FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT BACKPACKING

Over the years I have been asked many questions about my travels and backpacking in general, so I have decided to compile all the most frequently asked questions and answer them all in one place for you below.

Backpacking is the answer for an affordable yet fulfilling adventure. You’ll see so many incredible places, meet new people and make memories that will last you a lifetime. It’s an experience like no other. My first backpacking trip changed my life (cheesy to say I know, but it did) – so much so, that I lived out of a backpack for years and its my favourite way to live.

I had so many questions about backpacking when I first decided to travel long term. Firstly, how on earth will I have enough clothes to last me 9 months? Is a backpack really a better idea than a suitcase? How much money will I need and what should we take? Will I be lonely? and many more questions.

To help you solve all your unanswered questions, I have put together this all-in-one backpacking advice blog post. It contains answers to all the questions I could possibly come up with, along with some of your suggestions!

Banff Alberta, Canada

Am I Too Old To Go Travelling?

Absolutely not! There’s a misconception that you need to either have finished secondary school or graduated from college to qualify for the backpacking cool kid club. which is very very wrong. You can go backpacking at any age.

There is many different type of backpackers that you will meet during you travels. I met 18 year olds who just finished high school, divorced mid-thirties men and females, old retirees, and people at any age just wanting to see the world the cheapest way possible.

Remember, it’s your life to do with as you please. If you’ve got the money and you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, don’t let age stop you from reaching for your dreams!

How Do I Do Laundry On The Road?

Honestly I didn’t even think about this before I left a whole lot. The only thing I did before I left regarding laundry is taking a few of the small detergent packages in my backpack with me (I used these when I need to wash something really quick in the hostel sink)

How you do laundry will depend on where you’re staying. A few hostels I stayed in had washing facilities but most hostels in Asia don’t. If your hostel doesn’t have laundry just ask the front desk, they will either recommend you a place to go, it will either be a laundrymat where you can do it yourself or a lady who does it in her house for supper cheap.

If all else fails and you are completely out of clothes and you have to do your washing there is always a sink around your hostel!! I did this a few times and it gets there job done.

What Do I Do About Toiletries?

Don’t even consider buying holiday-size miniatures because you think they’re the only thing that could conceivably fit in your wash bag. Your not going on a holiday so these are just a waste of space in your bad and not worth the money.

It’s usually very easy to buy essential toiletries while travelling, especially if you’re frequently passing through large towns and cities. If you’re worried about luggage weight, don’t take any of the essentials with you at all – just bring what you think you’ll need for the first night. Some accommodations, from hostels to Airbnbs, will have the basics (shampoo and shower gel).

Those of you who wear makeup, you might want to bring a spare of any of your favourites. Most brands are available, but you might be disappointed.

Will I Have To Stay In A Dorm?

Nope. Not if you don’t want to. Many hostels have private rooms which aren’t that much more expensive. There are many different kinds of dorm rooms, I stayed in a 3 bed room all the way up to a 25 bed dorm, but its all a preference to what you need and like.

Don’t completely write off dorms, even if the idea of them is filling you with dread. Staying in a dorm makes it that much easier to meet new people and some hostels offer genuine five-star accommodation – you just have to sleep in a room full of other people!

If you opt to stay in a Hostel or in a Dorm here are my best tips for you to be a hostel pro even if its your first time! And if your curious what it is actually like to stay in a hostel, check out this blog.

Will I Meet People?

I was actually really scared of this, only because I was a shy person (I’m no longer shy and am now very outgoing thanks to solo travel). But meeting people is honestly all up to you! In the right hostel, it can be nearly impossible not to meet people. If you like organized tours, this is also a great way to meet other travellers, or if your hostel has a common area hangout in there and you will almost always meet new friends.

If you are a lone wolf and like sticking by yourself then that’s also totally fine!

check out my blog post dedicated to this question.

How Much Money Will I Have To Save?

This will depend on how you want to travel, how long you want to travel for and where you want to travel to. This is not an easy question to find a straightforward answer to because it all depends on what type of traveller you are personally.

