The Cons of Being a Backpacker

Backpacking has become my life – traveling country to country with a 65 liter bag on my back for extended periods of time. It’s amazing…..but there’s always bad that comes with the good.

These are some things that I struggle with while backpacking long-term….

1. Missing home

Of course one of the main things that comes with traveling is being homesick occasionally. Being away from family and friends for months at a time isn’t easy. Luckily, I don’t get too homesick often. But sometimes I just miss those lazy Sunday’s on the couch with my family, my dogs, and a football game. Some days I miss my late night summer drives with my best friends – blaring 90s music and singing at the top of our lungs. I miss the little things. But really…..I miss my dog.

2. It can be mentally and physically exhausting

Backpacking is all fun and games until you’re up for 48 hours straight hopping from a plane, to a bus, to 3.5 hours in immigration. Backpacking takes a lot out of you, carrying a heavy bag on your back as you try to navigate your way around a new city…..trying to find your hostel….at 6 am. Finding tickets, planning day trips, and trying to maintain a budget…..EXHAUSTING. ALL OF IT. But it’s worth it.

3. Same clothes, different day….

What should I wear today, my black pants or my jeans? And what top? The blue one or the yellow one I wore yesterday? Yeah – to some people it may be nothing…..but having the same wardrobe consisting of the same 5 outfits for months can be kind of annoying. I secretly love it when something happens to one of my clothing items because it’s an excuse for me to buy something to replace it, right?

4. Meeting people and leaving them

Myyyyy heaaaaaaaaarttttt. This is literally the worst thing about backpacking – it has to be. Almost every single day I am meeting new people from all over the world or creating a new connection. Whether it be a local I spend a week with, or someone I met in my hostel room that I ventured the city with for the next 3 days….I make new friends constantly and goodbyes NEVER get easier. I met a guy in Cusco over a year ago that I really clicked with – the goodbye sucked. But where am I 385 days later? Back in Cusco 😉  They just need to be promised “see you laters”, am I right?

Some of my favorite people I’ve met in South America – hangin’ out in Minca, Colombia

5. Missing out on important events

Watching my coworkers baby shower on Facebook Live and living vicariously through my best friends birthday party on Snapchat isn’t ideal, ya know? Missing out on those special days really sucks. I am super happy to be traveling around South America but I wish I could fly home for a few days just to enjoy events with family, friends, and coworkers. That’s one of the hardest things that comes with traveling long term.

6. Getting sick away from home (UGH)

L O FUCKIN’ L. If you know me literally at all or follow me on any social media platform….you know that I’m always getting sick or hurting myself (stupid). There is nothing worse than being sick or in pain away from home. I just want my bed, one of my favorite local soups, and Netflix. Even better? There’s absolutely nothing like getting hurt and spending time in a foreign hospital. Like in Thailand when I thought they were going to amputate my foot or in Peru when they explained that I needed injections to feel better. Excuse me….? I’m always having allergic reactions, breaking an ankle, stepping in glass, getting eye infections…..why me? WHY?

Me in a hospital in Arequipa, Peru

7. When will I get a full nights rest?

When you’re backpacking for some time, you’re more than likely staying in hostels to cut costs. I love hostels, don’t get me wrong…..but will I ever get a full nights rest in one? THAT is the question. People are always going to be coming in and out, drunk people late at night (or early in the morning I should say), and housekeeping at 10 AM stripping the bed above you. Lights might come on at 11 PM when you have a 6:30 AM tour the next day. People will be “whispering”…..unless they’re from the USA because they don’t know how to whisper in hostel rooms. Someone’s alarm is going to go off at 7 AM and they’ll hit snooze a solid 8 times before deciding it’s time to actually get up. All about the experience, I suppose 😉

8. Getting addicted

Sure, there’s bad things that come with backpacking……but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nothing makes me happier than waking up in a foreign city with all of the freedom in the world with how you’re going to spend your day. Stepping your feet in foreign soil, dancing down cobblestone streets, treating your taste buds to local foods, and exploring markets totally impacts you more than the bad things do.



I’m sure some of you can relate to these “negatives” that come with traveling – but would you have it any other way?

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