5 Holiday Tips a la Flashpackers

Six years ago you could go on a 3-day camping trip armed with a tent and a few cans of tuna fish, trekking through an unknown terittory with a backpack and a pair of hiking sandals, or exploring the island of Java by buses and economy trains.

Today, you can't go anywhere without your iPad or your portable hair dryer. Congratulations! You have probably become a flashpacker; a tourist who enjoys spontaneous trips  like a backpackerbut wants modern comforts, i.e. internet connection and hot showers. A flashpacker wouldn't mind paying more to get a private room in a hostel or try the new Jamie Oliver's restaurant. A flashpacker will not go home broke.  

If you want to optimize your vacation time and save your spendings for the things that you like, check out these useful tips:

1. Take the shortcuts

You are probably one of many people who are thinking of doing a road trip along the province or across the country. Although it sounds like fun, a road trip would absorb a lot of your time on the road and suck your energy  even before you arrive at your destination. To avoid this, take a shortcut by traveling by air. That way, you can visit more places in one location.     

Tip: Estimate your route, then buy low-cost airline tickets online. You can do online check-in for all the tickets 24 hours before your first departure and print the tickets to avoid hassle of queuing at the airport.

2. Invest in tech essentials

Unlike carefree backpackers, flashpackers can't rely solely on internet cafés and a feature phone while traveling because they have to stay in touch with their family, business partners or even do some work in between their vacations. In that case, it would be a good idea to bring 1-2 gadgets and some useful equipments, i.e. a travel adaptor and a dual port universal charger.   

Tip: If you don't have a travel adaptor yet, buy it while you are flying! Airlines usually sell a compact travel adaptor cheaper than those you find at the airports or hotels. Also, if you don't have a tablet and decide to leave your laptop at home, bring a portable hard drive to save your favorite movie –it can be a good antidote for homesickness– or those traveling pictures that were transferred from your digital camera. 

3. Collect miles

A backpacker wouldn't mind flying with Ryanair or Jet Airways, but a flashpacker would think that flying without getting miles –especially for medium and long-haul flights– is a waste of money. The more clever way is to collect miles from flight tickets and hotel reservations.

Tip: Choose an airline alliance and start collecting miles from its member airlines. For example, early this month Garuda Indonesia announced their intergration with the SkyTeam global alliance and this means the miles you get from Garuda will be acknowledged by the other members –KLM, Korean Air, etc.— and vice versa. It's certainly more comfortable than flying with budget airlines.

4. Maximize your bag

You need to have an ideal bag that you can carry on a plane. After you have this, you can always carry it whenever you travel. If you know that you will be bringing your night cream, facial soap, or anything liquid, prepare another bag as a checked baggage or place them into several mini bottles. 

Tip: For a trip heading to several destinations, it is better to carry a cabin bag and a medium bag, rather than carry one XL suitcase that would be very difficult to carry or to be placed in a luggage storage. The "safe" size for a cabin bag is 50 x 40 x 20 cm.

5. Don't be ambitious

Ever heard of a friend who had a busy travel plan with day-to-day itinerary? Most likely he or she would go home without a meaningful memory or get sick. As a flashpacker, you can enjoy a vacation by just being in a new place and making interaction with the locals. Find the agenda of exhibitions, art and culture festivals while you are there. It is better to spend money on a rare event than spend it for a popular tourist spot or buying souvenirs.  

Tip: If you end up falling in love with one place, don't hesitate to stay a bit longer and change your travel plan –even if that means you have to forget other cities and throw away your flight tickets. Are you ready for an adventure? 

Read also: Why Buy Travel Insurance?

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