In simple terms, a backpacker can be identified as a person who travels carrying all his belongings in a rucksack. The backpacking way of traveling is considered as one of the less expensive ways of traveling where the backpackers can explore and cover a lot of parts of the world on a limited budget.

The luggage free way of exploring the new destination is a completely different kind of holiday experience where the travelers exchange the comfort of a hotel for a hostel, street food over tourist restaurants and public transportation over private. They also like to meet similar types of travelers in their exploration and make as many as native friends they can on their tour, so they take notes from them and have a wonderful adventure.

Here we have listed 25 ways to spot backpackers, so maybe you are one of them??

1. Living in the moment

Whether it be getting a taxi, getting close to the nearest market or enjoying the traditional dishes, you will find the backpackers living off their phones. They seek pleasure in simple things that life has to offer, you won’t find them occupied with technology, they will prefer to observe the beauty of a site or nature with their own eyes than through the camera lens

They also strongly rely on the locals to get access to the information; they don’t just limit themselves to the information on the internet. And, the backpackers will be delighted with the local cuisines rather than focusing on the google rating of a food stall or restaurant.

2. Knowledge of multiple languages

Another wonderful trait of a backpacker is that they are familiar with several languages. You will find a backpacker at least fluent in one or two languages besides their mother tongue. They will be also capable of communicating simple terms like greetings, introducing themselves and wishing good health to natives in several other languages.

The secret to this special set of skills is that they prepare themselves for communicating with locales of the country they are planning to visit. Due to familiarity with local languages it gets easier for backpackers to navigate and easily access the information; quite a clever way of setting an impression among the natives.

3. Colorful passport

The amazing feeling from traveling, to be lost and to discover.
Photo by Agus Dietrich

You can easily identify a backpacker in your transit line, their outstanding colorful passport. The backpackers who are known for traveling to the content of their hearts can be found in possession of several colored passports.

Generally, you will find that there are four colors practiced across the world for passports; black, green, blue and red colored passports are brought in the practice by the countries in the world with their preferred choice. You will find an experienced backpacker in the hold of every colored passport with filled pages and tons of stories to tell.

4.  Creating their own routes with the help of natives

This is another trait that can be found among the backpacker, you will not find them completely depending on the maps or google ratings. Backpackers choose to rely on the information provided by the natives which will be more precise rather than entirely depending on the maps.

The backpackers just won’t depend on the star attraction of a certain region, with the help of locales they have the possibility of exploring more than just what is mentioned on the maps. Deciding to come up with their own trail to follow in their expedition will let them find more than they are seeking. With the help of this quality they can find out about the unexplored regions that shouldn’t be missed or the ongoing events in the area, so the backpacker can bend their trail a little bit to seek more in their travel.

5. Friends all over the globe

Digital Nomads Gets Lost in City.

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Photo by Austin Distel

Backpackers don’t limit themselves to the comfort of the hotel and restaurant whereas; they like to enjoy every bit of the country in a limited budget. As they like spending more time around natives learning more about them and the region, their attentive and receptive nature makes other people comfortable around them which helps them to forge strong bonds.

Also, their passion for traveling helps them easily communicate with other traveling enthusiasts, helping them to make friends all over the globe. Their familiarity with foreign languages also aids their friend list to cross borders.

6.  Fully prepared with downloaded offline maps and handy local tourist maps

Local tourist maps

In the cost-efficient way of traveling, you will find the backpackers trying to save up as much as they can. They won’t be using GPS navigation wasting the data all the way to the destination whereas, you will find them with the applications with offline maps features or them frequently downloading the maps navigation throughout the region whenever they hit a free wifi hotspot.

They also like to keep themselves updated with the local version of printed maps so, even when their downloaded offline version of maps doesn’t seem to work properly they can easily get by and easily surf around with the handy local tourist maps.

7. They don’t look much like tourists

Like the traditional tourists, backpackers don’t seem to be that much into looking distinctive amidst the locals. There have been lots of cases where the tourists are made targets for thievery and mugging.

Generally, in such cases tourists make themselves visible and vulnerable with typical behaviors like carrying bag packs or fanny packs, walking around carrying expensive cameras on the neck and carrying huge bags of their belongings everywhere. Whereas, the backpackers like to simply surf around; they try to mix in with the natives and carry a finite number of accessories with them during the exploration leaving most of their stuff back at their hostels or motels.

8. They don’t pack more than what is essential

The backpackers have a habit of not packing more than that is essential during their trip. They don’t focus on carrying more than necessary pairs of clothes or footwear; they also like to keep gadgets and accessories to a limited--excluding those that are not that much necessary.

