The do’s and don’ts of backpacking

Published October 19th, 2012

When you’re backpacking around the globe there are some things you should do, and some things you should don’t – if you get my drift. Here are some of our top backpacking do’s and don’ts to keep you out of trouble and help you enjoy your holiday of a lifetime.


The do's and don't of backpacking

Don't: Stand to close to the edge of a cliff

Do pack the essentials: A few outfits, water proof jacket, shoes, socks, sleeping bag, sunscreen, toiletries, hat, first aid kit, money belt, rope (it can be handy), lighter, itinerary, phone, wallet and passport should get you by. Oh and clean underwear. Lots of clean underwear!


Don’t over pack: Put together all of the things you think you will need and then halve it. Only take the things you wouldn’t mind parting with – this means leaving all of your cherished valuables at home. Also, don’t forget to use the roll method. Folding is for novices.


Do come up with a $$$ budget: If only for your parent’s peace of mind, it’s smart to do up a budget for your trip before you go. This means coming up with a figure of how much you can afford to spend each day and sticking to it. And remember, when backpacking, it’s better to under pack and over budget.


Don’t carry it all at once: Put those notes away, this isn’t Vegas silly! When backpacking, or travelling in general, only carry enough cash to last you for a few days and leave the rest on your card. Carrying a few cards, including pre-paid travel cards, and storing them in different places, ensures that in the event that you lose or have a card stolen, you have other means of accessing money.


Do invest in a good pair of walking shoes: This does not include your five year old Dunlop volleys.


Don’t forget thongs as well: For when your feet need to breath and the shower floors are questionable, thongs will save the day.


Do invest in a good backpack: When backpack shopping, look for ones with good ventilation, adjustable torso lengths and removable lids that you can use as day packs.


Don’t bother keeping it clean: In fact the more beaten up the backpack, the less likely thieves will come near it. Before you leave, take a moment to give your pack the ‘worn in’ look (like you’d do with a new pair of school shoes) by rubbing a bit of dirt in and kicking it round like a footy.


Do have a plan: Chances are if this is your first time backpacking, you probably already have a planned itinerary. Give a copy of your itinerary to your parents or friends just so they know where you are during your holiday.


Don’t over plan: While it’s good to have an itinerary, don’t stress if you go off track. This is the best part of backpacking – the freedom it allows you to stay a few nights extra in the places you love and leave early from the destinations that don’t really take your fancy.


Do get insurance: No matter what type of travel you take part in, travel insurance is essential. Don’t leave home without it.


If something unexpected happens, don’t let it ruin your holiday: You got insurance right? If something bad happens, call your insurance company straight away, make your claim and hang tight. Money and help is on the way. Once you’ve had a cry or tantrum to mum on the phone, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on travelling. With travel insurance, there’s no need to let those unexpected moments ruin your holiday.


Lauren Burvill

Australian born but London based, I'm a sucker for big cities and small tropical islands. When travelling, I like eating like a local, dressing like a local, but staying in 5 star style. Have a travel story to share? Tweet me @laurenburvill.