A Seasoned Backpacker's Top 10 Globetrotting Tips

What are your best backpacking (world travel) tips? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Here are 10 tips and tricks that I’ve learned so far on my travels:

  1. Bring 2 bags instead of one large bag- When I travel I always travel with two bags, a bigger one on my back and a smaller one on my front. You’ll see many backpackers struggle with one huge bag that is too heavy. I pack most of my clothes in my bigger bag, and place all my electronics and valuables in my smaller bag. When you arrive at your hostel you can put your big back in your locker, and use your smaller bag a a day pack.
  2. Stay in Hostels or Airnb- Hostels are usually very affordable, and if you are traveling alone they are a great place to meet people from all around the world. If you traveling with a friend or two than Airbnb is also an excellent option. Both are usually much cheaper than hotels.
  3. Buy travel insurance- I always buy travel insurance when I go abroad. It helps give you peace of mind in case something valuable is lost or stolen. Also if you’re traveling abroad and you need to go to a hospital, it can be extremely expensive as a foreigner. Insurance is something you never want to use, but you always want to have. Worldnomads is a very popular travel insurance company.
  4. Do Your Research- most of us only get limited vacation time, so its important you research ahead of time the main places that you want to visit. I like to get a rough idea of where I want to go, how long it’ll take to get there, and how much it will cost.
  5. Go with the flow- While having a plan is important, its also important not to over do it. Travel should be fun and full of adventure, if you’re constantly running around to see all the tourist sites you will get burned out. Also some of my fondest travel memories were never part of my travel itinerary. If you meet cool people in your hostel or locals they may show you some really unique places.
  6. Exchange money at the bank not the airport- the airports rip you off when it comes to exchanging money, often charging conversion fees in excess of 10%! You can get a much better rate by exchanging money beforehand in your country at a bank. I always exchange some money at the bank before I leave.
  7. Bring some cash- Its always a good idea to have some cash on you in case of emergency. In many developing countries restaurants and small businesses don’t take credit cards. Some places will offer discounts if you pay in cash. Also if you lose your credit card or your wallet is stolen its much less painful if you still have some cash on hand.
  8. Take Uber- when I went to Bangkok last winter the taxi driver from the airport ripped me off, charging me almost triple of what it should have cost! Once I found out they had Uber in Thailand, I took Uber the rest of my trip, and never got scammed by a driver again! Most of the Uber drivers also spoke some English too unlike the taxi drivers.
  9. Bring a camera and/or journal- when you travel the world you see many wonderful, weird, and exotic things. Having a camera or journal with you helps you remember these experiences and share them with your friends back home.
  10. Explore, get out of your comfort zone- you didn’t fly all the way to Thailand to eat a hamburger and party with other Americans. When you travel you can people from all over the world. Lots of people travel alone, and they’re just as eager to make new friends as you. When I was in Japan last summer I had a lot of bad luck, and I spent way too much money. However instead of taking it easy my last few days in Japan, I decided to climb Mount Fuji by myself. While climbing Mount Fuji I made friends from England and Italy, and we got to share this beautiful sunrise at the summit together. It was the highlight of my trip.
Sunrise from the top of Japan, Mount Fuji
Sunrise from the top of Japan, Mount Fuji

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