They practice this method because they don’t have to pay an additional charge for the excessive weight from a limited margin, also carrying too many goods with themselves while traveling drags them down. But, they do pack wardrobes and shoes that are functional on several occasions and that is comfortable for the adventures they have planned.

9. Prepare a limited budget and fully blow it

As the backpackers are set to save as much as possible in their travel and are mindful of the additional expenditure. But, it doesn’t mean that they are greedy travelers; the backpackers are truly proficient budget planners who set out a margin for their travel expedition.

They like to explore the most out of their travel in a limited budget although; they are all set to blow the separated expenditure on their vacation. Backpackers like to plan things to do in the days they are staying and draw the line to how much they are going to spend on a particular day--blowing their entire apportioned amount by the end of their travel.

10. Familiar with public wifi

free public wifi
Photo by Bernard Hermant

Most of the time during the trip you will have to rely on the sim card for making calls and internet access in the country. However, the backpackers will try to make a minimum expenditure on those things by exploring the public wifi hotspots in the region.

As nowadays most of the things from communicating to entertainment and music can be covered with simple to the internet, the backpackers are able to save a lot relying on the public wifi. So, you will find a backpacker seeking the public access wi-fi spots and utilizing the free internet to utmost use as soon as they get access to it.

11. Enjoying street food rather than expensive menus in star restaurants

Street Food
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

Compared to the tourist who won’t probably settle for less than restaurant quality food services, backpackers simply don’t care about such ratings. They like to enjoy the local delights of the nation that is favorite among the populace and cheaper compared to the tourist restaurants.

So, you will find them spending time around the food stalls rather than seeking star restaurants. Considering the expenses the food in the food-stalls obviously costs less than in a star hotel, so in this way not compromising in the quality of food and relishing the delightful street cuisine helps the backpackers save a considerable sum.

12. They like to wander around

As it is said that the “tourists arrive whereas the backpackers wander around”, the backpackers don’t rely on any travel management institution who plan all their staying arrangements like tourists. They like simply to wander around embracing everything coming in their way whether it be unplanned adventure sports activities, participating in local music festivals or going to karaoke.

Backpackers like to embark on their own journey of exploration rather than depending on the schedules provided by a travel agency, following all the necessary procedures obviously. Their travel style has been quite popular among youngsters who like to set on their own expedition which gives them the sensation of freedom.

13. They are focused on comfort more than fashion

focused on comfort more than fashion
Photo by Brevitē

You won’t find a backpacker focused on their fashion sense during the travel, they will be more focused on function and seasonal comfortable wearing. You will find them on climbing shoes or cozy wear rather than the trending fashion wear; they prefer the functionality of clothes.

They will be carrying the necessary clothes according to the season of the travel location or packing an extra pair of the windshield and a warm jacket if they are planning an adventure activity or a hike. Rather than packing additional formal wear, party dress, and high heels they focus on packing light luggage with convenient clothes and footwear as the extra weight of additional clothes burdens the travel.

14. Active participation in online travel groups

Active participation in online travel groups
Photo by Katka Pavlickova

The backpackers are quite active in the social platforms forming different types of traveling forums. These types of associations help the backpacker to plan their adventure expedition alongside other travel enthusiast companions.

The online platforms are also used to share the travel experience among the members with the suggestion of places to visit, things to avoid and helpful tips to make the travel pleasant.

Including the group trip planning, these groups are also quite supportive of the solo backpackers who want to set out on the quest alone providing necessary guidelines, safety suggestions, and estimated expenditure margin.

15. Backpacks over suitcase

If you ever find yourself stuck between backpacks in any kind of transportation services then you are traveling with backpackers. The backpackers prefer a stuffed and organized backpack rather than fancy looking suitcases. They like to pack all the necessary footwear, clothes and accessories fitting it in a single backpack rather than rationing their luggage in several other suitcases.

Backpacks keep the traveler standardized and are quite easily portable so the travelers can move easily from place to place more freely. The backpacks are also less time consuming and are neat with proper reliable storage. So, this is the ideal choice the backpackers prefer over other packing options.

16. Cords and Charger mates

The backpackers are fully prepared with their chargers and cords ready to plug it in at the first chance they get. Unlike the tourists, they have pre-planned arrangements and multiple options at their hotels so they don't worry about such minor things.

Backpackers treat their chargers and cords like their bloodstream; they will be very careful about forgetting or leaving them back behind and are the top list priority in a backpacker’s journey.

If they are staying at the hostels then it can get quite troublesome to find empty slots to charge the laptops and mobiles.

So, you will find a backpacker fully prepared to connect their accessories be it a restaurant or simple cafe.

