Guestpost #67: Chloe Trogden – Ten things I’ve learned from backpacking

Note: it’s always neat to get guest posts from people who I don’t personally know, but who stumbled on my blog. It’s cool. I’ve had posts from (among other places) China, Japan, Vancouver, and now, North Carolina!

Bio: Chloe Trogden specializes in research involving all forms of college grants. She has compiled thousands of resources including state college grants along with many others. She is currently attending UNC Chapel Hill and is entering her Junior year in the fall.

  1. Always have bumper money. Whether you plan on backpacking for a few months or even a few days, you should never, ever let your bank account balance fall close to zero. Always be prepared for the worst and make sure you have some extra cash sitting around in another bank account, just in case.
  2. Don’t procrastinate.When you’re living the life of a backpacker and moving around from city to city every couple of days (or less), it’s extremely important for you to take advantage of a spare minute or hour if you need to get something important done. If you have some spare time to write an e-mail to your Mom, do it. If you have an extra hour to go shopping and buy some new shoes because yours have worn out, do it; because you never know when you’ll be able to get a spare moment again.
  3. Ask more than one person for directions.If you find yourself getting lost and you have to resort to asking a local how to get to a certain location, try to ask more than one person, just to be on the safe side.
  4. Always pack light. Let’s face it: Travel days suck. If you have to carry all of your luggage to a train station and then lug it around from point A to point B, it’s just going to make you miserable.
  5. Do all your sightseeing on the first day. As soon as you arrive in a city and get to your hostel and/or hotel, drop off your bags, get a map, and start exploring the city right away. And try to look for the nearest store to get food, or even the nearest internet café as soon as you arrive at your destination.
  6. Bring your laptop. In this day and age it’s very rare to not come across a backpacker who doesn’t have a laptop or a mobile phone with Internet access. Nearly every hostel, hotel and even some bars, restaurants and cafes offer free Wi-Fi to customers, and having the Internet is essential when it comes to looking up directions or cheap accommodation.
  7. Pack a nice outfit. Nothing’s worse than looking back at your old travel photos and regretting your choice of clothing for that day. If you plan on visiting important attractions like the Eiffel Tower or the Coliseum in Rome, wear your nicest outfit so you will look your best for your photographs.
  8. Swap contact information with other backpackers. Spending a few hours with other backpackers is a truly special experience because you get to meet people from all corners of the world. However, once you go your separate ways it will be impossible to stay in touch unless you get their Facebook and/or e-mail information. Not only is it a great way to stay in touch, it’s also ideal if you need a connection when you are travelling to another country in the future as well.
  9. Write down directions. Even if you’re carrying around your laptop with you, always write down directions on how to get from the train station or airport to your hostel and/or hotel.
  10. Live in the moment. If you come across some interesting people during your travels and you don’t feel like going out and socializing, you will certainly regret it later if you brush them off and stay inside your hostel room by yourself. Coming across truly interesting and fun people isn’t always common when travelling, so take advantage of it.

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