You are a very passionate traveler but none of your friends are interested in traveling. I know this situation is very familiar to you. In similar situations, have you ever thought of going for a solo trip to an unknown land?
If your answer is yes to that question then you are in the right place to learn about solo backpacking. Backpacking is adventurous and thrilling but at the same time it is risky as well.
Many travel mates have asked me about solo trips and solo backpacking tips which made me writing something for my friends who are looking for their first solo backpacking trip. I tried to cover up almost things to do while backpacking.
What is backpacking ?
In my words, backpacking is nothing but traveling to a destination where your mind is tempting you to travel without any plans.Backpacking is basically a form of low cost, independent travel.
Usually the travelers will be having a light weight backpack that can be carried easily with them for long distances or long periods of time.
Backpackers are the people who will be following this form of traveling mostly prefers public transportation and inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels or couch surfing.
How to prepare yourself for solo backpacking ?
Solo backpacking is something different from other forms of traveling since you will be alone throughout the journey. In group travel plans, usually travel mates will motivate you for the trips even if you are not interested.
First of all, we need a completely prepared mind for solo backpacking by accepting the reality that we will be alone throughout the journey. One should be mentally prepared to face the challenges and risks of backpacking.
If you are a person who likes loneliness, then only you are going to enjoy solo backpacking else it will be tiring and boring for you till your last step.
The backpacker’s bag
I am recommending to carry two type of bags for these kind of journeys. One backpack and one cross bag will be sufficient enough. Backpack should be able to lock properly. Later in this article, I will explain why we need a locking provision.
The bags which have some pockets outside to keep water bottles will be a good option since all the time you don’t need to open up your bag especially when you are in a strange place.
The least expensive items which you may need very frequently can be kept outside rather than putting it inside your backpack.
How to pack your bag for solo trips?
If you haven’t properly packed your backpack, that backpack itself will turn to be the main villain for your journey. Try to take minimum clothes with you which are light weight.
You need to consider the weather also while packing your clothes, for example it wouldn’t be so nice to have black dress on summer. Try to carry an inner thermal wear if the destination is a coldest place.
More often you will be in need of something which you are least expected to carry with you like ropes and shoe fixers. Even a safety pin can put you in trouble which will spoil the mood of your journey.
So I am recommending to carry very frequently used accessories with you to avoid these kind of mess-ups in the journey. Packing tips are known to everyone so not planning to elaborate on that.
If you are a die-hard fan of photography then only you need to carry a DSLR camera with you, else a normal digital camera or even a high quality mobile camera is more than enough.
Where to sleep in backpacking ?
This is a very important question in solo backpacking since all other travel plans will consider booking a hotel in advance. Do you know how the backpackers are managing stays?
The backpackers will usually prefers youth hostels, low cost lodge rooms or even couch surfing is a very good option. Other than this, another inexpensive option is to find some good places in railway stations.
In India all most all railway station waiting rooms are kind of clean and neat which can easily provide a one night stay for a backpacker. Carrying some sheets or newspapers can help you to an extent. Do I need to remind you of air pillows huh?
Suppose if you are reaching your destination station in midnight, better you can stay in that railway station itself. You can find sleeper class dormitories over there. May be you need pay some bucks to the guys sitting in front of that however it will be cheaper option for you.
In case if none of the options are working for you, search for some local lodges which are offering a manageable bed for you at lower cost.
Don’t ever get trapped in the hands of agents which are very common in India. Either you can find your own accommodation or can inquire to the travelers you are finding over there.
Taking some suggestions and opinions well in advance regarding accommodation from experienced travelers would be really helpful in solo backpacking.
Shall we start solo backpacking ?
Public transportation is the main travel option for a backpacker. If you have some kind of planning before you set out, even booking ticket in advance is a good option. You can easily block your tickets in public buses or trains in India.
It’s hard to follow all the scheduled plans in backpacking else it will be a compromised journey all together. Backpackers can go anywhere depending on their great desire to travel. Backpackers can spend any amount of time according to their wish and can move on to next destination.
You are a kite without a twain in backpacking. No one will be there to control and guide you. You are traveling according to your wish in your way. Wouldn’t it be so great?
When it comes to traveling, I am recommending the general train compartments for day travel since it can save a great amount of your money.
It will be a thrilling experience but at the same time it is risk as well while you are traveling through unknown lands.
The experienced travelers know how difficult it is to raise the money for traveling. It is very important for a traveler to know How to raise fund for your trips and How to spend the money efficiently in your trips.
If you are boarding from a station which is the source station of that train, you are the luckiest backpacker. Go and get the upper birth and take some rest or sleep if you want.
No need to worry even if you couldn’t manage a seat in the train, we have the newspaper sheets with us right? Can’t we use that and sit in a less crowded area?
If the return journey is from the same railway station, you can take your necessary items in cross bag and keep the backpack in clock room of railway station.
The backpack should have the lock mechanism for its main pouch else you can’t keep it in clock room. That’s why I had mentioned earlier that backpack should have locks. Keep the receipts safely in your wallet or pocket which you will be receiving from clock rooms.
The most important part is nothing other than food
Try to mainly focus on local food items in backpacking. All local foods are came into existence from the ecosystem of that place which includes the culture of the people, climate and availability of goods.
You can switch to other menus if you are not able to manage with the local food. It’s not a mandatory rule of backpacking to have only local food.
Junk and heavy food can be avoided in backpacking since you can’t trust your stomach like your mind. It can end up in a stomach upset as well. So be careful in selecting your menu. I am recommending fruits, dry fruits and chocolates in your trips which are light and good.
Water consumption will be too much in sunny days which is normal. Having some lemon soda with salt can reduce your thirst to some extent.
I don’t need to remind you of carrying required medicine and tablets for you, correct? Always expect the unexpected.
The miscellaneous tips for my travel mates
Keeping wallet or purse in the back pocket of trousers or pants must be avoided while traveling. It can be easily pickpocketed while traveling in a crowded bus or train.
Another important point is don’t ever keep the entire cash in one place, try to diversify in different pockets or places. You can survive even if the cash is pickpocketed from one place.
I usually don’t encourage people to update their status in Facebook or Twitter every now and then, but it is very important to do a check-in social media when you are entering to a total unknown land.
Hope the purpose is clear to you, so be a responsible guy even if you are not a big fan of social media. Not every people are putting this for show offs there can be similar reasons behind that.
These are the tips for first time solo backpackers which has come to my mind, if you have anything else to add be the first to share with me in comments. Sure we can update the article with your tips as well.