Backpacker Books: Digital iPad and Kindle or paperback?

holding an ipad in the street
I chuffing LOVE a good second hand, backpacker book shop. I love the thought that the book I’ve just picked up could’ve been all the way up to Everest base camp or through the jungles of Borneo. The worn cover or the rolled corners of a second hand book suggest it’s been around, they bring a story to life even before it’s left the shelf – especially when your buying it from a bookshop on the backpacker trail.

And this is where my conflict lies, I love the digital age too. I cant think of anything better than a strong WiFi signal and an iPad – if it’s near a nice beach -then I’m in heaven. With new devices like the iPad and the Kindle now offering millions of books at a touch of a button… Is there ever any need to ever step inside a book shop again?
The future of books is most certainly the same as music: digitised and carried around with a thousand others in a pocket…

In my humble opinion:

Some of my information I want right now – and some is well worth waiting for. News, guide books and website feeds (like ours!) are made for the likes of the iPad and the Kindle but stories, they are reserved for paper. To be read and passed on for the next backpacker, to use as a pillow on a 10 hour bus ride or smash a cockroach into pieces. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do – and I for one will keep on doing it as long as they have covers and not
shiny aluminium bodies.

eBooks you should check out:

Lonely planet guides – Reinvented and interactive! The new digital Lonely Planet guides make my iPad come alive and the old paper guide books seem heavy, flat and good for nothing!
Flipboard – An amazing way to keep up to date with your RSS feeds and social networks. All pumped into your iPad in magazine format – I love this app and to be honest, I reckon it’s the future of digital magazines!

Paperback books you should check out:

A fortune teller told me – Tiziano Terzani
– An Italian journalist seeks the advice of a fortune teller in Vietnam, he predicts his death… It comes true, if he had gotten on that helicopter he would be dead! Instead he decides to make his way home overland to Italy – Stopping off at a few more fortune tellers along the way.
Jupiter’s Travels – Ted Simon
– A British guy in the 60′s decides to set out around the world on his trusty Triumph motorcycle. A beautifully written insight into traveling low and slow and the inspiration behind “The Long way Round”.
The Beach – Alex Garland
– This book need no introductions, it’s better than the film and most definitely best read on a beach in Thailand!
Himalaya – Michael Palin
– The world most British traveler’s finest hour (if you ask me). He starts his journey in North India, heads up the Khyber pass and across the Himalayas – into Tibet.

How to Save Money for a Backpacking Trip

 

Recently I was asked “How do you afford to go travelling all the time?” Simple… I don’t afford it, I just don’t spend my money on things that aren’t travel. Planning a backpacking trip for a lot of people never gets further than the first financial hurdle; it often seems like a pipe dream that will cost a fortune or require you to either be a  superstar English teacher, offer translation services,  or learn to be a blogger first. NOT true! Saving for a backpacking trip can be as easy as looking for cheap airfare, cheap accommodation, finding the best backpack for travelling, not eating out too often or thinking twice about buying that new jacket. I’ve always been an awful saver, my whole life I’ve pretty much spent more than I’ve earned every single week… but that’s never stopped me backpacking.

saving-for-backpacking

How to Save for a Backpacking Trip in 10 Simple Steps

1. Leave your money in the bank. Cash burns a hole in anyone’s pocket and notes soon become spare change… and spare change soon becomes chocolate bars. Open a savings account and have your wages, allowance or gambling winnings paid into it. Transfer over only what you need. With most banks this can take 2-3 days, removing the temptation of impulse buys.

2. Learn photography or a hobby. Take beginner piano lessons. It will take up your spare time and stop you over-planning and wasting money on stupid things you don’t need, like water purification tablets.

3. Smoke less, drink less, eat out less, stay focused and keep your eyes on the prize.

4. Work overtime if you can. If you’re earning, you’re not spending.

5. Walk or cycle everywhere. It will get you fit and save money on transport.

6. Write down every penny you spend and every penny you save. Doing this helps you to stop and think about your cashflow.

7. Set a tight weekly budget and stick to it. It’s great practice for when you finally get on the road.

8. Pick three luxuries you can’t live without and forget the rest. Get back to basics.

9. Make a rough plan of where you want to go and for how long. Break the plan down into sections and save for each chunk of time. Doing this will help to keep you motivated as each time you get a step closer to that backpacking dream.

10. The biggest motivator to save for a backpacking trip is buying the ticket, be it plane, bus or  train. When you have a deadline you’ll be amazed at how good you can be at saving the cash you need.

 

How to Keep Your Backpack Safe

Add extra security to your hard shelled luggage bag using safe coded padlocks and pre-assembled locks.

A backpacker hiking through the mountains

When your backpacking around any country with your worldly possessions strapped to your back,backpack security is always a concern. Everything you’ve held dear for the past 6 months plus the souvenirs you’ve picked up while on your holidays (the hand carved bong, the “authentic” Vietnamese conical hat and the Hill-tribe necklace) are all there for the taking. Your backpack is not designed to be safe… It’s designed to be easy to carry! Lets face it even the best backpacks wont stop a plucky thief with half an ounce of determination.

There are devices on the market designed to keep your backpack safe:

Pac Safe
Locks
Bag alarms

But a bit of savvy will go a long long way!

5 Budget ways to keep your backpack safe

Keep your backpack safe: Use a day sack

If you’re traveling with expensive electronics keep them with you at all times, use a separate day sack and try not to flash them around… If you remove temptation, your half way there.

Keep your backpack safe: Spread your gear out

Most backpacks have an amazing amount of pockets – too many in fact. And most have secret compartments. if your backpacking with cash or travellers cheques spread them out inside you bag, your shoes – even your underwear!

Keep your backpack safe: Buy the right backpack

Buying the right backpack is extremely important whether you are looking for the best backpack for travel or the best backpack for college. If you read the label of any backpack it will give you a handful of reasons why its the only one you should choose. from a security point of view – get one with lockable zips. Don’t rely on locking the two zip ends together, that’s about as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle, what you need is specific padlock holes on the zipper body.

Keep your backpack safe: Stay close

When travelling on a bus or train try and stay close to your backpack, pick a seat above the cargo hold or use it as a pillow. It will be most at risk when your face is stuffed in a good book or your sound asleep.

Keep your backpack safe: Use zip ties (cable ties)

I’ve been through plenty of backpack locks in my time, while I’m not against them I do think they are a waste of money if you think they’re going to keep your backpack safe. You will undoubtedly loose the combination / key. To fit through a zip they need to be so small that they could be opened with nothing more than strong language. A zip tie however if fool proof, if you pull one as tight as you can through the zip holes and cut off the excess you’ll have a tamper proof way of seeing if anyone’s been in your backpack after your flip flops.

Most people aren’t out to steal from you, in reality – they see an easy target and take an opportunity. If you don’t make your backpack a target it will probably go unharmed and be safe for years of backpacking travel.