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How To Plan a Solo Backpacking Trip

This blog is for anyone who has ever dreamed of travelling, but feared going alone.

It is for anyone who believes that travelling alone is hard, dangerous or taboo.

I want you to know that you’re not alone.

You should not fear solo travel any more than any other type of travel.

Exploring the world is so exciting, so empowering and one of the most interesting things you’ll ever do.

I’d hate for you to miss out on that because of unfounded stereotypes and misconceptions.

The Beauty Of a Backpacking Trip

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Backpacking is not like other forms of travel. There is something about going on a raw, gritty adventure around the world that sets it apart from a normal, short vacation.

The only time I’ve ever been on a short vacation was in high school when I went on school trips to France and then again in university when I went on a family holiday to Jamaica.

I didn’t enjoy those trips half as much as I enjoyed the raw adventure of venturing into the unknown, packing my bags for at least a few months and absorbing all that the world has to offer – with the good, bad and ugly.

However, before I embarked upon my adventure, I had no idea how to plan a solo backpacking trip. It was the most scary and exciting thing I’ve ever done – but for you to truly get something from it, it needs to be done right.

That’s what this blog is all about.

What’s The Difference Between a Backpacking Adventure And a Normal Vacation?

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When you spend months in a country as opposed to a few days or a week, you start to pick up on aspects of the culture, politics and tradition that you could never get otherwise.

You face the unknown and learn more about the world than you would in a text book.

Moreover, you learn so much more than you would on a short holiday.

In many ways, you are forced to interact with the culture in ways that you would not necessarily do if you’re only there as a short-term tourist.

But travelling alone brings a whole new set of challenges – and rewards. If you follow the advice in this blog about how to plan a solo backpacking trip abroad, then you are going to have experiences that you will treasure for a lifetime.

What’s The Big Deal With Solo Travel?

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There is no such thing as solo travel. That is because, in my experience, whenever I’ve travelled alone, I never stay solo for long.

There are many people out there that give great tips on how to plan a solo backpacking trip, but few tell you what the benefits are of doing just that.

I think the biggest advantage is the freedom and flexibility it gives you. You are not bound by the schedules of those who may not share your budget or your tastes.

The reason I spent 8 months travelling the world by myself is because I never found anyone else who wanted to go to the same places I did.

It’s the same for a lot of solo travellers. If you wait around for someone to follow you, you may never achieve your dreams of travelling.

It’s great if you can find another person to travel with. But if you can’t, then you have yourself – and that’s what counts.

Why You’re Never Really Alone When You Travel

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But what you find is that you’ll come across so many people in the same boat. Travellers by their very nature are courageous adventurers, and willing to face the unknown.

So you’ll always find a ready and waiting pool of people to join you during your journey. I met people in hostels, beaches, restaurants, on transport and even on the damn street!

It’s not like when you’re at home and perfect strangers don’t talk to each other. The nature of being on holiday in a picturesque and relaxed environment, combined with the constant flow of travellers in the same situation makes it easy to meet people.

Then you’ve got the websites such as Couchsurfers, InterNations, TraveBuddy and TravellersPoint, that are designed to match you with others in the same situations.

I never used any of these to find people abroad, but I didn’t even need to. The random invitations and friendships you’ll make along the way is usually more than sufficient enough to keep you company whenever you need it.

People are also more likely to approach you when you’re alone, because it’s less awkward than going up to two or more people.

That’s not to say that you’ll never get any moments when you feel a little lonely. But those moments are usually fleeting and temporary.

Total Freedom

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The other reason I love travelling solo is because it means I get to plan the whole trip on my terms. I don’t have to argue with anyone about where I should go.

This means that I get the absolute most out of any trip I’ve paid for.

How To Plan a Solo Backpacking Trip And Stay Safe

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Backpackers are natural trailblazers so the urge to be the first to go where no man (or woman) has ever gone before is strong. This is the reason why some travellers make serious compromises on their safety and attempt to do things that are dangerous.

While I fiercely defend the stance that travelling is just as safe as staying in your own country, this really only applies if you exercise common sense.

