The simplest travel tips are the best! You know the ones that seem really really obvious. Painstakingly obvious. Like the time I travelled around the world and kept my passport safe, but leave it in Heathrow arrivals toilets. Or when people tell you to wear suncream, and you then sunbathe in the height of Singapore summer and get so burnt you can’t sit down for a week…
My top ten tips for backpacking…
1. Don’t forget your passport! Keep it in a secure part of your carry on. Try and put it away as soon as possible after you have used it. Always always always know where it is. (And definitely don’t keep it under the mattress in a hostel). This goes for all your ‘valuables’.
2. Split your money up. It is a great idea to have two purses or wallets and keep always some small change in your pocket. It saves getting all your money out when your only buying a bottle of water.
3. Put the address of the place where you are staying on a piece of paper inside your bag (and on a luggage tag if you have one). Always keep a copy in your hand luggage too.
4. Keep a copy of your emergency contact information in your hand luggage and in your purse. Including insurance numbers and vaccination information.
5. Bring a small home comfort! Your favourite biscuits or your slippers, a favourite DVD. It is always nice to have a little reminder of home. A photobook is great idea too. If you are staying with host families or in homestays it is so lovely to show pictures of your family.
6. Carefully plan your first aid kit! Things we take for granted can be hard to find or expensive. Always have first aid essentials. Staying healthy whilst travelling: Did I tell you the story about the flaming coconut curry?
7. Always be aware of your surroundings, know who is around. has anyone been following you? Would you know how to get back to the hostel? Does the area your in feel ‘safe’? Be aware. Situational awareness is one of the best skills you can learn whilst travelling.
8. Pack light (really light). Everyone says whatever you have packed, half it. I agree. But also you need to take things you feel comfortable in and things that are hardwearing and hard washing! The first time I went on a RTW I didn’t take any ‘nice’ clothes. Make sure you feel comfortable and can dress like yourself. Don’t look like a tourist! Angkor tank tops are great, but nothing scream backpacker like walking around Bangkok in a Chang beer vest top!
9. Just say no. If something doesn’t feel right, walk away. Just say no. Trust your gut. This is the most important tip I’ve got. My best piece of advice. Just say no. If you are being pressured into buying or feel uncomfortable in a taxi – just say no, leave the situation. It could save your life.
10. Take a
padlock padlocks. Anytime you can padlock your valuables away, its not worth the risk!