Backpacker party culture: Love Partying?

Backpacker party culture: Love Partying?

blog post from Forever Roaming the Worlds Traveling realisms series - traveling life, backpacks and booze(Last Updated On: March 23, 2020)

Backpacker party culture: Love partying? is part 5 of forever roaming the world’s traveling realities series.

The Backpacker party culture

For many backpackers, especially young and gap year backpackers, or for backpackers of any age that like to party – backpacks and booze just come hand in hand!

From binge drinking goon (I hate goon) up the east coast of Australia, being eternally drunk in Queenstown New Zealand. Or drinking buckets at full moon parties and Island hops around South East Asia, bar crawls all over Europe to cheap mezcal and tequila in central and South America. The Backpacker party culture is in full swing the world over.

You may have landed on this post because you want to find out more about how backpackers like to party, Or you might be reading this shaking your head. You might be saying, “Nah not me, I’m backpacking for the culture, for new experiences or to find myself, not to get wasted, I can do that at home!” – Yeah, ok, that’s fine but the backpacker party culture will be all around you & you might just get sucked into it, so you might want to keep reading!

The backpacker party culture is all around us

The truth is, there are not many backpackers of any age, that can say they haven’t been part of it or seen it at some point in their backpacking life. There will have been an occasion (or many) they got involved in a backpacker hostel party or danced the night away locals somewhere in the world. I’m guessing most backpackers will have some boozy memory to look back on from at least one of their trips.

Backpacker party culture: Love Partying? 1

That’s not say you’ll be in the backpacker party camp or the I’m not backpacking to party camp. You like many, many other backpackers might just like to do both, and that’s not a problem either.

In this latest long term traveling realities series we’ll dive into how common the backpacker party culture is all over the world, how there are party destinations and why there are backpackers like to party so much while they’re exploring the world.

I used to be immersed into the backpacker party culture (Well I still am sometimes)

In all honesty, I dove straight into the backpacker party culture from the get go; literally my first day of backpacking way back in 2010. Although I have grown out of it to a certain extent, I do still love a good party and I do get fucked up no matter where in the world I am – It’s just less common than it used to be. You know, traveling may keep me young, but those hangovers get they let me know I’m not spring chicken anymore.

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Over the years, I’ve been there, done that, got the Tshirt. I’ve made the phrase ‘Just one more’ my own, I’ve partied with the best of them from Sydney, to la Paz. I’d be lying if I said partying hasn’t paid a prominent part of my backpacking life.

Why backpackers like to party so much

Of course near enough everybody who leaves home to backpack around the world, to a certain country or region does it for the experience. To experience something new, new cultures, a lifestyle or environments, to see and do things they’ve dreamt about. But for a lot of young backpackers It’s an excuse.

An excuse not to dive into their adult lives, it’s an extension of their college or University life. For some who didn’t go college or university, backpacking is their version of that college life. And for others they just like to experience it all, have fun and party.

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Also the freedom plays a big part too, for some it’s the first time they’re away from their parents, or away from their normal everyday lives and just let loose. Yes some take it further than others but they’re just having fun doing what they want to.

Sometimes backpackers like to party without having an reason, especially those that just wanna have some fun – Young and older!

You remember the moments not the sights

Before you start backpacking, you think traveling is just about the things you see and do, the tours activities, excursions, cultures and local life. But It’s the experience you have during those trips that create those memories. It’s those interactions, relationships built, feeling a specific moment that stick with you.

Backpackers and travelers have been all over the world, but ask any about a memory, more times than not the ones that stick out will be a moment or experience they had in a certain situation not just something they saw. There have been many places I’ve been where I don’t remember the place, but I can think to a specific moment I had and that I can remember. There have also been destinations I’ve hated for one reason or another, not had a connection with it but had the best time because of the people around me.

The party doesn’t stop in a backpacker party hostel!

The backpacker party culture most of the times starts within backpacker party hostels. You may not know but there are different types of hostels to suit what you’re looking for. However the image people have of backpacker hostels before they start traveling are normally of the party hostels and they do get a bad rep at times. But they’re great places to make friends, have a good social vibe, and are good to ease you into backpacking life.

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The party hostel is where you’re more likely to walk in and see signs, leaftels, posters and reminders of parties and bars. Sometimes as you check in before you even get yours keys you’re told of parties and events going on. They put on pub crawls, nights out, events in the hostel like BBq nights, drinking games can be going on all over the place and much more. Anything and everything can happen in them.

My first exposure to backpacker party hostel culture

That very first day and night of my backpacking life in 2010, in Sydney Australia, the Funkhouse backpackers hostel was where it started for me. The funny thing was, I knew beforehand that the hostel I chose was a sociable one, and read reviews of parties. I thought it would be a sociable place that might party over the weekends; yes I was a naive newbie backpacker and I had no idea of just how much backpackers like to party. It was only once I saw it for my own eyes that I fully understood what a party hostel was.

