Backpacking can really open your eyes to the world, but perhaps the hardest decision to make before leaving on an adventure is deciding what to pack!
Here are a few words of advice as to how to make the most your time away:
Lay out all the things you want to pack, then half it.
Take twice as much money as you think you'll need.
Make an effort to fit in with the locals - a few words of the relevant language will be well appreciated.
Allow yourself to follow your intuition a little - guided trips are great, but discovering something new for yourself is amazing.
Invest in a good travel guide as it is invaluable to have a bible of information close at hand.
Learn from fellow travelers - you will meet people who are on the same journey as you.
Its always better to leave valuables at home - buy a cheap watch and keep your money in a money belt.
One exception to the valuables rule is your camera - Backpacking is all about memories and photographs are the best way of preserving them.
A journal is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is a great way to reflect on your experiences as they happen.
Above every other item of clothing there are two essentials - a pair of travel shoes that you can live in and a light packaway rain jacket (unless you are going to the Sahara!).