Difference Between Backpacker & Tourist

While both backpackers and tourists travel to different countries, there is a significant difference between the two. The primary distinction between backpackers and tourists lies in their travel purpose; backpackers travel to new places to experience the local culture and way of life different from their own, whereas tourists go to new places for pleasure and relaxation.

Key Takeaways

  • Backpackers travel for the purpose of experiencing local culture and way of life, while tourists travel for pleasure and relaxation.
  • Backpackers typically stay at cheap accommodations, eat local food, and use local transportation, while tourists usually stay in comfortable hotels, eat in more expensive restaurants, and travel in luxury vehicles.
  • Backpackers tend to be more flexible in their travel plans, as they are not on packaged tours, whereas tourists often stick to a set schedule.

Who is a Backpacker?

Backpacking is a form of independent, low-cost travel. A backpacker is a traveler on a long trip who stays at inexpensive hotels and lives like locals. Backpackers travel to places to experience different cultures and ways of life that are entirely different from their own. They take local transportation and try to hang out with locals. They sleep in cheap hotels, motels, or homestays and even cook their meals; they are not concerned about luxury and comfort.

In short, backpackers live inexpensively and try to experience many new things and places with a small amount of money. They are interested in learning about the local culture and seeing the ‘real’ attractions of a country, instead of going on packaged tours offered to tourists. Backpacking is often seen as more than just a vacation but a means of education.

Although backpackers are often perceived as young people – those in their twenties – the average age of backpackers seems to increase over the years. Nowadays, even some retirees enjoy backpacking.

Who is a Tourist?

A tourist is a person who travels for pleasure and relaxation. Tourists often take packaged tours offered by mass tourism programs. They stay in nice hotels, eat in expensive restaurants, which often don’t serve authentic local food, and travel in luxury vehicles. Tourists may be interested in learning something about the local culture, but they may not be willing to interact with local people and taste local food at local shops. Tourists often stick to their plans and schedules since they are on packaged tours. Families with small children and elderly people often prefer to travel as tourists.

Since tourists prefer to stay in comfortable hotels and travel in luxury vehicles, they spend a lot of money. If a backpacker and a tourist are given the same amount of money, the tourist may spend it in one day, whereas the backpacker will live on it for days.

What is the difference between Backpacker and Tourist?

Backpacker: Backpackers travel to experience local culture and way of life.
Tourist: Tourists travel for pleasure and relaxation.
Backpacker: Young people prefer to travel as backpackers.
Tourist: Families with children, elderly people, etc., prefer to travel as tourists.
Money Spent:
Backpacker: Backpacking is a form of low-cost travel.
Tourist: Tourists may spend a lot of money since they want to spend their holiday comfortably.
Comfort and Luxury:
Backpacker: Backpackers stay at cheap hotels, eat local food, take local transport, and hang out with local people.
Tourists: Tourists stay in comfortable hotels, eat in restaurants that don’t serve local food, and travel in luxury vehicles.
Backpacker: Backpackers carry everything in a backpack.
Tourist: Tourists can take numerous bags, suitcases, and boxes since they can hire people to carry them.
Backpacker: Backpackers can go on long trips. They can spend several days in one place.
Tourist: Tourists often spend a short time in one place.
Backpacker: Backpackers can change their plans since they are not on package tours.
Tourist: Tourists are often on a tight schedule.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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