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Backpacker / Backpacking – Glossary Definition

Backpacker / Backpacking – Glossary Definition


Want the definition of backpacker? Learn the meaning of backpacking, see some examples, and get a better understanding of this travel glossary term!

Wondering about the definition of backpacker? Keep reading to learn the meaning of backpacking, see some examples, and get a better understanding of this travel glossary term!

montivagant backpacker wandering over hills and mountains travel definition
A montivagant backpacker wandering over hills and mountains. Taken by C. Hayashi via unsplash.com. [Public Domain].

What is a Backpacker?

A backpacker, in modern travel terminology, usually denotes budget, independent, and international travelers, especially when at least two of the three are true.

Backpackers received the name from the way that many of them travel, probably longer distances, with just their backpack which has most of their clothing and necessities inside.

Several stereotypes of backpackers include that they ride public transportation, have scanty baggage, use hostels or other budget accommodations, travel for longer periods of time, and a greater interest in the culture of the locals when compared to regular tourists.

More on Backpacking

Backpackers usually go backpacking, as you might imagine, but backpacking can mean different things.

For many people, backpacking refers to an extended hike, such as an overnight trip or weekend trip along a trail. This kind of backpacking usually involves a tent or camping. In New Zealand, you might refer to backpacking as tramping, although trampers often stay in already-built lodging.

In the modern, “millennial” travel sense, backpacking is more of a long-term adventure. One might say, “I’m going to backpack around Southeast Asia for a few months,” for example, and, hearing that, you might assume they will pack light (just their backpack, essentially), eat cheaply (street food, perhaps), and stay in budget lodging. Many backpackers will do so to learn about themselves and about the places they visit, often taking a gap year (known as a gap-packer) to do so.

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