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Flashpacker or Backpacker? What type of traveler are you?

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A term used often is “Flashpacker”. What is a flashpacker and are flashpackers really that different to backpackers? What are the differences and how can you define the term? Find out if you’re classed as a flashpacker or a backpacker or are you some other kind of budget traveler?


Having searched online dictionaries to find out what the official definition of a flashpacker is I discovered the following…

Flashpacking is a term used to refer to an 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.

TL;DR – A Flashpacker is…

“a geeky backpacker – youngsters which always carry around a backpack stuffed with ‘indispensable’ gadgetry: laptop, pda, gps etc”

“also referring to a backpacker with better budget – independent travelers with money to spend.”

– Urban Dictionary – source

Flashpackers have More Money

I know that when I first set off on my worldwide adventure I thought I was going to be a backpacker. I soon discovered that most backpackers didn’t see me as exactly the same sort of traveler as them. The term flashpacker wasn’t really being used that much at the time and I was called a champagne backpacker, which is basically the same thing.

I can’t say I travelled with loads of gadgets, I was glad to be rid of them to be honest, so I wasn’t that type of flashpacker, but I did have a slightly bigger budget than most.

I’d set off on my travels at the ripe old age of 29 and not at 18 or 21 like most of the backpackers I met. This meant that I did have that little bit more disposable income. To be fair this mainly meant that I was lazier than most of the backpackers at the hostels I was staying at, because I very rarely used the hostels’ kitchen instead choosing to eat out most nights to save myself from the hassle of cooking.

Having that little bit more disposable income did mean that I was able to do all the activities I wanted to and not have to choose one out of three like many of the backpackers I came across. I still stayed in backpackers hostels and slept in shared dorms to try and keep to some sort of budget and staying in hostels did mean that it was easy for me to meet people to socialise with and to travel with.

I’m glad to have waited until I’d earned a bit of money before I went traveling because then when I had the opportunity to do once in a lifetime activities, I could do them and didn’t feel like I was missing out. More and more people seem to be waiting until they’re a little bit older before they experience the world, so flashpackers, or champagne backpackers, are now not so unusual.


This is what wikipedia says about backpackers.

Backpacking is a form of low-cost, independent travel. It includes the use of a backpack that is easily carried for long distances or long periods of time; the use of public transport; inexpensive lodging such as youth hostels; often a longer duration of the trip when compared with conventional vacations; and often an interest in meeting locals as well as seeing sights.”

It now seems like traditional “backpackers” are in the minority and I say that because the term flashpacker seems to have evolved recently. The majority of backpackers these days can’t seem to travel without their laptop, i-phone, tablet and various other bits of high-tech equipment. When I first went traveling very few people even traveled with a hairdryer so seeing all this electrical equipment being carried around still feels a bit odd to me. Also, there no longer seems to be much concern around the Suitcase Vs Backpack debate, with many “backpackers” opting for the convenience of a suitcase.

What’s The Difference?

So the main difference between a backpacker and a flashpacker these days seems to be the amount of money they’re able to spend on activities. Both carry loads of gadgets with them whilst still maintaining a fairly strict budget on accommodation and food.

What type of traveler are you? Flashpacker, backpacker or something entirely different? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

7 thoughts on “Flashpacker or Backpacker? What type of traveler are you?

  1. HI its Camrina , As a flashpacker I love to visit the renaissance buildings in Ottawa and hit up various clubs. while working to improve the sales of solar energy . I am sure that I cannot handle the frugal backpack life. Flashpacking it is for me

  2. I was a backpacker 17-23. 12 month stints.
    I’ve sold up and am doing it again…indefinitely and I’m 45. I prefer street food and fairly basic digs (but a room to myself) most of the time…but if I want to swank it up in a nice hotel once in a while then I do. If nothing else to get my laundry done and lounge by a nice pool with the knowledge that I don’t have to keep an eagle eye on my possessions all the time!

  3. Definitely a flashpacker. I had trouble finding the right word before when describe my journey through South American Andes because I didn’t want to be associated with actual backpackers despite going about it the same style. I have a poor view of backpackers because I seriously don’t think they impact the local communities and economies in a net positive way. Their presence, human waste produced, and demand for groceries–things that locals need anyways–does little to nothing to actually aid the places they go while they’re always looking to take advantage of free things and constantly haggle/look for ways to get things cheaper to them. I had the gut feeling that I didn’t blend well with them at some of the hostels I’ve stayed at.

    1. I’ve heard those comments about the griddiness of some backpackers.
      Somehow l agree with you but l have to say that local street vendors are also skilled at skimming tourists.
      I’m halfway between flashpacker and backpacker and l also enjoy haggling the price more often than not.

  4. I was a bike traveler and backpacker during high school age, then backpacker as a student, after that family traveler with car, tent and bikes, flashpacker and finaly bikepacker (bike and backpack fly with me)!

  5. So I’m a backpacker but I wish I become flashpacker soon because being a backpacker is killing me already 😂 I love independent travel with backpack and minimum of electronic staff.. I travel on low budget mainly because I come from poor country so everywhere is expensive to me but I also prefer small cozy places than monster all inclusive resorts etc But I’m really tired of hostels filled up with that crazy, young, COOL people with bubbling personality and mandala tattoo they are always the same.. Young, looking for that emotions
    … Girls, boys for one crazy night or drunk frendship to show each other their uniqness (look how many flag stripes I have on my backpack, oh really, have you been in Peru? , me too!) I’m sick of it 🤯

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