Travel Methods: Backpacking

Favored by budget-friendly travelers and ecotourists alike, backpacking is an increasingly popular form of travel. It is one of the most economic and adventurous ways to vacation, allowing travelers to experience several places in a short amount of time. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a hotel room in a single city, backpackers experience the freedom of mobility while saving a lot of money. Usually reserved for the more adventurous vacationers, this is an excellent way to understand global cultures for a fraction of your standard vacation cost.

When backpacking, it is essential to pack light and to refrain from bringing along sentimental items. If anything goes awry, you should maintain the ability to replace everything you need—stick to only the basics. Additionally, if you are backpacking in a cluster of cities or countries, utilize your freedom to move around; use trains, public transportation, and your own two feet to get from place to place (rather than opting for expensive taxi cab rides). Most aspects of backpacking pertain to budget-friendly and economic travel; the ability to pick up and leave at a moment’s notice is part of the thrill.

Backpacking trips are often split between two popular lodging options: hostels and campsites. Travelers preferring to save money and appreciate the outdoors should have all necessary outdoors equipment—a sleeping bag, some form of collapsible shelter, and rudimentary cooking/fire-starting equipment. If you plan to travel from hostel to hostel, you can afford to leave some of this gear at home. Instead, opt for a light, linen sleeping cocoon to avoid the potential for gross mattresses. You should research your sleeping arrangements before embarking on the trip; some hostels off full beds with newly-washed sheets, while others will simply offer a mattress on the floor.

To that end, planning is an essential part of backpacking. In addition to understanding your equipment needs, you should take care to budget each day and leg of your trip. If you neglect to do so, you could find yourself without funds several countries away from where your flight home departs. Moreover, it is important to generate a skeletal outline for your trip; you may be able to book most hostels a few hours before arriving but plan your trip around the cities you want to visit—as well as how long you want to stay.

Regardless of your experience, budget, and sleeping preference, backpacking is an excellent way to experience a new place. Whether you want a weeks-long hiking experience or a cheap tour of Europe, backpacking provides one of the cheapest and most fulfilling means of travel.