If you’re planning a road trip around the UK this summer, then here are seven absolute essentials you’ll need for a safe, stress-free journey.

Driving Licence

This is by far the most important as you can’t go anywhere without it! Ensure your driving licence is up-to-date. If you need to change any details, such as your address or surname, you’ll need to fill in the relevant form and return your old licence but you can still drive while you wait for your new licence to arrive.

You’ll also want to check that your driving licence covers you for the category of vehicle you’ll be driving, especially if you’re hiring a vehicle, such as a campervan for your trip.


A close second in order of importance is insurance. You need to ensure that you’re covered by the appropriate car, bike or motorhome insurance before your trip. It’s a good idea to keep your insurance documents and policy number with you when travelling in case you need to report an accident or make a claim.

GPS and Map

Most people use a GPS device or maps app of some kind to help them navigate their route but it’s also a good idea to pack a hardcopy of a map just in case your phone battery runs out or you lose signal.

Hands-Free Kit

It is illegal to hold your phone whilst driving in the UK, however, it can be used for navigation purposes, provided it’s stored in a hands-free mount and doesn’t block your view of the road or traffic in front of you.

Therefore, if you intend to use your phone during your road trip, whether to utilise its sat-nav capabilities or listen to music or take important calls, you must invest in a hands-free kit that will allow you to glance at your phone screen and operate it with voice commands or via the steering wheel so you can keep your focus firmly on the road ahead.

Phone Charger

There’s nothing worse than your phone battery dying at an inopportune moment during your road trip so make sure you pack a charger that can be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter or USB port to charge your phone as needed.

First Aid Kit

You should always carry a well-stocked first aid kit in your vehicle in case of accidents during your trip. Typically, a basic first aid kit should contain waterproof plasters in a range of sizes, a pair of gloves and a pair of scissors, sterile gauze, and an assortment of dressings as a minimum.

Food and Drink

There’s no denying that people have a tendency to get hangry during road trips, particularly if they’re stuck in traffic or broken down. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a selection of drinks and snacks available to keep you going until your next pit stop!

If you’re preparing for your first backpacking adventure, you may be feeling a mix of excitement and nerves. A round-the-world trip could show you incredible places and cultures and help you meet new people, but you’ll also be pushed out of your comfort zone. With unfamiliar regions, languages and laws to contend with, it’s a good idea to keep safety in mind.

After all, while research shows holidays allow us to escape the stresses of everyday life, backpacking can create its own worries. But keep in mind that the world isn’t generally a dangerous or unkind place. Armed with the right information and preparation, you’ll be able to set out on the right foot.

Equip yourself with 5 essential safety tips below!

Do your research

Being spontaneous while travelling is a great way to meet people and experience the unexpected. But doing some basic research beforehand will help you feel more comfortable and confident on the move.

Look up things like safe neighbourhoods, local laws and emergency services and common scams. The government’s foreign travel advice hub is a handy resource for any major safety warnings. Familiarise yourself with the area’s wildlife, climate, geography, and any potential hazards. Adequate preparation will help you make informed decisions during the trip, minimising any hazards you come across along the way.

Be hyperaware of your surroundings

There can be a lot of distractions to take in while travelling, especially if you’re in particularly bustling environments. But being hyperaware of both people and your physical surroundings will help you avoid unwanted attention, confrontation and injury.

Accidents happen sometimes. But if something leaves you hurt and isn’t your fault, be it a road accident or a slipping in a shop or restaurant, keep in mind you could claim compensation for your troubles.

Communicate with friends and family

You may be going backpacking to develop a sense of independence. But as much as you might want to escape your ties back home, staying in contact with loved ones will provide reassurance for both parties.

You could give them a rough idea of where you’re expecting to be when. That way if you do go off-grid unexpectedly, you could have help on the way sooner. You could also research the availability of mobile network coverage in your destination, and perhaps consider carrying a satellite phone if you’ll be visiting remote areas.

Pack smartly

Any experienced backpacker will tell you to pack lightly. But you should also invest in a strong, secure bag with hidden pockets, as well as factoring in items like first aid kits and medicine on your packing list.

Similarly, when you’re going out exploring in the day or unwinding at night, make sure to only take what you need. Carrying unnecessary weight will increase your risk of injury, so don’t carry extra valuables if you won’t use them anyway!

Eat and drink carefully

One of the best things about travelling is sampling new and diverse foods. Just try to remember that tap water isn’t safe to drink in many regions and food hygiene standards aren’t the same everywhere!

Foodborne illnesses can be more common in developing countries, so pay extra attention to where your food is coming from. During the planning stage of the trip, remember to check where you’ll be able to find potable water and safe-to-eat food if you’re visiting a destination where water and food are tricky business!

