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Backpacking in one's 40s or 50s

Posted by chinarocks on 5/4/2012 at 04:15

So I've done the backpacking thing in my 20s (South America, NZ, Oz ands Asia). Now that I'm back home with a family on the horizon I wonder when I'll get the chance to get away for an extended time again (holidays are great but they are not quite the same).

Do people think it's feasible to hit the road again in your late 40s/early 50s when the kids are reared?

#1 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by altmtl on 5/4/2012 at 04:55

I don't really see the difference between backpacking in your 20's - or in your 50's? I just did 3 months in SEA solo and I'm almost 52. Why should age be an issue?

#2 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by chinarocks on 5/4/2012 at 05:09

Fair point. I guess I was just referring to things like having the energy for crappy bus journeys etc. Great to hear you're still rearing to go in your early 50s!!

Did you try and get properly off the beaten path as I imagine at 52 you would not want to be surrounded by pissed up 19 year olds? Or am I completely wrong?!

#3 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by busylizzy on 5/4/2012 at 05:28

Hell, yes!

(Warning... more info ahead that you probably wanted!)

I did a bit of travelling in my 20's/30's - some limited backpacking in Asia and some 'holidays' in Aust, US, NZ, and Pacific Islands.

Now in my 40's (pushing 50 in a few years although in serious denial about that!), I feel that my more serious backing/travelling days have finally started! I love the position that I am in at the moment where I have plenty of choices available to me.

I've had good jobs over the years (project management) that have allowed me to get established financially. Now I'm in the position to reap the rewards. It has always been important to me to not allow travelling to set me backwards. So I needed to have certain measures in place - either a certain amount of savings that I was prepared to spend, and had to call it a day when the money ran out, or a means of retaining enough income to keep me going.

I own a home so I can now either:
- close it up and travel for short-to-medium term stints if I want,
- sell it if I wanted cash in the bank and no responsibility back home, or
- rent it out and use the rental income to fund my travels. This is the real plan. My philosophy has been to always have something to come back to.

Options that would allow me to sustain this lifestyle for a decent amount of time (aside from the rental income) include:
- 'work for my accommodation' (eg www.workaway.info )
- freelancing work (eg www.elance.com )
- house-sitting for free accom (various sites for short/medium term options).

(I haven't done this any of these yet - it's just stuff I've come across while researching options, etc).

I have so far done a 6-month trip (in between contracting jobs), and then I made the decision to settle for 2 years or so to focus on getting myself better set up for longer term travel. In that time, I have allowed myself a 'short' 6-week trip to Laos last year, and I'm doing a couple of short jaunts to the nearby pacific islands this year to keep my travel toes in the water (so to speak). But I'm working towards a long adventure next year that may last 6 months, but will hopefully last 2-3 years or more.

What I enjoy about being where I am at now is that I have far more options open to me while travelling. I'm happy to stay in cheap but cheerful and clean places (as long as I have a private bathroom!). I don't feel the constant pressure that the younger gap year travellers have of watching every dollar - I can treat myself when I want. I don't blow alot of money on food and drink, so I prefer to spend the difference on slightly better accom. I'll handle 6-7 hour bus-rides, but anything over that, I just might opt for a plane instead. And if I have a bout of homesickness, I should be able to afford to 'pop home' for a little pick-me-up with family and friends. Things that I think stress out the younger ones just don't faze me - I tend to take the hardships in stride and just work my way through the difficult situations. (That's not to say that I don't have little spinouts along the way, though - I still do!)

Is it feasible to hit the road again in your late 40s/early 50's? Absolutely! I reckon it's the best time to do it!

#4 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by altmtl on 5/4/2012 at 05:47

Yes, I try and go of the beaten track as much as possible, but any 19 yr with the same interests is welcome to join :) True, I hate the crappy bus rides, Laos is really bad for that. But I do them anyway... I'm not really into flying everywhere or travelling VIP style.

I have no steady job, don't own a home or a car (I sublet my apt. when I travel) - No kids & I'm single - I can pretty much do what I want. Going back to SEA for another 3 months next Jan.

#5 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 992
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Posted by MADMAC on 5/4/2012 at 09:44

The crappy bus rides will suck if you're 19 or 50. And nothing is going to make them not suck. The solution - try not to do them whenever possible and keep them as short as possible.

