apartments where a local usually lives. Or you move into a private room and live together with a local in his home.

This gives you a completely different insight than a hotel room could offer you. You usually have a fully equipped apartment, you have your own retreat and you can usually cook yourself.

If you want to get to know a place intensively, immerse yourself in people’s everyday life or feel like a local, holiday apartments are just the thing for you. Often, these are extrapolated cheaper than a hotel room and sometimes they keep up with the prices of the hostels – so it’s worth comparing! The disadvantage, however, is that you have to take care of a lot yourself and do not necessarily get to know new people.

Our tip: choose from different types of accommodation!

It is best if you choose different types of accommodation for your backpacking trip. Spend the night on the couch of a local, sometimes in a hostel, sometimes in a hotel room and sometimes in your own apartment. In this way you can create a good mix of contact options and sufficient privacy, as well as budget and luxury, without straining your travel budget.

hostel

The right preparation: You have to do these things before your backpacking trip

Your route is set, the flights may already have been booked and the first accommodations reserved. Even if you are already bursting with anticipation, there are now a few organizational tasks that you have to do in good time before your backpack trip: From the procurement of necessary documents, to vaccinations to the conclusion of important insurance or a credit card – let’s get started right away!

Take care of your travel documents in good time
In advance of your backpacking trip, clarify which travel documents you need and whether they are still valid so that you don’t experience a nasty surprise at the airport on the day of your departure.

Identity card and passport
The German identity card is currently sufficient for travel within the EU and all other European countries. This also applies, for example, to Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, which are not part of the European Union, or to Great Britain and Ireland, which in turn are not members of the Schengen Agreement.

You can only travel to travel destinations outside Europe with a passport. This must be valid for 6 months after the end of the trip.

Visa / entry permit
As a US citizen you have a great advantage when traveling, because you have one of the best passports in the world! So you can travel to most of the countries of the world without having to apply for a visa beforehand.

You need a visa for some destinations, but you can easily get one when you arrive at the airport. A fee may apply here.
To enter certain countries, you have to apply for a visa or entry permit in advance. It’s best to take care of it in time. The processing time can vary between a few days and a few weeks.

Be sure to find out what rights a visa gives you in your target country. The length of stay of a tourist visa can be extremely different.

Popular travel destinations for which you need to apply for a visa / entry permit in advance:

Australia
Germany
China
India
Canada
Cuba
Myanmar
New Zealand
Russia
Sri Lanka
United States

visa us

Always check the entry requirements!

Always find out about the residence regulations, even if you do not need a visa to enter a country. For certain destinations, you may only be able to stay in the country for a short period of time without a visa and you need a visa for longer stays. An example would be Vietnam: You can enter without a visa, but then you only have a residence permit of 15 days. For longer trips through this country you have to apply for a visa.

In other countries you need a return ticket or a document that confirms your onward journey – without this, some airlines will not let you on board! In some cases, you must also state your travel route, including all accommodation and contacts on site, or even prove that you have sufficient capital to finance your trip through the country.

Tip: Here you can take a look at the page of the respective country or that of the Foreign Office.

International driving licence
One of the coolest ways to explore a country on your own is a road trip with a rental car. This is not a problem in Europe and you can simply rent a car with your driver’s license. In the rest of the world it is recommended and in many countries it is even necessary to have an international driver’s license.

The best thing to do is to apply for this document in advance of your trip from your local citizens’ office or the district administration. To get the international driver’s license, all you have to do is show your German driver’s license and ID, submit a photo and pay a fee of $ 15, you won’t have any problems with the local police on your road trip adventure.

Find out about necessary vaccinations and have them carried out in good time

Many of the backpacking countries mentioned are home to dangerous diseases such as malaria or dengue fever. As soon as you have decided on a travel destination or a route, you should therefore inform yourself immediately about the necessary vaccinations – again, a visit to the website of the Federal Foreign Office will help.

In general, it makes sense if you refresh your standard vaccinations in advance to protect yourself from possible infections.

If necessary, you should have these standard vaccinations refreshed before your backpacking trip:

Tetanus: refresh every 10 years
Diphtheria: Refresh every 10 years
Whooping cough: once in adulthood

Note: All three vaccinations are also available as combination vaccinations.