First-timer backpacking safety tips – final thoughts

Backpacking around the world can be a once-in-a-lifetime, transformative experience. These safety tips will stop bumps in the road spoiling your trip!

Cruise ships have become the first choice for vacations for many individuals globally. Studies show that millions of passengers go on cruise vacations annually. 2019 had the highest number, totaling over 27.4 million passengers. 

Imagine stepping aboard a cruise ship that sends you to a world of tranquility and provides an escape from your daily routines. The beautiful ocean views, the soothing sounds of the waves, and the absence of everyday pressures give you a sense of calm and serenity. Cruise vacations offer an ideal setting to unwind, recharge, and find inner peace. They are truly a desirable choice for relaxation and a break from life’s everyday demands.

This article details the immense pleasure and soul-refreshing satisfaction that cruise ships offer, making them popular with people of all ages.

1. Convenience and All-Inclusive Packages

Everyone loves the convenience of all-inclusive packages. With everything bundled into one, from accommodations to meals and entertainment, cruise vacations provide a hassle-free experience. Many travelers head to websites like aquaexpeditions.com, where most details are taken care of, allowing them to relax and enjoy their time onboard. 

The convenience of unpacking once and waking up in a new destination daily is a major draw. The all-inclusive aspect provides value and eliminates the need for constant budgeting, making cruise vacations attractive for most people seeking a seamless and stress-free getaway.

2. Variety of Activities

The variety of activities offered on modern cruise ships greatly drives their popularity among people of all ages. With various options available, including water parks, swimming pools, and sports facilities, cruise ships cater to the active and adventurous. Onboarding fitness centers provide opportunities for young and old individuals desiring to keep fit while at sea. 

Live performances like Broadway-style shows or concerts offer high-quality entertainment for all to enjoy. For those seeking a bit of excitement, onboard casinos provide a thrilling gaming experience. This diverse range of activities ensures everyone, from families to couples and solo travelers, can find something enjoyable and engaging during their vacation.

3. Destination Diversity

Cruise itineraries often encompass multiple cities, islands, or countries. Thus, passengers can embark on an exploration journey without the hassle of separate bookings or extensive travel planning. This convenience appeals to those seeking a diverse and enriching travel experience, as they can visit various destinations on one trip. 

Cruise vacations provide a seamless experience of different cultures, landscapes, and attractions. Whether exploring ancient ruins in one port, lounging on pristine beaches in another, or immersing oneself in vibrant city life at the next stop, there is so much to see and do. This variety of destinations adds excitement and adventure to the cruise experience, making it an enticing option for travelers craving exploration and discovery.

4. Socializing and Networking

Cruise Vacation

Copyright: Gökhan Kara on Pexels

Cruise ships are floating communities, bringing together travelers worldwide. Passengers can meet and connect with like-minded individuals, fostering new friendships and creating lasting memories. The social atmosphere on cruises encourages interaction and bonding, whether it’s striking up a conversation at the poolside, participating in group activities, or joining themed events. 

This aspect particularly appeals to solo travelers seeking a sense of community and companionship during their journey. The shared experiences and diverse backgrounds of fellow passengers contribute to a vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, making cruise vacations an ideal setting for socializing and networking.

5. Family-Friendly Environment

Many cruise ships provide an array of amenities and activities specifically designed to cater to people of all ages. Kid’s clubs and dedicated children’s areas offer a safe and entertaining space for young travelers to engage in age-appropriate activities, make new friends, and have fun under the supervision of trained staff. 

Families and older adults can bond over shared experiences, attend shows, or participate in group excursions at port destinations. The inclusive nature of cruises ensures that there are options and entertainment for everyone across every age, making it an appealing choice for everyone.

Copyright: Tobias Tullius on Pexels I License: CC0 Public Domain

6. Culinary Delights

Cruise ships are known for their exceptional dining options that cater to diverse palates and preferences. From casual buffets with an extensive array of international dishes to specialty restaurants helmed by renowned chefs, the dining experience onboard is a highlight for many travelers.

Young adults can explore a world of flavors and culinary trends, satisfying their adventurous taste buds with a variety of global cuisines. Children can indulge in kid-friendly menus featuring familiar favorites and creative, playful presentations. Older adults can savor gourmet dishes prepared with the finest ingredients, enjoying elegant dining experiences accompanied by impeccable service. 

Whether it’s a sumptuous seafood feast, a decadent dessert buffet, or a fine dining experience at a specialty restaurant, the culinary offerings cater to every age group’s tastes and preferences.