The last thing I want to do when offering advice on how to plan a solo backpacking trip is scaremonger. Feeding into the paranoia that many people have about backpacking is the reason why people hesitate to travel – citing all those horror stories about travellers getting kidnapped, sexually assaulted or killed in some way.

But what I do find is that in many of the cases where problems do occur, it is due to the fact that the traveller put aside basic safety precautions.

I’ve known backpackers who travelled to Iraq or dangerous parts of Africa, where conflict or militia groups are present. This is another example of throwing caution to the wind.

Sometimes you could be the most careful person in the world and still run into trouble. However, this is the case in your home country as well.

I’d be remiss if I wasn’t realistic about the dangers and what you can do to avoid them in any blog about how to plan a solo backpacking trip.

So it’s about striking a careful balance between being cautious and adventurous. It’s a fine balancing act for sure, but the tips below will hopefully help you to stay safe without feeling like you’re missing out.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

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Always be aware of your surroundings. If you do get dropped off in the middle of nowhere (as can happen when you travel abroad), then be sure that you know where you will be before that point, or at the very least have a Plan B in case you do get stuck. That’s probably the best safety advice I can give.

The same applies wherever you are - on a beach, in a restaurant or hotel. If anyone around you is acting suspiciously or makes you uncomfortable for no reason - don’t ignore your instinct.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Remove yourself from the environment as quickly as possible and be sure to tell a member of staff if the situation escalates.

Don’t Accept Random Food And Drinks

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Most people are a little wary of accepting drinks and food from random people they meet overseas. But people do let their inhibitions down when they are on holiday. We’ve all heard the horror stories about tourists getting drugged and mugged or worse.

If you are in any doubt about the safety of what you eat and drink or it tastes a little off - trust your instincts. The price of being cautious is a wasted meal.

But the price of literally ignoring your gut feeling could be anything from a nasty bout of travellers' diarrhea or in the worst case scenario, a nightmare you’ll never recover from.

I’d read the reviews of the bar or restaurant before going as well and where possible stick to the popular places. If you notice people acting a little weird in the restaurant or bar you are in - yes, that includes the staff - then I’d reconsider your decision to eat there.

Be Aware of Scams

tourist scam, how to plan a first trip abroad, first time backpacking tipsIt’s almost impossible not to get scammed when you’re a seasoned backpacker.

In the vast majority of cases, these scams are a simple case of being overcharged as a tourist.

However, you can reduce the likelihood of being seriously ripped off by making yourself aware of the common tourist scams out there.

For example, if a random person on the street invites you to a tearoom in China, just refuse. This is a well-known scam where you are then taken to a backstreet cafe where the local gangsters force you to pay hundreds for a simple cup of tea.
Look it up if you don’t believe me.

The most trustworthy information comes from official tourism bodies, government websites and recognised guidebooks and travel agents.

I’d look this up before you get to your destination to avoid getting duped by fake tourism boards.

Protect Yourself From Diseases

spray mosquito spray, mosquito repellant, how to plan a first trip abroad, first time backpacking tipsBe sure to use repellent in tropical climates and take anti-malarial medication where necessary. The best repellents are the ones containing DEET.

There are many natural alternatives on the market, but I found that these were usually not as effective - particularly during the evening when the numbers of mosquitoes tend to increase.

Wearing long clothes in the evening will also help to protect you from mosquito bites.

Take any necessary vaccinations you need, and don’t forget to take any prescription medications you may need. You’ll also need a doctor’s note for prescription drugs.

The steps above will help to minimise the chances of you getting sick while you are travelling.

Safety When Camping

camping, hiking, travel, how to plan a first trip abroad, first time backpacking tipsIf you plan to go camping alone - or even with others - I’d try as much as possible to stick to designated campsites.

While it is tempting to experience the great outdoors and opt for the most remote and untouched location you can think of, just know that this is playing Russian Roulette on your safety if you go alone and independently.

You may be perfectly fine of course, but if it’s a country you’re not familiar with, it’s best to err on the side of caution. It’s always safe until it isn’t.

