We all live in a tech-savvy age and there’s a growing number of techno-travellers out there. With a laptop or tablet in their knapsack, these flashy travellers will not leave their hotels without their iPods and digital cameras. These 21st century hybrid travellers are known as flashpackers which defines a new way of backpack travelling.
With the flexibility of an independent traveller, flashpackers are basically the usual backpackers with more frills and fancy gadgets in their travels. They will opt to check into a more upmarket or boutique hotel (with WiFi access) instead of a budget hostel. Equipped with their digital accessories, flashpackers blog and upload photos of their holiday experiences as they travel- Why wait till you get home to post all the materials, eh?
Do you aspire to be a flashpacker yourself? Here are some quick tips if you’re thinking of converting into a flashpacker:
Mobility is Key
Just like a backpacker, you need to be mobile and travel as light as you can. Opt for a hand carry instead of a checked-in luggage, and fit all your clothes into a carry-on with vacuum packing bags. These vacuum-seal storage bags suck out the air and allow you to compress all your clothes to save space in your bag.
Travel light by opting for wash leaves instead of small container shampoos/ soap. Liquids add weight to your bag so choose paper shampoo and wash leaves to minimise the weight and space taken up by your toiletries. All you need to do is add water to the sheets.
Better Safe than Sorry
Every traveller deals with the major concern of being robbed or having their belongings misplaced, and with flashpackers the concern is much higher where their gadgets are a target for pocket crimes. Be sure not to leave your gadgets unattended in the hotel room, even if you’re going out to grab a bite just for a little while.
When carrying a knapsack, wear the bag the other way around where you strap it in front of your body- this is so that thieves can’t rob you from behind. Consider using a money clip instead of real wallets as it is much slimmer and it fits in the front pocket which is harder for pickpockets to reach into.
Ever been in this situation where you want to charge your phone/ camera in the hotel room, only to find that the electric sockets do not fit your charger? Come prepared with a universal travel adapter charger which allows you to adjust the appropriate plug with a push of a button. Every plug you need is built-in and you’ll be able to use it for different outlets around the world.
When you’re on the go, you might want to bring your chargers along with your gadgets so that you’re 100% charged throughout your trip. However some flashpackers will take extra precaution by investing in a second battery pack just in case they’re not anywhere near a charging station. There are also other alternatives like a portable battery powered charger. Slim and portable, this charger is a great travelling partner as it provides a quick charge time and is very useful when it comes to emergency situations.
The Little Things Count
Keep a pair of headphones with you when you travel around. Other than just plugging them into your iPod, you can use them with your laptop when you’re out at a café so you courteously don’t interrupt the other customers around you.
It’s also good to think about backing up your photos and data by bringing along a portable external hard drive or a fingertip sized flash USB drive (which you can easily carry on your keychain). You can store your photos into the drives to allocate space in your camera’s memory card for more pictures and just in case your gadgets go missing (at least you won’t lose your memories if you back up your files).
Technology is an essential factor of flashpacking so no trip is complete without great sidekicks like a compact laptop or a tablet (the lighter, the better). Most flashpackers travel with a digital camera on the road, as they rather bring home photo memoirs instead of souvenirs and trinkets. When travelling to a foreign destination, the flashpacker might face some language barrier with the locals so they tote with them an e-Reader or Global Translator to expedite conversations (unlike traditional ways where one has to refer to language books word by word). iPhone and iPad users will be happy to know that there are free translator apps you may download such as the iTranslate and World Nomads that are really user-friendly.
These nomadic travelers will take notice of hotels that provide free WiFi/ internet access where they can easily plop their laptops in the lobby or their room. Some flashpackers will carry their LAN cables as well. Clever accommodation and café owners have picked up on this trend and are quick to offer a more connected service to accommodate flashpackers/ laptop users.
Are you a traveler who carries around a backpack stuffed with indispensable gadgets and toys?
If you’re a proud flashpacker, tell us about your travel experiences. What are some of the must-have gadgets when travelling and how long have you been a flashpacker? Do share your flashpacking tales with us.