Most of your budget will be spent on accommodation, so do some research before you leave. Find out how much your ideal hotels cost where you are headed. If you plan to follow an specific path and travel large distances between countries, you should definitely budget more for transport. Remember, slow travel is when transportation and activities are more spread out and in the end will be cheaper than if you want to pack a lot into a short trip and move fast.

Move slow, enjoy the moment!

Here are all my tips for saving money.

How Do I Deal With Visas?

Visa rules vary from country to country and will depend on your own nationality too, so the best thing to do is research information from official government websites.

You may have to arrange a visa before your trip or you may be able to apply for a visa upon arrival in your destination or you may not even need a visa at all! A lot of countries nowadays are offering e-visas, meaning you can arrange a visa easily online without the hassle of visiting an embassy.

Be aware, though, that there are plenty of scam sites that offer fake e-visas, so be careful where you get your information from!

Will The Backpack Hurt My Back?

It really shouldn’t. If you’ve bought a high-quality backpack that is the right size for your body and the straps are done up correctly then you shouldn’t have any pain in your back. Make sure that most of the weight is sitting on your hips rather than your back and shoulders.

Here is my guide to finding the perfect backpack for you.

What Sort Of Shoes Should I Take?

You’ll likely need a few different pairs of shoes, but you should make sure they’re all lightweight and go with as many outfits as possible.

I only travel with two pairs of shoes and I have never had an issue, I take (and pretty much live) in Flip-Flops and I also pack a pair of running shoes.

I recommend two or three pairs depending on what activities you will want to do.

  • Running shoes – these were my go-to shoes for any athletic adventure or long walks I did and I wore them on all flights, bus rides and any transportation to make sure my feet never were cold.
  • Flip-flops – a must for all destinations. for either walking around town in hot climates to wearing them in the shower at hostels
  • Hiking boots – not a necessity. Unless you plan on doing some serious hiking. Although if you’re headed somewhere that’s rainy and cold, Hiking boots might be a worthwhile addition to your backpack.

If you are wondering what my go to items to pack are, Here is my full packing guide.

Is It Safe?

That’s a difficult one to answer without knowing whereabouts you’re going. But is anywhere truly ‘safe’? Every City has its bad spots, so if you do your research just keep those bad places in mind and do not go to them.

There are several things you can do to make yourself less of a target. Such as not carrying a lot of money or valuable items and avoiding poorly lit areas.

It also helps to be aware of potential scams being run in the area you’re travelling to so that you can avoid them. There are plenty of blog posts online, so do some research before you travel.

For all my safety travel tips check out my blog post dedicated to this question.

Do I Need To Worry About My Stuff Getting Stolen?

Just like you would at home, try to look after your things! Lock your items away in hostels and never leave your bags unattended with valuable things inside.

If you’re out and about, carry minimal cash and bank cards. I only ever carry the cash I need for two or three days. And I only carried one bank card with me and had an extra card in both my backpacks as backups. That meant that if any got stolen, id still be able to access my money or get my mom to transfer my money out of that account into my others.

Will My Stuff Get Ruined?

I’m not going to lie to you – yes, some of your things may get ruined. You’re likely to be packing, unpacking and repacking every few days and that can take a toll on your belongings. Throw in sand, sea, dust and mud and you may find you need to replace or upgrade a few items along the way. keep this in mind when packing and don’t be afraid to say goodbye to a few favourite pieces.

Should I Go Backpacking?

If you can and you want to, then why on Earth shouldn’t you?

In my opinion Backpacking is the best way to travel and to fully emerge yourself into the culture. Also the best way to meet people.

If you’re headed for Southeast Asia, make sure you check out my travel guides for Vietnam , Thailand , Korea , China and here are my tips for travelling all around Southeast Asia

I answered my Most asked questions in this blog but if you have any other questions please do not hesitate to email me, leave a comment below or Dm me on Instagram!

Banff, Alberta Canada

*Traveling leaves you speechless but it turns you into a storyteller*

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