How will you differentiate a backpacker and a flashpacker? If you’re traveling with a backpack, does it count that you’re a backpacker or a flashpacker?
What does backpacking mean? According to Wikipedia, it is low-cost, independent travel. For backpacking, the budget travel and destinations are relatively cheap. A trademark of a backpacker is the use of backpacks to carry around for long journeys or long periods of time. Backpackers often choose public transport and check-in in a hostel or any cheap accommodation. They usually don’t stay in one place but travels to different places, sometimes even to the wilderness to mingle with the locals, to check out a different culture or to even learn the language, or to discover the part of the place that nobody dares to see or experience.
But time evolves, backpacking changes to flashpacking. Flashpacking means traveling with more money and going to fancy hotels equipped with different gadgets. On a simpler definition, flashpacking is backpacking with a bigger budget. Some flashpackers still travel with a backpack but they are not necessarily backpackers. They may travel with the backpacker’s sense of adventure but spend extravagantly to enjoy their vacation. They’d go to nice hotels, sophisticated restaurants and have a thrilling adventure along the way.
I’d always thought I am a backpacker or maybe I used to be when I was younger. I used to travel without an itinerary. I checked on places when I get there. I go wherever my itchy feet take me. There were times that I had to scout the area first before finding a cheap inn or hostel to stay in. I had to ask the locals where to go and what tourist destination to see. I always travel light. One backpack is enough for my journey. Sometimes you call it a do-it-yourself trip. No plans, but an instinct on where to go once your there.
With the use of the internet and popping out of the different gadgets, traveling became easy. Information about the place is available. Now, I plan and research my itinerary ahead. This saves time for venturing the place. You know where you want to go. You know what to do beforehand. Gadgets and wifi connection became a must while traveling.
I still travel light. That’s one of the things I have mastered for a long time of traveling. I could fit everything in one bag, but this time I carry an empty bag that can be folded and fit in my backpack or if I chose luggage, just in case I need to buy things or if my clothes become bulky. I’d check out restaurants and coffee shops that were mostly on the top of the list of previous travelers. My accommodation varies. I could still go to a dorm, a cheap inn, a hostel and sometimes in an expensive hotel for accommodation. It depends on my mood or depends on the place where I’m going. I do go on planned tours. Sometimes it’s cheaper, but it really depends on the place. Other tour packages cost a lot.
The best part of being a backpacker or a flashpacker is getting to know locals and being friends with different tourists or travelers.
I guess I can be both depending on the place and the people I am with during traveling.