Lately Flashpacking is associated more and more often with Fast Travel, on the run, hopping from one destination to another. This is due to a couple of misconceptions, that we’d like to clarify here before explaining why real Flashpacking is Slow Travel.
Misconception 1. Flashpackers tend to prefer a 2 hours flight to a 19 hours bus ride.
This makes them automatically fast travellers. They don’t want to spend time getting there and probably have somewhere else to go after this destination.
Misconception 2. Some Flashpackers have a job (or had a job).
As a consequence they have to see as much as possible in a month, or whatever long is their holiday from work.
These two misconceptions helped creating the idea of Flashpacking as Fast Travelling with a good amount of money and a load of tech gadgets. Fly in, stay in a nice hotel, take pictures, fly somewhere else tomorrow. All boxes ticked at the end of the trip.
Let’s clear the two misconceptions before moving to Flashpacking as Slow Travel.
Flashpackers tend to prefer a 2 hours flight to a 19 hours bus ride.
That’s because what distinguishes Flashpacker from Backpackers is the style. It doesn’t mean that when in a destination Flashpackers don’t take their time to explore the place and get to know the culture. And no, just because they flew in doesn’t mean they will fly somewhere else in a couple of days.
Some Flashpackers have a job (or had a job).
Most Flashpackers don’t have a job, or best case they’re on a career break. In this sense Flashpacking is closer to Backpacking. The trip lasts for a long time. Going somewhere on your holidays from work IS NOT Flashpacking.
Now that we got these two misconceptions out of the way we can explore more the concept of Slow Travel. Although “pure” Slow Travel is taking your time even to get to the destination, and that often excludes flying there, it doesn’t mean that once there you can’t take your time to unwind and savour the place and the culture like a good old wine.
As you can read in this “Slow travel is not so much a particular mode of transportation as it is a mindset. Rather than attempting to squeeze as many sights or cities as possible into each trip, the slow traveler takes the time to explore each destination thoroughly and to experience the local culture.”
It also suggests to “shop for groceries and supplies in the local shops, stop at the same cafe every morning, see the people in your village or neighborhood each day”.
One of the main similarities with Flashpacking is the fact that you don’t rely on a Travel Agency or a concierge to organise things for you. You are on your own; you do your own research and create your own travel plans. And often you prefer off the beaten track destinations, not highly recommended on guidebooks and jam packed with tourists.
That’s why we like to think that Flashpacking is indeed Slow Travel. Flashpacking Is not a vacation from your office where you try to squeeze as many locations as possible to “relax”, only to find out when you get back home that you need a holiday to recover from your holiday. And Flashpackers do love to follow suggestion and “making time to read a big novel or amble through the streets of a new town, to lounge by the pool, to sleep a delicious siesta.”
If then we can do that without flying to a certain destination even better. Better for the environment and better for our soul.