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Can anyone recommend a book about backpacking around the world?

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Showing 1-25 of 90 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 30, 2007 1:24:19 PM PDT
I'm looking for a book to cover someone's travels. I want something more like a journal of their experiences than a guidebook. I'd like to read about how people dealt with packing for 5 months worth of travel, dealt with language barriers, and things like tips to make life easier or even just getting around from place to place. I don't really want to know about what restaurants to go to or what hostel to stay in or even what places to visit. I guess mainly I just want to know what I'm trying to get myself into.


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2007 3:06:54 PM PDT
R. Brubaker says:
Consider the book: Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, available at Amazon. He also has a website at

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2007 8:37:53 PM PDT
writetrak says:
First; decide where you'll be going on the trip (countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.) then gather up several Lonely Planet Guides- they'll give you enough practical advice on things to do, see, what not to do or see as well as enogh basic words or phrases to get your point across. If it's Europe I suggest Rick Steves books because, quite frankly, the guy knows Europe and not the expensive hotel variety. Then rent a few Anthony Bourdaine videos and, afterwards consider finding laundromats in the countries on-line. Always a good thing. I backpacked Europe way back in the day, then upgraded on other trips. Finally, take several good paperbacks for the down time an d some writing material for some of the hilarious stuff you'll find along the way.
Keep in mind it won't be easy and at times you just may be downright miserable but the good times more than make up for the bad times...or maybe, it was the alcohol.
Have fun and be safe.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2007 1:56:07 PM PDT
I actually just purchased that book yesterday. Can't wait for it to get here :)
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In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2007 11:09:38 AM PST
Worldwalk, an Incredible Tale of Adventure and Inspiration: One American's Four-year Journey Alone and on Foot. 1989.
by Steven M. Newman.

I loved this book. Made me feel like I was along on the journey.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2007 7:11:14 AM PST
OB says:
As someone else said you need to figure our the region you want to stay in. I have twice in my life, backpacked for a year each time. Every region and how things are done, costs etc are going to be very different. As for what to pack....take the minimum you can get away with, because you will probably throw away half of your stuff. Remember, you can usually always find clothes locally wherever you are, so you don't really need to pack for the whole journey. Just enough to get you buy, a few changes of clothes and then if you need more, find it locally at a market. Lonely Planet ' on a shoestring ' books are always a good bet, although you will be checking out the same places as thousands of others reading the same book!

Good luck, it's a great experience. Just remember to get out of your comfort zone: )

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2007 4:22:11 AM PST
Dan Clements says:
I'll throw another vote in for Vagabonding. If you do decide you need specifics on a country, Lonely Planet has always done right by us.

Happy travels!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2007 12:49:19 PM PST
You might want to look at The Practical Nomad ( also selling on Amazon. It is lighter on the "stories" but more covers the what you need to know to take a backpacking trip around the world. Unlike the guide books, this speaks to the essentials of backpacking (e.g., what to pack, how to get somewhere, how to evaluate different travel options, how to pay for the trip). I found it very detailed and informative - even for experienced backpackers.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2007 8:47:32 PM PST
Bookworm says:
Try CH is for Chocolate: Individually wrapped tastes of Switzerland.

CH Is for Chocolate: Individually Wrapped Tastes of Switzerland

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2007 1:33:03 AM PST
If interested in Africa, you might want to check out Dead Men Don't Leave Tips about a 7-month overland journey across Africa. Or, take a look at Miles from Nowhere, a story about one couple's round the world bicycle trip. Hope this helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2007 6:35:13 PM PST
Sidney H. says:
I second the recommendation for The Practical Nomad. I read it before my first backpacking trip around the world and found it immensely useful.

Once I have decided on a destination, I generally use Lonely Planet guides. They are good for the nitty-gritty details, but short on pictures (which I find useful for deciding where to go.) I find the picture-filled Eyewitness guides to be a good complement to the Lonely Planet guides.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2007 10:45:09 AM PST
D. Wooters says:
Definitely check out The Practical Nomad.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2007 5:02:39 PM PST
for a movie i would recommend Americano or L'Auburge Espagnole (sp?) or Euro trip, or even national lampoons european vacation.... these are funny but give you a good idea of some of little things that make travel so great!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2007 6:17:44 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 14, 2007 6:18:03 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2007 10:00:31 PM PST
M. Burkhardt says:
Try this one, Grant: TRAVELOGUE FROM AN UNRULY YOUTH -- it's on and it sounds like what you might enjoy; it sure fits your criteria -- 5 months, what to pack, backpacking everywhere

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 25, 2007 5:41:33 PM PST
Sarah says:
"Nine Hills to Nambonkaha" by Sarah Erdman is a great book about the author's Peace Corps position in Africa...a little different than traveling really, but still an interesting book that delves into a lot of the cultural issues of living and traveling in a different place. Highly recommended--I felt like I was there with her.

