It’s so important when you go backpacking to have the right kind of travel mindset or you may very well miss out on the best parts of the experience. Backpacking can be one of the most uplifting and fulfilling ways to travel, and not just because it saves you some money. By hitting the road with nothing but a backpack and a heart full of adventure, we allow ourselves to ride the winds of chance and see just what the world has to offer in all its scope and grandeur with the flexibility to take advantage of the unknown parts of travel.
But going off on an epic backpacking holiday adventure requires a few shifts for some people when it comes to fostering a new travel mindset; these are just different ways of viewing the excursion that might differ from how we’d normally approach a holiday or travelling.
Here are some of those travel mindset shifts and why they’re important.
Travel Mindset 1 – Experiences come before comfort
Comfort is great when it can be had, but as a backpacker, you shouldn’t count on — or even expect — great amounts of comfort. Backpacking often means spending time in not-so-stunning hostels and lodges, camping in bad weather, and spending a lot of time walking from place to place with sore feet. In other words, you probably won’t be using a concierge service in Dubai. to chauffeur you around while you sip on ice tea.
The key thing about this travel mindset is to understand that mild discomfort is just part of the game, and the pay-offs are more than worth it. What are the payoffs you ask? Simple, nothing less than a series of amazing memories of an adventure that will last you a lifetime and form the backbone of stories that you’ll share with your friends and loved ones for years to come. Backpacking is all about the sense of adventure, it’s a journey, not the destination.
The experiences are what a backpacking trip is really about — so enjoy comfort when you can get it, but don’t let the lack of it get you down. Focus on the amazing things you’ll see, people you’ll meet, and the stuff you’ll do.
Travel Mindset 2 – Adventure lies off the beaten track
Popular tourist sites are often great to visit, but the experiences that’ll really make your trip will, more often than not, be those off the beaten track.
Shrines out in nature which most tourists avoid, coffee shops tucked between medieval fortress walls, and impromptu street markets and concerts that you won’t find written about in any tourist guide.
The travel mindset change here means you’re ging to need to be prepared to look in unconventional areas for the adventures you seek. You’ll often be surprised just how much lies off the beaten track if you’re willing to look for it and embrace what comes along.
Travel Mindset 3 – Spontaneity pays off
Planning and organisation are, by and large, good things. After all, you don’t want to miss out on seeing something you really wanted to see because you arrived in town on the wrong day or forgot your wallet somewhere else.
But always remember to allow room for spontaneity to enter your travels. One of the top benefits of being a backpacker is that you’ve got flexibility that few other forms of travel will be able to accommodate. You can go anywhere, anytime, with minimal planning and minimal issues other than a little creativity and an open mind.
Thinking about this off the cuff type of planning is a travel mindset that allows yourself to be guided by inspiration and to change your plans when you encounter some previously unknown event or have some idea that isn’t on your itinerary. It is, at times essential and of course, in the end, half the fun!
Travel Mindset 4 – Your pack is your lifeline
While backpacking, you might end up travelling to places without easily available medical supplies, ATMs, convenience stores, or anything else. To remain self-reliant in those kinds of circumstances is vital, here’s a great post about packing tips and a few things I hate forgetting to pack.
Your pack is your lifeline, not just a place for your clothes and souvenirs. Respect its importance, pack it with the essentials, and guard it like a hawk. I once spent a night sleeping on the deck of a ferry and found the best way to avoid the idea that my pack was going to go walkabout during the night was to physically lock myself to my bag. Worked like a charm, anyone trying to steal my pack would be a bonus, Pete, they were probably not looking for..