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Backpacker tourism is a key form of low-cost independent travel. As the name suggests, it means traveling “with a backpack,” which in decades past often meant a framed backpack strapped to an individual’s back but now involves many types of portable luggage while still metaphorically referring to self-directed journey routes and timings.

Backpacker tourism can be differentiated from normative types of travel, not just on the use of a backpack but also because of the independence of decision making, longer than usual length of travel and distances covered, the use of public transport within destinations, low-cost or budget preferences for travel and accommodation (often youth hostels or “backpackers”), and a desire to meet both other travelers and locals. A key characteristic of many backpackers is the ...

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