The new global nomads: Youth travel in a globalizing world

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Increasing youth travel has led to young people being labelled as ‘nomads’. This paper examines the phenomenon of youth nomadism in the tourism literature as well as examining recent empirical evidence. A review of the literature around youth nomadism identifies two major themes: analyses of the growth and development of youth travel niches, such as backpacking, volunteer tourism and educational exchange, and broader approaches linked to the rise of the mobilities paradigm. A major global survey of youth travel (34,000 respondents) indicates three major travel styles related to different forms of ‘nomadism’: the backpacker, the flashpacker and the global nomad. The traditional backpacker can be seen as a form of ‘neo-tribe’, gathering in self-sufficient enclaves. In contrast, the flashpacker, or ‘digital nomad', utilizes existing digital and logistic infrastructure to maintain a fluid, individualized lifestyle. The global nomad, or ‘location independent traveller’, tries to integrate with the local commun...
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-352
JournalTourism Recreation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Backpacking
  • Digital nomads
  • Flashpackers
  • Global nomads
  • Mobilities
  • Nomadism
  • Youth travel


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