How does backpacking work

Backpacking for Beginners: The Great Knowledge Guide!

Are you planning your first backpack trip and looking for helpful tips and tricks? Then you are exactly right here! So that you don't have to rummage through information for days, I am listing the most important and informative articles on the subject of backpacking for beginners, so that you can prepare yourself as well as possible for your backpacking trip.

  1. What exactly is backpacking?
  2. Why backpacking?
  3. Backpacking travel destinations.
  4. Backpacking for beginners: you need to know that!
    1. Everything about the right backpack
    2. Everything about packing
    3. financing
    4. visa
    5. passport
    6. Flights
    7. Accommodations
    8. Cash and credit cards
    9. Foreign health insurance
    10. Documents and records
    11. Medicines & vaccinations
    12. technology
    13. travel Guide
    14. Internet & navigation

What exactly is backpacking?

For me, the best backpacking backpack for hand luggage and when traveling is the Osprey Farpoint 40.

Backpacking primarily refers to traveling with a rucksack, the so-called backpack. So it is symbolic of the backpacking vacation.

When backpacking, you travel with relatively little or light luggage. In contrast to "normal vacation with a suitcase", you are more flexible thanks to the backpack on your back and it makes traveling easier. This makes it easier for you to travel from hostel to hostel, settle down wherever you like, or put your belongings on your back and move on. Wherever it takes you.

Backpacking is probably the coolest and easiest way to get to know the world in an unpragmatic way. True to the motto backpack up and away!

Why backpacking?

I did my very first backpack trip in 2014. Before that, I was an absolute suitcase lover and dragged the part after me - no matter where it went.

I really wonder how I endured this for so long!

Traveling with a backpack is so much easier. If only for the reason that you have your hands free at all times and your arm does not fall off because you are dragging several kilos behind you.

Backpacking gives you a whole new way of traveling. It feels (at least for me) much more uncomplicated and carefree than being out and about with a huge suitcase.

You can go on a backpack trip at any time. No matter how old you are, whether you have a steady job, have just finished your training or have children. There are many examples.

No matter when and why you do it: Such a journey takes you so much further personally than you would never have thought possible. In this article I have listed why you should definitely take a longer trip:

Backpacking travel destinations.

If you still don't know whether backpacking is right for you or how you can get from A to B on site, I recommend you to choose a destination that is well developed in terms of tourism and that already has good offers and opportunities for backpackers.

Australia and New Zealand, for example, are recommended. Many parts of Asia such as Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia are also ideal for your first backpacking trip. Or how about South America? Backpacking is also becoming increasingly popular within Europe.

No matter where you are going, the most important thing is that you find out about the country:

Not sure where to go? Then the Lonely Planet "Travel Guide" Best in Travel is just right for you!

  • What do you have to consider culturally?
  • What is the political situation like?
  • Is it safe as a backpacker?
  • Are there regions that you should avoid?
  • Which parts are particularly easy to travel to and which are recommended?
  • How well is the internet developed?
  • and and and.

Read blogs, travel guides (those from Lonely Planet are recommended) and check the website of the Federal Foreign Office for travel and safety information - this is the best way to prepare and equip yourself for your destination country.

Backpacking for beginners: you need to know that!

Everything about the right backpack

So now it's down to the nitty-gritty: the right backpack for your trip needs to be chosen wisely. After all, he should serve you well and reliably.

In this article you can read about the properties (model, size, material, shape, ...) the best backpack for backpackers and travelers should have:

In my opinion, it is important that it is not too big and I think that an approx. 50 liter model should actually be sufficient for your trip to Mediterranean or tropical countries. In the end, it comes down to that you feel comfortable with him!

Everything about packing

You can read how to pack your backpack correctly in the article Packing your backpack correctly - this is how it works! - incl. 10 tips with which you can save space and weight in your backpack!

Which beauty and care products should you pack when you are out and about? You can find my recommended basics in this article:

You can also find detailed packing lists in the packing lists category of the same name.

Never again without it: With the AmazonBasics panniers you always have your rucksack contents under control.

It's best to stow your clothes in panniers. This means that the inside of your backpack is always tidy and you have every part immediately and easily at hand! You can read here why you should get a Pack it Cube: Pack your backpack clearly: Why pack cubes make your trip even better!


Many start their first backpack tour after their studies or training. At this point in time, you often haven't made a lot of money. However, it is also possible to spend a shorter or longer period abroad.

If your travel budget is a little tight or you are generally still looking for savings tips, the article Travel Fever: Saving for a trip around the world - tips & tricks is something for you. In it you will find 14 tips on how you can start saving for your trip at home, how you can travel cheaply and how you can earn something on the go if necessary.


If you plan to look at several countries and spend a few weeks there in each country, you do not need an extra visa for many countries, as German citizens often enjoy the advantage of a 30, 60 or 90-day visa for tourist Purposes to be allowed to enter for free.

The situation is different, of course, if you want to stay longer than the approved period. Then there is the possibility to extend the free tourist visa on site for a fee (costs and duration depend on the country). Another option - if the country allows this option - is to leave the country for a short time for 12 or 24 hours. If you come back afterwards, you will be issued a tourist visa again. However, some countries have a 30-day embargo. You are only allowed to re-enter when this has expired.

If you want to work locally and are planning work and travel in Australia, for example, you cannot avoid a visa. You can get one either via the Australian government website or via the embassy of the respective country in Germany.

You can find current visa regulations and entry instructions at the Foreign Office.


If you are moving outside of the European Union, a passport is mandatory. You apply for this to your municipality or city at an early stage, because the processing time can take up to 6 weeks in extreme cases.

There are also differences in price - it's best to ask yourself what a passport costs.

