10 Top Tips for First Time Backpackers


Man and woman taking a picture on top of a mountain

Planning your own overseas expedition? Here are our top tips for first time adventurers.

1). Travel light! You don’t need half as much as you think, especially when travelling to hot countries.  Chances are you will end up buying extras whilst on your travels, so packing less really is more.  I come from a strict backpacking family and their motto is “one to wash, one to wear and one for spare!” And don’t over load on footwear. One pair of trainers or walking boots and a pair of sandals or flip flops is sufficient.

2). Shop around for the best exchange rates and change currency before you get to the airport. Airport rates are always very poor with higher charges.  Be sure to take a supply of cash and also at least 1 but ideally 2, credit and/or debit cards.

3). Take a photocopy of your passport and store it separately from your original.  As back up, take a photograph of it and email it to yourself so you always have it stored online.

4). Check in advance if a visa is required to enter the country you are travelling to.  Some visa’s must be purchased before travel whilst others can be purchased on arrival.

5). Never travel without valid travel insurance. Be sure to declare all current medical conditions and read the policies thoroughly.  It is often worth investing a little more on a policy to avoid heavy excesses and to ensure you have the best level of cover available. Remember to tell your insurance provider if you intend on riding a motorcycle, or doing any activities such as scuba diving or skiing.  If they do not know in advance then you will not be covered.

6). Purchase a local SIM card when you arrive in the country you are visiting.  This will save you a fortune and give you the freedom to still use your phone whilst abroad.

7). Never store all your valuables and important documents together in one place.  Separate them so they are stored in different places.  That way, if you are robbed, you won’t have lost absolutely everything and it will be easier for you to sort out.

8). Don’t always assume you can rely on the internet. Many parts of the world still have limited access. Print a hard copy of any boarding passes, bus tickets and booking confirmations to ensure you don’t get stuck.

9). Carry a basic first aid kit so you can treat any minor ailments yourself.  A basic kit should contain: Plasters, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream (good for treating mosquito bites), painkillers such as Paracetamol, an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen, and basic medications that are used to treat stomach bugs.  These include Loperamide (used to prevent diarrhoea, so particularly useful for long journeys where access to toilets may be limited), Buscopan (to treat stomach cramps) and rehydration salts (to replenish minerals). You can also purchase anti-biotics used to treat stomach bugs in our clinics as part of our comprehensive tummy kits.  These anti-biotics treat the cause of the bug and not just the symptoms.

10). Ensure you check if any vaccinations are recommended at least 6 weeks before you travel.  Some countries require proof of vaccination to gain entry,, so this research is essential! A number of vaccines require a course to be fully effective and this can take over a month.  Plan well ahead to ensure you can have a safe and healthy holiday!  Contact us to book now.

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