If you’re about to venture out on your very first backpacking trip, there is no doubt in my mind that you’re bursting with questions (I know I was). So let’s discuss a few basic tips to help you maximize your time on the road and get the most out of your adventure.
The first tip might be a bit obvious, but treat everyone you meet and all cultures you come across with respect. Respect and abide by the local customs and don’t take everything for granted because you’re a tourist. Of you’re thinking, “Well, duh!” – but I’ve come across so many people that simply do not do this. So keep it in mind!
The next thing to discuss is of course your backpack! Please DO get a backpack (and not a suitcase with wheels) – Europe is not great for wheel suitcases as many places have cobble stoned roads. Plus, if you’re ‘backpacking’ you have to have a real backpack! It’s worth the time and money to invest in a decent pack – you’ll want to know how to adjust the settings for your back correctly. Whenever I go shopping in Australia for a backpack I always wait until there is a ‘mega sale’ and everything is 50% – 75% off. Spend the money on a good one, but don’t pay the full retail price!
Remember an adapter if you’re bringing along electronic gear like camera chargers and laptops. Don’t buy an adapter from the airport – order one online before you leave or get one from a large shop. Buying things from airports always costs more then everywhere else!
Try and find a travel credit card or a type of money access that isn’t going to charge you ridiculous fees. You’ll probably find that if you simply bring along your normal bank card, the amount of fees you run up will be ludicrous. It’s worth spending the time to find a card that offers you a better deal. Try and find one without heavy cash advance fees (for taking money out at European ATM’s) and lots of foreign currency conversion fees. You’ll also want it to convert at a global rate of a big company like Mastercard and Visa (not their ‘own’ conversion rates which are bound to be a lot higher).