Lesser Known Backpacking Travel Tips
Throughout the trip, when the inspiration struck, we would type a few travel tips into our phone. The majority of the tips below came from spur-of-the-moment revelations on the road, now in more organized and long form.
- To save battery power turn off mobile phones - being connected to or looking for the network drains the battery. The same is true for laptops and wi-fi signals. Turn em off.
- When you get to a hotel room, open your computer and look for an unsecured wi-fi signal. You’ll be surprised often.
- Carry two batteries for all gadgets. Though, a computer battery may be an exception.
- If you are using a mobile phone for more than a few weeks in a country, buy a SIM card for a local network when you arrive. It's what the locals use and you would have a local phone number with free incoming calls from home
- If you want to be able to charge more than one gadget at once, get a travel splitter or multiple outlet adapters for each format.
- Always think redundancy - back up often and send home DVDs of your pictures.
- DVDs hold a lot more pictures than CDs for back-up purposes - 3 times the amount. Most internet cafes offer DVD burning services.
- Invest in lots of camera memory (lSD cards, memory sticks). You do not want to consistently be hamstrung by a camera that is full of pictures. A 1GB card with 5megapixel photos was enough for us.
- If you have a laptop, move photos from the camera to the laptop daily. Always leave the room with 2 charged batteries and an empty memory card.
- Take your computer to the Internet cafe and plug it into their network with the Ethernet cable. They will know how.
Europedoesn’t allow this, Asiadoes.
- Wrap your computer in some sort of sealable plastic bag before packing it away. Wetness happens.
- Keep your valuable electronics on your person when in transit. Don't put your computer in a bag under a bus.
- People can’t steal what they don’t see. Limit gadgetry use in public.
- Never, ever miss an included breakfast.
- Many cheap hotels require that you insert the key into a slot in order for the power to come on. While it saves energy, it means you can’t charge electronics while you’re out of the room. Often you can use a business card in the slot instead of a key.
- Don't leave the room for the day without a map, local currency, identification and the room key.
- Try to resist giving the front desk your key when you leave – this is very insecure. Notice that when you return, they will give you any key you request.
- If your hotel does not serve breakfast, remember to go to a store on the way home at night to get something for the morning.
- Unless the city gets full consistently, don't make reservations in advance. Get there; find your favorite neighborhood and then a place to stay.
- If you are going to be in one city for more than a week or so, consider renting an apartment. A kitchen and washer /dryer are so nice sometimes.
- If you know the part of the city where you want to stay, make a reservation in advance for a single night at a hotel in that area, even if it is more expensive. Then, when you arrive, walk around to hotels and find a better deal for the rest of your stay.
- For most major cities, two nights is not enough as it leaves only one full day for exploration. Three nights is usually a good amount if you're on the move. More is better.
- The combination of your padlock is a risk. You may be asked for it if your bags are lost on international flights (they may need to open the bag). Make it unique - not associated with bank accounts, etc.
- When unlocking your padlock for your bag, remember to spin the numbers once so your combination is not displayed for others, like the housekeeper, to see.
- Tear unused pages out if your guidebook.
- In inexpensive countries like
remember to carry small bills and change - go to a bank to get the change you need. Making change is a pain. India
- When wandering a
at night, adopt the moth strategy and go toward the light. new city
- Buy clothes made of synthetic fiber - they are lighter, stay cleaner and are easier to wash and dry quickly.
- Days of the week can start to blend together. The biggest problems happen on Sundays when a lot of businesses are closed and Mondays when museums often close.
- In packing your backpack, make sure you pack it the same each time, giving each item a specific place. When something is missing you'll know.
- Buy a backpack that is built for travel and not camping. The best ones open from the side, allowing access to everything quickly instead of bags that open from the top only - requiring an unpacking to reach the bottom.
- A clean and free bathroom is only as far as the closest McDonalds.
- Take a flashlight.
- In public, you will never be judged or create a spectacle for being too quiet. This is made more difficult with alcohol.
- Look for English language weeklies in cities to find out about events.
- Check local pharmacies for prescriptions that are expensive from home. Beware of fakes in
- Do like the Spanish and have a siesta. Explore for a few hours in the morning, nap in the heat of the afternoon and go back out for the evening. This is sustainable for long periods.
- Only rookies get sunburned. Be liberal with strong sunscreen. Wear a hat.
- When getting up from a park bench, airplane seat or any place where you sat, turn around and look back at the area to ensure you didn't leave anything.
- Use the local mail service to send home items you are not using. Most useful when changing climates.
- Remember that you can’t do everything. Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy what you *can* do.