There´s a couple of lessons I learned along the way.
Some of them I wish I knew when I started travelling so here they are for your benefit:
As far as equipment goes there are some things that are mandatory – a good backpack, a good head torch and a good sleeping bag.
The backpack should be big enough to carry all your clothes and equipment but just so. Too big and you get a tendency to fill it with souvenirs and badly packed clothes. Also you should get a backpack that opens the front side as well as the top so you don’t have to go through all your clothes to get those socks at the bottom.
The head torch is important to carry but easy to pick. Just pick one with enough power and a red light mode so you don’t attract the mosquitos and moths at night.
As for the sleeping bag you should go for the smallest and lightest. Pay attention to the comfort temperature and match it to the coldest place you’re going. I´m not gonna go into details about down vs synthetic but you can just go into google and search for it. I´m sure you will get a lot of discussions on the pros and cons.
If you´re going into overlanding tours this is pretty much all you need. They usually provide a tent and mattress but be sure to check because some long term tours don´t.
To pack clothes I use One Zip Freezer Bags (check here to see what they look like). These are the best because they keep clothes tight, easily manageable, wrinkle and smell free and they are cheap. All you have to do is fold a shirt, put it inside the bag and close it. Try it and you won´t regret it!
The rest of the stuff I usually use spare compartments in my backpack. Exception made to my laptop that gets carried in a special laptop bag so it can go inside the backpack without sustaining damage.
I take my iPhone with my Portuguese cell card, a macbook pro for photo work and an iPad to read on the road. The problem with all of this is the weight and i´m still searching for alternatives. When i find the answer i´ll update the page. :)
I also take a small wifi hotspot so I can buy a local cell data card and have it provide internet to all the gadgets. This is the cheapest way to have Internet on the go.
The way I choose my flights is easy enough.
First I go to momondo and search for available flights around the dates I want. This gives me an idea of the medium price for that flight as well as the airlines that operate that particular route.
Next I go to the airline’s web page and search for those specific flights because they are usually cheaper bought directly off the airline than using intermediaries.
I have to leave here a special note to Emirates since I have been using them extensively. Emirates has really good price rates for Asia and Africa and the service is excellent. Furthermore the ticket is valid for one year and if you feel like changing you return flight it is very easy and usually cheap (around 70 euro).
For local flights I usually ask the locals before I make a buy. People are the best source of information!
I choose my tours based on the country I want to visit and the duration of the tour. Availability is always a factor so be sure to check it before you start making arrangements. Another factor is the tour group. A good tour group makes or breaks the tour so be sure to enquire about the nationalities and the average age group.
Last but not least be sure to check the reviews for the tour operator in order to get an idea of how it´s going to be like. You can also check some of the reviews I have in my Tour Reviews Page.