Backpacking essentials, pro tips to save time, space and money on your next trip.

Suitcase Vs Backpack

Planning your next or first big trip? There are many common mistakes aspiring travelers make when it comes to how and what they travel with, mistakes that not only weigh and slow them down but unnecessarily chip into travel funds, I was certainly guilty of it in my early days.

Use a suitcase, not a backpack!!!! – WHAT? BUT I’M GOING BACKPACKING! For some reason when we think about backpacking around the world we all go out and buy these massive backpacks to later realise that pretty much the only time you use them is when going between transport and or to your accommodation. Not only are they expensive but unless you’re planning to climb a mountain without a sherpa or do a week-long single-trail walk over rough terrain, then they are a pointless, hot and heavy, and a real pain in the back! literally!!!
 
  • New age suitcases are light, strong and have wheels!.
  • Better for protecting your fragile things from breaking
  • Easier to pack and unpack.
  • Safer as backpacks are easy to cut into from theaves.
  • Same price or even less.
  • Easier to transport without doing your back in because did I mention, they have wheels!

When going backpacking in certain countries you will go on some rough terrain so I do suggest getting a suitcase with some solid wheels like this one

Travelpro Maxlite 5 22″ Expandable Rollaboard Carry-on Suitcase, Black (Black)

Small day/backpack – A small backback is still a good idea.

    • Hotels and hostels will often let you leave your suitcase safely stored for several days at no cost whilst you explore the local area, especially if it means you’ll stay another night with them when you get back.
    • If you’re not using your day pack, it doubles as a great separator for your dirty clothes inside the suitcase (I’ll always keep a plastic bag in it also for the wet or dirty stuff)
Only take what you absolutely need – When packing, if you look at an item and think, “yeah I’ll probably use that”, DON’T take it! The less experienced traveler often packs half their suitcase with things they don’t even end up using. If you haven’t seen the documentary or read the book “The minimalists” Do yourself and the world a favor and do so, I now live by the principles in this book and am way more efficient, lightweight and happier because of it.
 

Dark over light – All you goths out there will love this. When traveling, washing your clothes can often be tricky and quite expensive, the darker your clothes the less you’re going to have to wash them, saving you time and money.

Sarong not towel – normal towels are bulky and heavy, a definite no-no, I used to use a large traveling shammy towel however, I found that they are so good at soaking up water that they would even soak up the humidity in the air, so unless you take great care in drying it after every use, it will quickly become smelly and then can’t be mixed with the rest of your things.

A Sarong works just as good and double as so many different useful things, for example;

        • Blanket
        • Beach or Bath Towel
        • Wear It
        • Scarf / Shawl
        • Cover up
        • Bed sheets
      •  
        • Pillow
        • Purse
        • Curtain or Divider
        • Packing Separator
        • Padding
        • Emergencies . 
        • Gifts

Shoes to choose – there are really only 3 pairs of shoes you need.

  • Flip flops – for those warm casual days.
  • Going out shoes – for when you want to go out dancing or dating.
  • Active shoes – for when you’re going trecking or doing something that your feet need solid support.
    Packing Tip – Pack them at the bottom end of the suitcase heal to toe and fill them with small things or breakables to save space but also act as extra protection for fragile things, you can put extra padding in them by storing your socks in there also.
Roll don’t fold – Not only does this make it easier to pick out an item without making a mess of others, but it also saves space as your ability to compact things better by rolling.
 

Take a small power board with you – That way you’ll only need one international adapter and can charge all devices at the same time.

Books are for idiots! Ok maybe that’s a bit harsh if you are a book person, sure take a book with you, you may not always be able to charge your devices easily and there is something nice about reading on paper, but only take one! they are heavy and these days most hostels have some kind of book exchange.

Rather than a book, e-books on devices like a kindle will save you plenty of space and weight. I can’t recommend audiobooks enough.

  • Listen on the go.
  • Instant access to just about every book you can think of at your fingertips.
  • Works off your smart phone so takes up no extra space.
  • Once the book you want is downloaded to your device, you can listen offline, whilst on a plane or hiking in nature with no wifi.
  • audible is an amazing application, I would even go as far as saying, I love it! it has made my life so much more productive and worth every cent ten fold! for a small no-contract monthly subscription you get 1 free book per month which is often worth more than the actual subscription and kind of forces you to educate yourself which has truly changed my life and saves me carrying around novels.

    4 Amazingly useful travel products.

     

Travel size manual Coffee pressAn absolute must for any coffee loving traveler. My mum put me onto this engenius invention and I’m seriously so happy with the purchase, there are other ones that require batteries but they are more bulky and they need batteries, they’re more prone to damage, cost more and are not as good for the environment.

Inflatable neck pillow – pretty self explanitory and they do often sell them in airports but you’ll pay 3 times as much there so here’s a link for your convenience.

