The pungent smell of old socks, stale air and halitosis in the air could only mean one thing: I had arrived in yet another way too big hostel dorm.
The only hope of a fresh breeze came from the dirty street above and a cellar room with four three-level bunk beds, one tiny sink and four occupied wall sockets was not the best place to start your London adventure from.
But that was so much better than to arrive the next day at a hostel that had shut down due to majorly subpar facilities and with the annoying flaw of failing to notify its booked and coming guests. That included me.
One thing was for sure. I was so over backpacking.
The Lows of My Backpacker Life
It’s not like I was ever the type for it anyway. Being anxious around strangers, being a germaphobe and an all-round type A person aren’t advisable backpacking criteria. If the sorting hat would ever give travel advise on the side, the last thing on his leathery mind would be to shout out ‘backpacker’.
And in an ironic twist of fate I ended up backpacking for a year and collecting my imaginary backpacker stamps along the way: cooking alongside crawly bugs, wearing clothes that had been left behind, sleeping in beds underneath the air conditioner, using clogged up showers, … the list goes on.
Needless to say, a lot of it was very unpleasant. My number one priority was to keep my money together and keep on travelling. That approach certainly worked and my eight months in Australia were proof of that.
But does it have to be this way? I scream NO!
Moving on to a ‘Higher’ Form of Travel
Who was I kidding? I love the pretty and fine in life things.
In fact, after travelling a month through New Zealand in the shabbiest and oldest clothes I owned (that is, up to 10 years old!), when I set out to explore Melbourne I was instantly rendered helpless by the first shopping centre I saw. I call that failed city sightseeing.
I splurged on new clothes, an XXL froyo and ate my weight in pastries. (Ok, the last one is an exaggeration.) And I do not regret a thing.
You see, everyone is different and while my number one priority is to spend as little as possible and stick to a set budget, my inner diva wants to be spoiled rotten. So I realign my priorities and work with what I have.
If it means rather investing in a Railpass to travel Japan in the fabulous Shinkansen and eat all the colourful ice cream I can find (never try the miso flavour!) than to spend my time crammed in pink buses (to be fair, they had sleeping hoods and Nintendo consoles), then I will.
But What is Flashpacking Anyway?
My trusted friend Oxford sadly has no definition at hand (but then again, he doesn’t get around much in the world), which means I have to swoop in and save us from embarrassment. A flashpacker is an independent traveller who preferably goes on their trips with a backpack instead of a big suitcase.
They bridge the gap between frugal backpacking and luxury travel by making the most out of their budget in a short time. They are not millionaires but are better off than your typical backpacker, are a lot of the times a little older but most importantly value comfort over saving.
Their idea of a travelling well is to invest more in the experience and enjoy life with good meals, a comfortable stay (private rooms instead of dorms) and occasionally invest into pricier activities.
On top of that, they tend to come well equipped with their gadgets, such as DSLRs, go pros, tablets and the latest smartphones. Connectivity and advance research are key factors for them.
Should You Give Flashpacking a Go?
But after hearing my story, maybe you ask yourself, what kind of traveller YOU are. And rightly so. It’s absolutely vital to know what you personally like in and expect from a trip so as to avoid disappointment.
There is no sadder thing than to do what everybody else has recommended and secretly wishing you had just enjoyed that massage by the pool or vice versa not going on that hiking trip because your travel buddy has a tendency to fill their luggage with vintage heels.
If you want to travel smart and not spend extravagant amounts of money on your next trip, if you rather take the reins of trip planning in your own hands but are alright with spending just a little more that get that once-in a lifetime experience out of it, then read on. Flashpacking might be the perfect thing for you!
How Do You Get into Flashpacking?
I sat myself down and had a deep thought. How could I best share all the lessons I learned along the way and prevent you from making the budget mistakes that I did, because let’s face it sometimes deals do seem too good to be true.
How do you know where to find those deals and whether they are worth it or will leave a bad taste in your mouth?
No more backpacking, and no more overspending.
And so I created this little space on the web that focuses on giving you an exact step by step guide to becoming a Budget Buff and realising your travel dreams without going broke. Right now, it is at an all time low introductory price, which is not even as much as the regular baggage fee (which you will get rid of midcourse already).
That’s why I included heaps of tips and walkthroughs of things you might find straightforward, such as flight booking. I don’t assume anything. So whether you are a flight booking veteran or occasional searcher, there are certain steps and features you might be overlooking, I’ve got you covered.