I’m planning my first backpacking trip and I don’t know what I’m doing.
There, I said it.
Let’s just start off by saying that I use the word planning very loosely. I know I want to go to Mexico, Guatemala, and Cuba, but I don’t know where or for how long.
I know I’m flying into Puerto Vallarta (it was the cheapest one-way I could find) and know I need to be back in early September.
So let’s start with that first bit of planning.
How I found my cheap flight to Puerto Vallarta
I used Google Flights, momondo.com, Kayak, and Hopper over the course of about a month to track the prices of flights. These are my go-to sites and apps for all things flight-related.
Once I saw the price go down, I hopped onto my computer, found the one that spoke to me – meanwhile considering airline policies and the safest one for me to fly – and booked with Alaska Airlines. Without hesitation. Without a return ticket. Without a hotel or hostel or Airbnb booking. Just booked it and went to sleep.
Obviously I woke up the next day insanely excited about the reality that in exactly ONE month from my booking date, I’d be in Mexico.
How I am figuring out my travel route and game plan
Travel blogs. Travel sites. Google. Maps. Must I continue?
To get familiar with the types of things to do and places to go in those countries, I’ve been studying up by reading travel blogs and sites. I’ve learned a ton. From how to budget to how to get around, to what to eat and what areas to watch out for.
This is a list of my favorite blogs and sites to get your wheels turning.
Figuring out what gear to bring
As I said in the beginning – this is my first backpacking trip. That means 1 month, 1 backpack. 1 girl. 4 epipens… you get the idea.
So figuring out what stuff to shove into my pack is difficult. There are a few things I know for sure:
- Guatemala has many mosquitos and I’ll be hiking. Therefore I bought Bugsaway hiking pants from Exofficio… on sale (duh), online.
- Gotta keep my meds protected from the sun. Therefore I bought a FRIO Insulin Cooling Wallet. I have no idea how it will work, but I’ll report back for sure!
- Allergy cards. I have a whole post on them so I won’t go into detail again. But yes… I’m bringing allergy cards.
I haven’t quite figured the rest out. And that’s ok! I’m not a big planner, so to have 3 items I know I’m bringing before I even begin packing is a big deal for me.
And besides, once I figure it out I’ll write about it all… item by item, destination by destination.