These travel vaccinations are recommended for longer trips:

Hepatitis A and B: as a combined vaccination about 4 weeks beforehand
Rabies: three vaccinations over a period of 5 weeks
Cholera: vaccination one week before departure
Meningococcal: min. 10 days before departure
Typhoid: min. 10 days before departure
Flu: 2 weeks before departure
 
These vaccinations are recommended for trips to Southeast Asia, South America and Africa:

Yellow fever: min. 10 days before departure (South America and Africa)
Japanese encephalitis: one week before departure (Southeast Asia)
TBE (ticks): three weeks before departure (for affected areas)

 

As you can see, you need a certain lead time to do all the vaccinations. So think about it early and plan about half a year in advance to protect yourself from possible diseases during your backpacking trip.

Who actually pays the costs for travel vaccinations?

Many health insurance companies cover the cost of most travel vaccinations. The best thing to do is to clarify what costs your health insurance will cover before starting the vaccination. This way you avoid unnecessary surprises and a hole in your travel budget.

How are diseases transmitted?

In order not to run the risk of being infected by dangerous diseases despite your vaccinations, it is best to find out about the contagion options. Diseases such as yellow fever, malaria or Japanese encephalitis are transmitted by mosquito bites.

So make sure to protect yourself from insects. With cholera, typhoid or hepatitis A, on the other hand, you can become infected with contaminated drinking water or affected foods.

In the typical backpacking countries, the high food standards that you are used to from USA or Europe do not prevail. Therefore, make sure you only drink clean water and eat well-done meat.

vacine

Take out important insurance

With all anticipation of your trip, you should always expect unpredictable events such as accidents, illnesses or theft. Even if you think that nothing will happen to you, this attitude is simply wrong. For this reason, it is better to take out some insurance in advance.

So you travel much more worry-free and in the worst-case scenario you don’t have to worry about money – because believe us: there is nothing worse than having an accident abroad and having to calculate while waiting for the ambulance whether you can get medical treatment at all can afford!

Now let’s take a look at what insurance is absolutely necessary and which one you can do without.

The be-all and end-all: travel health insurance
Your greatest asset is your health. Therefore, when it comes to the question of which insurance policies you should take out, take care of yourself first!

An absolutely compulsory insurance for every backpacker is travel health insurance, also known as foreign health insurance. This pays for services that you have to use if you get sick on your backpacking trip.

These include the costs of medical care, hospitalization, dental treatment or a possible return transport.

You should pay attention to this with your travel health insurance

What exactly is covered in which amounts and how high your deductible depends on the respective tariff. So find out exactly, and not only compare insurance providers with each other, but also the different tariffs of the providers with each other.

Also pay attention to how often and for how long you can ice up. A distinction is often made here between short-term travel insurance, in which you can travel as often as you want for a maximum duration of the year, and long-term travel insurance, in which a single trip is insured for up to one or even several years. The maximum number of insured trips and days also varies from provider to provider.

What you should also consider when taking out travel health insurance is which countries are included in the insurance. The United States and Canada are often excluded from standard insurance. This is due to the comparatively high treatment costs in the two countries. For an additional fee, however, you can have these countries included in your insurance. But be warned: Your tariff can suddenly double or even triple!

 

Exception: Short backpacking trips within the EU

If you only plan to backpack through Europe for a short time, your statutory health insurance will usually suffice: a European health insurance card (European Health Insurance Card; EHIC) is printed on the back of your German health card, which entitles you to claim in all member states on treatment.

Your statutory health insurance pays for medical and dental treatments as well as medicines that you take when traveling through the EU – if these are urgently necessary.

However, there are some restrictions here: for example, you are not allowed to see private doctors and often the costs of returning the sick are not covered, after all, medical care is guaranteed in the holiday country.

We therefore always recommend taking out travel health insurance.
Insurance Policies

For all adventurous backpackers: travel accident insurance

In addition to travel health insurance, you can also take out travel accident insurance. This type of insurance is particularly useful if you don’t miss out on an adventure during your travels and sports such as climbing, riding, surfing or diving are among your absolute favorites.

If you experience a bad accident during one of your adventures and you are disabled afterwards or have to sit in a wheelchair, travel accident insurance covers the costs.

If it does not even come to the trip: a travel cancellation insurance

When organizing your trip, of course, you do not assume that you cannot start it for any reason. However, it can happen that you have a serious accident or become seriously ill shortly before the start of your adventure.

Blows of fate, such as a fire in your apartment or a death in the family, can also be a reason for not taking a trip. As bad as such events are, at least with travel cancellation insurance you don’t stay on the cancellation costs.

