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    39 Tips Every Backpacker Should Know

    The world is big, but your suitcase doesn't have to be. / Chelsey Pippin / BuzzFeed

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community about the best advice for how to save time, money, and space and have an epic backpacking trip. Here's what they said.

    1. Research the environment in advance.

    Flickr: pfly / Creative Commons

    Research your destination and environment before you leave! Know the local wild life, and focus in on dangers! What local snakes are poisonous, what spiders are poisonous, and are there any predators you should be aware of!

    Submitted by Sarah Kate, Facebook

    2. And the culture, too.

    E! /

    I read up on dos and don'ts before I go to a new country. For example, in Japan, I found out it's considered "bad" to put your bag on a chair.

    Submitted by namik2

    3. Don't be afraid to travel alone.

    4. Be careful not to overstuff your itinerary.

    Albertpego / Getty Images

    If you're traveling for 10 days, don't plan 10 things to see. You'll burn out by the end of the first week. Make some plans, but be spontaneous the rest of the time. Being a part of the culture and meeting other travellers or locals will be far more memorable than seeing another church, mosque, museum, etc and you won't feel constrained by time or feel that sense of "go go go" all the time.

    Submitted by Jeremy Thompson, Facebook

    5. Budget for an emergency fund.


    Always have an emergency fund, whether you keep it in your make-up bag or at home with someone who can readily transfer it to you if need be. Things can and will go wrong, and although you can't prevent it, you can prepare for it.

    Submitted by Alex Hay, Facebook

    6. Make sure your phone is travel-ready.

    Disney / Via

    Talk to your network provider before you go out travelling, unlock your phone's International Access barriers and consider buying a temporary or top-up SIM card for your chosen country's best phone coverage and signal.

    Submitted by issief

    7. Look into all your transport options.

    8. And make sure a cheap plane ticket is actually the best option for your budget.

    9. Stick with a carry-on-sized bag.


    Your backpack should be small enough to carry on flights. if you're going to europe and planning on using the budget airlines (Ryanair, EasyJet) then you'll save a fortune on baggage fees! Plus you really don't need a huge backpack weighing you down!

    Submitted by Alex Hay, Facebook

    10. And make the most of it.

    Take a backpack that zips all the way open, not a top-loading one. Roll your clothes instead of folding, use maps from tourist information instead of lugging around a Lonely Planet guide, and take some decent earplugs.

    Submitted by louisah4f8128b7e

    11. Factor in comfort when buying your bag.

    Sigurcamp / Getty Images

    Shoulder pads can be a lifesaver – even having padded straps on your rucksack will not be sufficient. After several hours the straps will begin to bite.

    Submitted by kirstinpeter82

    12. Get some handy organisation tools.

    13. Avoid overpacking.


    Don't pack for every eventuality, otherwise you'll be carrying around 60 pounds worth of gear for a month. Take comfortable clothes (forget fashion) and your basic everyday items. If you decide to go on a hike but it's not until day 30, you don't want to be lugging around hiking boots for 30 days before the hike.

    Submitted by Jeremy Thompson, Facebook

    14. In fact, just cut your packing list in half.

    15. Stock up on napkins and wet wipes.

    Flickr: weltenbummler / Creative Commons

    I always carry dry and wet napkins in my handbag. Toilet paper can be a luxury – sometimes it just doesn't exist, it costs money, or they'll give you one square. With wet napkins I can clean off on long flights, wipe off public toilet seats, or clean my hands if there's no running water near by.

    Submitted by namik2

    16. Duct tape is essential.

    I bring a roll of duct tape on every trip. I have mended suitcases with it, hemmed up pants, and fixed my hair iron after it broke in two during transit.

    Submitted by lisaabrahamd

    Duct tape is strong enough to tape string to walls that you can hang up some light clothing on to dry indoors.

    Submitted by salsasandwich

    17. And fishing line is super helpful, too.

    18. Pack a few plastic bags.

    Flickr: azparrot / Creative Commons

    Ziploc bags can be a lifesaver. They waterproof your things if you get stuck in a downpour. They're useful in a toiletry bag to prevent leaks and you can use them to store small things like hairbands. And of course they're great for storing food, and making a packed lunch for a day out is a great way to save money!

