If you have not tried backpacking yet, then it is about time you give this travel approach a shot. You may be apt to prioritize your convenience every time you go abroad or visit a domestic tourist hotspot but to avid travellers, comfort travel is hardly enjoyable. How can you see the sights and wonders of a place if you limit yourself to your hotel room, the swimming pool or to a nearby posh restaurant? How can you feel the local culture if you do not venture out into less modernized areas to get a taste and feel of the past or interact with natives to understand their way of life?
In a nutshell, backpacking is the art of budget travelling. It is basically travel sans the comfort and luxury most travellers prefer. There are many benefits to being a backpacker including a significantly lower travel investment and a chance to enjoy a more personal experience of the country’s historical spots, culture and people. In fact, you realize you gain more by actually spending less.
How many of us here have secretly hoped to travel far and wide, but unfortunately do not have enough financial backing to pursue such a lifestyle? Travelling can be costly on the surface. Money will always be a consideration. However, if you are a keen backpacker, you know for a fact that there is more to travelling than just draining all your savings to fund your wanderlust.
Here are the top three benefits of being a backpacker:
1. The Joy of Learning
If there is anything that backpacking can guarantee, it is that you will learn something from start to finish. Trekking parts of the world you have never been to before, you get to see, feel and immerse in stuff you could not find or experience in the corners of your home. Besides learning about the places you have travelled to, you also learn more about yourself – what types of food you like, whether you are good at reading maps or how well you can overcome language barriers (particularly in places that hardly speak English). Regardless of what you discover along the way, this approach to travelling can make any trip worth it.
2. The Development of Inner Strength
The thing about backpacking is that you don’t only learn more about yourself, but you also understand every discomfort, every little burst of triumph and every person you meet, which can also lead you to a better understanding of who you are and life in general. Because you have to rely on yourself every step of the way (even if you travel with a backpacker group), you develop a sharper survival instinct. No backpacker will ever want to fall apart while in the midst of a journey. You need to be a tough cookie if you want a real adventure.
3. Authentic Cultural Experience
What better way to experience a country’s culture than through backpacking. Many people post pictures of having dinner in a luxury restaurant or swimming in a hotel pool abroad. While they may look elegant and sophisticated, there is not a hint of culture and history in those common urban activities. Restaurants may serve delicious local dishes, but we know for a fact that much of the taste has been “edited” for commercial purposes. If you want to have a first-hand experience of native culture, then do not be afraid to buy food from the street stalls or ordinary stores (take note of hygiene, however).
Rather than go straight to souvenir shops where prices are doubled, you may want to visit workshops or museums instead. Do not limit yourself to hotels and restaurants. Historical sites and natural spots should top your backpacking list.
4. Free Exercise
One of the perks of being a backpacker is that you do not stand still. There is hardly a dull moment because you are always on the move. Yes, it can be tiring if you are not used to it. Once you get the hang of things, though, you will realize that backpacking actually helps increase your physical stamina and endurance – enjoyable budget travelling with all the perks of exercise.
Terence Zweni is an expert when it comes to Backpacking [http://www.booksouthafrica.travel]. To find out everything about The Backpacking Experience, visit his website at [http://www.booksouthafrica.travel]
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