Ten Things Only Female Backpackers Would Understand


1. You’ll gain weight

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but in my experience (and in every other woman’s who I’ve either travelled with or spoken to) this is inevitable for any female backpacker. I acquired a nice, cushiony thirteen pounds extra. Other friends only gained a couple of kilos. Either way, we all got more tubs. Embrace it.


2. People will steal your toiletries

A shampoo container here, a razor stick or two there. Yes, yes, I’m sure on occasion the mislaid items are the result of general carelessness … but if you start to suspect you genuinely might be going mad because you can’t for the life of you remember where you put the hairbrush – again – chances are, someone’s nabbing your stuff.

3. Your favourite wares will get lost in transit

With all the clothes you scatter across hostel dorms and those repeat trips to the lavanderia on a bi-weekly basis, mislaying your wares from time to time is a given. Doesn’t stop you wanting to shed a tear or two, though, when the only matching set of undies you own are cruelly separated following another unsuccessful trip to the local laundrette.

4. Creepy guys will….creep on you


*NB: this is my friend who, despite appearance, is not an actual creep.

As a female backpacker you do have to take the rough with the smooth. For every dreamy lothario you encounter, there’ll be another creep leering in his shadow. Quite remarkable, really, the amount of attention you can receive when you’re no longer brushing your hair or wearing makeup (and tattered leggings are the only thing that fit your new fat suit).


5. You’ll fall in love. Again. And again. And again.

It comes with the territory. Life on the road is shaky, unpredictable and in a constant state of flux. Ergo, you find yourself clinging like a limpet to the latest hottie you met and shared romantic times with in that hostel because, like, what if he is the love of my life and I never, ever see him again??? I’ve never felt like this about ANYONE (is, err, not what I ever said…ever..)

6. You’ll run into all the people you’re trying to avoid


From the awkward romances you’d rather forget to that really annoying girl who had no sense of personal space; if you’re actively trying to avoid these people, you can bet your ass you’ll bump into them again in the very worst of places. Like, the middle of a remote island that less than ten other backpackers in the whole continent have undertaken the six hour trip across perilous conditions to reach…How do these things happen??

7. Mother nature will be ever present


Ah, the beloved monthly cycle. She’s not going anywhere (and let’s be honest, we should all feel grateful for this when backpacking – the inconvenience of getting your period up a mountain is marginally less distressing than discovering that you might actually be with child). Still, as most women can attest to, on your travels it really is just a bloody pain. Pun intended.

8. Your hair will take on a life of its own


I’m talking, all the hairs. Budget (and convenience) won’t allow for those monthly top ups to the waxing salon so you’ll most likely be resorting to the trusty razor. This will handle everything from legs, armpits, bikini lines and lip hair (…what? Oh, that might just be me). It’s a mistake to assume that one razor can survive months of your fast-growth follicles but most of us will live in denial of this and continue to revisit with a blunt blade. Sigh.

9. You’ll realise that female snorers are a breed of their own


Thought only blokes were the rhinos of snoresville? Try sharing a dorm with eight other angelic-seeming females and you’ll soon see how wrong you were. Sure, it might be all sweetness and giggles at the bar, but when the lights are out, the beasts are unleashed. What’s mind boggling is that the loudest sounds are usually emanating from the nostrils of the teeniest, tiniest women in the room.

10. Lots of people won’t understand why, if you backpack solo 


Locals think you’re crazy for navigating their country without the aid of a man (or anyone) in tow – on occasion, you’ve wondered if you’re a bit bonkers too (and wouldn’t it be nice if someone else could carry your 18kg rucksack to the next hostel?). Still, what’s great is being able to disprove the theory that, as a woman navigating these foreign parts, you can’t hack it. You totally can. What’s more, you’ll return with stories aplenty that make the loss of items, love handles, and awkward encounters with exes on the road all the more worth it for the ‘lols.’

Oh, and, erm, slightly coarser lip hair…

Did we miss anything? Comment below!

Written by Charlotte Cowling: foodie, writer, cycling and travel fiend. Always keen for an avo-cuddle.

Image credits: Charlotte Cowling


  • Kelly

    July 5, 2015

    Ha this is brilliant. All so true!

  • rebecca

    July 18, 2015

    Love this! Will gain weight! number one story of my life. Meanwhile my guy traveler mates seemed to loose weight 🙁

  • Tina

    September 10, 2015

    Those are so true.. 🙂 Great post indeed.. Thanks…

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