You want to travel, see new places, meet new people and try new food, but you have apprehensions about it, and you’re not sure if it’s right for you. You’ve heard so many negatives about backpacking and you’re unsure of whether or not they are true. Here are seven backpacking myths debunked
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1. It’s meant for only the young
Most people assume that backpackers are either in or fresh out of college, while the majority of backpackers are young, this is not necessarily true. Backpacking can be done by anyone who is interested in discovering the world and at any age. It can provide a nice break from the regular grind of your 9 to 5 job, or it can be a great way for retired folk to pass their time.
2. There will be language barriers
Wherever you travel, chances are that most people will know Basic English which can always be supplemented with hand gestures. Translating apps can be helpful; they could even be used to read out the translations. In addition to this, one could always refer to a guide book that contains important phrases. Learning a few words such as ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language will come in handy.
3. Travel is expensive
Though backpacking is traditionally a form of travel that is low cost, a lot of people assume that backpacking will consume all their funds. This is untrue, backpacking involves a lot of budgeting as the purpose of it is to explore new places, learn about new cultures and mix around with new people from different parts of the world. All this is low cost.
4. It’s not a group activity
Backpacking is thought to be an activity only for those who love company and socializing 24X7. But one does not always have to travel in groups, backpacking can be done solo. Travelling alone has a number of benefits – you can do whatever you please, you have a greater opportunity to be inspired by all that is around you. Solo travel also forces you to get out of your comfort zone and interact with new people, whether locals or other travellers.
5. Personal hygiene is not a priority
“Backpackers don’t bathe for days” is a common myth, but not all places you travel to will be completely devoid of water or a place to bathe. In fact, the probability of you not being able to shower is pretty low. If you do visit a place where water scarcity is an issue, sanitizers and biodegradable soap will have you stay clean for longer periods of time.
6. It’s not safe
“Backpackers are victims of robberies, rapes and animal attacks.” While terrible incidents do occur from time to time, the earth is not really as dangerous as the media makes it out to be. Most people are kind, and will try to help you have a good time rather than cause any sort of harm to you.
A few measures can be taken – carry photocopies of your identity, debit and credit card, carry some pepper spray and secure your belongings. Also avoid talking or going out late with strangers, better safe than sorry always.
7. The locals will take advantage of the foreigner
This myth only holds true when shopkeepers sell you goods higher than their retail price. But in many ways, being the foreigner will benefit you. Counters will often have separate lines for tourists which will let you get your job done faster. Restaurants will serve you faster and the locals will be ever ready to impress you and show you the best of their home.
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