Kirsty Henderson has written an interesting article on Five common mistakes of first time backpackers. I’d like to add a few of my own:

  1. Arriving in a new town too late in the evening: it’s a scary feeling wondering if you’re going to end up spending the night at the main railway station, because all accomodation in a town is booked out. Try to arrive early, so that you have a good choice of places to stay.
  2. Taking a laptop computer: just don’t do it. I’ve been on business trips that I turned into short backpacking holidays, and carting a laptop around with me was an absolute pain. They’re always too heavy, yet valuable enough to make you think twice about leaving it in a railway station locker. If you want to stay in touch with friends, just make use of web-based email services in net cafes.
  3. Not properly reading up on the towns you’re visiting: you can’t always rely on being able to stumble onto a town’s sights; learn about the places you’re visiting before you leave, so you don’t waste all your time reading guidebooks when you’re there.

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