Backpackers: how to stay safe and healthy whilst you’re away


Backpacking is one of the most enriching and life-changing experiences you can undertake. But, like all forms of travel, it comes with an array of potential risks. There’s always a chance, particularly if you’re travelling through multiple foreign countries, that illness or theft will disrupt your trip. However, by being prepared and alert you can ensure your trip remains trouble-free.


Staying healthy

It’s easy to forget when you’re witnessing some of the most beautiful sights in the world that you need to look after yourself. If you’re on a hiking holiday, there’s a fairly good chance you’re getting a good bit of cardio every day. However, even then it’s worth maintaining a semi-regular exercise regime to keep yourself fit and strong.

Pack some running shoes and take the opportunity to go for an early morning jog in some of the more memorable locations you visit. Take a swimming costume and enjoy a dip in a new river, lake or ocean. Or learn some yoga moves before you leave and make a habit of starting your day with a stretch.

Eating and drinking well is also essential to the success of your trip. You should be drinking at least 1.5 litres of fluid a day. If you’re visiting a developing country, it’s worth investing in a water purifying bottle as tap water in many countries can make you ill. And eat sensibly – junk food will not help your travels at all. It’s common sense, but fresh fruit and vegetables are better than burgers and chips.


Keep your possessions on you

Unfortunately, pickpockets and thieves are everywhere. If you’re travelling alone you can be especially vulnerable. Take only what you need in your bag, and keep your valuables in zip pockets or bum-bags where they’re not so easy to snatch. Also, carry only a small amount of cash at a time – credit cards are easier to replace.

If you’re going on a daytrip, leave your valuables in a safety deposit box at your hotel or hostel. Many travellers carry a slim ‘fake wallet’, with a small amount of cash in it, in addition to their main wallet, to give to muggers.

Keep your mind healthy

Backpacking is a fantastic experience, but everyone has bad days, even on the journey of a lifetime. Travelling alone, in particular, can often lead to loneliness or homesickness. This is natural and there are few travellers who don’t experience this at some point.

Staying in regular contact with friends and family can help to alleviate this. Some travellers like to keep a journal to record their thoughts and find it a useful outlet. Remember: your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Get insured 

According to a survey, nearly half of travellers who had problems abroad admitted they could have been better prepared. Whatever your travel plans, it’s absolutely essential to include travel insurance as part of your preparations. Get yourself comprehensively covered with a reliable insurer like Insure and Away – click here to find an insurance package to suit your needs.