So what is the difference between a Flashpacker, a Backpacker and a 2 week package tourist on holiday from work?
Simply put, a flashpacker is someone who travels like a backpacker but with a bigger budget. That’s it. Flashpackers can sleep at more comfortable places, eat out anywhere and spend money on experiences backpackers tend to skip because of a lack of funds.
Flashpackers are usually 30 yr. olds and up, seeking adventure and new experiences. They have a bigger travel budget, usually from being on break from an established career. How both choose to spend their money varies slightly, but one thing is for certain, flashpackers maintain the backpacker’s travel mentality which makes flashpackers as hip as backpackers.
Backpackers are independent travelers. Opting for low cost destinations and lodging in order to prolong their travel as long as possible. Backpackers prefer to ‘experience’ a destination rather than ‘see it’. Flashpackers travel with the same approach, only now they have more money to spend for these experiences.
Both backpackers and Flashpackers prefer guesthouses to large traditional hotels. Just because Flashpackers travel with more money doesn’t mean they are willing to spend it on a overpriced resort rooms they probably won’t be using much. More importantly, a guesthouse is more conducive to meeting like-minded travelers and sharing scoop on various local experiences.
Unlike 2 week package tourists, both Flashpackers and backpackers are more likely to use public transportation rather than rent a car. This gives Flashpackers another opportunity to meet and interact with local people and is usually less hassle than renting a vehicle in a foreign country. Authentic local travel options are really a big part of the overall experience.
Both Flashpackers and backpackers prefer long-term travel as opposed to a few week vacation. A 2 week trip simply isn’t enough time to really dig in and get to know a place and its people. This long-term thinking also reduces the single biggest travel expense which is transportation to/from each destination and that enables a Flashpacker & backpacker to travel for a longer time period.
Both Flashpackers and backpackers pursue adventure and new experiences. Flashpackers and backpackers are just as interested in the local market and hole in the wall noodle shops as visiting the top sightseeing spots. I have found many of my best experiences are of the people I have met and the local activities, as opposed to seeing the big landmarks.
Flashpackers carry with them the new breed of backpacks. These are called convertible backpacks and they have very sturdy built in wheels which enable you to wheel your stuff when traveling from city to city. These convertible backpacks (Osprey is our brand), also have a built in zip away harness that provide the option to use like a conventional backpack during the times you are unable to utilize the wheels on your backpack. (times like getting unloaded off a boat onto an island with a sandy beach or up a few flights of stairs in your local guesthouse). Backpackers packs only have harness straps and do not have wheels. They carry all of their gear on their back and utilize a daypack on the front of them. A 2 week package tourist lugs around a bunch of heavy luggage with a bunch of shit they do not really need and probably will only wear half of what they actually packed.
I cannot believe the number of both Backpackers & Flashpackers on similar long term journeys as ours. They are not all hippies, twenty something gap year ganja dudes who never held a proper job in their lives. You will also find (ex/current) professionals, singles, couples, 30/40/50 year olds – some of whom bring their kids along as well, and then return refreshed and re-invigorated back to probably the same exact lives they left months/years before.
We have met so many fellow traveler’s who have a similar outlook as us. Mostly, Australians, Kiwi’s, Israeli’s and Europeans but rarely have we bumped into Americans. If I’ve learned one thing in the 51 years of my life, it’s that you are never too old to try something new. After all, as the saying goes, “you’ll never, ever be as young as you are right now”.