A Backpackers Checklist

Going travelling is an amazing adventure. Seeing the world and expanding your horizons with new cultures, landscapes and dialects can often be a life changing experience. For Americans backpacking through Europe is a traditional rite of passage that many of the young adults across the Atlantic partake in. For a lot of Brits travelling east or west is the norm, either during a gap year between college and university, or post university to reward the achievement of getting a degree. Since Alex Garlands seminal backpacker novel The Beach, Thailand has become a hot spot destination. To ensure a safe and hopefully smooth trip there are several serious preparations to take care of before departing.

You may want to travel without having to worry about finding work. In which case saving a considerable amount of funds will be essential.
Its certainly nice to be able to relax on beaches, drink in exotic bars and dance in new nightclubs without being anxious of having to make it into work the next day. So drawing up a budget is vital if your savings are going to last the duration of your trip. Work out how much money youve got, deduct essentials like accommodation, flights and food and then youll know what sort of cash youve got to play with each day. Some backpackers get work while they travel, either in bars or restaurants or telesales positions. This is a good option if you plan on staying in one location for an extended period.

Travel insurance. This is another essential item to plan for before you fly off. If the worse happens and you do have an accident in a foreign country medical bills without insurance have bankrupted unfortunate backpackers in the past. Many employers who are keen to keep an employee who wants to go travelling will offer them international medical insurance as a benefit and incentive to keep them in the company. This is especially popular with multinational companies who have offices across the world.

Many backpackers leave accommodation until when they reach their destination which can prove to be a big mistake. Booking a hostel or hotel for when you arrive at a new location takes a load off your mind. There is nothing worse than arriving somewhere you dont know, in the middle of the night , weighed down with heavy backpacks and wandering around trying to find somewhere to stay. If you know someone, or are travelling with some whos familiar with the area then you dont have to worry so much. But if youre alone and dont know the town youre arriving at, having a pre-booked hostel can alleviate the burden.

Travelling the world with a backpack is a fantastic eye opening experience, just do it safely and be well prepared.

Cheap Car Hire Cape Town

Cape Town is blessed with as many discount car rental companies as Johannesburg has, although the market is not as large. We have searched for a cheap car rental company that has discounted car hire in Cape Town, which will also let you rent a car with no credit card even if you are a backpacker/student and only 18 years old and have just received your drivers licence. Discount Student cars are hard to come by, as the norm in Cape Towns car rental industry has been that you were only able to rent a car if you were 23 years of age or in some cases 25 years old and in the possession of a credit card. On top of that, you had to be the owner of the credit card. Now, some car renters have tried to get discount car hire using someone else’s card, yet this is deemed as fraud and can not be accepted by any car rental company. We found no cheap car rental for cash in our internet search. We have however, identified a need for hiring cars with no credit card and did some research. We discovered that people were searching for ‘credit card car rentals in Cape Town’, as well as ‘cash car rental Cape Town airport’.

There is a new trend in Europe, one that is spreading to other parts of the world. Shops, retailers and international companies are accepting fewer credit cards; instead they prefer you to pay by debit card or cash. A recent survey from major international retail stores in Europe revealed that this trend is increasing with the result being that a growing amount of visitors to Cape Town and South Africa are in need of a discount car hire in Cape Town; and are not able to rent a car as they do not own a credit card. Drive Africa has made it our mission to source and find reputable companies in Cape Town that can offer either discounted cash car rentals or debit card car rentals at very attractive prices ( in addition, to also keep their cash deposits to a minimum). To rent a car in Cape Town with discount was difficult to find.

This in itself was quite a mission, as every car rental company we approached was reluctant to offer their cars for rent to backpackers or students in Cape Town without the security of a local or international credit card. We approached some of the smaller cheap car hire companies in Cape Town and convinced them that this product is needed in Cape Town. This is a trend which stems from Europe and it is only going to increase. An increasing amount of foreign visitors to Cape Town would be looking to make use of discount car hire for cash or would like to use their debit cards for paying their rental car. Some rental companies listened to us and we were able to convince them to allow cash car hire for students and backpackers for discounted car hire in Cape Town with a few provisos that they set. Click here for further information pertaining to cheap car hire in Cape Town.

The discount rental company would need proof of residence while visiting Cape Town, as they will take a copy of the air ticket, ID or passport and take cash deposit to secure the cheap car hire with no credit card. We have therefore identified some companies and are now able to exclusively offer discount car hire to our clients, namely students in Cape Town, a package only available to Drive Africa at this stage. We have made sure that even the cheapest car hire or low priced car rental that we offer on our website has all the correct, government approved insurances that come with the rental, so that if you have an accident or your car is stolen while you are renting it, it is always correctly insured to completely covers you. Remember, these are not 4×4 rental cars. Please go to 4×4 hire South Africa and choose the car of your choice that suits your needs.

