Smartphone as the invisible backpack

The impact of smartphone on Chinese backpackers’ mobility pattern

Authored by: Jia Xie

The Routledge Companion to Media and Tourism

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138366282
eBook ISBN: 9780429430398
Adobe ISBN:


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Backpackers’ travel is heavily relied on smartphones, so the question that how communication technology changes the way travellers experience the destination gains increasing importance in media studies and geography. This study explores the impact of smartphone on Chinese backpackers’ mobility pattern through ethnographic methods. This study finds that smartphone is perceived as the invisible backpack by backpackers as it not only provides the sense of security but also serves as a tool to build personal identity and sustain social status. Backpackers are empowered by the advanced technology, but they also run the risk of being distracted from exploring the destination.

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