In some countries, militia groups hang out in the woods, dangerous animals such as alligators may be a little too close to comfort and if you do run into problems, nobody will be nearby to help.

The biggest danger is that you may get lost and run out of resources such as food, water of batteries in the middle of a dense forest.

I’m not trying to scaremonger here - in fact, as a seasoned backpacker, I despise people who do this. However, the risks are very real and in my view, are just not worth taking.

As an alternative, consider making use of organised tours and accommodations that offer you the opportunity to camp in remote, relatively untouched places, but with the support of an organisation or with other campers nearby.

Book Transport From Reputable Organisations

book uber, book taxi, google maps, how to plan a first trip abroad, first time backpacking tipsWhere possible, it’s best to book taxis in advance or via a reputable hotel or airport. These taxis are more likely to be licensed and traceable with less chance of things going wrong.

But…But…It’s Not Safe!

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While we’re on the topic of safety – how wise is it to travel solo?

After all, solo travel is dangerous right?

This is something I heard a lot as a solo backpacker.

I distinctly remember my mum saying: “well if you insist on going, at least get some life insurance so I can afford to fly your body back when you die overseas”.

Ok, so she didn’t put it quite so harshly, but that is essentially what she was getting at.

Even during random encounters with strangers when the subject of travel came up, people would often ask: “but isn’t it dangerous?”.

Like I said above, you do have to be careful.

But if you follow the safety tips above, you’ll be as safe overseas as you are anywhere else.

Some of the biggest risks I took overseas actually happened to be when I was travelling with others.

I took risks out of peer pressure and because they did. Stupid things like hiking late at night, getting lost in unfamiliar streets, or camping outside of dedicated campsites.

In other words, I did the opposite of what I advised above. 

We had some near misses too – like the time when I thought I heard wolves close to our campsite.

Safety is not always guaranteed in numbers and if you operate with confidence and street smarts, you’ll be as safe by yourself as you are with other people.

Yes, it is true that some attackers wait until you are by yourself until they strike.

But remember that you won’t always be by yourself – and ever-present dangers can present themselves in any country.

Take it from someone who has travelled solo.

Travel Budget

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No blog about how to plan a solo backpacking trip would be complete without a section on budgeting.

After all, you do need to be able to fund your dream.

The tips below are designed to help you do just that.

Once you know your financial limitations, then  you can plan the rest of your trip around it.

And budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult either.

So how do you do it?

Read our tips below on how to plan a first trip abroad and finance it accordingly.

Automate Your Savings

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It’s so much easier to save when the money goes into your savings account automatically.

You can set this up by creating a separate savings account and depositing money from your main bank account into that savings account via a Direct Debit or Standing Order.

Most bank accounts allow you to arrange for the payments to be made on the same day you get paid. Therefore the money will be deposited into your savings account automatically and it means you will be less likely to miss it.

Decide how much money you can comfortably afford to put aside each month or week and stick to that budget for as long as you are able to.

Download Budgeting Apps

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An essential aspect of budgeting is monitoring your outgoings and matching it up with the amount of money you’ve got coming in.

You can do this manually by carefully watching your spending, using spreadsheets and analysing your bank statements.

An easier way to do this however, is to download a budgeting app which can help you do much of this automatically.

Some of the more well-known budgeting apps include Mint and PocketGuard. You can link them to all of your financial and online accounts and and track them against a budget you can tweak and customize to your needs.

Sometimes it’s easy to accidentally overspend or lose track of what your outgoings are, especially if it changes.

However, one of the most useful functions of these apps is that they will also alert you whenever you’re in danger of going over budget.

Reduce Your Spending

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Obviously. You’ll see this bit of advice in every budgeting blog in the world, so it’s hardly revolutionary.

The real difficulty comes from analysing the sacrifices you are prepared to make in order to embark on a trip of a lifetime.

Most of the time you’ll find that it is a question of substitution rather than completely giving up the things that you enjoy.

