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Top Tips for Backpackers Wherever You Travel

Jul 25, 2008
People of all ages go backpacking as it provides an ideal way to save money, see the world, and make friends along the way.

Typically, backpackers avoid expensive hotels in city centers, and opt for campsites, hostels, or cheap bed & breakfast hotels. If this is your style (or if you know anybody who might be backpacking) read on as this article will save you money and help make your traveling safer and more enjoyable.

It's always a good idea to thoroughly research the journey using the internet and some well chosen guidebooks from a library or bookshop. If possible, talk to others who have taken the same route.

Take two credit cards and keep one aside for emergency use only. Keep the emergency card hidden inside your clothing somewhere so that if your belongings are stolen, you still have your emergency card.

Carry a mobile phone for calling home or for use in the event of an emergency. Failing that, always carry a phone card (e.g. an AT&T card), so that at the very least you can phone home or make an emergency call.

Send an email home regularly if you can get to an internet cafe. That way, your folks back home will know where you last traveled and where you are planning to go, if something happens to you.

Always make sure your travel insurance is up to date and that you know the emergency telephone number to claim insurance.

Avoid taking expensive jewels, watches, rings or other valuables. They attract muggers. Buy a cheap 'throw-away' watch for the trip.

Learn about cultural differences in the regions where you will be traveling. For instance, you may be able to wear shorts in Western Europe, but this may cause offence in some other countries of the world.

Generally try to avoid traveling at night, or walking alone in back streets or isolated places (applies to both men and women).

Look out for other backpackers who may be going your way. Travel with them if you can as there is safety in numbers. Also, it may make your journey more enjoyable.

Get a high-pitched attack alarm for emergencies. This is always a good thing to have, especially for women.

Take essential medication with you. If you need regular medication of any sort, do not rely on being able to buy it abroad. Sometimes brand names of medicines change from country to country. Also, acquiring medication may be problematic if there are language barriers.

Put medication in clearly marked bottles, carry a separate list of your medical requirements plus a letter from your doctor confirming your prescribed medication. This will help to minimize unwanted attention at customs.

Pack a spare toothbrush and dental floss when backpacking. Dental floss is useful for all sorts of things apart from teeth, such as a temporary broken strap or shoe lace, or to tie items together). Reduce all toiletries, insect repellent, sun lotion etc. to a minimum and replenish your needs as you travel.

As you travel, always be aware of what is going on around you, especially in crowded places, such as markets, airports, busy streets, and stations.

Here's an easy way to make your backpack thief proof from slashers (thieves who cut through your backpack to steal without your knowledge). Line the inside of your backpack with chicken wire (use a very fine soft mesh which can be attached at key points using needle and thread).
About the Author
Whether or not backpacking, see Airline Safety Ratings: important travel tips that airlines don't tell you. Every airline passenger must see Airline Safety Ratings.
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