May 5th, 2018
To date, we’ve been to 25 (ish) countries which is a tiny fraction of the planet but during this time we have accumulated advice in abundance from fellow travellers and from the mishaps we’ve made along the way. We’re letting you in on a secret (or 5) as these travel tips for first time backpackers will save you a lot of stress, space and money on your adventure!
1. Mix up your Luggage
Simple, if travelling as a couple unpack half your suitcase and swap it with your travel companion that way if one of you lose your suitcase not all is lost. One of our most used backpacking tips and tricks - mix up your hand luggage also, pack essentials such as pants, your toothbrush and a spare set of clothes into your carry on so if all hold luggage is lost your wanderlust won’t be.
2. Don’t compete with other travellers
We had left Venice before we realised we hadn’t gone on a Gondola. Imagine it, no cliché Instagram snap of us snuggled up as a striped stranger serenaded us, how would anyone possibly know we’d even been to Venice? We couldn’t care less. It's one of the hardest tips for first time backpackers, as you can feel constantly overwhelmed however do not compete with other travellers.
Explore your way, take photos and make memories of the things you enjoy not the things you think you should do because everyone else has done them. Or worse, because you think it'll get you more likes on Facebook.
3. Look Up
This is one of the tips for first time backpackers I wish I could scream from the rooftops (at least it would get people to look up and listen.) Too often, too many travellers spend their days with their heads looking down at a screen, missing the majority of their surroundings to watch a funny cat video on YouTube or to see a Snapchat of what their cousin ate for breakfast.
If it's your first time backpacking, you may be missing home or you're simply glued to sharing every moment on Instagram.Yet, from insane architecture to stunning street art or simply the sign for your hotel, the best bits are often out of eye line - so pause the cat video and look up.
4. Get up Early
Have you ever seen a photo of the Taj Mahal without the crowds of people in front of it? You must be in the queue at 5am if you plan to photograph it without the selfie sticks and bus tours. Painful but pays off. One of the most forgotten tips for first time backpackers is to get up early. It means you skip the largest crowds and queues, have the best light for taking photos and not to mention the dodgy taxi drivers, scammers and general dodgers usually sleep in, so you'll avoid those too!
5. Don’t live it through your lens
When I was 16 I went on a school exchange programme to volunteer in Tanzania, during which I went to the Ngorongoro crater on Safari. This was my first time flying internationally and the photos from this trip were to be used for my photography exam. I will always remember the words my photography teacher said to me before I left and to this day, feel it's one of the best tips for first time backpackers,
“don’t live it through your lens”
The majority of trips you will go on will be once in a lifetime adventures, which understandably you will want to capture on camera to show friends and family but there are some moments too magical to witness through a lens and should simply be lived not spent stressing over a filter, Snapchat story or how many likes it will get on Facebook.
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