Trekking Trip Planning Tips

10 Trekking Tips for Backpacking Trips

There is something exhilarating about planning an outdoor-focused international trip. Whether you’re looking for a longer term backpacking trip, or a several day trekking excursion from your destination city, these kinds of trips can be a great getaway. With any outdoors trip, it can bring a sense of freedom and a connection to nature. It is a nice break from the daily grind of being in rush hour traffic, a cramped office, or the general hustle and bustle of urban and suburban life. Sure, there is also the fact that you’ll need to pack everything for your trek into a single backpack, but packing light can be one of the best things about this kind of international travel. In order to be prepared – even when packing light – it’s important to do your research and plan ahead. Here are some trekking tips to help plan your ultimate international backpacking trip.

International Backpacking Trips and Trekking Tips

International Backpacking Trips can provide great views and amazing experiences, such as this trek near Khumjung in Nepal! (photo credit Steph Millar)

Where to Go on Your Trekking Trip

Evaluate your physical condition first. If you are new to backpacking, you’ll want to stay on trails or trips that allow for a relaxing hike and rewarding experience. While it can be rewarding to push yourself, you also want to make sure you don’t overexert yourself and cause an injury that forces you to leave your trip early. Not sure what to expect based on the maps or trail information? Use this handy calculator to figure your trip out!

Next, think about your destination and the season you want to travel. There are tons of popular international backpacking destinations, and many well known places such as Mt. Everest have alternate and/or nearby options that mean you don’t need to be an expert mountain climber to enjoy some of their easier backpacking trips. The Camino de Santiago is an extremely popular trek with its most popular starting point in France, that also extends about 500 miles all the way into Spain. If you’re looking for a social trek, this would be great. Another popular backpacking destination is Nepal with an easy, but beautiful short trek called the Ghalegaun (Ghale Gaun) Trek, or the slightly more challenging Khumjung trek. They both feature greenery and snow covered mountain tops, with amazing views. And of course, there’s the Inca Trail leading up to Machu Picchu, which is hailed as one of the top 10 best treks in the world. This is a great trip as there are plenty of tour companies and backpacking guides to choose from, or this is well enough marked that you can go it alone and hike at your own pace.

Trekking Tips for the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Daybreak over Machu Picchu at the top of the Inca Trail (photo credit Steph Millar)

You also need to determine the size of the group you want to trek with based on the destination you’ve selected. Going on a solo trekking trip is for experienced backpackers and seasoned travelers only, so we recommend starting off with some sort of group trip or guided tour. These can vary in size, cost, experience required, and so on. And if you are still not sure where to go, here are two resources to help you find a trekking trip tour that could be perfect for you: G Adventures and Tourradar.  

Get Packing!

You really only need to take the basics, which will vary depending on the trek itself, but here is a handy checklist you can use for planning out your pack. Also, if you’ve booked your trip through a guided tour, you can ask them what they recommend as it can vary greatly depending on climate, destination, and time of year when you will be going on your backpacking trip. You’ll also want to be sure you have all of your travel documents ready before you depart, as depending on where you are going and how long you are staying, you could need a passport, visa, or other proper documentation. A guided trek will be able to tell you what documents you will need to bring with you, but you can also use the U.S. Department of State website to help you determine vital records and or documents you’ll need for your trip.

Check your vaccinations when you check your travel documents and requirements! This is a key step that many people forget, as trekking and backpacking through various international countrysides can be vastly different in vaccine requirements than traveling to a city center or urban hub. If you’ve planned to hike Kilimanjaro, for example, you’ll need very different health vaccine requirements than to hike the British countryside, so be sure to check in advance, especially as some vaccinations may require a series of shots to meet required immunity levels.

It is also important to determine who your emergency contact will be and research any travelers insurance such as Travel Guard. You can also look to see if your credit cards offer complimentary travelers insurance if you book your trip using your credit card. This is a perk that not many people are aware of and should use more often. Be sure you keep your emergency contact up to date on where you’ll be and when to always be safe. You should also research the trail or trekking route online to see if you can find reputable reviews and positive feedback about the experience from others. This is especially important if you will be traveling alone. Using sites like Lonely Planet, geared towards adventure, road trips,  international treks, and backpacking trips, can help determine if the trek seems right for you or not prior to you spending money on gear, tours, and travel.

Budget for your Backpacking Trip

Finally, you should create a budget for spending on the trip itself, getting there, items needed, etc. You should make sure you have this planned out and should also plan for any unexpected expenses. Perhaps you’ll need to apply for a visa that requires a passport renewal, original copy of your birth certificate, or there will be money exchange fees. Special vaccinations to be permitted entry into a country or region may be required, as we mentioned above. And so much more. All of these can easily start to add up, so it will help keep your trek planning on track to allow for extra spending on must have items.

Last, but not least, HAVE FUN! We hope this blog helps you plan the best backpacking trip with our trekking tips possible. If you need to apply for a passport or any other important travel documents, know that you can easily and quickly obtain copies of your birth certificate online at VitalChek.com.

Leave A Comment