Flashpackers – Backpackers on a bigger budget
This Part 1 of 3 parts – A Lot of Valuable Information for Vietnam Travelers
In the 21st century, iPods & laptops make Asian trekking easier.
By Edward Yatscoff
Flashpacker (def): Flashpacking is a new trend among travellers who share the backpacking ethos. Someone, usually in their mid-20s to early 30s, who travels like a backpacker but has more disposal income; also uses electronics on the road i.e. iPod or laptop; expects better accommodation and more amenities; seeks to explore the world but not give up comforts. Flashpacking is backpacking for the 21st century.
Except for our ages — my wife Gloria and I are in our late 50s — this description probably applies to us. Our long-awaited trip after retiring, intended to flee a good chunk of winter, finally came down to deciding where to go. Picking the brains of recent travellers and doing plenty of online research, we concluded Southeast Asia was our best bet.
People our age consider “winging it” through five countries an example of adventure travel. After a 32-year career with Edmonton Fire Rescue, I didn’t want extreme adventure. Gloria would take it in small doses.
Everyone asked if we would be on a tour. Tours are expensive and too regimented for us. They do have advantages, but being on a leash doesn’t appeal to us. Finding a piece of paradise and having to abandon it in an hour can be very disappointing.
Winging it has plenty of logistic challenges and self-reliance is paramount. Our have-to stops were a few UNESCO World Heritage sites including Angkor Wat, Halong Bay and China’s Great Wall. Our lazy, unstructured itinerary left plenty of time at each and in between.
Most challenging was packing efficiently. With only one medium suitcase each, we fretted over what, or what not, to take. That turned out to be a total time waster.
Clothes are everywhere and cheap in the markets in Cambodia and Vietnam. International companies have large factories there and the irregulars/seconds are dumped locally. They’ll also tailor any type of outfit and ship it home for you. For $110 you can get you a made-to-order silk suit in one day.
Usually when we travel, we book ahead only for the first night or two of accommodation. If we like a place, we’ll stay — if not, we saddle up. Hotel photos can be very creative.
via Backpackers ‘wing it’ on a bigger budget. edmontonjournal.com
by: Mark Lewis
publisher: Rough Guides, published: 2009-10-19
sales rank: 192106
price: $12.21 (new), $11.60 (used)
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