I’d imagine that most people reading this blog have traveled and/or backpacked on a tight budget at some point in their life, maybe on a semester abroad, extended vacation, great escape, etc. The reason most of us can travel is because we do so intelligently, with research and finances in mind. In my view, spending hours to save a few bucks off of an airfare by scouring search engines, researching hostels and hotels, etc. adds a fun aspect to the planning process of any trip, and seeing how far the dollar (pound, euro, yen, wampum, w/e you use) can truly be stretched.
While heading to Europe for 6 weeks with $1000 might be your only option, I envy your audacity, but at 24 years old and 3 gray hairs, I’d rather travel with a little bit more moolah at my disposal to enjoy things as closest to the fullest as I can, including good local cuisine, slightly better accommodations, wining and dining any eastern European models I might come across, etc.
I’m not the only one with this “mindset” as there is an emerging term being thrown around recently to describe those still in the “backpacking” class of traveler, but with a slightly higher budget, desire to stay in touch with the outside world, etc. Members of this sub-group are known as Flashpackers – digital-savvy nomads who travel frequently, but are looking for a bit more than the $7/night hostel can offer.
When I went on my first true international adventure in 2007 to Israel, I didn’t see any scraggily aussies thumbing Ipads, no silent Japanese hostel dwellers chuckling at anime on their netbooks, or anyone with digital cameras with a resolution over a few megapixels.
Things have changed, and now for under $1,000, you could be sporting a great pocket-friendly camera, a powerful netbook and an iPhone or Android- equipped smart phone that can do everything shy of make a cup of coffee.
While people like to travel to escape the “real world”, well, most people, there is still a large proportion of people who want to stay connected, keep up with their emails, share their experiences via a blog, and this means they need Wi-Fi, quality coffee shops, and secure accommodations to keep their digital devices out of a second hand electronics store’s window.
While some may argue using a computer while traveling ruins the experience, and that the point of traveling is to disconnect, I on the other hand beg to differ. There are a lot of people, like myself, who are more or less location independent for work. Be it that with the new direction of the world economy seeming to lean more towards freelance, digitized work or that physical presence is just not so necessary anymore, people can be where they want to be and still be productive.
Besides running this blog, I run a content copy writing service in Miami and work as a freelance internet marketing consultant. This allows me to “step out” from my home base stateside and work from virtually any computer I want to for a couple weeks at a time, therefore sipping lattes at Starbucks in Bulgaria or sprawling out on a hostel couch in Guatemala with Wi-Fi is a preferred working Are you a flashpacker and can share anymore “defining” attributes of what you think one is?