Backpacking is simple, right? Just throw some things in a bag, book a flight or a bus and walk around meeting cool, international people, visiting famous landmarks, and generally having an awesome for everyone to get jealous over on Facebook – Simple!
But in actual fact, it’s not actually as simple as all that. There are loads of little things that, as a seasoned backpacker, you learn to do (or not to do) that make your life a whole lot easier and prevent all kinds of mishaps that could spoil your journey.
Here are my 7 simple do’s and don’ts to help make the most of your adventures.
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Smiling will get you far. When you smile it relaxes your face and makes you glow. People are generally attracted to people who smile as it makes you exude friendliness. Whether it’s to cinch a great bargain or just asking for directions, a smiling face will definitely help your cause.
2. Try to learn the language.
There’s nothing more heart-warming than a person making an effort to converse with the locals and interact with the real lives going on around them. Before backpacking to South America I took a three-month night course in the Spanish language. Yes, Filipinos can understand some of the lingoes but there’s nothing sexier than being able to speak fluently and understand what your host is talking about.
3. Hydrate – Drink lots of water.
Being dehydrated, whether from the air conditioning on the plane or sweating while you are climbing the Telerifico in Ecuador, can seriously ruin your day. Drinking plenty of water is a must; it keeps your skin from becoming dry and flaky, reduces the chances of your eyes being puffy, improves mental awareness and it’s very good for your cardiovascular health. Drink 2 liters or 8 glasses of water a day to keep in tip-top-traveling health!
4. Don’t get intoxicated.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a disgraced, intoxicated woman. Yes by all means party, have a glass of wine, drink champagne or have a pint of beer but for your own sake, don’t get completely wasted. You can get yourself in a lot of trouble by being overly intoxicated. You could have an accident, be assaulted, robbed, and even badly hurt. If it’s an all-night party, alternate your alcoholic drink with water or soda. And don’t forget to eat before you go drinking.
5. Wear sensible footwear.
Yes, being a short ass I love wearing my heels, but traveling hates them! Wear comfortable, practical walking shoes. Your feet will love you for it. I once walked around New York in my walking shoes but carried my heels in my handbag and did a quick 5-second shoe change whenever I took a full body photo! Yes, it’s vain, but it makes me look slimmer and taller, so why the hell not?!
6. Take multivitamins.
Backpacking is not holidaying in a resort, it’s hard on the body and the mind. You are on the go every day, traveling, sky diving, paragliding, and burning up lots of energy every day with different activities. You need to take care of yourself. It’s easy to neglect your health as at the end of the day you are tired and exhausted. Taking a simple multivitamin will just ensure that you still take the vitamins you are missing out on when traveling and will help reduce the chance of you getting sick. Your body is your most essential piece of travel equipment, so take good care of it!
7. Be confident with who you are
There’s nothing sexier than a confident woman. If you see people on the Milonga dancing tango in Argentina and you’re asked to dance, get up and dance! If you are asked to join a merry bunch of singing people in a pub in Ireland, join in and sing! Be proud of yourself, the fact that you are a traveler is impressive enough but if you can carry yourself with courage and conviction, your travels will be a lot more fun.
So there you have it – the perfect recipe for a perfect travel experience, anywhere in the world! Follow these seven simple steps to better, safer, more rewarding travel, and share them with others who could benefit from them too.
About the Writer
Mary Jane is a Filipina backpacking veteran who began her journey when solo backpacking was still a rare concept for most Filipinos. A 34 years old Filipina/Australian citizen, originally born in Batangas, Philippines, she now lives on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. Having started traveling at age 24 in 2003, she’s traveled in the Philippines, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, South America, Thailand, USA, UK, Ireland, UAE, Vietnam, Malaysia, Fiji, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Now married for 5 years to a lovely Irish man, they have a beautiful 2-year-old daughter, with another baby due any day now! She works as a registered nurse because she loves helping people in need and they’re already planning their next trip at the end of the year after baby number two is born!
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