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Nowadays, everything goes really fast. I pick a country, choose a cheap flight, pack a few hours before departure and off I am into a new adventure. I know what I have to do!
It wasn’t like this always. Back in the days, when I started backpacking I packed my bags weeks before. And since I didn’t want to pay for excess baggage, my mum always had a look at what I packed and convinced me to leave half of the things at home.
I have to admit, that I did this mistake only a few weeks ago when I planned a flight to Argentina for June this year. What I didn’t think was, in June it’s nice and warm here in Europe and cold in Argentina. Because that’s the time when it’s winter down there.
Make sure you know when you are traveling where and what the weather will be! You don’t want to pack your summer clothes for a trip to the arctic!
Where do you want to go and why? Are you going because of a special place or event? Maybe you want to visit this special retreat?
Nowadays, I do things very spontaneous. I’m so confident in the things I do, that even today things go wrong. As I said, I’m traveling to the pacific, the retreat I wanted to visit is fully booked for the next two months… that sucks!
Make sure you inform yourself in advance. If you want to go because of a special event, ask if there are any free tickets and then start booking the flights etc…
Finding cheap flights isn’t difficult. You just have to know where to look for!
I always check my flights at Skyscanner and also book them directly via their site. When the ticket is offered by a site that I don’t know and trust I go to the airline directly and check the prices there.
If you are flexible with your schedule you can check the flights per month and pick the cheapest flights. You can find some great bargains there.
Something that isn’t that common but will help you finding cheap flights are so called Open Jaw Flights. Fly out from one airport and return to another.
Momondo is a great platform to do this!
I recently flew Brussels – Bangkok – Dusseldorf with Etihad Airways for 420 €!
I already mentioned this. Back in the days, when I started traveling, I packed weeks before departure and then my mum went through everything convincing me to leave at least half of the things I packed. Nowadays, I know what to pack for which destination but I had to learn it the hard way.
Compression Packing bags – Makes it easier to categorize your belongings and faster accessible. No more unpacking every time you need something!
Tempur Sleeping Mask – Developed by NASA. This thing, keeps the light outside…
Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Headphones – They are expensive but effective. Now you can sleep in the crowded and loud dorms again. You won’t notice anything with these headphones on.
Travel Towel – Lightweight and dries really fast!
Inflatable Pillow – As big as your fist but will make your sleep and travel much more comfortable.
Relax Ally – You don’t really need it, but will make your life on the road so much more comfortable. Are you also that uptight after sleeping in a plane or in a bus? This invention from Finland helps you to relax your shoulders when sleeping!
The bigger, the better!
The bigger your backpack, the more you will pack!
It might be difficult but I recommend to buy a smaller backpack with only 40-50 litres instead of a 70 litres one. I promise you, that you will use all 70 litres while 50 would be enough too… You will hate it to run around so much stuff on your back!
Here is a list of best backpacks for traveling long term during your next adventure!
If you haven’t backpacked before, pick an easy country to start with. Thailand is great for beginners and so is Australia. Both countries welcome thousands of backpackers every year and the infrastructure is great. Try one of them before going to India or China.
The culture shock is also not that bad like in other, more extreme countries!
Check out my Thailand posts, I have written down many tips for your first backpacking adventure!
Don’t do it! Never…
Imagine following scene: You arrived somewhere and booked an accommodation for two nights but you are having such a great time that you don’t want to leave. The problem: You’ve already booked flights and accommodation for the next two weeks and would loose all the money… So you will leave this place that you like so much and leave behind the people that you just met but get along so well and keep doing the things as you planned them from home, ticking off one thing after another on your bucket list!
Allow time for spontaneity. Less if more! It is better to have a few more intensive rather than many superficial moments!
You can always come back and do the rest you’ve missed on your next trip!
I’m flying to the pacific next week. I’ve booked accommodation for the first three nights, afterwards we’ll see what I do, I might stay there because I like it or I keep moving until I find a place I love…
When you decide to travel, be 100 % sure that you are also going to be a couple when you travel. If you aren’t better postpone it or do it alone. There is nothing worse than getting into fights when traveling.
Same for friends, make sure you are really good friends and that you know what the other person wants… At home, you might see each other every day for a few hours each day, when you travel you will be together 24/7. Are you sure you can handle this?
Check out this post how to pick the perfect passenger for your next road trip, it might help you for your next adventure!
There are many insurances. Make sure to check what and how much they cover. Do they cover rides on a scooter? Often they don’t if you don’t have a driving license. But you will probably ride a scooter in Thailand…
What about outdoor injuries?
Don’t be cheap with a travel insurance. I have a great insurance in Germany called Signal Iduna and they saved my ass when I got hit by a car in Australia a few years ago!
In Germany there is also a good one called Hanse Merkur!
Make sure you find a good one in your home country!