For your belongings: luggage insurance

Luggage insurance makes sense, especially if you have expensive technology with you on your backpack trip, such as your smartphone, your camera, your laptop and maybe even a Kindle. It can quickly happen that you drop the camera, lose your cell phone or have your laptop stolen. In this case, luggage insurance will step in and pay you money for the damage.

However, luggage insurance in particular has various clauses and does not necessarily cover every case: if you leave your valuables in the car unattended and is broken into, many insurance companies do not cover this damage.

In addition, some items are excluded from insurance per se, including often smartphones, cash and documents. So read the clauses very carefully and always pay attention to the insured amount and the maximum amount that will be paid out in the event of a claim.

If you don’t have a lot of valuable things with you, luggage insurance is not worth it. Because many of your things are also protected abroad by your household insurance as part of the so-called external insurance. This includes all the things that are usually part of your household items and that you now have with you on your backpacking trip.

If, on the other hand, you have very valuable technology such as expensive cameras and lenses with you, instead of luggage insurance it makes more sense to have equipment insurance. This covers much higher sums and jumps in almost every case.

If something goes wrong: a (travel) liability insurance

During your backpacking trip, there will always come one evening when the alcohol flows freely, the mood becomes more exuberant and finally reaches its peak. Then it can happen that you accidentally knock over the valuable vase of your host, damage the expensive grill of your neighbors or let yourself be carried out to a rash action in the pool area of ​​your hotel.

Should this evening come, you will be happy if the only consequences of the night of drinking are the headache the next morning and your insurance company will cover the damage.

As a rule, your usual liability insurance also steps in abroad, but usually only for a limited period. So check with your liability insurance company to see if and to what extent damage is taken over abroad.

Some insurers also offer the option of expanding the scope and duration. If your liability insurance does not come into play on your planned backpacking trip, you should definitely take out travel liability insurance.

insurance

Get a credit card (or better two)

Even if you may not have used a credit card in everyday life, it will now be necessary for your upcoming backpacking trip. You can usually pull out your EC card and use it to withdraw and withdraw money within the euro zone, but outside Europe you need a credit card.

The advantages of a credit card when traveling


With a credit card you can withdraw cash worldwide and thus have access to your travel budget at all times during your trip. But that’s not all a credit card can offer: With a credit card you can make cashless payments worldwide, reserve hotel rooms online and book flights and other tickets or tours. While almost every car rental company requires a credit card as security.

And if anything should happen to you and you need a large sum of money quickly, you can always use your credit line. In addition, you don’t want to run around with lots of cash in your backpack and have to pay high exchange fees every time. You notice: A credit card has many advantages and is essential when traveling today!

There are these types of credit cards


Not every credit card offers the same functions and possibilities. While a free credit card may at first glance benefit your travel budget, it often restricts you or waits with hidden additional fees. A premium credit card is often worthwhile here, with which you can, for example, earn additional miles.

However, you have to meet certain requirements to apply for a credit card. In this case, a prepaid credit card may be the right option for you.

Prepaid credit cards

A prepaid credit card basically works like a prepaid SIM card for your mobile phone: you top up with a certain amount in advance of your trip, and you can then dispose of this amount during your trip. You can also have them recharged during your trip.

In this case, compared to a real credit card, you are not granted a credit line – so you cannot slip into the red. This type of credit card is particularly suitable for you if you are still a school student or a student and do not meet the requirements for an ordinary credit card.

Free credit cards

This type is a full credit card, but you do not pay a fixed monthly or annual fee for it – but be careful: this does not mean that these credit cards are completely free! Depending on the provider, for example, only a certain number of withdrawals per month are free or you pay a fee for each withdrawal. The situation is similar with cashless payment, because here, too, you may have to pay transaction fees. As a rule, this is between 1.5-1.75% of sales.

Premium credit cards with additional services

In order to be able to access other services in addition to the standard functions of a credit card, there is the premium segment. In addition to the payment function, this card type offers you various insurance policies, bonus programs and VIP benefits such as Access to the business lounge at the airport. You pay high fees for these cards, but it can be worthwhile for you to enjoy these services if you travel the world a lot.

What should you look for when choosing a credit card?

1. Costs and fees:

Ideally, there is no annual fee for your card. In addition, all domestic and foreign transactions are free of charge. Also pay attention to hidden costs, such as particularly high interest rates when using the credit line.

