5 Travel Tips for Backpackers
Traveling as a backpacker is a way of travelling of choice for so many people around the world, especially for those of you that feel somehow restricted by the ‘conventional’ ways of travelling and tourism the average person is used to. Although the fact that every human on this planet travels their own way and there are no two journeys that are exactly the same, because every individual gets and utilizes what traveling offers in a different, personal way and makes individual conclusions, gives individual knowledge and creates personal and unique moments, backpacking and backpackers in particular are a group of people that we often consider to travel ‘differently’ and enjoy a bit of unique approach to tourism in general.
Of course, there is so much to enjoy and be satisfied with this type of hopping on a journey and having the whole freedom in the world to enjoy and try your own approach to distant or near, but always new and exciting places, cities, countries, cultures and people. There are definitely no rules for how to be a backpacker and how to enjoy a truly rewarding experience that way. Generally, there are no rules related to travelling, there is not a right or wrong way to travel the world and enjoy it, but what we can do is to offer a short list of some helpful and worth considering 5 tips for backpackers.
Are there rules of the road?
Generally and forever, there is one rule only (in every aspect of our lives, really) and this one rule is that there are no rules at all! And this rule is particularly applied to the traffic in the most part of the world. Yep, you cannot go to a metropolis, whether it will be one in the old continent Europe, or located in Asia or Africa and even South America and expect that there will be some rules on the road literary.
In fact, there are traffic rules everywhere, but the fact is that in big cities and populated regions, where people are rushing minding their own business whole day and night long, it really feels like a jungle on the road, where the rule that the strongest and fastest one is the winner applies with a full force. If you are going to be a pedestrian in a city or country really that dangerous (the most dangerous of them as stated by recent reports – Iran, Thailand, Vietnam, Oman, Brazil and South Africa), be sure to stop and look left and right (a few times as recommended), then listen carefully and only then cross the road!
Do your maths
Switching from one currency to other can be really stressful, confusing and intimidating. Paying your bills in a foreign country means that some mental arithmetic and converting currency is a must before you pay your meal or bus ticket.
Get the bargain!
In many countries haggling is not simply a good way to get a bargain, but a well-established, historical way of trading, a big part of the local culture and traditions too. However, this does not give you a green light to forget all ethics with the one and only goal to get something for pennies. In fact, many foreign cultures look at haggling as some kind of art and entertainment and there are specific morals, ethics and rules that need to be followed if you want to experience haggling at its full pleasure and fun.
If you do not master the art of haggling, however, it won’t be as satisfying at all. Furthermore, just because of some countries like Turkey, for example, are popular with a few bazaars where haggling is an official term, it doesn’t mean that you can go to the local Turkish mall and bargain and negotiate for a lower price!
Learn sign and body language
Unless you are a natural linguist or polyglot, there is a big chance that you will visit a country and stumble upon a language you do not know a single word in. In this case, body and sign language is your best friend and in many situations a successful way to ask for some essentials and basics. Of course, it wouldn’t be really possible to lead and manage a deep, meaningful and philosophical conversation with someone in a foreign language you know nothing about, but you can easily ask for a direction or the price of something you are interested buying a couple of hand gestures. And finally, in case you visit Italy, please remember that sign and body language is the official language of the country… or probably the second official one, but still.
Well, a bit of a surprising thing we left for the end and definitely a topic you probably would never think about when planning to pack your backpack or consider as some important tourist information, but toilet etiquette is a thing, especially in some countries like South Korea and Japan, for example. You need to keep in mind that not all toilets around the world look the same way and in Asian countries, you can often stumble upon a ‘squat’ toilet that is a pretty overwhelming experience at first. Do not worry, once you get used it wouldn’t be that intimidating and confusing anymore, plus it doubles as a pretty decent workout too!