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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.

 

Filtering by Tag: travel solo

12 Backpacking Tips Everyone Should Know

Josh okungbaiye

12 Backpacking Tips

As packing for any trip can be stressful, below are 12 tips to make preparing for your next backpacking trip a little easier.

 

(1)     Pack Only The Essentials

 

Carrying everything on your back can quickly get very tiring. The answer to this is to use minimal space in the most efficient way possible. One of the ways is to avoid packing anything you may not find necessary or think you can find at your next destination. It may seem hard at first to decide what to pack for your backpacking trip, but with more experience you will know what is worth packing and what isn’t. Make sure to create a list of must have items to give you some direction on what to pack and what not to pack. Overall, packing light will help in you having a much more enjoyable trip.

 

(2) Use Other Forms of Transport

 

It may seem more comfortable, but don’t let the fancy airlines fool you. Travelling by train will get you to your destination much faster as you will avoid long flight time and waiting hours. Travelling by train also means you get to stop at other destinations on your way if it’s a long distance journey. I personally enjoy train rides much due to the more relaxed pace. In addition, travelling by train gives you the opportunity to have a unique perspective and to explore your destination through the eyes of the locals.

 

(3) Check The Weather

 

Although weather in many destinations is unpredictable. Remember to check the average temperature at the destinations you are travelling to. This will enable you to prepare the necessary clothing for the weather. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

 

(4) Always Carry Water

 

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things to remember when travelling long distances. Don’t worry about buying water in advance. Purchasing a water bottle or reusing your plastic bottle will enable you to avoid the extra weight while staying hydrated. Remember that not all tap water is drinkable, do your research on the water restrictions before refilling from any tap.

 

(5) Plan Ahead

 

Although you don’t have to plan every destination, accommodation and form of transport. It is advised to plan your next destination in order to avoid stress and any disappointment upon arrival. Planning may seem boring and time consuming at first, but when it comes to travelling to the next destination, it will definitely be worth it. It will allow your trip to run more smoothly.

 

(6) Basic Navigation Skills

 

Yes, everyone has some form of maps on their phone, but what if your phone battery dies and you have no way of getting around? Carrying around a physical map and knowing how to use it will come in very handy at ties like that. This is especially helpful if you happen to lose phone signal while on your trail. Carrying a compass with you is also a practical way of finding your bearings when figuring out which way to head.

 

(7) Lock Your Belongings

 

Many people will be in the same boat as you when backpacking and it’s easy to trust those around you. But just in case anyone decides to be sneaky, lock your belongings in order to avoid anything being stolen. You are already low on necessities, you don’t need to have even less or have to spend money on replacing them!

 

(8) Communicate

 

When travelling with company, it is easy to get into arguments about things such as what to eat, where to go etc. The best thing to do in these situations is to continually communicate each others ideas and needs, you can avoid any arguments which could potentially ruin the trip.

 

(9) Portable Chargers

 

As we now use our phone for everything from photos to maps, it is essential to pack a portable charger just in case you cannot find a place to charge your phone. I can guarantee, it is a major life saver.

 

(10) Pick Your Destination Wisely

 

Research. Research. Research. Make sure you are 100% confident with the destinations you are going to choose in order to avoid disappointment upon arrival. It is a mistake many have made in the past. You may have seen one pretty picture of a place within that one destination but the rest is the total opposite, so make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.

 

(11) Take a Book with You

 

Backpacking is the perfect chance to catch up on some reading especially during long distance travels. In order to avoid weight add ons, travelling with a Kindle will allow for a variety of books within one simple piece of equipment (and no this is not sponsored but Kindle if you’re reading this, you know what to do). Also if you’re wondering what to read when travelling, be sure to check out the Top 5 Must Have Reads when on Holiday!

 

12. Take Cash Out Before

 

Last but not least, remember that wherever you are travelling, make a note of their currencies. In order to avoid any extra bank charges, take out all the money you think you may need in advance and change it before setting off. This way you can plan your daily money usage as well as save on any extra unwanted charges.

 

Safe travels everyone!

 

Written by Nicole Fernandez Medina

10 Travel Scams to Avoid

Josh okungbaiye

Although travelling can be an exciting time, there are always some who take advantage of our vulnerability when on holiday. Here are a few scams to look out for.

vienna travel

 

1.     Taxi overcharge

 

This is considered one of the most common travel scams out there. Either the driver will tell you there is no meter or that it’s broken and attempt to charge you a huge rate. in order to avoid this scam, you must know how much the ride should be. This can be found out by asking the accommodation you are staying at. Furthermore, never get inside an unlicensed cab as they tend to attempt to negotiate the rate at high prices.

