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Travel Backpacking The Travel Backpacking forum is for discussion that relates directly to international backpacking (also known as independent travel). Subject matter should involve the elements that comprise this type of backpacking: budgeting, cultural tips, backpacking gear, hostels, and transportation.

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Old 08-17-2008, 04:25 PM
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Cossoft Cossoft is offline
Practical Backpacking™ Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 38
Importance of a Smile for International Backpacking

I'd like to share a tip. Thee most important thing to take when international backpacking is...

A smile!

This might sound ridiculous but it's more important than any piece of kit you could ever hope to take. I've had the opportunity to independently travel in four of the six continents (will be five in two months time) and take it from me that a smile and open mind are extremely important. If the locals see you as willing to accept their way of doing things, it will all go a lot smoother.

Language (in my opinion) is not a barrier. I've made chicken noises to the supermarket customer services desk in Chile trying to find canned chicken, and pointed and grunted to a Japanese ticket office trying to book tickets on their bullet trains. Smiling also stops you getting shot at Moroccan road blocks that you approach at high speed because you don't really know what to do in those circumstances.

As to kit, make sure you take a good multi-tool like a leatherman as you never know when the dashboard of your Landrover is going to fall off.
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