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Things Backpackers do… but just don’t Brag about

In 2004/05 I backpacked Europe for an entire year. While I was backpacking there were many things I would do and no one would know about. What I mean is, when you are a backpacker you want to save as much money in every possible way. So you work around things that you know you can get away with. A few things every backpacker does, but just doesn’t brag about it.

Taking food from hostels to save it for lunch or dinner

While I backpacked, I didn’t want to spend that much money on food, since I rather put my money towards more important things. Therefore I would take the breakfast food from the hostels. Some hostels offered free breakfast and as a result I would snatch extra food to save it for lunch. I remember a moment in Luzerne, Switzerland where food is rather not on the cheap side, hence that is why  I took a few sandwiches from the hostel. As I was about to leave the hostel a lady with a very strong accent yelled at me complaining that I was stealing food. Consequently I got caught, but hey that was the only time out my backpacking year, not bad eh. So if a hostel offered bread for breakfast, I would scramble and take loads of it for my lunch and dinner. It was a very unhealthy diet, but it did the trick.

Taking toilet paper

In Europe washrooms don’t carry toilet paper and that’s in all washrooms.  Everywhere, you would have to make sure there was a roll of toilet paper in your bag. I would sometimes take a few rolls of toilet paper from the hostels to keep me going for a while because you don’t want to purchase a whole bag of toilet paper rolls and carry them around.

Taking towels

While I was in Europe, at times I would spend lots of occasions on the beach, bathing, relaxing, and swimming. I always had a towel on my journeys, but it was used for the shower, not a beach towel. Plus I didn’t want to carry around two towels it just made my backpack heavier. As a result I would take a beach towel from where ever.  For example when I was backpacking Morocco there was always time to hit up the beach. So I  always needed an extra towel. In Morocco I stayed in hotels, since it was fairly cheap and from each of the hotels, lets just say I would take a towel or so.

Lie about your age

Age is everything while you are traveling, well when it comes to getting in free to museums, activities, and major sites. If you are under the age of 19, most of the time you can acquire free entry into a lot of things. Most of time I would tell people that I am an international student and my age is 18, therefore free entry was always on my list.

Not taking a shower that often, when on the go

So yes, this must sound very unpleasant to you, but it is true. When you are a backpacker and jumping from one city to another, sleeping on trains or in train stations, and trying to see as much as possible well as a result there is very little occasions to take a shower. There were moments that I wouldn’t have time to shower in four-five days. This one rule you just don’t want to brag about. Smelly socks, dirty jackets, and rough hair often happened to me while I was backpacking. Once you got to your hostel, that was the very first thing to do, jump in the shower!!

Cleaning clothes in the shower or sink

Where else is the cheapest route to clean your clothes, then in the shower?! Yup, did it all the time. Well it was my only way to clean my clothes and have not to pay. I use to have a routine in cleaning my clothes. It sounds funny, but it’s true. I would clean my clothes at every other hostel and make sure I would have enough time to have them all dried before I was off to the next hostel.  I would scrub away with a bar of soap and rinse them while taking a shower to not waste time or money. Yup, you can say I was cheap, but guess what it did the trick!!!.. clean clothes I had. Yet, I did have this routine, but there were times when I didn’t have time to clean my clothes. For about a week in half I remember once, I was wearing dirty clothes over and over again. But don’t worry I did clean them eventually.

There are many things backpackers don’t talk about while traveling, but when money is tight and you are press for time, well you just gotta do what you have to do!!! Theses are my little do nots… what are yours?

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