Backpacking through one or several countries is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Ideally going at it alone, you get to go about your trip on a slew of whims. Decided that that street looks pretty? By all means, spend the day window shopping and resting at a cute cafe with a handsome waiter. That one city has a cool name? Go for it, extend your trip by a couple days and check it out. But sometimes backpacking doesn’t go all that well and so your trip starts to become highly unpleasant. It’s almost never worth giving up and going home early, unless you’re having a medical emergency. So here’s how to deal and avoid some common backpacking issues.
If you’re traveling to an exotic country, there’s a good chance that you can’t drink the water. But sometimes you forget to grab bottled water to brush your teeth with, and it’s possible that you got ripped off and purchased water that was filled with from the tap. Either way, drinking tap water from, say, India, is a surefire way of getting sick to your stomach. So short of being extremely disciplined about your water consumption, there’s a good chance you’ll end up spending lots of time in the bathroom.
At the same time, one poorly stored plate of food and you’ll be unwell. But the way to avoid getting sick from eating in a foreign country is to eat deep-fried food. Sure, your waistline won’t thank you later, but deep frying eliminates all of the bacteria that makes you sick. If your belly does end up rebelling, there are a few ways of dealing with it. First of all, even though it seems like a waste of a trip, take a couple of days to rest. Your body has gone through a lot of hardship, and you need to give it a chance to recover. Make sure to drink plenty of bottled water and drinks with electrolytes like coconut water and to get enough sleep. Crucially, be sure to take your time reintroducing solid foods into your diet. Bananas and plain white rice can be found anywhere and will do you a world of good. Also, be sure to pack some Pepto tablets in your carry-on, it will take the edge off of any of your stomach ailments. Imodium also works well for more severe cases.
Most backpackers decide to sleep in youth hostels as it is seen as part of the experience. But there are times when hosteling just doesn’t work out for you. Some inconsiderate moron might get back to your room at 3 AM and turn the light on whilst talking on the phone. Even better, your belongings might get stolen out of your backpack. You can wear an eye mask as well as earplugs while you sleep. There are a couple of options to avoid getting your things stolen. First, many hostel rooms contain lockers, so store your valuables in them and bring a lock. Same with your backpack, just get some tiny padlocks for all the zippers and wear the keys around your neck.
Feeling lonely is often a side effect of backpacking. Though your experience will be superior if you travel alone, you’ll still end up missing your loved ones. This can easily be countered by meeting some locals and taking them with you in your wanderings. Obviously, stay safe and avoid the creeps, but by doing this you may well end up making a lifelong friend.