The demand for backpacker accommodation in Christchurch is again rising as tourists are starting to return to the Canterbury region after the earthquakes, which caused considerable damage to the Christchurch central city area. Haka Lodge, the newest Christchurch backpackers, has been strategically located on the outskirts of the city; in close proximity to some of the best beaches, surf spots and recreational areas that Christchurch has to offer. Backpacking in New Zealand has become almost become a rite of passage for many youth travellers throughout the world. after reading several articles on the history of travel and backpackers, I found some interesting information on the evolution of youth and budget travel.
There are many historical predecessors to the modern version of backpacking. The ‘Grand Tour’, was a common ‘rite of passage’ for the English upper class and considered an essential component of their education; whereby the formal educational period was marked by a journey throughout Europe. This travel behaviour was not just the premise of the upper class, however. European craftsmen had a passion for the outdoors; and during the early parts of the twentieth century, spent much of their spare leisure time developing tramping tracks throughout the countryside. This made hiking and tramping accessible to travellers of all backgrounds and budgets.
Colonisers and missionaries could be considered the first presence of travellers who embrace the ethics and ethos of the modern backpacker. Travelling on a tight budget, they set to explore new lands, meet new people and experience new cultures. as the affordability and availability of travel increased, countries around the world were becoming more accessible; with those people who might have never ventured far from home in the past when travel was more difficult and potentially dangerous, but now have taken advantage of the relative ease and affordability of long haul travel. Furthermore, the globalisation of the worlds economy and the relations it has created, has enabled travellers to access even the most remote parts of the world.
Even though technology has changed, the safety increased and the types of transportation dramatically altered, it could be said hat the modern backpacker and youth traveller are still on a ‘rite of passage’, whereby their international exposure takes them on a path of experience and education that would simply not be obtainable in the home environment.