The Rise Of Flashpacking

Neither fully backpacker nor tourist, flashpackers are new to the traveling lexicon. Flashpackers stay in hostels, use a backpack, and want cheap transportation but blow their wad on meals, beer, tours, and parties. They usually arent going into a hostel without a reservation or wearing the same shirt for a week. A lot of hostels are up scaling to meet the building demands and desires of flashpackers and youll find these places in all corners of the world. Flashpackers still have no fixed voyage and all the time to roam like backpackers of old.

A lot of backpackers look down at flashpackers because they think it is not true traveling. However, backpacking and traveling is about an attitude not about how you look or what you carry. Just because they have a lot stuff doesn’t mean they are less interested in learning and exploring new cultures and parts of the world.

It all comes down to what makes a traveler who he is and that is his spirit. The desire to explore new places and experience new people and open your mind to different things that might shock you. It has nothing to do with what you have in your backpack or how little you have in there. It is all about your attitude.

Were all flashpackers now anyways. According to a Hostelworld study in 2006, 21 percent of backpackers travel with a laptop, 54 percent with an MP3 player, 83 percent with a mobile phone and a whopping 86 percent travel with a digital camera. Now think about your last vacation- how many travelers did you see with cameras? Ipods? Laptops? Everyone carries these things now.

The reality is we all travel with “stuff” now. Everyone checks their email, has a camera, listened to their mp3s, and uses Skype. Being flashpackers allows us to stay better connected with people and document our trip. The key is to make sure you put down the camera, turn off the computer, and enjoy the culture you came to see.

The backpacker who set off with nothing to his name is getting harder to find. Most of us have a little more wealth and desire a little more but still have his spirit. We still seek new cultures, exotic locales, and long term travel. We still look for cheap hostels and transport. We camp on that jungle trek. The thing that has changed is that now we also want a place to plug in our camera, check our e-mail, and have a hot shower.

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