Before you leave..

Do you have a general plan mapped out yet? Are you going to volunteer in exchange for food and accommodations? Are you going to couchsurf or hostel it every night? How long do you want to travel?

Backpacking is tight son.

Once you have an idea of where you want to go, it is time to get down to the serious business! 
Some of the key things you need to research are:
  1. How long am I allowed to stay in the country? (Ex. Americans must leave Western Europe after 90 days)
  2. Are there any visa requirements for the destination country? Side note: If no currency is being exchanged, you do NOT need a volunteering visa but because this often brings up a problem at customs,  I would suggest not specifically saying you plan to volunteer but that you are backpacking instead. Nothing illegal here. Pinky promise!
  3. Tell your bank and/or credit card company about your travels so they don't shut it down for suspicious activity. I will go into more detail about the best bank and credit cards for travel in a separate post.
  4. Scan/email/print all important documents such as your passport, ticket details, insurance policy, emergency numbers (parents, bank theft/fraud, country embassy, etc) in case of theft or loss and keep them in a separate place. 
  5. Find a good packing list! BE A MINIMALIST. Here is a good one! Freaking long, but the best and most informative packing list! 
      • "Take the lightest suitcase you can find, fill it with the least amount of clothing that your courage will allow, close your eyes and remove half of what you have packed and then rapidly depart." 
  6. Leave your shy, TIMID side at home. You are traveling the world, you can be anyone you want! Forget about that embarrassing/awkward thing you did 2 years ago. 
  7. Do things that make you uncomfortable and PUSH you outside of your comfort zone. Be able to interestingly share at least 4 of the craziest things you did in that insane country! Make other people jealous! It's fun! <- And that's cruel Rachel. 

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