Note that your passport often has to be valid for at least 6 months when entering other countries. If he is not, you can be refused entry. You can also find something about this at the Foreign Office.


Keeping an eye on the flight prices can save you a few euros - provided you are flexible with the travel date and can also buy spontaneously if possible. Then it is not unlikely to find real bargains in South America, Asia or Australia.

So-called open jaw flights are often cheaper than direct flights. But then definitely check the duration of the stopover!

Compare the best times The portal compares over 900 flight providers.

Since you often spend several hours on a plane for many destinations, it is important that you feel comfortable on a long-haul flight. So please have a look at this article here:

Do you want to take liquids with you in your hand luggage? Then it's best to read how to pack them properly!


Accommodation can also cost a lot of money.

Shared rooms in hostels are often the cheapest. Many also have a few private or double rooms. You can find cheap accommodation for backpackers e.g. at Hostelbookers or Hostelworld.

At, and AirBnB you will find hostel rooms as well as complete apartments and bungalows for yourself, rooms in shared apartments and hotel rooms. On these platforms you can often find real pearls, which are also cheap.

If you want to book through these platforms you need a PayPal account and / or a credit card. So you can book easily at any time.

A little tip: Of course, the prices for accommodation outside the main travel season are the cheapest. As a rule, the price is also cheaper if you book longer and not nightly.

In countries that are more touristy, you can of course go from door to door and ask which rooms are still available and at what prices.

Cash and credit cards

If you are traveling outside of Europe, I can recommend you to have 100-150 euros and around 50 to 100 US dollars in cash per person with you. If you should get into the situation that you can neither withdraw money with your credit card nor pay with it, you can exchange part of the cash in an emergency. US dollars are always welcome.

How to best protect your valuables abroad is what you can read in this article:

I can recommend the comdirect bank as a credit card. My husband and I travel with her ourselves and are super satisfied. The card is free and free of charge. Means: You can also use it to withdraw money abroad free of charge.

Occasionally, the foreign bank may collect a fee and bill you for it. This fee has not been reimbursed to you by comdirect or by the DKB (another very popular credit card among travelers) since the beginning of 2016. Some banks abroad only charge a low fixed price per withdrawal (regardless of the amount), while others require a fixed percentage of the withdrawal amount. However, this is shown during the withdrawal.

In addition, I can recommend that you either take your EC card with you as a second card (talk to your bank about any fees that may be incurred for foreign assignments) and / or pack another credit card. As a result, you won't be left dead, even if you lose it.

Foreign health insurance

Trips that you make within the EU are often covered by German health insurances. The situation is different for stays abroad outside the EU. Since every health insurance company has different provisions here, it is best to contact yours directly and clarify your plans.

Important: Be sure to compare prices and insurance coverage.

Outside the EU, my husband and I trust Hanse Merkur's international health insurance. This offers a great price-performance ratio for long-term trips. Communication is easy (also from abroad) and the costs for medical advice and treatment will be covered upon presentation of the invoice and (back) transferred to your account.

Are you already in the starting blocks when it comes to traveling? Then you can take out your international health insurance quickly and easily with Hanse Merkur!

Documents and records

The most important documents are:

  • Passport
  • Driving license / international driving license
  • Visa & plane ticket
  • Vaccination certificate & blood donation card
  • Emergency contact details (here you can download my emergency contact template as a PDF for printing - of course in credit card size for the wallet)

In addition, notarized and translated job documents, evidence and certificates can also be important for your trip.

You can find all of this in this article, prepared and summarized in great detail:

Medicines & vaccinations

Depending on your travel destination, you may need different vaccinations or it is recommended that you get vaccinated against this and that. The best thing to do is to talk to your trusted tropical medicine specialist. They can best tell you in which areas which vaccinations are recommended.

The decision whether or not to get vaccinated for your trip is entirely up to you.

So that you don't forget anything about medication, take a look at my first-aid kit listing:


There are also some technical things that are essential for your journey. Of course, it depends on what you do and need on site. A laptop can be useful, for example, if you want to back up all of your photos and videos, cut films or work online on the go.

Of course there are also little helpers that you can use on your trip. You can find an overview in this post:

travel Guide

Especially as a backpacking beginner you want to find out as much as possible about everything. There is nothing wrong with that at all! I myself always get detailed information about a country or region that I am visiting for the first time.

What are the best tips? What do I need to pay attention for? Where do I stay? etc. - great sources of information are of course always blogs and websites, but when you are out and about, the Internet is often a thing.

But there is also a remedy for this:

Lonely Planet's travel guides are always very detailed and extensive and have numerous tips in store for you!

  • Load all travel information about the regions you want to see onto your smartphone. So you have everything with you offline.
  • Print out your notes and put together your own little travel guide with all the relevant information that you have pulled from the web.
  • Use great travel guides such as those from Lonely Planet. These are available for every imaginable country, are very detailed and come with many useful and practical tips. The great thing about it: If you should end up in a different corner than planned, you will be armed for everything with a travel guide!

Internet & navigation

Internet is now really as good as anywhere. You can also frolic online in the smallest restaurants and cafés. Unfortunately, the connection made available is often more apparent than real.

If you need internet, e.g. because you want to work on the go, it is recommended that you get a local SIM card. You can then use this via your mobile phone or alternatively via a mobile WLAN router to set up a hotspot for your laptop if necessary.

You can use Google Maps on your smartphone so that you don't lose track of things when you are out and about. Even offline! To do this, you have to download the relevant map section in advance and you are independent of the Internet.

Are there any questions left? Then off to the comments!

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Hey, my name is Melanie. Tuk Tuk enthusiasts 🚛, coffee lover ☕️, pretzel fan 🥨 and the face behind the backpack up and down.

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