The only problem when you are 50 is you are probably tied to a job that doesn't give you much freedom of time. But if you are, then the age is not a factor.

Liz, when are you going to come to Mukdahan? I'd love to show you around (and no, this is not come on). same for you alt - you ought to come by. This is a fun little town.

#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by montymoo on 5/4/2012 at 23:13

An interesting read so far!
I'm in the same situation. A traveller (SEA and Sth America) in the 1980s now ready to go again at 50.
My reply is this.....Bring it on!
Recent trips overseas were in 4 and 5 star joints joined together with air travel. No where near as memorable as the down and dirty travel of thirty years ago.
See you on the road one day. Good luck!

#7 montymoo has been a member since 4/4/2012. Posts: 1

Posted by UsTwo on 6/4/2012 at 03:47

Posted from within Vietnam.

67, and on my second trip in four months.
First trip was Thailand and Vietnam. Used all modes of transport - plane, train, overnight sleeper coach, bus, even a cyclo!. (but never on a No.25 Bus again!)
This trip is only Vietnam. Wanted a bit more freedom in travel, so bought a bike. Travelling for 10 weeks in northern Vietnam. I have just finished the run from Dong Van to Meo Vac. Incredible!
I'm still stuck to sleeping in a town, should have got myself a small tent and sleeping bag.

Read Lizzy's motto - "as you grow older, the only regrets..........."

#8 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Posts: 70

Posted by savorygal on 6/4/2012 at 05:11

heck yeah. I am 15 months into a 16 month backpacking trip & I am 49. It took a fair amount of planning & saving, but it was not impossible. I quit my job, and rented my house.
The greatest thing about being an "older" backpacker is that I have a bit more disposable income than I did when I was traveling in my twenties. which means I can have a little nicer accommodation (no more dorms!) and treat myself to a massage after a grueling bus ride.
I don't think I have any less energy than the 19 year olds, but I don't stay out until 3 in the morning getting wasted either... well, at least not often :)

the other nice thing about long term travel is that you can stay in one place for a long time & not feel guilty about missing out on the sights if you just want to lay around, watch a movie or read a book cover to cover.

go for it. you won't regret it.

#9 savorygal has been a member since 16/7/2010. Posts: 159
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Posted by exacto on 6/4/2012 at 20:46

Great thread and comments. I'm in my late 40's as well. I started backpacking when I was in my 20's and don't see any reason to switch either. I agree with the comment above that the best solution to those long bus rides is to break up the journey and spend a few days along the way. Plus, those off-the-beaten-path spots are often the real highlights of any trip.

I've enjoyed my more recent travels because, as others have said, I have a bit more money to spend and can splurge on a nice room or a fancy meal now and then. I also think that I've gained experience over the years, which means I'm better at travelling now than I was in my 20's. I'm looking forward to retiring as soon as I can afford it so I can spend more time on the road. Cheers.

#10 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,606
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Posted by TassieWombat on 6/4/2012 at 22:45

Hell yes!!!!!!
My wife and I are 68 and 71 (she is the old one :-) ). And we are planning to a backpack / budget trip to China and SEA within the next 12 months (another year older!)
We have visited SEA several times over the past 20 years for a few weeks at a time.

However this time we intend out trip to be anything up to 12 months’ duration enjoying the local culture and cuisine from the markets and street hawkers and sampling the local beers.

We intend flying Australia to Beijing, spending 30 days traveling China (visa limit) going to Hong Kong/Macau for maybe 8/10 days, too expensive to stay longer. Then fly to Vietnam and travel Vietnam for 30 days or longer if visa will permit, we then intend to spend some time in in Cambodia and move on to Thailand.

We would then “veg” out in Thailand for maybe two or three months

A lot of people say they do not like Bangkok because it is too noisy, polluted and big. To these people I say simply don’t go there!. Bangkok is vibrant, colourful, yes, busy, give yourself lots of time to travel anywhere in Bangkok, sometimes a short trip by bus can take 2 hours!!!! But with so much to see and do you could easily spend two weeks there and still need to go back for more.

Although we have crossed the bridge on the River Kwai by train on a previous visit when we went to the end of the line and stayed at Sai Yok National Park spending a few days on a river houseboat relaxing. It was simple living, no toilet (straight into the river), no showers, get under the waterfall, no electricity but it was very relaxing and cheap and highly enjoyable. This time we intend stopping at Kanchanaburi and seeing the area around the River Kwai Bridge.

