You’ve finally convinced your best friend to ditch their responsibilities and go on an exciting backpacking adventure with you this summer. Now that you’ve booked your plane tickets, looked up breathtaking fairy-tale castles you can visit, and spilled the exciting news on social media, it’s time to start looking up all the nitty-gritty details so you can make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From what essentials to pack to the unwritten etiquette of staying in a hostel, here are 19 crucial things you need to know before setting off on your backpacking adventure.
1. Go backpacking with friends you’re comfortable with. There are so many things we love about traveling — breathtaking destinations, delicious grub, spontaneous adventures — but traveling the world isn’t always as seamless as it looks on Instagram. Whether it’s a stressful encounter at an airport or a crucial navigational error, there’s going to be times when the stresses of traveling get the best of you. That’s why if you decide to go backpacking with a companion (traveling solo is always an option), it’s best to find someone who can handle you at your crankiest. While we’re all for making new memories with acquaintances, it’s best to ensure the person that you’re going to be traveling with for an extended period knows you extremely well. If they don’t, perhaps consider going on a short road trip first to test out your travel dynamics before you commit to weeks or months abroad together.