As for general advice for long-term travel, the Practical Nomad guide is a great book, as others have mentioned. Also, try talking to other travelers on the Lonely Planet chat boards, as they can be helpful for the things you're wondering about. They can also surely recommend travel account books for the particular regions your most interested in.

Have fun!!! Traveling is wonderful!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2007 3:15:22 PM PST
R. Fisher says:

Take a look at WorldTrek: A Family Odyssey (ISBN 1-56825-104-1). Besides talking about the year we spent traveling around the world with our two kids there are a lot of planning tips and travel insight that we would have appreciated before we set out on our journey. I can tell you first hand what you are getting yourself into. It is the most powerful life changer you will ever experience.

Number one is to have some sort of purpose in mind. Read extensively, especially history of the areas you think you might want to go to. Choose a language or two that you want to become famililar with. There is no cheaper source of entertainment than leaning a language and it is a great way to get to know people along the way.

Make a budget, otherwise you will have no idea how you are doing and you may find out you have to cut your trip short. If you have any questions send me an email

Best wishes,

Russ Fisher

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2007 6:55:52 PM PST
Micah Adams says:
Read Sabina Shalom's ' A MARRIAGE SABBATICAL" - her 6 month, 50,000 mile journey right around the world (she traveled eastwards and never turned back) answers many of your questions about simple travel, meeting and getting to know peoples of other nations and cultures. What she took in her pack and how even for a fancy reception she had the little black dress etc. The fashionable restaurant stuff was not for her, nor the usual exorbitantly expensive "guided tour" traps or the rest stops for the inevitable, inexahustible shopper. She learned not only how the other half lives, but discovered herself along the way.
A fascinating, incredible journey, told with warmth. candor and good humor. Read the reviews on SAmazon - all excelllent. Have sent this to many friends as a gift for any occasion - they've all loved it......Read it for yourself.

Micah Adams

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2008 7:27:54 AM PST
M. Bowman says:
There is a great book called "A Sense of the World" about a blind man in the late 1700's and all of his treks and adventures. It won't serve as a practical reference but should help kindle the spirit of adventure and add a little perspective regarding overcoming obstacles. Very entertaining, well written piece of non-fiction.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 3, 2008 11:22:27 PM PST
Hello, if your looking for an informative journal/blog check this site out
This dude is a great writer and he blogs his 16 month RTW trip on a daily blog. Its informative, funny, and interesting. Best of all its a free read. He inspired me to take a mini 3 month backpacking trip thru NZ,AUS, Thailand, Phil, and HK. Good luck if you decide to go.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2008 2:55:48 AM PST
AzurAlive says:
Not exactly a journal, but both a practical guide and an inspirational one: Vagabonging, by Rolf Potts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2008 1:23:02 AM PST
AKS says:
Read, the "On the Cheap" series, like "Africa on the Cheap". Also, if you are traveling to Centeral and/or South America, you MUST have the most recent edition of "The South American Handbook" it will save your life, time after time. When it gives you a warning OBIDE BY IT!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2008 6:33:04 AM PST
I did it for more than ten years. Ignorance is bliss, and planning is a drag. Just go with your whims and whatever opportunites present themselves.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2008 7:49:21 AM PST
Tim Leffel says:
Here's a list of the ones most people in your situation end up buying or getting from the library while planning:

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2008 6:39:59 AM PST
KarenB says:
Not a book but rather a website, the following is chock-full of advice, photos, and day-to-day experiences of a young couple who traveled around the world a couple years ago. It's a great site, well worth checking out.
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Discussion in:  Travel forum
Participants:  78
Total posts:  90
Initial post:  Oct 30, 2007
Latest post:  Mar 18, 2013

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