Backpacking can be defined as hiking or traveling by carrying one’s own belongings inside a backpack.
Depending on where you are backpacking, may depend on how much you need to prepare, but for simplicity, we shall consider what you would need to think about to go backpacking anywhere in the world.
1. Who Might I Go With if Anyone?
If you are contemplating foreign travel, it is wise to consider buddying up with someone. This provides you with both company and security. It can be someone who can look out for you as much as you are looking out for them. This person could be a best friend or a relative. A romantic interest, perhaps, who can share those cold nights with you. Some people are better at navigating than others and it can be useful to have someone good at it by your side. So, it is something to think about before contemplating venturing into travel alone.
2. Your Destinations
The top 5 backpacking destinations that I have seen mentioned are Portland (Maine) – USA, Raglan – New Zealand, Pisac – Peru, Sendai – Japan, and Trapani – Italy, to provide you with a few ideas as to where you could go.
3. Size of Backpack and What to Take
The size of the backpack required will be entirely proportional to the length of your trip, the temperature of the countries that you are planning to visit, and how light you want to travel. You should, however, packing as essential: hiking boots, a tent and sleeping bag, basic foodstuffs, a water bottle, and a stove with some fuel. A navigational aid will be useful, whether it be a paper map or a GPS that is a separate device or part of your mobile phone. How useful your mobile phone will be is dependent on the signal that you are able to receive in the area that you are going. Backpacking does not have to be about venturing too far from the tourist areas.
Some gadgets that you might find useful are: a solar-powered battery pack with lights, a collapsible water bottle, a credit card size multi-tool, an inflatable pillow, and some ear plugs, in case you find yourself in a noisy location where it is hard to sleep. You will, after all, want to feel refreshed and ready for the next day’s adventures.
4. Travel Documents Required
It is necessary to have an up-to-date passport for international travel. It should be noted that passport cards will not be accepted as I.D. for international air travel. The difference between a passport book and a passport card is that passport cards will only be valid if entering Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and Caribbean countries and associated territories, and only be used for land or sea entry. According to US Customs and Border Protection, you will not need a passport for: American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or United States Virgin Islands.
Some destinations require you to apply for a visa. Counties that do not, or only require it on arrival, include Bhutan, Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Then, until you have perhaps sought out some local work to pay your way, you will need to have pre-arranged a currency exchange with your bank. To have some money changed into the currency of the countries that you plan to visit. If it is Europe, then the Euro may cover it, but further afield and the currency is different between countries.
For example, the Australian dollar is different from the American Dollar, which is different from Antigua’s East Caribbean dollar. Denmark is the Danish krone and Japan the yen.
There are departments at banks and other outlets that handle such an exchange. It is better not to expect to see your equivalent bank abroad but to already have the cash in hand. You should check that your credit card is valid payment in the countries that you are planning to visit. This will save you taking so much cash with you, which could be a potential security risk as opposed to a credit card that you can hide easily.
So, to a degree, your backpack might determine what you need to think about, but it is important that you think out any trip that is not taken care of by a travel agent. That you consider how you will get there, how you will travel once you are there, and who and what you need to take with you.