What I Hate About Backpacking and Why It’s Not That Bad

It would be a lie to tell you that backpackers are always having the time of their lives. Their are certainly bad days and even days when you miss the luxuries of home. There are hundreds of blogs much like Art of Backpacking telling people around the world how great backpacking is but not much on the negative side of it. One reason could be the positive obviously out weighs the negatives. Even living the dream can be a nightmare. Here’s why:

Flights cost way too much

A one way ticket on the other side of the globe can cost just as much as spending a whole month in the country you´re going to. Of course once you’re there then being on a budget is a breeze but its getting there that cuts our budget. I always travel by land as much as possible but in most cases you´ll need a flight sooner or later. Though it can be a hassle, I’m always on the look out for great airfare deals.

Who can I really trust?

The more you travel, the greater you´ll learn this ability. The ability to sense who to trust. This can be in regard to anyone from the tourist guide, hostel friends, or the cops. Even when you´ve become good friends with everyone in you´re hostel dorm, why do we continue to lock and hide our things? Backpackers always have their guard up but its an automatic guard without thinking much of it. It does suck regardless.

backpackers

backpackers by Farley Webb

Not understanding a single thing that´s going on

Not understanding the language can bring some interesting adventures. I do enjoy surprises though some are less then desirable. With patience, everything can be resolved though. Always be on your guard and analyze the situation you may be in. Common sense seems to kick in while traveling a lot more then it does back at home.

the Netherlost

the Netherlost by mitjamavsar

Sooner or later you will run out of money

Unless you’re backpacking on a lotto ticket, it happens to all of us that sooner or later we will need to work and/or go back home. The thought of ending my trip had a mixed feeling. Though I know I´ll forever be in journey traveling no matter what I do, I cant help but think of getting back in the routine I’ve once left. Luckily traveling has taught me plenty and I’ll never forget the experiences I´ve had. Heck, I’m already planning my next trip.

You will never know who you will see again

Like most long-term backpackers, I´ve seen many travelers in one continent then spot that same person months later on the other side of the world. What I hate though is I´ve become nearly best friends with some of the people along the road and I may never see them again because of the distance. Thanks to Facebook, this has become a lot easier though but once the trip has ended on both sides, it´ll become harder to see them again. This becomes especially difficult when a more serious relationship occurs on the road.

Saying good-bye

Saying good-bye by tj.haslam

Travel days suck

Moving from one city to the next seems like a waste of time. Being on a bus 20 hours with various other animals tagging along is not my idea of a good time. Having to hold my backpack and strap it around me on a extended bus ride doesn´t make the ride all that comfortable to sleep in either. There has been good experiences on travel days of meeting wonderful locals or travelers that are going the same direction but most of the time everyone wants to sleep off the ride and pretend the ride never happened. What´s taking teleportation so long to make?

By no means should these things stop anyone from traveling abroad. These are simple humps on the road that even on our worst days, it still puts a smile on our face to be where we are. When in doubt, just remember those days you were stuck in a cubicle then realize you’re living the dream.

Queenstown - Smile Please

Queenstown – Smile Please by Heaven`s Gate (John)

24 Comments

  1. goteresago on April 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Great post! Sometimes travel days are nice… when you are taking Cruz Del Sur for half off in the VIP seats LOL

  2. Transcendental Gypsy on April 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    Great post! Sometimes travel days are nice… when you are taking Cruz Del Sur for half off in the VIP seats LOL

  3. Akila on April 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I am totally with you on travel days. They suck. We try to minimize them by staying longer in locations so we don’t have to move around as much. We have had some wonderful travel days — like the incredibly comfortable VIP bus from Mae Sot to Bangkok — but then we have had some horrid days — like the air conditioned bus ride where the windows wouldn’t open and the guys behind us started smoking.

    But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Even the worst travel days are good days.

    • Michael on April 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      Well said! Even the worst travel days are good days. 🙂

  4. Akila on April 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I am totally with you on travel days. They suck. We try to minimize them by staying longer in locations so we don’t have to move around as much. We have had some wonderful travel days — like the incredibly comfortable VIP bus from Mae Sot to Bangkok — but then we have had some horrid days — like the air conditioned bus ride where the windows wouldn’t open and the guys behind us started smoking.

    But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Even the worst travel days are good days.