2. Regular receipt of money:

A credit card account that does not require regular payment, such as a monthly salary payment, is particularly practical and flexible.

3. Worldwide availability:

Basically, any of the common credit cards can be used worldwide. However, make sure that there are additional fees for certain areas that are relevant to you.

4. Good service:

Before you make your final decision, it is worth reading some testimonials from users who have had to use this card in times of crisis. After all, in an emergency you need to be able to rely on being helped quickly and competently.

5. Associated account:

You need to open a new account for some cards. It is better if you can simply link your existing checking account to your new credit card. This way you don’t lose track of your accounts and have no additional effort.

credit card

The right equipment: you need it for your backpacking trip

You have finally completed the bureaucratic part of your preparation, but there is another important part that you have to take care of before you leave: your backpack and everything that goes with it – so let’s take a look at what equipment you need for you need your backpacking trip!

Your most loyal companion: the backpacking backpack

It is clear that as a backpacker you can hardly move around with a suitcase. But not only the term of this type of travel presupposes a backpack as a travel bag more or less, but also the type of travel itself makes the backpack the perfect companion for your backpacking adventure.

The advantages of a backpack when backpacking

Because such a backpack has many advantages: You can carry it comfortably on your back from A to B, which is particularly practical in remote regions. Dragging a suitcase over broken roads, gravel or through mud, or dragging it up several steps is not much fun.

In addition, a suitcase is much bulky in comparison to a backpack. With a backpack you can also grab a motorcycle taxi in Bangkok or drive in a small tuk-tuk, with a large suitcase it is impossible. With a backpack you are much more flexible and often faster.

The many compartments in the backpack are also an advantage, as you can get to your desired items so quickly without having to reveal the entire contents. In addition, a suitcase does not withstand the rigors of a backpacking trip for long and breaks much faster in comparison – no matter how much you paid for it.

And maybe you want to experience a little trekking adventure during your backpacking trip and discover the world with a tent? In this case at the latest, a suitcase is meaningless and a backpack is needed!

You should pay attention to this when choosing your backpacking backpack

Backpack is not just a backpack! And with this huge selection of backpacks you are quickly overwhelmed. How do I choose the right backpack for my backpacking trip? Which backpack size is ideal for backpackers? What makes a good backpack backpack? And how much can a backpack backpack cost?

In the end, one thing counts when choosing a backpack: The backpack must be easy to carry and fit you and your project perfectly! So you should try on different models and get the best advice from a specialist shop. To make the selection a little easier for you, we have a few important tips for choosing a backpack for you:

The trekking backpack: perfect for backpacking

For your backpacking adventure, it is best to get a so-called trekking backpack. Such a backpack is especially designed for multi-day hikes with a tent (trekking) and longer trips: It offers enough space and many compartments, is robustly processed and well padded so that you can carry it comfortably on your back for a long time.

The right backpack size for backpacking

We speak from experience: The more space you have, the more (unnecessary) you take with you! We therefore advise you to choose a small backpack model between 50 and 60 liters. Many trekking backpacks offer a volume of up to 80 liters, but usually you can easily handle less – if you pack properly, but more on that later!

Look into the shop, there you will find the best backpacks for your trip!

backpacker 3

Straps and padding for your backpack

Since you have to carry your backpack on your back, and if necessary for several hours, it should sit as comfortably as possible and be very well padded. Here the back padding and the padding of the hip and shoulder straps are particularly important. A height-adjustable chest strap is also important. The straps ensure that the weight is distributed over your entire body when worn and prevents one-sided incorrect loading.

For this reason, you should definitely take your backpack with you before buying it: adjust it to your body and fill it with weight. In good specialist shops, extra weights are provided for this and you can get advice from professional staff on setting and trying on.

Tip: Incidentally, most manufacturers offer women’s models that are specially adapted to the female anatomy and are often a bit smaller – as a backpacker, of course, such models make sense!

Material and processing of the backpack backpack

When choosing your backpacking backpack, pay attention to the material: your backpack should of course be as light as possible for your backpacking trip. However, it is much more important that your backpack is robust and waterproof.

After all, the airport staff doesn’t treat baggage very squeamishly and you don’t want to have a tear in your backpack after all. In addition, you are exposed to all kinds of weather during your backpacking trip and can easily be surprised by a rain shower.

