A few good backpacking tips can help make your round-the-world travel planning less daunting. There's so much to remember, so every little bit helps.
Don't be too rigid about your planning
Part of travel's joy is being able to accommodate the unexpected. There's a bit of fear that grips some of us before we go so we may tend to plan every single detail. Try not to! There's nothing wrong with a bit of planning, but don't let your schedule take over your journey.
Don't try to see the whole world in a week
Ah, the temptation to cram it all in! As soon as you start your research, places you never even thought of will magically appear in your mind, let alone the places you've already decided to visit. Try to narrow it down a bit so you can take your time. Whipping by in a frenzy may mean you've taken a trip - but it won't mean you've traveled. You should try to get to know a place before you move on to the next one.
Don't take more than you need
This is one of the toughest backpacking tips to follow. Before you go, it's hard to know what you'll need. And if you're like me, you'll worry that once you're there it'll be too late. Have a look at my ultimate travel packing list - it's a work in progress but it's comprehensive. You'll have to mix and match from the list but it's comprehensive. If it's not on the list, it should have no business in your backpack.
Decide how to carry your money
Don't take much cash and whatever you do take, use a travel money belt. The rest of your travel money should be taken in a combination of cards - credit, debit and cash.
Calculate your money wisely
You'll never get this absolutely right. You can follow this travel advice on money to help you plan, but there are always imponderables - a dentist, an unexpected side trip, a night out. Every travel forum on the web is filled with questions about costs - and at best, all we can do is guesstimate. More is better, of course, just don't take it all with you.
Don't do anything illegal
Of all these backpacking tips, this may be the most important. Being a woman won't protect you from customs and immigration officials, especially in these days of heightened security at airports and at borders generally. Make sure your passport is in date, that you have every international travel visa you need, that you're not bringing in anything you're not supposed to, and that you basically use common sense if what you want is hassle-free and safe travel.
Relax, and enjoy!