Uncharted Backpacker

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Keeping Motivated

Loosing motivation is a huge reason why people quit early or don’t even travel to begin with. Staying positive and telling yourself “I will travel”. Travelling can be quite a scary thing, but if you stay positive about it you will most likely have a better chance of not backing out. If you’re already abroad and are beginning to lose motivation; well you need to look forward. Travelling always has its ups and downs, but that’s what makes it so great. It’s the challenge that is rewarding when you look back. Look at travel photos, read travel blogs, or simply buy yourself a guidebook and read about new destinations. Whatever you end up doing just keep motivated about your trip.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Spent many hours lost looking for the “secret wall”, a section that is illegal to climb on. Finding it and climbing to the top was so rewarding.

Don’t Worry You Will Meet People 

Many first time travellers think that travelling alone really means travelling alone. This is not the case. When you first arrive into a country you are alone, but the minute you arrive at a hostel/hotel/guest house you are bound to meet other travellers just like you! Travel far enough and you will see that even in the most remote locations you will find travellers. Some of my best experiences from travelling were because I went solo and met some really incredible people who I am still friends with to this day. When you travel alone it also gives you that push to go meet others. This push will lead you to some great experiences. So it doesn’t matter if your alone just go travel!

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Even the most unsuspecting people will become life long friends. My friend Mohamed was just a rickshaw driver in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He showed me Bangladeshi culture and how amazing his country is.

Budgeting

Staying on budget is really only important if you a truly travelling on a tight budget. Travelling comes with all its hidden expenses, but in the end turns out to be quite affordable if you do it right. Do the research of your chosen destination and make sure you understand the cost of where you are going. Know how much travel there will cost. Will you need extra flights? How much will food cost each day? Are there cheap hostels or is everything expensive now? These are questions you must ask yourself to make sure you are budgeting right. Buy a notebook and record how much you are spending each day. This way you will know if you are on track or spending too much. If you can master the budget then you will realize how affordable travelling really can be.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Count your Tomans carefully as you will become and instant Millionaire when you enter Iran!

Keeping Safe

All destinations have dangers and annoyances, but obviously some more than others. Really get to know your destination. Look online and read about other travellers experiences. Ask around before you go and you can usually find someone who is from there that will give you great info. Guide books are usually quite informative as well, having a safety section. Before all else, if something seems dangerous, then maybe think twice about doing it. Do not let safety deter you from travelling however. Many people have told me I was crazy for going to some of my destinations, and they turned out to be wrong. Most times you will never find trouble, but its best to be prepared if you do.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Hiking to the Afghanistan/Pakistan Border in Chitral Province is not the safest place. Thanks to my police friend Nader we were able to travel right to the border with no issues.

Expect Anything

That’s right anything! Travelling is full of surprises. Some good, some bad. So it’s best to come prepared. Travelling in the Sahara desert? Bring a winter jacket! Backpacking through cheap India? Bring some extra cash! Yes no matter how prepared you are and how much info you have been told always come prepared with a backup plan. This way no matter what travelling throws at you, you will be ready for all the obstacles.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Crawling through the Burial Chambers in Indonesia’s Tana Toraja is exciting. Finally when I entered into one of the larger chambers I lit my torch and was surrounded by the dead.

What Gear to Bring

This is a big topic. I could go on and on about what gear is essential, and which gear not to bring. In the end everyone has their own personal things they like to bring. For me since I have this travel website, I need to bring lots of electronics. Tablets, Cameras, Batteries, and plenty of other goodies. Your gear also depends on where you are going. For example; if you are going somewhere cold, bring a jacket. If you are travelling Thailand in the wet season, well bring a raincoat. What about the mountains? Bring hiking shoes. My best tip for this is to make yourself a list. A check list that you update every time you think of something you want to bring. Do this a month before your trip, and when the day comes you will have your list ready.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Hiking to the summit of Imet Gogo in the Simien National Park, Ethiopia. Make sure you bring the right gear! Even if its security to fight off Gelada Baboons!

Don’t Give Up, But its Ok to Quit Early

Try your best, I mean it! Try not to let those feeling of missing home and friends get in the way of your adventure. Everyone and everything will be waiting for you back there when you get home. Travelling is an amazing experience, but there will be lots of ups and downs. These are all part of the learning process of travelling. Trust me it’s hard at first. Once you get the hang of it, it will get easier and easier. If you happen to end your trip early, no problem. At least you tried. Some travelling is better than no travelling right? Maybe on your next trip you will go longer. That first trip just got you out the door and hungry for more.

