Backpacking is a great way to see the world. When you’re out staying in hostels, you meet people from all corners of the globe; this can be an experience of a lifetime. Putting yourself out there for experiences like this can be difficult, but if you are friendly, smile and are willing to grab some food with people, everyone will reciprocate the friendliness.
I find that backpacking is about adventure as much as it is about sightseeing. Wandering without any plans can be one of the most liberating feelings in the world. It’s okay to get lost and it’s okay to eat something that you would normally pass on.
Carrying your life in your pack can be stressful, especially if you haven’t done it before. Be sure to pack light and also keep your bag with you at all times. There are always people out there looking to sneak their way into your pack. Busy subways, buses and hostels can be a dangerous place for a lone backpack. Placing locks on the zippers is a great trick and will often deter a pickpocket.
What to Bring:
Another great tip: don't pack too much. You'll have to carry your luggage around with you everywhere you go which can be very tiresome if you plan to cover a lot of ground. On the other hand, there are some necessities you should have. Pack two or three of each kind of clothing. You can always wear the same clothes for multiple days, but you should try to wash your clothes at least once a week. Bring a phone that has a powerful camera because you will want to take hundreds of pictures. There are various websites that allow you to upload your pictures to their site and share them with family and friends back home (I recommend Dropbox). Finally, make sure that your walking shoes are sturdy and have good traction. You've got heaps of sightseeing ahead of you, so they're going to have to last you.
Written By: KC Owens, St. Bonaventure University