What is flackpacking?
Well, there may be a few different ways to think of what flashpacking means depending on who you ask. But to me, flashpacking is traveling with the backpacker spirit while being okay with paying a little bit extra on your travels now and then.
Backpacking vs flashpacking: Here is a little bit of my evolution from “backpacker” to “flashpacker”
I started off my solo international travel days as a penny pinching backpacker… a “frugal” backpacker.
It started in Europe with my bike. So actually I guess I started off as a frugal “bikepacker”!
What are often the biggest expenses of travel anywhere? Transportation, accommodation, and food.
The bicycle eliminated many transportation costs.
For that month of traveling in Europe, I also spent minimal on accommodation by staying with locals. Actually, that eliminated all accommodation costs. (Yes, all! The good old days of couchsurfing!)
For the first couple of weeks, I also survived mostly on food that I brought from home. That significantly reduced initial food costs.
After that month or so, I left my bike behind and got on a flight to India. I guess this is where I started real “backpacking”… shoestring budget travel with nothing but a backpack!
While in India (and anywhere in the world, really), I would have rather walked a mile than pay $1 for a ride to get around. On return trips to India, I regularly opted to take local buses and general class trains to get around.
I have now traveled to nearly 40 countries, and I’d say the majority of my travel was with this budget traveler mindset.
Nowadays, I’m not as frugal as I used to be, and I will trade in money for convenience and comfort (way) more than I used to.
But even so, I still have this feeling of why pay when there’s a cheaper option!
For example, I have done a lot of camping in the past couple of years. I’ve been camping in Hawaii, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, and Wyoming! And it’s not necessarily because I love camping. (Although I do love the views that come with some campgrounds!)
In fact, I think camping is a ton of work that I’d rather not do.
But, once you get past the initial costs of camping (all the gear you need to buy), then camping becomes much cheaper than staying in hotels.
And because of that, sometimes I just can’t help but feel that I’d rather stay at a campground than a hotel!
But there are times that I have ended up in a hotel.
Like that one time I set up my tent ready to camp in Nebraska for $15 but it was just soooo windy. (I left the campground.)
Or that time I was seriously considering camping in 30F degree weather in Wyoming because the alternative was a $200+ hotel. (I chose warmth by making a same-day hotel booking.)
So recently I will spend more money on travel than I used to, but I think I will always have a sort of backpacker spirit in one way or another.
And it is with this kind of travel mindset that I go off to explore America in search of amazing views!