Chiang Mai further up country is cooler and quieter and good backpacker’s budget accommodation with your own bathroom air conditioning can be obtained for around $20.00 per night, probably cheaper by the week. Chiang Mai is a good place to relax for a couple of weeks likewise Chiang Rai further to the north has much the same attributes.

Because of Thailand’s generous tourist visas we have no problem spending two or three months in this wonderful country. From here we intend traveling very slowly through Malaysia staying away from the higher tourist spots (as in all countries) and moving down to Singapore from when our we would return home to Australia.

If you are worried about health problems I can only say that on one trip on an ordinary bus in Bangkok my wife became ill to such an extent that I had to her to a hospital. The amazing part was that when we stumbled off the bus in the early morning traffic we actually got off right outside a Seventh Day Adventist hospital !!!!!.
I feared the worst, however we were attended to promptly and the Indian Doctor was excellent, questioned my wife thoroughly, suggested we get out of our un air conditioned $12 a night room, find a place with air conditioning and rest for two days,they gave us a huge bag of pills and it sent us on our way just $17.00 out of pocket. All was well in 48 hours. I can’t speak highly enough of the care we received.

As you get older and trips of a lifetime like this become less frequent I would advise taking a video camera. These countries have so many wonderful things to remember, that a video of your trip containing all the wonderful sights and sounds can be edited and burned to a DVD and are a fantastic way of reliving your experience. Not only that but you can give a copy to your friends and either make them very envious or bore them to death.
If you are new to video and wish to make a video of your trip practice before you leave home, take lots of video, it is cheap and you can edit out the bad bits later on your computer.

One other piece of advice we would give is, as you get a little older is forget your inhibitions, maybe better not to try and keep up with the young crowd, take it easy, do not try and cram too much into one day, and if you are visiting SEA in the summer months take it easy!! and enjoy… we will.

#11 TassieWombat has been a member since 6/4/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 44
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Posted by busylizzy on 10/4/2012 at 15:28

I'm just catching up on this discussion after a quick 5-day solo jaunt to Tonga - another fun mini-adventure! :-). This is such an inspirational thread and it should be turned into a sticky!

Mac - I had actually wanted to checkout your neck of the woods on my last trip to Laos but soon realised that I was overplanning and trying to squeeze too much into a relatively short 6-week trip (something I always berate others about: guilty as charged!). In the end I had to cut it out of the plans, and leave it for another time - most likely next year. Based on what I have read so far, I think I would really love it there. So, keep the beers lined up. And who knows, I may actually learn to like beer by the time I'm there!

#12 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by MADMAC on 12/4/2012 at 14:10

Well anytime Liz. I don't plan on going anywhere.

#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by TonyM on 17/6/2012 at 06:53

Yep I too have really enjoyed this thread, it's given me added confidence of my plans to go solo to SEA mid year 2013 for a few months, I'm 50.....

For what it's worth I'm aiming for a week in each destination, somewhere in the Philippines ( yet to decide) then Hanoi (inc Halong Bay) fly across to Laos (Luang Prabang then down to Vietienne) fly to Phnom Penh for a week then fly to Chiang Mia, a week there and then southern Thailand for the remaining 3 weeks not sure, this becomes a bit blurry, but looking for suggestions.

Is this doable with R&R along the way or am I kidding myself?

#14 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31

Posted by busylizzy on 17/6/2012 at 15:18

Tony - a week in each place is technically doable if you're going to fork out for flights and you're happy to be spending time (and $!) travelling between countries. But it is the best way to see a country? I'd suggest not especially if you a few months up your sleeve. What's also not clear is that once you arrive in a country, are you only staying in that one location, or will you be travelling around a bit? (eg in Cambodia, are you only going to Phnom Penh , or will you also make your way to Siem Reap ?).

Just keep in mind that each time you move between destinations, you lose a good part of your day. Sometimes travelling can become part of the overall experience (eg the bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is one that I don't mind too much; it's not too long, it's scenis and gives a brief window-view of rural life). But if you're flying, it's often just a day gone spent getting to/from airports, waiting for the plane to take off, flying time, time spent at airport getting through customs, time getting to the hotel, etc.