For example consider the following ideas:

  • Exchange popular brands for cheaper, supermarket alternatives
  • Reduce your nights out
  • Swap them for nights in with your friend and buy your own alcoholic drinks from the supermarket
  • Shop around - you’ll often find many supermarkets sell the same products at different prices
  • Do your food shopping at local markets instead of supermarkets - they are a dozen times cheaper!
  • Make use of thrift stores or flea markets - some of the clothes, furniture and goods you’ll find there will be much cheaper than high street alternatives
  • Cook your own food instead of eating out
  • Conduct a full audit of all direct debits, standing orders, Paypal payments and online shopping transactions. You may find you’re paying for things you no longer want, need or approve of
  • Walk or cycle instead of taking public transport or your car where possible
  • Shop during sales and save food/products as needed
  • Buy in bulk
  • Buy season tickets for public transport instead of paying for them weekly (you’ll often get a discount for doing so)
  • Where possible, swap your phone or internet contracts for cheaper alternatives. If you are coming to the end of a contract, you’ll be in a very strong position to negotiate a cheaper deal
  • Take the buses between cities instead of trains/planes where possible - this can make your journey 3 times cheaper, depending on where you live

I’ll admit - some of the above ideas are glaringly obvious. But what is not so obvious is how much you can save if you put them all into action.

Sell it!

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My first time backpacking advice is to simply sell it. Most people have at least one thing in their homes they can sell. This includes old clothes, unwanted furniture, electronics, books, CDs/DVDs, cutlery, children’s toys and other household items.

Some organizations and stores will actually pay you to recycle your old mobile phones and electronics.

By selling the things you don’t want anyway, you’re freeing up a little extra money you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

There are many ways to sell your old gear. You can do it the traditional route, via a car or garage sale, or a stall at a local market.

Websites like Preloved, eBay, Amazon, Gumtree (Craigslist if you’re American) or even Facebook, can make it easy for you to sell your items.

For every item you can sell, there’s bound to be a buyer, if you get creative.

Currency Exchange

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Most bank cards will charge you if you use them overseas.

If you wait until you get to the airport of your chosen destination or you wait until you arrive in the country, it is likely to cost you more.

You will often find it much cheaper to exchange your money at a post office or recognised currency exchange in your own country prior to travelling.

Travellers' Cheques

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Many people use travellers' cheques because they are much more secure than carrying around cash.

The benefit of using these is that in many cases, you will be able to get compensated in the event your cheque gets lost or stolen and they do not expire.

They are accepted at many locations across the world.

Prepaid Currency Cards

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Another option is to use a currency exchange card such as Caxton Fx in the UK or Travelex in the US, where you can preload currencies onto them and use them overseas.

This will often work out to be a cheaper option that than using your bank card, exchanging money, carrying lots of cash around or using travellers’ cheques.

Some prepaid cards such as Caxton FX do not charge you at all when you take money out of an overseas ATM or use your card abroad.

This makes the card a much cheaper alternative than using a traditional bank card or going to the trouble of changing your money.

A select few banks offer a similar service - so it’s also worth checking with your bank.

Travel Insurance

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When you are putting together your budget, be sure to factor in travel insurance.

Travel insurance means that should disaster strike when you are abroad, you’ll have the peace of mind to know that you’ll be covered.

Therefore, no blog about how to plan a solo backpacking trip would be complete without a section on travel insurance.

So be sure to consider the advice below.

Saving up enough money for your trip is one thing, but losing every penny when you get ill or injured abroad is a different matter entirely.

Let’s be honest. Nobody thinks they’ll get injured when they travel abroad, and the truth is they may be right.

But all it takes is one bad stroke with malaria, dengue fever, Lyme disease or a bad case of traveller’s diarrhea to tip your health and finances over the edge.

A bite from a stray dog in India can eat your entire holiday budget. A motorbike accident can leave you with insurmountable medical bills, while a cancelled non-refundable plane ticket or an illness that stops you from travelling in the first place can spell financial disaster.

Unless you get insurance that is.

Insurance covers you in the event of sickness, injury, cancellation, while some types of coverage can compensate you or your loved ones in the unfortunate and unlikely event you come to an untimely end abroad.

If you are engaging in high risk pursuits such as mountain climbing or parachuting, make sure you’ve got it covered.

