Beginner's guide to backpacking

MIRAÇ GEYIK
ISTANBUL
Published
Beginner's guide to backpacking

Preparing a backpack, booking a flight and setting off for the trip of a lifetime seems cool on TV, but it is neither that easy, nor sporadically unplanned. Let's take a look at the essentials of backpacking to see if you are up for the challenge

There are many ways to travel around the world: You can travel on a yacht for a world tour or book flights and get your suitcases ready for a long holiday. However, probably the most entertaining, adventurous and cheapest way to travel and discover new places is by backpacking. If you want to be a backpacker, you need to give up many luxuries that you are accustomed to during your travels, including a room of your own. If you are down for the best and worst travel experience of your life, come take a look at what it takes to be a globe-trotting backpacker.

Guide to backpacking

Before setting off for the trip of your life, you need to make sure to do your research well. The world is your oyster, however, choosing the right destination is crucial to having the best time. Experienced backpackers advised starting to plan your trip at least four months beforehand. The first thing to do is to make up your mind about your destination and see whether the places you want to go are backpacker-friendly. Backpackers usually stay at hostels or camp with their own tents. Hence, it would be great if the location you choose has these options. Another thing that you should start doing is to save money. Remember that backpacking is a budget-friendly way to travel but still, you will need money.

Two or three months before departure is the time when you need to take care of your passport and accommodation arrangements if you are not a fan of hostels or camping. Arrange any visas that are required. Most countries require visas for entry, many of which you may receive on arrival but equally important, you have to arrange these things before arriving. It is a good idea to sort out your visa before booking your flight - you do not want to spend money on a flight and then get denied a visa. Moreover, book your flight or other method of transportation. The sooner you book your flight, the more money you will save.As your departure date gets closer, you should see your health care professional for a physical as it is more difficult to receive medical attention if you run into any health problems during your trip mostly due to the language barrier and foreign red tape. Also, arrange travel insurance and ensure it provides you with adequate coverage in the place where you are going.

Probably, the most exciting part of all these preparations is to choose your backpack and get ready to take off. But, buyer beware: Choosing the right backpack is quite challenging. Experienced backpackers advise against borrowing your friend's backpack for a long trip. As everyone's needs are different and every backpack fulfills different needs, choose a backpack with 40-to-70 liter holding capacity as this is ideal for any backpacker. Larger backpacks are both hard to carry and difficult to travel around with, especially on public transportation. Wheeled backpacks are also an option, yet the roads or the places you may want to travel to play an important role in this decision. The design of the backpack should allow you to reach your belongings in the best way possible. The most desired designs are the ones that have an opening on the top as well as the sides, allowing you to open your backpack like a suitcase.

Backpacker's advice

The ultimate goal of backpacking is to discover and experience new places as much as possible on a low budget. Do not forget that this trip might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you should try to make the best out of it. Be adventurous and do things, eat foods that you have never tried before. The more you travel, the less content you are with just seeing a place, therefore, always try to do something when you arrive. Instead of just watching a beautiful river flowing, take a rafting trip on it. Remember that you need to spend some quality time in a place to be able to fully appreciate it. You may not be impressed by your first view of the place you are seeing, however, keep in mind that first impressions do not have to always be right. You should spend at least two nights in every place you visit.

The crucial part of backpacking is traveling light but that does not mean that you cannot pack your camera. Some of the best photos are of street signs, foods, transportation, dorms and most importantly, the people you meet. Your photos should tell a continuous story of your journey. In order to photograph the people you meet along your journey, you need to mingle with the locals. Talk to people and make friends, and not just act as if you are traveling alone. Simple sentences to start conversation always work. Also, make acquaintance with fellow travelers; you never know what you could learn from their experiences.

Big reveal: The price tag

There is no doubt that everybody is wondering how much it costs to backpack. To be honest, it depends and it is hard to predict beforehand. You must certainly make up an estimated budget long before you take off for your trip, however, the travel cost entirely depends on a number of key elements. While some can travel the world cheaply, some people simply cannot. The type and quality of accommodations you choose, how you travel, what, where and how much you eat and what sort of activities you choose to partake in are closely related to the cost of your travel. If you hitchhike or work part-time to find money for your accommodation and meals, you can travel the world for very little but it is certainly not for everyone.

Main Backpacking destinations in Turkey

Assos, Çanakkale

Whether you choose to camp under the stars the traditional way with your tent and sleeping bag or opt to stay in a villa with all the bells and whistles, rest assured the beauty of Assos will rejuvenate you. Assos is a backpacker-friendly destination where you can camp or stay in a cheap motel. There are also many historical and natural places to discover.

Artvin

Located in the northeast about 30 km inland from the Black Sea, Artvin is a city with every shade of green. The serenity of the city becomes one with the unique nature of the region: See pine trees together with tea fields lying as long as the eye can see. Locals are very friendly and known for hosting tourists in their homes free of charge.

Ayvalık, Balıkesir

Although Ayvalık is quite crowded during summer, it is a favorite destination for backpackers. Compared to other tourist attractions such as Çeşme in İzmir and Bodrum in Muğla, Ayvalık is budget-friendly as well. If you take a trip to Ayvalık, do not leave this paradise before paying a visit to Cunda Island as well.

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