I always tell my friends to travel as much as they can. It will be a shame if you will just stay put in one place. Leave your cubicle, man cave, dwelling place or whatever you want to call it. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone! Travelling can get expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re a newbie at backpacking or not, these tips will surely help you get the best out of your journey.
Let’s start with the gears that you’ll need.
Buy one, rent one or borrow it from someone. Tents are your home away from home. This will shelter you from the elements (and keep you away from other creatures). Tents can be pretty cheap nowadays but I urge you to invest in a good quality one. Trust me, you don’t want to be spending the night in a tent filled with water or creepy crawlies!
Hands down, shoes are backpackers’ most critical gear. A good quality pair of shoes will save your bum from falling off a cliff (take the trail to the summit of Mt. Daraitan for exaample) . Be sure to choose sturdy ones (I use Merrels at the moment) as your hiking shoes will be your most used gear. Don’t worry about how it looks like, what’s important are the soles. Choose ones that have good grip and traction. The sole must be rigid and threaded, not flat. Bring sandals and flipflops just in case your shoes decides to “die” on you.
Technically, you can wear whatever floats your boat but I would recommend dry fit shirts and polyester/nylon pants. Avoid cotton as it absorbs a lot of liquid and takes forever to dry. Consider wearing a hat or a balaclava to protect you from the sun and sleeves to avoid cuts (from grass) and bites (from insects).
As you become more experienced in hiking/backpacking, you will learn that cooking food in the middle of nowhere can be difficult. Consider investing on a camping stove (I used to use a soda can stove). Cooking using firewood/charcoal is almost impossible when it is raining plus it destroys the environment. Don’t forget to bring a couple of pots, a big spoon and a knife with you. If you have some spare cash, you can by lightweight cookware at your local outdoor stores.
Invest on a proper hiking bag. A 30L-40L back pack would be sufficient for dayhikes. If you are going on an overnight/multi-day hike, go for larger backpacks. For me the most important part of the bag is the hip belt and the sternum strap as those two are the ones who should support most of the weight of the bag. Without those your shoulder will be very sore in less than an hour (I used to use my school bag haha). Check this site for a hiking backpack’s anatomy and features.
6. Repair Kit – super glue, duct tape, needle and thread etc. Don’t let a busted strap or a deflating tent ruin your trip.
7. Survival Kit – A first aid kit is a must, it’s very easy to get injured out there so be sure to bring antiseptics, medicines, wound dressing etc. Remember to bring flashlights and ropes as well. You’ll never know when you’ll need it.
Now that you know what gears to bring, let me give you some tips on how you can travel without spending too much money.
1. Don’t follow the crowd.
The most beautiful places are located away from civilization. Don’t be afraid to take risks. A lot of times, popular tourist spots are already defiled by visitors who don’t know how to take care of nature. Remember, leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time.
2. Befriend locals and learn local dialects.
I can’t remember how many times I saved some money (and get a free meal) because I was friendly with the locals. Use the local language if possible. This will show the locals that you are really trying your best to connect with them and they will see you not as a tourist but as a friend.
3. Go to public markets and eat local food.
Here is where you will find the cheapest and freshest produce. Oftentimes, you can find the terminals near the market. Don’t forget to haggle. Use local dialects in haggling. You will get a discount 99% of the time if you haggle using their dialect. Cook your own food. If not buy your food at carinderias (local eatery) instead.
4. Use public transportation.
A big portion of your budget will go to transportation costs. Travel by land if possible. Travelling by land is almost always cheaper than by air or sea. Take advantage of local types of transportation such as jeepneys , habal-habal and tricycles.
5. Camp out
Hotels, especially during the peak season, are very expensive and most of the time fully booked. Use tents if possible as this is your cheapest option. Hammocks can be very useful to. If you can’t sleep in tents, look for transient houses or a hostels. Couch surfing is also an option.
So there you go, If you feel that these tips were helpful to you in any ways, don’t forget to tag us or reference us alright? I am looking forward to seeing your awesome travel pictures. Happy trip! – THH Jon