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International backpacking 101: 10 helpful tips for a successful trip

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Backpacking may seem like a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be so. The major step in back packing is not just what you pack, but how you pack your pack. Taking the steps to properly prepare for a trip will allow you to enjoy your adventure.

Tip #1. Always make sure to be properly fitted for a backpack. Don’t be afraid to ask a local outdoors store associate to help fit you for a backpack. Tell the sales associate how long your trip is because this will determine the type of pack you need. This will most importantly save you back pain.

Tip #2. Do not over-pack clothes. The more clothes you have, the heavier the bag. Two changes of clothes is a good idea for a shorter trip. Many of hotels or hostels have facilities to wash clothes. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Tip #3. Pack everything into ziplock bags. This will help prevent damage by a leak with toiletries, to staying dry if you are hiking in the rain.

Tip #4. Pack a set of safety pins. Safety pins are an easy way to attach a damp sock or clothing article to a backpack to air dry.

Tip #5. Bed Bug Spray. The bed bug problem can be encountered in hostels is a matter that must be taken seriously. Prevention is key. Spray bed bug spray over everything you are taking on your trip. Always check the accommodations upon arrival to ensure cleanliness, and pack bed bug spray. Permethrin is a brand name of an effective bed bug preventer insecticide. To kill bedbugs, also expose the infected material to sunlight.

Tip #6. Shower flip-flops. Pack a pair of flip-flops for using the shower. Many hostels require the use of sandals when using the bathroom facilities. Buy an inexpensive pair for the trip, and the sandals can be thrown away after the trip is over.

Tip #7. Weigh your backpack. Anything over 20 pounds will be hard to carry for long lengths of time. Don’t be afraid to leave things behind when on a trip; Many of times hotels will ship things or hold onto a small suitcase until you have returned.

Tip #8. Buy a phrase book. International travel confronts a traveler with foreign languages and culture. Purchase a small phrase book for the journey. Attempting to communicate in the native language of the country you are visiting is very important. People appreciate that you are trying to immerse yourself in the culture.

Tip #9. Pack a small roll of toilet paper. As silly as this seems, you never know when it will come in handy.

Tip #10. Money belt. With traveling abroad, you may be worried about being pickpocketed. Being pickpocketed is a scary occurrence that anybody would like to avoid. A money belt is a perfect solution because it can be worn under your clothes out of sight from the slippery hands of the thieves. There are several kinds ones that go over the shoulder, styles that are fanny-pack like, and ones that go around the neck.

Always make sure to check which style would be easier for you. Many money belts are nicely constructed giving you a room for your passport as well as coins, and paper currency. In general always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Walking next to a man in a heavy coat in the middle of summer is probably not a good idea.

**Bonus Tip- Walking sticks. Make sure to pack at least one walking stick if the trip is going over different terrain. There are many lightweight and sticks that collapse on the market. It is easier to buy a walking stick before the journey than once your trip has begin.

Happy trails!

The Perfect Pack
The Perfect Pack Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The Perfect Pack

Always make sure to do your homework on the packs. Backpacks can be expensive, keep this in mind when shopping for your trip. Always compare the different features each pack has. Once you have purchased the backpack, practice hiking in it before leaving. This will allow you to get a feel for how it will feel hiking. 

Hydrate
Hydrate Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hydrate

Always make sure to have enough water in hand. There are many different types of water bottles for backpacks. Always take a water break when hiking long distances.

Snacks
Snacks Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Snacks

Always pack some snacks in your backpack. You never know when you will be hungry or not near some place to buy food. Things like granola bars and bananas are the perfect snack to keep your body going.

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