So if you hire a car from Drive Africa using cash or your debit card, you can hire with peace of mind knowing that that the cheap car rental in Cape Town that you were searching for is right here, allowing you to book with confidence. Drive Africa also has a financial guarantee in place as well as being proud members of Cape Town Tourism and members of the Tourism body SATSA (Southern Africa Tourism Services Association) that has a financial guarantee in place for renters of Drive Africa and they in turn have bestowed our site with the international website body Dot Travel approved sites stamp. They assure through their accreditation, that we are a fully fledged car rental company offering discount car hire and are not just a virtual company on the internet. A bonus is that the minimum age for student car hire in Cape Town or a backpacker car rental is 18 and all you need is a valid drivers license; as there is no minimum time that you have had to have your drivers license for.

We welcome you to Cape Town, and especially to come and rent a discount car in Cape Town from us. This will definitely make your stay an unforgettable one.

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Backpacker Safety – What Are The Basic Helps

ATMs are the best way to get cash when you are a backpacker. You should check on your bank”s atm rates when in foreign countries so that you can keep track of what fees you will pay for conversion rates and withdrawals… not budgeting these can cause you to overestimate the money you have left. You also need to find an appropriate balance between withdrawing large amounts of cash at once so as to reduce your atm fees and staying safe with the amount of cash you have on hand.

Atms are everywhere. You can find them in every city at every major train station or airport and in every bank. Since it is unlikely that your local bank will have a branch in another country you can use any ATM you see and still endure the same fees. Almost every ATM offers a multitude of language choices too so you can select English. Nowadays many ATMS will read your card and automatically select the language option.

Be cautious of using your credit card at ATMs as a backpacker . Only use your debit card. If you use your credit card the withdrawal will be treated as a cash advance which will give you major fines. You want to use a debit card with a 4 digit pin. ATMS in Europe will not accept codes longer than that or any codes with letters in them. Make sure the card you have has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it. These are accepted just about everywhere.

Before you head out as a backpacker consider the following banks for the best ATM terms:

Capital One:

There is no currency conversion charge with Capital One and you are charged a flat fee of just $1.5 per ATM transaction.


There is a 2% currency conversion charge and only $1.50 per transaction.

Keep a backup card. The worst thing that can happen to you during an ATM transaction is for your card to be eaten or lost. If it is eaten you need to call and have it cancelled immediately and then get a new one. Be sure to have a backup card to tide you over during emergencies such as these.

Are you planning on doing a trip where you will include backpacking to different countries? If the answer is yes, then you better make sure that you find yourself cheap backpacker travel insurance. Travel insurance is a must if you are planning on leaving the country. Without backpacker insurance you are not covered if you get sick or have an accident while you are away.

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A Girls Guide To Backpacking

Every year, backpacking is getting safer and easier, so much so that more females are choosing to travel alone. Hostels, travel companies and activity services have had to do adapt and thankfully they are doing so quite nicely.

However, travelling alone, particularly if you are a woman, is more risky and potentially hazardous than in a group. But fundamentally it is more rewarding and the freedom it offers is unparalleled.

Backpackers are the most at-risk group of travellers, so make sure you take the necessary steps in protecting yourself against the unknown and first and foremost, get insurance. Many insurers also have 24-hour international emergency help lines that could prove invaluable.

Secondly, keep in touch. If you are travelling alone you will need to check in with home via email or text message regularly. Make sure your phones roaming capability is activated and find out if your network provider offers any special discounts on international calling.

Dont bother packing good-quality clothes and forget high-heeled shoes. Firstly, you will be laughed out of the hostel if you turn up in stilettos and a LBD, but secondly save the space for something more useful such as a first aid kit, a decent pair of trainers that you can walk long distances in and a waterproof rain mac. Travelling clothes are a fashion statement in themselves, so enjoy the fact that you dont need to wear foundation, heels and a dress everyday.

Toiletry wise, you can buy shampoo, conditioner etc when you arrive at your destination for much cheaper than you can at home, plus you will save weight at the airport. However, sanitary items and medicines are worth buying at home, as in certain countries in Africa for example, you can have problems getting these.

Hair straighteners are becoming more commonplace in a girls backpack; however, its worth noting that theyre only really useful if your travels take you to Europe, or Aus and New Zealand. Elsewhere the voltage will be too low and power unreliable so theyll be a waste of space.

Hair-ties on the other hand are useful. Humidity and hair are not good bed fellows so keep your hair tied back and give centre partings a miss as youll risk burning your scalp ouch!

You can cut back on clothes but not medicines so travel light. Youll also need to save space for all that shopping youll be doing.