Top 15 Pre-Travel Tips for Backpacker Overland Travelling Adventures

Apr 13, 2023 BY Luke Rees

Are you planning to go travelling? Want to explore a new destination and hopefully get to know it? Then check out these rather contradictory top 15 pre-travel tips for backpacker overland travelling adventures.

top 15 pre-travel tips for backpacker overland travelling adventures pixabay royalty free image

These tips apply whether you plan to explore Central America, make the most of South Africa, Interrail around Europe or follow the backpacker trail in Australia. You’ll notice that my advice is rather contradictory as I have taken two stances on each tip. This is because everyone is different, as is every circumstance. So one tip does not fit all.

So pick the tips that work for you, or choose something in between the extremes. Backpacker overland travelling adventures are about freedom and fun. So any list of tips is just advice that you can choose to follow or not, so, in the words of Baz Luhrmann, “I will dispense this advice now”.

Pre-Travel tips for backpackers

Tips for Backpacker Overland Travelling Adventures

The majority of people will tell you that embarking on an adventure requires preparation to ensure a smooth and unforgettable experience. But that is not always true. So here are some “essential” tips with contradictory alternative advice to keep in mind before setting off on your overlanding travel and adventures.

Plan Ahead

Start by researching your destination, including the local customs, currency, and language. Familiarise yourself with the must-see attractions and activities, as well as any off-the-beaten-path experiences you’d like to explore. Make a list of everything you want to see and do, and create a rough itinerary to help you make the most of your time.

Best European overlanding tours: Top 7 overland trips in Europe pxhere royalty free image

Booking accommodations, transportation, and activities in advance is essential to avoid disappointment, especially during peak travel seasons. Look for deals and discounts online, and consider using backpacking apps to help with planning and organization.

Don’t Plan

Don’t plan everything. Some of the best overland travelling adventures happen when you go with the flow. So be aware that plans change. Whether forced, due to cancelled transport, bad weather etc, or chosen, because you meet people you want to spend more time with or you hear about something good.

I had plans when I went away for 18 months. But on arriving in New Zealand my mate who I was due to travel with had landed two weeks work. So I set off solo hitch hiking – going where lifts took me. Someone then mentioned National Nude Day celebrated in Dunedin so I went there on a whim. I still tell the stories more than two decades later!

Budget Wisely

One of the top pre-travel tips for backpackers it to set a realistic budget for your trip, taking into account the costs of accommodation, transportation, meals, and activities. Be sure to include a contingency fund for unexpected expenses, such as medical emergencies or last-minute changes in plans.

Screw the Budget

Backpacking is often a once in a lifetime experience. Or at least not something you’ll do all the time. To make the most of it you are going to have to spend money, so try not to let the “budget” ruin your fun. Of course, don’t blow it all in a casino!

skydive interlaken photo top 15 pre-travel tips for backpacker overland travelling adventures

But remember, money can be earnt along the way and family can often help you if you run out. So don’t let the budget rule you. After all, you’ll only get one chance to enjoy many extreme experiences and outdoor activities – so take it. But perhaps eat instant noodles for a week to save some cash.

Tie up loose ends

Before leaving for your your backpacker overland travelling adventures, get on top of your responsibilities. Visit family and friends, sell you car, rent your flat and remember to hand notice in on your job. Tell your bank, your mobile phone provider and make sure you get adequate insurance.

If you are a student, travelling during holidays, complete assignments or projects that may be due during or shortly after your trip. One of the top pre-travel tips for backpacker students is to pay someone to write my essay. Just be aware that this might break the rules of your institution.

Leave in a Rush

Many people plan backpacker overland travelling adventures for years. But then there is nothing like taking advantage of an unexpected change in circumstances to travel. Been made redundant? Split up with your other half? Come into some money? Or perhaps, like me, you just spot a good deal. Leaving suddenly is liberating which travel is all about.

Pack Smart

Pack only the essentials, keeping in mind the climate and activities you’ll be participating in. Opt for versatile and lightweight clothing, and don’t forget essentials like a first aid kit, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Remember to pack any necessary travel documents, such as your passport, travel insurance information, and visas, if required.

7 of the best student adventure travel destinations worldwide Pixabay royalty free image from vietnam

Pack What You Like

There are so many articles on what to take backpacking. I know as I have written some of them! But whatever you take you’ll end up picking up new things and never using others. You can buy what you need where you are going, but as a rule of thumb, take clothing you like and gear that you normally use. Essentially pack what you like.

Stay Connected

Inform your family and friends of your travel plans and provide them with your itinerary and contact information. Staying connected with loved ones ensures they know your whereabouts and can provide support in case of an emergency. Consider purchasing a local SIM card or a portable Wi-Fi device to stay connected while you’re abroad.


There are not many times in the current digital age when you won’t be connected to the online world. So treat your travels as a time to disconnect. When I first travelled in 1994 the internet was still in its infancy. I had no email address, let alone a smart phone. The highest bit of tech was a camera that the three of us interrailing shared.

Learn the Lingo

Even if you’re not fluent in the local language, learning a few basic phrases before you go can go a long way in making your trip more enjoyable. Familiarise yourself with common greetings, numbers, and essential phrases like “please,” “thank you,” and “where is the bathroom?” Download Duolingo to get started – locals will appreciate the effort.

Pick up Phrases When There

One of my top pre-travel tips for backpacker overland travelling adventures is to talk to local people to learn the key phrases. The first time you order some food ask how to say it in their language, and how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. The extra interaction goes much further than just saying what you have learnt before you arrive.

top 15 pre-travel tips for backpacker overland travelling adventures pxhere royalty free image Phang Nga Bay Phuket thailand

Embrace Cultural Sensitivity

Educate yourself on the local customs and traditions to avoid any potential faux pas or misunderstandings. Be respectful of the local culture and adhere to any dress codes, etiquette, or social norms. Being a responsible and culturally sensitive traveller is essential for fostering positive connections and experiences with the locals.

Be an Ignorant Tourist

I would never advice anyone to be deliberately culturally insensitive. Just like I would never tell anyone to be rude. However, sometimes you will be ignorant of local customs etc. This point is to say that is okay, don’t spend time worrying about it. When it happens smile, say sorry and turn it into a positive interaction to learn from the local’s.

Wear Sunscreen

In the word’s of Baz Luhrmann in Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen),”If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.”

Just like, “don’t eat yellow snow”, I have no contradictory advice to offer on this topic. And Baz nicely encapsulates my thoughts on these of pre-travel tips for backpacker overland travelling adventures!

Be sure to check out these overlanding holidays, also use AWE365 to plan adventures in each destination that you visit.


Multi Activity, Overlanding
Backpacking, Independent Travel
Top 10s

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