When preparing for a month-long trip backpacking around Asia, it is important to be prepared so that you can make the most out of your travels and have an amazing time, without too many surprises along the way. This guide on how to prepare for a month backpacking in Asia, will help you organise yourself so that you have an unforgettable trip!
First of all, there are some essential items to sort out whilst planning your trip. Organizing your paperwork is a priority and this includes: visas, travel insurance and photocopies of important documents. Be sure to research the visas that you may need for different Asian countries; the good news is that most countries in Southeast Asia have visa-free entry.
It is equally as important to make sure that you’re insured, because if something happens to you, travel insurance can save you valuable time and money, especially as accidents, cancelled flights, theft or loss can cost more than you may be able to afford. It is best to choose an insurance that is designed for backpackers including cover for overseas hospitals, lost baggage and a range of adventurous activities, this is offered by companies such as World Nomads.
We would also recommend having photocopies of important documents as a safety net. This includes your insurance, bank cards, passport and visa.
It’s a wise idea to have some of the local currency before travelling to a new country, especially for things that only accept cash like street markets or taxis. We recommend that you withdraw some currency from your local travel money store before your departure, however there will also be ATMs at your destination and in the airports where you can withdraw more. Also, don’t forget to let your bank know that you’ll be using your credit card abroad, otherwise they may suspect unusual activity on your card and could block all transactions.
Your health is a priority
Before and during your trip to Asia, you must be aware of the health risks that may present themselves throughout your travels. In Asia, you must be cautious in regards to tap water (don’t drink it or brush your teeth with it!) and ice-cubes. You can find bottled water in shops and you should aim to purchase bottles that have a plastic seal around the lid. Better yet, you can opt to be environmentally friendly and bring water purification tablets with you.
It is also vital to check with your doctor what vaccinations may be needed in order to travel safely to your destinations. We recommend that you visit your health center at least five months before you travel. Some vaccinations take a while to order and need to be taken over a three month period, so you will need to say where you’re going and your doctor will advise you on which jabs you’ll need. As a guideline, travelers in Southeast Asia should get the Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid and Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio vaccinations but in some areas you may need to take malaria tablets or get the yellow fever jab. If you are spending an extended period of time in remote areas, you may consider getting the Japanese Encephalitis and the rabies jab.
We recommend packing lightly with only one week’s worth of clothes plus your travel essentials, you can pack or buy some washing up liquid to keep your clothes clean. For most destinations in Asia, light and loose cotton clothing is ideal all year round.
It is important to bear in mind that parts of Asia are conservative, so it is respectful and often required to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and legs, especially when visiting temples, mosques, or churches.
Additionally, you must check whether you are travelling during monsoon season, as this will alter your packing list – if you are, make sure to pack a waterproof jacket! Also, if you are heading for the mountains or will be in air-conditioned environments, you may want to bring an extra jumper with you!
Bring some extra toiletries
It is crucial to bring mosquito repellant, as many humid, jungle areas in Asia have many of them (we know from experience!) and you definitely want to avoid having itchy mosquito bites. Be prepared and bring a travel-sized bottle with you and then stock up from a local shop or pharmacy.
Another essential toiletry is hand sanitizer. Before a meal or after taking public transport, it is always handy to have some hand sanitizer in your bag so that you can clean your hands and reduce your chances of getting ill.
Also, most tourist attractions in Asia, especially temples, have toilets without toilet paper. Therefore, it is very useful to have your own pack of tissues when exploring.
Of course, you also mustn’t forget sunscreen. You will be exposed to a lot of sun if you’re travelling to Asia at peak times, and sun safety is crucial to having a pleasant time!
Learn to speak the basics
Travelling to a country can be a little overwhelming when the locals don’t speak your mother tongue. That’s the reason for which we recommend learning some useful words such as: ‘hello’, ‘thank you’, ‘yes’, ‘no’. Some locals in bigger cities will speak English, but in more rural locations, you may be faced with a language barrier!
Finally, before your trip to Asia, get inspired! Make sure to look at photos of your itinerary and check out some of the amazing places that you will be visiting. You can also follow us on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to see what fun our travelers get up to in Asia, and the fun that you’ll be having too! You can also have a look at the Asia tours that we provide in India, China, Japan, SEA, Indonesia and South Korea.
Enjoy your travels!