Backpacking might not sound like everyone's idea of the perfect vacation. However, after the last year and a half that we've all had, communing with nature and exploring the world in solitude or with a few close pals might be exactly what we need. Backpacking has been a longstanding tradition that's been around longer than most of us even realize, dating back to the very beginnings of walkable exploration. Nowadays, people fly all over the world in order to start from a certain point and explore a country, or several, on foot.


Related: Planning To Walk The Camino De Santiago? These Are The Items You Must Bring In Your Backpack

For so many, this is a time of self-reflection and the chance to center themselves. It's arguably the best way to get to know a country and its culture, with minimal distractions other than those which one would face while 'on the road' or, in this case, the trail. Still unsure if it's for you? Check out the pros and cons to decide if you're due for a wanderlust-filled backpacking trip.

Pro: It's A Great Way To See The World For Those On A Low (Or No) Budget

The great thing about backpacking is that much of the time, you're traveling with everything that's on your back and that's it. Usually, that includes a tent that can be set up practically anywhere that's legal, meaning you're truly seeing the world with no restrictions. There are no hotel fees, no rental car fees, and aside from food, there's really nothing left to pay for. Of course, the occasional night in a hostel or a hotel doesn't hurt any but even that is still saving travelers tons of money.

Con: There's A Fairly Significant Level Of Spontaneity Involved

If you're the kind of person who can't deviate from a plan and requires everything to be thoroughly mapped out and detailed, then backpacking will be an interesting experience. As is expected, there is some spontaneity in not always knowing where you'll be laying your head down for the night or how far you'll be able to go on any given day. While you'll likely have days planned out in accordance with how many miles you'll be walking, if you'll be catching public transportation, etc., anything from rainstorms to transportation delays can put a damper (no pun intended) on that leg of the trip. Therefore, being flexible with plans and being able to change them last minute is definitely a good quality to have... but it's also a con for some people.

Pro: You're Disconnected In The Best Way, And Gaining Confidence By The Day

There won't always be WiFi which means that checking one's social media won't always be an option. In fact, charging your phone might not always be an option. Relying on local landlines, computer access via towns, and reserving phone batteries may very well be part of your backpacking journey. This disconnection is something that's initially startling and uncomfortable until you realize the world is what exists around you, not behind a phone screen. That first major summit, the first cliffside view of the ocean, charming small town, or friend met along the way will prove that.

Con: Homesickness Can Creep In, Especially In The Process Of Dropping Material Things

And while it's perfectly okay to feel this homesickness, it is still a con of backpacking. When we go on vacation, most of us go with the notion in mind that we'll be returning on a flight, at a certain time, on a certain day. Backpacking takes all of that certainty and throws it out the window, as the length and timing of the journey both rely on the person taking it.

Pro: Flexibility Is All Part Of The Experience And There's A Sense Of Freedom

This all goes back to spontaneity. If nothing else, backpacking will teach a person how to be flexible and adapt to certain situations. In most cases, this is initially an unwanted surprise to some because most of us are so used to our lives being somewhat in order. Backpacking requires a certain level of disorder to work, and flexibility will, in a funny way, allow any journey to go smoother. There's freedom in this act of letting go and it's a feeling that has backpackers continuously strapping on their packs for more.

Con: Hygiene Is An Interesting Game To Play And Isn't Always Attractive

The notion of leaving no trace is entirely true and necessary, especially when backpacking through national parks or long stretches of untouched nature. Everything from toilet paper (used and unused) to toothpaste must be packed out, and any and all food scraps need to be packed out and thrown out, as well. In terms of hygiene, don't worry about packing tons of clothes because they'll just get dirty... and after a few days, you'll be so wrapped up in your journey that you won't even care. Or you will, and you'll quickly be looking for a hostel or public shower.

Next: 20 Photos (Shared By Travelers) That Show What Backpacking Is Really Like