“Flashpacking” as a term has been around for several years now, although it’s only recently begun to gain prominence.
It’s the evolution of backpacking; the inevitable next step for scrimpers who spent their student years taking chicken buses from one “budget friendly” Lonely Planet suggestion to the next. Our hotels these days have balconies, and bedding is provided in the cost of the room . . . even if there’s chipped tilework and a strange smell near the window. We no longer share bathrooms but we do still rent bicycles. We like breakfast to be included but local-style, not Full English. We take cookery courses instead of booze cruises. We choose AirBNB over Couchsurfer.
We’re still miles away from the “luxury” traveller bracket, and that’s ok. Much as I vicariously enjoy (for about ten minutes) flicking through photos of bloggers sat by infinity pools clutching £15 cocktails, Instagramming their Louis Vuitton suitcases in 5-star stilted Maldivian hideaways, that’s not my style.
When flashpackers travel, we still take our backpacks – probably the same trusty bag we’ve carried across the world at least once already. We wear walking boots on the plane to save space; carry a Swiss Army Knife, Dioralyte sachets, and a first aid kit; and expect excellent value for money. We want to eat in local places and chat with our hosts. We love exploration and hate taking tours.
Organised fun is not our style.
Flashpackers love to travel off the beaten path, but have the confidence of age and slightly greater disposable income required to accept that slumming it is not a required element of adventure. We work hard and have a bit more cash to flash, and we’ve graduated up to the “mid-range” hotels. We don’t want faceless, corporate chains. We want individuality. We want memories, and we’re prepared to pay for them . . . just not, you know, too much.