November 22, 2011

Is Backpacking For You?

I’m a huge advocate for backpacking. Packing everything into one bag, staying in hostels and taking the road less travelled by is everything travelling means to me. Among young people, and university students in particular, backpacking seems the preferred mode of travel too – after all, it is the cheapest way of getting around on our measly student budgets. But while it’s how most young people travel, it doesn’t mean every young person will like it. Backpacking isn’t for everyone. So before you plan your next trip here are some pros and cons about backpacking to consider:


  • Saving Money. Backpacking can save you a lot of money when travelling on a budget. Sharing a room in a hostel instead of staying at a fancy hotel, cooking in the hostel kitchen (if they have one) instead of eating out and taking the bus or metro over taxis are all ways of cutting back when you don’t have a lot to spend.
  • Getting to see more and travel longer. With saving money comes the funds to visit more places, see more sights and travel for longer.
  • Meeting people. Many hostels have common rooms or organised pub crawls which make it easy to meet other travellers. If you’re travelling alone, this is a great way to find some companions and make new friends.
  • Ending up off the beaten path. By trying to find the cheapest hostel or just one with spare beds, you may end up outside the city centre or even in the next town over, discovering places you may have otherwise passed over.


  • Privacy & noise levels. Sharing a room and bathroom does mean bunking down with strangers. Some hostels offer private rooms which still run cheaper than the average hotel but in shared dorms hostels without curfews mean your roommates may be entering the room at any time of the night – and at any level of inebriation.
  • Security. Some hostels provide lockers, but for those that don’t extra caution should be taken when storing your bags. While other hostellers are generally also young budget travellers who are probably not going to steal your things, it’s wise not to leave any valuables in your room when going out.
  • Room quality. Hostels can be a bit of a gamble. When booking online, or taking a room in the first hostel you see, you run the risk of dirty rooms and bedbugs.
  • It can be tiring. Let’s face it, carrying everything in one bag can be heavy. And when you’re taking public transport and carrying your own bag up four flights of stairs to your hostel room (no elevators or bell-boys here!), backpacking can take its toll.

What do you think?
Have you backpacked before? Or would you not be caught dead in a hostel? Leave a comment about your preferred mode of travel!


About the Author

Recultured Team
Recultured Team
This is where you'll find the blog posts that the team has contributed to collectively! What team? Wildcats! -Nope, wrong team. Recultured!

  • I went backpacking a few years ago and it was pretty awesome…until the end of the trip since my bag just got too heavy from buying things. I wouldn’t necessarily pick the cheapest hostel since they can be quite crappy. I found that the reviews on hostelworld.com was quite accurate, so you can sleep in a place thats quite sanitary and close to the main attractions. 

  • For a shoe-obsessed freak like me, packing all my things into one bag is tormenting. Anyway, I decided I’d go backpacking in Amsterdam and it turned out to be the best experience of my life. I went with a few friends and we stayed in a hostel in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, which made it so much easier to really go wherever we wanted to go (and obviously so much more interesting!) We actually booked our hostel on hostelworld.com–it really is the best site if you want accurate reviews!!

  • Jon

    I think it heavily depends where you are. Hostels in Europe and South East Asia scare me, but backpacking across Canada or Japan would probably be safer…

    • I wouldn’t say I went backpacking, but I did stay in two hostels during my trip in Europe and they were both so wonderful and not sketchy at all! We used hostelworld.com (as mentioned by Diana) to check out the reviews first, and I’ve got to say they were pretty accurate. I also met some really great people at the hostels that I still keep in touch with.

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