10 Simple Backpacking Travel Hacks
- Do a research on the country you travel to – I like to read books from publisher such as Lonely Planet, Rough Guides or blogs from other fellow backpackers (see recommended links on my website n4nomad. Be ahead of things and with bit of planning you will be prepared for ad-hoc situations or changes of plans.
- Respect – Respect the culture and people of the country you are traveling to. This links to previous rule. Be aware of the clothing etiquette (whatever it might be very normal in your country, this may not be a case in other countries), gestures, and mimics (some gestures may occur to be offensive), always be polite, and know the religious background of each country.
- Learn basic words and phrases – Locals will always appreciate if you make an effort learning their language and even learning a few words and phrases will make a massive difference. Do not expect everyone speaking English.
- Blend in – Try to become one of the locals. The locals always appreciate if you make an effort and try to dress like them and/or socializing with locals on a modest level, such as having a traditional tea or coffee in a local teahouse.
- Interact – The beauty of backpacking is that you meet beautiful people on the way. The rule of thumb is a “karma boomerang” which means, that whatever karma you give away, the same karma comes back to you. Locals will always appreciate if you try learning their native language and will love any attempt to have a conversation with them.
- Offer help – See an elderly person or locals struggling carrying heavy load? Well keep your eyes open because any good intention will pay off. Honesty will be always appreciated, and in return, you can receive advice or tips from locals, which are priceless.
- Eat locally- If you wish to eat cheaply and fancy eating freshly made food, go to the food markets. Observe locals, and eat where locals eat. I have not experienced a single food poisoning at the food markets, however there were a few cases where I got food poisoned in the restaurants. If you are not a big fun of the food markets, try to find one that has a large turnover of customers, so the food you are served is freshly made.
- Avoid full-moon parties, or groups of westerners whose aim is to get drunk and cause public disorder to local communities. There is nothing to gain from these experiences and have an empty value. Be a real traveler!
- Use public transport whenever you can – where to meet locals if not at the public transport, they use on everyday basis? Public transport is the most valuable way of moving around because it will give you an understanding how people live and what their culture is. You will be surprised how the locals appreciate if you travel with them and in many cases, they will help you with getting around. I always found help from locals, despite being at the most remote parts of the country.
- Donate blood, buy books or school equipment for local schools, or contribute with volunteering if you want to help. Giving money to individuals or sweets to children will not help. In many third world countries, there is a shortage of blood, so donating blood is always welcome. You can also buy school equipment for local school or even small village just with just $20. Another way of helping is to volunteer in local project run by NGOs. This way you can help communities and making sure that your support goes to those who really need it.
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