Backpacking in Southeast Asia (SEA) can very well turn out be one of the best trips in someone’s life if planned properly. Like in any trip, it is important to get to know your destinations before embarking on them. As amazing as the countries are in this corner of the world with its tropical forests, flamboyant environmental richness and diversity, and deeply seeded cultures, rookie mistakes can lead to very disastrous results. So, here are few things to take into account if you’re planning on travelling to a SEA country or backpacking across it.
It is always recommended to have travel insurance, especially during long trips to foreign countries lasting from weeks to months.
Some parts of Southeast Asia are high risk for foreigners and expats. It’s always better to anticipate the worst case scenario when traveling to unfamiliar territories.
Do your research and look for a travel insurance that covers loss of items, missed or cancelled flights and trips, and, most importantly, any medical conditions that can be encountered. Plus, make sure to purchase one that is covered in the countries that you plan to visit.
As said earlier, Southeast Asian countries are not just hotpots for culture but, unfortunately, for infectious diseases as well. Malaria, dengue, tetanus, hepatitis A, and typhoid are only some of the serious diseases that’s common in most of the 11 states. Acquiring the disease can lead to serious complications and even death.
“Prevention is always better than cure.” Before going on a backpacking trip, consider the diseases common in the locality that you’re going to or even just pass by, take into account the season and which diseases are more common in that season (i.e. high incidence of dengue in the Philippines during the rainy season). Vaccination should start months prior to your trip make ensure completion.
Other infectious diseases that do not have vaccinations but have post-exposure prophylaxis such as rabies or HIV should be covered by your travel insurance.
Technology has changed the way that people travel. Here are some of the essential apps when travelling Southeast Asia:
- “XE currency” and other currency converters, preferably one that works even offline is a must for travellers.
- “Google Maps” and “MAPS.me” are some of the recommended map apps by travellers.
- “Google translate” can be both your friend and enemy when travelling. Sometimes translations are inaccurate due to local idioms or figures of speech. Learning the local’s language wouldn’t hurt and the best app for that is “Duolingo.”
- Ride-sharing or hailing apps available in the region
- “Traveloka” and other flight and hotel booking apps for stress-free reservations.
- “Food Panda” if you’re not feeling like eating out or you miss fast food, this is the delivery app to go to.
- “Trail wallet” is a budget tracking app being that your financial resources are most likely limited during travel
Planning ahead, learning about the place you’re going to, and being smart with your decisions are the keys to a safe and hassle-free travel.