2013, I am willing to say, the budget backpacker out of six months, had now been replaced by Flashpackers out for 30 days.
Flashpackers Culture Replaced the Backpackers
I want to keep this simple, as best I can explain, about 5-8 years ago it became trendy for people under 40 to use backpacks for travel luggage. From 1965 until maybe 2005 it was Europeans would travel for 6 months to two years internationally. American would do maybe 1-2 months in Europe, and then think about other places continents.
There are travel writers like Rick Steves who beat Europe to death, who never quite moved on…
Roughly, in 2005 it became trendy for all people under 40 to buy a backpack to use a luggage, this confused the backpacker culture it started changing.
The average time out for a backpacker dropped from about eight months to 30 days from 2005 until now 2013.
People that travel with a backpack for less than 30 days are called Flashpackers, I do not really care to understand why, but to me, they are flashy, quick, and tourist disguised as backpackers. They are trendy, yuppie; there it is more of a fashion statement, and not the budget traveler bunch, tourist with backpacks as luggage.
Backpackers are fading away, because it is not easy to notice a person out for a year, when surrounded by other people with backpacks out for 30 days.
And, the “Flashy” backpacker has no pride in budgets, going cheap and is insulting, and denigrates the true budget traveler. 15 years ago, wise use of 12-15,000 dollars could make a one year trip into three years; this type of thinking has been lost.
Generally, this new Flashpacker has become the standard Backpacker, while Backpackers 15 years ago had great pride, took 12,000-15,000 dollars an went on 1-2 year trips, walked, sacrificed and would talk at length on how they saved money.
This thrifty Backpacker is not confronted by a Flashpacker that spends 4-5,000 dollars in 30 day, and is proud when the live in a Five Star, recommended on TripAdvisor, resort. These people are painful to be near, they are on vacation, and money is not important, they are going home in 30 days.
Trust me; the biggest insult on the planet it to call someone cheap, the backpackers are in hiding, pretending to be part of the gang.
2013, the end of the Lonely Planet Backpacker, the end of Frommer Europe on 5 and 10 dollars per day, BBC purchased Lonely Planet, Frommer went Europe 20 year ago, the travel industry is losing a way for the average person to see the world on a budget.
Let me introduce you to the people on the splurge, living same economic backpacker model as the United States Economy. Borrow it, pay it back later, and never sacrifice the good life.
February Benin, West Africa 2013
Oh yes, the Africa Overlanders make the Flashpackers look cheap!