Starting a solo backpacking adventure comes with fun, thrill, and trepidation. You’re about to embark on a journey you will remember for the rest of your life, and it’s okay to feel scared and excited simultaneously. You can’t wait to start living the life you have dreamed of for months or even years. But you’re also terrified of what could go wrong and whether you can make all those decisions.
This blog post offers some advice to help you stay safe on your solo backpacking trip while still having lots of fun.
Have fun and stay safe
It’s essential to stay safe while you’re backpacking around the world. You can have some peace of mind while you’re jet skiing, mountaineering, or quad biking. Take out backpacking insurance to cover any medical expenses while you’re away and other things like lost baggage. Research the destination before travel and ensure you have all the correct vaccinations. You don’t want to be caught short in that regard.
Share your phone location with someone you trust at home, like a parent or close friend. If you go silent for a few days, they can track your phone and identify precisely where you are. Once you’re away, do not tell everyone that you are traveling alone. Make sure you can trust someone before you let them know that you’re alone in the country.
You also need to think about paperwork. The boring bit! You should always carry your hotel or hostel card and make copies of your documents. Invest in a money belt that goes under your clothing, or buy clothing with hidden compartments that aren’t visible to pickpockets.
Research and Plan Ahead
Every successful solo backpacking trip starts with meticulous planning. Choose your destination after thorough research. Tons of apps for backpacking will also make your planning and researching a lot easier. Always check the weather forecast for your destination, as, for example, mountainous terrains can have unpredictable weather patterns.
For those new to solo backpacking, consider hiking trails that are well-traveled and marked. Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. If conditions become challenging, trust your instincts and consider altering your plans.
Related: How to plan a backpacking trip.
Essential items for backpacking solo trip
For a solo backpacking trip, the most indispensable items include:
A mobile phone, which serves as a multifunctional tool equipped with navigation features like GPS and maps, and in areas with coverage, it’s a lifeline for emergency calls.
A shelter and sleep system, comprising a lightweight tent and an appropriate sleeping bag, is essential for protection against the elements and ensuring a restful night.
Food and water supplies, especially when paired with a water filter or purifier, are vital for maintaining energy and hydration.
A comprehensive first aid kit is a must-have for addressing any injuries or health concerns that may arise.
Comfortable and appropriate hiking clothing ensures protection from various weather conditions and helps prevent injuries.
Additionally, carrying a power bank ensures that your mobile and other electronic devices remain charged, especially in areas without access to electricity.
Together, these items form the foundation of a safe and successful solo backpacking adventure.
What to do if you have an accident while abroad
If you have an accident while backpacking abroad, the first rule is not to panic. It would help if you had medical advice or an emergency room in a hospital for immediate attention. Ask the doctor for a detailed record of your injury and contact your insurance to see what the next steps are.
Just remember that you will need to pay for medical care yourself before you get reimbursed from your insurance. For this reason, you need an emergency fund set up before you travel to cover any unexpected injuries, hotel fees, and last-minute tickets home.
If the accident wasn’t your fault, take pictures of the scene and ask for details from witnesses. Record as much detail as possible to claim negligence with a solicitor.
One of the benefits of solo travel is that you can make all the decisions so you can do precisely what you want to do. There are no compromises or discussions to be had. It’s all you! You can go hiking through the mountains one day and lie in a beach hammock the next. Your adventure is all about doing what makes you happy and embracing your inner nomad. Stay safe on your trip abroad, and remember to have fun!