Backpacking’s Not What It Used To Be

Mon, Nov 26, 2012

Quick Tips

Backpackers seeing the world at eighteen a couple of decades ago would definitely envy backpackers of today. In so many ways, budget travel has become much easier to do now than it used to be.

For a start you can get cheap flights with companies like jet2.com to so many interesting destinations. It used to be that you’d have to go travelling for a long period of time to justify the costs of your travel to get there. But now it’s so easy to pop over to any city in Europe – all you need is a daypack with a couple of changes of clothes and you can go and visit a new country over a weekend, without feeling like you’re breaking the bank in doing so.

It’s also now possible to go travelling without giving up work. You can work as you go as long as you have your laptop with you, and a flexible boss. Of course, it’s not suitable for every profession, but if you’re a writer or researcher, there generally aren’t many restrictions especially if you work for yourself. There’s internet access in every destination, whether you take a dongle with you, or go to different internet cafés and hotspots along the way, so if you have a day job that can be done on the move, why not?

And then there’s the gear. With so many lightweight tent and sleeping bag options, backpacking doesn’t have to be a backbreaking exercise these days.

However, with all these advantages, there comes one aspect that’s not quite as good as in the old days. Part of the joy and excitement of backpacking was that getting away from it all feeling, that slight edginess of knowing that your family didn’t have a clue where you were until you checked in over a crackly telephone call that cost you Ł10 a minute and the only way of sending you stuff was via a poste restante.

Backpackers today must find it hard to escape the emails and text messages from home and probably never quite get that same sense of adventure as those backpackers had only a couple of decades ago. Still, we can’t escape progress!

CC JD Photography

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