First-time Backpacker: A refreshing how-to guide for the world’s travel junkies.

Alright guys, I’m here with a book review and I’m going to start out with a BIG disclaimer: I did not get paid to write this evaluation. I’m not even friends with the author, but he seemed like a cool dude and as he harks from England, I couldn’t leave a co-UK citizen hanging…so there you have it!

Basically, Shaun Rafferty’s back story is your stereotypical lost soul, young dude, adventure seeking plotline, and this book is basically a culmination of his vast backpacking experience packaged into a how-to guide (of sorts) on how you too can become a world traveler.

Right off the bat, I’ll give First-time Backpacker 3 ½ out of 5 stars. Admittedly, I didn’t read the whole thing, BUT I did read sections of the book I felt would set it apart from others. In my defense, I see it as a reference guide, to be consulted in times of trouble or at specific times during the travel planning process. But, of course, if you want to read the whole thing, be my guest!

I know, you’re probably thinking, “geez, do we really need another how-to travel guide out there? Don’t we all know how to pull out our credit cards and book the trip of a lifetime?”

The answer, unequivocally, is yes, we DO need another travel guide. We DO need a book that focuses specifically on those of us who make a lifestyle choice to put adventure first; those of us who value an experiential existence over one that values materialism, for instance.

Yes, those of us, who really DO want to live with only a few bags of belongings and yearn to jump overseas, have long been left to troll internet websites looking for like-minded souls. Well, look no further; I can assert that this book will speak to you and tell you not only everything you already know, but everything you need to know.

Granted, a lot of the book has been said elsewhere, BUT given that it targets first-time rookies, I think there is no harm in hashing out the age-old debate of suitcase vs. backpack, even if it’s been discussed to no end online.

The REAL goldmine? The candor, the spirit, the practicality that high-nose, so-called “backpacking guides” mostly ignore (such as unpleasant bowel complications or a frank discussion on whether or not to bring condoms on your worldwide adventure).

Yep, this book is not made for those of you who can afford a $5000 private tour through Italy…but that’s OK, because people with that sort of dispensable income are already satisfied with their Frommer’s guides.

Until now, the best books I’ve ever found for backpacking have either been too targeted, geographically, or not well written. In addition, they always seem to pander to more expensive types of travel, and they lack Shaun’s personal touch. Like it or not, the guy has some serious travel experience under his belt, and he’s written it out in 272 pages for you to read.

Rafferty, while often not the most loquacious of authors,  has created a product that rivals other books on the market and is without a doubt, a must-read for all aspiring backpackers. In truth, (and I say this honestly) I wish the book had come out before I embarked on my massive trip – I could have learned a thing or two. Such as how to pack a first aid kit, or the type of backpack to buy, or even the small and extremely significant fact that certain hygiene-related items are impossible to buy overseas.

In fact, aside from the weird British spelling (long abandoned by yours truly), all that’s left is for Rafferty to expand his geographic descriptions to include Africa. In fact, if Mr. Rafferty’s agent (if you are reading this), requires a warm body to fly over to Africa and get some on-the-ground facts, I’d be more than happy to sacrifice myself for the greater good of the backpacking community.

And so, I close this review with a whopping conclusion: buy this book. What it lacks in good writing it makes up for in fantastic tips for backpacking and traveling around the world. And really, what more could you ask for?

First-time Backpacker by Shaun Rafferty can be purchased on Amazon (Publisher: Authorhouse). More information can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/First-Time-Backpacker-Shaun-Rafferty/dp/1452065721/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307674474&sr=8-1