    • Michael on April 15, 2010 at 8:28 pm

      Well said! Even the worst travel days are good days. 🙂

  5. ottsworld on April 26, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Love it! The ‘trust’ factor always gets me – I wish there were days were I could just trust blindly…but that never seems to happen when you travel solo.

    • Michael on April 27, 2010 at 9:42 am

      Yeah, I know what you mean.

  6. ottsworld on April 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Love it! The ‘trust’ factor always gets me – I wish there were days were I could just trust blindly…but that never seems to happen when you travel solo.

    • Michael on April 27, 2010 at 10:42 am

      Yeah, I know what you mean.

  7. Jaime on April 27, 2010 at 1:40 am

    You called it! There are definitely some times when I find myself cranky, cussing and mad at someone for overcharging me $1 for a 15 hour bus ride. Backpacking is actually a lot of work – more work than you would think before you’re actually out there doing it.

    In the end, it’s all worth it though. You just might have to take a little break from the long haul bus rides to see that it is 🙂

    • Michael on April 27, 2010 at 9:41 am

      Haha I’ve definitely gotten upset for missing out on $1 before as well. And it’s true, it is a lot of work.

  8. Jaime on April 27, 2010 at 2:40 am

    You called it! There are definitely some times when I find myself cranky, cussing and mad at someone for overcharging me $1 for a 15 hour bus ride. Backpacking is actually a lot of work – more work than you would think before you’re actually out there doing it.

    In the end, it’s all worth it though. You just might have to take a little break from the long haul bus rides to see that it is 🙂

    • Michael on April 27, 2010 at 10:41 am

      Haha I’ve definitely gotten upset for missing out on $1 before as well. And it’s true, it is a lot of work.

  9. Massilia on May 15, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    The most important is just enjoy your trip. Don’t think about how much the cost.

  10. Massilia on May 15, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    The most important is just enjoy your trip. Don’t think about how much the cost.

  11. BodesWell on May 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    the other side of the coin is traveling with other backpackers who will spend hours walking up and down the street looking for the cheapest food menu to save 50 cents. Sit down and eat a taco!

    • Michael on May 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm

      LOL That’s so true.

  12. BodesWell on May 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    the other side of the coin is traveling with other backpackers who will spend hours walking up and down the street looking for the cheapest food menu to save 50 cents. Sit down and eat a taco!

    • Michael on May 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm

      LOL That’s so true.

  13. The Working Traveller on May 28, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Agree with the last point; the worst thing about travelling is the travelling. Better to travel than arrive? Meh. I prefer to make shorter hops between destinations, no more than 8 hours on a bus, unless it can’t be avoided. Sure it slows things down but that’s no bad thing.

  14. The Working Traveller on May 28, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Agree with the last point; the worst thing about travelling is the travelling. Better to travel than arrive? Meh. I prefer to make shorter hops between destinations, no more than 8 hours on a bus, unless it can’t be avoided. Sure it slows things down but that’s no bad thing.

  15. jdlrobson on November 8, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Old post but enjoyed reading it!

    I agree with most of what you say,But… I love the journeys, even if they are uncomfortable and sometimes have animals. Without those long journeys travelling would be too easy. The places I dream of visting that take too long to get there would be within hands reach. I’d be there in a shot. These places I love would become overrun with people. I’d travel more frequently, backpacking would be more intense and fast and I’d probably end up taking it all for granted. Look at all the nice places that have become ruined by an airport which house budget airlines.As you point out, sometimes you meet wonderful locals and travellers and sometimes you don’t. It’s worth putting up with a few terrible ones (once I woke up on a 24hr bus convinced I’d wet myself – luckily it was just sweat and humidity… phew) for the former.If teleportation happens backpacking just wouldn’t be the same.

  16. jdlrobson on November 8, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Old post but enjoyed reading it!

    I agree with most of what you say,But… I love the journeys, even if they are uncomfortable and sometimes have animals. Without those long journeys travelling would be too easy. The places I dream of visting that take too long to get there would be within hands reach. I’d be there in a shot. These places I love would become overrun with people. I’d travel more frequently, backpacking would be more intense and fast and I’d probably end up taking it all for granted. Look at all the nice places that have become ruined by an airport which house budget airlines.As you point out, sometimes you meet wonderful locals and travellers and sometimes you don’t. It’s worth putting up with a few terrible ones (once I woke up on a 24hr bus convinced I’d wet myself – luckily it was just sweat and humidity… phew) for the former.If teleportation happens backpacking just wouldn’t be the same.

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