Everyone should try to go on a big backpacking trip, whether solo, with friends, or with your significant other. If you’re beginning the daunting task of planning your trip, let me help!
When people start to plan, or think about planning, a backpacking trip, a few questions come to mind that might stop them in their tracks.
1. What if I only have (x) amount of time?!
There is no minimum amount of time required to do any major backpacking trip. Would I recommend cramming all of Western Europe into two weeks? No. However, a week and a half or two weeks is plenty of time to do at least a part of a major backpacking route. Likewise, you can do some serious damage in a month, although you will be traveling fast. Obviously, you will meet people on the road who are traveling for longer than you, even if you’re out for six months, but don’t feel like you’re any less of a backpacker or any less adventurous just because you only had (x) amount of time.
2. What if I only have (x) amount of money?
This answer is similar to the time question above. There are lots of different ways you can plan a backpacking trip on different budgets. If you’re cash poor but rich in time, you should pick a destination like Southeast Asia, where you can travel forever on limited amounts of money. Alternatively, if you have your heart set on Europe, head to Eastern Europe where countries aren’t on the Euro yet and the dollar goes a long way.
3. What if I have a job/boyfriend/girlfriend/apartment at home to go back to?
On the road, it’s not uncommon to meet British people or Australian people on gap years before or after college or just on a break from their jobs. When I was in South America, I sometimes felt like the only person in the hostel with a life at home to go back to. But that’s okay. It doesn’t make you less of a backpacker because you have to pay your rent next month. Don’t feel like you need to quit your job to have an adventure of a lifetime.
Future installments: Where should you go? Who should you go with? What should you bring?