Why Travelers Are Upscaling

March 25, 2010

Why Travelers Are Upscaling

Author: Matthew Kepnes

Somewhere before my bus broke down in Australia, I was called a flashpacker. Despite traveling for 18 months, it was the first time I’d heard the term. A flashpacker is defined as a person, unusually in their mid 20s to early 30s, who travels like a backpacker but has more disposal money as well as electronics such as a camera or laptop. Flashpackers also expect better hotels and services.

Neither fully backpacker nor tourist, flashpackers are new to the traveling vocabulary. Flashpackers rest in hostels, carry a backpack, and find cheap transport but blow their money on meals, beer, tours, and parties. They usually aren’t going into a hostel without a reservation or wearing the same shirt for a week. A number of hostels are up scaling to accommodate the growing wants and desires of flashpackers and you’ll find them in all corners of the planet. Flashpackers still have no fixed voyage and all the time to meander around but don’t pinch every penny. They are backpackers with means.

Backpacking is not about a look, it’s a lifestyle. Just because a person doesn’t have a certain look, doesn’t mean they lack the will of a backpacker. It doesn’t make them less of a backpacker. It goes against the backpacker outlook to look down on someone because they travel a different way. Aren’t we supposed to be embracing different ways of life?

It all comes down to what makes a backpacker a backpacker. That’s sprit. The desire to explore new places and experience new people. Backpacking is about opening your mind to new things and looking differently at the world. It’s not about the stuff you carry. As your spirit is the same, what stuff you carry shouldn’t matter.

We’re all flashpackers, whether you like it or not. We may not be driving up to the hostel in a limo but we all expect a little “flash” nowadays. According to a Hostelworld study in 2006, 21 percent of people travel with a laptop, 54 percent with an MP3 player, 83 percent with a mobile phone and a whopping 86 percent travel with a digital camera.

Think about your last excursion- how many travelers did you see with cameras? Ipods? Laptops? I can’t remember seeing one person without a camera, and at least 3/4 of the people I saw had Ipods.

The truth is we all travel with expensive electronics now. We check our email and Skype our friends. We all have a camera and most of us have an Ipod. We are flashpackers and it’s not a bad thing. All this stuff allows us to stay better connected with our friends, our family, and helps us better document our travels. The key is to once in awhile to put down the camera, turn off the computer, and enjoy the culture you came to see.

The backpacker who set off with 1 shirt, a small pack, and two baht to his name is getting hard to find. Most of us have a little more income and expect a little more but we still carry his spirit. We still seek new cultures, exotic locales, and long term travel. We still look for cheap hostels and transport. We camp on that jungle trek. The difference is that now we also want a location to plug in our camera, check our e-mail, and take a hot shower. We just want to be pampered…once in awhile.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/travel-articles/why-travelers-are-upscaling-731744.html

About the AuthorMatthew Kepnes is a lifelong backpacker and recent flashpacker who has spent many years traveling around the world. Visit his website about how to travel the world and learn more about flashpacking.

A comment by SocialiteTravel.com:

Although we agree with Matthew above regarding the point that everyone is somehow related to the Flashpacking lifestyle, we also would like to point out that although everyone these days may carry some sort of electronic gizmo, not everyone travels with a “backpack”, and that my friend will categorize you as a “flashpacker”. Happy Hip Travels =)

Photo: mybackpacking.de

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Encapsulated Luxury – The 9h Capsule Hotel by Fumie Shibata in Kyoto, Japan

November 25, 2009

Japan’s capsule hotels are often a strange concept to foreigners, but the idea is an ingenious way to handle city crowding and space constraints. The first capsule hotel in Japan was built in 1979 in Osaka. The new 9h Capsule Hotel will open in December 2009 in the Japanese city of Kyoto.

Capsule hotels provide guests a private sleeping area and communal amenities. While the concept has previously been utilized as a cheaper hotel option, the 9h capsule hotel adds luxury and refinement. The bed capsule will be made up with 4-star hotel linens and provides a Panasonic system that uses light to naturally and comfortably wake you up. Fumie Shibata of Design Studio S is the mastermind behind the 9h capsule hotel.

‘A comfortable place to rest … 1 hour shower, sleep for 7 hours, have a one hour break / total 9h.’ Guests can spend up to 17 hours in a single stay – the price for one night is ¥4900 ($54,-). (dsgnwrld) Via: Jessica Marcel

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References: dsgnwrld, designerblog.it

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In-Room iPods – The Upper House Ditches Paper Directories

October 23, 2009

Dog-eared hotel guides and room service menus covered with coffee stains and ripped out pages are a thing of the past at The Upper House, Hong Kong’s newest boutique luxury hotel. Guests open the drawer of their spacious, six-foot wooden desks to find nothing but an iPod Touch instead.

The wireless device has been completely customized by The Upper House. A quick finger-tap and you’re neck deep in all the hotel’s secrets; from the hours of the stylish Sky Lounge to the availability of complimentary mountain bikes.

It gets better—The Upper House application is interactive, encouraging guests to finger-flip through a menu and then order room service. A quick phone call from the kitchen confirms your order, just in case.