On the other hand, you should also take a look at the processing and test the zippers carefully. If you already notice in the shop that these do not open and close easily, you should keep your hands off this backpack.

And how well can the buckles be opened and closed again? Are the loops and straps securely sewn and possibly additionally riveted? Remember: you will put a lot of stress on your backpack and therefore it should be able to withstand a lot and not break after your first move!

Distribution and extras for the backpacking backpack

Even if trekking backpacks all look very similar at first glance, the models differ considerably from one another in some cases: some backpacks, the so-called top loaders, can only be opened from above, while others allow side access. In principle, backpacks that can be opened from above as well as from the side are an advantage, as this allows you to get your things inside faster.

In addition to the lid and bottom compartment, some backpacks also have other compartments on the sides and inside. Here, too, several smaller compartments are an advantage because you can keep your backpack tidy and get your things faster.

Fastening options on the outside of the backpack and several compression straps are also practical. With these you can stabilize your packed backpack and tie it up in a comfortable, portable shape.

Still other backpacks offer an extra rain cover, so that your backpack and your belongings are protected from moisture. Especially if you spend a long time outdoors with your backpack or want to experience a hike of several days, such a cover is worth its weight in gold! There are also backpacks with a removable dayback or with an integrated hydration system, which is also very practical.

The more functional, the more expensive the backpack is

You notice: Your choice of backpack also depends on your preferences and your intentions. But one thing is certain: the more functional the backpack is, the more you usually have to pay. You get a good trekking backpack from 50 dollars, but you can also easily spend over 150 dollars on your backpack – but this will also accompany you on all your future adventures and become your loyal companion!

 

Extra tip: Get yourself a small daypack!

In addition to your actual backpack, you should also get a small daypack. After all, you don’t always want to carry your large trekking backpack and need a bag for trips.

You also take this daypack with you as your hand luggage on the plane and stows important documents, your camera, your drinking bottle, snacks and other things that you would like to have on board.

Just have a look in the shop, you will surely find the right one!

backpacks gear loops 1

Backpacking equipment: that belongs in your backpack

Now that you know which backpack is suitable for your backpacking adventure, let’s take a look at what you need to pack. First of all: Most pack too much and drag themselves stupid and stupid on their trip. Many seem to forget that there are washing machines outside their own four walls. And let’s be honest: Do you really need a hair dryer on your trip? Probably not!

But what needs to go on a backpacking trip? What belongs in the backpack? And what can confidently stay at home? This is exactly what we are now looking at and will give you a practical packing list at the end!

Pack minimalistically thanks to the onion principle and functional clothing
Surely you also remember the sayings of your grandmother, who always talked about some onion look – and she was right: the onion principle is not only super practical in everyday life, but also when traveling! With the onion principle, you dress in different functional layers and put on or take off one layer depending on your feeling of cold or warmth.

The onion principle is divided into three functional layers:

Base layer: lies directly on the skin, keeps you warm and dry (underwear, T-shirts & shirts)

Mid-layer: used for insulation, here several layers are possible (fleece jackets, sweaters & down jackets)

Shell layer: protection against rain, snow & wind (rain jackets and pants as well as softshell jackets)

The onion principle not only ensures that you are always pleasantly warm, but also that you have to pack far fewer clothes for your backpacking trip. Instead of lugging a thick winter jacket with you, you simply put on several layers on top of each other. This usually keeps you even warmer than a single thick jacket, as there is more air between the layers.

Also pack clothing that is as functional as possible. Zip-off pants, for example, can be transformed from long to short in no time at all. While shirts made of merino wool are particularly breathable and odorless, so you can easily wear them multiple times. A down jacket is not only light, for example, but can also be folded up very small so that it hardly takes up space in your backpack.

Pack for a maximum of 1 week and no more!

Regardless of whether you are on the road for one, two or twelve weeks, it is enough to pack your clothes for a maximum of one week. Because on the one hand you can wear clothes several times, and on the other hand you have the opportunity to wash your clothes almost everywhere – and often for a few dollars!

Shoes and sandals for every purpose

You can use different shoes at home, but several pairs of shoes are extremely impractical when traveling: on the one hand they push up the weight of your backpack, on the other hand they take up too much space. So get yourself a comfortable pair of outdoor shoes or sneakers with a good profile. You can wear these for your forays through the city as well as for easy hikes and smaller adventures in nature.

