Backpackers vs Glampackers

14 November 2018
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“Staycation”, “minimoon”, “slow travel”: there are so many travel buzzwords floating around these days that it’s hard to keep up. Surely you’re familiar with classic terms like “backpacker” and “glamping”, but have you heard of the “glampacker”? If you live to travel, chances are you either fall under the backpacker category or the glampacker bunch. To help you find out, here’s everything you need to know about the two very different breeds of travellers.

Meet the backpackers

Backpackers typically keep a watchful eye on their budget. These independent travellers tend to go on very long trips compared to regular vacationers, either staying in one place for a long period or time or hopping from country to country.

Backpackers generally travel quite differently. They tend to have pretty much all the time in the world, so they don’t zip in and out of cities to see it all and do it all in a day or two. Instead, they move around to experience new cultures and get to know the locals – sometimes even get to know themselves. Backpackers are in no rush to get back to the real world, and to them, travel is a way of life. Also, as cheesy as it may sound, to many of them, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Introducing the glampackers

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the glampackers. With a little more money to burn, glampackers know how to travel without sacrificing comfort (or style).

Some glampackers are all about luxury, while others aren’t necessarily hung up on getting the five-star experience, but they do want a taste of the finer things in life. To these travellers, it’s mostly a question of, “Why stay in a hostel when I can opt for a boutique hotel with my very own bathroom?”

How are they different?

Backpackers and glampackers are two different breeds of travellers with one common goal: to explore the world. But things like their travel style, budget and even itinerary vary greatly.

Backpackers: the ultimate budget explorers of the world. Photo from Rawpixel

For starters, unlike backpackers, glampackers usually won’t think twice about purchasing a non-budget airfare, even if rates are better for the low-cost carrier option. A glampacker might also take first class for a long train ride. To them, dozing off in a fluffy bed rather than being stuck with uncomfortable hard seats is a no-brainer.

When it comes to money, backpackers practically count every penny, whereas glampackers don’t mind forking out the cash for a better-than-decent experience/mode of transportation/accommodation.

While their itineraries can be similar, experience-wise it can be like night and day. Because backpackers are fine roughing it out, they usually go with options like homestays, where everyday conveniences may not be available, especially for more extreme trips in places like the desert or mountains. However, many tour operators these days offer the opposite of these packages, specifically for glampackers who want the luxury to sleep in a bed, use a toilet, take a shower every morning, and so on.

For some glampackers, it’s all about the aesthetics. Photo from Delfi Di La Rua

Then again, things can differ even when it comes to itineraries. Glampackers have the tendency to want to shop during trips, whereas backpackers usually shy away from shopping malls and head straight for the outdoors to do something like camp or hike instead. Plus, with today’s obsession with Instagram and social media, many glampackers “do it for the ’Gram”, and are travelling in style (and comfort) to look good for the camera and their loyal followers.

Whatever the case is, whether you’re a backpacker or glampacker (or hey, maybe even a little bit of both!), the main purpose of it all is to travel and create unforgettable memories. After all, no matter what your style is, if your goal is to get lost in New York or explore Sapa in Vietnam, just know that you’ll get there either way!