You’ve made the hardest decision ever, I mean, the second hardest decision, i suppose the hardest is booking and actually getting on the bloody plane!
However, this post is for those of you who are ready (not sure yet? This one book was the reason why i took the game changer). Ready to taste a different type of life. You’ve decided you want to go traveling for X weeks or months and you are now unsure what you should do next!
I’m going to share my experiences of when i quit my job back in June 2015 and jumped on a plane to Brazil – solo.
Shit you need to think about
- Backpack – your new home away from home!
- Clothing – what to take, what I took
- Tech – what do you NEED, what be good to have
- Flight – GET IT BOOKED. But where to and all those questions
This is shit i didn’t know about before I went traveling. I want to be useful , to inspire and make the idea of travel much smaller than it actually feels like at the time. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO NEXT. I’m here to help, man. Sit down and have a cuppa and lets talk, BRO.
Your Home Away From Home – Your backpack
I looked for bloody ages. All over the internet. All over the high street shops. EVERYWHERE. So many backpacks to choose from. So much new language – liters, daypack, ebags and so on. HOW MENTAL.
Finally, I found a backpack. A backpack that kicked the arse’s of all the other backpacks I had found. That backpack – Osprey Farpoint 70.
Why the Osprey Farpoint 70? Let me say just one thing that will change your backpacking life, and make everyone else stop in their tracks. It comes with a daypack. Yeah, doesn’t sound too groundbreaking BUT you will see just how awesome it is when everyone stops and stares and is jelly as fark cos you know why, why it means the world when you have a daypack that connects, CONNECTS to your main backpack. AWESOMEEEEEEEEE
Its a winner, and i highly recommend cos i used it for 6 whole months around 15 countries, all over the world. You have a choice of a couple of sizes. I went for the larger size 70 liters. This basically means you had shit loads of space but that comes at a heavy cost. The backpack isn’t all that much heavier but you can squeeze more shit in it. Its alrite but now i’ve been traveling once, i’d stick with the whole TAKE LESS THAN YOU NEED.
Top tip? Have one. Get all ya shit out and take away at least 1 item of each, your back will thank you long term!
One thing i’d suggest after you choose your backpack is go try it on. GO TO A SHOP AND TRY IT ON! You can buy it online and suggest you do and don’t forget your QuidCo! However, its gunna be on your back for yonks, go try it on and make sure you like it. Bang some shit in too from the shop to have a proper go of it.
This can be a tricky one. Ask yourself:
- Where am i going?
- When am i going?
- Is it winter or summer where and when i’m going in all these countries?
- Are these countries 1st, 2nd or 3rd world?
- How long am i going for?
- Do i have extra funds just to buy shit when i get there / need?!
You’d be surprised. I’m now chuffed to have just whats in my backpack. Honestly, I packed shit up at my parents house before i went and when i got back, did i want to see it or use it? Nar. I’d forgotten about it. Shit you don’t need. Shit you buy cos you’ve got money to do so, you see someone on TV or on a billboard and you buy for the sake of it! So you get shit you don’t need that means shit you forget about that you even had in the first place! We live in a mental world. This will stand out when you’re traveling and when you get back.
Lets get back to the other points. Is it wet or dry season at your chosen countries? If its wet then a waterproof coat in a bag is exactly what you need, trust me. But all the countries going to be hot as fark? Then flipflops, shorts and vests are a win. So think about it and write out a list of shit you need. This applies to the countries too. Some countries are always hot and some are always cold. Far East Asia? HOT. Climbing a mountain? Well its gunna be cold brah!
Can you just buy when you land? This might be the easier and quickest way. Its what Tim Ferris does, he just buys what he needs at the time when he lands or travels around. Sounds like a good idea to me. However, going to 1st world countries? Well it might be more expensive, and using your savings to buy shit you had at home, so think about it.
Finally, how long you going for bro? Its not a weekend trip i’m assuming (worse thing ever to do ever!). How long you going for? I’d suggest 2 weeks of clothing will do you, you will get good at washing and drying or paying very little for a nice person to do it all for you, million times better than you can or care to do. However, if you going for over a year, we’ll have more money to fire at clothing cos ya gunna need it!
Top Tip: You dont need expensive traveler wear. Not one bit. I took some and brought it back still with the labels! YOU DON’T NEED IT EITHER.
Wanna take a sneaky look whats in my backpack? How many tee I took, did i take a towel? And other important bits of info, well you can’t!!! HAHAHAHAH. Oh, as you’ve asked nicely i’ll let you take a sneaky look – What is in My Backpack When i Travel.
I love my technology. The way I looked at it, I have two lists. A list of things I “Needed” and some other stuff that would be “Nice to have”. Let’s take a look.