My suggestion would be to cut back on the countries a little bit, and try to spend 2-3 weeks minimum in each. This will allow you to appreciate and understand what makes the country just a little bit more than a flying visit would allow. It will also allow for a bit of 'down time' where you don't want to be racing around trying to see as many of the 'must sees' before moving on to the next place. Sometimes it's nice to just have a slow day, where you don't do much more than wander through town without purpose, spend a few hours enjoying a coffee or beer in a cafe as you watch life pass you by, and indulge in a a relaxing massage.


Maybe consider dropping the Philippines since logistically they are the furthest away and add that time to some of the other countries that you plan to visit.

Regardless of what you decide, good on you for making the decision to go!

#15 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by TonyM on 17/6/2012 at 17:55

Lizzy thanks for your feedback, I do need to go to the Philippnines so thats locked in, the rest of my trip is unplanned and will remain that way so I am free to come and go as I please.

I have done a rough route in my head thinking I need to however this may all change when I get there, for 2 months Im free as a bird.....

Yes Ive read plenty of articles via travelfish talking about the journey there can be as ecisiting as being there so I do plan to use all modes of transport time permittiing but Im also fortunate to fly if I need to.

Are there any routes where travelling by bus train, boat etc is a must do, I was thinking a boat ride down the Mekong from Luang Prabang to Vientiane for example.

#16 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31

Posted by TassieWombat on 5/7/2012 at 16:47

Hey there TonyM.

You will sure have a great time I am sure, Lizzy is right though, Air travel takes a great chunk out of a day or so. We will only use air if there is no other way or it is a must do. Buses and trains are a great way to meet the people of a country. Sure some are a bit "hard on the bottom" LOL. :-)

We have "Unlimited time" governed only by Visa length so we will be "relaxing" a lot and I am sure posting to here, our website, Flickr and You Tube about our travels will tie us to a computer for a lot of hours. Our plan is to take heaps of photos and Video (Takes hours to edit properly) as we may never get there again. But as time is on our side we will move slowly.

Well....... that's the plan.

BTW where are you from?. Also we could / should be in Thailand Chaing Mai around that time (planning on a long R & R there) Maybe we could meet, although you may be a bit young to be seen hanging out with us LOL. :-)


Check out our "Travel" Website it explains our intentions and you will see why nothing is "set in concrete" yet. But it would be nice to meet up with any "Travelfish" members on the travels.
http://new.dansonpark.com/wp/

http://new.dansonpark.com/wp/

#17 TassieWombat has been a member since 6/4/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 44
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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 24/7/2012 at 18:45

Travelling is better with age. Drunk 19yos don't fully appreciate different lifestyles and getting smashed at backpacker hostels is tragic. When you're older you know what you like/don't like and can be be specific in your trips and I don't see any problem with a 3 week trip or 3 months. A lot of time gets wasted doing nothingO(which you can do at home) on extended trips.

#18 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 24/7/2012 at 23:32

Leonard, I already like you man. You write well, you have some good observations, but saying that "getting smached at a backpacker hostel" is "tragic" is gross hyperbole. A Somali kid starving to death along a dusty road outside of Baidoa while his mother lies dead next to him, that's tragic. A kid getting drunk for one night, no matter where he is, just doesn't meet the defition for me.

#19 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 25/7/2012 at 06:50

Wrong context. I'm sure you know what I meant.

#20 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 25/7/2012 at 07:40

Just keeping it real man.

#21 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chocolat on 25/7/2012 at 13:15

Inspirational! I'm travelling around India for 6 months & impulsively thought to take out a few weeks for a jaunt to SE ASIA in November as at the ripe old age of 49 we cannot let opportunities pass us by. Sadly just been advised by a backpacker tour group that I'm too old (embarrassed to say was just not up to the PT of having to research the trip) ...so reading this post got the spirits up....but still seeking a simpler way to enjoy my diversion so be great to hear if anybody has utilised straytravel.asia & do you recommend this.

many thanks

#22 chocolat has been a member since 25/7/2012. Location: South Africa. Posts: 5

Posted by busylizzy on 25/7/2012 at 15:18

Hey chocolate, welcome to the forum (and the 'mid-lifers' club on TF!). Good on you for getting out there and doing it - I agree that you can't let these opps pass us by.

I haven't used straytravel although I have heard good things about them. (Craig and Linda on IndieTravelPodcast used them a couple of times in Laos last year and rated them well. Have a search on their website to find the podcast that covered it). I did look into them as an option when I was in Laos last year, but quickly ruled them out as I thought they were quite expensive for what they offered and travel is so easy to organise yourself in Asia anyhow. In my view, they are really just a glorified bus service. Given your extensive time in India I would imagine that you would have no problems organising things for yourself once in SEA.

