(Back)Packing essentials

Backpacking for beginners: what you need to know

So, you’re about to embark on one of the biggest adventures of your life. Packing up all of your belongings and going traveling alone can be an extremely daunting experience if you’ve never done it before. You may have heard about what to expect, but the very thought of doing it for real may leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Some of your main concerns may be based on choosing a suitable destination, what to pack, and how to stay safe. Rest assured, this post will provide you with some key tips to keep in mind for your first time backpacking adventure.

Photo via Pixabay, by Pexels

1. Choose your destination wisely

When it comes to your very first backpacking adventure, it’s best not to stray too far, so you can get a feel of what it is to be a backpacker before making the decision to go away for several weeks. Once you have ticked off a short weekend trip and have decided it’s definitely something you wish to pursue, you need to think carefully about which destination you choose.

Ensure it’s somewhere you’re excited about and have researched well, rather than making a spontaneous decision in which you have no real clue where you’re going. Plan far in advance, so you familiarize yourself with the place before you arrive and of course, get those early-bird deals on flights, which can otherwise be costly if you book last minute.

Photo via Pixabay, by navinuk2

2. Buy the essentials

Get equipped with the essentials, which include the likes of as a tent, sleeping bag, stove, kitchenware, hiking boots, and comfortable clothing (tip: read about temperature ratings of insulated jackets). Camping out rather than staying in hostels will save you a significant amount of money as you travel from place to place, as well as allowing you to have a more authentic experience of what it’s like to be a backpacker. Despite this, it’s important you’re comfortable and have enough sleep to be able to cope with the physical impact on your body, so do what’s best for you.

3. Get physically and mentally prepared

Any new adventure is sure to leave you feeling anxious and apprehensive about what to expect – it’s our body’s natural reaction to prepare us for danger. Leaving home with poor mental health won’t set you up well for your backpacking adventure, so it’s important you take the necessary measures beforehand to keep you calm, collected and ready for your adventure.

You could practice mindfulness each day, or even visit a center for wellbeing to get you into full relaxation mode by detoxing, de-stressing and freeing tension from the body.

When it comes to getting physically prepared, it would be wise to squeeze in a few short hikes of similar difficulty at weekends while carrying your backpack, so your body is trained to cope with the physical impact. It would also be worthwhile to make sure you’re familiar with all your equipment before you do it for real.

Photo via Pixabay, by Pexels

4. Stay safe

Take it upon yourself to stay safe at all times while on your expedition. Leave a detailed map with friends and family and alert them of where you’re likely to be and when, so help is at hand if you needed it.

It wouldn’t be wise to carry any valuables if you can help it, as you are vulnerable as a lone traveler, but as you’ll most likely be needing your smartphone to stay connected, ensure your device is well hidden.

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