This Mom Busts The Common Backpacking Myths You Thought Were True!

This mom gives an insider’s view on what it means to go backpacking- especially with your kids abroad. She breaks the common myths associated with backpacking- shares her experience of how wonderful it is, especially for kids. and why you must be planning one soon, this winter holidays!

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions backpacking? This mom who loves travelling has given us some serious #travelgoals earlier– helps break the myth on what backpacking actually means and how what you thought of it earlier isn’t quite right! 

Myth 1: Backpacking means travelling like a hippie with no money, dreadlocks and in the same pair of clothes for days!

Wait, what? Whoever gave you this impression has definitely not defined ‘backpacking’ in the correct sense of the term. Backpacking is much more than just taking off with a rucksack, a couple of clothes in a direction that’s left to destiny. Although it sounds fancy to live like an ‘aesthetic voyageur’ (courtesy the movie ‘Into the Wild’) and many people are ACTUALLY leaving behind all their possessions, going out into the wild with only mother nature for company and survival, backpacking extends much beyond that and is generally open to anyone who wishes to accept it as a form of travel.

Most of all, it definitely doesn’t mean you have to ‘give up’ all your material possessions and start living like a hippie.

Scroll down to read more such bizarre myths on backpacking and share this with a friend who loves to travel!

Myth 2: Backpacking is only for young people who are interested in an alternative lifestyle:

Completely false! Backpacking has no age limit and can be taken up by anyone regardless of gender and age. I have met so many backpackers across the world who discovered their love for travelling later in life and picked up from there. It just requires a healthy body and mind, and of course the willingness to travel. Imagine how many stories you will be able to tell your kids about your adventures later in life!

Myth 3: Backpacking is not for families, especially those with younger kids:

Well! I am a living proof from India that one can backpack as a family, and also solo with your child! Having backpacked across India and to 10 countries with our little one since she was an infant, we can safely recommend this to every parent who loves travelling and wants to experience it with their kids. Just search for #backpackwithbaby or #backpackingfamily on Instagram and you will see beautiful accounts of families who are in the zone and love doing it. Well, you can surely be among those families if you have the will to backpack.

Myth 4: Backpacking is difficult with kids because you have to stay in hostels and dorms that are unclean and do not cater to families.

Not true! You can choose to stay at hostels when you backpack with kids and you will be amazed at the kind of experience you will have if you find a family-friendly hostel. These are no less than good budget/boutique hotels and also have private rooms with ensuite bathrooms that are extremely clean and well maintained. With helpful front office staff, 24-hour reception services, playrooms full of toys, children’s books and gaming zones, communal movie viewing spaces, open area for children- the facilities are endless. It is a bad idea to expect a traveller hostel to accommodate your family if the rules say they would not, but we have travelled extensively with our kid and stayed with HI (Hostelling International) hostels in Canada, Europe and New Zealand and found this community of hostels among the most family-friendly chain in the World. The backpacking experience you get when you stay in such a community hostel is priceless. I am yet to come across a backpacker hostel in India that is family friendly, and I hope they soon open up their spaces to parents like us.

Myth 5: I don’t think we would fit into a hostelling lifestyle with a community of strangers, so I would always choose a hotel instead for family travel:

If hostels sound like too much invasion of your privacy and lack of intimacy while travelling as a family, why not explore the amazing range of BnB (bed and breakfast) options available across the world? You can choose to stay with a host family after surfing through properties on sites like and choose the one you like. These sites come with a pre booking option, have verified properties, and give you the option of contacting the host to negotiate your stay and also inform them that you will be travelling with children. We have often cooked meals in their kitchen and shared Indian recipes with them, which they always wanted to try. Our kid has had the chance to meet children of her age from various countries who have sparked a curiosity in her to get to know someone who looks different from her but is so much fun to hang around with. This has helped her confidence levels immensely, and ours as well as we are constantly learning from different cultures, food habits and people who are warm and welcoming. Backpacking definitely involves staying with local families so there is no reason why you should shy away from this option. India too has amazing BnB properties now, and you can start with one of those if you wish to experience it. 

Myth 6: Food is a huge problem while travelling with kids and backpacking would make it extra difficult:

Travelling is expensive, and if you were to stay in hotels, this would mean ordering in from the menu or getting packed food from outside, unless you have a kitchenette you can use for basic meals. How about getting access to a huge kitchen with a deep freeze and refrigerator, utensils, cutlery, cooking ingredient basics and company from across the World? This is exactly what you get access to when you stay at a good family friendly hostel or  BnB. You can shop for fresh supplies from the local market, store your child’s milk and other essentials, cook what you like, and enjoy a home-cooked meal in a fantastic destination, all while travelling with your family. I love this choice because some of the local markets across the World will drive you nuts with the kind of variety they have on offer, and you can pick up fresh vegetables, meat, milk, cheese, sauces and everything that you would want to whip up a local meal while you google a native recipe from that region. I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to exploring local food markets, and I love picking up fresh produce, cooking it in the hostel or BnB kitchens and enjoying a beautiful meal with my family.

Myth 7: Travelling on buses, trains and public transport in a different country seems overwhelming with kids.

I prefer taxis instead: While conventional backpacking involves public transport as the sole means of travel, you can pretty much customize it to suit your style of travel. I would advise parents to try out public transport in countries outside India. They are easy to follow, efficient and you will have no issues reaching one spot to another if you follow the route maps and have an idea of the main modes of transport at a particular place. The public transport network all over Europe is generally very well laid out and efficient. Trains arrive on time, are hygienic, have spaces for lounging with family, and have good facilities. Buses also have a great network across most of mainstream Europe and you will have no problems shuttling from one spot to the other. We have walked around Scandinavia, France and Germany with our little one in the stroller or baby carrier and have had an incredible experience. We stopped when we wanted to, took a nap in the open, and continued walking again. Many cities are also connected by waterways and water transport is very well managed in these places. The experience of travelling by a ferry or boat is unbeatable and should be included in your travels.

Myth 8: Backpacking is only for poor people and it involves being miserly and strict with your expenses while travelling:

I have heard this from so many people, especially from our country that it leaves me wondering how they seem to assume a person’s financial background from their style of travel. This is again a deep-rooted myth that needs to be busted because it does not matter how deep your pockets are. What matters is if you are the kind that wants to explore more options while travelling and are willing to go the extra mile to make your family experience something different. Are you are the kind that wants to break away from the luxury hotel stays, taxis and concierge services once in a while to enjoy the experience of travelling like a local, meeting fellow travellers, and immersing yourself in a particular place? If the answer is yes, then backpacking once in a while can turn out to be an extremely enjoyable experience for you. Maybe you can choose to dine at a really fancy place while you are backpacking, or enjoy an overpriced museum or theme park during the same trip.

Why not indulge in experiences that make you more culturally aware, and make you more accepting of people from all backgrounds across the world? You will definitely come out feeling richer after the trip.

These are some of the common myths that I hope I have busted with this piece. Enjoy the upcoming holiday season and remember to embrace the beauty of travel with your families! 

Leave a Reply


Subscribe to get the latest news & updates delivered directly to your inbox.

You May Also Like