The Unwritten Backpackers Code

Yes, there’s actually an unwritten backpacker code all backpackers must follow. Whether you follow them or not, determines if you’re a true backpacker. The community is wide spread throughout the world. We share the common interest of travel itself. The code is simple and known by most backpackers without having to think about it. Here’s the list:

You watch me, I watch you

You watch over me and I’ll watch over you. The idea is that we all look after each other in any given environment. An example of this is if you notice someone mistakenly left their wallet on their bed but the person is not in the room and you’re about to leave. Following the code, unless you know this person and guaranteed to see them again, hand it over to hostel front desk for safety. We as travelers need to work together.

Don’t eat my food

susi stealing frankfurter.
susi stealing frankfurter. by seppomat

We understand that everyone has a budget and eating for as cheap as possible but at no given time is it ever right to steal food. Most hostels have a free food section provided by other travelers who did not want the food they had. Again we are in this together and surely if you need some salt, ask and it’s yours.

Be respectful to the culture you’re in

man praying
man praying by bstoke

This code essentially should be followed by everyone regardless of being a backpacker or not however this definitely deserved a mention. Set a good example to locals of travelers passing by and be respectful to the culture of the country you’re at. A simple example is to take off your shoes entering temples within Thailand. Do a little research before you arrive and talk to fellow travelers on anything you need to know about the place you’re at. If you disagree to the way a culture does things that’s fine however you still need to be respectful. The same as you would with your parents.

Stay Chill

By myself Michael Tieso taken in Chang Mai, Thailand

Don’t over heat in a bad situation. Thing’s will go wrong, it’s part of the journey. Learn from it and continue the travels. No matter how much you prepare at home, experience is the best lesson. Of course no one wants to be in a bad situation but it happens even at home. Understand that if someone doesn’t understand your language, they’re still taking the time to try to help you. No one likes to be with a traveler that gets angry. If you want to get angry, do that with your PowerPoint presentation at home, not with people.

Speak In The Same Tongue

Naturally, traveling creates friends from different parts of the world. Especially in a hostel environment where people are coming in from every corner of the globe under one roof.  Usually English is the common language amongst travelers though your native language may be something else. If you happen to meet someone from your country but you’re with a group of only English speakers at the diner table, it’s polite then to speak English. This goes for any common language the group may have. Speak in the language everyone can have a conversation in. It’s rude to leave off other people when there’s a common language everyone can understand and speak.

What do you think of the code? Is there anything that should be  added? Any stories of a backpacker not following the above?

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