If you’re looking for an easy way to plan your next backpacking trip, we’ve got you covered with a few tips to get you started.
An easy guide to travel planning
Some people are planners, and some people are not. I personally prefer to have at least my first few nights booked and a general route planned out for where I want to go.
On the other hand, my partner is completely comfortable showing up at the airport 30 minutes before a flight with a duffel bag and no idea where he plans to stay when he arrives.
Somehow, we’ve still managed to live and travel around the world together for four years, so my first piece of advice is that compromise is key when travel planning with someone else!
Don’t overcomplicate things
I’m probably the least likely person to be saying this, but one thing I’ve learned from my laid-back better half is that there is something to be said for giving yourself a bit more flexibility.
When it comes to planning, you will definitely want to have at least a vague idea in your mind of which destinations you want to travel to, how close they are to one another in proximity, and have done enough research to avoid showing up at the wrong time of year. Also, if you don’t have a lot of time, remember to take that into account or you’ll spend all your time on the move rather than enjoying your trip.
One of the benefits of not locking yourself into too many plans is that you’re free to change your mind if you happen to hear something good about somewhere that might not have been on your original agenda, or if you meet someone you decide you’d be happy to tag along with for a little while.
For example, when we went to Guatemala I had my heart set on going to Chemuc Champey. I looked into it enough to know that it was going to be the most complicated part of our trip logistics-wise, so we planned and arranged to go the first few days in the country. Our trip was only two weeks long, so we left the rest open. In the end, we had the opportunity to meet up with a long-time friend of my partner and travel to his vacation home on the Pacific side of Guatemala – which we wouldn’t have been able to do, had I insisted on us booking our entire ten days of accommodation like I initially wanted to!
Use the internet
Online you can find travel videos, podcasts, blogs, Instagram posts, and a whole host of other information on different destinations.
Use these to get ideas, then link together where you want to go the most. Depending on your timeframe and budget you might be able to do it all, or it might make more sense to split your destinations into a few different trips.
Online you can also find out other helpful details such as which countries require visas, how much the average cost to visit is, and whether or not you will need any vaccinations before entering.
If possible, book your first flight ahead of time
If you are reasonably sure you know what your date of departure is going to be, try to book at least one, if not more, of your flights ahead of time.
This gives you a chance to check out different apps such as Orbitz and Skyscanner to try and find the best prices. You are more likely to get cheaper flights if you book earlier, rather than later. Even if you aren’t ready to book the rest of your flights, it’s never a bad idea to punch in some dates and get a little bit of an idea of what to expect.
Some short flights are surprisingly expensive, and sometimes it’s a lot harder to get to a certain destination than you may have originally expected it to be. You may also be able to find layover flights, which allow you to get cheaper airfare by spending a few days in a certain country.
One airline famous for doing this is Icelandair, which allows you to break up your over-Atlantic travel with a visit to one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Don’t stress about accommodation
Don’t worry about accommodation too much, but just like flights it doesn’t hurt to take a quick look.
I like to make sure we splurge for at least a few nights during a trip, so I enjoy picking out and booking a nice hotel ahead of time. We also like to look at reviews from different hostels and eco-lodges to see what other people are saying.
If you’ve ever had your bus break down three times and arrived tired, hungry, and five hours later than you were supposed to, you’ll be grateful to have the name of at least one good hostel scribbled down somewhere.
Pack, unpack, pack again, and GO!
Even if you are a seasoned backpacker, you’ll know the importance of packing, then taking everything out, and repacking again – ideally with less than what you started with.
Packing cubes, I know – we never seem to stop chatting about them, are a fantastic tool for organisation and really help focus on what you really need. This will help save you weight, space, and allow for a few more souvenirs and gifts to make their way home with you.
Once the planning and packing are out of the way, all you have left to do is get yourself to the airport, then get out there and enjoy!
An easy guide to travel planning
No matter how much of a planner you might be, embrace the adventure of leaving a little to the unknown.
I promise you, it will allow you to do, see, or stay somewhere new that you might never have got to experience otherwise!
As long as you have your travel essentials (passport, wallet, and travel insurance), you’ll be just fine.