Travel experts say whilst rare, backpackers should follow some simple guidelines to ensure their trip of a lifetime is a safe and happy one. Thousands of all ages go backpacking each year in search of fun, adventure and freedom.
But almost a third of British people who travel abroad independently are likely to face a major problem while they are away. And younger travellers are twice as likely to get into some sort of trouble.
So to stay safe, take a few basic safety precautions >
Stay in touch with your family, friends or guardians.
Try not to walk alone at night and avoid unlit streets.
If hitchhiking do so in pairs and avoid hitchhiking at night.
Do not tell strangers where you are staying.
Don't carry lots of money around. Leave valuables in a safety deposit box at your hostel or accomodation and just take out what you need.
Carrying a mobile phone could make you a target for a robbery. Never resist violent theft.
Plan ahead and be informed about the country or countries you are visiting before you go. Use guidebooks for information and to carry with you for easy reference.
Be aware that you're not only at risk from crime when travelling but also of being accused of a crime, such as drugs smuggling or possession. Many who have never been away from Europe before don't realise the severity of sentences overseas.
One in five independent travellers sometimes go abroad without taking out insurance, according to a MORI poll carried out last year.
Nearly half of those who had had problems while abroad admitted they could have been better prepared a survey for the Foreign Office found.
The most common problems experienced were falling ill (13%) , missing holidays (9%) , being robbed/ a victim of a personal crime (both 6%).
Younger travellers were twice as likely to get ill (27%), get hurt (14%), or become caught up in a civil disturbance (13% against a 5% average).
But the message for all travellers is not to be put off travelling as most people do travel safely and come back with fantastic memories that will last a lifetime.