10 Essential Tips for the First Time UK Backpacker
Backpacking is an unglamorous form of travel. But it has its appeal. Backpacking is the most grounded way of seeing and exploring a place. You travel on a budget and make the most of your travels. When you go backpacking, you can still see and visit all the famous tourist spots and attractions but you stay at low-cost lodgings and travel independently. I have jotted down a few essential tips to follow if you are a first-time backpacker to the UK.
The first thing you should do is plan your trip. A little planning goes a long way. Read up about the UK. Prepare an itinerary and list down all the things you will like to do and where you will want to go. Get a map of the UK, study it, and familiarise yourself with some of the names of places and locations there and their distance.
The most important part of backpacking is to choose the right bag. Choose a bag that has ample space and compartments to fit what you intend to carry. It is particularly important to pay attention to the shoulder straps and the hip straps when choosing a bag. Padded shoulder straps make it more comfortable to carry the bag around for a longer time and don’t leave your shoulders sore. A bag with a hip strap will take a lot of weight off your shoulders and back. And since you plan to go backpacking to the UK, it will be best to look for a bag in water-proof material too, considering what the UK weather is like.
If you need to leave your bag for some time while you go exploring, you can do so at Left Luggage King Cross for a couple of hours or days too.
When you have picked out your bag, you can begin packing. The trick is to pack light and practical wear. Keeping in mind the unpredictable weather in the UK, it will be wise to pack a couple of shorts and pants too. Pack a lightweight jacket or something warm for when the weather gets a little colder than you can bear. Since you will constantly be on the move, choose to keep comfortable clothes. Select and keep clothes from your wardrobe. You don’t need to rush out and buy clothes to go backpacking. The whole idea of backpacking is to travel, explore and experience a new place on a low budget.
Ideal footwear is a must. Keep a pair or two of walking shoes that give you the best comfort and grip. Ideally, the best walking shoes are the ones that fit you snugly and have the best arch support for your feet. Walking is the best way to see and explore the UK. There are so many magnificent castles, rolling countrysides, beautiful National Parks, and iconic landmarks and tourist attractions. Your walking shoes should not give you any blisters because if it does, every step will be painful and will take away the joy of walking.
The next tip for backpacking to the UK is to be prepared for the unpredictable weather. It can rain almost anytime in the UK. Make sure to pack a compact umbrella and a raincoat too. And of course, as I pointed earlier, it will be best to carry a waterproof bag to keep your belongings from getting wet. An easy solution to keep your bags from getting wet is to store them at Luggage Storage King Cross and pick it up when you need them next.
A useful tip to travel around the UK is to make use of the local transport system. Use a mix of the train, bus, and taxi to get from one place to another. You can also occasionally hire a bike and bike your way to your next destination. The least expensive mode of transport are buses, then trains and then taxis. If you find it more convenient, you can also consider renting a car. However, it could cost you about £30 a day and you have to be 25 years and over to be able to rent one.
Backpack your way to St. Pancras International, a destination station. This train station is a tourist’s delight. From Europe’s longest champagne bar, excellent food, and the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel built into the facade of the station, this St. Pancras is a must-stop and visit.
If you are backpacking then it means you are traveling on a budget. One way to ensure you are not overstepping it is to arrange your stay at a hostel, an Airbnb, a homestay, or a bed and breakfast place. The cheapest option would be a bed in a shared dorm. A single bed in a hostel dorm will be the best option if you are a solo traveler. Yes, you might not have much privacy but you get to meet and interact with other travelers. An Airbnb is a good choice if you want a private place and still want to save some money.
Another tip is to eat like a local. Visit popular local eateries and savor the delicacies of the place. Dismiss going to posh and fancy eating joints. If you want to experience the true cuisine of a place, eat where the residents go to. You will be surprised how some meals can be less expensive and so wholesome and bursting with flavor. Some popular foods to try in the UK are Fish and Chips (of course), Beef Wellington, Bangers and Mash, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Steak, and Kidney Pie and don’t forget to try the Full English Breakfast.
Carry a refillable water bottle. You will find it costs you nothing to refill your bottle anywhere in the UK. All mains tap water is safe to drink in the UK. Although all restaurants and cafes are required to serve free tap water to their customers, some may charge you simply for pouring it into a glass, and their service. The best tap water in the UK is Severn Trent in the West Midlands. They say it tastes as fresh as a mountain stream.
The last and important tip is that you should try and get a friend along with you on your backpacking trip across the UK. It is always more fun to have company and do activities together. If you still plan on doing a solo trip, make sure to inform a friend or family and share with them your itinerary for the trip. If plans change along the way, update them so they know you are safe.
Well, those are some of my tips for backpacking. It’s time to pack those bags and get going! Be a little adventurous and live on the wild side. Luggage Storage London is available to dump those bags and go free!