The one difference between backpackers and other travellers is their emphasis on both cost and functionality. As we discussed in our recent roundtable discussion about low cost travel, backpackers have a smaller budget, but they aim for the lowest cost if they can. They also tend to be less concerned with sitting on a beach and having a relaxing vacation, as they’re more concerned with getting to know the local area and making money. This focus on cost, combined with an overall lower focus on functional requirements, contributes to their apparent disdain for locals, languages, the local way of life, or cultural richness. This is the major reason why backpackers typically complain about their travel experiences.
Backpackers often claim to be motivated solely by the desire for savings. As with many other types of travellers, they claim to focus on the things they can find cheaply. Of course, the reality is different, because you’ll have someone who claims to be a backpacker happily form part of the casino rewards vip club you need to be a frequent gamer to be part of, which means you spend a good amount of time and money trying out different online casinos. Backpackers have greater interest in maximizing their savings. Since their goal is cost reduction, they’ll often go to great lengths to get the cheapest flights, rides, and accommodation. They will frequently arrange accommodation through local contacts or associations, but they tend to go to great lengths to avoid putting extra effort into communicating with locals. For example, they’ll often follow local sights and usually visit the destinations in the same route that tourists take, yet they’ll usually speak minimal Spanish and often not understand anything the locals say to them. Backpackers often complain about language barriers, but it’s true that most often it’s locals who don’t speak English or are unwilling to talk to backpackers because of cultural differences. If they can, backpackers will generally hire local guides or drivers to ensure their route stays on a tight budget.
Many backpackers will happily live in a local environment with limited interaction with locals. Although it can be nice to visit a foreign place and interact with local people, it’s often not necessary. Many backpackers complain about how culturally dull their destinations are and how they don’t enjoy the cultural richness and interaction, which is usually due to a lack of language skills. Backpackers often insist that they should have the option to communicate in different languages, especially in French and Italian. This can help them avoid problems, such as getting locked out of a local bar or restaurant. This might be the reason why people often look for restaurants in destinations that represent their culture. A Japanese traveller might look for a famous Japanese restaurant (like this Cocktail Lounge) in the area while an Indian would look for a restaurant that serves South Asian food and has Indian staff. Cultural differences can force people to rely on local guides, drivers, or shopkeepers. The problem is that they’re often uncomfortable speaking to locals, particularly if they don’t understand the local language.
Questionable Cultural Knowledge At Times
It’s often suggested that backpackers have poor cultural knowledge, yet they claim to be engaged with local culture. It’s true that some backpackers do try to integrate with the local culture, but often it’s not intentional. For example, some backpackers will avoid eating at restaurants and instead eat their meals out. This is convenient since many backpackers have no intention of taking the time to interact with local people or interact with local customs. Another example is how some backpackers might use poor translation skills to ask for directions to an expensive restaurant.