2. Consider splurging on a slight upcharge at your hostel for a private room —especially if you’re an introvert. Backpacking is as much about meeting awesome people as it is about seeing incredible places, but sometimes you just need a moment to recharge from being around people ALL THE TIME. At many hostel locations, you can usually book a private room for you and your travel companions for a small upcharge (it’s usually somewhere between $20 and $40). Though we definitely recommend bunking with fellow travelers for at least part of your backpacking experience, this is definitely a cheap option if you’re in need of some quiet alone time.
3. Bring a combination lock. Most reputable hostels have some sort of storage locker where travelers can leave their backpacks if they’re staying for more than the night. While the lockers are usually included in the price of the room, most require you to bring your own combination lock. Just make sure to keep the actual combination somewhere you won’t forget (perhaps text it to your mom just to be safe). Trust us: After lugging around all of your possessions on your back, you’ll be thankful you to give your body a rest for the day.
4. Don’t be afraid to chat with the locals. We totally understand that trying to converse with someone in a language you barely speak is daunting, but chatting with locals is a great way to find hidden gems, learn the vibe of the city, and make lifelong friends. One of my favorite memories during my time backpacking Europe was mustering up all the French I learned in high school and chatting with a retired police officer in a Parisian park. Just try your best and be friendly!