What are some travel tips for first-time backpackers?

What are some travel tips for first-time backpackers?

  • Enjoy it
    • The world is not out to get you
  • You will care LESS about cleanliness as you do at 'your mum’s place’
    • Pack less than you think you’ll need. You’ll wear t-shirts, pick up clothes along the way
  • Get comfortable taking selfies
    • Or you’ll regret all the photos you DIDN’T take in the years to come
  • Get a smartphone with a GOOD front facing camera
    • For said selfies
  • Have EVERYTHING sync to the cloud
    • So you never really ‘LOSE’ anything
  • In a country for more than 3 days?
    • Get a local sim . Data on the move is EVERYTHING
  • Get used to taking photos of important documents
    • You never know when you might need it
  • Keep imp. documents @home and head out with photocopies
    • This way no coppers/otherwise can extort you
  • Man?
    • Grow a beard. Look confident. Puff your chest out a little. It may well save your life. Perception is everything
  • Woman?
    • In a dodgy neighbourhood? Tie your hair up. Don’t show your body off if you can help it. Look confident. Puff your chest out a little. It may well save your life. Perception is everything
  • Generally?
    • Try and blend in
  • Take a chromebook
    • They’re dirt cheap. Save EVERYTHING to the cloud and teeny. I’m writing this answer using it now
  • Pick a medium and make it a habit
    • Audio, Video, Blogging and/or Photos. Leave voicenotes/write daily/photos daily. Make this a HABIT. Then you come out with thiskind of stuff
  • Do a dry run
    • Go away alone for a weekend/week in a hostel/airbnb/couchsurf in a different city in your homecountry. Make mistakes in a safe place :slight_smile:
  • At an airport ask someone when going through customs for advice on ‘the cheapest/safest way to get to X’
  • Don’t take a Rolex . Take a cheap casio. Plastic strap style
  • Hide valuables
  • 3 credit cards in 3 different places in your pack
    • Look at cards with % free withdrawals/transactions abroad
  • $300 USD as an emergency stash
  • Take your vaccination slip in case you need it
  • Take a poncho
    • It can act like a sleeping cover. Waterproof. Backpack cover and so on
  • Local greetings
    • Speaking another language of course helps but honestly? Thank you/Hi/Bye are the essentials. The rest you don’t really need
  • The internet has changed everything
    • Travelling is easier than it ever was. So ENJOY!


  • Flashlight (are you going camping/trekking alone?!)
  • Swiss army knife (same as above)
  • Camping gear (same as above)

I never did any of the above ALONE. Always with friends/guided tours. We bought before we headed out from a local place. Always better rates than in London.

Do that.

Also in my decade of various travels (see the Bio) I’ve NEVER needed to use any of those three

For some of my life’s lessons see here

Other advice:

This guide should help you to do is as CHEAP AS POSSIBLE! :slight_smile:


5-10k Euros should be a good start

The route

  • Google ‘cheapest RTW trips’ or ‘round the world on a budget’
  • Work out an itinerary that would be one of your dreams FOCUSSING upon countries where the Euro takes you further
    • Add in some variation of cities for additional flexibility
  • Check out ‘Kayak’ and ‘Skyscanner’ and ‘Google Flights’ for multi stop flights - play with some itinerary ideas - get quotes go RIGHT to the checkout page
    • Take screenshots of itinerary, exact prices and checkout page
  • Google ‘Top 10 travel agencies Holland’
    • Email them all the same itinerary asking them for their best price and send the best price you found
  • Wait for their calls and offers to STREAM IN (they will)
  • When they call ask them to help you devise a budget etc so you can work it out


  • Email hostels (x5 per city) in each city you’re going asking to work there in exchange for board and breakfast. You might get lucky (it’s not that hard to) and stay for free and get some free meals
  • Or make use of Couchsurfing (it’s FREE)
  • Read online literature or take a cheap Udemy course upon HOW to write good requests etc etc
  • Aim to Couchsurf in the ‘quieter’ cities and ‘Hostel’ (See Hostelbookers/Hostelworld) in the ‘party’ places.
    • Hostels you’ll have most fun (and they’re CHEAP)
    • Couchsurfing you’ll meet a local
  • Last resort Air B N B but try not to if you’re on a super cheap budget


  • First day you arrive in a new city - talk to a LOCAL about the Dos and Donts
    • Best/Cheapest places for restaurants
    • Supermarkets
    • Booze
    • How to live like a poor student


  • If you’re a planner get lonely planets or Google the sh*te out of a place
  • If you improvise when you turn up ask locals/host/hostel receptionist/do nothing at all

Making Money (in other ways)

  1. Working in a hostel

  2. You can go to Hostelbookers, find all relevant hostels in a city. Go directly to their website and blanket mail them all asking for ‘bed and board’ in exchange for working in the hostel. Cleaning/Cooking/Marketing/Reception you name it. I see this happen alot

  3. Teaching English abroad (can earn well if you’re good)

  4. Arrive into a city/town. Find out who all of the agencies are. Go and talk to them (espec. if you’re a native speaker). You’ll find work

  5. Freelancing as an English teacher (can earn v.well if you’re good at marketing)

  6. Same gig as above but getting private clients via local classified ads sites. Approaching language schools. Via the hostels

  7. Local bars/restaurants/cafe’s

  8. Hand out CVs etc. You get the idea

  9. Street buskers/Peddlers/Vendors etc

  10. Make jewellery. Play an instrument. Find the $1 a day hostel underworld (squats with beds basically). Sell on the street. Doing drugs as well most likely is a requirement

  11. Remote jobs

  12. Work-in-startups. Blogging, journalling etc

For some of my life’s lessons see here

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