An international backpacking trip is an extensive endeavor, and so is planning one. Between scouting travel tickets, booking lodging, scheduling sightseeing, planning hikes, and innumerable other arrangements, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you are just starting out and aren’t sure how to begin preparing, take a look at this list of four essential considerations for any international backpacker.
Create a Schedule
Before you do anything else, create your intended schedule. Figuring out your ideal departure date will help you find the most affordable plane tickets, and knowing approximately when you’ll arrive in each city will allow you to schedule further transportation if necessary. However, too much planning can essentially force you to sprint from place to place. If you hope to soak in the local culture and scenery, leave yourself a little wiggle room. To avoid exhaustion and burnout, it’s also a good idea to pace yourself during your travels. A week- or month-long stay in one city can help you recharge while still allowing you to explore the surrounding areas.
When you’re traveling with just a backpack, packing can be complicated. Opt for functionality over aesthetics because you’ll likely be traveling in several climates. Plus, international backpacking isn’t necessarily the most glamorous of activities, so you won’t have to worry about dressing to the nines for any of your adventures. Of course, you’ll need the basics like a power adapter and lightweight, sweat-wicking clothing. On top of that, you’ll want to pack a few warmer layers for when you trek into colder climates. One easy strategy is to pack the basics and pick up other necessary items from local vendors in each location. Since these vendors design their products with the local climate and landscape in mind, they should be well suited for individuals who are traveling throughout the area.
Arrange Travel Insurance
You never know if illness or injury might befall you on your journey, so having adequate travel insurance is critical. Plus, travel insurance isn’t just for hospital stays and doctor visits. It covers you for other unfortunate circumstances, like canceled flights, stolen property, and lost possessions. For such a modest price, usually around $1 per day, it would be utterly foolhardy to neglect to insure your trip. Make sure you select a policy that features ample coverage for medical expenses. What if you misstep and break your ankle? You should also opt for emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage just in case you suffer a serious injury and must be transported back to your home country. If you have Medicare, you should be aware that Medicare does not cover medical services outside of the U.S. You’ll need to purchase an entirely separate travel insurance policy.
Verify Visa Requirements
The last thing you want to do is attempt traveling between two countries only to find out you’re not legally allowed to cross the border. Certain countries require you to possess a travel visa for entry, so you’ll need to do your research before you start trekking. Beyond visa requirements, you’ll also need to furnish proof of travel arrangements and any other travel documentation each country deems necessary. To save yourself lost time and unnecessary headaches, make sure you are fully aware of the stipulations for each destination you plan to visit.
A well-planned international backpacking trip can truly change your life. You'll gain valuable insight into other cultures, witness breathtaking scenery and see life from a whole new perspective. Just make sure you do your research and prepare accordingly before you take off. Here's to happy and safe adventures!
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