Whether you are heading for the dense forests of Africa, the sophisticated cities of Europe, the fascinating culture of Asia or the amazing civilizations of South America – backpacking by yourself is one of the best adventures that you can have in your life. Everyone, in their youth or their student days, should try backpacking in their lives, without any kind of responsibilities or anything holding you back. 

It is always better if you can find someone else to travel with, a partner or a friend – someone with the same budgets, plans, and timeline. If not, backpacking by yourself can be another unique experience that you must have at least once in your life. 

Is backpacking alone safe? 

Is it worth it? 

It is possible to enjoy your solo trips with a low budget, no particular plans, and an open timeline? 


But if this is the first time you are trying this, here are some tips that can help you. 

  • Fix your Budget 

Budgets for backpacking trips are usually low, as this is something most students plan. Before planning your trip, you need to be extremely clear about your total budget. 

The most expensive parts of your trip are your airfares, which means you need to plan your route very carefully. The other expenses of your trip won’t be as much as the airfare, so your budget will decide how many places you can visit. Most backpacking trips mean visiting two to three countries, or more, as many as your budget allows you to. However, if you don’t have a very high budget, you can simply choose to fly to a country, and spend a few weeks traveling inside it, by bus or train. Massive countries like India or China will give you such experiences, where you can easily spend a few weeks or even months experiencing different cultures. 

Another idea is to head over to South America or to Europe where you can travel between countries without spending a lot on airfare. This way, you can save up on your airfare by traveling via buses and trains, and visit more countries than your budget will allow you. 

  • Choose Hotels Carefully 

When you have a low budget and traveling alone, you won’t need to spend a lot staying at expensive hotels. Hotels are not a way to experience a new culture, rather you can do so better by being closer to the locals. Thanks to the Internet, you can find extremely affordable accommodations all around the world that won’t cost you much.

Hostels are the perfect accommodations for backpackers with a low budget; you might have to share a room with other travelers but that’s how you make new friends! These hostels don’t cost a lot and they are available for rent in most European countries. If you are headed somewhere else, you can also lookup Airbnb for locals who rent their homes to travelers at a low cost. Since you’ll not be spending a lot of time in your room, you won’t need it to be fancy or big. A comfortable bed and a clean toilet are all that you need for a satisfactory stay. 

  • Learn about the Visa 

Whichever country you are visiting, it is important that you read up on the Visa process. It will be easier if you plan to visit countries that don’t require you to apply for a Visa beforehand; it will make your journey easier if you can get Visa on arrival. Although a little risky, it will save you a lot of time and energy when you are planning your trip. 

  • Get all the Information

In this day and age, it doesn’t make sense to arrive at a new city without researching it first. It doesn’t take much to know everything about the country or the city you want to visit; a few hours of research is everything that you need. This is especially important if you are traveling alone. You’ll need to be prepared for everything in a foreign land by yourself. 

Make sure you are up-to-date about everything that’s happening in the country you are about to visit. Postpone your solo trip if there’s any sort of political unrest; you don’t want to visit a place at its worst. At the same time, learn about the local customs and nature of people. If you are traveling someplace that is conservative, traditional and religious-minded, make sure that your attire is correct. If you are a woman, make sure you have modest clothes in a place where women are supposed to be covered. Know how to address the men and women in the country you are traveling to, especially people of the opposite gender. 

In general, locals everywhere are tolerant and accepting of foreigners not knowing a lot about their culture, but you don’t want to aggravate or insult them with your ignorance. 

  • Get The Right Luggage 

When you are backpacking alone, you can’t afford to carry too much luggage with you. In fact, backpackers only carry one or two bags with them, not more. This is usually a backpack to carry with you at all times, and cabin luggage to keep in your hotel or hostel. Any more and you’ll be held back everywhere because of your luggage. When you have two or less luggage, including the backpack, you can simply board any plane or train without having to check them in. 

Also, it is important that you have cabin luggage that comes with its own lock. Although hostels have lockers for residents, it is better if you have your own protection. You can even carry your own padlock if your luggage doesn’t have a lock and if you don’t trust the hostel lockers. 

  • Pack Smartly 

When you are only carrying one or two small bags with you, you have to be extremely smart in packing. You’ll have to carry a lot of personal belongings with you, so there won’t be a lot of space for too many clothes. You won’t even need a lot of clothes if you can wash them regularly, and save on carrying them around on your shoulders. 

Pack according to the climate and the weather of your destination. If you are traveling to someplace hot and humid, all you need are some T-shirts and a few pairs of jeans. If your destination is going to be a cold country, take a heavy jacket that can be worn at all times. You can’t carry too many warm clothes with you in your luggage, so invest in a good one that is suitable in all weather. Similarly, you won’t need more than one pair of good, sturdy shoes for your trips. Carrying a spare pair can add unnecessary weight to your bag; you can always buy another one anywhere in the world if your shoe gets damaged. 

For women, it is important to carry a scarf if you are traveling to a traditional country. Although locals may not be affronted by your attire, covering your bare arms, should and the head is a sign of respect in many cultures and would be appreciated by the people. 

  • Invest in a Good Phone 

Your phone is going to be your best friend when you are in a new country. If you can get an international number and Internet connection, you can use this single gadget for everything, most importantly: maps, your bank details, calling your family and friends back home, check up on your email, and research the country you are in. 

You should have a phone that lasts long on a single charge; if you are using a weak, old phone, it is something to change before going on your trip. Your phone doesn’t have to be a very expensive one, but it should be of good quality because you are going to rely on it a lot. 

  • Keep Back-Up of your Documents 

Always keep multiple copies of all your documents, both physical copies and digital ones. Keep one in your luggage, in your backpack, and photos of everything on your phone. You can also email yourself all your documents: your passport, visas, identification papers, bank details, and important medical papers. Even if you lose everything in an accident or mishap, you can at least recover these important documents by logging into your email ID. 

  • Split your Money 

Split up your money into several sources: cash and credit card. This way, you won’t lose everything at once in case you are mugged or get into an accident. Take only a little cash and one credit/debit card with you and leave everything else locked inside your bag in the hostel. Make small withdrawals from local ATMs or convert your dollars in smaller amounts, every day if needed. 

It’s better not to keep all your money in the same place, or all your cards together. Split them up into several cards and purses, but remember to track your expenditure. Or else, you’ll suddenly find yourself stranded in a foreign country with not much left. 

Backpacking by yourself is one of those experiences that you should have at least once in your lifetime. It might seem scary at first, to visit someplace new and exotic on your own, but this is something that you shouldn’t miss out on if you have the chance.