Home Travel Essentials How Backpackers are Distinguished from Tourists

How Backpackers are Distinguished from Tourists

Here’s to how backpackers are differentiated from tourists. 

Backpackers might sound like the casual talks, the chatter, the snarls, the attitude, in a nutshell, their own travel world.

You got that right!

Generally, tourists are categorized as non-travellers as they are those people who just visit a place for clicking pictures and posting them on social media and to enjoy all the services in a luxury five-star hotel. They stick to the beaten path, take big bus tours, and never bother to interact with the locals.

Whereas, backpackers are the ones whom we can call the real travellers as they visit the places for cultural exposure, to interact with the locals and to engross themselves in faraway lands. 

Talking in terms of traveller lexicon, a backpacker is basically a young traveller on a long tour who accommodates him/herself hostels, cooks his/her own food (sometimes not), lives cheap (depends on the budget), but follows budget streamline and parties hard. They commute through local transport and hang out with the locals to get with their culture. 

A tourist, on the other hand, is anyone who goes somewhere, follows the Lonely Planet trail, stays in one of the luxurious hotels, eats at nice restaurants (that don’t really serve authentic local food), takes tourist buses, shops silly stuff, and generally sticks out like a sore thumb. Basically, a tourist visits a place and travels around in their own comfort zone – without exploring the real culture of the particular place. 

Personally, I believe, visiting a place and living just like the locals is the perfect way to get an immense amount of the exposure of the city. Perhaps, that’s what every traveller wants! 

While I somehow consider myself a part of the backpacker crowd (or maybe more like a nomad), I don’t really agree with the line of the thought that backpackers are better than tourists. Whenever I get to hear this argument, I instead seek to find joy in pinpointing the hypocrisy to some of the naïve fellow travellers. 

But let’s take a clear picture of this matter – 

Tourists do stick out like sore thumbs. They don’t take any attempt to learn the cultural norms, get to know about the authenticity of the culture of the locals or respect their way of life. These are the tourists that people think about. 

And I can’t stand them either — those tourists who visit a place, make no effort to interact with the locals and just enjoy their leisure time by staying in the resort their whole vacation. What’s the point of coming to a new country or place if you’re never really going to see it? To me, that’s not the real meaning of travel. 

This is how they are differentiated from the backpackers. But the point is that we all stick out some time and I believe that nothing is wrong in it. So, the difference between these two kinds of people should be marked upon this fact that the tourists just enjoy their vacation just by relaxing and chilling. 

Everyone has their own ways to travel, some may like to visit various places, some may travel to a limited number of destinations, some may believe in city tours or sightseeing and getting to know only the famous places out of the entire city or some may like to explore every bit of the whole city. The ways that one chooses to travel by are actually some key points that highlight the difference between the real travellers (backpackers) and the tourists.  

As per my perspective, travelling is affiliated to a very personal thing as experiencing a new culture means staying there for a long time to get into the flow of life, finding the newest party location or some isolated place, tasting the authentic local food, all can be placed under one’s own personal understanding.

Also Read: What is Your Definition of Travel?

I've been travelling around the globe from past few years while working in a remote company. Working remotely enhances your lifestyle in numerous ways and I want to share my experience and views on the same which can help many people to earn while you travel.


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