U.S.A. Thought about backpacking but not sure what to bring? Heard questionable things about hostels or traveling in an unconventional way? Here are some tips to encourage you to take the plunge and explore the world in a new way.

  1. Label! Label! Label!: This tip is short and sweet; label everything! The most important thing to label is your bag; there are plenty of occasions where you will part from it, airports will lose it, or other travelers will confuse it with their belongings. If you are abroad without a cellphone, I recommend writing your name and the name, phone number, and address of your hostel/hotel as well.
  1. You Are Your Own Pharmacy: One thing I have learned the hard way is how important having accessible medicine is. Finding medication in other countries is much more difficult because names, ingredients and languages differ tremendously. To avoid this, my go-to is filling a plastic bag with these necessities: Advil for headaches, Pepto-Bismol for stomachaches, Benadryl for allergies, NyQuil if you need to fall asleep while adjusting to a time change, cold medicine and cough drops.
  1. Hostels 101-Bring Sheets & Towels: Another lesson learned from my travels is that having your own sheets and towels at a hostel make a tremendous difference. One thing my family does regularly is purchase cheap linens that can be donated or discarded by the end of our trips. If you do this, it will lighten your load, make you more comfortable, and allow more room for souvenirs. *Check out hostels.com, Hostel Booker, or AirB&B to find a room for your next vacation!
  1. Bring Some Munchies!: Three places you will be tempted to spend money that is worth saving for your trip is at the airport, bus or train station. To avoid falling into this tourist trap of expensive meals, bring some snacks along. Trail mix, pretzels, raisins, sandwiches, or other portable foods that last long are best! Packing light foods will keep you energized and in a good mood!
  1. Bring Layers: Weather is always unpredictable, so how should you deal with it? Layers will be your new best friend. A couple short sleeves, thin sleeved shirts, a jacket, pants (darker jeans look cleaner longer and can be used for many occasions), comfortable walking shoes and gloves/a scarf/hat are the basics. Articles of clothing made with quick drying or thin and warm material are ideal.

Before committing to a trip, research ahead of time! The location of the destination, airport, your accommodations and attractions will determine what your vacation schedule and weather will be like. Understanding customs and local culture ahead of time will provide you with an opportunity to immerse yourself and have a unique experience that will further motivate you to travel the globe. SAFE TRAVELS!