Why Backpacking Makes You A Better Person, According To Science

backpacking good for you study

Unsplash/Chris Holgersson

We already know that backpacking is one of the best things in the world. Living out of a pack for a while and hopping from one breathtaking destination to the next is a truly humbling experience. But now, new research is here to back up our obsession. Science says backpacking is great for your health — both physical and mental.

According to a study published in the Journal of Travel Research, backpacking offers benefits for your physical health (you know, like carrying that big ol’ pack around) and your emotional health (affecting your self-esteem and sense of self-sufficiency). So all you backpackers out there, you’re reaping some major health perks out there on the road.

The study suggests backpacking increases your productivity and problem-solving abilities, which makes sense if you think about all of the new places, cultures and customs you’re exposed to when traveling. The researchers looked at 500 backpackers from around the world and measured the personal development they experienced on their trips, based on how self-sufficient and confident they felt before and after their travels.

backpacking good for you study


We all know that leaving your comfort zone boosts your self-esteem and confidence. When you’re exploring the world, you have to rely on yourself to adjust and cope with new situations. But according to the study, the pace of backpacking gives you the ability to do it in an emotionally healthy way, giving yourself the freedom to settle into that newfound self-reliance. You have longer to travel, meaning longer to transition into your super-chill, super-confident traveling self. And the best part? You take all these adaptable qualities back home with you when your backpacking trip is done.

Now, we should define backpacker since it’s one of those wide terms that lots of travelers claim. We’d say that any traveler who’s journeying to different destinations carrying one bag is a backpacker. You could be going by foot, maybe even hiking and camping, or you could be going by train, staying in hostels or budget Airbnbs. The important factor is that you’re carrying one pack for the entire venture.

So if you’re looking for an excuse to dust off that backpack under your bed, buy a new one or grab the bag that’s basically already packed and sitting at the ready by your door, you’ve got science behind you. Where to, friend?

[h/t The Points Guy]


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