Backpackers are a different breed of human altogether and very easily recognisable, from fashion (or lack of) to food habits, they stand out.
I have compiled a short list of the most obvious ways to tell a backpacker from the crowd.
1. Jandals. Do I need to say more? Whatever the weather, our little intrepid backpackers will defy the ridicule and insist on wearing said Jandals (flip flops / things!). Cue laughter and pointing.
2. A varied collection of bracelets and bangles. Everyone does it, it's the international sign of a backpacker, collecting local jewellery and letting it manifest on their arms until it's dirty and tatty, but they won't take them off, no that will admit defeat.
3. Lonely Planet. Everyone has one, if not they have photocopies of points of interest. They'll hold on to it for a few weeks like it's their holy bible until they realise it takes up too much space and then where will they put their newly purchased skydiving, bungee, rafting memorabilia?
4. Which brings me to "Memorabilia". They have thrown themselves out of planes, dangled by bungee ropes, splashed around in rafts, abseiled through caves, too many adventures which need documenting with pictures, videos, t-shirt, mugs, hats, you can tell a true backpacker if they are seen wearing or holding on to any of the aformentioned.
5.Tattoo's. For most, travelling inspires people to get inked. A lasting memory of that round the world trip, some never had any intention of having a tattoo before, but this trip, the life changing trip, changes views and they'll be going home with a random travel quote probably on their butt. The most popular being tribal, native or quotes.
6. Buying Noodles. When backpacker spotting in a supermarket, they can usually be found in 3 main aisles, the noodle aisle, the egg aisle or the bread aisle, if you spot a person wearing jandals, bracelets, holding a lonely planet wearing a skydive t-shirt with a tattoo that says "wanderlust" in the chicken aisle, approach them gently and tell them they have the wrong aisle. They will appreciate the help.
Of course, this list is compiled purely on cliche, but if you smiled and nodded then you know there's always truth behind a cliche :).
Laura works at Nomads Auckland and has created this list of 6 obvious signs of being a backpacker by observing them in their temporary habitat (the hostel).