Backpacking Travel Articles

What Type of Backpacker Are You?

Thursday, December 29, 2011Ryan Mach

I've mentioned in some of my previous posts that I'm a backpacker but I haven't really fully understood what that word means (so pardon me if I used it incorrectly). I probably haven't grasped its true essence yet but at least I now have a good understanding what backpacking/backpacker entails. And I more or less know what type of backpacker I am.

But does knowing the meaning really matter? If you're able to go to several places and write good travel guides, you shouldn't give a rat's fart about the title, yes? It's just another label that serves no purpose in your goal towards becoming a successful travel blogger anyway. Right? Wrong. 

Consider this scenario.
(You're stuck and lost somewhere, probably hungry and almost dying. You see a local - finally, you're going to be saved!)
You: Help me find the way to the airport or terminal.
 Local: Who you?
 You: I'm a backpacker.
Local: What's that?
You: Backpacker - someone who carries a backpack with him everywhere he goes.
Local: I don't understand. Goodbye.

See what I mean? Kidding. Seriously though, some people's view of backpacking can be limited to its literal connotation and when they talk about backpacking, they barely understand what it entails. And that's okay. But for us who are very passionate about travelling, it's essential that we know what backpacking is, or at least understand what type of backpacker we are. 

Suitcase Backpackers - Travelers who are in love with the idea of backpacking, but are not ready to give up certain comforts when traveling. They need big budget in order to get by, or at the very least, enjoy the trip. They can't part with their hairdryer or electric toothbrush and prefer staying in a posh hotel. In a nutshell, suitcase backpackers' idea of "backpacking" is working while traveling through several cities (barely rural) in an allotted amount of time.

Idealistic Backpackers - Travelers who probably grew up watching  the Travel Channel and are super excited/prepared for their trip. They love to stay in hostels and meet other first-time backpackers. They associate the word "backpacking" with good accommodations, new friends and space bags. They often project themselves as authentic travellers and hate being called tourists but they don't mix with locals very much and as much as possible, stay way from off the beaten path. 

Realistic Backpackers - Travelers who don't differ much from  Idealistic Backpackers. While they share similar goals and interests, their differences can be observed on various things like sleeping arrangements and booking preferences. Realistic Backpackers are, in Filipino term, real kowboys. They can sleep in train stations or terminals,  make good use of grocery stores and eat any food as long as it's cheap. 

Literal Backpackers - Travelers who are the epitome of literal backpacking: camping. They can easily abandom all comforts like hot showers and premium hotel services.  They can get by on a meager budget which can make their travel much longer. They don't mind to hitchhike, ride buses, bike and walk. 

So what type of backpacker are you?

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