The Backpacker is Dead! Long Live the Flashpacker!

I knew it. Tromping around in stinky old tie-dye and seeing the world ‘on a shoestring’ is so last season. The crusty backpacker of lore is being overtaken by a new breed of traveler, whose luggage contains iPods, swish digital cameras and laptops – meet the Flashpacker.

According to, Flashpackers are generally in their late 20s or early 30s and, rather than being college drop-outs or ageing hippies, are more often on professional sabbaticals, looking to squeeze in as much globe-trotting as they can.

As such, they are less concerned with penny-pinching than traditional backpackers, but still prefer to stay in reasonably priced funky establishments rather than homogenized 5-star luxury. They’ll look for hostels and guesthouses which offer good deals and great character, but also top notch security and excellent communications access – to the extent that a number of South East Asian hostels (where once-upon-a-time you’d have been lucky to get a hot shower) are now installing cocktail bars and wifi.

More than ever, young adults today are waiting later in life to settle down and start families, and the recent advent of the ‘quarter life crisis’ has led many in their 20s and 30s to take career breaks or pack in their jobs altogether (sounds strangely familiar!). For the budget accommodation providers out there, the Flashpackers’ increased spending power and predilection for personal hygiene make them a desirable target market – it’s time to up your game to catch this fish, as a saggy bunk in a 30-bed-dorm just won’t cut it any more!

Meanwhile, for the Flashpackers (who know who you are), the impending upgrades to hostels and budget guesthouses will make them much more comfortable options than the mildew-stained dives we remember from our youth – and with the money you’ll save over more up-market digs, you can afford to have that second Bellini.

Are you a Flashpacker too? Take the Quiz to find out!

Posted by Clare on August 24, 2006 in Travel

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