The concepts of task, search stage and source of information in leisure activities: A case study of backpackers' search for tourist information



For backpackers, traveling plan involves many tasks such as deciding where to go, how to get there, what are interesting to sightsee, what should not miss, what are the social landscape and safety conditions etc. They have to make decisions based on information they collected and yet they are also flexible and may change the courses along the way. From 30 interviewees, our research on backpackers shows that their information search can be conceptualized as a three-stage information search process. In each stage, depending on the type of task, backpackers use various information resources, such as tour guides, maps, fliers, websites, discussion bulletin board etc. for different purposes. Depending on the characteristics of the source of information, one is relied on more than the other in different stage of traveling and for different task and purpose. Among others, the research results deepen our understanding about backpackers' information tasks, information sources needed and used, with practical implications for designing useful websites for such tourists.