On the other hand, the advantage of groups like Straytravel is that you have the opportunity to meet and mix with other travellers. Having that companionship could be worth the cost if that's important to you.

#23 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by TassieWombat on 25/7/2012 at 16:39

Hey Chocolat. Welcome and S***T you are 49!!!!! you poor OLD bastard (we are allowed to say that in Aussie LOL). :-) Don't know where that puts me (us) in the scheme of things as we are 68 and 72 respectively LOL
Hi again Bizzy was waiting on an email.. How you keeping?

#24 TassieWombat has been a member since 6/4/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 44
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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 25/7/2012 at 20:31

Find another tour. SEA has many tours and they take just about anyone. You sign insurance forms when you do one and insurance companies usually cover people up to 80yo for most things.

#25 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by chocolat on 25/7/2012 at 21:46

gud morning all & thank u for the responses. in one of the posts someone mentioned the advantage of doing this again when 50, which is at times we can have some powers to change the levels of travelling comforts.... as I’m volunteering in India for 6 months & travelling on the cheap , the idea of SEASIA was really to relax & enjoy & let someone else think about the route & bus & train schedules ;)

thanks busylizzy , Will follow up on podcasts

#26 chocolat has been a member since 25/7/2012. Location: South Africa. Posts: 5

Posted by busylizzy on 25/7/2012 at 22:02

Fair enough! If you are definitely keen on a tour concept, then another good reputable company to check out is Intrepid. I think they operate out of NZ/Australia, but they have reputably very good tours throughout the world. They will cater to the people that want bare minimal organisation and basic travel options to those that want a bit more pampering. I know several people that have organised trips in various parts of the world, and have always had good things to say about them.

Tassie - I haven't forgotten you! Your email is languishing in my inbox... I'll get back to you soon!

#27 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by MADMAC on 25/7/2012 at 23:10

Chocalat,
I might have missed it, but why do you want to use a tour agency? You are adding cost while imposing constraint when doing so.

#28 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by chocolat on 25/7/2012 at 23:26

Hey Madmac

I usually don’t ever use tour operators but as mentioned , I'm volunteering around India for 6 months , on a shoe string budget , i.e. being as cheap & scaly as possible so just thought I should treat myself for a few weeks & let somebody else think for me ;) but still wanna do off the beaten track stuff....but likely not gonna have my cake & eat it & lose weight so opted for 2 out of 3 & put out a post on companions for either a travel itinerary or a travel buddy with one !

#29 chocolat has been a member since 25/7/2012. Location: South Africa. Posts: 5

Posted by daawgon on 25/7/2012 at 23:57

Backpacking has changed with the times, and many of us on Travelfish now call ourselves Flashpackers instead. I'm almost 69 and would not travel overseas any other way. No, I don't stay in hostels or tube down the river in Laos, but I do like the freedom that backpacking gives me. I really do hate being waited on!

#30 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,082

Posted by TassieWombat on 26/7/2012 at 02:09

Hi daawgon. I guess I am somewhere between "Backpacker" & "Flashpacker". But when you say "I hate being waited on" do you mean "Pampered and or looked after" or do you mean "Hang on I wont be long, don't leave me behind" LOL :-)

Wait on me... Wait on me....... Please !!

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 26/7/2012 at 06:49

I've never heard anyone say in person that they are a flashpacker or going flashpacking for 6 months. With all due respect it's the most pretentious travel lingo out there.

A - I'm going travelling for 6 months

B - I'm going flashpacking for 6 months

B sounds so wrong and pretentious

You're just a man/woman who has travelling as one hobby.

I don't understand the need for these pretentious travel terms some of which exist on forums and in guide books but mean nothing in the real world.

#32 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by chinarocks on 26/7/2012 at 07:52

I have always thought the term flashpacking is used in a light-hearted manner and often in a self-depracating manner by the speaker to signify that they are not "hardy" enough to rough it in dorms, overnight, hard seat trains etc. It has persoanlly never bothered me whenever I heard it.

#33 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 26/7/2012 at 09:20

Sounds like they are making out they are better than backpackers who stay in flea pits and better than tourists who don't get off the beaten path much and don't stay long. Never heard it in person though. Only on these odd forums. If someone started talking like that in person I think I'd shake my head and walk away.

