Tips for Staying Healthy While Backpacking

Backpacking is a broad concept yet has been on the rise for many travelers. For some, it entails low-budget traveling and seizing some of the relatively cheaper but equally stunning locations in various cities and countries. For others, backpacking may mean venturing into the outdoors, blending hiking and backcountry camping, and losing themselves in the beauty of forests and mountains. 

Regardless of which, backpacking means carrying everything you need on your back for an adventure that will help you broaden your horizon and bestows you with new experiences and memories that are meant to last a lifetime. The catch is that you need to stay healthy all throughout the journey to reap such amazing benefits. Getting sick, ill, or injured can quickly turn everything a hundredfold.

Of course, we don’t want that happening to you. So, read on below and discover some of the best tips for staying healthy while backpacking – to ensure that you can relish all the fun in your backpacking journey!

1. Research about your destination.

Is there any prevalent disease you need to be aware of in a specific country? What types of food do they offer in the city? Is tap water safe to drink in your target destination? What are the common risks involved in hiking a specific trail? Answering such questions through proper research equips you with ample knowledge about your destination. That way, you can avoid unpleasant surprises that can put your health in peril. Many tourists often meet mishaps, just because they fail to know more about their destination beforehand.

2. Keep your immunizations and vaccinations up to date.

Part of the researching process about your desired location is knowing what diseases are common to certain regions. Some destinations may expose you to contracting hepatitis, typhoid, diphtheria, malaria, yellow fever, polio, rabies, or tetanus. Be sure to see a doctor at least six weeks prior to your intended trip and get all the necessary shots or boosters for your maximum protection.

3. Travel light.

It might be confusing as it’s earlier mentioned that backpacking means having everything you need in your backpack. Yet, many backpackers make the mistake of bringing too much stuff. They clutter their bags and end up with muscles and back pain during their trip, having to carry around a heavy backpack. The solution is packing smart and bringing only the urban backpacking essentials for your trip. Get a good-sized backpack, organize your things using packing cubes for better storage, and trim down to a few essential clothes and footwear. That way, you can travel light and keep your backpacking trip comfortable and easy.

4. Exercise daily.

A few weeks before you travel, establish an exercise habit that can keep your body fit and healthy for the trip. It can be a simple 15-minute workout daily, a bike ride, a Zumba or yoga routine, or a brisk walk in a park. Doing so not only keeps your body active but also boosts your immune system and helps you stay protected from most illnesses and infections. Be mindful that being on the actual trip doesn’t mean you need to stop exercising. Depending on the physical activities you do on your trip, continue incorporating quick daily exercise routines to keep your body in tip-top condition.

5. Sleep strategically.

A common problem among many backpackers is getting proper sleep, especially when traveling overseas. Jetting off to a foreign land and crossing time zones can quickly ruin anyone’s sleeping patterns. To combat that, try sleeping close to the time zone of your destination a few days before your flight. Through that, your body can pre-adjust, making it easier to adapt once you arrive in the country. Remember, good quality sleep promotes wellness, fueling you to get the most out of your backpacking adventure.

6. Drink lots of water.

Walking around the city, climbing mountains, or strolling from one tourist spot to another can be exhausting. Thus, you need to drink more water to keep yourself hydrated, maintain your energy and feel good. Check if there are sources of safe drinking water in the place you visit. If none, buy reusable water bottles and bring the ample amount you need for your trip. If you’re going on longer hikes, you can opt for a water filtration system that can help you get access to safe drinking water.

7. Eat right.

Healthy eating is one of the hardest things to do when traveling. However, it’s vital to eat right to ensure that your body has the right nutrition and sufficient amount of energy you need. To do that, steer away from junk food and focus on consuming healthy and delicious snacks, such as dried fruit, food and protein bars, trails, and nuts. If you’re moving around cities, head to eateries or restaurants that offer healthier options rather than heading to the nearest fast-food chain. That way, you not only keep your body healthy during your travel but ensure that you’re still fit at the end of your trip.

8. Protect your skin.

No matter where your destination is or the activity you’re doing, make sure that your skin is protected from the sun. The last thing you want is to suffer from sunburns or blisters, conditions that are incredibly unavoidable. Bring sunscreen and wear protective gear, such as sunglasses, hats, and long-sleeved clothes that will minimize your exposure and effects of the harmful sun rays. Remember, your skin doesn’t only burn in hot locations. You can experience sunburns even if you’re in colder mountains, ski slopes, or when exploring bodies of water. So, make your skin sun-safe on all occasions.


From visiting beautiful countries and experiencing different cultures in the cheapest way possible to hiking mountain ranges, or camping in rainforests – all while carrying and depending on the gear on your back – the backpacking’s true definition can vary from one person to another. What’s certain is that you need to stay healthy to enjoy and tuck away memories from these amazing places. So, pack away and always stay fit – the world is waiting for your adventures.