Were you born to travel? Do you crave adventure with a boutique twist? Flash Pack co-founder Radha Vyas explains everything you need to know about becoming a Flashpacker
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.
“Flashpacking” is a term coined by us at Flash Pack HQ. It denotes a lifestyle for travellers in their 30s and 40s, 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 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.
Flashpacker 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, dive into new cultures, or explore uncharted destinations.
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.
Travel the Flashpacker way
Here are the top ways you too can be a successful Flashpacker:
1. 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 busybodies, we know, but trying to squeeze three months’ worth of travelling into your annual leave will have you clock-watching 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 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 shortcut route. You have worked long and hard to afford your adventure holiday, and time is precious 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 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, so be 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 ones, in today’s connected world there is something special about being able to share your trip with the world as you travel.
6. The 30s and 40s are your power years
If you’re a Flashpacker, it’s likely you’ll be in your 30s or 40s – but this is less about age than life stage. Our solo travellers come from all over the world, but they’re drawn together by a passionate love of adventure and the Great Unknown.
Read more: How to make friends in your 30s and 40s
Most Flashpackers hold down demanding jobs, so a trip with us is a chance to escape and shake things up with fresh challenges and horizons new.
You’ll know if you’re a Flashpacker, because you’ll crave the idea of a game-changing trip with other solo travellers, who are open-minded, kind and share your curiosity about the world. In other words, people on your wavelength.
7. 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.
Every time a Flashpacker books a trip with us, we make a £5 donation to the Flash Pack Foundation, in support of grassroots projects all across the globe. That means that just by embarking on an adventure with us, you’ll be contributing towards a better and fairer world.
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 take on Facebook or Instagram.
Grab a taste of boutique adventure
Become a Flashpacker with these three game-changing escapes
Stretch your limits in Jordan
Hike a secret backdoor route to the rose-red city of Petra, and see the ancient facades of this Nabataean city light up in the glow of thousands of night-time candles. Then, camp out in the heart of the Wadi Rum desert, with a mesmerising sunrise camel ride. Also in the mix on this cracker of a trip, we have canyoning in towering valley ravines, a bathe in the mineral-rich Dead Sea (the lowest point on Earth) and star-gazing at a remote Bedouin lodge.
Challenge yourself in Chile
Hold onto your horses for an epic escape that sees us take full advantage of Chile’s varied and dazzling topography. We start in the bohemian streets of Santiago, before cutting loose to the Casablanca wine hills. Over to the Atacama desert, and we’re ready for a romp through strange geological formations, erupting geysers and ravishing sundowners in the Valley of the Moon. One white-water raft escapade later, and we’ll be hiking through the lakes and peaks of Torres del Paine National Park.
Hit your bucket list in winter Finland
One of our best-selling trips in Europe sees us snowshoe deep in the woodland wilderness, before racing across the frozen tundra on a fleet of revved-up snowmobiles. We’ll take lunch in a traditional Lappish kota, hang out in cosy saunas and experience the thrill of a real-life reindeer sleigh ride. Plus, husky sledding and the chance of glimpsing the ethereal Northern Lights… need we say more?
Images: Flash Pack, Shutterstock