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How to plan your backpacking adventure

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Backpacking adventures are typically thought of as something that only young people can do – and with that comes the stigmas of stinky hostels, crammed bus rides, and insecure location.

You finally decide to travel the world after you’ve retired. You’re ready to live with only a bag or two, hopping from country to country and experiencing the best that the world has to offer. 

Backpacking is typically thought of as a young person’s game, with a very brief youthful window the only time that society will accept senior backpackers. However, this couldn’t be more wrong – it’s never too late to backpack the world! 

Before you head out though, here are some of the things you need to keep in mind before heading out on your senior backpacking adventure.

Find your destination
The first step is choosing your destination. This can seem a daunting task when you have virtually the entire globe to sift through. In order to filter out your favorite destination, there are a few things you need to bear in mind. 

For starters, what level of comfort are you looking for? The different regions of the world offer various degrees of accessibility. Depending on how far you want to get off the beaten path, you will be able to experience everything from near constant luxurious five star resorts to simple huts with limited wifi access. 

If you stick to Western Europe, for example, you may not even notice a drastic change to your lifestyle. Compare that to Laos or Bolivia, where relatively poor infrastructure makes comfortable travel more difficult while cultural differences can make communication a challenge. However, with increased tourism over recent years, even these seemingly inaccessible areas are much easier to get to

Once you have the destination figured out, next you should start looking into the mode of transportation you will take. Modern times have brought more choices for your backpacking adventure – from luxury trains to first class cruises. If you want to travel the world in greater luxury, you should look into cruises. They have emerged as a great way to travel in near-five star luxury at a fraction of the cost that you would pay in on a flight. Add in all-you-can-eat buffets and group activities and cruises are a fantastic and surprisingly affordable means to travel across the globe.

Choosing your own tourist trail
Once you’ve picked your region, you can start to plan out your trip. The beauty of backpacking is that you don’t need to stick to one country – you can pick a starting point and see where your adventure takes you.

In each region, there are well established “tourist trails” where you can still experience what the destination has to offer while still being able to access Western amenities and English speakers. Popular backpacking regions include Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Central America, with each region offering well established routes in addition to more obscure off the beaten path excursions. To help you plan more in-depthly, you can easily purchase a guidebook that will give you specific recommendations for each of these regions.

Don’t worry: Sticking to the tourist trail is not something to be ashamed of. By simply going on a backpacking adventure, you are doing what most people are never able to do, experiencing things most people will never be able to experience.

Safety is essential
Of course, you need to think about safety whenever you are abroad in an unknown country. You never know when something will happen to you and the best deterrent is preparation. 

First off, make sure you have travel medical Insurance. You may never think that anything will happen to you, but having insurance will give you the peace of mind that if something were to happen, you will be ok. Furthermore, without insurance, medical emergencies can rack up a huge bill. But with just a little bit of money up front, you can rest assured that you’ll be taken care of both monetarily and medically.

Also, be certain that you have important contact numbers saved into your phone. Before you head to a new country, look up the emergency numbers provided by your country as well as the location of your closest embassy. These can be easily found online at your embassy’s website.

Lastly, it helps to be aware of any dangerous regions. Make sure to remain caught up on the news in case anything occurs while you are planning to be somewhere. A good source to use to plan around dangerous areas is to avoid any region that has been given travel warning from the State Department. Listen to the State Department’s recommendations: They know what they’re talking about.  

Backpacking adventures are typically thought of as something that only young people can do – and with that comes the stigmas of stinky hostels, crammed bus rides, and insecure location. However, while this kind of backpacking does exist, as seniors you don’t have to abide by these rules. It’s your time to relax, so go enjoy it the best way that you can!

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