Travelling the world can be scary, especially since most of us don’t have Liam Neeson to keep us from being Taken. Setting out means new places, new people, and a lot of new experiences. You can expect adventures and lots of interesting characters. Backpacking can be a great way to see the world on a budget. It allows you to enjoy culture during the day and a whole new kind of nightlife after the sun goes down.

While there are a lot of benefits that come with traveling cheap, it also means taking into consideration some extra concerns. If you want to party hard in a strange country, you need to make sure that you can get yourself home in the morning.

What to Pack? What to Wear?

Carrying only what you can get on your back (or in your suitcase) means you can’t live in fear of being an outfit repeater. However, the most useful items aren’t always what you’d expect. Packing smart will let you fit in all the small things that will make being on the road just a little more comfortable.

You’re probably not going to look your greatest after a few months on the road, so don’t pack your best clothes. In fact, packing things that you can leave behind as the weather changes may be your best bet. You’re going to pick up things along the way, so eventually you’ll have to make room. Packing lots of layers means that you can re-wear outer layers while putting smaller things into the wash. It’s also a good way to pack for any weather you might encounter. For going out, bring more skirts and tops than dresses, because they can be mixed and matched. The more of your clothes that match, the better. You should have at least one pair of shoes that is really comfortable, and at least one that will look good in a club. Remember how much space shoes take up, though! Go for something versatile. Last but not least, don’t leave for a rainy country without a coat with a hood. Your cute outfit probably won’t look so cute after all if your mascara is running in the rain.

Along with toiletries, don’t be afraid to bring some makeup, or whatever you need to look hot. You may not be able to look put together all the time, but there’s no reason to abandon all attempts. Bring more of the smaller things, like eyeliner, and less of anything liquid. If you’re packing a lot of make up also bring makeup remover of some kind. Aspirin should also be included, for those long hungover travel days. Always travel with a few pads and/or tampons. You don’t want to be caught without them.

A few other things can make your travel days a lot easier. Instead of buying tons of water bottles along the way, pack a thermos. It can be used for coffee or for water, and will save you a lot over time. If you’re still spending a lot on coffee, buy some instant in a grocery store. There’s free hot water in most hostels. Make sure you have a towel, because not everywhere will provide them. A/C converters for the country you’ll be in are an essential, and so is a luggage lock. It’s also always good to have a bottle opener for both beer and wine handy. Finally, pack a few condoms for the sexy foreign men. It’s better to have them than to wish you did.

Safety First

Traveling as a woman, especially alone, means making safety your first priority. Before you leave home, make sure to research anywhere you are going. Understand where you are and aren’t safe, and how you can reduce any risks. While most of safety is common sense, it’s good to be prepared.

A lot of safety is making sure you know how to get around without ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time. When traveling from place to place, make sure to keep your stuff locked and close to you. Take advantage of when you have Wifi to look up the route to your next hostel. Especially if you’re arriving late, be sure that you know where you’re going. Once you’re settled, pick up a map and get to know the lay of the land.

Safety is also found in numbers, especially if you’re going out. Most hostels have comfortable common areas full of other single travelers. Even if you’re with a friend, one of the best parts of traveling is meeting new people. Get to know a few people so that you can go out in a bigger group. Most people are pretty trustworthy, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly good friendships spring up. You’ll broaden your horizons and make yourself a little more secure at the same time.

If you decide to go home with anyone, be reasonable and careful about it. Since hostels are usually dorm style, you probably can’t bring anyone back to your place. Still, remember that you don’t know the city. Unless you are very confident in your safety, or can sneak off to somewhere a little more “public,” you may want to stick to dance floor make outs or Twitter hook ups that you can meet up with first. Use the same instincts that you’d use at home, and you can enjoy backpacking without putting yourself at too much risk.

Partying on the Road

None of this concern means that you shouldn’t enjoy the nightlife that traveling offers. You probably shouldn’t be the drunkest you’ve ever been, but you don’t have to stay sober. Once you’ve found a group of people that you trust, get ready to see a whole new side of partying. Pregaming is a big part of hostel culture, since it offers both a way to meet people and a way to save some money. Pick up the booze of your choice and soon you’ll be the life of the common room. It’s always easy to make friends by offering them a drink!

Backpacking usually means seeing a lot of different places very quickly, so it’s important to take advantage of things that are both native and unique in the area. If you’re in Italy, drink wine. In Berlin, go to a club. Make sure you know where and when the best nightlife is, since it varies a lot by location. Once you’ve pregamed enough, head to whatever local place sounds most interesting. Pub crawls offer another great way to start the night, and are usually an easy way to meet lots of other travelers who want to party.

It’s easy to pack smart, be safe, and live it up, while you travel. Once you know how to backpack and be smart about it, the whole world awaits!