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For many, backpacking as a student is considered a rite of passage. Some take a break after high school; others head off during vacation from college. For a few, it becomes a lifestyle that continues throughout their lives.
However, you can’t just read ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and instantly head off to India.
Backpacking is not without its pitfalls and you need to be prepared for anything.
A friend of mine spent nearly three years planning his backpacking holiday across Europe, and he still managed to complete an online master of arts in history degree from Norwich University!
Of course, the online MAH degree is not mandatory, but he is the perfect example of how meticulous planning can result in a lifetime of memories that will stay with you forever.
Check out our four essential backpacking tips for students.
1. Advance Planning is a Must
For most of us, great trips don’t just happen. They are researched and planned out in as much detail as possible. The most important advantage of advance planning is that you have time to get the cheapest deals available (let’s face it; if you’re a student then you are likely to be on a tight budget).
The sooner you can book your destination and accommodation, the more time you can give over to the fun part – the itinerary. Bear in mind, the best travel and accommodation deals will be during the off-season, so check your college/university schedule to see if you are able to travel for less.
2. Share the Experience
One of the biggest concerns of backpackers (and their parents) is safety while travelling. Some students crave the peace a solo journey can offer, while others prefer going with friends or like-minded travellers.
Our advice – why not try both?
There are many student travel group services available to backpackers that allow you to spend as much or as little time in a group as you want. It’s a great chance for meeting new friends and it may open up opportunities for you, as a group, to receive discounts at popular tourist attractions.
3. Know your Destination
Just because you ‘like the sound’ of somewhere, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best destination for you.
Do your research. You need to find locations that will give you the greatest experience for your budget. My friend who took the online masters in history chose Europe because it tied in with his studies, but also because many of the countries rely on tourism, meaning that they will offer you better deals than countries that are less focused on tourism. Recommended destinations include the UK, Spain, Mexico and the USA.
4. Try not to Overburden Yourself
There is always a temptation to pack for every eventuality. Packing too much for your travels can lead to some very uncomfortable journeys and, most importantly, no room for souvenirs. Try to keep your wardrobe minimal and appropriate for the climate.
If you find yourself missing some essential, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to purchase it while you’re away. Other considerations for your backpack should be a first aid kit, flashlight, extra clothing, a water bottle and protection from the sun.
The bottom line is that there is a whole world out there for you to discover and there is no better time to travel than when your responsibilities and commitments are minimal. Seize the moment, but just make sure you know what these moments entail.
Seize the moment, but just make sure you know what these moments entail.
By Guest Writer
Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.
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