If, like me, you decide to hit the road with a backpack, the next few months of your life might look something like this:
And yes, that is actual footage from the last 2 months of my life, where I started in Mexico and ended in Estonia. Huh?
But there were a few pointers that I really wish I knew before I left. Even as an experienced backpacker, life on the road is still…well, life on the road. So, before you go (and seriously, GO), here’s my unsolicited advice:
Privacy is a privilege, Anna
That’s a Freaky Friday reference. But seriously, life in a hostel is basically equivalent to your bedroom, without a door. If you’re backpacking through hostels, you’ll likely be sharing a room with 4 – 25 + people at a time.
In a London hostel, I quickly learned that yes, people WILL rummage incessantly through their bags at 3 AM. And yes, people DO actually think it’s okay to turn the lights on at 6 AM.
So do yourself a favor next time you stay in a hostel, and don’t forget your earplugs, eye mask, shower flip flops, and what’s left of your sanity.
Free walking tours are da best
Free walking tours are one of the best ways for backpackers to save money. Find one via Google, your hostel news bulletin, or the good ol’ fashioned way of asking your hostel worker.
Most tours will be waving around bright (usually, yellow) umbrellas with “FREE TOUR” on it. If you couldn’t find any info online, or your hostel worker is a dud, try searching the old town or city center for the umbrellas around 10 AM. At the end of the tour, you have the option to tip the guide.
Since the guides are working for a tip, they tend to be much more knowledgeable and engaging than the normal paid tours.
Different cities attract different people
For every new city that you go to, you will meet a variety of new people. If you visit a smaller, outdoorsy town, you’ll probably meet someone to go on a hike with you. While if you visit a big city, people you meet might be more inclined to stay out all night. Keep that in mind as you map out your itinerary.
And to me, that’s the point of backpacking- learning the type of cities you like, and the type of people you like. I met so many amazing friends on the way, Victoria, Jaime, and Bernard, just to name a few. That’s why backpacking solo is so great- you’re forced to get out of your comfort zone, get lost, and find yourself!
Shoutout to Matt Golub for getting me hooked on the 1 Second Everyday app, which is how I made the video at the beginning of this post.
Until next time- Saludos!