17. They see hot water as a luxury

They see hot water as a luxury
Photo by Joe Pregadio

Although backpacking is a cheap way to set out on the exploration of the world, things don’t always go smoothly for the backpackers. The cheap accommodation facility where the backpackers usually turn in for the night might not provide a satisfying class of services.

They see hot water, proper toilet papers, and bug-free beds as a comfort; they don’t have high expectations from the accommodation facilities and quite frankly don’t mind the services as they have already set their mind for unrivaled exploration over contentment. So, in rare cases when they witness quality services for such cheap prices they are filled with joy and excitement; referring to it as a top-class luxury service.

18. They don’t mind sharing rooms with strangers

They don’t mind sharing rooms with strangers
Photo by Nicate Lee

It is quite normal for backpackers to share rooms with multiple strangers. The dorms and hostel rooms in most of the countries are filled with several people; they don’t mind such things because they are cognizant about saving as much as they can.

Taking in the possibility of different circumstances they are fully prepared for sharing the common space; i.e. developing a habit of using earplugs to prevent loud noise in the dorms, prepared with an eye patch in case some roommates don’t want to turn off the lights, etc. Taking into consideration such things they try as hard as they can to get a good night's sleep.

19. Excellent at hand signs

Although most backpackers have knowledge of multiple languages and general ideas on greeting words of the destination they are about to visit, sometimes it is not quite enough to communicate what they want to express with the broken pronunciations.

So, the backpackers have found a way around to communicate with local natives without getting in-depth of their language and to express what they want to say. Knowledge of hand signs is quite an exceptional and effective way of interacting with the people which has become a formidable tool of communication across the world. The backpackers are also quite skilled at making hand signs like greeting body gestures, prohibition signs, thanking, beautiful, good luck signs and so on.

20. You will see them hoarding free bread and jam packets from free breakfast

If there is any kind of complementary food product in an inn or restaurant you will find the backpacker hoarding as much as they can and stockpiling the free stuff with them.

The cost watchful backpackers will try to stock the free products so they can enjoy them later as snacks or to include it in lunch and dinner; the mini sauce packets are also quite handy to spice things up with several dishes. So, be crafty and stay in front of the line if you witness backpackers in the same dining hall, there might not be any left if you are after backpackers.

21.  Permanently tired

Although a backpacker saves a lot from his cost-conscious travel plans, the backpacking way of traveling also has several disadvantages. The lack of comfortable accommodation facility and a healthy balanced diet might also have backlashes resulting in the traveler not feeling refreshing or waking up tired.

The hotel's dorms are always not quite comfy to get a goodnight's sleep, the odd sleeping habits of other roommates and a large number of people can be obstacles to wake completely refreshed. And, always depending on street foods also doesn’t provide sufficient nutrients the body requires to completely recharge so most of the backpackers admit not being able to shake off the feeling of tiredness.

22. Swearing to upgrade the transportation service on next travel, but settling for the cheapest flight anyway

It is said that people learn from their experience and try to avoid any foul experience in similar circumstances but that might not be applicable for every backpacker. The journey can be hard and quite dreadful whether it be in any kind of transportation facility, food or accommodation facility.

After experiencing such an awful environment they promise themselves to upgrade the services on their next trip, however, at the time of the next journey they will not quite clearly remember the bad experience they had to go through before and settle for the low-cost option.

23. Confident and curious nature

The backpackers are by nature confident and curious human beings. The solo backpacking tours and years of experiences help them shape into a confident being. Their adventures also help them build such a unique quality that they are confident to do anything and take on any obstacles life directs towards their way.

Likely, they are very curious; they ask too many questions and have a hunger for knowledge. Their craving for knowledge motivates them to set on adventures of different exotic locations; they will prefer to learn more about the cities,  lifestyle, and culture of their travel destination than posting cool stories and perfect snaps on social platforms.

24. Focusing on longer rather than on a brief adventure

The backpackers have a solid mindset of planning a long term sustainable adventure in place of the brief expensive tour package. In the price saving way of traveling, they don’t only limit themselves to the exotic and star destination which can sometimes be costly, whereas they focus on saving as much money as they can to elongate their stay.

If it is very costly to get inside a historic place or cultural site, rather than spending extra cash they will prefer to enjoy the view from outside and use the saved cash to extend the number of staying days.

25. They find it easy to detach from people and place

The backpackers have a way of building relationships with people they meet in and the places that they don’t feel sad at the departure. They don’t like to attach too much with the people they meet in their travels or places as the goodbye is inevitable so they try to maintain the space and not get too attached.

Other people might find this kind of behavior rude and cold but, they have quite unique perspectives towards goodbyes, they view it as to be continued more than as an end of a story.