Gadgets don’t (necessarily) make you a Flashpacker

You read often definitions of Flashpackers as backpackers who travel on a bigger budget or with some tech accessories. Somehow a general idea is emerging, that some accessories are the one that makes the Flashpacker. Well I’d like to state something different; bringing some accessories (especially on their own) with you while travelling don’t necessarily means you’re a Flashpacker.

Let’s have a look at the most common ones.

Digital camera
Ahem, who doesn’t bring one on a trip nowadays? My parents are in their late sixties, they do have a digital camera, but trust me, they’re not Flashpackers. It would be even more “Flashpacker” to have a non-digital camera nowadays; that could mean you’re into good old professional pictures.

Mobile phone
As above. I don’t think 86% of travellers (according to a Hostelworld study in 2006 that’s the number then of people travelling with a mobile phone) are Flashpackers.

laptop photo

On a very long train journey I took lately I noticed how a good 3 quarters of people on the train were watching something on their laptop. But they were not Flashpackers of course, they were commuters, business people, etc. Who normally bring a laptop with them, especially if you have 6 hours of train ahead of you.

Until a while ago carrying a netbook on your trips it was a good sign of being a Flashpacker. Not many would know how cheap, portable and powerful these toys can be. But again, the word spread fast and the cheap price helped, so now they’re extremely popular.

Having some mp3 player doesn’t mean necessarily you’re a travelling geek crazy about technology, or a Flashpacker either. Mp3 players are getting more and more affordable and popular, like a Walkman in the old days.

Another classic Flashpacker accessory, but having one one your trip doesn’t necessarily means you’re a Flashpacker. Iphones are very popular with anyone who wants or needs to be online almost anytime.

External hard-drive
Having one of these should actually means you’re not a Flashpacker. Flashpackers live online and love to travel light; as a consequence they back up everything on the Internet cloud. Pics go on Flickr, docs on Google docs, the rest on virtual hard drives. That also explains why netbooks with hard drive as small as 4GB were so popular with Flashpackers.

Don’t get me wrong, I use many of the above accessories, love a good few of them and think they’re quite indispensable. I just don’t believe gadgets makes you a Flashpacker. Flashpacking is all about the style; being able to travel with some kind of luxury without spending a fortune, and knowing how to do it (and internet comes handy here, that’s why being online can make the difference) in order to afford to do it for long periods of time.

What are your thoughts? Any obvious gadgets that doesn’t make you a Flashpacker missing from the list? Or you have a different opinion? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.. Happy Flashpacking!

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