Backpacking Checklist

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  • Medical care is expensive, so be sure to have coverage for the country you are visiting.
  • If this is your first backpacking vacation, go for long walks with a fully loaded backpack. You will need to get used to the weight on your back.
  • A few weeks in advance of your trip, buy and wear the shoes you are planning on using. Walking shoes, like all other shoes, need a break-in period to avoid blistering your feet.
  • Pick one with straps that buckle across the chest
  • Take a small tent in case you don't find lodging for the night.
  • This can serve as an extra floor for your tent, or a place to sit and eat.
  • Nights can get cold!
  • Protect your feet at all costs, an ordinary pair of sneakers is often not enough; good walking shoes are not a luxury but a necessity.
  • If it gets dark, a flashlight is your best friend
  • You may also want a small stove for cooking.
  • Antiseptic and any medications you are on should also be packed.
  • Protect your eyes.
  • Even in summer the evening can be cool.
  • Certain countries have biting flies or mosquitoes that carry disease.
  • You'll want a record of your journeys.
  • Save the batteries in your flashlight
  • Being on the road is no excuse for scruffiness.
  • For a power snack in long treks.
  • Mandatory for backpacking in a foreign country.
  • Laminate these to keep them safe.
  • Name and number of someone authorized to approve medical treatment in case of accident.
  • One with GPS is preferable.
  • You'll need one in the language of the country you are visiting.
  • Even fellow travelers, if strangers, could be a threat. Backpackers have been known to have been robbed of their money or equipment.
  • Walking can be exhausting
  • Protect yourself against the sun with sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
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Backpacking is the perfect way to see part of the world on a shoestring budget.  Who needs the formality of a hotel when you can pitch a tent and sleep under the stars?  Who needs mealtimes and dress codes when a local bistro allows you entry in jeans and T-shirt? The freedom of the open road beckons... Freedom, that’s what backpacking is all about.  To be one with roads, fields and forests.  Whether walking in Mother Nature’s wide open spaces or cities and villages, you see much more on foot than you do from a car or a bus.  You have the time to stop and take in the details, explore shops and restaurants and talk to the locals. This checklist can help you prepare for your backpacking experience!


Like the popular saying goes … It’s all about the journey, not the destination.  Backpackers often don’t even have a destination; they go where their feet take them. The right gear and apparel can make all the difference in the world when it comes to striking off into the great unknown. What is equally important is that you have a back-up plan.  Should you encounter some misfortune, like having your money or credit card stolen, or have an accident, you need to have a plan of action, someone to call, and a way to get home. In addition to have contact information, it also might be a good idea to carry some basic medical details on you.  For instance your blood type, allergies and details of a medical condition such as diabetes or epilepsy. It’s no fun waking up in a hospital hooked up to machines becasue you passed out from heat exhaustion and no-one knows you also have low blood sugar!  It is also a good idea to have this information in the language of the country you are visiting, as not everybody can read English.

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