I couldn’t live without:
- Laptop ( I LOVE my ASUS that was just over £100! READ MY REVIEW OF IT RIGHT HERE)
- Phone (I always choose chinese based smartphones, more value for money! My latest is MIUI REDMI 3 @ Amazon.com)
Top Tip: A smartphone is everything – it has apps to get you from A and B, book that next flight, it has a decent camera to remember this and that and its an action cam! Its a must in my book!
Nice to haves for me:
- Digital Camera
It really depends. Take what you need but not everything. Unless you have eyes in the back of your head i wouldn’t go buying the very best and very latest shit with super go faster stripes. Honestly, you don’t need it.
Get a decent smartphone – how did people travel without all the apps, without booking hostels on the go?! Earphone cos yeah travel takes shit loads of time to get from A to break down at A+ for hours on end, before you get anywhere near point B. Laptop was a must for me (Do I Need A Laptop Whilst Traveling?), for iamdanelson.com . It was pretty damn good to watch shit too (everywhere has WIFI). Chargers and adapters. Get these all sorted in a waterproof bag- you will thank me for that when something leaks, or it rains shit loads on your backpack!
Nice to haves.
I actually took all of these because i really wasn’t sure what i’d be up against. It was SOLO trip number 1. So i took it all. And broke numbers 1, 3 and 4 AND number 2 did a runner (seen my awesome face on a GoPro?! I’d love to hear from you!!).
End of the day its up to you, and your wallet. Got the money to get all of these? Awesome why the fark not! Do what you’re happy with. A phone though, honestly, A MUST.
Now to the fun bit. Where do you want to go!??!?!!!?
Bloody exciting isn’t it. But if you’re like me and can’t decide on shit its hard work. That is why i wrote this awesome post to help you decide. From my experiences this is the kinda stuff you need to ask yourself to really get an idea of WHERE YOU WANNA GO! Give it a read, I’d love it if you find it useful as it took time to pull together, hell yeah dude.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO
This is your trip. Likelihood is that all your friends are scared. And said “I wish I could have done that!”. Its all bollocks because as we all know ANYONE CAN. So, i’ll ask again
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE
Its all about you baby!
Write a full list, whatever comes to mind, experiences, countries, things you want to see / do. Its your list so don’t worry about it if it looks silly. Do it now, I don’t mind you putting this article a side for a moment.
Top Tip: Lists can really help. Write out a complete list of things you want to experience / see / do. Everything! A To Do List or an Action List!
For me – love aliens. I wanted to go see alien shit – or other really old shit. i wanted to see big Jesus in Brazil. I wanted to party in Thailand and so on. I ticked off quite a few along the way….
See below a list of areas around the world and in order of costs – costs based on my partying lifestyle and not budgeting all that well, basically living like a king.
- Far East Asia – less than £1000 per month (even less if you bus around and stay in one place for a bit of time, travel basically means less party money)
- North America – more than £1000 (granted I did LA for 4 days and 3 nights BUT it did bash my wallet!)
- South America – just over £1000 per month (I didn’t budget, and i did a lot more experiences than i even knew existed, clothing, food and hostels cheap)
- Australia – over £2000 (might seem silly but shit here is expensive for a backpack. Think UK prices but every day – thats somewhere to sleep, food to eat 3 times a day and drinking, and boy isn’t the devil juice bloody expensive here)
Don’t have tons of money? That gives you a guide on how long you can stay somewhere and still have a good time. For me, it will be far east asia from October to January this year as this is where fun and cheapness comes hand in hand! BOOM!
For your flight, i’d book one way. It sounds mental. ONE WAY!!????! I hear you shout. I know it sounds mental but hear me out bro. I didn’t book one way. I did STA Travel and spent a bomb. But now i know the trick, it will be a flight out there then i decide where and when i want to go. Trust me on this, you can buy me a pint when you see me and hug me and say THANKS FOR THE AWESOME ADVICE ON THE ONE WAY TICKET DAN YOU ARE THE MAN.
Get on skyscanner and choose where you want to go first. Don’t think just book! DO IT RIGHT NOW. I’m currently searching every couple of days, trying to hunt for the best flight from Manchester to Phucket – once it hits under £250 I’M BUYING BABY!
Want more awesome tips from just a normal dude that knows 1% more than you cos i’ve experienced it? You will want to read this – 7 Top Tips from a normal Dude (that be me yeah!)
WE ARE DONE. We’ve covered a lot I know. MIND OVERLOAD.
I’ve waffled on but its all good shit, honest. Don’t agree with me fellow travelers? GOOD. I want to share others experiences with newbies. Have your own tips for virgin solo or 1st time travelers LEAVE YOUR TIPS IN THE COMMENTS, i appreciate them all and read and personally respond to ALL!