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.
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
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 These are ALWAYS outdated).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