Lightweight Parachute Portable Hammock – Even if you’re not planning on sleeping under the stars, this thing weighs nothing, takes next to no space and you’d be surprised when it may come in handy.

Universal travel power adapter – You can’t travel without one of these bad boys and this paired with your power board will make you the envy of every backpacker fighting for a place to charge their things.

Yay for transparency! The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.

10 fulfilling Lifestyle jobs that allow you to travel the world.

It’s astonishing how many people will put up with a job they don’t like, to only just cover expenses in a lifestyle they’re not thrilled about either.

Too often we ignore our inner child and sacrifice our happiness for a “healthy” paycheque. Considering it’s been proven that happier people live longer and that we spend on average 1/3 of our life at work, most of which whilst we are fit and healthy, it just makes so much more sense to put job satisfaction before income.

If it came down to it I’d rather just get by, besides the ones I love, doing things I love, in places I’d rather be or preferably all three together, that’s said, with a bit of hard work, the right planning and advice, you don’t have to give up the healthy paycheque either.

Over the years I’ve learned to live quite comfortably and even make great money as you travel, all you need is a bit of courage, effort and a pocket full of knowledge, yes your smartphone will do 😉

There are a bunch of amazing lifestyle jobs that allow you to travel and enjoy the world before you’re too old, below you have 10, I personally have done more than half of these “jobs” and loved all of them, the others I have also investigated or have close friends or family that chose these lifestyles, love life and travel a lot, I will save my personal favorite until #10. Please feel free to get in touch or leave comments if you know any other great options that may be useful for other readers. Enjoy!

1 – Cruise Ships

Working on cruise ships has a reputation for being one of the more fun travel job lifestyles. Apart from getting paid to work in a holiday environment whilst you cruise around the world, you’ll often get time at each port to explore.
  • Cruise ships have pretty much every type of service onboard meaning they hire everything from the crew, labor work to hairdressers, entertainment, hospitality and much more.
  • A simple search for “cruise ship jobs” and you’ll be able to find a company that works from your home country and everything you need to get started.

2 – Yacht Crew

I prefer something a little more personal like the beautiful french schooner yacht that I just spent five weeks on in the Mediterranean. Sure you get the odd a’hole but from my experience, you have to be a little crazy, cool and generally good with money to own a boat, the kind of people I like to hang out with and learn from.
  • There are sites you can create a profile, where boat owners who need crew are looking for people who they might get along with and want to share their pride and joy (boat) with.
  • Once sailing around you often meet other interesting people with boats that you can connect with so, It does get easier once you get in the scene.
  • You may already know someone who knows someone with a boat but otherwise put some love into your profiles online. Below you have a few places you can start.
  • https://www.findacrew.net
  • https://www.crewseekers.net/
  • Another effective tactic is just going down to your local marina and asking around, show your character and show your keen, meeting in person always has more impact.

3 – Airline Industry

There are various airline jobs from the pilot, air hosts to handling luggage and more. Apart from some providing a decent income, it does come with obvious travel perks like cheap or free flights, not just for yourself but often your loved ones. I have flown various times for 10% of the actual flight cost simply because I have a close connection with someone who works for an airline.
  • Becoming a Pilot obviously requires a decent amount of discipline and investment of your time and money but the pay and perks reflect the investment.
  • There are a number of pros and cons with becoming an air host, here is an article that you might find interesting if you want to consider this as the job you’d like to go for.
  • Airline jobs that come with the travel perks aren’t only limited to the jobs just mentioned but these two positions certainly provide more travel as you work.

4 – Volunteer

When working overseas you will often require a working visa, however, in most countries volunteering for board and food is not only satisfying but a legal loophole, for example, in general, it is allowed to volunteer in the US when you are there on a B1 or B2 visa, or on visa waiver program, and for most other visas that do not permit paid employment. However there are some restrictions, and it is best to check them out. Volunteering at hostels, tour companies, foundations or farms for a few months at a time, can not only be fun but fulfilling and often means you really get to know a place, people and culture better.

5 – English Exchange

If your native tongue is English then you are in luck, English is widely used all over the world and non English speakers will happily trade everything from board and food to full-time pay, believe it or not but wealthy people will let you live with them all expenses paid in exchange that you speak to their children in English a few hours a day, leaving the rest of the day for exploring the area.
  • A certification to teach English like TEFL (Teach English to Foreign Language) will help open opportunities but isn’t always necessary.
  • https://www.diverbo.com/ is a good example of a site that will connect you with opportunities but just try googling “Native English Exchange” for the area you are interested in visiting.
  • https://culturegogo.com/ is a great site that allows you to exchange English for food and board.

