Backpacking is a form of low-cost, independent travel. It includes the use of public transport; inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels; often a longer duration of the trip when compared with conventional vacations; and typically an interest in meeting locals as well as seeing sights.
Despite the name it does not have to involve travelers carrying belongings in a backpack, although that is a common practice. Backpacking may include wilderness adventures, local travel and travel to nearby countries while working from the country in which they are based. The definition of a backpacker has evolved as travelers from different cultures and regions participate in the trend.
A 2007 paper says “backpackers constituted a heterogeneous group with respect to the diversity of rationales and meanings attached to their travel experiences. They also displayed a common commitment to a non-institutionalised form of travel, which was central to their self-identification as backpackers.” Backpacking, as a lifestyle and as a business, has grown considerably in the 2000s due to low-cost airlines and hostels or budget accommodations in many parts of the world. Visa laws in many countries such as Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom enable backpackers with restricted visas to work and support themselves while they are in those countries