As soon as I was introduced to that world I was submerged, other backpackers like to party and so did I; It’s fair to say back then I was a huge party animal. And here’s the thing and it could happen to any of you, within weeks, after constant partying, making friends, it felt like I was in a bubble and nothing outside of the hostel mattered.

This might ruffle feathered but for a lot of first time backpackers, backpacks and booze come hand in hand. This post explains what I mean

There were times I even forgot I was in Australia to travel. I was just having too much fun with my new friends and partying. At the time, The Kings Cross in Sydney was the Vice city of Australia. The infamous golden mile was lined of bars, clubs, strip clubs, restaurants and cafes and It was the backpacker party hub. (Things have changed now, It’s not like that anymore)

Backpackers like to party hard and the rotation didn’t stop

There was a period where we partied 24/7, quite literally.

You could wake up in the morning and there would be people up on the rooftop terrace partying, either from the night before or just getting started. The backpackers who didn’t work would be up on the rooftop day drinking, then the ones that did world world join in after they finished work. By the time evening came around some of the day drinkers would have faded away, while others joined in.

As night fell, the hostel rep would take some newbies out on the pub crawls while us long termers stayed in the hostel and partied or went to different bars. Once the people who worked in restaurants and bars returned they would party through the night to the early mornings. Those who worked in the mornings would dissapear, while the ones returning from clubs or worked in clubs would continue partying through the early hours into the morning. As they started to fade the morning and day drinkers would be up to keep the cycle going.

It was like we took shifts to keep the party rotation going. At any point day or night you could dip in and out of the rotation. And that’s not to forget the stoners who dipped in and out too. Put it this way you could be a new guest, eating your cereal and see a party in full swing in front of you.

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Reading this you might be excited by that prospect, or even horrified. There were people that were both. The funny thing was, those that were horrified about it, would leave, but months down the road they would return to become part of it. The’re reasoning was we had the best atmosphere. And all through this backpacker party life we lived, we never caused trouble with other guests. We did however create such a unique, electric and happy atmosphere, welcoming all that people just never left or returned at some point.

It isn’t just party hostels though, I’ve had some crazy times in smaller, more homey hostels too where backpackers like to party too.

This might ruffle feathered but for a lot of first time backpackers, backpacks and booze come hand in hand. This post explains what I mean

Backpacker party destinations

Another reason why backpackers like to party so much is because we’re enticed to do so!

With tourism growing around the world by the day, so many countries, islands, cities, and towns cater towards backpackers and travelers. They want to bring in new tourists, and they promote certain places with partying. There are certain destinations that only survive off tourism and love it when backpackers like to party. The world is clued up on how big backpacking is an industry now. They attract backpackers by calling themselves party destinations.

Certain places around the world are renowned party destinations. You’re likely to see a backpacker area as much as you’re likely to see a local market. In countries, cities and towns, you expect to be quiet can actually turn out to be a huge party destination for backpackers.

This might ruffle feathered but for a lot of first time backpackers, backpacks and booze come hand in hand. This post explains what I mean

Backpacker areas are everywhere not just party destinations

What is a backpacker area? In any major city or tourist destination, you’ll see a ‘tourist area’ which mainly accommodates large hotels or over priced restaurants. On the other end of that scale is the backpacker area, crammed with hostels, cheap eateries and bars serving cheap alcohol and these are everywhere not just party destinations

Backpackers flood to that area, one because it’s cheap, but also because you’ll find hundreds of other backpackers there too.

Famous backpacker party destinations where backpackers like to party

This might ruffle feathered but for a lot of first time backpackers, backpacks and booze come hand in hand. This post explains what I mean
  • *The Kings Cross in Sydney, the once notorious golden mile full of backpacker bars and hostels was a major party destination and tourist area (although that has changed now)
  • The route up the East coast of Australia
  • Queenstown in New Zealand
  • Khao San Road in Bangkok is a major party destination in Thailand
  • Phuket and The southern Islands of Thailand
  • Langkawi in Malaysia
  • Pub Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Ho chi Min Vietnam
  • Bali, Indonesia especially around Kuta, Legion, Seminyak and Canggu
  • The Philippines is one of the most famous backpacker party destinations in the world, (Boracay, El Nido, other Island hopping booze cruises)
  • Almost all European Cities, (Too many party destinations to list)
  • The Gringo trail in Central America
  • Puerto Escondido, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen in Mexico are popular party destinations
  • Kay Caulker in Belize
  • The famous Sunday Funday pub crawl in Nicaragua,
  • *Medellin, Bogota, Santa Marta in Colombia all promote and entice you with partying

I could sit and real off so many other destinations around the world that cater, entice and promote the backpacker party culture.

It’s not just limited to areas either, you have whole party Islands all over the world, Ibiza, Mallorca, Ko Pha Ngan in Thailand famous for its full moon parties, The Gilli Islands are paradise islands but entice you with partying. There are so many island hopping tours that include partying too.