Finally, the addition of typical iPod apps like weather and stock information make this innovative gadget a must-have for any traveler in a foreign city. In-room iPods are the way of the future: efficient, eco-friendly and stylish.

This post was created on a Samsung Netbook as a part of a sponsored campaign with Samsung.  Via: Jacob Courtade – HotHotelReviews

References: upperhouse, trendhunter

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Jessica Simpson’s New Travel Beauty Show Thing

October 9, 2009

Jessica Simpson of newlywed fame and many subsequent sad tabloid covers is making a comeback of sorts, again in the reality television genre — this time as a traveling reporter on all things beauty. With Jessica as host, she’ll travel around discussing beauty regimes of women in other countries and how the concept of beauty ranges from country to country, woman to woman. The series beings sometime in 2010, but she’s already jetting around and filming spots for the show.

She’s having a little bit of a hard time adjusting to some of the travel sans her usual five-star accommodations. A few weeks back she tweeted “WTF?!? Do I really have to sleep like this?” and posted a photo of her mosquito net-draped bed while filming in Uganda. However, she seemed to get into the swing of things quickly, posting the next day: “LOVED my first day in Uganda meeting incredible women filled with spirit.” A big part of the show will be following JSimp as she tries out foreign beauty treatments. She’s already been to a fattening hut (in Uganda), and a geisha house in Japan. Next up—Morocco. The Price of Beauty, will eventually air on VH1, but you can live vicariously through her tweets, here.  By: Bryce Longton – BlackBook

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Chilean Luxury Hoteliering – W Hotel’s First South American Accomodations in Santiago

October 1, 2009

W Hotels will officially open their first property in South America (the W Hotel Santiago) on November 17, 2009.

The W Hotel Santiago is a modern take on the varied Chilean landscape by New York designer Tony Chi and Chilean designer Sergio Echeverria. Chilean exports such as copper, wine, and fruits and vegetables are incorporated into the design of the W Hotel Santiago to create an authentic sensory experience.

Inside W Hotel Santiago you’ll find Gerber Group hotspots Whiskey Blue and rooftop bar Red2 One as well as restaurants such as the Asian-inspired Osaka and modern French dining at NoSo and Terraza. The W Hotel Santiago also offers an intimate Tea Library, modern wine bar and WET, a heated rooftop pool on the 21st floor.  Via: Marissa Liu – HotHotelReviews

References: starwoodhotels, designscene.net

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Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Introduces El Mayordomo

August 17, 2009

Concierge service is rewarding, but common; let’s face it, Best Western has concierges. Butler service, on the other hand — the round-the-clock ask-and-it’s-done white-glove kind, that’s still something special. The Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Holistic Retreat & Spa in Los Cabos, Baja California has just added butlers to its list of amenities, and they’re free… well, whenever you book an ocean view suite.

Your attendant clocks in the moment you arrive and tends to the minutiae of any resort stay like dinner reservations, spa appointment, and dry cleaning. Yet the role of steward entails more than that: he will unpack your luggage, run your bubble bath, coordinate in-suite dining, plan an entire day trip and make sure your bed is turned down and your shoes are shined when you return. If there are enough of you for a cocktail party, he can arrange that as well. And anything else in between, so we’re told.

Although Pueblo Bonito says “no request is too large or too small,” there is one thing you can’t ask your butler to do: take care of your children — the Los Cabos property has been designed exclusively for adults. With your own butler, though, it will give you chance to be kids. Arthur would be proud…

by Jonathon Ramsey – Luxist

Related Links: Hotels in Los Cabos, Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, Best Hotels – One Click!

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How to Tip Like a Local

August 3, 2009

In the states, I’m pretty good with the whole tipping thing. Restaurants are a slam dunk, taxis are easy, salons and spas — not so bad, and I usually manage to deal with the awkward handing off of a few dollars for baggage handlers, hotel employees, and delivery persons. But once I’m on foreign soil, I’m rendered clueless. Do I tip like an American? Is it rude to hand out cash? Are there situations where I should tip when I’m not doing so? Generally, I err on the side of tips, but since I prefer to travel like a local, and therefore conform to the general tipping customs of any country I’m in, I’m a big fan of Conde Nast’s latest PDF: Etiquette 101: Tipping Guide. Covering more than 35 major countries across every inhabited continent, it describes in detail who, when, and how much you should be tipping.

The guide deals with tipping customs for restaurants, hotels, and drivers and guides, and includes detailed rules about tipping in local currency vs. the dollar vs. something else entirely. Note: in Singapore you’ll get screamed at by cabbies if you try to flash a greenback. The best part of the whole guide is the “P.S.” section tacked on to many of the countries. This is where you’ll get information on how to not get fleeced and when to expect poor customer service. For example: actively dissuade squeegee-wielding Mexican boys with a shake of the head, don’t bribe Filipino cops with anything more than about $4, don’t expect anyone to go out of their way to make you comfortable in the Caribbean, and the Japanese are indeed very polite. The PDFishness of this document allows for a print-and-carry for your next trip, but if I might offer a suggestion to Conde Nast Traveler, why not make this an iPhone app? From a cursory glance, there’s plenty of tip-ulators being offered, but nothing about traveling and tipping. That would make this information a whole lot more useful. For now though, download hereBy Bryce Longton – BlackBook

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