Budget, Kids

Backpacker Tours: Are They Right for You?

October 27, 2012 by

Grand Canyon Backpacking

Grand Canyon Backpacking

Backpacker tours offer advantages and disadvantages, and come with a variety of package options, so before you book a backpacker tour take time to compare and weigh your choices. Tours can last from a few days to a few months, and come with different levels of amenities.

If you plan to take up backpacking to save money, take a good look at what a tour costs. While you may not be paying for amenities most people look for on vacation, you will be paying for the guides expertise and knowledge, as well as activities and transportation.


Some people choose backpacking just for the magnificent views.

Choosing the Right Tour for You

Why people decide to backpack is subjective. Some people want to experience the adventure; others take along their cameras to capture once-in-a-lifetime views and opportunities to meet wildlife. Still others want to make it a family affair and include the kids.

Whether it’s because you love the great outdoors, or just want to be able to say you did it, backpacking offers myriads of unique experiences. It’s a great way to absorb local cultures. It’s not unusual to tailor the experience to suit your preferences.

For instance, sleeping in the jungle isn’t the ideal for everyone. Some people actually prefer to sleep in a hotel. Talk with tour organizers to learn you options. Often the same tour will offer more than one choice for sleeping arrangements.

Kid friendly backpacking tours

Kid friendly backpacker tours are available.

Pros and Cons to Backpacker Tours

There’s two sides to every opportunity and it is no different with backpacker tours.


  • New Friends: Backpacker tours offer an opportunity to meet new people and make friends as you share travel experiences. However, this advantage also has a down side. If you meet new people and you don’t get along, then you’re stuck with their company for the duration of the tour.
  • Safety: When you travel with a backpacker tour, your tour guide will be familiar with the route and know which locations are safe to visit.
  • Local Expertise: Along with safety tips, a tour guide’s local knowledge will enhance your experience because they’ll be able to suggest activities and places to go that might otherwise be overlooked. This includes where to eat, and how to deal with the local vendors to avoid getting scammed.


  • Loss of Flexibility: The downside to choosing a backpacker tour is that you lose the flexibility you experience when you travel solo. If you’re having a great time in a location and would love to spend another night, that isn’t possible if the tour is scheduled to leave the following morning.
  • Cost: Financially, an organized tour will cost you more, too. You can cut down costs sometimes by not paying for activities ahead of time. Some tour companies will allow you to pay per activity once you reach the location.
  • Undesirable Traveling Companions: As mentioned above, you may be stuck traveling with people you don’t get along with for the duration of the tour.

With all this in mind, it is well worth talking to different tour operators to find out what they offer. If you have kids, don’t discount a backpacker tour. Check with various companies to find kid-friendly backpacking tours. It’s a great opportunity to create unforgettable moments with the entire family.

Photo credits: backpackingaustralia.com.au, rei.com

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