If you're a backpacker, you've probably heard of flashpacking - and may have wondered whether you were a flashpacker.
What exactly is a flashpacker, anyway?
According to Wikipedia, it's a backpacker with flash. To others, it's someone who backpacks with more money or less time than a traditional backpacker, whether you're traveling through Europe or roughing it in the rural savannah.
You're probably a flashpacker if...
There isn't a flashpacking prototype but there are trends.
Flashpackers tend to be a bit older than backpackers, although it's hard to generalize - there are plenty of 80-year-old backpackers, and 20-year-old flashpackers.
They probably have more money (though they're not necessarily rich), and they may have less time, having perhaps taken a limited leave of absence from a job to travel.
And they may require a bit more comfort - why take an overnight bus trip when you can fly?
There are major similarities as well. Flashpackers aren't necessarily in more of a hurry - they tend to travel for just as long as backpackers.
Many flashpackers also stay in hostels (even if they do prefer their own bathroom). And they are an independent lot, not tour rats or tourists.
Like backpackers, their trips tend to be less planned, more spontaneous and often solo. Flashpackers also share travel destinations with backpackers and travel to places like Bali or Bangkok, Brasilia or Buenos Aires.
Where the 'flash' comes in is in the special knowledge and comfort level the flashpacker might have. After all, if you're plugged into your laptop and iPhone, you may be plugged into the best deals and the most offbeat or secluded spots. And you won't have to stand in line for the shower!
Backpackers may cross over into flashpacking, and vice versa.
I backpacked across Africa but one Sunday a month I'd splurge on a luxury hotel and brunch. I also carried state-of-the-art electronic gear - as a journalist it was a necessity.
Labels don't matter and no one cares which you are. Now, at least, if someone calls you a flashpacker, you'll know what they're talking about. So... are you a flashpacker?
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