"enough to rough it in dorms"

Does anyone really want to stay in a shared room? It's about economics. If you budget is $10 a night and you can get a king bed in a private room you take it, if it only buys a bunk in a shared room you take it. People aren't staying in shared rooms because it's so good.

#34 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by daawgon on 26/7/2012 at 13:35

When you reach a certain age, and you're a perfectionist as I am at times, you are willing to pay a little extra for privacy, good food and the good life (after all, my backpacking days are numbered)! I'm not looking down on anyone, but the fact is that 20-something backpackers do not tolerate seniors too well either.

TW - I'm talking "Pampered and or looked after"

#35 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,082

Posted by busylizzy on 26/7/2012 at 14:51

'Flashpacking' indicates someone's travel budget and style. That's useful when dishing out advice - which is what people come to this forum for. It's not about being elitist. It puts context around the questions and the expected responses. I consider myself somewhere between a backpacker and flashpacker. If I come on to the forum asking for accom suggestions, there's no point in suggesting a dorm (fleapit or otherwise) that is 6 to a room.

Once again, a valuable and interesting thread gets derailed for no reason. It's becoming tiresome.

#36 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by TassieWombat on 26/7/2012 at 16:22

LOL leonardCohenl.. at least you gave me a laugh :-)

man get off the "too" serious train and enjoy. I had never heard of a "flashpacker" either but thought that at age 70 it suited my age and (all other things that go with age 70). Maybe we should start a forum on "Name for levels of travel" :-)

And as for, Quote: "making out they are better than backpackers who stay in flea pits" Sorry............ I HATE fleas :-(
Happy safe travel to all. BTW Lizzy if you bookmarked my web page it has been seriously updated.... but still waiting "the day"

#37 TassieWombat has been a member since 6/4/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 44
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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 26/7/2012 at 19:09

"Once again, a valuable and interesting thread gets derailed for no reason"

Not at all. Giving specific useful advice requires appropriate use of language.

Hi, I'm Joe and I'm going travelling for 3 months thru Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. My budget is US$20-30 a night. Could you recommend a hotel in X,Y and Z in that price range?


Hi, I'm Mary and I'm a flashpacker. I'm looking for some flashpacking ideas and room recommendations for my 3 mth flashpacking adventure thru X, Y and Z.

Much easier to give suitable advice to Joe.

#38 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 26/7/2012 at 19:10

"I consider myself somewhere between a backpacker and flashpacker"

Means nothing to me. Is your budget $15 a night, $35, $55 or $80?

I would describe myself as a man or a person and wouldn't describe myself by 1 single hobby.

#39 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 26/7/2012 at 19:17

Giving a budget of say $30-40 a night helps people give advice.

What does flashpacking mean in dollars, baht, dong or ringgit? It's a vague term that doesn't relate to the real world.

"you are willing to pay a little extra for privacy, good food and the good life"

Agree totally and that applies at any age. SEA is so cheap $20 can buy a nice private room. That only buys a bunk in Europe/Australia.

#40 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by busylizzy on 26/7/2012 at 20:02

The debate about terminology belongs in MadMac's 'Annoying Verbiage' thread (or whatever it was called). This discussion was about the concept of travelling later in life.

#41 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by exacto on 26/7/2012 at 22:15

"I consider myself somewhere between a backpacker and flashpacker"

"Means nothing to me."

Then don't respond to the post. But these terms do mean something specific to many folks, and it is the people who know what these terms mean who are most likely to offer a meaningful response.

These posts aren't necessarily for you longbeach, and they certainly aren't all about you. If the language or the question don't suit you, then feel free to move on. Please.

#42 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,606
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Posted by MADMAC on 27/7/2012 at 05:05

I'm with Liz and Exacto on this one. Initially I didn't know what the term meant. But now that I do, it does add specificity in an environment such as travlefish. And that specificity does aide in rendering sound advice.

#43 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 27/7/2012 at 11:27

"But these terms do mean something specific to many folks"

No they don't. It's just a broad price range and not very specific at all.

600 to 1500 baht is what the term is defined as meaning on this site for Thailand.

So that includes 2 star guesthouses up to 4 star hotels.

You don't think that's a little vague?