7. Relaxation and Unwinding

Copyright: Tobias Tullius on Pexels

Copyright: Tobias Tullius on Pexels

One big reason why cruise vacations resonate with people across different age grades is the immense relaxation opportunity they provide. Stepping aboard a cruise ship transports passengers to a world of tranquility and escape from their daily routines. Young adults can take a break from their hectic lives, disconnect from technology, and immerse themselves in the serene atmosphere of the ship, allowing their minds and bodies to rejuvenate.

For older adults, cruises provide a chance to unwind and indulge in leisurely activities. They can find solace in the ship’s gentle rocking, which can be therapeutic for the body and mind. Moreover, they can bask in the warm sun on the deck, enjoy a soothing spa treatment, or simply admire the breathtaking ocean views. 

The absence of daily responsibilities and the opportunity to disconnect from the outside world create a serene ambiance that allows for relaxation and rejuvenation.

What’s Your Best Reason For A Cruise?

Cruise vacations have rightfully earned popularity among people of all ages due to their wealth of experiences and advantages. What is your preferred reason for enjoying life’s uncommon beauty with a cruise ship? Whatever it is, you are sure to enjoy an incredible experience and forge lasting memories. 

Envision a land where verdant rainforests meet pristine beaches, where fiery volcanoes tower over bustling cityscapes, and where the call of exotic wildlife echoes in the air. This is Costa Rica, a small Central American country that boasts an astonishing variety of natural wonders and exciting adventures. It’s a place that invites you to embrace the “Pura Vida” lifestyle – a life of simple pleasures, tranquility, and reverence for nature. It’s easy to see why Costa Rica is one of the top backpacking destinations in the world.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature lover, or a history buff, Costa Rica has something to offer. However, navigating this rich landscape can be overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. This guide will shed light on some of Costa Rica’s top destinations for backpackers, helping you plan a trip that will leave you enriched, exhilarated, and yearning for more.

The Jewel of the Pacific: Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio National Park Beach

Manuel Antonio National Park Beach

Located on the Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio National Park is a cherished gem. Despite being the smallest national park in Costa Rica, it is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. It’s home to white-faced capuchin monkeys, howler monkeys, two and three-toed sloths, and a myriad of bird species.

The park offers a unique blend of lush rainforest, white-sand beaches, and stunning coral reefs. Whether you choose to explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, enjoy a refreshing swim, or embark on a snorkeling adventure, Manuel Antonio is sure to captivate your senses.

Venture into the Clouds: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Sky Bridge in Monteverde

Sky Bridge in Monteverde

If you’re intrigued by the mysterious allure of the cloud forest, Monteverde should top your list. The reserve is shrouded in a constant cover of clouds, creating a unique ecosystem brimming with endemic flora and fauna. Discover why Monteverde is a popular destination in Costa Rica for backpackers for many reasons.

From colorful orchids and bromeliads to the elusive quetzal and three-wattled bellbird, biodiversity abounds. Adventurous visitors can explore the forest from a unique perspective via hanging bridges or exhilarating zip-line tours. The serenity of the forest is broken only by the sounds of nature – a constant reminder of the vibrant life that thrives in these clouds.

A Glimpse into History: Guayabo National Monument

Guayabo, Costa Rica's Archaeological Treasure

Guayabo, Costa Rica’s Archaeological Treasure

For those interested in the rich history of Costa Rica, the Guayabo National Monument offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. As Costa Rica’s largest and most important archaeological site, Guayabo unveils the remnants of a pre-Columbian city that was home to a significant civilization until around 1400 AD.

Among the ruins, you can observe ancient aqueducts, tombs, petroglyphs, and mysterious stone paths. A visit to Guayabo is a journey back in time, an opportunity to understand the roots of Costa Rican culture and history.

The Gateway to Adventure: Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano National Park is often synonymous with adventure for Costa Rica tours. Dominated by the impressive Arenal Volcano, the park offers an array of exciting activities. Embark on a hike through the lush forest, explore the ancient lava fields, soak in natural hot springs, or paddle a canoe on the serene Lake Arenal.

At night, you might even get to witness the awe-inspiring sight of lava flowing down the slopes of the volcano. The park also boasts an incredible diversity of wildlife, from vibrant toucans and parrots to sloths and various monkey species.

Relax and Unwind: The Beaches of Guanacaste

Playa Conchal, Guanacaste Costa Rica

Playa Conchal, Guanacaste Costa Rica

For those who long for sun, sand, and sea, the Guanacaste province’s stunning beaches are the perfect antidote to a busy life. This region, located in northwestern Costa Rica, is blessed with some of the country’s most beautiful beaches, each unique in its charm. It’s easy to see why Guanacaste is one of Costa Rica’s top destinations for backpackers.

