I'm not sure. Maybe I'll turn them all down and go backpacking round the world.

What does "backpacking" exactly mean in this case?

I do understand the whole sentence in general, but want to know what "backpacking" implies particularly (rather "exactly").

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    General Reference - see Wikipedia's article on backpacking. @Xavier - there's nothing grammatically or semantically questionable about OP's example - it's completely natural phrasing with a clear meaning. Aug 12, 2012 at 14:08
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    @Xavier: I've gone backpacking several times, and I can't find anything else wrong with the sentence. (Obviously, I couldn't backpack 'round the world' in one trip, but if I went backpacking once in Europe, once in South America, and once in New Zealand, that would suffice as "backpacking round the world," at least in my book).
    – J.R.
    Aug 12, 2012 at 14:28
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    @Xavier: I don't know if you're a native English speaker, but I have to say if you are, I find it odd that you should be "uncomfortable" with such a mundane word as backpacking. Which isn't a "metaphoric" usage in any case, so far as I'm concerned. Aug 12, 2012 at 14:29
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    @XavierVidalHernández It's from my grammar text book, not something I made up. :)
    – its_me
    Aug 12, 2012 at 14:33
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    Depending on your definition it might not be around the world; but Karl Bushby's planned route from Patagonia to England is about as close to a round the world hike as possible. He made it into Siberia before visa problems forced an end to his trip. odysseyxxi.com Aug 12, 2012 at 14:45

2 Answers 2


In this context backpacking means travelling by simple means, often on foot, carrying all of your belongings with you, including some simple shelter like a tent to sleep in.


In Addition to the short and to the point explanation of Joel, you can read in more detail here.
The first paragraph of this Wikipedia page reads as follows:

Backpacking is a form of low-cost, independent international travel. It includes the use of a backpack or other luggage that is easily carried for long distances or long periods of time; the use of public transport; inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels; a longer duration to the trip when compared with conventional vacations; and an interest in meeting the locals as well as seeing the sights. It is typically associated with young adults, who generally have fewer obligations and thus more time to travel. They also have less money to spend on hotels or private vehicles.

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    Thanks, I still don't understand why I disregarded wikipedia when I googled for backpacking. :P
    – its_me
    Aug 12, 2012 at 14:32
  • @its_me: Any reason why you went to google, instead of to a dictionary? Or am I misreading you here?
    – J.R.
    Aug 12, 2012 at 14:50
  • @J.R. Googling is easier. And I thought the contextual meaning could be different.
    – its_me
    Aug 12, 2012 at 14:52

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