Basically, don’t leave without a medical check-up : exploring your adventurous side is all well and good but it’s best to be prepared for every eventuality
Keep a scanned copy of your important documents in your inbox (passport, visa, health record, etc.), which will make things much easier for you should you lose any of them.
Low-cost accommodation :
Campsites. Come prepared and ask locals for tips and visit the local tourist information office.
•Couchsurfing has become a popular way of finding a place to stay. You get to stay free of charge with a local !
• Youth hostels : you can find inexpensive beds in shared dormitories in all four corners of the planet.
Are you tempted by a cash-in-hand job? Bad idea! Unless you know the law inside out, we advise against undeclared work—you don’t want to see the inside of a prison cell !
A better idea is to apply for a Work Holiday Visa (PVT), (or Programme Vacances Travail (PVT) in France), a programme that allows you to work to fund your trip (15 or so participating destinations). Get the low down from thousands of other pvtists on :
Or find a summer job. Check out the Information Jeunesse network which organises a summer job fair in spring. http://www.jobs-ete.com/
Or why not opt for WWOOFing (World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), a great way to donate your time to a variety of tasks working for a farmer at an agricultural concern (garden, kitchen garden, orchard, flower garden, organic farm or with animals). You labour for several hours a day unpaid in exchange for bed and board. WWOOFing is an alternative way of life and travelling, an opportunity to get closer to the land and the people whose livelihood it is, often in rural areas. www.wwoof.net
You are looking to do some volunteer work in the humanitarian sector..
This is a great way of showing solidarity with vulnerable people and giving your life a sense of purpose, but be warned, to avoid pitfalls and disappointment, make sure you do your research and plan properly. A piece of advice: start by helping with a more ‘modest’ cause near you (Croix Rouge, Resto du Cœurs, Secours Populaire Français, etc.) before investing yourself on a longer-term project abroad.
Back-packing is an adventure which may lack a proper structure but offers an unbelievable personally and culturally enriching experience! If you are planning to go not affiliated to a programme or with a specific goal in mind, a little preparation and some idea of what you want to do will stand you in good stead.