Become a backpacker before you try to become a digital nomad. Here are some beginner backpacking tips to help you become a backpacker.
Solo traveling vs. traveling with a friend 💑
Get up and go. There isn’t much to say about this step, you just have to do it. Most backpackers travel solo, especially on their first trip. Not everyone wants to live the backpacker life, and the ones who do are already living it, so go out and meet them! Eventually, you will meet other backpackers who live the same lifestyle as you and you may travel with them for a few weeks or months but you always have the option to go separate ways if you choose to. That is the main thing that differentiates solo travel from traveling with a friend from home. If after a while you realize just can’t stand traveling with them anymore, it’s not as easy to go separate ways.
If you’re really unsure about the whole thing because you’ve never traveled alone in a foreign country and you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, here are a few steps you can take to ease into it.
Travel for 10 days like a backpacker ✈️
This will be your first beginner backpacking trip, and this is one of the most important beginner backpacking tips. 10 days is something that most Americans can afford to do while working a full-time job. It doesn’t require you to quit your job, save a whole lot of money, or even ask for an extended vacation. Plan on going to 3 different cities 🏙️ with 3 nights in each city and 1 day for travel. Choose 1 city that you really want to see, 1 city you’re moderately interested in, and 1 nearby city that is cheap to fly out of. They should be relatively close to each other so that you can travel by bus. If your primary goal is to meet people then you should choose major cities along the ‘gringo trail’ and chances are others will also be going there. The first city should be the one that you want to see the most and the last one should be the cheapest to fly back home to. The middle city may change if you decide to travel with friends and they aren’t going to the city you had in mind.
Stay Flexible 🏃
Book only 3 nights at a hostel using the Hostelworld app
Book a short stay at a hostel if it is your first time staying in a hostel. Use the Hostelworld app so that you can easily see your different choices and choose the one that fits you best. If you’re looking for the most popular hostel it is very easy to see which ones have the most reviews. A general rule of thumb is to look for ones with more than 1,000 reviews and a rating above 9.0. This depends on how popular the destination is that you’re traveling to, but assuming it is a popular city there will be listings with more than 4,000 reviews 👍.
There are a few reasons to book only 3 nights. First, and most important, you might not like the place. But assuming you did your homework correctly before booking it there is no reason that you should hate the hostel so you don’t need to worry about booking only one night. Also, one night doesn’t give you enough time to get used to the place and meet people, which is most important. Another reason not to book more than 3 nights is that most backpackers only stay in a city for 3 or 4 nights. If you make friends with people at your hostel, which I’m sure you will 😊, and they’re heading to the next city on Sunday, chances are you will want to go with them. By booking only 3 nights you can pack light and pretend those 3 days are your whole trip because that is what it is going to be like. This gets you into the mindset of moving every 3 or 4 nights.
Track Your Expenses 💸
Track how much money you spend during those 10 days, per week, and per day 💸. Track how much was spent on accommodation 🛏️, travel 🚐, food 🍕, and adventures. By doing this you’ll have a better understanding of how much money you’ll need if you want to quit your job and travel Latin America for 6 months.
I hope you enjoyed these beginner backpacking tips and view some of my other travel blog posts to learn about my experiences traveling and see how they can benefit you. 😊