This might ruffle feathered but for a lot of first time backpackers, backpacks and booze come hand in hand. This post explains what I mean

Backpacker tour companies get in on the act to promote backpacker party culture too

It’s all about the money for backpacker tour companies, and to sweeten the deal for you to choose their tours and excursions over others; comes that promise of an amazing party.

Of course there are plenty of tour companies that don’t but a lot do. They will have posters of nights out, parties and booze cruises plastered all over their shops or websites. They offer vouchers for drinks, discounts at bars if you book through them. There are even tours that will include a party during or after the trip/excursion/tour.

For example, want to go out to the Whitsundays in Australia, well pick which party boat you want to spend 3 nights a party boat? Or go Island hopping around those Paradise South East Asian Islands on a booze cruise? Climb a volcano or hike a mountain in Central America and there will be a party waiting at the end of it. Or even go deep into the jungle, just past that magical waterfall you’ll find a rave organised by the tour company. This goes on all over the world.

There are backpacker tour companies that even have party nights in their tour shops, you get an invite if you take a tour with them or have done a trip with them in the past.

Local cultures love a good party

Sometimes It’s not backpacker party hostels, It’s not party destinations, It’s not the tour companies, it can be just the local culture around you. Yup that’s right there are cultures all over the world that like nothing better than a good party and that just plays into the hands of backpacker party culture.

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And before you think it no I’m not just talking about the Irish, English, German and Australian drinking cultures. I’m talking about countries all over the world that make any excuse to party or have festivals and carnivals. For example a random street parade, fiesta or carnival popping up out of nowhere in central America because somebody felt like it.

Backpacker party culture is all around us

Hopefully this post has given you a bigger insight into how the party backpacker culture lives and breaths all around us all over the world and how backpackers like to party. Now I’m not saying this is the only way you can be a backpacker, I’m not saying you have to be a huge drinker or partier to be able to backpack around the world. I just wanted to make you aware that it’s there and hopefully prepares you a little more for it before you start your journey.

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The Traveling realities

While it is fun and games, It’s important to keep in control. Don’t be the stupid one that overdoses, or doesn’t know when to stop. Know your limits, if you can’t keep up with others, you can’t drink your own body weight in alcohol, then don’t. If you’re not a big drinker or big into parties then don’t feel forced into it, simply walk away. And remember in some countries, things you can get away with back home won’t be tolerated. Don’t be that person.


Did you find this backpackers like to party post helpful? Let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you would like to know.

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Traveling life: Backpacks and booze, they go hand in hand for backpackers. Partying is pretty much ingrained into a first-time backpackers life...
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31 Responses

  1. nice to read this. great article you wrote

  2. wow thats intense! I like how you described the “rotation” like it was their job to be on time to party time! This sorta reminds me of study abroad in Europe – when I was 20 and could drink! we did a little wild but we tried to see the culture of each place first

    Harmony, Momma To Go recently posted…Great Wolf Lodge Southern CaliforniaMy Profile

  3. There’s definitely no question that your average hostel is going to have a few partiers, and it’s not all that hard to partake in the festivities! I myself, like you, definitely have, and it definitely strengthens a friendship! There’s a lot to be gained from experiencing a country’s nightlife, but now that I’m a bit older, I do make sure that it doesn’t impede on what I have planned for the following day!
    Christopher James Mitchell recently posted…My Favourite Way to Save Money on Flights (and Add Some Adventure)My Profile

  4. Patti says:

    My drinking and partying days are over as I no longer enjoy it but I still have fond memories of partying and traveling from when I was younger. Enjoy it while you can!
    Patti recently posted…48 Hours in Chicago: A Local’s GuideMy Profile

  5. Justine says:

    I am definitely one of those lame ones who don’t party when travelling but I have friends who travel solely for parties. But I mean I don’t party because I don’t drink so I don’t find joy in it.

  6. Can’t say I’ve been backpacking, but have been traveling and I DON’T party the night away with the locals lol… most booze is too strong if a taste for me hahah. But these types of stories are always interesting! I also just love reading about hostel life, never been in one before (not sure if it’s my cup of tea) but the stories are some of the best and most interesting! lol

  7. BonBon says:

    Travel and party…. Hmmm…. sounds familiar. BUT not this stage of my life:) We do party if only there’s kids club or a nanny service available. LOL… Enjoy while you can. Safe and happy travels.
    BonBon recently posted…Taal Volcano Adventure with KidsMy Profile

  8. Shaily says:

    Great post! Yes, I agree to your point of view and I can relate to it. We have limited time during our trips, however, we still take out time to party and enjoy the night life of the places we visit. After all the sight seeing and culture exploration during the day, the night is of course for party!! It’s the fun part of travel experience! 🙂

  9. Dinh-Long says:

    Interesting point of view about travelling! I mostly travel to meet people; and meeting people often means partying! And must say… my craziest parties were always abroad! The best is even to do some sight-seeing with your party mates!

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