A 600-800 baht flashpacker is staying in vastly different places to a 1200-1500 baht flashpacker so unless more specific numbers are given any advice would be hit and miss.

There's no point giving tips for 1500 baht resorts when their budget is 800 baht.

#44 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 27/7/2012 at 11:49

Still, it does rule out cheap, cold water shower, no A/C hovels... so it does have some value.

#45 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 27/7/2012 at 11:54

Yes limited value. Also rules out 5 star hotels.

#46 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 27/7/2012 at 14:12

But I don't think it's used as a term of elevation - like Traveller is. Flashbacker is mostly a written term, and one that is simply indicating a step above backpacker.

#47 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by billytheliar on 28/7/2012 at 06:19

Well, I guess some of us (I mean the age group) might feel a little uncomfortable
mixing with very young people as we still remember our reactions to (and feelings
about) 50y+ folks when we were 20 or so. At least, I do!
It is true, I m refering to another complex (greek islands), where sea+sun+sex were much more dominant than perhaps in a Laos or Burma trip, but come on! Young
people find us usually less sexually attractive and more boring and this causes a certain heaviness which we had not experienced then – and I am convinced that feeling desirable is very important even if somebody is not searching for a partner. (OK, we take revenge in finding them sometimes foolish or shallow – plus we generally can spend more, so we stay in better places, but I doubt that this is compensation enough.)
That said, my opinion is that our main advantage is, we know better what we like and
most of us (when backpacking) dislike the herd mentality, so our trips can be more rewarding. At least I hope so, as Im looking forward to my virgin backpacking trip to Laos at the tender age of 52 ;-}.

#48 billytheliar has been a member since 3/4/2012. Posts: 48
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Posted by MADMAC on 28/7/2012 at 07:27

Billy
The huge difference between the Greek Islands and SEA is that sex is everywhere here. Anyone can find a partner for sex at any time. Being "sexually attractive" here is a function of your financial werewithal. Whereas in the Greek Islands 50 year old guys pestering 20 year old women would be annoying for the women out here that just isn't necessary. So the paradigm is completely different.

#49 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by billytheliar on 28/7/2012 at 07:55

I think sex is everywhere everywhere. And I was not refering to the possibilities
of having sex, more to this aura of feeling, well, desirable, because of yourself
and not of your wallet. I know the smart answers about ejoying a bottle of wine regardless its feelings, I am not especially prude myself, but I still think those two things are basically different.

#50 billytheliar has been a member since 3/4/2012. Posts: 48
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Posted by MADMAC on 28/7/2012 at 12:56

Well, all I'll say is here it IS different. Money makes you attractive here to a greater and more obvious degree than it does back in Western Europe.

#51 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by Saphir on 31/7/2012 at 17:04

Chinarocks, I still backpack in my 50s. I find a backpack is the easiest way for me to manage carrying everything I need. I prefer to stay in budget accommodation. This leaves money for other things, plus all I need is a place to sleep - don't need frills. No problem going solo, either.

#52 Saphir has been a member since 19/5/2009. Posts: 74
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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 31/7/2012 at 22:25

Rambutan looks aroy

#53 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by youngstr on 31/7/2012 at 23:24

As a 42 year old woman on month 15 of "backpacking" around the world, I would like to add my experience to this forum.
I can say I started this trip with no clue prior to departure. It was only after five months into it that I learned how silly it was to have pre-booked flights and ultimately it was an expensive lesson when I had to pay cancellation fees.
Rule #1: Do NOT put yourself on a timeline. Get somewhere, feel it out, if you enjoy, stay!

Over time and especially after staying in some real flea/rat infested places in India, I recognize which luxuries I prefer and when accommodations are cheap as they are in SEA, I allow myself to splurge for the comfortable bed, private bath and A/C. All manageable for $10-15.

This is where I identify with the term "flashpacker." Instead of seeing it as a negative connotation I think it helps distinguish an economical state on par with somewhere between "cheap" and "moderate." One drawback of staying in nicer guesthouses and privates makes meeting fellow travelers a little more difficult.


Meanwhile, one of the main reasons I've been able to stay on budget is largely due to Couchsurfing.org. A fantastic site available all over the world where kind, honest, fun people offer up their homes in exchange for good conversation. The sleeping space can range from floor to shared bed to own comfy bed with private bath. As a single traveler this site has been a life saver providing so much more than accommodations but also a built in social community. It's possible to search for a host or just locals to meet for a coffee or drink and even select someone according to age and gender.


