If a girl wants to go backpacking

Bruna Fairas:

To go backpacking as a female can be daunting, but it should not be! Traveling on your own can be an amazing experience. After all, you are your own boss, and the only person you need to worry about is yourself. In order to help keep you calm and encourage you, I going to give some tips and answers to some possible questions you may have before deciding to go on the road!

The advantages to go backpacking are a way worth! You will feel more self-confident, independent, and self-reliant. You will learn to challenge yourself and have a go at things, where before you would have been scared of failing and not even tried. You will increase your self-esteem, through knowing what you will have achieved – which should give every girl a sense of pride!

So, first of all, don’t be nervous.  Plan properly and stay informed. There are millions of women who have backpacked around the world, who have done it safely, successfully and had fun.

The secret is to plan effectively, you need to know exactly where you are going. Ask yourself, Is it a safe place, do they respect women and do women have rights there, can a woman walk alone, have other backpackers gone there before and what do they say about it? Does the location have internet, good roads and easy means of communication?

If you start to have that odd nervous moment, which is natural, don’t worry! You can backpack alone but you don’t have to be alone. There are tour agencies that offer backpacking experiences so this way, you will know where to go and you will have someone responsible for you.

You can also meet other backpackers on the way but be careful to not reveal too much personal information or follow anyone you meet to strange places for safety precautions. Follow your gut feeling and if you feel something isn’t right, just stay away. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are in a tight situation. Blend in with your environment and plan your routes beforehand.

In your travel package include personal safety items such as a blanket, an alarm, firecracker, a water flask, a radio telephone, antibiotics, batteries, whistle, insect repellant, photocopy of your passport, ticket and travelers cheque. Also keep your backpack padlocked, and do not leave it unattended at any time.
Use your instincts. In addition, remember your instincts are not at their sharpest at 3am when drunk, so try not to get too drunk and avoid dodgy situations. You know how to keep safe at home so do the same things.

Most important of all, have travel insurance, have enough money in the currency of where you are travelling too, always keep a dry snack with you whether you will need it or not, and have someone check up on you every time you reach a new destination to make sure you got where you’re going. It all comes down to planning ahead.

On you trip, follow these four super tips:

1.    Travel is hard work so do a hospital check up to make sure you are physically fit. And do not be too hard on yourself while on the road. Rest when you can.
2.    Make the most of your trip. Take a camera, document this beautiful experience. Don’t be limited by being a female traveler. You can do anything you want to but do not disrespect the law.
3.Try to blend in with your environment. Be friendly and open… but not too much so – take your time getting to know people, until you are certain you can trust them. Try not to act like a tourist because this can lead to scammers or ‘tourist prices.’ For a local experience, try to appear local. Learn basics of the language if you must
try to appear local.
4.Do the trip your way. Decide how long you want to travel and where. Do not let anyone tell you what makes a worthwhile trip, they are all worthwhile! It’s your trip, no one else’s so enjoy it.
Taken from: If A Girl  campaign in 2015 organized by SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd, a not for profit organization based in Zambia with a vision to raise a generation where girls are empowered, equipped and fulfilled in every aspect of their life, for the development of the entire world. To know more about SAFIGI’s goals and activities, visit: http://www.safetyfirstforgirls.org




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