    Submitted by Béatrice Bernard-Poulin, Facebook

    19. Bring a pair of extra shoelaces.

    20. Carry a sturdy water bottle.

    ALWAYS bring a refillable water bottle. If the tap water is drinkable (which it is in a surprising number of places), it saves so much money. If it isn't drinkable, there's a chance your hostel might have a water-cooler or something and you can refill it.

    Submitted by Melissa Schmidt, Facebook

    21. Pack a couple of shower curtain liners.

    Buy a few shower curtain liners at the dollar store. They are the size of a deck of cards but can be used as an impromptu picnic blankets and more. Poke a hole and make a poncho, or even wrap a hostel mattress that isn't the cleanest. I still keep one in my purse and car. Swear by them.

    Submitted by klrnole

    22. Invest in a sarong.

    23. Ditch your make-up.


    Be willing to sacrifice what you look like. My first backpacking trip, my make-up and my non-backpacking clothes got thrown out two hours after we started. I wasn't used to anyone seeing me without at least some make-up on, but I didn't wear it for two months and I never cared once.

    Submitted by Jerika Coleman, Facebook

    24. And your hair care.

    25. Or collect small sample-sized cosmetics.


    Sample products, like the kind you get in magazines, are amazing: shampoos, conditioners, facewash, hand cream. It's all so much cheaper and tidier than taking spillable, bulky bottles and tubs, plus you can get often get multipacks from 99p shops!

    Submitted by BeckyStothert

    26. Invest in a menstrual cup.

    27. If you're hostelling, swap a sleeping bag for a thin and light duvet cover.

    Bravo /

    I took a single duvet cover and pillow case with me when hostelling in Australia. I just didn't trust how clean the linen was. I slept inside the duvet cover like a sleeping bag and always knew I had my face against something clean.

    Submitted by Karen Wilson, Facebook

    28. Take an inflatable pillow.

    29. Get a Scrubba for washing on the go.

    Portable washing-machine bag. Amazing and works!

    Submitted by PhotogWriter

    30. Be a minimalist.

    31. Be as organised as possible while travelling.

    32. Take care of your feet.

    Kapulya / Getty Images

    Break in your hiking boots before your trip. You want to make sure that the footwear you bring along is going to be as trouble-free as possible! If your feet are wrecked with blisters and sores your trip is going to come to a screeching halt.

    Take care of any hot spots that could become blisters before they get bad, with moleskin, waterproof first-aid tape, or duct tape.

    Submitted by Sarah Anderson, Facebook

    33. Opt for minimalist souvenirs.

    34. Line your pack with bin bags when it rains.


    Instead of putting a plastic rain cover over your bag (which can leak around where it doesn't fully cover straps etc), line your pack with a big plastic garbage bag and put your stuff into that. Your pack will get damp but your clothes will be dry!

    Submitted by ursaminor

    35. Be flexible.

    Flickr: satbir / Creative Commons

    Be willing to adapt. If things do not go exactly as planned (be it a delayed flight, lost at the train station, booking a hostel last-minute), try to just take a minute to collect yourself and realise that you will survive with the situation even though you may not have anticipated it.

    When travelling, things will not always go exactly as planned. Rather than panic, take the time to think a little bit. You might just impress yourself and learn something new.

    Submitted by Bailey Spears, Facebook

    36. Make use of free tours.


    Many hostels have a free walking tour that comes through every morning. Do that on your first day! Not only will you get a quick overview of the whole city and find out which places you would like to spend more time at, you'll also make new friends. And don't forget to tip your guide!

    Submitted by kobem

    37. Step out of your comfort zone.

    If you don't ask, you don't get. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and be the first to introduce yourself (ask to sit next to someone!) or ask for directions, lifts, or places to stay, or barter for goods.

    Submitted by Devon Aylward, Facebook

    38. Cut yourself some slack.

    39. And follow your heart.

    These submissions have been edited for length and clarity.

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