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Travel: 5 life lessons backpacking taught me

Published Published 31 May 2018


Student writer

In 2016, I spent two months travelling across Dubai, Thailand, Bali, Australia, and Fiji with my best friend.
If you're thinking about going travelling or booking a holiday this summer I have one thing to say to you. Do it!
Here are five things I learned along the way.

1) It's ok to feel scared

The world is full of 'what ifs', but don't let fear hold you back and stop you doing things that excite you. Be brave, take risks. Sometimes failure is inevitable, but that's ok - just learn from it and move on.
Group of friends in the sea


2) You can survive on a budget

The expensive part will always be the flights if you're travelling far, but check out Student Universe and Sky Scanner for the best prices.
When you have the sun on your face and sand between your toes, you realise you can get by on very little! Work out your trip budget and give yourself a limit for each day. Markets are great for fresh produce at low prices.
Fruit on market stall

3) The art of packing

Three months' worth of clothes, toiletries, and completely useless items are a lot to lug around, so don't overpack!
However, my personal backpacking essentials were:
  • Swimwear
  • Travel towel
  • Sunscreen and aftersun
  • Trainers
  • Flip-flops
  • Hoodie and socks (for the plane)
  • Shorts
  • Vest tops
  • Big scarf (for Dubai)
  • Toothbrush
  • Paracetamol
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sun hat
  • Plug adapter
  • Bum bag (handy, safe and quirky!)
My top tips?
Write lists so you know you've got everything you need
Roll clothes, don't fold!
Leave a little bit of space for any clothes or souvenirs you might bring back
Sandals on beach

4) I am grateful for all I have

It's easy to forget how lucky we are. I was born in a country where I have the opportunity to work, receive an education, and travel to different parts of the world.
I'm so grateful for my family. My mum is everything - she's my hero. Don't take your family and friends for granted.

5) Want to do something? Go for it! 

Yes, it is cliché, but the people I met taught me that life really is precious. So, do what you love, immerse yourself in music, education, a new language - whatever it is that makes you smile.
Because life is too short to not be happy!
Statue in garden

Watch next: Travel: How to see the world on a student budget