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The Practical Side of Backpacking: Keeping it all Together

While planning your backpacking adventure, I am sure you have imagined the idyllic beauty of your destination and the exhilaration of getting to know one incredible place after another. And while these ruminations are definitely the fun part, make sure you also think practically. As you’re sitting on that bus traveling between breathtaking spots, you’ll have to keep track of your belongings. Then, once off the bus, you’ll have to schlep to your hostel or hotel and manage the check-in process with your tired mind discombobulated by the long day of travel.

All this might sound like a real bummer, but, with a bit of foresight and planning, you can prepare yourself for these situations and keep the fretting over your belongings from getting in the way of the amazing time you’re having on your trip. The following advice will certainly come in handy.

Money Money Money

Safeguarding your money and your cards will probably be your top priority, and while you can never account for every risk or possibility, certain precautions can help keep your money safe. Never keep all your cash and cards in the same place. If both your money and your means to access more money are stashed in the same wallet and that wallet is stolen...well, then, you’re in a tough spot. Try keeping just a little cash in your wallet, then a debit card in your pants pocket, then some backup cash tucked into a discrete pocket of a bag and a credit card slipped into a passport holder. That way you would have to be wiped completely clean by a robber to find yourself broke and helpless.

Also be sure to take advantage of hotel safes or hostel lockers. These will always be the safest places for your money. And no matter how friendly the people or chill the vibe at any given hostel, keep in mind that it only takes one jerk to see you leave your valuables lying around and ruin your whole vacation.

Organization

In travel as in life, a little bit of organization goes a long way toward avoiding hassles and making everything easier. Keep your money in a small, simple wallet like a PocketPro, so that you’re never fumbling around with bills falling out into the street. Stash your passport in a passport holder for easy access; many hotels require documentation to check-in, and you don’t want to be rifling through your bag for your mangled, buried passport in a reception area. And bring along a folder for any important documents you might need, like copies of visas and passports or travel insurance information. You might need to produce one of these documents in a pinch, and you’ll want to know right where it is.

Consistency and Habits

You’ll likely travel with an assortment of things, from clothes to toiletries to electronics, and your backpack will probably have a lot of different compartments. Used to your advantage, the complexity of your pack can be very helpful, but if you don’t think ahead it will confound you. In the first place, be sure to pack your things in a sensible way, compressing your belongings and finding the best way to fit everything in. Make sure objects you use every day are easy to reach. And then, once you’ve decided your toothpaste goes in the side compartment and your deodorant in the top pouch, be consistent. If you mix it up, you’ll find yourself spending ten minutes on the hunt for toiletries before every trip to the bathroom.

So do the simple things to take care of your money, stay organized, and maintain consistent habits, and your subconscious will take care of the essentials like a robot, allowing you to focus on what really matters during your backpacking trip: having fun.

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