No, It’s not some strange new viral dance move you’ve never heard of. The term “Flashpacker” may owe its origin to a quirky neologism made up by combining the words “fancy” and “backpacker”, but that’s only half the story.
And we don’t mean are you packing a memory stick or stacking a grocery shelf!
We had a meeting and decided that the term “Flashpacking” will henceforth be described as a lifestyle for travellers who actively seek out authentic encounters and have the budget to experience the best every destination has to offer.
Flashpackers travel in style and believe in roughing it in luxury. They actively seek out unique experiences and define luxury as something more than thread count or shower size. The easiest way to spot a flashpacker is to look for the backpacker with the a new laptop and the dirty hiking boots.
Flashpacking is a total immersion travel experience. It’s what happens to adventurous backpackers who no longer find the idea of sharing a hostel bunk bed appealing. It’s choosing the bottle of wine instead of having to share a flat keg with strangers, because you can afford it.
It does not mean bye-bye backpacker, hello posh-packer, nor is it supposed to be a label describing a specific person, or mode of travel. When we proclaim ourselves Flashpackers and invite others to step up, we mean business (class) baby! Okay, not all the time, but what’s wrong with a few creature comforts?
A Flashpacker is not a tourist. A tourist goes sightseeing in the hope that something will happen to him. A Flashpacker goes looking for adventure and authentic encounters and is not afraid to try new flavours, meet new cultures, or explore uncharted destinations.
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Flashpackers have an insatiable thirst for excitement and can afford to splash out on spontaneous travel opportunities. Oh, and if you were wondering, Flashpackers roam where Travel Agents fear to tread and tourists dare not book a bed.
Here are the top 6 ways you can be a successful Flashpacker:
#1: It’s a cliche, because it’s true, but attitude defines altitude
If you consider yourself a Flashpacker, chances are that you started out as a cash-strapped backpacker. Remember that carefree, positive and humble attitude that got you out of that jam in (pick a country, any country)? Well, hold onto that state of mind and when things get hectic, always remind yourself that it’s about the journey, not the destination.
#2: Don’t overplan, overpack, and under-time
Flashpackers are busy bodies, we know, but trying to squeeze 3 months worth of travelling into your annual leave will have you clockwatching every second. We’re not saying you shouldn’t make the most of your precious time, but booking every minute of your day in advance is looking for travel, we mean trouble. The best way to ensure you have an unforgettable trip is to flow with the current of now and remind yourself that the most memorable moments of our lives happen when we least expect it.
#3: Don’t get your shoestrings in a bunch
On your Flashpacking trip, you’re bound to meet backpackers who have more time and less funds than you. Don’t feel guilty about taking the budget flight from Berlin to Barcelona instead of jumping on the back of a donkey cart with the rest of the backpackers. You have worked long and hard to afford your adventure holiday and time is too precious to spend staring out of bus and train windows when you have a world to see and only two weeks leave. One day, just like you, the backpackers will get jobs and do exactly the same.
#4: Don’t be ashamed to splash out
Flashpackers are typically a little older and more financially secure than backpackers and therefore have much bigger budgets. This means that while you don’t have as much time to your disposal, you do have more liquidity, and deserve to reward yourself by enjoying it. If that means tasting the most expensive (but truly delicious) Belgian chocolates from a corner chocolatier instead of the train station, do it!
#5: I don’t like the devices, but the devices like me
If the idea of setting off on the Flashpacking adventure of a lifetime without your laptop, mp3 player, smartphone and digital camera scares you just a little, congratulations! You have graduated from backpacker to fully fledged Flashpacker. Whether it’s to keep tabs on the office, or stay in touch with loved one’s, in today’s connected world there is something special about being able to share your trip with the world as you travel.
#6: Flashpackers get by giving back
Perhaps the best thing about being a Flashpacker is the ability to do something about the injustice or inequity in your travelling environment. Far from your frugal backpacking days, you are now in a position to discern the difference between truly helping and merely enabling, and can therefore directly impact the communities you meet in a positive way. Those volunteer vacations are also much higher on the Flashpacker bucket list because you can now finally afford the fees that these special projects and NGO’s need to remain sustainable.
Are you a Flashpacker, too?
Flashpackers represent a new breed of travel for a new generation of luxury adventure travellers. The definition is still evolving and you won’t find the word in a dictionary, but do you consider yourself a Flashpacker? We’d love to hear your personal take on Flashpacking, so drop a comment in the box below and tell the world what makes you a Flashpacker.