Don’t Listen to Others if they are Being Negative

While travelling you will meet travellers and talk with them about where they have been or where they are going. This is a fantastic way to learn about the do’s and don’ts. It’s also a great way to learn about new destinations. One thing you will find is that some travellers love to tell you negative things. For example I have been told by some travellers that Thailand is not worth going to anymore as there are too many tourists. Thailand may have many tourists these days, but this is for good reason. Thailand is an amazing place and worth every penny you spend going there. Don’t listen to the negativity and defiantly don’t let it change your trip. Listen to the positive voice of travellers and base your decision on this.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

While traveling in Peru everyone told me that Machu Picchu was “overrated” or “very touristy”. I did not listen and to my surprise I was the only one in the entire place for the afternoon. What an amazing experience it was. No thanks to all the negative travelers.

If You’re Nervous Start with a Tour

No matter how many travellers tell you that tours are not travelling, well they are just full of themselves. Tours can be a great way to get your bearings. Travelling is a daunting experience, and can be downright scary if you’re not ready. Tours on the other hand are incredibly fun! They are also a great way to meet other travellers and make lifelong friends. Starting with a tour also means you get a taste of the travel experience, and most likely it will push you to go on alone and see this amazing world. On my site I recommend some really amazing travel companies that offer true genuine adventure travel. G adventures is one of them. Check them out!

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Rounding up your own camel is a hard thing to do. In the Hunder Valley of Northern India there are plenty of families who will take you out on a camel safari into the nearby sand dunes.

Bringing Enough Money

So many travellers I meet on the road brag about how cheap there hostel is, how they are surviving on 4 dollars a day. This is fine, but the average sight these days costs around 10 dollars to see. So why travel if you cannot afford to enjoy it? Listen, you don’t have to bring a ton of money. But by doing the research of your destination you can plan to travel on a budget, and still get the full potential of your destination. So work that extra month so you can have a trip of a lifetime! I promise by not skimping on your budget that you will feel more satisfied. You will also most likely travel again as you will see how affordable travelling really is.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

If you do not prepare for your trip and don’t have enough money you will miss out on experiences like scuba diving in the Philippines!

Bumps on the Road

Travelling is an amazing experience, but not every day is a piece of cake. You will have days where all you will be thinking is how you want to go home. The bumps on the road are part of travelling. You must embrace even the worst of times and just say to yourself “it’s all part of the experience”. And it is! You learn from the mistakes. You correct all the errors, and most of all you grow and learn from the bad experiences. So if you got robbed, fell off your motorbike, or whatever the case may be, pick yourself up, brush yourself off and get a move on because there is lots more experiences waiting for you along the road.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Even after ten hours of bumpy roads and our van broke down in Ethiopia Lower Omo Valley, traveling prevailed. These two walking on there stilts crawled out of the bush and entertained us until we found a alternative ride.

Off Days

Some days while travelling you will wake up, and just not feel like travelling. Don’t let these days deter you. Just take a day off from your travels. Take a day where all you do is surf the web, lay on the beach or just go to the mall. Not every day has to be how the professional travellers act like it is. Some days its best just to relax and pick up the adventure the next day. During your off days you never know what will happen. You might meet fellow travellers who are also feeling as you are. You might discovering a more off the beaten path place without even looking. It’s all part of the experience.

Not Everything will Work Out as Planned

At the beginning of every trip you have a rough plan on what you want to see and accomplish. This plan is great, but I am promising you, not everything will work out. Plans will change, so will locations. The trail you create can even completely collapse. Don’t worry however! There is always a new trail. In fact when I travel, I make a very rough plan and more times than not it completely changes. Every trip has been incredible because of this! Some trips I discovered places that I never even knew would interest me. A lot of these places I ended up going back to, and I would have never found them if I had not had to change my itinerary. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out, travelling has a way to always impress you with whatever route it chooses for you.

14 Tips for a New Traveller

Trying to see Bromo Volcano in Indonesia is tuff, its usually cloudy. So when the clouds wont break, why not climb up the volcano instead!

Guide Books are Your Best Friend

This is probably the biggest debate amongst the big league travellers. Look online to some egotistical nomad traveller’s blog and he will be talking about what an amazing traveller he is because he doesn’t use guide books. Listen, I am being very honest here. Guide books are essential. Yes! It’s ok to not have one for a day or two and you will probably find interesting cool places. But trust me on this! You need to have a guide book. Especially if you are a beginner traveller. They are packed full of maps, transport info, food info oh my god the list goes on!! I even used the Lonely Planet guide book in Afghanistan! And I am so happy I did as it took me to some incredible locations! The only time I can honestly say I don’t always use my guide book is when looking for hotels. Once the hotel is in the guide book they usually raise their prices and are fully booked. So from a traveller who has successfully been to over eighty countries, I am telling you a guide book is a very helpful and essential tool.

Check online to get a better price on them. I usually find that guide books are a few dollars cheaper online than in an actual bookstore.

 

 

14 Tips for a New Traveller

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Stephen Gollan

Stephen Gollan

Uncharted Backpacker is a glimpse at the past nine years of traveling I have done. Now at over seventy countries I share my travel knowledge for you so you too can travel the world and see what wonders it has to offer.

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