A friend from high school and I decided that when we graduated we would go on a 3+ month backpacking trip to Central America, Florida, Puerto Rico and end in California. Nobody believed our outlandish dream since this was long before the days of never ending travel blogs, HD cameras, drones, and Instagram. But we were set on it and once we bought our tickets a few months later, we were airborne. The multi-destination ticket was the first time I realized 1 of many possible ways to travel surprisingly cheap if you spend a little time researching first. We took a flight from Washington D.C. to El Salvador, El Salvador to Costa Rica, Costa Rica to Florida, Florida to Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico to California, all for $1200. And to our young frugal traveller amazement for some unknown reason, which I doubt still works this way today, we were graced with an upgrade to 1st class for every single flight.
Lucky for me I celebrated my 18th birthday in El Salvador so every flight following included as many alcoholic beverages I could consume in the given time frame before landing. Also, luckily for me my friend was willing and eager to tape a large ball of hash, I may or may not have supplied, to his upper thigh in a glass jar, which lasted until the end of our time in El Salvador.
I arrived to El Salvador with a jam packed hiking backpack that clocked in at literally 80 pounds, possibly heavier. Quite a comical site to watch me try to put on after pulling off the conveyor belt based on random bystanders reactions. By the end of the trip mostly everything I had initially thought important was long gone, never to be seen again or missed and I was happily down to a 15-20 pound bag for the rest of my travels. Little did I know that willingly (as well as sometimes unwillingly) shedding personal belongings would become a constant theme of my life in the following years. So my main travel tip, which took me many more than a few tries to finally get right, is travel light. Extremely light. So light it makes you uncomfortable at first. It makes life on the road way less stressful and much more pleasant.