When someone says the word ‘travelling’, different things come to mind for different people. To one, it could mean luxurious resorts, endless shopping or working on that tan line; a vacation, so to speak. To another, it could be seeing the world through a local’s eyes for the first time, exploring the no man’s land and moving from hostel to hostel, with just a backpack as your companion. For the latter, backpacking is more than just an experience—it’s a way of life.
If you’ve been curious about what it’s like get out of your comfort (travelling) zone, here are eight reasons that might convince you to finally give that backpacking idea a shot.
1. You get more bang for your buck
Source: Flickr (Alex Chen)
As a backpacker, you’ll most definitely be travelling on a budget. This means giving up on certain creature comforts by sharing a room and bathroom with others at a hostel, eating cheap street food, and being more frugal. One way to save money is to buy simple groceries from the local supermarket and cook in your hostel or prepare sandwiches – easy and affordable! What’s the amazing plus side to all of this? You now have more money to extend your travel and see more! The world is your oyster, along with all the different environments and cultures you’ll get to explore. ZUJI is also offering a 12% hotel code to help travellers save more!
2. See amazing things from a local’s point of view
Source: Flickr (sandeepachetan.com)
There’s nothing more genuine than learning the city through the eyes of a local. Because you’re on a budget, you’ll be scouting for the cheapest ways to see the sights and taste the flavours, and this usually means no tour groups nor touristy cliché spots. Ask the hostel owners or locals where their favourite eatery or bar is, visit the local villages or suburbs away from the hustle and bustle and see how the locals really live.
3. Learn to say cheers in different languages
Source: Nigel Lee
Being in places less travelled inevitably means you’ll meet locals with different backgrounds – and sometimes they won’t speak the same language as you. But fret not – this means you’ll get a chance to extend your grasp on languages. If you spend time enough in one place, you’ll find yourself breaking the language barrier and conversing like a local! Locals are always happy to teach visitors a few lines once they realise you’re genuinely keen to learn.
4. Remember that time you…
Source: Huffington Post
From amazing journeys and experiences come the memories – and it is things like these that shape a person’s worldly outlook. Quite often, you’ll come across unique yet unforgettable backpackers, and you realise that it’s the aura of a person who’s seen a lot and experienced the world. As you explore cities and learn cultures, putting yourself in situations to see how the others live teaches you a lot. You’ll learn to appreciate the simple things, and materialistic desires seem to lessen with each step you take. You feel happy more often and you’ll understand things differently. These experiences are priceless mementos that last a lifetime (and are great party conversations too!).
5. Having friends all around the world
Source: Flickr (Garry Knight)
Not only will you have seen more places, you will have made friendships and connections all over the globe, too. Staying in hostels lets you meet other fellow travellers and sometimes you’ll find like-minded people who end up being your life-long friends. Learn their travel journeys and personal stories and surprise them with your own experiences. The best part is, you get to crash at their place whenever you plan to visit their hometown!
6. With nothing but a passport in your hand
Source: Tumblr (8 Tracks)
If you’re Singaporean, you’ll be pleased to know that your passport is ranked 5th best passport in the world. This means you can visit 155 countries without a visa or restrictions, so take advantage of this! There’s nothing more daunting than wanting to travel but being restricted by a bunch of processes.
7. You’re not on a tight schedule and you’re flexible
Source: Jeremy Chua
Because you’re not operating on a fixed timeline, you live day to day. If you went out for a party the night before and want to sleep till the afternoon after, you can! You won’t have to worry about wasting your days, and if you like a particular destination and want to see more of it, you can extend your visit. You will never feel like you missed out and will enjoy the moments more often than not.
8. You’ll learn to prioritise what matters
Source: Nigel Lee
Sometimes, we end up over packing – it happens! However, when you have only a backpack to your name, you’ll learn to pack the essential things that matter. Even if you’re travelling for three months, a good tip is to only pack a maximum of five outfits (you can always wash them along the way). There’s nothing like the liberation you feel walking with everything you own just strapped to your back. And backpacking aside – you’ll eventually learn to prioritise the more important things in your everyday life and open your eyes to what truly matters. This will also translate to an easier time during your next spring cleaning session!
So, if you’ve ever thought about it, take the plunge and begin this adventure for yourself! While seeing the corners of the Earth, being a backpacker enriches your life tremendously and teaches you so many things. In the end, you’ll learn that it’s not about the destination that marks a new memory, it’s the journey.
ZUJI Singapore is now offering up to 6% rebates for flights or packages, and a 12% hotel coupon code for Maybank cardmembers to make it that much sweeter! If you spend $2500 in a single booking, you stand to redeem a free luggage for your next non-backpacking trip!