Once upon a time, I decided to travel as a backpacker. It is just easier to carry a bag instead of a suitcase. Sadly these days backpackers or so-called “budget travelers” seem to be getting wrong kinds of impressions from locals (expats included) and vacationers. In local slang of many countries, there are even specific words to describe a backpacker.
So ok, the stereotyped definition of the typical backpacker is: “A dirty, cheap, booze-craving party animal wearing a singlet, shorts and thongs.“
That description isn’t so wrong; some of them are EXACTLY that definition and it’s even scarier when they become an expat (stay stinky) and extend their stay over 3 months and become an “oh-so-buzz-job” nomad entrepreneur not making decent money for the past year. (Misconceptions of a digital nomad? TONS; will I write about it? No.)
Anyways, not everyone is the same. Some want to travel on a budget for different reasons. Most of them are students, others are people that rather be strict on their budgets and obviously some are broke for real.
Some spoiled travellers do not understand how much it takes to actually try and travel on a shoestring, experiencing culture and living like a local. Maybe some expats and locals should give backpackers a break instead of being spoiled brats judging others.
Obviously, leave the bogans and smelly backpackers in one different bucket, don’t judge the whole world because of them.
Here is what we think is a legit list of common misconceptions about backpackers:
1. Backpackers are dirty and smelly
They don’t shower, they wear the same clothes everyday, etc… Classic!
To be honest, I don’t know how to explain this one because I always have been a clean backpacker. There are indeed “smelly as hell backpackers” and to be honest I’d say they are just bums. Congratulations you have ran across one of “those” backpackers, I can’t defend them haha.
2. Backpackers have No future
A lot of people think that backpackers lacks of future because they either left their jobs or took a break during school year. People should stop judging people who takes a break in their lives to see the world. I may never do it, but never discredit someone else for doing it. Everyone has their reasons, expectations and ways to travel the world.
3. You have to be rich if you’re traveling
Locals tend to see you as a cash cow. Why? Because apparently if you can travel, it means you have money; which is completely wrong. It is possible to travel with a tight budget and the difference is in the type of traveling you do and how you budget everything out!
4. Backpackers are poor
Being thrifty and seeing the world on a budget doesn’t mean someone is poor and have an IQ lower than yours. I do notice this happens a lot to backpackers when they walk into a fancier place dressed in casual clothes and getting looks or even denied access.
5. Backpackers are alcoholics
It is common that when you’re traveling you want to experience the nightlife. Although, it doesn’t mean that all backpackers are alcoholics and have no life. You’d be surprised how much there are local expats, in some case dumb/dirty sexpats, that goes out late all the time and come back home when the streets are empty/sunrise. Some of them obviously got sucked up to the easy life abroad and the lifestyle just gets imprinted in their blood. FOMO is one of their “problems” (Fear of missing out).
Oh stereotypes. What else have you heard? Share with us!