Otherwise your insurance costs will stack up higher than Mount Everest.

Which Travel Insurance Provider Should You Book With?

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Here’s a few things you should consider when choosing a travel insurance provider.

Each provider will have their own terms and conditions, with some offering specialist policies for specific activities such as mountain climbing, while others provide insurance packages that combine different types of coverage.

Another question you should consider is whether to use separate insurers for different types of claims, or whether credit cards will insure you against any risks.

Some insurers will require that you pay a certain amount before any payout, so I’d definitely take this into consideration when you are shopping around for good deals.

Choose a provider that has flexibility, and most importantly of all - pay special attention to the reviews.

When reading the reviews, take a close look at the ones where people talk about making a claim and whether they received a payout, because that’s what will count at the end.

I used Holidaysafe when I travelled abroad, because it had the coverage I needed and it also had the best reviews. But you may find that another provider has a package that works better for you.

Just ensure that whatever policy you do get covers you for everything you need.

Create An Itinerary

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Creating an itinerary is another important step when it comes to knowing how to plan a solo backpacking trip.

While it is not strictly necessary, trust me when I say it will save you a lot of time, wasted money and grief in the long run.

It means that you have something to work towards and helps you to keep focussed and organised.

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Itineraries come in all shapes and sizes.

There are the ones that are super-detailed - like the ones I create on behalf of clients.

These contain a complete day-by-day breakdown of the selected tours and activities, photos, prices, transport arrangements, accommodation, and inclusions.

They are beautifully illustrated and designed to serve as a mini guide and confirmation of your trip from beginning to end.

The good news is that you don’t need to be anywhere near as detailed if you are planning a long backpacking trip to several different countries.

All you really need to do is create a rough outline of the key tourist attractions you’ll visit in each country, an approximate sketch of how long you will spend in each destination, flight details, as well as planned tours and activities.

This will help you to visualise your trip and ensure that you get the most out of it.

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I didn’t do this on my first trip abroad. The end result was an enjoyable, but chaotic journey, where I missed out on some of the key tourism activities that I could have participated in.

Of course, if you are travelling abroad for a long time, you will more than likely make amendments to the itinerary - but at least you’ll have an organised structure and handy reference to work from.

Contact me about my free online itineraries to Asia and Europe. I provide these at no cost to other backpackers, because I want to make it easier for people to experience the world and all it has to offer.

Best Countries For Backpackers

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No blog about how to plan a solo backpacking trip would be complete without taking a quick look at some of the most popular countries for backpackers.

I’ve chosen the top destinations from almost every continent – except Antarctica. As much as I intend to go to Antarctica, the expenses alone mean that it is not exactly the number one destination for budget backpackers.

So without further ado, here are the most popular countries across 6 continents.

It is almost impossible to select the best countries, when you’ve got more than 195 to choose from.

So picking just one country from each continent was quite the challenge. The only continent that doesn’t make the list is Antarctica - simply because it is beyond the budget of most travellers.

But I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge, so here are my top six picks:

Asia: Thailand

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Thailand has got it all: beaches, tropical islands, jungles, temples and cities.

Oh and don’t forget the full moon party that attracts thousands of revellers every year!

Thailand has got somewhere in the region of 1,430 islands. So if you’re an island hopper like me, then you’ll find your calling.

It’s cheap too - you can get a decent hostel or beach hut from as little as $5.

A decent sized meal will cost you not much more and getting around the country is easy. Buses can be booked for as little as $15 and trains are between $20-$30.

Thailand is also relatively safe and it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Africa: Morocco

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Morocco is the African Dream. You’ve got the magic of the Sahara Desert, combined with the Atlas Mountains, markets and bazaars, and the best of Morrocan food.

Take time to explore the city of Marrakech with its bustling international culture. Here you can find thousands of people getting henna tattoos, watching storytellers, magicians and listening to local bands.

When you finally take a break from camel riding, be sure to make time for the Kasbahs (fortified houses) which were been featured in the Game of Thrones, Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and many more films.

You can find decent hostels for between $6-$13 and a cheap meal will cost between $3-$10 depending on where you get it from.

