How to Prepare Your First Backpacking Trip – Information and Tips

Last Updated on August 28, 2018

How to Prepare Your First Backpacking Trip

If you have already decided that you are going to make a backpacking trip we know that the first thing you will have to do is convince your parents that you are not going to war.

We do not know anyone who travels to a distant country for the first time with the sole help of a travel guide, airline ticket and a backpack, and that his parents (and some friends) have not released pearls such as:

  • To that country? And it does not scare you? If they are there to civilize … (it does not matter what country you go, the comments will be the same)
  • And what are you going to eat there?
  • Be careful that you are going to put drugs in your backpack
  • You are crazy, with how good you are here
  • Well, I’ve seen on TV (or Fulanito told me) in that country (and then they will release the most rugged news you may have heard in your life)

In these cases it is best to show some Spanish roll videos around the world, street travelers, or some of the backpack, and that they see with their own eyes, regardless of the negative arguments established in the collective memory of such an immature country.

In this aspect as Spain, there are people who travel on their own enjoying that country and nothing happens, NOTHING!

Choose the destination of your trip

After giving the scare at home and once they are made to the idea is time to choose your destination. We know that one country is not the same as another, so we recommend you to choose one that is easy, that does not involve a great cultural shock, that has facilities like the ones you already have and that is familiar with tourism.

You may know that we have moved almost always in Asia, so our recommendation would be a country around here, but if you choose another area try to make it a country as we have detailed above. If on your first trip you choose a country with few facilities, the trip may not go as you dreamed and you have to park your backpack forever.

A good place to start could be Thailand, although, in some areas it is too touristy, it can help you to enter Asia in a very “civilized” way. Thailand has the same thing you can have in Spain, such as ATMs, hotels of all kinds, good taxis, good buses, good trains, good planes, etc.

We would not recommend India, for example, because it can be very impressive for a novice traveler; better “break the hand” with other countries and then step into this amazing country with a little more experience.

The Monsoons

What happens if it rains? Do you run out of travel? Nothing of that! Unfortunately, most people who take vacations in Spain are usually in summer, just when in many countries in Asia the monsoons make their appearance.

In theory, you should not realize much with this topic unless your main idea is beaches because it is true that the rains and the beach are not very compatible that we say.

Even so, in the monsoon season, the rains are usually intermittent; the same goes on the pouring rain that in ten minutes you get a sun that burns you. It does not hurt to investigate the exact time of each country before leaving on a trip to get an idea.

For us, for example, the monsoons have only “bothered” us a trekking we wanted to do in Cambodia and some days of beach in Thailand or Cambodia, but it is usually one more anecdote of our trips.

Following the example of Thailand, it can be said that not all beaches have a monsoon on the same dates, so depending on when you are going to go you can choose the east or the west depending on whether it is going to rain in one or the other.

In our article about the best time to travel to Thailand, you have many answers to your questions about the weather.

Language: How do you go with English?

Although it is not strictly necessary, it is true that a basic level of English will help you to travel practically all over the world.

There are countries like in Africa where it is better to know French or countries like China that is difficult to get around because there they usually speak only Chinese but knowing English will make things much easier.

They sell booklets like  English for the traveler that can help you if you still do not have very controlled the language or you can do an English course, but we repeat, that it is not a handicap.

How to organize a backpack trip

Vaccines and health in travel

This topic is usually quite worrying when you are going to make your first backpacking trip and if you have been following us for a long time you will know that we always recommend going to the doctor to explain, better than us, the topic of tropical diseases and recommended vaccines according to the country whom you travel.

You do not have to be paranoid and believe that you are going to catch all kinds of diseases, but you can not neglect health completely either. In our section of information on vaccines, you have information about it.

Many times prevention is the best medicine. Acts as simple as washing your hands with soap before each meal reduces almost half the cases of diarrhea, as well as other types of diseases caused by germs.

Using a mosquito net to sleep prevents mosquito bites and therefore decreases the chances of contracting diseases such as malaria or dengue, in addition, to avoid always spraying repellent.

Avoid eating salads or raw foods in places where hygiene is conspicuous by your absence will also be appreciated by your body, as well as drinking only bottled and sealed water. The use of sunscreen is another good action to consider because it will prevent burns that can get worse, especially in beach areas.

The backpack and travel material

The star product of your backpacking trip could not be other than the backpack, but which one to buy? To get to the point, our recommendation is not to travel with a backpack larger than 50L.

We know that on the first trip the tendency is to want to take half a house on your back, but from experience, we advise you not to look like a cargo donkey. We leave you a list of what we carry when we travel:

  • A pair of pants (can be one long and another short or both short)
  • A couple of t-shirts (we’ll buy more if we need it or if we see one that we like on the trip)
  • Some hiking shoes with a pair of socks
  • Some flip flops
  • 2 or 3 pieces of underwear
  • A toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, a comb (if you use), shampoo and gel (tampons or compresses if you’re a girl, although you can buy all the above in any 7-eleven of Thailand)
  • A small towel that dries fast
  • The travel kit
  • A mosquito net

With a backpack of 35L is ideal to carry the above and travel comfortably, but we also know that during the trip you will buy things to give away or take us back, so the 50L backpack will allow you to fit everything.

Ideally, take it half empty and finish filling it during the trip. You can check out the following video where we explain our backpack for a long trip.

The first steps in the destination country

Whatever the chosen country, do not be afraid. It is normal to have nerves before the unknown, but most of the time you usually have in mind everything you’ve seen on TV and tend to magnify it even more (and see that some news already sold to you overdone).

We do not mean that you go super confident, but not that you go paranoid; Stay with a medium term. If we keep talking about Thailand we say that upon arrival at the airport there is a taxi rank where you can  take one of them without having to haggle and go to the area of Khaosan or Rambuttri, where you will see many more backpackers, and you will begin to relax to see that you are not the only traveler.

A couple of days later you will be more convinced that “nothing happens” and you will begin to enjoy 100% of your trip, so be patient and let yourself be carried away the first days. Another tip would be to open up to the world and start talking to other travelers.

It is not unusual to meet travelers like you, who have just arrived or who have been traveling for a while, with whom to share a beer and talk about possible routes or itineraries. These conversations help a lot and calm the nerves, and if they are in English they will let you loose with the language.

How to organize a backpack trip

Final Words

Although the best advice we can give you, all ready to finish, is not to swim against the current, but to let yourself go. There will be some things that do not fit in your “normal” way of life, like seeing 4 people on a motorcycle.

People above the roof of a truck on a highway, light poles with 8 million wires, cats that climb on top of you while you eat at a restaurant, a scaffold made of bamboo and an uncle working up without any security, etc. but do not try to make comparisons or understand them, just change the chip, accept them and let yourself go. Enjoy the feeling of traveling on your own!


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