The adventurous spirit burns in many of us, and often there is no way to properly synchronize gap years, vacations and destinations with your friends and loved ones. However, there is a considerable amount of precautions one must undertake before taking the world on alone.
While “winging it” sounds like a true adventure, it is much better to lay out your plans before you undertake this enterprise. Which cities are you going to visit? Where will you stay? How long will it take to get from one place to the other? When will you be back? These are the questions you must answer before setting out.
Backpacking is a lot of fun, and it allows you to get acquainted with the country or region on a more personal level, experiencing culture firsthand and talking to the real, everyday people. That being said, it would be a good idea to get the issue of a place to stay out of the way before you start your journey.
Youth hostels are kind of neat in this respect, since they are designed for travelers on a budget. Another way to go would be to stay at the house of your friend or pen pal. Just make sure there are no red flags.
On the Road
You’ve heard it time and time again – don’t hitchhike. Granted, you could run out of options and get stranded, but unless this is the case, you should steer clear of hitching a ride. There is no way of knowing who it is behind the wheel, and the probability of something bad happening to you drops significantly if you have a travel buddy. Stick to public transport, and you should be fine.
Money and Bags
There is no need to carry too much of either one. This is one of those instances where less is more. Too much luggage will burden you unnecessarily, whereas too much money is a problem that has a tendency to solve itself. Try to stick to the essentials, like a change of clothes, food and water, over-the-counter painkillers and antibiotics and a phone.
As for the money, set aside your daily budget, or, better yet, try to have someone wire you the money at specific destinations. That way you will not have a lot of cash on you, and you can feel safer. The person sending the money could be your friend or family member. Speaking of which…
We admit that it can get tedious reporting to your family. Yes, we know it makes you feel like a child. You must consider, though, that it is a lot safer when your loved ones have some idea where you are, as well as some info about your health and financial situation.
It is for these reasons that you should check in regularly when you reach a certain city, or just wish to share a piece of news. Your family and friends will appreciate it immensely and it will take a load of their mind when you call them on Skype, social media or a phone.