Some notes on backpacking and hostelling

I’ve done my fair share of backpacking and travel. As I’ve wandered I’ve picked up tricks and figured some things out the hard way.  Here are a few that might be useful to other fellow travellers, in no particular order.

Front pockets. Carry your important possessions in your front pockets. Wallet, wireless phone, passport, etc.  When you get into a crowded area, put your hands in your pockets as you are walking. Nobody can pickpocket you.

Pack a spoon. When you are backpacking for extended periods, eating at restaurants all the time gets expensive. Go to the market and pick up some stuff to cook in the hostel kitchen. That beings said, there are party hostels out there, which don’t have kitchens. Pack a spoon. You can eat almost anything with that. I met my match with spaghetti.

Mail your hostel. Most hostels will hold mail for you. This can be useful if you are in one place for a bit and need something delivered, such as a replacement credit card or mail from your consulate.  I’ve done this in France and Australia, no problems.

Customize your backpack. You are going to be living with it for a while, so make if fit you and your backpacking style.  Example: I had a day pack with a waist strap. It’s was kind of a useless appendage. It wasn’t going help me carry weight at the hips. I guess if I was running with it, it would stop it bouncing, but I digress. These stupid straps kept getting caught in everything, so I got fed up and cut them off. I also cut out some labels and other things that weren’t being used. I mean sure, I guess it’s possible I might go ice climbing and the ice-axe loops would be needed but…No. No, I won’t need them. Speaking of which, I should go cut them off.

Tiny gear. Hiking gear can have packing tricks. For example, the day pack I have has two compartments. The main one and a small pocket in the front. A small clip in the front pocket made me realized that this pack can fold inside out and be clipped to another pack. I added a larger clip so I can attach it to my main pack.

I was always packing down my rain shell, as follows.

It was recently, I discovered I could fold the whole jacket into the pocket! This little tag gave it away.

Hand sanitizer. I have gone back and forth with this with a friend. He says he’s only seen Canadians use this, but I bought some in his home country.  I say carry it.  Use it before you eat, if you are on the road.  Remember, it’s anti-bacterial. I have used it on cuts and also an infection. It stings like the Dickens but it works. It’s alcohol, so I say carry it.

Public Transit. Having dinner with a friend in Toronto, he suggested I take the Line 5 Eglinton tram across town. It is above ground so, it was a great way to see all of the neighbourhoods of  Toronto. One tram line in Finland had a BAR on it!  While most cities won’t have trams, buses are the same. Economical too!  Most in places in Europe are cheaper than 2€.  Also keep an eye out for Aquatic Metro. My home town one and it’s a great view of downtown from the water.  Another city I was in had the same thing. Great views of the city from the water, not to mention it ALSO HAD A BAR ON IT! So civilized.

That’s all for now. If more crop up, I’ll append them to this post, I think.