You may have heard the term ‘Flashpacker’ being banded around on the backpacker circuit. If you haven’t and scratching your head to figure out what it means thus coming to one realisation…can I just say that it’s NOT a backpacker with a fondness for wearing a trenchcoat underneath the backpack and revealing yourself to other backpackers that actually you have nothing underneath that coat.
That was a result from a conversation I had in Australia when we were moaning about the high cost there. ‘Argh, I wish I had more money , I would have been a flashpacker.’ She looked at me and said ‘surely it can’t be expensive to buy a long thin coat.’ Sigh.
SO, what is a FLASHPACKER?
Well it’s basically a backpacker with an even more budget. You can see them swanning around with their beloved reward credit card from the bank of Mum and Dad, pulling a wheeled suitcase instead of a backpack, checking into hostels with a higher price or even boutique hotels, and carrying far too many gadgets. Everytime I think of a flashpacker, I think Paris Hilton. I’m not saying I could dress all in pink, be dopey, pulling a wheeled suitcase whilst holding a toy dog and screaming ‘Salsa!’ I could, but I won’t.
So let’s get into grips of what a flashpacker does.
They have VERY high standards.
I can truly attest to this. Every hostel I stopped in Australia and New Zealand, there’s always bound to be a raging flashpacker decked in Ralph Lauren sunglasses and pointing furiously at their state of the art laptop or Mobile device at Reception. It’s the Internet. Paying over the odds for an hour of Internet to find a very weak signal has them marching to a poor unsuspecting staff member only to be told that they are checking out and leaving to the nearest boutique hotel.
Other issues have been the state of the kitchen, lack of plug points, privacy in hostel rooms, an airport transfer, security etc. I’m not fussed about this but I could have morphed into a flashpacker on the Internet.
They prefer Wheeled Suitcases than Backpacks.
Can you spot which is the flashpacker? Bingo, the flashpacker has the wheeled suitcase. Now, I know I can never be a flashpacker this way. I just love my backpack. It’s easy to carry, strap on with support, and it’s your life in there. To be honest, I actually have a hate relationship with wheeled suitcases. Sometimes they have a life of their own wanting to go a different way than the way you are pulling them towards thus causing a major tantrum. They are extremely noisy. I do not want to hear the constant whirring of wheels on the pavement only to be punctuated by a rat a tat tat every time there’s a raised pavement or god forbid, cobblestones. Your arm aches after a while and whilst you complain, you are teased constantly that you strain your arm muscle doing something naughty. The worst thing? The stairs. You see, each wheeled suitcase has a pulley handle to allow yourself to just pull and not drag. But coming to a flight of stairs, particularly in rush hour in the London Underground, you have to stop in midflow to press down the handle in the suitcase and drag it upstairs, stop again and pull the handle out to pull it again. This adds time and you are barraged with constant verbal abuse from commuters. I’ve actually gone through 3 wheeled suitcases in 1 year because they are always been kicked into shape by me.
They have a bigger Budget.
Backpackers hate Flashpackers for one reason. Flashpackers get into more exclusive places, tours, sights and even accommodation. Even checking out online for the best flashpackers hostels in the world had me green with envy that these ‘flashpackers’ can afford their own privacy, exclusivity etc. They can pay for massages in their room, afford meals out instead of mournfully looking at your microwaved Pot Noodle, even upgrade to Business Class on aeroplanes or perhaps get on the best and quickest transport between destinations instead of the sweltering hot local bus that takes 24 hours and you’re sat next to a gross smelling and drooling man. All thanks to their money which they have saved up on slapped on their credit cards with rewards that they use frequently.
This, I can be a Flashpacker. I love getting the best value of something for as cheap as the price in return for satisfaction and luxury.
They have the latest gizmos
Flashpackers can immediately be identified by the best gizmos around. Sure enough, in these modern times, more and more people are travelling with their netbooks or hand-held devices so you could say that the bridge between flashpacker and backpacker are getting closer. However, they will always have the best gadgetry. The one thing I really get jealous is that they have their own portable wifi. Being a travel blogger and a backpacker, I live for wifi! So you can say that I want my very own exclusive wifi hotspot that’s mine and only MINE! No longer I have to contend with another person monopolizing the hostel’s weak wifi as they download illegal movies.
So there you have it. I don’t think I could be a flashpacker but give me a bit more money and a portable wifi, then I’ll be happy with my backpack and pot noodle.
Are you a flashpacker? Tell me why you think so.
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