Sandals are also a must. Most of them rely on the good old flip-flops, but you should choose sandals with a profile and footbed, because you quickly break your back in flip-flops. Sandals that can get wet are also practical. So you can also take a shower with them in shared bathrooms without worrying about athlete’s foot.

You can find the perfect hiking shoes here!

Toiletries and first aid kit for backpackers

In addition to your clothes and shoes, hygiene items and a small first-aid kit belong in your backpack. When it comes to cosmetics, you can also pack space-savingly by using so-called multifunctional soaps, such as the 18-in-1 soap from Dr. Bronner uses: From washing dishes to washing clothes to use as a shampoo or shower gel, it offers everything that would otherwise require a number of individual products – even brushing your teeth should be possible with it!

If you do not want to do without your everyday products, you can fill them into practical silicone bottles and do not have to carry the large commercial bottles that you would not empty on your backpacking trip anyway. It is best to stow the shampoo, laundry, toothpaste and Co. in a leak-proof cosmetic bag.

In addition to your individual medication, plasters, (head) painkillers and medication for nausea and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract also belong in your backpack. You can usually buy everything else on site or you should get a prescription from a doctor.

Look into the shop, there you will find all articles.

Backpacking technology: smartphone, camera, laptop and tablet ?!

Very few travel today without a camera. But does it have to be the heavy, large system camera, or is a light digital camera enough? If you are planning to experience many adventures in nature, like surfing, diving or mountain biking, a small Action Cam makes more sense for you.

And what about your laptop? Does he really have to go with him or is a tablet enough? Or can that maybe stay at home? In any case, it makes sense to have an eReader on which you can load as many books as you like, as well as your smartphone, which thanks to various apps also serves as a navigation device, entertainment, booking platform and music system, and a pair of good headphones with noise-canceling function – so you will not be disturbed by the loud aircraft noises or the snoring of your roommates in the hostel.

Batteries and charging cables must be packed for each device. Find out more about the power connections of your travel destinations and it’s best to pack a universal adapter. A power bank is also practical as an external backup power source. Depending on the model, you can use it to charge your cell phone or even your camera a few times.

Other practical items for backpackers

The most important thing you should have in front of your backpack now, but there are other practical accessories that you should take with you on your backpacking trip. This includes a drinking bottle in particular: This way you can fill up with drinking water everywhere and do not have to unnecessarily buy plastic bottles and throw them away. A lunch box and a jute bag are also practical for transporting food and also avoiding plastic bags and the like this time.

You should also pack a medium-sized microfiber towel. These towels are light, can be folded up small, dry quickly and hardly absorb any smells – perfect for traveling! A travel sleeping bag, also known as a hut sleeping bag, ensures more hygiene when sleeping. This thin sleeping bag prevents sweat from getting on the sleeping bag, the duvet or the pillow. If you have a light sleep, it makes sense to pack additional earplugs and a sleep mask.

The perfect packing list for your backpacking trip

So that you really think about everything in addition to our recommendations and don’t forget anything, we have linked our Off The Path packing list under this section. The best thing to do is print them out and gradually check off all objects.

This belongs in your backpacking backpack:

Documents:

ID card
passport
Vaccination certificate
Health insurance card
Driving license
International driving licence
International student ID, if applicable
Credit card

Clothes:

Tank tops, T-shirts or shirts (depending on the season)
Functional shirt
Fleece (sweater or jacket)
Casual pants or dress
Sports pants (e.g. hiking pants or yoga / jogging pants)
shorts or skirt
light rain jacket
lightweight down jacket
Cappy or hat / headband
Swimwear
Pair of sports socks & 1x sports bra
Socks & underwear for a week

Shoes:

Pair of multifunctional shoes
Birkenstock sandals
 

Equipment, technology & useful:

Water bottle
Lunch box
medium-sized microfiber towel
Rain cover for your backpack
Smartphone
Tablet
camera
Power bank
headphone
adapter

Cosmetics & hygiene:

Toothbrush & toothpaste
Shampoo & shower gel
Deodorant spray or roller
Facial care
Hand cream & lip care
Cotton pads & swabs
Hairbrush & rubber
if necessary, menstrual cup

Mini first aid kit:

band Aid
suncream
Mosquito repellent
Painkillers
Diarrhea
Wound disinfectant & healing ointment
individual medication

backpacker 12

Pack your backpack: This is how you pack your backpack properly

You now know what you want to take with you, but how in heaven can you get it all in your backpack without it ending in chaos? And how do you pack your backpack so that it can be carried comfortably when fully packed? We’ll tell you a few tricks on how to properly pack your backpack and keep it tidy on the go!

