While applicable for traveling anywhere, these killer travel tips are aimed at beginners backpacking around the world – in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
1. Be flexible.
Research info on the web or from a guidebook but remember to go with the flow as journeys – the best ones – will always change, so don’t plan too much ahead. Just have a basic outline of places to visit.
In 1989 this is how I hitchhiked to Iraq, a country that I had no intention of traveling to but glad that I did.
2. ALWAYS negotiate a price first when using casual transportation.
Before using (an un-metered) taxi, a rickshaw or motorcycle-taxi, agree a price before starting out.
3. Buy quality footwear.
I limit myself to only two pairs of footwear: boots and hiking sandals – for backpacking and activities such as hiking, going out on the town and hanging at beaches.
4. Travel as light as possible.
A heavy bulky backpack will be your worst enemy (don’t even think about a suitcase). Best backpack sizes are around 40 liters – carry only essentials, for 6 months to 1 year.
But if you’re a perpetual nomad – like no home or base and having everything with you 365 a year, then allow for a 55-liter main pack and a day pack.
NOTE: You can buy stuff on the road, when needed. However, still bring vital items before you leave home if you require specialized medicine or photography items, etc.
Unless the water is purified or you’re told its okay.
Some travelers will say ‘Don’t buy bottled water to save the planet from plastics’ well fine; but sometimes there’s no other source of safe water in remote areas. Best to carry a small water purification kit.
Likewise, raw salads washed in tap water can make you sick; stick to cooked veg and peeled fruits (true in India).
11. Street food is YUMMY, cheap, and essential to the travel experience.
Just choose carefully.
Busy means tasty and fresh. But all the same, you may get an upset stomach simply from a change of diet. In all my travels, eating street food has rarely caused an issue.
Do watch eggs, as I found out in Bolivia needing a sudden shit-stop at night in the freezing Altiplano!
12. TRUST: Never – no matter how convincing – ever get involved in get-rich-quick schemes.
They are always scams, and you’ll lose money.
Trusting people: If you feel uncertain – trust your institution and get away from the situation.