So you're planning a trip overseas? Fantastic! Here are 29 things you should do in preparation for the journey of a lifetime!
Before Backpacking Overseas - a Checklist
1. Check the local weather forecasts before packing
2. Ask around! Chances are you have mates of mates that have spent a long time in the country you are visiting - nothing beats a local tip
3. Plan a little - but not too much! Find out what parts of your trip may need to be booked in advance (for example, sailing the Whitsundays) and what routes can be less planned. Remember you are on holiday. You are free. And sometimes the best memories come from the unexpected forks in the road
4. Back up your documents - take a photo of your VISA, Passport and photo ID and email a copy to yourself. Photocopy your documents and keep these in a separate area of your backpack
5. Turn off your mobile data roaming and buy a local sim card (if you need one) - usually you can get a way with using the hostel Wi-Fi and many major tourist cities offer free Wi-Fi especially for visitors
6. Stash some money in a separate account in case you lose your bank cards
7. Prepare to make ALOT of new friends
8. Don't leave your visa to the last minute. In some countries visa laws can be very strict and may refuse your application on the smallest of complications - such as your passport photo being too small. Allow extra time for any unexpected issues
9. Buy some cheap sneakers to get around in every day
10. Share the load with your travelling mates. Heading overseas in a group? Share the shampoo, hair dryers and toothpaste
11. Check out local events. There's nothing worse than arriving in a new city only to find out the best music festival of the year is about to take place the day after you have to jump on a plane!
12. Research to find the best prices. Hostels, Tours and Flights may vary across different websites - don't be afraid to 'shop around'
13. Check out the local transport. What is the best way to get around? Buses? Trains? Tuk Tuk? Public Transport is a great way to get a taste of local life
14. Download travel apps before you go. There are some GREAT Travel Apps out there that help with currency conversions, translating languages and providing information on the local area and landmarks (who needs a tour guide)
15. Pack smart. Pack what you think you will use the most at the very top of your backpack, and leave things like heavy jackets at the bottom
16. Be open to new experiences. You are about to find yourself in some situations and scenarios that you have never been in before. Prepare to say "yes" and embrace everything that gets thrown at you with open arms
17. Download music. Chances are that you are in for some pretty long bus, train or flight journeys. To save on your mobile data, avoid streaming and download some travel tunes before you leave
18. Give your family and friends a rough outline of where you will be and when
19. Check your government's locals travel website for any warnings or disturbances in your country of origin
20. Check reviews but take them with a grain of salt. You can usually get a general 'feel' for a hostel, tour or transport company by reading online reviews
21. Can you work for accommodation? To save money, look into whether or not you can get free or discounted accommodation for work - such as cleaning, cooking or promoting hostel events. It's a great way to feel like a local and save your $$$
22. Festivals! Every country tends to have a number a festivals that celebrate their culture or religion and attending one of these events is one of the greatest ways to get a true feeling of what that country or city is all about. However plan accordingly - as you may not be able to find accommodation during the event
23. Prepare to indulge in local food... mmm!
24. Practice talking to strangers. Travel is a true test to one's confidence and the ability to talk to locals and fellow travellers will open you to a world of knowledge
25. Research the Do's and Don'ts. Every culture has different customs and one act (such as pointing) could mean something completely different in another country. Check what type of clothing is acceptable and pack accordingly.
26. Take tips from others but stay true to yourself. Sometimes the best moments come from skipping the main tourist attraction and heading to a less known, yet just as amazing, destination. Have the confidence to explore
27. Buy a small notepad. It's always a great idea to write down where you stayed and what you did - that way you can give others your great tips (it can be tough remembering the name of 'that' guesthouse in another language)
28. Get excited about where you are going. Watch a movie or read a book to learn a bit about the country's history or culture
29. Prepare for the weird, the unexpected and the unknown. It will be the best time of your life!