PLANNING YOUR BACKPACKING TRIP
There's no shortage of trip planning tips online, so we won't repeat it all here but we will point you to some of our favourite resources.
But first, here are some answers to a few of the questions we hear most:
Should I book hostels ahead of time?
Generally speaking, we do advise booking ahead if you can, even if it's only a day or two ahead of time. This is especially important in the high season or if there's a special event or holiday underway. Hostels can and do get fully booked, so to avoid disappointment, book ahead. However, at less busy times, you may luck into securing a bed just by walking in. You can book HI hostels in Canada right here on hihostels.ca without any fees or deposits, or book hostels around the world at hihostels.com.
Should I buy a membership before I leave Canada or when I arrive?
Canadians can buy an HI membership in most countries, but you'll be doing yourself a big favour by buying one in Canada before you leave. Not only does it ensure you're prepared ahead of time, buying a membership from HI-Canada means your details will be registered here, so if you lose your card you can easily order a replacement and you can login to update your details at any time.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes and YES! When you need it, travel insurance can save you a TON of money and there's no way to know if you'll need it. So we say, it's better to be safe than sorry. Find out more about low-cost travel insurance that'll meet your needs as a backpacker.
USEFUL TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES FOR BACKPACKERS
Beyond that, check out some of our favourite trip-planning resources to help you plan the details of your hostelling adventure. For figuring out what to pack [is there a favourite? I'm out of the loop!] For the low-down on staying safe abroad, check out the Government of Canada's travel.gc.ca for country reports and safety tips. For on-the-ground advice about planning your itinerary, head to Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forums.