Top 10 Mistakes That Backpackers Make

Backpacking usually conjures images of freedom, spontaneity, and adventure. After all, there’s something tempting about going where your feet take you. However, blindly following your wanderlust doesn’t always end positively – which is why we have a list of the top mistakes backpackers make and how you can avoid them.

1. Not enough planning

It may not sound as exciting as letting yourself wander around, but having a plan will save you from trouble down the line. You don’t have to detail every thing you’re going to do. A basic plan is enough: where do you plan on going, will you need visas or other documents, how to get there, where to stay, and how you’ll pay.

2. Going off-grid

When traveling, always stay connected to family and friends. You don’t have to send a message every hour – but you do have to update them on your whereabouts regularly. This way, someone will be on the look out as to whether or not you’ve reached your destination safely. While you may be tempted to disconnect, keeping loved ones in the loop with your plans is more of a safety precaution over anything else.

3. Being a helpless tourist

Visiting a new country is always exciting and overwhelming – and while it doesn’t hurt to go “ooooh” and “aaaah” over the local culture, food and more, its best to read up on where you’re going, especially about scams. It’s no secret that every country has its share of vendors who take advantage of wide-eyed travelers, don’t fall victim to this and be prepared. Do your research and coordinate with trusted individuals.

4. Not buying travel insurance

It’s an added expense, but is definitely worth it once you find yourself in another country with a medical emergency. It’s even more important if you’re backpacking alone, with no one to look after you. Pick one that fits your budget and at least covers accidents so you won’t end up spending even more.

5. Flashing expensive items

Backpacking leads you off the beaten path to breathtaking and jaw dropping views. Understandably, you may want to whip out your smart phone or camera to capture the moment – when you do, be careful. This seemingly peaceful moment for you may be an opportunity for thieves to see what you have and how they can get it. Always exercise prudence when bringing out your gadgets and expensive items.

6. Not talking to your bank

You get better exchange rates if you withdraw your money directly from an ATM. However, certain banks require you notify them first. Additionally, if you use your credit card for a foreign transaction, your bank may flag this as suspicious and suspend your account. This is especially if you haven’t notified them that you’re out of the country. It’s best to do this before you leave – so everything goes smoothly during the trip.

7. Not having a copy of your reservation details

If you’ve just endured an hours-long journey to get to your hotel, the last thing you want to do is rummage through your bag looking for your reservation. Keep it in a separate bag or pocket. You can also book with Traveloka, which allows you to access your hotel voucher from the app’s “My Booking” section even without internet connection.

8. Partying too hard

Being drunk, tired, or high isn’t the best way to explore a new location. If you’re not sober, you can’t really enjoy the sights and sounds to the fullest. More importantly, it makes you an easy target for people who may want to take advantage of you.

9. Cramming everything in one visit

When visiting somewhere for the first time, it’s understandable that you’d want to see and do as much as possible. But truth be told – some tourist spots and activities may not be your cup of tea. So plan your itinerary wisely as to avoid running around and stressing yourself out.

10. Ignoring your instincts

When exploring a new place – you’ll come across many vendors or even other travelers who’ll suggest you go here or there, or that you eat/drink this or that. If you feel uncomfortable doing so, don’t hesitate to say no politely. It is better to have your guard up and to safeguard your well-being, over anything everything else.

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