Found this on the website of Nomads Hostels in Australia: Backpacking in 1999 vs Backpacking in 2009 | Could you survive?.
Backpackers in the class of 2009 travel the world at the click of mouse. These days backpackers have the pick of top quality gear, top travel deals and top travel destinations without having to move one single step. However, how has backpacking in 2009 changed compared to backpacking in 1999 and could we survive as backpackers if we reverted back to how things were in 1999?
1999 sounds like a world away but in 10 years the lives of backpackers and the backpacking industry has evolved and grown faster than most people have even realised.
Here is a checklist to see if you could survive as a backpacker ten years ago.
1. – A simple, standard backpack.No anti-slash technology, or backpacks which can convert in to wheeled suitcases.
2. – No mobile phone.In 2009 backpackers can use their sim cards from their home country or unlock their mobile phone and buy a cheap pay as you go sim card. Could you survive using public phones and phone cards?
3. – No WIFI.I still cannot believe the number of backpackers that take their laptops with them, but in the present day WIFI keeps you one hundred per cent in touch with the online world. Could you imagine walking to an internet cafe every time you want to use the internet. Or better still, not really using the internet.
4. – No online banking.Ten years ago, travellers checks were one of the safest means of carrying money, now I rarely meet a backpacker or traveller who uses them. In fact, only 3 years ago I struggled to get travellers checks changed at all. Now we can pay and access our money all over the world regardless that it is at the expense of our own savings, although now we are seeing banks dropping charges for accessing cash abroad. We can check all our finances and even pay our bills online now. How would you manage your money if these options weren’t available to you?
5. – Minimal Clothing. When did backpackers become so fashion-conscious? If you walk in to a backpacker bar now you are confronted with clubbing outfits and stiletto shoes.
6. – Radio Music. When I was backpacking in 2004 I took with me a portable CD player and a case containing a load of CD’s. How old is that? and it was only 5 years ago. Could you live without your mp3 player and itunes. Could you survive only listening to the radio?
7. – Organising activities yourself. A backpacker can walk in to any hostel now and be offered the option of joining in a daily activity organised by the hostel so that you can explore the city without any hassle of organising it. Could you do the research and organise everything you want to see and do?
8. – Using Guidebooks as the holy bible. There are masses of blogs and forums in order for backpackers to get advice and travel tips. Could you survive on living out of a book that might be a few years out of date?
9. – Camera’s with film. Would you be able to live with the excitement of not knowing how your pictures will come out until you pay to get them developed? Would you cope when you forgot to get a new film and your current film runs out and you can’t take a picture of that incredible sunset? How would you explain to people back home how cool the fish and coral was without having an underwater camera to take pictures?
10. – No Facebook. How would you stay in touch with people?
Backpackers in 2009 have the world at their feet with the hostel and backpacker industry continuing to grow rapidly alongside ongoing advancements in technology, there is really no reason to not get out and explore what the world has to offer.
About the Author: Cheska is a keen traveler who has visited many countries in the past few years, including China and much of South America. She’s currently undertaking an internship for Nomads based at Nomads Auckland backpackers hostel, New Zealand