There are so many labels for people who travel; traveller, backpacker, flashpacker, tourist, holidaymaker,….. Thinking about it recently, going through these options, I have come to the conclusion that the Flying Fluskeys have developed into flashpackers. So how did I come to my realisation, here are the reasons why:
1. Flashpackers hostel, but don’t dorm.
We love hostels. I have a whole article coming up about the joy of hostelling. That in itself does say something about the way we travel. However, we hate dorms! I am such a terrible sleeper. If I am trapped in the same room as a snorer (even a heavy breather) I won’t get the best night’s sleep. Add to that people coming in and out, lights going on and off, toilets flushing and occasional night terrors and I don’t stand a chance. It is a double or twin room for us now.
2. Flashpackers can’t live without their everyday beauty routines.
In 2008, we went to Rio for Carnivale. The whole holiday was fantastic, and we had great fun in the sun. BUT I didn’t take my hair dryer or straighteners. It was a little experiment; could I embrace beach hair and save weight in my bag? Well, it was a disaster. I hated the way my hair dried naturally and every day it impacted on my mood negatively, even if it was for only a minute or two.
Ever since then, I have taken my tiny but surprisingly brilliant travel hair dryer, and my straighteners with me on every trip. (I use the Babyliss Nano Pro and Babyliss medium size straighteners that came in this set). I forgot my straighteners on my trip to Peru, and again, it made me super grumpy having frizzy hair.
Mr Fluskey will not travel without his fancy aftershave, even if it does attract mosquitoes and take up half of his liquids bag. He probably carries more product than me. He also takes his electric toothbrush away with him, despite its size and weight.
Oh, and this is going to sound very vain, but I love getting my nails done for a holiday. It’s rare that we get to go away for more than three weeks at a time, so I get a layer of shellac done and it lasts for the entire trip. It also has the added bonus of keeping my nails strong and unbroken whilst I’m away…but I suppose that’s also pretty vain!
3. Flashpackers can’t just live in flip flops.
Flip flops are easy to pack, and very light but they won’t get you very far if you want to go anywhere with a dress code. There are plenty of bars in the world without an official code but they won’t be too thrilled if you turn up flipping and flopping. Then there are the places who won’t take trainers or jeans (even in cities in the UK which you wouldn’t expect). Plus it’s fun to get dressed up and go out somewhere nice for a cocktail or to the theatre every once in a while. We both make sure we take a pair of smart shoes with us on every trip. Black faux leather shoes, mine with a bit more heel than Karl’s(!), are the usual choice.
4. Flashpackers will pay the extra for a more comfortable transport solution.
When we travelled through South-East Asia, we were budget crazy the entire way round. We shunned a flight between Laos and Vietnam in favour of the much cheaper bus and started to regret it just one hour into the twenty-six hour journey. We took the cheapest train tickets and local buses as much as possible to save every last penny.
Now that’s not to say that we have totally stopped doing that, we absolutely haven’t, but for long journeys, we will now stump up the extra currency for a more comfortable seat. We took first class on Sri Lanka’s trains, shared a cab in Jamaica rather than doing the journey in three separate public route taxis and paid a flight back down from Cusco to Lima that cost four times the coach price. Mix that with a selection of local buses and trains and I reckon that’s pretty flashpackery (new word!?).
5. Flashpackers splash out on treats.
So we flew to Marrakesh with Ryanair, but we had a hammam experience in a fancy spa which included an hour long massage. We backpacked our way through Peru on our honeymoon, but spent an amazing night in the Skylodge that cost a small fortune.
Our trips are about balance now. We scrimp and save on our trips. We munch cheap street food or read right to left on menus. (That used to be my Mum’s way of saying “look at the prices on the menu first”, clever eh!?) Every so often though, we will spend some cash on a real luxury treat. It could be eating in a fancy restaurant; bottomless brunch in NYC can be quite a pricey indulgence to start your Sunday. We spent one night in a five star hotel in the middle of a cheap trip to Jordan. We wanted to experience the Dead Sea in luscious surroundings. And of course we will pay for one off experiences. I like to think that cutting back elsewhere on the trip means we have earned it.
6. Flashpackers still have a budget but aren’t constantly checking it.
I still try and save money where I can when we are away. Street food is delicious and cheap. I am the happiest of girls when I can get myself to a hawker centre in Malaysia or grab a breakfast burrito from a truck in the US. I will try and find public transport options rather than hiring a private driver and I love that overnight trains save me the cost of a hotel! However, I am not counting my pennies, noting down every 10 baht spent, like I was when we were backpacking.
On our recent trip to Sri Lanka, I was getting rather irritated with Mr Fluskey who insisted on buying costly milkshakes everyday and ordering the more expensive items on the menu each time we sat down to eat. He had missed the note that it was meant to be occasional treats. He was shocked when he found out that we had blown the budget. Maybe we should check it more often!!
7. Flashpackers don’t always carry a backpack.
This is where we may fall short of flashpacker status, we are still backpackers. We take our trusty travel packs on 95% of our getaways. They are so much easier to heft on and off trains, take upstairs and manoeuvre in places without proper pavements (or cobbles). I love my backpack (and the new version, which you can read all about here).
So are you a flashpacker, a backpacker or a suitcaser (is that a thing)? Let us know below…