How to Plan Your 1st Backpacking Trip: From Packing to Hostels

Everyone remembers their first. Your first backpacking trip is certainly one that you’ll remember. You get to explore the world with fresh eyes, enjoying a limitless collection of new discoveries and experiences. It’s an incredible journey, this one that you’re about to go on, and it’ll be all the better with a little planning beforehand.

We’re here to help. This article will guide you through the planning stage so that you can feel as prepared as you’ll ever be. So you’ll be fell ready to step off that plane and into your grand adventure.

Your Destination

The first thing to plan is where you’ll go. You could leave it open-ended and see where your travels take you. That’s absolutely one of the best ways to travel, but if you’re doing that, it’s still worth having a general idea of the area you’d like to visit. Every part of the world offers a unique array of experiences, cultures, and places to visit. Take Southeast Asia. There’s an incredibly vibrant culture matched with delicious food and affordable living. Whereas Europe offers historical sights and cultural delights at a higher price.

You could pick anywhere in the world and head there. You should, however, check if it matches what you’re looking for. Is there enough of what you enjoy doing there? Does the culture match with your virtues? There’s also safety to consider. Your government will advise on that.


There’s a stereotype that backpackers are penniless. Wandering from place to place, scrounging for meals, and trying to get by. That shouldn’t be the case, certainly not for your first trip. We’d suggest that you set yourself a budget and try to stick with it. Your budget should factor in:

  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Travel
  • Sightseeing
  • Entertainment
  • Emergency Fund

You can easily track all of this using a mobile app or spreadsheet.



Almost all first-time backpackers overpack. There are items that they’ll arrive home with that they didn’t even use once. If you can avoid that, then you’ll do yourself a favor. Packing light means you can be more mobile and have a greater sense of freedom. Begin by selecting a quality backpack. Then, pack clothes appropriate for the climate and culture that you’re headed for.

You’ll be limited by the amount that you can carry and by airline weight limits. Every single piece of space will be important. You’ll find yourself asking how many oz in a pound so that you can adequately fill your backpack. Always pack your bag with items based on merit. Do they genuinely deserve a place in your precious bag?


There’s more to your accommodation than a place to sleep at night. If you’re traveling alone, you might want to pick a spot where you can meet other like-minded travelers. Hostels are renowned for this purpose. There are budget options in almost every city in the world. They might not be glamorous, but they’re great fun, and you could quickly make lifelong friendships.

You might also want to consider whether they have things like:

  • Free WiFi
  • Lockers
  • Communal Kitchens
  • TV
  • Laundry
  • Swimming Pool

Key Takeaways

Your first trip is going to be amazing. You’ll have a wonderful time and get a taste of traveling like you’ve never had before. The key is to limit your stress by reducing the unpredictable nature of some elements. That means planning a little in advance. You can still go with the flow, but you’ll feel a bit more secure.

  • Choose your first destination and get a feel for the area before you fly.
  • Where you stay is as much about comfort as it is about the people around you.
  • Try to avoid overpacking by packing items that deserve to be in your bag.