Hi there! This is the Bunch of Backpackers Glossary. Your guide to backpacker jargon, slang and all that sort of stuff. Enjoy reading!

WARNING: This post may contain bad jokes and stereotyping.

7-Eleven – Everything you need.

Asian backpacker Often travels quiet and solo. Carry heavy bags and huge cameras. Transform into something else after one beer (due to the well-known enzyme deficiency)

Aussie’s Tanned, muscled, friendly, loud, party-minded guys

Beards – The transformation into bearded backpacker often takes places after two weeks on the road (Note: only (mostly) in males).

Boarding pass Beautiful piece of cardboard, but soon to be extinct

Booze Cruise Boat trip with alcohol involved. It won’t be the waves that’ll get you sick.

Border run Who hasn’t done it? Reset your tourist visa by visiting the nearest border for a few hours and then head back in.

Bucket  Equivalent of a 200cc cocktail in the real world, but then with lousy alcohol.

Bucket Laos Common room 2004 room with 80% of the people talking to each other and 20% of the people reading or writing on their notebooks.

Common room 2014 room with 80% of the people on their ipods/laptops, 10 % of the people reading on their e-reader and 10% of the people talking to each other

Customs Invented for extra delay and irritation (oh, and safety).

Dormitory – A room with bunk beds, piles of dirty clothes, sometimes tiny insects called bed bugs and at least one guy recovering from yesterday’s night.

Drinking games – Unavoidable during a trip: beerpong, ring of fire etc. You’ll be seduced to participate at least once (or more). Mostly available in party hostels.

English breakfast – Basic meal with lots and lots of calories

Haggling – To survive on a backpackers budget, one must be able to haggle!

Itchy feet May refer to a fungal infection or to an irresistible desire to travel the world

Irish backpacker Often wear green. Friendly, funny and love their beers.

Irish pub A cozy and homey place, even to be found in the most remote places

Long-term travel
Copright Bunch of Backpackers. Peru.

Flashpacker Relatively new term in the scene. These guys carry more electronic devices and money with them than the average backpacker. Opt for the more fancy hostels.

Flip flops Equivalent of shoes in the real world

Gap year Accepted excuse by society to postpone important decisions

Guidebook – Blue extremely heavy book with useful info (except for the tips on ‘where to go out’. These are ALWAYS outdated). May soon be extinct.

Hippies Sitting people with dreads who make music or sale self-made bracelets

Local(s) Sacred term for the diehard backpacker e.g. travel like a local, hang out with locals, visit the local spots etc.

(No) toilet paper – You don’t truly appreciate it, until it’s gone.

Overnight train/bus Equals no sleep. Equals no hostel costs.


Passport Your everything.

Scams  Happened to all of us unfortunately. Even when you think it didn’t. 

Selfy – New in the travel photography. 1. Stretching of arm 2. Forced smile / duckface 3. Repeat this >20 times until you have a good one.

‘Stomach trouble’ No explanation necessary.

Touts – Anywhere, everywhere, even in the most unexpected places.

Travel bloggers Arrogant social media geeks that you will encounter everywhere (beware: they may want to interview you for their website)

Recommended further reading
The ultimate guide to backpacker jargon
6 Ethical travel dilemma’s I encountered as a traveler


  1. LOVE this!!! Guilty as charged on the last one minus the arrogant part I hope. Interviewing because I’m sure I don’t have the best stories to be told.


  2. Very cool post. I still havent dont the whole back packing thing because of this [Overnight train/bus – Equals no sleep. Equals no hostel costs.] One I like my sleep and two I am always scared I will be robed of this [Passport – Your everything.] Which can happend anywhere but…

    • Hi Bianca! Haha no worries! It is not as bad as in the post ;)! You can always find two [Tanned, muscled, friendly, loud, party-minded] Aussies to protect you! Cheers, Manouk

  3. Nice! In the advanced section:

    [Authentic – A tricky term devised by [locals] to [scam] unwitting [flashpackers] and [travel bloggers] into overpaying for basic experiences.]


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