Europe: Spain

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Spain’s diverse landscapes will take your breath away. Whether you prefer to explore the old, cobbled streets of Binibeca, relax on the Barcelona beaches or scale the Pyrenees, Spain has got it all.

It’s also a very easy country for backpackers to travel across. RENFE is its main train service, which offers high-speed, regular and suburban train lines. The train lines were vastly modernised in recent decades and today the system is generally efficient and reliable.

It also has a bus network which makes it easy to venture off the beaten track into the smaller charm of the fishing villages and coastal areas.

Australia

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Australia is a rite of passage for many backpackers. It is both a country and a continent due to its monumental size.

It’s unbelievable size and vastness means that there is a little something for every kind of traveller whether you’re into partying, hiking, cultural activities or the beach life.

The East Coast alone stretches a gigantic 4000 km from Melbourne to Cairns and would take you around 50 hours of nonstop driving to cover the entire coastline.

More than 10,685 beaches, 500 national parks and 8,222 islands exist in Australia. The country is also home to more unusual attractions such as the pink lakes that are dotted across the continent.

Due to its vast size, the quickest way to travel around Australia is by air. I’d recommend budget airlines such as Jetstar Airways, Tigerair and Cebu Pacific to name but a few.

If you prefer to soak in some of the natural scenery, then you may find a train or bus is the best way to get around.

North America: America

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North America covers all Caribbean and Central American countries. It also covers Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, the United States of America, as well as Greenland - the world's largest island.

However, I think that out of all of those countries, America comes out on top.

It is home to the biggest entertainment industry in the world, namely Hollywood, and it has also got its fair share of famous cities (the Big Apple anyone?), beaches, mountains and national parks.

My favourite national park in America was Yellowstone, but I equally enjoyed the Grand Canyon, the flashy sparkle of New York City and the relaxed vibes of California.

I took the Greyhound bus to travel between cities, which was a nice, cheap way of getting around. Otherwise, I recommend taking budget airlines such as Southwest and Jetblue to fly between States.

Another option is the Amtrak train, which is a slower but cheaper option. However, it does not always offer the most reliable service.

South America: Peru

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Have you ever seen a rainbow on a mountain?

If you never have but you really want to, then Vinicunca is the perfect destination. It is a colourful mountainside in the high Andes of Peru. The colours you see were formed by sedimentary mineral layers in the mountain that have been exposed by erosion.

Then you’ve got the classics such as Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.

The Sacred Valley is a region in Peru's Andean highlands, and formed the heart of the Inca ruins. Here you can enjoy the fertile farmland and Spanish colonial villages like Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

With its teeming jungles, ancient ruins, natural wonders and spectacular landscapes, you are bound to find your calling in Peru.

Beware! Baggage Restrictions 

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Take it from someone who knows. Dragging a 20 kilo suitcase halfway around the world is no fun.

Most airlines limit the amount you can take to 23 kg anyway. Occasionally, you may come across a more generous allowance of 30 kilograms.

I learned the hard way that taking excess baggage across the world is a bad idea.

So if you want to know how to plan a solo backpacking trip without overburdening yourself, then be very careful about packing too much.

If you want to learn to pack like a pro and strike a fine balance between taking what you need and cutting the excess, follow my tips below:

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Take less than half of what you think you’ll need.

I packed a 40 kilogram suitcase on my first backpacking trip abroad.

Luckily, I halved it before I got to the airport. During my 8 month backpacking trip, I lost a further 2 kilograms - there were things I simply had to leave behind.

Pack Enough Clothes To Last a Week

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You won’t need more clothes than you would usually use in a week. Even in remote parts of the world, you’ll be able to get your clothes washed.

If you pack enough clothes for a week (particularly if you follow my packing list below) you’ll have more than enough to last you - regardless of how long you’re travelling for.

Even if you do run short on a few things - you’ll be able to get most of what you need abroad. Think about it. You’ll more than likely buy clothes and accessories as souvenirs anyway, so there’s really no need to take too much.

