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What is backpacking?

Got that itchy feeling under your feet that asks you to travel? You are just physically present but your mind is wandering to some exotic place? Want to travel but short on budget? People often associate travel with something that will burn a hole in your pocket or at least need a prior saving routine for months before setting out on a trip. Well, not when you are backpacking.

The term backpacking is said to have originated during the 1960s and 1970s when members of the hippie subculture travelled between Europe and South Asia, mainly through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. Giovanni Francesco Gemelli Careri is regarded as the world’s first backpacker.

Originally, backpacking referred to a way of travel with just essential things like two pairs of clothes and some money. Backpackers didn’t carry anything expensive like an mp3 player or a watch or even a mobile phone out of fear that it would be stolen. But over a period of time, backpacking has evolved and so have the methods in which it is done. The methods simplified over the decades have become less strenuous and more enjoyable.

So what exactly is backpacking?

Backpacking is a form of low cost or budget travelling where you use public means of transport for travelling, stay in inexpensive lodges or hostels, in short, you travel around a place at affordable prices, but is that it?

Backpacking is the truest form of travelling. Besides being light on your wallet, it gives you a chance to interact with locals, witness their style of living by staying with them in homestays. You get to taste local authentic food which is served in homestays. You get a chance to travel and explore like a local, in a sense the vibes of the place will be engraved in your memory.

What is it like to travel like a backpacker?

The thumb rule of backpacking is to pack light. Carry the things that are essential. Cut down on multiple pair of footwear or those complimenting scarves. Pack universal pair of clothes that can be mixed and matched. Replace huge bottles of deodorants to pocket deodorants, shampoo and conditioner bottles to few sachets of each, small toothpaste and a small bottle of lotion, in short, cut down the quantity and carry only that much which will be used during the trip.

During backpacking trips, you might have to carry your bag and walk a few metres, moreover, the lighter and the compact backpack is, easier to manage and take care of it in public transport. Always prefer a backpack above suitcases and trolley bags because they are easy to carry around when needed.

What’s the idea behind travelling like a backpacker?

Today, people don’t just want to visit a place, tick it off from their bucket list, get that stamp and a nice profile photo but, they really want to have an understanding of the place. They want to know about the type of topography, culture and festivals. They want to try the local cuisine and learn the local style of living. They don’t just come to experience all this but also to meet new people and make long-lasting friends, to sit around with like-minded people.

After all, travelling is the best form of learning. The fancy hotels and the private AC cars of luxury travel won’t give you the chance of sitting with locals and interacting with them. Backpacking is a way, where you can have all of this without burning your pocket.

Backpacking is a way by which exploring is no longer rich people’s hobby, but has become possible for all people to travel and see new places. So if you don’t just want to cover the place, but want to explore the tiny intricacies, backpacking is your kind of travel!

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