How to prepare for a year-long backpacking trip in 11 steps

 Are you going to fulfill your fantasy and travel for a full year while backpacking? If so, or even if you’re just curious about what it takes to get out there and see the world, you’ll want some advice when it comes to preparing. How do you even start making it happen?

In this article, we’ll go over eleven simple steps that you can take to get your life in order before you set out on your life-changing journey. 

Step 1: Pick Your Dates

Pick the dates that you’re available to travel on. It’s easier to start here and then decide on exact locations following your availability. Are you departing in the summer? If so, visit places where the weather is temperate. 

If you’re backpacking through Canada, many places are just as enjoyable in the summer as they are in the winter. By starting with the dates that you have blocked out in the calendar, you can either determine your trip based on seasons or maybe even some deals that you score

Step 2: Choose Your First Destination

In a world of endless possibilities, the real challenge is deciding where to go. Are you going to try to hit all of Canada’s National Parks? Have you found any exclusive deals on flights or accommodation? All of these factor into your decision. 

Step 3: Research Requirements

One of the most crucial qualities of a responsible traveler is that they know the laws of their destination. Research to see if you need any visas or if there are additional requirements for you to enter the country. We’ve heard many stories of people being turned away at the airport, which is a devastatingly unpleasant surprise.

Step 4: Buy 2 Books

Once you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, buy a travel guide! Some travelers don’t believe in guidebooks but trust us, they’re fantastic to have. Go ahead and purchase two for good luck.

Step 5: Start a Travel Notebook

You don’t have to wait to arrive to start taking note of your goals and travel reflections! Write down some places you’d like to visit and some experiences you’d like to have. It’s never good to set your expectations too high, but you can manifest some broader feelings and moments. 

Step 6: Write a Packing List

You can start making a packing list in your notebook. You don’t have to go too crazy just yet, but think about whatever it is that you can’t forget and make sure you sort it out. A good backpack, contact lenses, prescriptions, and other essentials can take a long time to get. 

Step 7: Get Your Finances in Order

Once you have an idea about what you’ll need, you can create a budget. Starting this as early as possible is smart because you can save any extra cash that you’ll need. It’s always best to have a safety net. Check out the current exchange rates and the average daily cost of living. 

Step 8: Make Some Bookings Ahead of Time

You can save money and time by booking specific excursions ahead of time. It’s always best to be able to be flexible on your trip, but having some experiences planned will give you a better idea about your next move. 

Step 9: Plan Your Trails

We love “flying by the seat of our skirts,” but sometimes, you’ve got to have a rough idea of where you’re going. Of course, be flexible and open to change. 

Step 10: Wrap Up Your Home Life

Do you have any plants or pets that will need care? You might not think your BFF Karen will care when you drop off two fig trees and a Betta fish the day before your flight, but she probably does. 

Make sure you also take care of any outstanding bills and have your documents in a secure but accessible location. According to, Canadians planning on living abroad for some time will be considered ‘Non-Resident taxpayers.’ Foreigners planning on backpacking through Canada should check with professionals about the requirements of their government. 

Step 11: Pack It Up and Hit the Road

Of course, it’s great to spend time organizing your backpack and meticulously placing every essential item. Keeping a neat rucksack is key to maintaining a clear mind on the road or trail. 

Don’t spend too much time worrying about if you forgot something, chances are you don’t need it. If you do, most things are easy to find wherever you go. 

Bon Voyage

Wherever you’re going, breathe and take the moment. Enjoy the process of planning and the journey, especially the unexpected. 

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