Backpacking · Brasov · Europe · Gap Year · Long term travel · Romania · Survival Guide

10 Things before you Travel

A small collection of tips i’ve learned since I started my first backpacking journey.
1. Bring a USB– you’re going to need to pack a USB. A lot of bigger cities have kiosks that allow you to print and copy for a really small fee. It was 2 Koruna (less than 2 cents) for my boarding pass to Romania, it’s roughly 2 Koruna per page from a USB if you’re at a kiosk in Prague. You’ll need this because not every hostel is going to have a printer, or a WORKING printer when you arrive. Things happen, it’s better if you just plan to bring one with you.
2. Research some basic information about where you’re going– you don’t want to end up in a place that has a dramatically different culture than you without having some information on how to operate in that culture. You don’t want to make yourself a target or offend anyone!
3. Bring your student ID– even if you’re not a student anymore, bring your ID (if it’s still valid). You get a lot of discounts on museums and other attractions with it, even if it’s from another country.
4. You’re probably going to hate your first travel backpack– I know! You spent so long researching to find the best one and thought you had it all figured out! You’re likely to find your needs change when you’re actually traveling, versus what you think you’ll need before you start out. I’ve found myself already planning what I need from my backpack for my trip in 2016…
5. You’ll start planning your next trip before you’ve finished the first– It’s super easy to get wrapped up planning your next big trip, before you’ve finished your first! Once you’ve decided traveling is for you, you won’t want to stop. Your list of destinations will become longer and longer as you meet people from around the world.
5. You’re probably going to end up sick at some point- travel is taxing on the body and depending on the time of year you might be at an increased risk for a cold. I know during my first trip to Prague I had to go to the pharmacy to buy cold medicine. I was out in the rain for a few days, and coupled with my diet left me open for illness.
6. Eating healthy while traveling feels a lot like an impossible mission– it’s hard to eat healthy while traveling, harder if you’re traveling fast, but it’s not easy even if you’re in one place for a month. Why? Grocery stores differ around the world, so do the contents and what stores carry what items. It can take a few weeks before you’re aware of what stores carry what items, and by that time you’re probably onto your next destination.
7. You will loose something– yes. Things will be lost throughout your trip.  Just make sure to keep the truly important things in secure areas, and account for them. But leaving your toothbrush in a hostel or misplacing your charger is fairly common.
8. Don’t sweat the setbacks– it’s easy, especially when solo traveling, to find yourself feeling consumed with all the little things that keep going wrong and without your usual outlets (friends, family, petting your dog etc.) it can feel like you’ll explode. The train is delayed, you’re running late, your shoe broke, you’ve been at the airport for four hours due to some sort of airplane malfunction, and now your computer won’t connect to the Wi Fi! It’s horrible, and while many of your ‘setbacks’ probably won’t be so dramatic, they will happen. Just like they do at home. The difference is that you are going to have to make an extra effort to not let it ruin your experience or your day. It’s very easy to let these things pile onto one another until you decide that you hate “XYZ, and want to go home.” In times like this it’s important to try to set up time to do whatever it is you need to let this stress out, whether you need to skype your family and vent or go to a park and take a moment to yourself. I found that when my grandfather went to the emergency room, the Wi Fi in my hostel went out, and I was fully consumed with the intense workload of the workshop a few weeks ago. That all I really needed to feel better, was to tell someone. Once I felt comfortable enough to tell some of my fellow workshop attendee’s what was going on, it took away some of the stress.
9. You’ll need other people to lean on, while traveling– whether you’re traveling with companions or solo, you’ll need other people during your trip. They can be people you already know, or new acquaintances, but either way, you’ll need others.
That’s one of the things I really enjoy about traveling, how often you meet people who are willing to help you out.
10. Try to learn basics of the language where you’re visiting– especially if you’re there for longer than a week. It’s age old advice, because it’s true. People are generally more receptive and your overall experience is more enriching if you learn words like, “please”, “thank you”, and “hello” in the native language.

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