Backpacking across a country truly is a type of travel that is in a league of its own. For those that have never done it, the adventure offered by backpacking is truly one of life’s great experiences. If you’ve ever been considering taking a spontaneous backpacking trip, I suggest you do it immediately. Here are my reasons why taking a spontaneous backpacking trip can be an unbelievable experience:
Make New Friends
On the plane ride to Seattle I didn’t imagine the memorable friends and people I would meet along the way. I made friends from Ireland, Australia, England, India, Ghana, and France.
Stop spending your time on blind dates, playing adult softball, or going to bars to meet new people. It’s hard after college staying in touch with the good friends, especially when life takes you to different places. Maintaining an active social life is as healthy for you as exercising, eating right, and finding the best career.
I still talk to Elijah, the chef from Cincinnati, who tagged along with me from Seattle to San Diego. He, like me, decided to venture off on a spontaneous backpacking trip.
Traveling with friends you meet along the way is a lot better than going solo. You’d be surprised how many people backpack alone and take similar travel routes.
You Don’t Have to Spend a Ton of Money
Reducing lodging cost depends on whether or not you want to stay in a hotel or hostel. If you want the true backpacking experience do NOT stay in hotels!
Hotel costs dig into your travel funds and isolate you from the wonderful world of people and culture.
Hostels offer you the best backpacking resources when traveling. I made countless friends from all walks of life in the hostels. Thanks to a hostel roommate, Eli and I ate at the best barbecue joint in Portland, OR.
Not only are the hostel employees usually very accommodating, but most of them are seasoned travelers. You don’t need a travel guide when available humans are available. Plus, most hostels are conveniently located in the heart of large cities or destinations.
In Seattle, the Green Tortoise was located near Pike Place Market. Even in winter the outdoors farmer’s market was an awesome place to grab fresh fruit, see local restaurants, and perhaps venture into the original Starbucks. Check out and compare the hostel options. Read the reviews!
Calling All Food Lovers
It’s the age of the foodie. Everyone loves to eat, including me.
In Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, and Houston I ate delicious food. I sampled local beers in San Diego and visited the farmer’s markets in San Francisco. The best way to experience a new place is to eat the food and drink the beer!
I also vividly remember when friends and I would stuff granola bars, bagels, peanut butter, energy bars, huge water bottles, and any other travel capable food into our backpacks that could survive the endless walks, buses, and trains.
Explore the Wild
I’ve never considered myself an outdoorsy type. But I did stay at Big Sur off the Pacific Coast highway. Waking up next to monstrous red oaks really reshapes your perspective.
I camped near the beach in south Carlsbad north of San Diego. The beautiful southern California beaches offer an incredible change up compared to the east coast.
The timing of the trip prevented me from visiting Yosemite or Yellowstone National Parks. Those remain on my to-do list.
One thing I do suggest is making sure your backpacks are worthy of such an adventure. Two days into the trip I realized that a rolling suitcase wouldn’t get the job done. I quickly reviewed backpacks, found the perfect one, and had it quickly shipped to my hostel in Seattle. I donated the rolling suitcase to Good Will, consolidated my belongings, and travel became much more efficient. I wouldn’t have been able to camp or go anywhere with that rolling suitcase.