 

2. Games

 

If you see people on the streets playing games including cards or hiding a ball under a cap, do NOT attempt to play as you will never win. Those people are professional scammers who will always attempt to take your money at any opportunity.

 

3. Free Bracelets

 

Most common in Europe, this scam involves a friendly person approaching you for a chat then wrapping a bracelet around your wrist. They will claim that it’s free and sometimes even let you off to do your thing before reproaching you to attempt to charge you for it. Keep insisting you are not interested, don’t let them even place the bracelet on you, its a trap.

 

4. Closed Accommodation

 

Although it may seem silly to fall for such a scam, when travelling to a new country you are often more guidable than not. This scam involves cab drivers insisting the accommodation you have booked is no longer open and instead they will take you to another place for the right price. Don’t believe a word they say and keep insisting on your destination.

 

5. The Fake Petition

 

Usually, while visiting a tourist attraction, you will come across a woman and a child pretending to be a student, asking you to sign a petition. They will not tell you what its for, and if they do they will make up some donation excuse and request money. In order to avoid this scam, the best thing to do is avoid them or insist you have no money to give, they will give up and move on to someone else.

 

6. Flirtatious Male or Female

 

Many times, especially if you are a male, you will be approached by an overly flirtatious woman or man looking for you to spend you money on her or take you out. There have instances where men and women have fallen or this scam; the woman or man disappears and you are left with a couple bucks in your pocket.

 

7. Spill On Your Clothes

 

Although accidents are common, when a ransomer spills something on you, more often than not you need to be on your guard. This scam involves pickpocketing when you are least paying attention to your surroundings.

 

8. Found Ring

 

Someone will approach you on the street asking if you dropped a ring. They will then later point out that it’s real gold and attempt to sell it to you for a “good” price. Although easy to fall for,

don’t. It’s too good to be true!

 

9. Wrong Change

 

When travelling to countries with different currencies, some people may take advantage of tourists who are unaware of the correct amount go change they are due as they trust those handing them the money. To avoid being scammed, count your change carefully every time you make a purchase.

 

10. Unofficial Tour Guides

 

There will often be random people nearby your accommodation or touristic attractions who will claim to be official tour guides. Although easily mistaken for, you need to have specific training and licenses to be able to give official tours. Unfortunately, there are some people willing to create false identities in order to convince you of their authenticity and take your money. Make sure to ask your accommodation staff where you can find official tour guides for your destination.

 

How to Avoid Pickpockets in Spain

Josh okungbaiye

Although Madrid and Barcelona are both wonderful, touristic cities to visit, they are both listed within the 10 worst cities for pickpocketing. Here are a few tips to follow in order to avoid pickpockets ruining your holiday full of fun and sun in Spain.

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1) One popular scam in Spain is pickpockets masquerading as undercover policemen. They are known to approach you on the street and ask for your wallet. One thing you must keep in mind is policemen are unlikely to approach you unless your behaviour seems suspicious; and even so they certainly are wouldn’t ask to go through your wallet without showing you a police badge of his own.


2) Avoid ‘tourists’. If a random person comes up to you asking for directions, you are most likely going to try and help them out. As nice as this seems, you must be aware that the ‘tourist’ might have an accomplice using the distraction to pickpocket you.


3) Don’t get caught in a people sandwich. If you find yourself sandwiched between two people on the street, an escalator, or public transport, be aware that while the person in front may be blocking your way, the person behind you picks your pocket or backpack. In order to avoid theft, always wear your backpack in front of you and avoid keeping valuables in your pockets.


4) Don’t fall for the fake petition trick. Pickpockets will often approach people on the streets with a fake petition to sign. Whether you choose to sign it or not, they will ask you to donate to a ‘charity’ as a way of extorting money. Moreover, while the person holding the petition sign distracts you, pickpocket is focused on stealing your belongings. Therefore, it’s best to avoid strangers approaching you on the streets and asking for donations; don’t be fooled into thinking the money goes to a good cause.


5) Lastly, as fun as they may seem, avoid impromptu roadside games. While strolling down the street, you may come across a few people playing a card game on the footpath. No matter how enticing it is, refuse their invitation to join the game. One, they will cheat to make sure you will lose your money. Two, while you are busy playing the game, pickpockets may be enticed to steal your belongings.