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Are we too old to Back Pack??

Travel Forums General Talk Are we too old to Back Pack??

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1. Posted by kuschi (Budding Member, 11 posts) 20 Feb '04 08:39

kuschi has indicated that this thread is about USA

I am 30 and my partner is a fit 53 year old. We plan to spend a year going around the world and have found that hiring motor homes is very expensive!

Do you think we are too old to do the hostels thing? and hop on and off of the bus around the countries??

Some advice please from people have don this type of thing. We really dont want to camp but are looking for another cost effective way of seeing the world.

Thanks

2. Posted by Annet (Budding Member, 12 posts) 20 Feb '04 10:47

I'm glad you're bringing this up. I'm gonna be 30 this year and am just back from a trip to London, where I stayed in a youth hostel. It had been a few years (not that many) since I had been in a hostel, and I wasn't sure whether it was going to be such a good choice, having gotten used to stays in hotels and all that.
But, I had the best time ever. The people that I met in the 'living room' of the hostel were so friendly and they were such and interesting mix of people: students, teachers, musicians, of all different ages (yes, a majority of them are probably in their twenties, but still), from all over the world. I do not think you will feel out of place at all. I'm sure you will be grateful for the opportunity of meeting so many different people, something which will probably never happen in a regular hotel.
So, definitely do it! Bring a suitcase on wheels, not a backpack!! (Heaven knows why everyone is logging those big things around. You're never able to find anything in it, they're heavy and uncomfortable. Don't do it!) And, if you want a bit of luxury or privacy, you can always book a night or two in a posh hotel in between your hostel stays. And.. a lot of hostels also have double rooms, for some quality time together :);)
So, enjoy! Do some research. Compare some prices. Check out the best hostels online (some are in castles, or other magnificent historic structures!), research low-cost airlines (easyjet, basiqair, ryanair will get you across Europe for the price of a nice meal or less).
Let me know if you have more questions. And let us know what you're going to do!

3. Posted by Carmath (Budding Member, 5 posts) 21 Feb '04 08:10

Great post and intereasting thread!

I am on the same boat! I am turning 40 and feel I missed a lot of these experiences...I worked all my life and now want to do and see so much while I enjoy good health.

I am going to Englad, for a long weekend. I purchased a couple of (expensive) tickets to catch a match at Old Trafford, but I have been thinking about LEARNING to travel cheap and enjoy life's simple pleasures.

Please continue this thread with thoughts and insights.

4. Posted by sole (Full Member, 208 posts) 23 Feb '04 12:48

No, you're NOT too old!!! I'm 44, the last time I did "real" backpacking was in 2000, 3 weeks on the Greek islands. No plans made ahead, jumping on and off ferries, no hotels booked in advance. That is the ultimate holiday for me and it worked great.

In 2001 we did Thailand and Australia, could call that backpacking as well, had no plans apart from arrival and departure. Rented a car in Oz and took one day at a time. The same in Thailand, no plans made ahead. A great way to travel.

In 1996 when I was 36, I backpacked for 3 months alone with my 5 year old son, so NO you're definitely not too old to backpack. In Thailand we stayed at hostels/guest houses for a long time, met people ranging from 16-18 to people in their seventies. So don't hesitate at all, go for it. I'm really envious, wish I could do the same, so enjoy it

I'm not certain that I agree with Annet on the backpack issue. If you go and invest in a really good backpack it's not heavy and it will be very practical. Not at all difficult to find your stuff as it will have several big and small compartments (??). I have backpacks and suitcases. For a year-long trip I think I'd opt for the backpack. Gives you the advantage of not having to carry stuff in your hands, and if it's a good backpack it's very easy to carry, lots of different belts, shoulder and hip pads.

As Annet says, let us know what you decide, it's very exciting. Any questions that I might be able to help with, let me know.

Good luck with the plans.

Sole

5. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive, 627 posts) 24 Feb '04 18:39

Hey Kuschi,

I am too young to have any experience to share about "elder-travelling" (if you'll permit), though I am sure it is doable. I admire your braveness!

