Backpacking is a form of low-cost, independent travel. It includes the use of a backpack that is easily carried for long distances or long periods of time; the use of public transport; inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels; often a longer duration of the trip when compared with conventional vacations; and often an interest in meeting locals as well as seeing sights.
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 travellers from different cultures and regions participate. A 2007 paper said “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 as a result of low-cost airlines and hostels or budget accommodations in many parts of the world.
Visa laws in many countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom enable backpackers with restricted visas to work and support themselves while they are in those countries