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Backpacker Stories in Australia

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Please tell us a bit of yourself Chris-Stevens-Backpack-Australia.jpg

 

I’m 25 years old, I'm from the UK, I love surfing and photography. I have spent the last 3 years travelling around 6 continents, I have covered loads of countries and random adventures! And of course I’m telling it all over my travel blog on BackpackerBanter.com. 

 

Why did you choose a backpacker lifestyle?

 

I totally blame my passion for surfing and photography! As a surfer you're always after the best waves and I think surfing goes with travelling. And if you add a degree in photography, you have a natural born traveller! 

 

What is the most amazing person/place that you have encountered so far?

 

That’s a tough one! I’ve met so many great people on the road that I could never pick a favorite! In terms of place, I've got great memories of the Galapagos Islands. From the crazy unique animals to the incredible landscapes and beaches…I could have stayed there forever!

 

Which backpacker legend you have found to be a misconception?

 

It’s not really a misconception but most travellers are worried about travelling alone. I heard that a lot whilst working as a travel agent – people are scared to meet nobody. It’s completely the opposite once you’re on the road, it’s even hard sometimes to find your own personal space and time!

 

What are your most preferred country you have visited and why?

 

Cambodia is on the top of my destination list – it ticks all the boxes : lots of culture, great food, beautiful beaches, friendly people and it's so cheap! New Zealand and Switzerland have their share of natural beauty though – everywhere you look in those places is a perfect postcard! Australia still has a special space in my life too – it was the first place I ever visited and it’s full of great memories – especially Byron Bay where I lived and worked for six months.

 

Tell us about your road trip in Australia...

 

I love road trips! My first big road trip was Perth to Darwin in West Coast Australia with 7 other travel mates, it was an amazing experience driving through the outback, waking up in paradise places and having some fun time on the road! I then decided to buy a campervan and live in it for the rest of my time in Australia. I saved money, I had all the flexibility I wanted as a backpacker and I had time to explore amazing places. Most recently though I actually drove around New Zealand with my parents – that was an experience!

 

How do you plan your travels? 

 

Well I used to spend a lot of time reading guidebooks. These days though I do tend to improvise. The more I’ve travelled the more comfortable I feel travelling with no plan and simply going where life takes me! I’ve got a great network of friends across the world now, so I’ve got plan Bs and sofa beds if needed!

 

Do you prefer travelling alone or with travel mates?

 

I’ve travelled alone, with a group of friends and with a girlfriend. Personally I prefer travelling alone, but it’s never truly on my own – I always end up meeting people and travelling around with them for a while, but that’s what backpacking is all about!

 

What is the one most underestimated thing that backpackers forget to bring?

 

Money! Getting the right budget will make or break your experience. Also, getting a good bank card that you can use in multiple countries is a must do! I use a Travel Currency Card which is great value.

 

What are 5 things you cannot travel without?

 

Surf, Sun, my Mac, rehydration sachets and good travel music!

 

Where do you spend and save money during your trips? 

 

Booze is surely my biggest expense on the road! Partying is fine in places like Asia where beers are super cheap, but in places like Australia where it’s 3 times more expensive it can really eat into your budget! I save a lot while surfing actually - I’ve got all my gears with me so I can enjoy surfing for free!

 

What are the biggest challenges while travelling for long periods of time?

 

Again, it's money! Learning to get the right budget, save and plan are key to long term travel. I’m always looking for ways to save money and get good deals...

 

How has backpacking changed you?

 

Travelling had such a big impact on my life. Being on the road made me independant, confident, tolerant – generally I've become a better person I think! I’ve learnt so many life lessons meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures and it’s made me life rich!

 

What inspires you to keep on travelling as a backpacker?

 

Why not?! People think you need to spend your whole life working 9 to 5 in an office, it's not true!  My bucket list is getting longer the more I travel !

 

Why do you think your travel blog is so successful?

 

Hard work! I’ve been writing travel stories for nearly 4 years so there’s a lot of great content on there – from travel photos, random stories and lots of travel tips… I'm trying to give a good mix of advice and adventure. I'm doing my best to inspire people by my adventures but also to give the tools to help plan their own experience.

 

How do you see the backpacker lifestyle or even taking a gap year abroad?

 

Obviously with the financial crisis people are travelling less but I think it shouldn’t be that way. There are several options like Working holiday visas that allow travellers to work abroad. Personally if I was a business owner I’d value a gap year more highly than a university degree.

 

What is the best piece of advice you can give to aspiring backpackers?

 

Save, plan, book, quit, leave. It’s that simple! If you really want to travel you have to make it happen. What's the worse that could happen!? If you have no or little travel experience you should start with Australia. It's a year round destination. Sure the summer season brings the sun, but winter temperatures (especially in the north) are not that bad! Places like Byron Bay are so much better when a little quieter, everything is cheaper and you get to enjoy the beaches without the crowd! 

 

What are you currently working on?

 

Well I’ve just helped relaunch a collaborative blog between me a 4 other travelers so I’m excited to see the outcome. We’re all on very different trips so it will have a great mix of adventures! And I'm always looking for new travel opportunities :)

 

What are your travel plans after Australia?

 

I’m flying to Indonesia for a month of surfing and exploring. Then I might stay in Asia for a while – but nothing is set in stone!

 

Any other tips for budget travellers?

 

Get prepared before hitting the road. This doesn't mean booking everything, but researching what you want to do, ways to save money and an idea of your destination. Everything may change as soon as you arrive, but it's good to have a rough plan.

 

Advice on how to meet like minded travellers?

 

Be open to new people and get involved in social events like hostel parties – everyone is on the same page when travelling. People want to explore and meet other travellers, so don’t be scared to introduce yourself!

 

Where can we find you online?

 

My main blog is hosted on BackpackerBanter.com. You can also find me on facebook over at facebook.com/backpackerbanter or Twitter via @backpackerbanter for travel tips in Australia.

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