Advantages And Disadvantages Of Backpacking

Backpacking is the perfect way to travel for people seeking adventure in their lives and those looking to step outside of their comfort zone. 

However, like anything in life, there are pros and cons to the backpacking travel life.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of backpacking so that you can decide if traveling alone is the right option for you.

Advantages Of Backpacking

Backpacking has an array of benefits which we will now look at.

Cheap Form Of Travel

Without a doubt, the number one reason people choose to backpack is the fact that it allows you to travel with a smaller budget.

You will buy less during your travels because you won’t have space for new purchases.

While backpacking you are more likely to book into a budget dorm room and opt for grabbing some groceries in the supermarket to cook in the hostel kitchen.

Ease Of Travel

It is much easier to move from place to place with a backpack. Sometimes roads can be bumpy and may not have a footpath depending on where you are traveling.

Therefore it is much easier to have a bag that you can throw on your back to get from place to place.

It will be more convenient with a backpack to hop in and out of taxis or onto the back of a moped taxi.

Also, it’s easier to fit a backpack into most lockers in hostels to protect your belongings.

Woman traveling with backpack

Packing Less Unnecessary Items

With a backpack, you have a limited amount of space, therefore you only bring a limited number of items.

This will stop you from overpacking when it comes to your trip and will make sure you only bring the essentials. 

You will probably become way more organized when backpacking because you will have no other choice.

It’s best to give everything its place, so you can easily find your bug spray or plasters at the moment you need them. 

You will essentially need to carry your life on your back while backpacking, so you will get extremely good at prioritizing what you need and don’t need.

Less Waste

If you are traveling with a backpack, you are less likely to pick up things you don’t need along the way such as a snorkeling set or numerous fridge magnets. This is a positive as it creates less waste.

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You are also more likely to look after the clothes/items that you do have.

You will probably find yourself repairing a t-shirt you have in your bag, rather than buying another one.

Freedom

Backpacking is much for relaxed than choosing a package or resort holiday. It means you can be very flexible with your schedule and where you want to travel.

It leaves a lot of room for spontaneity and adventure which is a huge advantage.

It means you can be flexible to stay somewhere if you really like, or move on quicker than planned if you’re not feeling a certain destination. 

Disadvantages Of Backpacking

Although there is a long list of pros when it comes to backpacking, there are also some cons to consider.

Woman waiting for transport with backpack

Less Space

You can’t bring everything you want with you when backpacking which can also be a disadvantage. It means that you will really have to choose between your items.

You might have to sacrifice bringing those heels in case you end up in a fancy club, so you can bring trainers to hit the gym instead.

It also means you are down to just the necessities when it comes to toiletries.

You more than likely won’t be able to carry much in the line of skin care or beauty products. 

Your Bag Will Be Heavy

This is an occurrence I have dealt with very often while backpacking. Sometimes moving from one place to another with your bag feels like a full-body workout!

Carrying around a 20+ kg backpack is no joke, especially in a hot country and when you have accumulated an extra bag or two on your travels.

A lot of hostels won’t have a lift, which means you could be carrying your backpack up several flights of stairs.

You probably won’t get a lot of sleep

While backpacking, your choice of accommodation will be hostels most of the time. In this case, you will need to get used to sleeping in rooms with several other people.

This includes other travelers arriving at the room at any time of the day or night, snoring loudly, and even watching videos or listening to music with no headphones.

So you may not get the most restful night’s sleep while backpacking, unfortunately. But we suggest you invest in some good earplugs to try to get a few hours of shut-eye.

Comfort is limited

This is largely due to the accommodation, but also your options when it comes to transport.

You are probably not going to be able to afford the 1st class seats on a train or bus and are more likely to be sitting on a packed overnight bus.

You may also end up in accommodation that doesn’t have aircon from time to time.

Camping is also another popular option with backpackers, which means you may end up being too hot or too cold at night, depending on your chosen destination.

Living out of a bag

As exciting as backpacking is, you may eventually get sick of living out of a bag.

Backpacks are not always easy to organize and it can sometimes become frustrating to find what item you are looking for at the bottom of a packed backpack.

And something you will probably get very used to, but worth mentioning is that your clothes will always be wrinkled. 

Final Thoughts On The Pros And Cons Of Backpacking

So, what’s the verdict? There are advantages and disadvantages of backpacking. It all comes down to what you’re looking for.

I hope this guide helped you understand some of the advantages and disadvantages of backpacking.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preferences and needs.

Consider the destinations you have in mind, and your budget, and talk to some people that have previously backpacked to help you make your decision.

Personally, I think the advantages of backpacking far outweigh the disadvantages.

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