Originally written while traveling in Sierra Leone in 2007, this advice is focused on the first-time backpacker.
Get interested in a place.
Read, surf the web. But don’t plan too intensely. Better to have plenty of time and see what happens.
Go with the flow. Plans change.
Buy quality footwear + backpack.
If you want to get the miles without pain (but for about-the-town or beach then cheap sandals /thongs are okay). Likewise make sure your backpack is good – so zips or seams won’t bust within months. (It should last years).
Essential Travel Advice: Travel as light as possible.
A heavy, bulky backpack will be your worse enemy. (And don’t even think about a suitcase!)
You can always buy cheaply and discard as you travel. BUT bring all important items from home before you leave (EG: prescriptions/medicines, specialized camera items, personal essentials.
NEVER save money avoiding vaccinations.
Get all that are necessary. And travel insurance is good for piece of mind but not essential (if you are on a tight budget; take ya chances).
Buying your flight via the internet is often the cheapest.
But not always! Research.
In most cases be friendly: smile, wave, say Hello.
Greet people who meet your eye (unless avoiding touts or hustlers. Or you’re female, so’s to avoid sexual harassment).
Never carry the bulk of your money, credit card, passport in an obvious money-belt.
But rather one hidden beneath your clothes, and also use additional secret emergency stashes in a zipper-belt, in a shoe, or in a bag, etc. For daily transactions rather than a wallet have small money in a plastic bag stuffed into a front pocket.
Don’t wear expensive-looking bling.
Best to avoid tap water
Unless purified or otherwise told its okay. Likewise salads washed in the same water – but peeled fruits are fine.
Street food is cheap, yummy and essential to the experience.
Just chose carefully – busy means good, fresh, high turn-over; but all the same you may get a stomach upset simply from the change of diet.
You’re not alone.
Internet cafes are across the world – in most major cities towns – and usually cheap, often with reasonable speeds.
NEVER – no matter how convincing – get involved in get-rich-quick schemes
Or other great proposals. They are always scams, and you’ll lose money.
Best travel advice: ALWAYS negotiate a price firstwhen buying a service.
Especially before using a taxi, rickshaw or motorcycle-taxi.
Learn Hello & Thank You in the local language.
But if you love languages – dive in!
Don’t fear about what might happen …
(Unless it happens, which, most-often, it won’t. So relax and ENJOY).