Thursday, May 7, 2009

Backpacking vs. Flashpacking

I'm on Day 8 of my Indochine backpacking; that is, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. I've been to the temples and ruins of Angkor, to the eye-opening Killing Fields, to the hustle and bustle of Saigon and now, the relaxing beaches of Nha Trang; there are so much to see on this side of the planet. Then, I stumbled upon this article on Wikipedia:

Flashpacking is a neologism used to refer to affluent backpacker. Whereas backpacking is traditionally associated with budget travel and destinations that are relatively cheap, flashpacking has an association of more disposable income while traveling and has been defined simply as backpacking with a bigger budget.

A simple definition of the term Flashpacker can be thought of as backpacking with flash, or style. One school of thought defines the flashpacker as a rapidly growing segment of travelers who adhere to a modest accommodation and meal budget, while spending freely, even excessively, for activities at their chosen destination. Another school of thought defines flashpacking as an incongruous mix of 'slumming it' and luxury; of adventurous travel with those on a budget by day and sedate dining and comfortable accommodation by night. Flashpackers have been further defined as tech-savvy adventurers who often prefer to travel with a cell phone, digital camera, iPod and a laptop, although none of these is required in order to be a flashpacker. As with other forms of travel, the term flashpacker is mainly one of self-identification. The origin of the term itself is obscure.

The term also reflects a growing demographic of travelers who are forsaking traditional organized travel, venturing to destinations once the reserve of more adventurous backpackers, and the increasing number of individuals who leave well paid jobs or take 'career breaks', using the time to travel independently, but with greater comfort and many of the gadgets they are accustomed to at home. As a result, hostels are evolving and offering more up-market accommodation to those still traveling on a budget in order to obtain their business. The hostels have realized a need to evolve in order to meet the changing demands of travelers.

Time to be accustomed with this neology from now on; onward with my flashpacking. :)

GMT +7 Hanoi, Vietnam