Backpacking has long been a hot topic among travelers all across the globe, but the idea of trekking an oftentimes unknown destination, often by yourself, can be a bit overwhelming. To get the most rewarding experience during a backpacking journey, it’s helpful to mentally prepare and plan so that you know what to expect. To that end, we went to the TripAdvisor travel forums to see what sound advice travelers had to give to those who are considering backpacking. From suggestions on where you should go to essential money-saving tips, these tips will help you prepare for your next big adventure!

Your destination should be dependent on what you want to get out of your travel experience:

  • “For one or two months of travelling, I would choose Southeast Asia. There you can find amazing people, culture and adventures. Temples, ruins, jungles, elephants, scuba, rock climbing, beaches, parties… it’s easy to navigate and has fantastic food.” –TripAdvisor traveler sfyan from San Francisco, California
  • “In Asia—where there aren’t hostels—to meet backpackers, I recommend to go to some ‘backpacker’ restaurants here and there. The food is usually cheaper and it is easy to meet lots of young people from all over who are backpacking. There’s nothing wrong with a simple, ‘Hi, where are you from?’ to start a conversation.” –TripAdvisor traveler IslandWest from Canada
  • “When you are concerned about organizing a trip on your own in a foreign place, I recommend to hire a backpacker concierge to plan your adventure. There are different companies in several countries such as Egypt that offer this kind of service.” –TripAdvisor traveler artobloom from Winnipeg, Canada

Pack light, and pack smart:

  • “Some items are essential for backpackers: a guidebook, plastic wallet for holding maps, a mask and ear plugs for sleeping in a dorm, silk sleeping bag liner… etc.” –TripAdvisor traveler zhuhai2007 from Christchurch, New Zealand
  • “Pack light. I suggest one carry-on-sized bag, with a small day pack for carrying around daily. This will make it easier to walk or take public transit to your hotel.” –TripAdivsor traveler ktowntravllr from Kingston, Canada
  • “Regarding airline rules, you can pack in your checked luggage walking sticks, knives, forks, purification tablets, food, bug spray… All these things are allowed, but only in checked luggage. Do your own direct research. If you have any doubts, confirm with individual airlines you’re flying with.” ­–TripAdvisor traveler Places from Adirondack, New York

When you need to save money on accomodations, follow these tips:

  • “Hostels are a great option. They offer some excellent local tours, have brochures, maps, can book you sightseeing tours at reduced prices… some rent bicycles, offer free wifi, communal kitchens and laundry areas.” –TripAdvisor traveler Avanti50
  • “Be willing to explore hostels. Many have private rooms with private bathrooms, if both those things are important to you. Some hostels have daily maid service, towels and toiletries included too. Of course, most don’t have those things, but you are not paying too much to stay there either.” –TripAdvisor traveler ktowntravllr from Kingston, Canada
  • “Sleep in airports. If you’re travelling for a year, consider flying in winter to take advantage of lower airfares. Be flexible about where you travel so you can take advantage of last-minute deals.” –TripAdvisor traveler Mez3000 from Sydney, Australia
  • “Camp when possible. In long hotel stays, pick up a cheap electric skillet so you can do some in-room heating of food.” –TripAdvisor traveler ainwa from Western Washingston state, USA
  • “Within much of Eastern Europe, it is very easy–except during Holiday times–to arrive in a city by train without reservations and find several people with hand-written signboards, offering pension/guesthouse rooms, or even private rooms in their own homes. It is accepted practice to approach more than one person to ask prices and inquire what is being offered for that price… and then you barter or decide who offers the closest to what you need or can afford.” –TripAdvisor traveler SussexWorldtraveller from Lewes, United Kingdom

You can also cut down the cost of food considerably by doing the following:

  • “Big lunch, little dinner, free breakfast. Eating lunch is typically less expensive than dinner.” RobinCarr from Lakewood Ranch, Florida
  • “Some accommodations offer free breakfast. Make sure to compare room rates, as you might actually be spending more on the room in order to have the free breakfast… If there is free breakfast included with your room, take it and save yourself the cost of paying for an early meal in the day. Make lunch your big meal and go easy on dinner… If you want to dine at restaurants and save money during your travels, try to make a habit of having lunch as your big meal of the day and going light on dinner. Downgrade your dining requirement: If you want a restaurant, think bakery. If you want a bakery, think supermarket. If your accommodation has cooking facilities, consider preparing your own meals.” –TripAdvisor traveler BradJill from Hong Kong, China
  • “When eating out, always look for special deals such as two-for-one lunches, all-you-can-eat, early-bird or late-night menus. This can save a fair bit of money while still being able to enjoy a nice dining experience.” –TripAdvisor traveler RojBlake from Wales, United Kingdom
  • “Bring along different quick breakfast items when staying in hotels that don’t include breakfast. The savings can really add up in some locations.” –TripAdvisor traveler j’smomTexas from Texas, USA

And when it comes to general money-saving when backpacking, the following tips won’t steer you wrong:

  • “It is important to know the cost of individual admissions to determine if a [multi-attraction or citywide] pass is more cost effective. Also, I recommend visiting the tourism board. Some tourist information offices are great, but stay tuned because some are operated by specific vendors to sell their products.” –TripAdvisor traveler przyk from Milwaukee, USA
  • “Send off for information from an official visitor’s site prior to traveling. This often comes with discount coupons. And, of course, TripAdvisor forums are an invaluable resource. You get the best info on hotels, restaurants’ prices and specials.” –TripAdvisor traveler j’smomTexas from Texas, USA
  • “To avoid high costs of using ATMs, explore either using a bank that has no or lower fees for use outside of your home country, or take out more at one time than you normally would at home, and keep the extra cash you withdrew either in a money belt or in your hotel’s safe.” –TripAdvisor traveler ktowntravllr from Kingston, Canada
  • “A lot of backpackers do apply for more professional jobs, but most tend to stick with the itinerant jobs of bartending, office and warehouse jobs. A lot of temporary work is posted in hostels on job boards, but it’s a great idea to have a good, professional copy of your CV (resume) to submit to agencies as well. You never know—you might find the job of your dreams and stay on a while longer!” –TripAdvisor traveler gk from Brisbane, Australia