Do you also pay expensive fees every time you withdraw money from an ATM abroad? I used to pay 10 € withdrawal fee for a very long time. Nowadays, I don’t do this anymore!
With the DKB Credit Card I don’t pay any banking fees and I pay 0 € for withdrawal with my credit card!
The signup process is very easy and within a few days I had my credit card with all information in my mailbox!
Sometimes I’m still shocked about Jetlag myself when I’m tired for days and don’t feel like doing anything except crawling back into bed… Get ready for this, and know that it isn’t a disease and that its normal that you feel this way when you travel across a few time zones.
I know people that went to the hospital looking for treatment because they had no idea what jetlag is
Your first trip is to Australia or New Zealand and you are afraid of driving on the other side? No worries! It’s easier than you think but requires a lot of concentration!
Make sure you book a van with insurance. A friend of mine was too cheap and rented a car without insurance. Drove around the corner and into a different car, shortest and most expensive trip EVER!
Might sound easy, but many big cities have more than one airport. Often there is an international airport and an airport for LCC’s (Low Cost Carriers).
In Bangkok for instance all AirAsia flights fly from Don Mueang and not from the main airport Suvarnabhumi.
Der Beitrag BACKPACKING FOR BEGINNERS: 12 TIPS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR EXPERIENCE BETTER! erschien zuerst auf Off The Path > International.
You know that feeling don’t you? You step off the plane, full of excitement and anticipation after a long flight. And you’re smacked in the face with fatigue. You’ve gotten very little sleep and your body feels like it’s hung over. How nice it would be, you think, to settle yourself down into bed right about now. But it’s lunchtime in your new home – hello jet lag!
When you travel and your time zone shifts more than two hours, especially going east, jet lag is often a constant companion. Moving around day and night really confuses your body’s biorhythm. The more time zones you cross, and the more stops you make, the worse it gets. The best thing to do when you know you’ll be traveling long distances is to have a half to full day period of time to adjust. This way you can start adapting your sleep-wake cycle, body temperature, blood pressure, digestion, and other bodily functions to the new time zone.
If you know you’re prone to experiencing jetlag you should first get yourself ready at home before you even get close to an airplane.
If you’re flying east especially you’ll feel jetlag systems worse than flying west. This is because flying west causes your body to think your day’s getting longer whereas going east makes it think the day is shorter.
So the best plan of attack is to adapt your body’s rhythm a few days before departure. When you fly east, try to go to sleep a couple hours earlier than usual.
If you’re going west stay awake one or two extra hours. You should also be getting up earlier, or getting up later, respectively. If you have really big problems with jetlag systems pay attention when you’re booking your flight: arriving in the morning tends to pose large problems with fatigue since the day drags on for a longer period of time.
Comparatively, arriving in the afternoon or evening is a much better option since you only have to stay awake for a few hours, you can move around your new city a bit, have something to eat, and then head to bed!
Want more travel tips?
Check out the blog
Your transition to the new time zone should begin on the plane so you at least get yourself mentally prepared for the new rhythm. Once you’re on the plane, set your watch to the new destination’s local time and keep yourself awake if it’s still daytime there.
Even if it’s light out at your destination, it may be difficult to stop yourself from falling asleep on the plane since the lights are usually dimmed. This can, however, work to your advantage if it’s nighttime in your destination, so you can sleep on the plane!
It’s especially helpful to adapt your body’s rhythm in relation to the time you’re asleep and awake in the new location. So, for example, if you’re flying east you’ll want to go to sleep on the plane. So get on some cozy clothes, pick up any additional inflatable cushions you’d like and put in some earplugs to avoid being disturbed by the surrounding noise! If you accidentally don’t get very much sleep the night before departing then this can also help you out since you’ll be more tired and able to easily fall asleep on the plane.
Tip: Once the boarding is complete look around and ask the steward or stewardess if there are any free seats or rows left. This may often be the case when the plane isn’t full. If you can relocate to a free row you’ll be able to lie down completely horizontal and have an easier time getting a few hours of sleep.
When it comes to traveling west, you’ll want to make sure you stay awake. One thing to do is find an airline with a good entertainment program like Emirates. The latest movies and TV series are guaranteed to keep you awake!
While we aren’t big fans of supplements we found Melatonin to help while adjusting to jet lag. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by your brain that tells your body to go to sleep. This supplement helps you to get to the sleepy phase easier/faster. 0.5 mg should be enough!
Air inside airplanes is usually quite dry and you’ll notice your skin stretch and dry up a bit since you’re deprived of water. So every once in a while you should get a glass of water to keep your hydration at a healthy level. Alcohol, however, is pretty strong and toxic when you’re up so high. You might find, for example, that a glass of wine helps you fall asleep – which could be totally true – but the effect it has is only brief. It actually dehydrates you even more and makes it harder for you to adjust to the new time zone later. Also, coffee and black teas are not beverages you should be drinking on a flight for the same reason. Your best options are to aim for drinking water and juice!
