Backpacking has always been a big part of my life. I’ve done it for almost 10 years now and although I still think it’s one of the best ways of traveling, I’ve encountered a few annoyances along the way. As much as I like backpacking, I can’t say that I love it anymore after so many years of doing it. Here’s the 10 things I hate about backpacking (but that probably didn’t annoy me so much in the beginning).
1. Staying in dorm rooms
While there are some hostels I absolutely love, there’s more that I hate. Especially if you’re always opting for the cheapest ones in Southeast Asia, where all the drunk youngsters go to. What’s great about hostels is that they’re social, they’re cheap and they can be a lot of fun, if you’re in the right mindset. If you’re really tired and want a good night sleep, they can be absolute hell. Somehow you always end up getting the top bunk next to the loudest snorer in the room who keeps you up all night. What I started doing was to pay a few dollars extra for a nicer hostel. There’s usually different types of travelers who goes there and the beds are usually way more comfortable and clean so it’s always worth paying a bit extra. If you still want the social aspect of it, you can always join the pub crawl or other activities in other hostels.
2. Having the same conversation over and over again
There’s a few questions that will be inevitable such as “where are you from?”. It’s the standard question when you meet a new person at the hostel. In the beginning it’s great fun. But after backpacking for months and getting asked the same questions over and over again, it gets really annoying and frustrating. Next time you meet someone new, perhaps try to mix up the questions a bit to make the conversation more interesting.
3. Partying every single day
Some backpackers only have one agenda when they’re traveling and that is to party hard. They’re the ones who are always sleeping during the day and wakes up at night to booze. They’re the ones who always brag about how much they’ve been drinking and all the crazy stuff they’ve been doing while drunk. They somehow think other people think it’s cool, but it just sounds like they’re having problems with alcohol. Somehow backpacking has been associated with excessive drinking and for a person who has passed that part of their life, it’s just annoying.
4. Hanging out with people you don’t even get along with
Traveling solo has so many benefits. First of all, you are free to do whatever you like to do and whenever. You don’t have to plan with someone else and every decision you make is your own, which can sometimes feel overwhelming too. But when we travel alone, there will be times when we’re missing company and just want someone to hang out with. Often times, the travelers you meet are very like minded and you get along well. Other times… You’ll stick with someone you don’t really get along with just to have company. Everyone does it, not just you. But after getting older and more experienced, it’s just something that I hate doing these days. I don’t want to be wasting my time walking around with someone I have no common interests with or even like. That’s the minus side about solo backpacking – you won’t always find the right company for you.
5. The competitiveness of certain travelers
Some backpackers take traveling like a competition. Surely you’ve been around the kind of traveler who always feels the need to brag about every cool thing they’ve been doing or discussing how long they’ve traveled for and how many countries they’ve been to. Everyone travels differently and just because you didn’t visit certain parts of the world, doesn’t mean that you’re less experienced. Some travelers I met told me that just because I haven’t visited Africa yet, I wasn’t fully experienced as a backpacker. Those kinds of comments happen way too often amongst the backpacker world and no one else but the people who makes those types of comments appreciates it.
6. Always having to be present
If you’re backpacking for months, you’re surely going to need days when you just want to rest. And that’s perfectly fine! I love those days when I can just lay in bed, read a book or catch up on my favorite tv show. But some backpackers think it’s a “waste of time” or it makes other travelers think you’re antisocial. I really can’t stand it, to always having to be present, to always having to be social, fun, outgoing and excited about everything all the time. I once told a group of people that I was growing tired of traveling and I got the weirdest look from them. Safe to say, we didn’t really get along, and that’s okay too. There’s just days when you feel both mentally and physically exhausted, just like you do at home, and the best thing to do then is to rest.
7. Constantly saying goodbye to people
I both love and hate this. I love it because it means I’ve met some meaningful people while traveling and it’s always hard to say goodbye, because you care about them. I hate it because you have to say goodbye to a person you’ve grown fond of and you have no clue where and when you’ll see each other again. With social media, everything becomes easier, but sometimes you need their presence and not just a text message.
8. Short term relationships
It’s difficult to be in a long term relationship when you’re constantly traveling. Backpackers are usually moving quite fast so you rarely have time to develop something deeper. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t meet someone you like along the way. Hell, you’ll probably meet a few people you really hit it off with, but as soon as something begins, it also ends because you’re going the opposite ways. It sometimes feels like a never ending cycle which gets exhausting. But I’m a firm believer that if you want to make it work, you do.
9. Gaining weight
I’m quite healthy at home. I eat plant based food, drink juices filled with vitamins and hit the gym a few times per week. But that always changes when I travel. All of a sudden, I’m stuck with french fries, pizza and pasta because there’s no other vegetarian options on the menu. And the gym? Yeah, maybe I try to once per month, but it still won’t make a huge difference on my body that’s already gained a few kilos since starting the journey. It’s frustrating as hell, but it can be quite challenging to maintain your weight and health while backpacking.
10. People having sex in dorms
We get it, you have needs. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else wants to hear you having sex. People want to sleep, not hearing some young people trying to have sex in a tiny bed. Get a private room, go outside or just go anywhere that’s far away from the place where 12 other people are trying to sleep.