6 – Tourist Guide

I did this professionally for about 3 years in Colombia (that’s me in the bottom left-hand corner) and although I wasn’t earning amazing money, the time I spent as a guide was some of best years of my life so feel free to get in touch with me for more info. I have some great contacts in Colombia within the adventure tourism industry, particularly around scuba diving, white water rafting, rock climbing, and mountain bike guiding but also if you want to volunteer in any hostels, a lot of hostels will even have their own products that they need English speaking guides for.
  • Having certifications that back up your experience will always get you more jobs but I got my first guiding job just simply by being confident with people, bikes and having my first aid certificate and then grew from there.
  • You can get pretty serious with guiding and make serious money along with it, but it really isn’t about the money for most guides, I have some friends that do it full time, but I also have friends that volunteer in adventure tour companies all over the world in exchange for board, food, a great time doing activities they love plus the occasional tips.

7 – Snowfields/Ski resort work

If you’re a keen snowboarder or skier, would like to be or love a good party culture, then the snow resort lifestyle is hilariously fun. I have a few close friends who now follow the snow seasons around the world full time and they absolutely love bouncing between the northern and southern hemisphere.
  • You don’t need to be a ski instructor to enjoy the slopes, one of my mates works as a Chef, follows the seasons and just snowboards in his time off, he gets paid well enough to keep bouncing from one side of the planet to another and gets staff discounts off everything from accommodation, food and lift passes.
  • You will almost definitely need a working visa to work in snowfields around the world, so it’s worth noting that in most places that become hard once you turn 30.
  • Here is a good article if you’re interested in looking into snow resort work https://www.snowseasoncentral.com/10-steps-to-finding-a-ski-resort-job

8 – Dive Instructor

The underwater world is a stunning and fascinating place and you can make good money as a professional diver, especially if you specialize in certain areas, it does require a lot of investing both time and money first, but aside from some of the theory, it’s an extremely fun qualification to obtain, and if it means you can travel to beautiful places all over the world guiding or teaching people how to dive…. well you can understand why it’s a popular lifestyle career. (Me on the left)
  • It depends on where you are and how long you intend to stay but you don’t always need visas to get work diving but you will need to be certified and have some experienced at least.
  • Feel free to get in touch as I have a few connections around the world with diving schools and shops
  • here’s one site that dive shops will post job positions on https://divezone.net/jobs
  • and a good article about what it takes and what it’s like traveling the world as a dive instructor https://www.aroundtheworldin80jobs.com/scuba-instructor-in-utila/

9 – Musician or Performer

Like my brother, Simon Wright, (above) you may have a gift for entertainment, if this is the case then the opportunities to travel are only as small as your imagination, apart from the obvious option to busk in the streets which you can pretty much fall back on in most parts of the world, with a bit of know-how, like my brother you can set up paid gigs around the world and only busk in between if you really want to or have to for extra cash.
  • You don’t have to be an amazing musician/artist to get started, whilst I was in Florida USA, short on cash I knew a few songs well enough on guitar to play them on repeat as people walked past on the boulevard, I made about $40 US in 2 hours, which doesn’t sound like much but you can definitely get by on $40 US a day.
  • Busking is a great way to improve your music as you travel and once you’re a more weathered entertainer, you can also start to book paid gigs.
  • Cruise ships often pay well for in house entertainers, the work is regular and comes with perks of food, accommodation and of course travel. This isn’t limited to just music, maybe you’re a dancer or magician.
  • Here’s a great article about how my brother has been traveling the world for 1500 days straight on his #looptheworld tour, all paid for by his music and how he gets gigs along the way. HOW TO GET GIGS ON THE ROAD (By Simon Wright)

10 – Online Income

I have done a lot of the lifestyles/”Jobs” on the list above, but everything has eventually led me to the desire to want to earn directly from my computer, as this is what I consider true geographical freedom.

The idea of being able to earn a great income from anywhere in the world or be with my loved ones when I want or when they need me was more than enough motivation to overcome my terrible computer skills and figure out how I could make an income with just a laptop and wifi signal.

How? Turns out in today’s ever-growing digital world there are plenty of ways, and the good news is that with a bit of discipline, as long as you can self motivate and follow simple instructions, then you don’t need to be a tech nerd anymore to make good money online. I literally taught myself to touch-type just a few years ago, why now? because geographical freedom aside, the truth is that online business is the future and I know it.

If you’d like to learn how to build a profitable online business from scratch and turn your skills or passions into an online income stream so that you too can start building a future with geographical freedom then feel free to get in touch or click here for more info.

Follow my journey from the 9-5 grind to geographical freedom with tips and advice along the way on Facebook and or Instagram.

Feel like this article might inspire someone that you know who isn’t happy in their current job and needs a change in direction? one way you can help me to continue investigating and writing useful content is by sharing and liking this article on your social media networks.

Until next time, be good to yourself and each other.

Tom Wright