Use Packing Cubes

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I never understood the point of packing cubes before embarking upon my adventure. After all, you’re taking the same amount of gear right?

But even if you’re not gifted with the talent of packing and space saving - the packing cubes will keep your gear neat and organised and you’ll notice that your belongings simply take up less space. A decent packing cube can suck the air out of your clothes so that it fits into the suitcase/backpack better.

Make It Smaller

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When I travelled the world, I also took an iron (which was way more handy than you’d think) and a hairdryer. You may be wondering how I coped with these bulky items - especially when I’m advising you to travel light.

Well the truth is fairly simple - the iron was effective but not much bigger than my hand, and the hairdryer was also very small.

So if you’re a weirdo like me and you just have to have these things - then consider purchasing a mini version of what you would normally take.

These bite-sized items and appliances can easily be found via the relevant searches on Amazon.

Pro tip: Take a Backpack AND a Suitcase

how to plan a solo backpacking trip

No - I’m not telling you to take both. That would contradict most of what I’ve advised so far.

But there are many stores (including Amazon) where you can buy large backpacks that have wheels on the bottom.

Ok, so I’m recommending these for two reasons. There are some places you may want to go where the hotel or hostel is perched on a mountain top, or located in a street with cobbled and uneven grounds.

There are other places in the world where carrying a suitcase is simply inconvenient. In those circumstances you’ll want a backpack.

On the flip side of the coin, there will be times when carrying around a heavy backpack is simply burdensome or inconvenient.

Dragging a suitcase on wheels is infinitely easier than literally carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.

So why not have the best of both worlds?

When a suitcase would be a drag, you simply use the straps and carry it on your shoulders. When the backpack becomes a burden, simply extend the handle and drag it along as a suitcase.

These backpacks on wheels are probably one of the best inventions ever - and they come in a variety of different sizes. The sheer convenience of these contraptions is simply too good to pass up.

What To Pack

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That brings me nicely onto my next point. What should you pack?

I think it goes without saying that you won’t need everything on the list below, but it serves as a useful guideline and will hopefully help to ensure that you won’t forget anything.

Summary of How To Plan a Solo Backpacking Trip

how to plan a solo backpacking trip

So there you have it. Planning a solo backpacking trip is an adventure in itself! There are so many things to think about, it’s difficult to know where to start.

When you’re on your own, it is even more difficult – particularly if your family and friends are not supportive of your choices.

That is my motivation for writing this blog.

If you’ve ever pondered the idea of packing your bags and getting away from it all, then remember that you are the latest in a long line of solo backpackers.

In the olden days, travelling alone was virtually unheard of.

This is why some parents and older people may be against the idea.

But nowadays, you really don’t need the seal of approval from other people before taking the leap.

Modern technology and the abundance of social websites and travellers forums means that you’re never truly alone anyway. You just have to take the first step.

As the old saying goes: “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. 

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The most common thing you may hear from other people is that solo travel or (travel itself) is dangerous.

Most of the people who say this have never travelled outside of their own country.

Parents may tell you this because you are their baby.

When my sister talked about going to the Caribbean by herself, I got very worried – despite the fact that I spent 8 months alone in the world.
My irrational fear was purely due to the fact that she is my kid sister and she’s never travelled before.

It wasn’t that it was dangerous – I was just worried because she is my flesh and blood and she is connected with me. Big difference.

But I encouraged her to go anyway, because I couldn’t live with myself if I deprived her of the type of experiences that I had enjoyed.

The real danger lies in letting other people’s opinions prevent you from experiencing all that the world has to offer.

Yes, you do have to be careful. For sure. Just like you need to be careful when travelling around your own country.

Just don’t let the fear of the unknown prevent you from achieving your dreams.

This blog is designed to inspire you and build an online community where you can get all the resources you need to travel. The Backpackers Travel Hub was created to make travelling accessible to everyone - not just the posh people! So drop by and visit the Facebook Group Backpackers Travel Hub. The group contains exclusive tips, and content designed to inspire, motivate and empower you. No sales or annoying gimmicks - just good, solid content. You can also take a peek at the JaninesJourneys Facebook page here. Happy travels!

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