What I wanted to comment on is the suitcase-on-wheels bit. Yes, it is true what Annet said that it is easy to pull around a carry-on-sized suitcase on wheels. In fact, when I was in Europe I saw many Europeans using them, and they are used quite often in Canada as well. However, you have to consider a few things: one would be cobblestone streets in places like Italy. Another would be getting on and off buses/trains (anything you can't strap on your back will be quite annoying when you have 5 minutes to change platforms in a train station in a country you don't speak the language in and you have to carry it up and down stairs- not every station has those conveyor belts. It could mean catching or missing your next connection.). If you choose this route, deffinately bring extra wheels.

The thing that makes backpacks such a good choice for many, though, is the fact that they can be adjusted to you and your body. They make packs especially for short/tall people, women/men, etc. This is the trick: Go to a good camping store in your hometown and ask the salesperson for advice (and tell him/her what you will be using it for- don't get sold a technophile pack for extreme camping!!! ). He/she should show you how to properly adjust the straps and tell you how to pack it in order to take the weight off your shoulders (which is straining and = a sore back) and onto your hips/rump (more central in your gravity and stronger)! Get one with one big, main compartment with a side opening zipper so you have better and quicker access to the stuff inside (no digging like top-opening packs) and it is easier to pack. Another good feature is being able to hide the straps and convert it into a duffle. This is especially handy during plane travel when packs are abused and the straps could be torn in equipment. You don't need extra frills and features and a zillion compartments because it makes it easier for pickpockets to get at your stuff without you noticing and you can organise the stuff inside the large compartment with mesh stuff sacks and clear plastic ziplock freezer bags (only use the latter for dirty stuff like shoes/laundry or stuff that can burst in transit like shampoo- otherwise you risk annoying hostel-mates with noize of rustling bags if you happen to check in on the middle of the night).

Sorry for veering off-topic a bit. Good luck on your planning and I hope you have a great trip!

Peace,
Steph

6. Posted by life4rent (Full Member, 18 posts) 25 Feb '04 00:25

I bump into an old couple who already above 50yrs last few days while I were in Ko Lanta. They have been travelling around SEA ever since couple of months though. I was a bit curious as they were back pack traveling like young people. He and his wife were traveling together. Long way down from California. Imagine he is 54yrs old man and he still have curiousity to travel in cheap way but comfortable. I am impressed.
So, I dont think you cant. It is always depend on individual itself.

So, have fun traveling!

7. Posted by lisamac (Budding Member, 2 posts) 29 Feb '04 00:36

A friend of mine told me a story a few months back about a 72 year old woman who she met on the aeroplane going from Siem Reap in Cambodia to Vientiane, Laos. This woman had a couple of small packs with her and the most enormous floppy straw hat and that was it. She has been travelling all her life and her point was that she refuses to let anyone tell her to give up or limit herself in something she loves because of her age. I guess my point in the re-telling of this is that: I want to be that woman in 40 years time AND hearing it made me think of all the interesting non-twenty-ish people I have met travelling (I love all you twenty-somethings, too. This post is not knocking you). Travel and adventure doesn't belong to those under 30 - just get stuck into it!

8. Posted by life4rent (Full Member, 18 posts) 1 Mar '04 22:41

I agree with your opinion lisamec. go traveling is not a matter of age just pack up and go. who cares other people gonna say. the worst that you gonna hear is " wow, look an old women traveling alone?"
So have fun traveling!

9. Posted by BeckyR (Full Member, 174 posts) 2 Mar '04 02:22

Age thing . . . . .You are definitely not too old, I am a 30something about to go RTW for the first time and my partner (who is slightly older than yours!) will be joining me for part of it . . . I think any age is ok for backpacking, although have to admit I may be going for wheels since I do not intend to go on cobbles and moving the suitcase on and off buses/trains is no more difficult than putting on a backpack in a confined space!!

Budgets . . . . I am combining hostels with a couple of luxury hotels dotted in now and again, but have you thought about buying a motor home? If you are staying a month or more in some places may be worth it, probably find good deals from the first hostel you stay in.

Have fun travelling

B

10. Posted by me.da (Full Member, 96 posts) 2 Mar '04 10:51

On the subject of being to old to backpack- if you can carry it, you aint too old. i've been staying in hostels around the UK, Europe and Thailand for a while and have met people from 17 to 52 years old. And age hasn't seemed to be an obstacle to any of them, if anything, the elders put us young uns to shame with their partying and their appetite for adventure. Go for it!!!