Perhaps you’ve opted for a wild jaunt through the volcano-spotted lands of Nica, or a sloth-heavy hop around Costa Rica? Have you gone for Southeast Asia and the great food courts of Bangkok, the beaches of the Andaman and the party-mad strips of the Thai Gulf? Maybe it’s the Med that’s a-calling, with oodles of secluded coves and beaches and all-night parties up and down the Turkish Riviera? Whatever LBW itinerary it is that’s tickled your fancy, be sure to follow these top tips for preparations before departure.
Say goodbye to your pals
You’ve bagged the perfect LBW bucket-list-breaking trip, are all packed and ready to go and on the verge of meeting a whole host of new people, both locals and backpackers alike. Let’s not forget the old friends though. They may not be hitting the road with you, but they’ve been there since time immemorial. And they’re the ones that’ll have to put up with your incessant travel tales once you get back!
Get travel insurance
Perhaps boring, but necessary! Every traveler should be sure to bag themselves a decent insurance policy before heading out on the road. Not only will this offer a much-needed safety net in the event of disaster, but will also mean you’re protected if your plane’s delayed, if you lose valuables (these protections are often extra but worth it) and the like. Oh yea, and then there’s the cover that’ll allow you to really push the boundaries and break the comfort zone with bouts of cross-country skiing, bungee jumping Hackett style, whitewater rafting, surfing and more!
Make the most of home comforts
Think about it: that final night on the comfy sofa with the flat-screen TV courtesy of mum and dad might just be the last time you get to chat idly to your dog, munch on Wagon Wheels or ginger nut biscuits, sipping tea and lazing by the fire. In fact, it’s often the little home comforts that travelers get nostalgic about the most while moving around the globe. And you can’t expect the sultry jungles of Central America or the beaches of Indo to have fish and chips, home-cooked pasta bakes or tail-wagging puppies, can you now?
Prep the gizmos
There’s nothing more irritating than finding you’ve hauled that electric toothbrush or action camera over continents only to lack the right charger (okay, there probably are a few things more irritating than that, but you get the point!). And imagine not being able to nail those travel snaps or HD vids while on the road simply because you’ve neglected to stick the right memory card or USB lead in the rucksack! Nightmare indeed. The lesson? Be sure to sort the correct electronics before departure. (A universal adapter is a lifesaver!)
Do your research
Perhaps you’re hitting the ancient sites of Mesoamerica and want to know what those mysterious petroglyphs stand for? Maybe you’re delving into the Khmer temples of Nam’ and would like a little background on the dark, dark histories of Southeast Asia? Or, is it some surfing tips you fancy before getting wet and wild in the swells of the Costa Rican coast? Whatever it is, a little pre-research before departure never harmed anyone.
Brush up on the lingo
There’s no question about it: locals right across the globe really love it when travelers at least make an effort to talk in the vernacular. That might just mean the odd merci while smelling the sweet baguettes of Paris’s boulangeries; it may mean a cheeky sawadeekap in Thailand’s bars. Either way, you’re sure to raise a smile!
Pack the right clothes
You wouldn’t waltz onto Waikiki beach wearing a fur coat and salopettes would you now? So, when it comes to that once-in-a-lifetime LBW trip, it’s important to pack the right gear. What to take depends on where you’ll be going. Thankfully most places on our roster mean tropical temperatures or Mediterranean sun (think Hawaiian shirts and board shorts and bikinis), while there’s just a chance of the odd chill in spots like Sa Pa and the Thai highlands for example.
Gear up your adventure valves
LBW prides itself on getting folk out of that comfort zone and into the big wide world. It’s about breaking down barriers and experiencing new things. It’s about tasting scorching chili peppers or munching deep-fried crickets on Khao San Road. It’s about riding your first wave in Bali, or conquering zip lines through the Monteverde jungles. You’re definitely going to need an adventurous spirit for the ride!
"Rich is a traveler, writer and filmmaker who's always after somewhere new to go. He's been hopping around the globe since 2011, from Poland to Paris, Mumbai to Ho Chi Minh. He runs several travel sites of his own, from Ski Eastern to Live Krakow to Crabs Move Sideways. When he's not planning his next trip, he's usually listening to 50s jazz, surfing in Wales, skiing in the Alps, or just swigging (too much) great craft beer."
Sign up for newsletter & get travel guides