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What's the Difference Between a Flashpacker & Backpacker?

You might be wondering what the difference is between a backpacker and a flashpacker. Why define the type of traveller at all?

Traditionally travelers fit into one of two buckets: budget backpackers, and short-term vacationers. If you fall somewhere in the middle of these two, chances are you’re a flashpacker.

The Flashpacker Lifestyle

What is a Flashpacker? Backpacker vs. Flashpacker | Flashpacker Co

In the last 5-10 years the prevalence of flashpackers has been taking off in the travel community. Sharing many traits and values with a backpacker, more travelers are defining themselves as flashpackers due to their willingness to spend more money on comfort and experience.

If you’ve circled the globe once or twice, you likely already know what your priorities are, but if you’re new to extended travel you might need a little extra info to help you figure it out.

A typical backpacker tends to prioritize long-term travel, doing whatever they can to stretch their dollars and keep moving for as long as possible. They cut costs by choosing the cheapest accommodation option such as a backpacker hostel. They select a mode of transport that may take twice as long but is half the price. And they will favor low cost street food and bakeries over restaurants. The upside to this is it really immerses the traveler in the true culture of the place, as they spend more time ‘living like the locals’ which generates a far more genuine travel experience. This is a backpackers priority.

A flashpacker values this authenticity just as much as a budget backpacker, however they don’t want, or need, to make quite as many cost saving decisions as this backpacker would. Flashpackers aren’t interested in a luxury vacation where they spend 3 weeks at the same resort, but they also don’t want to stay in cheap hostels. Flashpackers are the middle ground between the two. They still travel lightly, but place an emphasis on long lasting and high quality travel gear and choose to stay in hotels or guesthouses. They will happily spend more money to get to their destination quicker, and will treat themselves to different restaurants as well as sampling the local cuisine.

A flashpacker doesn’t compromise on either comfort or experience. They combine the best of both worlds to create the ultimate adventure.

Am I A Flashpacker?

What is a Flashpacker? Backpacker vs Flashpacker | Flashpacker Co

Here are the top ten signs you’re a flashpacker!

  1. You prefer to stay in guesthouses and hotels over backpacker hostels. You dread the odd night you have to share a room!
  2. You regularly eat street food but just as often eat at restaurants.
  3. Your priority is getting the most out of your trip, not just staying on the road as long as possible.
  4. You travel light and travel far.
  5. You take planes and trains, and rarely take buses.
  6. You splurge on paid activities or tours more common in luxury travel.
  7. You know the value of quality travel gear and clothing that will keep you comfortable and survive a long trip.
  8. You crave an authentic travel experience and plan your trip with loads of ‘local’ experiences.
  9. You believe that getting the most out of your trip, includes getting the most out of every moment.
  10. You want to experience more by sacrificing less.

If the Flashpacker lifestyle fits you, be sure to check out some our other resources including articles on saving money to Travel More, Work and Travel and Flashpacking Destinations. You can also keep up with all of our flashpacking adventures in the Flashpacker Chronicles