Here I thought I’ll be writing this post at the end of my trip. But here I am, one month in, and I’ve already learned so much about backpacking. Here are my 10 lessons learned while backpacking one month in.
1) I under appreciate Vancouver weather.
Some days are just too hot for you to go outside that you waste your time lounging around in the hostel. I never appreciated how good the typical weather is in Vancouver. Yes, including those rainy days. I guess it’s more time for me to figure out what to do in the other cities!
2) You don’t think in terms of days of the week while traveling, you think of dates of the month.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s Monday or Thursday. Backpackers think in terms of days of the month (14th, 26th, 31st). You’ll say you’ll be in the next city on the x date and not on Wednesday.
3) It’s really easy to make friends while traveling.
I wrote a short piece about it here. Long story short, just chat up the person next to you and you’ll easily find someone to eat / explore the city with!
4) Something doesn’t need to happen everyday. Sometimes you just need to relax.
If you’re thinking that everyday is an adventure, think again. Some days are just meant to relax. You would need a day here and there so that you don’t get burnt out on the days ahead. I’m not just talking about hangover days either! A Netflix and Mango Cheesecake day is a godsend after 3-4 days straight exploring a whole new city!
5) 3 full days is more than enough to experience a place in South East Asia no matter how interesting it may seem to be.
I truly LOVE Hanoi. There is a lot of things to do in that beautiful city! But in day 4, even I got bored and started to just lounge around at the a local coffee shop.
6) Sometimes you save more money by traveling longer.
I know, I know. It’s counter intuitive. Think about it though, instead of taking that $200 flight out to go to the next city, you can just take the 12 hour bus ride for $10. But if you’re running short on time, you’re forced to take that flight out. With great hostels starting at $5 that includes free breakfast, staying longer might be the smart financial choice!
7) You try your best to save every cent in each transaction but it’s extremely easy to spend it on stupid things.
Example: I walked 2 km under the blistering heat instead of taking the 50c bus. But I easily spent $1.50 on cream puffs today even if I don’t really like cream puffs..
8) Don’t book flights or hostels way in advance.
The best way to travel is by leaving your schedule wide open. I cut Cambodia out from my shortened itinerary but decided to go there last minute. It was a great decision considering I absolutely LOVED exploring the Temples of Angkor. The beauty of backpacking is not knowing where your next destination is.
9) When you do book hostels, book only for a night.
It’s hard to know whether the hostel that you booked online is a dump or not. Photoshop / filters can also work on rooms! Booking only for a night allows you to have the flexibility to move to another hostel when something doesn’t work out.
10) 3 months is not a lot time.
It may seem like a long time but it really isn’t. The first week of traveling was slow but once you get into the grove, days pass by and you’ll realize that you’re already a month into your travels!
I’m writing about my travels in South East Asia in the upcoming weeks. Join in on my travels by following me on Instagram, Twitter and subscribing to my travel blog! Find my Instagram posts using #MarkBackpacksAsia