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Written by @Saschaflower

Backpacking around the world is more popular now than it ever has been. It’s almost become a rite of passage and thanks to social media, many people are even turning this into a career.

As many countries continue to adapt to cater to the growing number of tourists, backpacking is actually becoming much more comfortable and luxurious than ever. However, here at The Gili Guide we feel that there are some things that you simply must experience in order to claim the title of a ‘true backpacker’; the less flattering side of your soul searching, life changing, hippy, hipster, awesome, trip of a lifetime.

  1. You’ve stayed in more dorm beds than you care to mention
    Most backpackers travel on a budget and nothing says budget quite like a hostel dorm. We all have an interesting story or two to share about hostel dorms!
  2. You’d rather not know exactly what’s in your street food
    Sometimes your vegetarian rice dish tastes a little like chicken or alternatively your chicken tastes different to what you’re accustomed to at home. Whatever it is, don’t tell me…I’m hungry and I’d rather not know.
  3. Your life goal is to fill up your passport
    Give me all the stamps!! I’ll happily queue for hours providing I get my new shiny passport stamp.
  4. You’re all about those one way flights
    No plan is the best plan. Traveling takes you to places you sometimes haven’t even heard of. Book the one ways, that way you can chill out and go with the flow.
  5. You will get ridiculously worked up over $1
    You know that $1 could be dinner tonight so you will argue over it until you’re blue in the face. Bartering takes some serious skill and you’ve worked hard to perfect it!

    Photo : @acrossthewildblue
  6. You’ve had a lot of near death experiences
    Planes, Buses, Boats and endless activities…There’s been a lot of times you thought the end was near but miraculously you made it through to tell the tale.
  7. You’ve been intimidated by a tuk tuk driver
    If this has never happened to you, did you even really go backpacking? Drivers are scary! Whether they’re driving a car, a motorbike, a Tuk Tuk, Jeepney, Cidomo… they can be the craziest people you meet on your travels.
  8. Visa runs are normal
    If you find a place that feels like home and you choose to stay a while, then this is inevitable. Nobody enjoys the dreaded visa run, but it has to be done.
  9. You have at least one blogger friend
    Bloggers are everywhere nowadays and chances are you’re going to meet at least one on your travels.

    Photo : @innas_corner
  10. You decide to become a blogger
    If everyone else is doing it, why can’t I? This appears to be the most attractive job in the world so you start trying your hand at travel writing and photography.
  11. You’ve mastered squat toilets
    Wasn’t it just the scariest thing on your first try? If you’re traveling from the west and haven’t used a squat toilet before, it can be a little daunting; however, you soon get used to it and it becomes second nature.
  12. You’ve got a meaningful travel tattoo
    Almost every backpacker I’ve met has a tattoo to signify their journey. Some are spiritual, some are a bit weird and some are absolutely awful. It’s definitely more hipster to get the tattoo with bamboo rather than the modern way of ink and needle.
  13. You’ve learnt it’s possible to sweat from unthinkable places
    Who even knew that you could sweat from your top lip? Yeah, you can sweat from pretty much everywhere and if you’re backpacking in hot countries, you’ll find this out very soon after landing.
  14. You’ve met friends for life
    Your lifelong friends will always have your back, but some of the people you meet while traveling are the greatest friends you’ll ever have. Friends that share your passion for life and adventure are friends you will create magical memories with.
  15. You choose where to eat depending on the Wi-Fi options
    Free Wi-Fi is an essential when you’re traveling; it’s the only way to update your brand new kick-ass travel blog and book more one way flights.

    Photo : @saschaflower
  16. You’ve been really sick at some point
    Bali Belly/ Delhi Belly/ Whatever-Country-I’m-in-now-Belly; We’ve all been there at some point and it’s never pleasant.
  17. You check your bed for bed bugs when you check in
    Nobody likes those little blood sucking critters but chances are when you’re staying in a different bed almost every night you’re going to experience bed bugs at some point. You stop being so grossed out by them eventually and casually begin to check for them when you check in.
  18. Sunburn is a normal part of life
    There’s always one part of your body that you forget to smother in sun lotion (normally your nose).
  19. You’ve used other people’s toiletries in the dorm toilets (Thanks)
    When you run out of conditioner but someone else has been kind enough to leave theirs in the hostel showers. Don’t mind if I do!
  20. You’ve lost your flip flops several times
    You might as well just stop wearing them all together. It’s as though flip flops have a mind of their own and just run off themselves.
  21. You’ve stolen someone else’s flip flops by accident/on purpose
    When you’re constantly taking off your sandals to go into shops/restaurants/temples it’s an easy mistake!
  22. You’ve had multiple epiphany’s whilst watching the sunset
    You’ll watch a lot of sunsets whilst you’re traveling and they always feel like the right time to do some reflecting and life planning.
  23. You’ve sang songs around a beach fire
    If you haven’t done this, then you definitely haven’t been island hopping in Asia! Camp fires on the beach at night aren’t half as fun without a local guy playing his guitar and singing his best version of The Eagles – Hotel California.
  24. You start to appreciate Bum Guns
    Why don’t we have them in the west?! Bum Guns are awesome, and so much more eco-friendly than toilet paper. Embrace them!
  25. You start to wonder if you’ve got a drinking problem
    You know that it’s not right to drink alcohol every day but that’s just what people do while they’re traveling right?…


The Gili Islands in Indonesia are a backpacker’s paradise with a huge range of accommodation options. Click here for more information.


Like and Share this article if you have experienced any of these whilst backpacking.

Main article photo: @jessycroghan

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