#heybackpacker is a trending hashtag on twitter at the mo, circulating the travel tweeps like an STD outbreak in a Peruvian Hostel.

It begs the question, what is a backpacker? Funnily enough, I named this blog that exact question a few moons ago. It was a phrase that my mind boggled over for quite some time. Until I came to the conclusion that I didnt really care what constituted a backpacker, per se, tou-che.

A backpacker has obvious traits. Similarities in character and particular traveling values that set backpackers apart from other "types" of travellers. They proudly refuse to be placed into the 'tourist' bucket.

Yet they struggle with the stereotypes often associated with a backpacker, the pot smoking, song writing, unwashed, tree hugging, unshaven long-haired friends of jesus.

Where in reality, the picture of a painted backpacker is a far cry from these stereotypical labels.

The rise of the Flashpacker has turned heads within the travel industry.
They are now a marketable bunch of travellers that hoteliers and boutique hostels are scrambling like eggs to get their business.

Flashpackers share the same independent spirit of a backpacker, which is to travel the road less traveled in a more independent manner.

They are usually a bit more cashed up and are generally there to get the maximum out of the minimum time frames they have on their travels.

They are a new breed of backpacker, growing by their thousands. But they are not the only offshoot of backpacker, other DNA strands have taken to the road, stamping their unique style upon the paths they walk.

The eco warrior backpacker has emerged from the bushes. Fiesty and righteous and deservedly so, they practice what they preach and are one of the few types of travellers that actually walk the walk after talking the talk.

These are the backpackers who offset their carbon footprint. The type of traveler that turns off the lights as they walk out of an unused dormitory. Its the little things, but as we all know, its the little things that matter....

They are in my opinion a new breed of positivity in the backpacker scene. This type of traveler engages with the wider social and cultural developments that occur around them. They are not one for thinking that someone else, some other day, will pick up the pieces or clean up the mess. They are positive engaging people with positive engaging attitudes towards travel.

Its a refreshing buzz to see this level of consciousness out on the backpacking scene. Travellers who actually give a fuck about the sustainability of the environment that they are lucky enough to experience.

Community driven and globally inspired, these aren't your tree hugging hippie travellers. Rid your perceptions of these misconceptions, Ecopackers possess a huge amount of respect for the social, environmental and cultural aspects of travel. And in turn, they ought to be respected for their effort and contribution to making travel the beautiful thing it is.

so #heybackpacker, check it before you wreck it. Take a leaf from an Ecopackers book.

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