1. Say YES And Have NO Regrets
My number one tip; and the whole principle of going travelling is based on this piece of advice. It’s likely your trip will be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so don’t regret not doing anything – if you have the slight urge to do it, then do it! Say YES to eating that fried scorpion, say YES to jumping off a cliff with a bungee cord strapped around your ankles, say YES to going out despite still being hungover from the night before. If you don’t you may never know what you were missing out on.
2. Do Rather Than See
The more you travel the less content you are with just seeing a place, therefore always try to do something when you arrive. For example instead of just seeing the Great Barrier Reef, dive it; instead of just seeing the Eiffel Tower, go to the top of it; instead of just seeing a waterfall; go for a swim underneath it. Bungee Jumping, Skydiving, Jet Boating, Surfing, White Water Rafting, Zip Lining, Mountain Biking - there is always something new to try wherever you visit.
3. Stay To Appreciate
One of the best bits of travel advice I received was to stay longer in places to fully appreciate them and it's so true. Many times I was in a place for a couple of days thinking “this isn’t great”, but then after staying a few more days I would see or experience something amazing, this is particularly true in cities. You should spend at least two nights in every place you visit.
4. Travel Light
You have probably heard this one a hundred times before and for good reason. Travelling light will make your life so much easier and once you get into the swing of things, you realise you really don't need as many things as you thought. Get it right before going by reading our Packing Guide, but once you get going don’t fret about throwing things away and try not to add further possessions to your backpack.
5. Photo Details As Well As Scenery
Remember to not only take photos of scenic landscapes - some of the best photos are of street signs, foods, transport, dorms and most importantly, the people you meet. Your photos should tell a continuous story of your journey. Read more about Documenting Your Journey.
6. Think Before Spending Every Penny
Money saving is the most integral part of backpacking. Being able to save money will help prolong your trip, and can be the difference between doing or not doing that activity you planned on. Therefore always think before spending every penny: "do I really need to buy this?"; "would I rather spend this money on something else?"; "can I afford to do this in the long term?"; "can I go without?". Read more about Money Saving Tips.
7. Make Conversation
Talk to people and make friends, and not just if you are travelling alone – nearly all of my favourite travel memories have been with or related to other people. Talking to your fellow travellers is also the best way to improve your mood when feeling down, so make an effort and start a conversation by just saying "Hi, how's it going?". Remember everyone is in the same boat; everyone wants to meet new people, have fun and is in a good mood! Be confident, approachable and cheerful and you will have no problem. Read more about How To Meet People.
8. Plan Ahead, But Not Too Far Ahead
I am a big believer in going with the flow, but it is always good to plan a day or two in advance for things like accommodation and transportation – it is not fun arriving late at night and being unable to find a place to sleep. There are certain things like flights and popular tours that you may need to book much further in advance to secure a place or get a cheaper deal. You certainly shouldn't book everything in advance - the best thing about not planning too much is you are free to go wherever you want; if someone recommends you a place you have never heard of, you can go to it; if you want to stay longer somewhere, you can; if you have gone off visiting a place, then you don't have to. If you have booked everything in advance you can't do this.
9. Take Precaution
Despite what you may hear in the media, travelling to most overseas destinations is just as safe as travelling around your local area – hundreds of thousands of people go backpacking every year without incident. However you do need to be more prepared and take extra precaution, after all you are in a foreign land and you should never forget about that. Check your destination is safe to travel to through a government bureau and get any required vaccinations. Things such as crossing the road, sleeping on public transport, extreme activities, going off the beaten track, storing your belongings, touching animals, sexual relations and what and where you eat all need prior consideration. Read more about Travelling Vaccinations and Health and Safety And Security.
10. Enjoy It
Above all remember to stay positive; be excited about your trip and what you have planned. If you aren’t happy, change what you are not happy about. For example if you're really struggling in hostels take a break; get a private room for a few nights. Getting the balance right between saving money and staying happy is the key - you can spoil yourself occasionally to improve your mood, just don't do it every day.
If you are not happy and enjoying travelling, you may as well go home.
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