Playa Conchal, with its shell-studded sand and crystalline waters, is ideal for snorkeling and swimming. Tamarindo Beach is a surfer’s paradise, boasting consistent waves and a lively nightlife scene. For a tranquil retreat, Playa Flamingo offers a serene environment and stunning sunsets.

While in Guanacaste, don’t miss out on a sea turtle nesting tour. The beaches of Ostional and Playa Grande are among the world’s most important nesting sites for various sea turtle species – a truly magical experience to witness.

Top Things to Do in Costa Rica for Backpackers – Final Thoughts

Costa Rica, with its myriad of wonders, beckons adventurers, nature lovers, and culture enthusiasts alike. Its vibrant landscapes promise an escape from the ordinary – a chance to immerse in the raw beauty of nature, indulge in thrilling adventures, and resonate with the rhythms of a rich, captivating culture. Whether you’re exploring the depths of the rainforest, soaking up history, or lazing on a sunny beach, every moment in Costa Rica brings you closer to the essence of ‘Pura Vida’ – the pure life. Pack your backpack and let the spirit of adventure guide you through this enchanting land.


If you’ve never been hiking before, the idea may sound intimidating and physically overwhelming. For smokers especially, hiking can seem like a more intense physical activity than your respiratory system can handle. Yet aside from being a great workout, there are other benefits of hiking that can improve your quality of life. For one, hiking is a great stress reliever, helping you improve your emotional balance and mental health. Hiking is also a great way to spend time with friends and loved ones — having a unified goal on a hike can strengthen relationships and improve your problem-solving skills as a group.

That being said, hiking or backpacking as a smoker will certainly be different compared to a non-smoker’s hiking experience. If you’re interested in trying hiking in the future, this post will be a helpful hiking and backpacking etiquette guide for smokers.

Be considerate and responsible

If the area you plan on hiking through doesn’t have smoking rules or laws, it’s still important to be considerate and responsible as a smoker. When hiking with a partner or a group, for example, be sure to ask if they’re alright with you smoking along the way or at your campsite. Most non-smokers are averse to cigarette smoke and the odor they leave behind, so lighting a cigarette without ensuring they’re okay with it can ruin their hiking experience.

Most importantly, be sure to practice fire safety when smoking on the trail. Littering your cigarette butts can be a fire hazard: leaves or grass can catch fire from their combustible remains, especially if you don’t put them out properly. Additionally, it’s crucial that you dispose of your cigarette butts in the right places to reduce harm to the environment. Cigarette butts aren’t biodegradable and can even endanger wildlife in the area, so keep yours on hand until you reach the nearest trash can.

Switch to smoke-free products

Some places have strict laws against cigarette smoking for hikers and backpackers, so you may have to leave your pack home. However, smoking withdrawal symptoms like headaches and nausea can risk your safety as you hike. To avoid this, consider using alternative nicotine products like pouches and lozenges to cope. The smoke-free nicotine pouches stocked on Prilla go between your gum and upper lip for up to an hour. They’re also spitless and odorless — great for places where the use of traditional tobacco products is frowned upon. Meanwhile, nicotine lozenges are much like regular lozenges. When placed in your mouth, they dissolve in around 20 to 30 minutes, relieving short-term cigarette cravings.

Pouches and lozenges can also be great for hikes because they don’t have the same environmental impact as cigarettes. Most nicotine pouches are sold in tin cans for easy storage and disposal. Some pouch containers even have built-in waste compartments that you can empty and clean out at the end of the day. On the other hand, nicotine lozenges are edible — so you don’t need to worry about how to dispose of them on your hike.

Treat hiking as exercise

Finally, even if you aren’t planning on quitting smoking anytime soon, treating your hiking trip as exercise can significantly improve your experience. On top of improving your mood and well-being and alleviating anxiety and depression, exercise also significantly reduces the mortality of smokers. It’s even considered a smoking cessation alternative, as it helps your cardiovascular and respiratory systems recover from the negative effects of cigarettes.

Additionally, our beginner’s guide to hiking notes that good fitness is essential if you want to enjoy hiking. Treating hiking as exercise can thus help counter the harms of smoking to your body and prepare you for a more pleasant hiking experience. You can also indulge in other sports like football, soccer, and baseball to build a basic level of endurance before your first trek. If you’re not into contact sports, try lighter exercises such as yoga and meditation to be more attuned to your body.

Trail Etiquette for Smokers – Final Thoughts

While hiking and backpacking may not be for everyone, you shouldn’t be deterred just because you smoke cigarettes. Just keep in mind to be courteous to other hikers in your group, especially if they are non-smokers, and to be respectful of the environment you’re hiking in. Bringing smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes can also help you better respect your surroundings and manage withdrawal symptoms that may affect your hiking experience. Most importantly, hiking is a great way to get some physical exercise to keep your body healthy as a smoker.