For some time, tourism has taken on a new dimension. Indeed, the type of backpack travel, or packsac if you prefer, is the new trend of the Y generation (also known as Millennials), which offers us to travel differently.
Article by Laurie-Han Hébert
What makes this form of escapade so interesting is the idea of resourcefulness and spontaneity with which it is associated. No more renting a room at an expensive resort, getting around by tourist bus, or doing the same activities as other hotel guests. We aim rather originality, the output of its comfort zone and authenticity. What we mean by this is a trip where we are in close connection with the culture of the country, even if that means making some compromises. Indeed, these new types of travelers understood that it was not by living a luxurious stay that they would learn more about the inhabitants and their environment. The fact is that most of the time, when we travel, we are in tourist areas of the city. Those where are the tall buildings and the abundant wealth which overhangs the rest of the city. This simplistic and popularized way of traveling remedies this lack of authenticity.
Travelers in backpacks walk a lot and eat little. You have to respect your budget in order to extend your stay as best as you can. While they do not eat in 4-star restaurants of tourist hotels, they have the chance to taste the real country. They rent rooms (sometimes only beds) in hostels, Airbnb accommodations, or they do couch surfing, which consists of sleeping at volunteers’ home who are ready to collect travelers for free.
When the plane ticket is paid (suppose the destination is far away), all you have to do is hitchhike, travel by train, subway or bus, to change neighborhoods and continue your trip. The taxi is however to be avoided since it is not the best solution for the wallet. Travelers often meet in places where they are staying. This allows them to travel in groups, sometimes reducing CO2 emissions and their expenses, depending on the means of transport used.
We previously mentioned the idea of getting out of your comfort zone to live a more authentic journey. But comfort is not just about our bed. This is also our way of life. The backpackers of the trip bring little, since everything must go into their backpack, which already contains their passport, a bottle of water, a shower towel (not all accommodations offers them), a small pharmacy and a first aid kit. There is therefore little room for clothing, underwear, swimsuit, etc. It is then a question of being content with what one has and of appreciating it at its true value. It can also change our perception of comfort once back home! Also, not living in an extremely luxurious environment improves the likelihood of engaging in activities that locals do too. This is not only a good thing for the originality of these, but also for our closeness to the people of the country.
We can therefore conclude that this way of traveling renews our vision of tourism, by making us understand that it is important to give ourselves the chance to be in harmony with the real people and their environment, rather than to visit the country on surface.