Backpacking vs. Flashpacking

There’s a new kind of traveller around. They’re someone that doesn’t need to curl up in the back seat of a bus, next to the rattling toilet door and annoying cellphone user (how do they keep those conversations lasting for seven hours?). They’re a person that can revel in a private room, while the rest of us will put up with the snoring and clinking of padlocks in the dorm. A hired car is just a flick of a credit card away, and the new age of couchsurfing and craigslist are but a laughable facility.

Enter the flashpacker.

Amanda Kendle, a self-confessed flashpacker, has visited over 30 countries. She has slummed it with the generally younger backpacking crowd. Now, even with a steady income and mature outlook, the travelling candle is still blazing strong – just with a few extra dollars to burn. The flashpacker can afford to take some low budget airlines between cities (they already saw the Mid-West countryside in the 70’s), and have a beautiful, expensive glass of red wine under a Tuscan sunset.

The key to being a successful flashpacker is to keep true to the travelling spirit. A flashpacker is still a backpacker at heart – you can be a traveller but have a budget that doesn’t show it.

Are you a flashpacker? Or maybe a backpacker with visions of a flashpacking utopia? There’s no shame in being able to spend a little, so may the flashpacker flourish.

Posted by | Comments (4)  | September 6, 2008
Category: General

4 Responses to “Backpacking vs. Flashpacking”

  1. Scott Says:

    I’ll be bringing a hand-me-down laptop that I won’t care if it breaks or gets lost or stolen. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have brought one.

    I feel I am often too closely attached to technology and I’m looking forward to finding new ways to keep myself occupied during the downtime of my trip.

  2. Says:

    No shame indeed in being a Flashpacker!

    Flashpacking can also be a great and “fair” way to travel, see the world and connect with new cultures. See my post on Fair Flashpacking:

  3. maria Says:

    As much as i hate to admit it, i knew i had ‘gone flashpacker’ when i traded in my usual bamboo, cold water hut in Thailand for the newer stucco and tiles ones you can now find on the islands…

    Sealing the deal was the screened windows (no more holey mozzie nets!) and the hot water shower (no more grimacing while rinsing my hair!)

    It was a more than 100% upgrade in terms of price from $8 a day to $17 a day…which we know is really not much at all…but my slept-on-rooftops-to-save-money inner backpacker was screaming that i was traitor to the ’cause’.

    Nonetheless, i gave in and have to say, I’ve never gone back. I’ve 35 done as a live on the cheap backpacker and now about 5 as a semi-flashpacker.

    I say ‘semi’ because i still can’t understand why anyone would bring a laptop on a holiday…I will NEVER do that as long as there are books to be read, sights to be seen and most importantly…. people to be met!

  4. Curtis from Flashpacking Life Says:

    Amanda’s “Not a Ballerina” just rocks. She’s the blueprint for a flashpacker — along with Rolf, of course, and Tim Ferriss, and maybe a few others.

    As a self-styled flashpacker myself, I’d say check to the rental cars (especially in places like Bali where they start at $10); and to private rooms, and (sometimes discount) airlines instead of chicken buses. And you’re totally right about keeping true the backpacking spirit.

    To me, the big difference about flashpacking is that while you might love the nitty-gritty backpack stuff (e.g., we love the Couchsurfing Project and Craigslist and some other low-rent options) you’ve always got the get-out-of-dorm-room-free card available. You can slum it, but not out of necessity.

    What a world of difference — as anyone who’s ever checked into a hotel with a pool and air-con after a week in the dust will surely agree.

    My wife Lindsie and I are on a year-long flashpacking experiment that we’re blogging — Google “Flashpacking Life” and “Flashpacking Wife” for our blogs, or “Flashpackers have champagne tastes” for a little story on us by Canadian Press. Champagne tastes indeed, with a little ramen here and there. 🙂