The over-mounting excitement one typically feels before heading off on an around the world backpacking adventure is hard to fully describe in words. The delayed gratification it takes to save for a trip, pre-planning and waiting all add to the adrenaline rush of when things finally come come together in the end. Although major issues such as funds, planned itinerary and length of the trip are often predetermined before one ventures off into unknown territory, it is the little things/details that are often overlooked. The following five tips are suggestions to make your ‘big trip’ run a little smoother:
1) Backup Portable/External Hard-Drive
For those with even the slightest interest in photography or taking videos, I honestly can’t stress enough the importance of having a portable/external hard-drive backup as part of your gear. Things can/do go wrong for a variety of reasons when it comes to your primary hard-drive or storage system. If you’re carrying a laptop or even just storing your files on flash drives these devices can malfunction, at any given moment, instantly vaporizing those wonderful photos you’ve been preciously storing. Moreover, the risk of theft is often a concern. To avoid all of this simply carry an back-up portable hard-drive that you carry in a different compartment of your kit. For example, I always have my laptop with all of my photos/videos in my day pack and my portable hard-drive (with back-ups of all of these) in my main backpack in a well concealed section.
2) Second ATM or Credit Card
Having a second ATM or Credit Card functions is invaluable for many of the same reasons as carrying an external hard-drive. When travelling one’s primary credit card can be stolen, damaged, lost, malfunction or simply gobbled up by an ATM machine. In instances such as this, one doesn’t want to be in a position where they feel in a pinch. To avoid all of this from happening, carry a second credit card, and keep it safely stored in an area that is far removed from your primary one. If possible (with either your primary or secondary cards) find one that offers points/benefits such as air miles for dollars spent. Check out this article from About where they cover some of the best travel reward credit cards.
3) Travel Insurance
I honestly can’t stress enough the importance of having quality travel insurance. On my first backpacking trip, I arrogantly decided that spending the money on travel insurance was not something that was necessary and when I wound up sick with a serious infection in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia my several day stay in a hospital cost more than what I would have spent on quality travel insurance policy. Those who travel multiple times over the course of a year may save money by buying an annual travel insurance policy. Regardless, leaving home without travel insurance could end up being a potential disaster financially or health-wise.
4) Scanned Copies of your Important Documents
Make sure to scan or have on-line easy accessible access to any important document you have such as your passport, credit cards, travel insurance policy, banking information and/or emergency contact numbers saved by email and on your hard-drive. In the case of something going wrong it’s important to be able to retrieve such information for replacements.
5) Travel Towel
This last tip to take a travel towel is hardly an essential item, but I thought I would include it because it’s something that I’ve always carried with me on the road. When travelling in hot and humid climates or if you’re constantly on the move, having a towel that is lightweight, easily dryable and doesn’t take up a lot of space ensures one will always be able to take a comfortable shower. Although many hostels/guest houses have towels, others simply don’t and a regular towel takes much longer to dry. Nothing is worse than arriving at your new destination tired and in need of a refreshing shower only to find the towel you’ve been carrying in your bag is slightly damp, moldy and noticeably odour ridden. I’ve personally used this deluxe adventure travel towel on all of my backpacking trips.
On top of the towel you could always do with a decent bag.