What to Look Out for When Going on Long Backpacking Trips


El Chalten hiking in patagonia argentina

A long backpacking trip can be an exciting way to travel, experience the world, and discover a variety of new environments, cultures, and cuisines. But to properly experience the journey, you’ll need to be fully prepared for as many possible issues or hindrances you might encounter along the way! Here’s a list of some of the most important things to keep in mind and look out for when you’re departing on an extended backpacking trip. 

Hostels and Air BNBs

One of the most important things in planning for a backpacking trip is where you’re going to stay when you get to each destination. It’s ideal, in most cases, to take a good search through all of the potential places that you’ll be able to stay for each place you plan to visit. 

For example, if you’re going to backpack through three or four countries in Europe, it’s a great idea to take a look at the available hostels in the areas you’re visiting in advance. However, there’s a possibility that during your backpacking trip, you may be in the middle of traveling and want to stay in a different city or town than you planned for in a moment of improvisation. 

Knowing the hostels and Air BNBs in your area is a good way to always have a room and bed to fall back on. You may hit unexpected exhaustion or an unanticipated delay and end up wanting to find a room for the night — it’s important to know which places are more affordable and which places are safe. Plus, regardless of which hostel or air BNB you stay at, make sure that you’ve brought a comfy neck pillow to maximize your comfort level anywhere you go. 



Even though backpacking trips often involve a large amount of walking, they also tend to involve a lot of public transportation. To be able to get from point A to point B, you’ll need more than just good walking shoes. 

When planning for the cross-country trips and anticipating parts of your journey that can’t be hiked, it’s good to know what kind of transportation will be available to you. It’s also important to consider the different prices of various public transportation because saving money for activities and housing is usually of paramount importance. 

Usually, you’ll be able to find a reliable coach bus that will get you relatively close to where you want to go. And when a bus won’t help you, you’ll be able to take a train at a higher price — a price which may be lowered by purchasing a monthly ticket instead of a day’s fare. So, it’s important to determine, in advance, whether you’ll be traveling more frequently by bus or train so that you can get an appropriate deal or card that will make transportation less pricey and more convenient.


Personal Possessions

For most people departing on a backpacking trip, it’s common sense to leave the majority of your personal belongings at home, making it worry-free to return to them after you’ve finished traveling. But what about the belongings that we still choose to bring with us, such as phones, wallets, passports, and maybe even keys? 

Depending on how you feel and what possessions you’ve brought with you, it might be best to find a safe spot to keep all of your possessions in so that you can always know where they are. But in other cases, for those who are constantly on the go and don’t always want to bring every important item, it’s probably better to keep non-necessity items in a safe but easily accessible location while making sure that the possessions you bring with you are on your person at all times. 

Keeping wallets and phones in front pockets, and making sure to be constantly aware of where these items are may help you by not only preventing you from losing them but also by preventing others from being able to potentially take them! In countries and cities that are well-known for frequently having backpackers travel through them, there tends to be an increased potential for theft and pickpocketing. So, make sure you stay safe and keep your belongings somewhere safe or in constant reach and sight. 


Traveling through unfamiliar terrain is extremely engaging and exciting because of how novel the experiences and environments feel. But it’s that exact novelty that can sometimes leave backpackers stranded in completely unfamiliar areas, with no frame of reference to use to be able to return to their original location or get to their next destination. 

When visiting a city or country you’ve never been to before, it’s good to get acquainted with various recognizable landmarks, buildings, or areas. Although this can be common sense for many, making a mental note of this will always come in handy — whether for navigating an unfamiliar city or for finding your way back to civilization when you suddenly find yourself lost.  

Although your vow to rely on the Maps app on your phone, or possibly even physical maps from decades ago, it’s still good to be able to have reference points in any case of emergency. On a backpacking trip, you should always expect the best but be prepared for the worst. 


Even though this is the most obvious element of a backpacking trip, it’s still important to find the right type of backpack that will suit your needs. It’s a necessity to find something that will accommodate the amount of space you need while also not feeling like a burden to constantly carry around. 

Finding a backpack that will support you and your possessions is just as important as finding destinations that will support your trip. Make sure that your backpack is not only easy to carry around but also sized appropriately enough to be brought with you on any mode of transportation (e.g. buses, trains, and planes). 

Depending on whether or not you want to buy things to bring home while backpacking, make sure to find a backpack that will have an adequate amount of excess space. 

In a lot of cases, people end up having to leave behind items to be able to bring back new items. But ideally, you should be able to bring back both! It’s easy to find the right backpack for you, and as long as you’ve taken into consideration how much you need to bring and how much you may bring back, purchasing that backpack will bring you one step closer to your exciting journey.


Emergency Items 

Hopefully, your backpacking trip will run without any hitches and turn out to be one memory on a constantly developing list of the greatest experiences of your life. And to make sure that that’s the case, it’s good to keep in mind any types of items that you might need in case of emergency. 

If you have any allergies or medical conditions like asthma, it’s obvious, but important, to bring necessities like an inhaler and EpiPen. Bringing hygienic products can help in times where you feel unclean but don’t have immediate access to a shower — items such as face wash, cleansing wipes, disinfectant gels, and mouthwash can all come in handy. 

It’s also good to have standard outdoors items on you, like flashlights, sleeping bags, and bug spray. Eyedrops, lip balm, and moisturizer are always a good call to bring along too because you always feel like you need them when you least expect it. 

When preparing to go on a long backpacking trip, it’s important to anticipate the types of terrain, environments, and areas that you’re going to journey through. There’s only so much that you can pack for proactively, so it’s important to keep in mind the things that you haven’t prepared for so you’ll be able to handle any situation aptly. 

As long as you’re able to find a place to stay, locate food to eat, and travel to and from your next destination, you should have the majority of your trip handled. However, expect the unexpected because, sometimes, spontaneous experiences contribute to the beauty of a backpacking trip. Hopefully, this list has helped you think of a few things regarding your trip that you hadn’t already thought of. 

In a lot of cases, a long backpacking trip can be much less about what you bring and more about what you find on your journey. As long as you bring the belongings that you feel you need and plan for where you’ll stay and how you’ll get there, most other things should fall into place. Although, regardless of what you do and don’t bring, be sure to bring an open mind to take in the experiences you’re sure to remember for a long time. Here’s to a great backpacking trip and a future filled with many more!


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