When it comes to backpacking holidays, there’s an awful lot that needs to be considered. It’s a very exotic and exciting thing to do, but it isn’t as easy as it looks. There are long bus journeys in sweaty, and cramped conditions, hostel bathrooms that really aren’t as clean as promised and dark nights in the middle of nowhere with little to do. It’s a wonderful life, but it can be an exhausting one.
When your home is on your back and your bed is wherever you can find it, unexpected things are bound to happen. It might be a bout of food poisoning, a case of athletes foot, maybe even a bad hangover – these things can be a nightmare, if you haven’t got the equipment needed to deal with them. If you are currently preparing for a backpacking holiday, there are some things that you are going to need, says SheKnows.com journalist Laura Williams. Here are a just few of the items that should be on every backpacker’s checklist.
Let’s get this out of the way quickly – a money belt is not all that fashionable. It’s not quite as nerdy as a bum bag, but it isn’t quite the trendy backpack you might hope for. Nevertheless, it’s the ideal accessory for travelling the world. When you are travelling, always avoid carrying all of your money in just one place. If you are targeted by a pickpocket, it is highly unlikely that he or she will have time to check more than one of your pockets. The theft of any item can be frustrating, but the loss of all your valuables could be devastating. Try to carry your money in a securely fastened belt that hangs close to the body, says GoCompare.com journalist Dave Jenkins.
You should always carry photocopies of your passport and travel insurance documents in your bags. If you need emergency consular assistance, they will help you to prove who you are. Industry experts at Travelindependent.com advise long term travellers to email copies to family members, to friends and to their own accounts. Don’t forget that passport theft is a very lucrative business. You do not have to spend much time worrying about this, just as long as you take care of your valuable items.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re camping in the woods, spending time at a hostel, or hanging out in a yurt – you cannot afford to be without a powerful torch. There are lots of budget hotels and hostels that are quite badly lit, and they can be a bit risky to traverse after dark. The very last thing you want on your travels is a broken ankle, so do take care when roaming at night. You’ll surely wish you had a torch on those long overnight train journeys.
You will be able to find sunscreen in foreign shops, but it will be expensive and there’s a good chance that it won’t suitable for your skin type. It is not uncommon for places like Thailand and Indonesia to sell sunscreen that contains skin whitening agents – do take care when buying overseas. If you want to be prepared, stick three or four bottles of sunscreen in your suitcase. They will easily last a year or more if used sparingly. That exotic all over tan might look good now, but wait until you reach 60 and your sunscreen deprived skin resembles an overwrought prune. In other words, it’s not worth it.
Roseanne Mackintosh writes for an international travel magazine. For the very best deal on long term travel insurance. Roseanne can usually be found interviewing locals or relaxing on the beach with a fruit cocktail.