The Art of Backpacking

Planning Itinerary

An aggregate plan taking into consideration the number of days, an approximate budget, the places to visit and means to reach is essential for a trip.
Many travelers like a detailed plan whereas some prefer to keep their plan absolutely flexible. Some simply want to take their backpack and travel. The flexible travelers don’t want to be weighed down by the pressure of maintaining a schedule; but an overall plan always helps. The flexible travelers end up spending more money because of lack of planning. 

A rough sketch of the places to visit helps in keeping to a schedule and being in budget. Also, the best available prices for travel and accommodation can be availed in case of advanced planning.
While going for a trip, it is essential to list down the best places to visit. Eg – A person visiting Cambodia must have Angkor Wat in his itinerary; and a person visiting Paris must have Eiffel Tower in his itinerary.
Planning in advance also helps in knowing about the rush due to tourists. In some seasons, the places are less crowded. In some seasons the rates are lower or in some seasons, the major places are closed. Eg – Gir National Parks is closed during Monsoon. So, tourists travelling to see Asiatic lions would be massively disappointed if they come during monsoons. 

Advanced planning also helps in segregating the travel: Some tourists love exploring new places; some like shopping and understanding the culture of the place. Some are adventure enthusiasts and try experimenting new things whereas some are food lovers.
Planning an itinerary in advance helps segmenting the trip according to the following informations:
  • ·        History of the place
  • ·        Geographical significance of the place
  • ·        Culture
  •      Food
  •     Best places to Party
  •     Best Places to eat
  •     Festivals celebrated in and around the place
Planning helps; as unplanned travelers end up travelling more or travel in a haphazard manner covering the same place more than once or taking longer routes. 
Right Approach
Wrong Approach

Booking of Flights/ Train/Bus

Some travelers like travelling in Plane as they have a higher budget. Others go for a low budget travel option – Bus, Train, Four wheeler, two wheeler and local transportation. As the fares get higher in the end, it is advisable to plan in advance and book the major flight and train tickets in advance. Travel planning involves taking a balanced approach between taking the cheapest and the fastest mode of transport. The travel must revolve around the must-do-activities in the itinerary.

Fixing up a Budget 

Fixing the budget is very crucial. People tend to overspend or overbook when they don’t fix up a budget. Largely, Budget depends on the travel style of the person or group. Travel style means:
  •   Accommodation: Low budget Dorms or hostels, cheap hotels, reasonably priced hotel rooms or luxurious villas/ private suites. For Backpackers,it is advisable to stay at hostels as it reduces the budget. Also, one gets to know many other travelers.
  •  Food: While travelling to a different country, most people prefer to eat the local food as it comes cheaper. Also, it gives an experience of the local delicacies and the traditions associated with the food habit of the people there.
  • Special tours and packages: A trip generally covers some tour package or the other. Eg – A desert Safari package, an underwater sea walk package, Royal cruise, Skydiving package, Countryside cycling tours, motorbike tours, River rafting tours, etc.

Packing the Backpack

Packing can be divided into three parts: the essentials, the important and the redundant.
Essential items must be carried at any cost. They include
  • Travel documents( Tickets, passports, hotel bookings, boarding passes, credit cards, health insurance, travel insurance, emergency contacts and addresses)
  • A personal kit ( includes toiletries, napkins, sanitizers, Tooth brush, toothpaste, shampoo,sun protection, first aid, basic medicines for fever)
  •  A camera or a cell phone to capture the beautiful moments
  •  Basic clothing : Lightweight shirts and T shirts, Trousers/ Cargo/ Shorts, Sweater and Jacket ( in case of travelling to cold countries), undergarments, belts, Sunglasses, Swimming trunks, track pants
  •    Insect and mosquito repellents
  • A pair of slippers and a pair of shoes
  • Nutrition(food) and hydration(water) when trekking/hiking/motorbiking
  • Map/ Compass ( Cell Phones are the best substitute these days)
The important things are
  •  A pair of extra shoes and slippers ( One may or maynot take them depending upon
  • International Sim Card 
  • A thin Hand towel
  • Fire starter or a lighter
  • Dishes/ Bowls/ Cups ( Only for Camping/ trekking enthusiasts)

The redundant items are the ones that may or may not be taken. Many items such as shaving kit (for small trips), Sewing kit, hair products, extra shoes add to the weight of the luggage

Since it is very difficult to travel large distances with heavy luggage, it is wise to keep an optimum luggage. 

Enjoy Life

Most importantly, ENJOY...