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Are you a backpacker? What goes on into your planning?

Being in Twitter, and reading up on several blog articles from travel bloggers mainly backpackers, I am fascinated about their travel habits.

Age, family commitments, time, etc. can make it difficult for everyone to wander off in a carefree manner. But to a backpacker, I don't think these things apply. Am I wrong? 

What makes a backpacking trip so exciting? Is it the sense of adventure, discovering new places, culture, food at your own pace?

I am sure there is some level of planning to the extent of zeroing in on destinations, POIs - but beyond that what's the state of mind like? Is it more like "let me get there, check myself into a budget hotel/motel, and then simply wander around and indulge myself?". Or be razor focused on important attractions to make the trip a worth while one.

Thanks for your answers!

5 Answers

top answer by
Ross from Fort Collins

   Hello, there aren't a lot of no strings, budget travelers here but most are in our top ten lol. I think I am an example of the travelers you are asking about. And in my experience it takes a lot more planning and research to travel in this style. I do a ton of research before I go, so I can have the care free no strings expirieance once I'm there. I am very seriouse about not checking a bag and only having reservations for my first and last night of my trip, if that. This is the only way to get this experience and there is a certain amount of risk involved, you never know were you are staying for the night and that can be a deal breaker for some people. 

  The reason I travel the way I do is because of many things that I missed out on during trips. there were so many times I missed out on something because I had to be in a different location to get to my hotel or I would lose money. So I just stopped booking hotels, and have never looked back! I do prepare for the inevitable and always bring my "hennesse jungle hammock" and i have had a lot of luck in Central America asking a hostle if I can string it up for a couple of bucks. And of course this doesn't work in urban environments but it's being resourceful and thinking on your feet that make this style of travel work. Also it's hard to travel this way and do major festivals or holidays for obvious reasons.

   Why is it exiting?! I don't know how to answer that without being generic lol! I guess it's simple... You wake up and ask yourself " what do I want to do today? And that's the best part, did you plan on going to that museum today? Well maybe tomorrow, I'm going to eat and drink on the beach with my new friends today. Or... Man Moroccos only 30 miles away, I guess we're going to Africa! These are just a couple of examples but thats the best part, you never know who you'll meet, what you'll eat, or were you'll be! Once you have tasted this freedom you will either embrace it or hate it! 

And as far as luggage goes, I laugh when I see a suitcase or Rolly luggage it's a sure sign that that person has never been anywhere interesting lol! Bring a Rolly suitcase to the places I go and you will be in a world of trouble.

  Good luck and don't worry the world isn't that scary and home town USA is usually the most dangerous place you visit!

7 thanks

answered by
Stephen "Sven" from Florida

I enjoy a good backpacking trip as much as the next person. I try not to plan too much as it spoils the mood of the moment. A tablet with a good satellite link is a must just for emergency purposes. The other trick is to not over pack and to make sure you take the things needed i.e. good shoes and sock if hiking, bug repellent if in the jungle, etc.

3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Amanda from Hermosa Beach

I had the good fortune of being able to travel for 12 months in with my boyfriend. While I will say I am incredibly fortunate, I think everyone has to manage varying degrees of constraints from age/family constraints/time. It is a choice to prioritize travel (above other constraints).

Backpacking styles vary greatly. We to focused on three regions, and had entry/exit flights to each. I had some rough ideas for potential routes, but how I got from Point A to Point B was unstructured. While my boyfriend craved structure and an itinerary, I cherished the freedom - the freedom to stay a place longer, leave earlier, add places I had never considered before, or scrap the original idea.  Backpacking is a great lesson in patience and adaptability; even if there's a plan, things often don't play out as envisioned.  

Several people we met along the way strongly recommended Georgia, and it hadn't even been on my radar. We were in Turkey and thought, why not!

I love exploring the sights, but my favorite part of backpacking was, hands down, the people I met along the way. If we stayed in a place for an extended period of time, we were able to learn more about the community we were visiting. In Sri Lanka, we became regulars and friends with the local roti lady. We also loved meeting people through CouchSurfing. We met so many awesome locals - got to share out experiences and thoughts about life, politics, religion, culture, food, you name it. We were humbled by the generosity and will cherish those experiences.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Georgia (country)
  2. Turkey (country)
  3. Sri Lanka (country)
3 thanks

answered by
Jan Jaap from Netherlands

I wouldn't consider myself a typical backpacker, but more a traveler who likes to be flexible in terms of where to go and when and who stays in hostels to meet up with people from around the world. I don't think you will meet new people in a hotel as easy as you do in a hostel and travel with them for a couple of days/weeks.

In regard to planning, it depends on how much time I have. Last year I had planned a five week trip that I reserved completely for Thailand. It resulted in staying in Chiang Mai for about 12 days as it was such a fun place with a great group of people. Secondly, without a definite planning you are able to change your plans because of the experiences told by other people.

Furthermore, I have a bit the same attitude as Ross Sparks. I do look up places I could stay and I only make a reservations when I know it will difficult to get a bed because of peak season, like Christmas and New Year's. Besides that I would just go with the flow. 

Bottom line: Traveling while backpacking is just a great way to meet people and do things that you have heard about along the way. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Chiang Mai (city)
1 thanks

answered first by
Ashley from Calgary

I feel like "backpacker" can be interpreted many different ways. I "backpacked" Europe and in all reality just winging it doesn't work out all that often, you're definitely booking things a few days in advance for most major sites. I think lot of people who backpack are just people who wear the big bag (which is less than comfortable to lug around) and stay at cheap hostels. Maybe I've got it all wrong... 

1 thankscomments (1)

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