Should I take a laptop, phone or tablet travelling?

Which electronic device should you take travelling_

I remember agonising for weeks about what to electronic device to take backpacking with me. I didn’t want to take my phone as it was new, and I was initially only going to be travelling for 6 months to a year (as it turned out, by the time I returned my “brand new” phone was an ancient brick hahaha!). I didn’t want to take my laptop as it was heavy, but I also wanted to be able to back up my photos easily and run my new blog.

At the time I thought that there must be a one-size-fits all policy, but after more than 2 years of travelling, and having had the experience of both living somewhere and backpacking, I have a much better understanding.

Answer the following questions and read my solutions, and you will be able to determine what’s right for you.

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How to choose your destination | First Time Backpacker Series

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So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to take the plunge and go on a backpacking adventure.

But then you’re left wondering where the hell to go: do you go inter railing in Europe or partying in South East Asia? Do you go off the grid in South America or take a tour bus round New Zealand? Or do you do a bit of everything?

And then you start to consider and weigh up all of your worries and fears about travelling for the first time, and suddenly you have no clue of where to go.

The first point that I will make is that you should do your best to not stress out about this. The process should be fun – make the planning a part of the adventure!

Here are some simple and easy steps to help you get the ball rolling:

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1) Write out a list of places that you have always wanted to go

I know this is elementary, but it’s where I started when I first started planning my backpacking adventure, and it was what I kept coming back to when I was plucking up the courage to book my flights. I added to this list when I was tired and miserable at work, when I was sitting on the train, when I was tucked up in bed at the end of the day – it was an outlet for my dreams and wanderlust in an otherwise dull world.

Imagine that you have no budget and no limitations. Forget your fears of solo female travel and no-go areas in foreign cities.

Dig up every place, activity, exotic animal, and tourist destination that you have ever wished to experience in your life. Write everything down – no detail is too small and nothing is too extreme.

2) Get on Pinterest

Gather pictures and ideas, and organise them into location-based inspiration boards.

See which areas fill up the quickest.

Are there any locations in particular that you are drawn to?

Have you been pinning places that you had never even thought of, leading you to a whole new dream?

The images I have been pinning lately are photos of Italy and France, so I’m guessing that’s where my heart is telling me to go!

3) Pay the travel agent a visit

I wouldn’t recommend getting travel advice and booking on the same day, but travel agents can be a great source of advice. Chances are, one of the agents will have travelled to where you are thinking of going, and they’ll have great ideas for possible routes and budgeting.

I recommend STA for cheap flights and backpacking information, though be careful with add-ons such as their money card and insurance policy as they aren’t always the best value for money!

Check out my article “Should I book through a travel agent?” for more tips and tricks.

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How to travel (successfully!) with a friend or partner in 5 simple steps

Photo credit: Ian Schneider

Photo credit: Ian Schneider

Many women don’t feel ready to do the whole “solo female travel” thing on their first foreign adventure, and so opt to travel with a friend or partner.

It always seems great at first – excited conversations about exotic lands and expensive tours start flying, you plan the basic logistics and you both start packing your bags.

However, without proper foresight, things can quickly go downhill. I have witnessed far too many long-standing friendships and relationships fall apart in a haze of arguments and disagreements on the road.

It’s important to understand that being best friends does not automatically equal perfect travel buddies.

However, with a few easy questions and some simple considerations, you can quickly work out whether or not you will be good travel partners.

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Should I book through a travel agent? (First Time Backpacker Series)

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It’s always tempting as a first time backpacker to book through a travel agent, and I completely understand the attraction.

The main benefits of booking your trip of a lifetime through a travel agent are:

  • It takes out the hassle. You don’t have to book flights, accommodation and tours all on your own, trawling through the internet to find the cheapest deals. Instead everything will be done for you and you will have one single itinerary on one piece of paper.
  • A specialised travel agent can offer great advice. When I booked my trip I was assigned someone who had travelled all over South America and he knew plenty of great spots that I would like.
  • They may have great deals. Sometimes an agency will have that amazing 50% discount on an awesome tour you’ve been looking at.
  • All of this takes the stress off of you. You’re already loaded with heavy fears about getting lost abroad and terrified of leaving home, so travel agents become something of a guiding light in your hour of need.

Even though going through a travel agent will generally cost you more than booking everything yourself, if you have a relatively generous budget and enjoy a more structured style of traveling, paying someone to take out the stress may be a small price to pay.
However, I don’t always recommend booking through a travel agent for the following reasons:

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Getting fit in Byron Bay! (The free Byron Bay Fitness Trails Circuit)

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Tired of feeling sluggish and constrained by a classic backpacker budget, my boyfriend and I started looking on the internet for free activities in the Byron Bay area.

We stumbled across what is called the Byron Bay Fitness Trails Circuit – a series of fitness stations running along the bay starting from Captain Cooks car park and ending at iconic Cape Byron Headland. You can either walk in between the stations or jog – it’s up to you!

The only criticisms that I had of the circuit was that some of the information provided on the boards was not factually correct (for instance, the muscles targeted by each exercise) and the fact that it was not always clear as to where you were supposed to go next (my boyfriend and I ended up wondering through a holiday park for a while!).

However, we had a fun couple of hours doing pull ups, jogging and koala spotting! It’s also a great way to tie in seeing the lighthouse and the headland – plus, jogging up the hill to the lighthouse at the end is killer so it’s a perfect way to finish your workout!

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