They often ask me: How do you do it? Backpacking without a clear plan, no reservations and you’re traveling alone? You’re at the airport of your destination and then?
Well, yes .. Just go! That is what I did the first time. It seems so easy…and it actually is! My plan was backpacking in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. They only thing I had written down were a couple of destinations / things to see in those countries. Those were things I had found on sites who arrange travels for groups or the Lonely Planet or other blogs. If they went there, I should too.
Backpacking : Just pack your things and GO
And that is how I still do it. Often I arrange 1 or 2 nights in a hotel at my arrival. I do like it when I can say to a cabdriver to bring me to a certain hotel after a long flight. Just looking around, getting things in order and thinking about what to do in this place.
And then the arranging starts immediatly; what do I want to do tomorrow or the day after. Boooking a bus or train to go to the next destination and maybe booking a trip for the next day with some fellow travelers.
Backpacking or Flashpacking?
Hotel or Hostel?
I did noticed that when I’m in a hotel, and the more luxurious it gets, I can not arrange that much anymore. These hotels are for grouptravels and they don’t know where their guests are going. It is all arranged for and they just need to pamper their guests. If they do know where to go or what to do they probably don’t have the connections to arrange it for you. I do travel in hotels, just because I can effort it and like my privacy.
But if I want to book a trip or train or busticket I need to go to the cheaper hotels or the hostels or just a travelagency down the street. They have the tips and tricks you need and want to hear about. They have the nice local trips and also with travelers you want to meet. These are the things you learn from, you want to know these things: where to go and what to do. These backpackers probably have been informed and have been backpacking around the area already.
My Bungelow at Freedom Island, Cambodia
I often do book hotels a day before my arrival while traveling. At first I didn’t but now I do because it saves me a lot of time looking for a hotel and carrying around my backpack. But still, looking back, the best hotels I got where the ones I just entered by accident and was able to look for a great room and getting it for a good price!
Backpacking is all about going with the flow
Because you haven’t booked anything you can go where ever you want! It just gave me the best feeling
ever. Arriving at your destination…having a gap of 2 or 3 months…and able to do anything I want in that time! If you deside to go somewhere else, first another place or what ever…Everything is possible!
It is hard to describe what you feel, the sense of freedom!! Hike at Hsipaw, Myanmar
After my trip to the National Park: Taman Negara
(What means National Park 🙂 ) in 2014 I thought to myself.. If I want to go to the Philippines I need to do it now. That night I booked a ticket to Cebu Island and the next morning I was on that plane. Isn’t that great? I booked one with a returnticket from Manila. I was there for 2 weeks and I changed the return ticket, for a small fee, to extend my visit so I could make a trip to Banaue
, the Ancient Old Rice Terraces!! A great experience!!
When you are at a destination and people are talking about trips you need to do but you hadn’t written it down on your to do list…you can change your plans. That is ideal!! When you’re at home again you’ll hear about destinations that you haven’t visited but should’ve. There will always be places that other people have been and that are the best. You have to make choices, with that comes that some places will not be on the list, and that those were worth visiting. Well…you need to have an excuse to go back once!
Internet / WiFi
I never buy a SIM card in the visiting country. On my last trip in Bangkok I got a free SIM card with 7 days free unlimited internet. It was nice and easy just to instagram moments as they were happening but still… I don’t want to check my telephone all the time when I’m traveling. And knowing I’m online…I do check my Facebook and what so ever. So it is better not to be online and just enjoy my day! Most of my travels I’m alone and when I have my diner I make sure that I’m in a restaurant with WiFi. I put some pictures online, have some chats with family, friends or colleagues. I always like those contact moments. I know what’s going on in Holland and they know about my adventures and where I’m at!
Preparing a trip is another thing
When you want to go backpacking you need to prepare it ofcourse. If you want to buy the ticket you should check some other things first.
Do you need a visa to visit this country or those countries? You have to check if you need some vaccinations or have to take malariatablets to make sure you don’t get ill. You need to check your insurance, is it still running or do you need to take one? What does everything costs in the country you visit, do you have enough saving? What is the weather like? What kind of clothes do you need to pack? And there are a lot of other things to think of when you are preparing your trip!