Pro Tip: Take an insulated bottle with you, which keeps your water fresh for up to 24 hours (perfect for those long haul flights!). You can fill it up after security at most airports and you don’t have to worry about the terrible service on most flights in economy class. We recommend a 40oz (1100 ml) bottle and make sure you drink it all!
If you have enough time and your wallet allows, throw a stopover along your route. For long distance flights eastward to Asia, Australia, or New Zealand especially, a relaxing stopover can do wonders for your battle against jetlag. You could potentially end up spending a few days in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore! You don’t need much more than two or three days in these cities anyways.
Take the time to explore a cozy place, eat some good food, and see a bit of the area before you carry along to your next flight with new energy! You’ll notice you’ll adjust much more easily to the time change and you’ll have gotten to see another destination along the way!
The absolute best way to combat jetlag is to get in the rhythm of your destination the second you get off the plane. Although it’s sometimes really hard – I know, beds are super attractive after a long flight – but you have to resist the temptation to have a snooze! A daytime nap is counterproductive and will only make your jet lag worse.
If you arrive early in the morning and are really tired, then it’s okay to give your body a couple hours of sleep – make sure you get up in the late morning or afternoon again though. The first night is especially crucial. You might wake up a couple times in the middle of the night, or, depending on your body, you might sleep through the night because you’re exhausted. If you find your bed to be a little too tempting and comfy, get up, leave your accommodation, and get a coffee. Get out and about, have something to eat, and get comfortable in your new home for a while. If you don’t feel incredibly hungry, just have something small to eat, and have anything extra only if it matches with what the locals are doing at that time of day.
Being outside in the daylight can also help your body adapt to the new environment. Since jetlag is mostly a mind game, don’t think about it too much. Don’t think about what time it is at home, or what you’d be doing if you were still there. Just enjoy being where you currently are in the new time zone! For example, if it’s the morning in your destination go have breakfast. Do it even if it’s actually dinnertime at home. Don’t keep thinking about what’s going on at home!
Sunlight inhibits the production of melatonin, the hormone in your body that makes you feel tired so you can sleep. Take advantage of this fact when you’re on the flight by leaving the light on for as long as possible. Fresh air after a long flight also helps your body out since the airplane air is so dry. Doing these two things really helps you overcome your fatigue and stay awake much more easily!
If you have the opposite problem, where you’re having a tough time falling asleep, don’t take sleeping pills! They only act on a short-term basis and cause your body even more confusion. Try an alternative: darken your seating area, put on an eye mask (we really recommend this one!), and use earplugs (you only need these ones!). Doing all this can help your body calm down and unwind on the flight. Listening to an audio book or soothing music may also help you fall asleep – only you know your body best!
The first few days you stay at your destination it’s best to slowly get used to the environment and time zone. So wait on your next adventure until the third day or so, and until then keep everything nice, stress-free, and relaxed. A long flight takes a pretty big effort from your body and it definitely deserves some time to recover. The toll on your body is especially bad if you fly from a cold area to a hot area, and vice versa. Your body needs a few days to acclimatise.
Don’t underestimate your body if you’re feeling tired and listless. You may want to plunge directly into an adventure and go on a hike, but your best bet is to take a short walk first and go easy on yourself. If you have problems with falling asleep, then do a more vigorous activity when you arrive and go for a light jog. You might fall into bed the night feeling exhausted and broken, but a healthy mix of activity and relaxation is exactly what your body needs for the first few days in a new place.
You know your body best. If you suspect you’ll be faced with jetlag symptoms on your way home then prepare yourself before departing to your home time zone. If you’re flying from west to east, for example from South America, go to bed earlier and get up earlier again. If you’re coming home from Australia, New Zealand, or Asia then keep yourself awake longer, and stay in bed a little later in the morning. You’ll notice your jet lag after arriving home isn’t nearly as bad.
There is no one, single, universal trick you can use against jetlag unfortunately. The tips featured here will definitely help you reduce the effects, but your symptoms won’t completely disappear. The most important thing in most cases is for you to stay awake and not be tempted to cozy up into bed. In two or three days you’ll be over your jet lag anyway, and you can plunge into your new adventures! And, if you want to avoid jetlag altogether, then discover all the beautiful corners of Europe or head straight south. You could fly to South Africa on a ten-hour flight and only have one hour of time difference!
Do you often get plagued by jetlag? Share your jetlag experiences and tips with us and our readers in the comments!
Der Beitrag How to overcome jetlag: 10 tips that really work! erschien zuerst auf Off The Path > International.
Smartphones are a part of our everyday lives, so it makes sense that they play a key role in our travels too. Here are ten must have travel apps for your next trip!
Buy these things now, you reprobate. What are you waiting for?
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