With these tips you pack your backpack properly:
Use packing cubes for more order:

Packing cubes help you on the one hand to compress your clothes and on the other hand ensure more order, as nothing flies loose in your backpack

Roll your clothes instead of folding them:

By rolling, you compress your clothes additionally and can pack more

Use socks as a gap filler:

You can practically stuff socks in gaps and thus really uses every space in your backpack

Pack heavy things down and light things up:

In order to be able to carry your backpack comfortably packed, you have to pay attention to the correct weight distribution and pack heavy objects below near your back, while light things can be packed further upwards

Always have important items at hand:

Your rain jacket, water bottle or wallet should be stowed away as easily as possible, after all you don’t want to have to search for these things for hours, especially if you are standing somewhere in the rain

camping people 4 1

Extra: Useful travel apps and VPN

In the meantime, the Internet has been a constant companion in our lives. Book flights & accommodations, find the right way or post the latest snapshot on Instagram, the application options are perfect for a trip, so that you don’t have to do without your smartphone as a companion during your backpacking trip and can also find yourself safely online outside of Germany Here you can find the most important information about smartphones and the Internet when traveling.

How do I go online while traveling?

If your backpacking trip takes you to a country that belongs to the EU, you don’t have to worry about internet access. In these countries, you can continue to use your German mobile phone contract as usual, as there are no roaming charges, but outside of this area or on other continents your existing contract will quickly reach its limits. Therefore, make sure that you travel to every country to get a local prepaid SIM card. So you are inexpensive online and avoid high roaming fees. How to access regionally blocked sites? In some regions it is also not possible to access certain Internet services. In Vietnam, for example, Facebook is blocked and therefore cannot be used. In order to still be able to share your travel experience online with your friends, you need to take a detour via a VPN access, which is exactly what the other advantages of this type of internet use are and how you can go online via VPN you in the next section.

How am I safely traveling online while traveling?

Internet security is an important issue in today’s digital world. After all, you do not want strangers to read your private messages, access your personal data or misuse your credit card details, so that you not only have this security in your private encrypted WiFi, but also when you are on the go, you should always have VPN access online go.

What is VPN access?

Basically, you can imagine a VPN access, like a gate through which you enter the Internet. If someone wants to go through this gate from the other side, it is closed and access to your data is denied. In addition to protecting your data, using the Internet via VPN brings you further advantages: you can change the settings in which country you are currently using the Internet. In this way, you circumvent country-specific limitations and can possibly save when booking a flight ticket. There are sometimes different prices, depending on whether you book a flight on the German website or on the website of another country.

VPN access: No specialist knowledge required

Using the Internet via a VPN access does not require a lot of specialist knowledge. You can easily download the app or a browser extension from a provider such as ZenMate or F-Secure to your smartphone or MacBook and you can surf the world wide web safely in public networks. The respective providers also offer premium packages that are subject to charges, which are even more secure and meet special needs.

The best apps when traveling

In order not only to be able to communicate securely, but also to fully utilize the possibilities of your smartphone as a travel companion, you will find all travel apps in this article that are essential for your smartphone. You will also learn how you can even turn your phone into a real outdoor gadget.

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What are you waiting for? – Go on an adventure!

Do you already feel the tingling and the anticipation that it will finally start? Enjoy this feeling and start with the right attitude on your first backpacking trip! Try not to take everything so seriously, relax and see where your adventure takes you.

Approach other people openly and make many new contacts all over the world. Immerse yourself in other cultures and be inspired by them. Grow beyond yourself and get to know yourself. You will be incredibly proud of yourself when you complete this adventure. Don’t worry – your backpacking trip will be a great experience!

Since you have read our backpacking guide to the end, you are now well prepared for your first backpacking adventure. You have learned how to plan and finance your trip. You know what you have to regulate in advance and what equipment you should take with you. You also have the perfect backpacking backpack as a travel companion and also know how to pack it best.

Now all you have to do is implement our tips and nothing stands in the way of your backpacking adventure. Your backpack is ready, the flight is booked and a great adventure lies ahead. Now it’s up to you to have a great time. So sit back, let yourself go and collect memories!

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