While researching my round the world backpacking trip, all of the content I found was aimed towards the GAP year age group of 18-25 years old. In recent years there has been an increase in people over the age of 40 taking career breaks to travel, primarily because the working age is increasing.
A few viewers on my YouTube channel recently messaged me to ask if they are too old for backpacking in their 40’s. My instant response was no! What’s important to remember is that backpacking is a style of travelling; it is not related to age. That said, there are some areas that you might want to bear in mind when planning your trip.
Here are my backpacking tips for the over 40’s
Ah, those young ones, with their 80 litre backpacks, and then 30 litre day packs that they carry around on their back and chest. Believe me when you are in your 40’s the back can act up, so the last thing you want to do is copy our younger backpacking friends. Buy a 46-litre backpack; only take with you what are essential items and a look out for one that has plenty of pockets. I chose the Osprey 46 litre Porter backpack, and so far has been fantastic. What you need is something that is easy to carry as you travel from planes to trains and boats!
Book a single room
There is no doubt that hostels are one of the cheapest types of accommodation, but our younger backpacking friends often want to party until the early hours, where, if you‘re like me, you want to go out for a good meal, and have a few beers, then get into bed for a reasonable time so you can explore the next morning. Booking a single room in a hostel is a great idea, and you will often find that these rooms are not near the noisy communal areas and dorms.
Big nights out
I don’t know about you, but since I reached my 40’s the hangovers have taken longer to get rid of – it used to be a full English breakfast that was the miracle cure, nowadays, I just sleep, and sleep. Travelling on a budget often means early mornings, because the cheaper ways to travel are at ridiculous hours in the morning, and the last thing you want to suffer is a hangover on a 7 hour coach journey.
Before you travel on the big round the world trip get yourself to the doctors and have a full medical check. Don’t leave this to the last minute. I would also advise to get the flu injection before you travel because you’ll come into many people who are travelling with colds, and such illnesses. Finally, at least eight weeks before you travel make sure you have the appropriate innoculations depending on where you’re travelling to. The Fit for Travel website provides lots of up-to-date information.
Full cover on Travel Insurance
Having type 2 diabetes I had two options when it came to travel insurance; I either paid double the premium and be covered any health issues linked to my diabetes while travelling, or, take out the basic level of cover backpacking insurance. In the end I was sensible and paid the extra for the full cover. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions make sure you make the insurance company aware and get covered for them. It isn’t worth the risk.
Have rest days
Travelling continuously has an effect on the body; you can sometimes feel tired and lack energy, and this has a negative impact on your travels. So, every couple of weeks take a few days off where you do not do anything other than relax, catch up with family and friends, and take it easy.
If you have any tips for backpackers in there 40’s please join me on Twitter and Facebook and continue the discussion. Keep safe, healthy and just remember that travel creates memories that will last a lifetime.