This post was written for Ouroyster.com by our friends at SkyScanner.com
Beginner’s guide to backpacking in Asia
If you’re keen to explore the diverse beauty of Asia on your own terms, a backpacking holiday is for you. There’s nothing like the freedom that comes with packing your backpack and picking up your first cheap flight to India or Thailand and you’re sure to instantly be filled with excitement – and a maybe a little trepidation. Quell your fears and make sure you’re well prepared with some good groundwork before you go.
Good spots for beginners
When you’re inexperienced in the ways of backpacking, there are some countries and cities you’ll find it easier to get along in than others. Mainland Southeast Asia is an ideal starting point because, while you’re sure to be blown away by their stunning countryside and lively cities, you’ll also find there’s a lot of traveller-friendly infrastructure in place.
Many people start out in popular destinations like Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore, and travel on from there. India is another excellent place for beginners to start out in, as it’s so massive and culturally diverse, there are many things to see and it remains a cheap place to get around.
Handy hints for novices
Travelling to Asia can take a while, especially if you’re saving money by taking indirect flights or combining air and rail travel, and something many new backpackers don’t think to compensate for is jetlag or travel exhaustion. When you plan how long you’re going to spend in one place, give yourself an extra few days to get over your tiredness, leaving you with enough time to do everything you hoped for.
Keep your valuables on the DL
Always remember not to flash your cash when travelling – even if you don’t think you have much worth bragging about. A budget may seem small to you or a camera out of date, but it may be worth a lot more to the locals so keep your money and goods well hidden.
Try not to overpack!
Another handy hint for novices is to set aside some time to practise carrying your bag before you go. Wear it for a few days in your hometown and you’ll have the chance to find out whether you really can carry it across the world.
Staying on track – or not
Freedom to change your mind
Maybe the biggest bonus that comes with backpacking is that you can change your mind. If you find a destination you love and want to explore some more, you can. This can necessitate a little extra consideration on your part though and there’s a lot to be said for timing your detours to coincide with good travel deals, so search for those cheap flights to Hong Kong or that bargain bus ticket to Bangkok while you’re on the go.
Smart Phones are a great resource when travelling
Modern backpackers have some major advantages in their pockets – smartphones. These can be incredibly handy for finding anything from local information to maps very quickly. Don’t allow yourself to become too reliant on these devices though, as you could find yourself without WiFi or a suitable power point for days at a time, turning your gadget into nothing more useful than a lump of plastic, so you always want to have backup paper guidebooks and information for new places.