Gone is the backpack, forgotten are the days of the hostel dorm room. You're now a flashpacker; a traveler with no less a love for the exotic wonders of the globe, but a tad more cash in the wallet and a taste for the finer things. Sound like you?
It's All About The Suitcase These Days
There was a time when you thought you'd never disregard your trusty backpack; when those travel-stained fabrics and dog-eared pockets and ripped country flag patches made you smile whenever you looked over at that unsorted heap of packing on the floor. But all good things come to an end, and these days you often tend to leave the old rucksack back at home gathering dust. Instead, you opt for a wheeled suitcase that glides over the marble floors of your first-class airport lounge, and slides nice and easy like into those hotel lobbies…
You've Traded In The Hostels For Hotels
Okay, so you don't have to be frequenting the Ritz or kicking back in the Sheraton with flutes of bubbly to prove you're no longer a backpacker. Graduating to Flashpacker level could mean just trading in the rickety bunk beds and sock-scented dorms of yesteryear for a private room or a hostel that can't help but self-describe as 'boutique'. There are some moments when you pine for the rougher days of cracking beers with fellow travelers and slumping down on your mattress in the early hours, but most of the time you're after clean-look digs with plush sofas and room service, on-site pools and rooftop terraces.
You're Well Into Travel Tech
You're beeping and buzzing and typing your way through airport departure halls and train journeys these days. Once upon a time you were as disconnected as the unplugged mobile phone you never charged while hopping from hostel to hostel. Now, it's all about dealing with emails and sending off blog posts and sharing your DSLR-shot photos on the go. Of course, back in the day you'd probably never have been able to afford all this fancy travel tech: that GPS tracker for your luggage; that solar-powered charger; that roaming WiFi device that keeps the Instagrams coming in!
You Loved The YachtLife
There's something undeniably flashpacker-y about hitting the LBW YachtLife, and we're not ashamed. Hey, how often do you get the chance to ride over the sparkling waves of the Adriatic Sea, visiting ancient Croatian towns and crumbling Crusader castles, drinking fine Balkan wines and dancing to private DJ shows up on deck? Not that often, eh? We thought not. Flashpackers for life. Or perhaps just 14 days a couple of times each summer!
You Pack Too Many Cosmetics
Perhaps it's a fancy aftershave or a 'scientifically proven' moisturizer? Maybe it's the latest sun cream to hit the market with its UV-destroying powers? Or is it tubs of fancy Moroccan Oil and vitamin-infused aloe vera gels? Either way, your cosmetics pouch bursts with some of the fanciest and most bespoke cosmetics on the market these days. Mhmm, long gone are the times when you'd get by on a dirty toothbrush rammed into the top of the backpack as an afterthought!
You Take Taxis, Not Tuk-Tuks
Every traveler who's explored the steamy cities of India or the rambunctious downtown of Bangkok, the soy-scented streets of Vietnam or the frantic towns of Indo, will almost certainly remember their first encounter with the good old tuk-tuk. These days, you're bolstered bank account allows you to ride around said metropolises in a tad more style. We're talking air-conditioned taxis and shuttle buses, Ubers and even private hire cars!
You Drink Differently
There are a couple of tipples that mark any backpacker out from the crowd – think the likes of Thailand's Chang, Southeast Asia's infamous bucket cocktails (a must-try in those Full Moon Parties) and the frothy BeerLaos of beyond the borders. Once you graduate to flashpacker, things on the imbibing front often become a tad more refined. You'll glug cold white wines and the more expensive brews (we're looking at you Singha folk!), be well in with the craft crowd and even crack the odd gin and tonic or two when the time's right.
Your Itineraries Change
Before you came headlong into the land of the flashpacker, you spent most travel days simply wandering around those new destinations with wide eyes or sizzling off the hangover on the beachfronts right next to the hostel. These days, with a newfound respect for sleeping and a penchant for hotel rooms over dorms, you've discovered there's a whole load more hours to play with before the sun goes down. Now, it's all about cooking lessons and cultural visits to temples, wildlife safaris and walking tours through UNESCO-attested Old Towns.
You're Shunning The Low-Cost Airlines
There was a time that you wouldn't even think about paying full price for an air ticket, especially if it was a short hop across to South America, between two cities in Europe, or something else when you could be in and out of the plane in just a matter of hours. These days, things have changed a little and you're not totally averse to forking out some more to have extended leg room and speedier boarding. (Unfortunately, there's still that ubiquitous crying child in the row behind, which keeps you longing for the days you always went budget.)
You Long To Go To Unusual Places
If you've managed to graduate from backpacker to flashpacker then the chances are you've done your fair share of traveling. You've probably checked off the usual must-see spots on the Hippy Trail – from Bangkok to Gili T – and seen all the pre-Columbian wonders of Machu Picchu. These days it's all about seeking out the lesser known places, from hidden islands in the Panamanian Pacific to misty cloud forests in Costa Rican reserves.
Are you a self-proclaimed flashpacker? Can you think of any more signs that show you've left behind the old backpacker you? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below. Or, if you think it's time you hit the road and traveled with LBW, be sure to check out all our awesome trips!
"Rich is a traveler, writer and filmmaker who's always after somewhere new to go. He's been hopping around the globe since 2011, from Poland to Paris, Mumbai to Ho Chi Minh. He runs several travel sites of his own, from Ski Eastern to Live Krakow to Crabs Move Sideways. When he's not planning his next trip, he's usually listening to 50s jazz, surfing in Wales, skiing in the Alps, or just swigging (too much) great craft beer."
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