I am the least bit interested in "free buckets" and full moon parties and am pleasantly surprised to meet young travelers who feel the same.


A few things I've learned about traveling at this age:
1. Independence is great but I would prefer to be doing it with a partner. My best memories are those spent with other travelers.
2. I would probably enjoy things a bit more if I knew I would be financially secure post travels.
3. All of life experiences are based on your own perspective and attitude. Be open to everything and you will enjoy at any age!
PS: Here is link to my blog. I was diligent for the first six months but then realized I was spending too much time staring at my laptop. I like whoever suggested keeping a video log.

#54 youngstr has been a member since 26/10/2011. Posts: 2

Posted by MADMAC on 1/8/2012 at 00:28

Youngstr - great post. I love your first rule. Smart.

#55 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by TassieWombat on 1/8/2012 at 00:31

Hey there youngstr. great to read your post and fantastic to see your blog. What a lot of blogging !!! . I don't know if I can be that "blogy" but it is my intention to keep it informative when the time comes. But great stuff.
I agree with you about the "Moon parties" etc, as you get older ( my daughter is older than you) :-) you tend to look for other pursuits, and not prebooking is in my opinion a definate. It is my (our) intention to go as slowly as the spirit moves us. Or our visa of course. :-)
And addygg what the heck has your post to do with the heading of this forum.. or are you just "spamming"!!!!

#56 TassieWombat has been a member since 6/4/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 44
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Posted by busylizzy on 1/8/2012 at 01:46

Awesome post, youngstr. Good point made about being able to enjoy yourself more if you need you had the financial security for when you return home (eventually). It is an important factor for us older travellers (unless you have a family trust!) amd we have to consider the potential difficulties of re-entering the workforce at 'our age' when you return - as depressing as that sounds!

Off to check out your blog now to get some new inspiration!

#57 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by TonyM on 1/8/2012 at 02:14

Wow its amazing the thread that comes from a simple post, luv all the thoughts and ideas, wish I had more time to particpate, seems many of you have plenty, good for you! My time will come mid 2013 when I get to flashpack around SEA and participate whilst cafe hopping and watching the world go by.

Younstr you mentioned couchsurfing, checked it out, seems they want a fee to join, is that so and if so is it worth it?

Enjoy your banter guys

#58 TonyM has been a member since 22/5/2012. Posts: 31

Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 1/8/2012 at 19:07

"1. Independence is great but I would prefer to be doing it with a partner. My best memories are those spent with other travelers."

I agree. Sitting in a restaurant or being on a train/bus/boat alone feels awkward.

"2. I would probably enjoy things a bit more if I knew I would be financially secure post travels."

Yes, good if you have some cash set aside for afterwards. That's why I prefer shorter trips and having a trip a year rather than doing 1 big one every 10-20 yrs.

"3. All of life experiences are based on your own perspective and attitude"

I always try to eat foods I can't get elsewhere and try to relax and go with the flow if things don't go on time/plan. Sometimes you have to laugh when things do wrong. If you get a rat in your room it's not the end of the world. Sometimes the things that go wrong are the funniest and most memorable.

#59 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148

Posted by MADMAC on 2/8/2012 at 06:41

The only point with young I don't share is travelling alone. I much prefer to travel alone, and don't get to very often because I have a young daughter whom I am loathe to be seperated from. So I usually travel with them. But once in a while I will lone wolf it, and I enjoy that. Hope on my motorcycle and go where the road takes me. I am getting ready to go on a ride with the Mukdahan motorcycle club, so we'll see how that is, riding with a group. It's not my norm though.

#60 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957

Posted by letmeinplz on 8/8/2012 at 06:33

So I've done the backpacking thing in my 20s (South America, NZ, Oz ands Asia). Now that I'm back home with a family on the horizon I wonder when I'll get the chance to get away for an extended time again (holidays are great but they are not quite the same).

#61 letmeinplz has been a member since 6/8/2012. Posts: 15
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Posted by gracetandil on 8/8/2012 at 07:12

The time is now. I am 50 and I travel as a backpacker and sometimes on a package, of course it´s not the same. Travelling gives me freedom. It was like that when I was 20 and now that I am 50. So, don´t postpone it, go ahead, travel and live your own life. The time is NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#62 gracetandil has been a member since 4/12/2008. Posts: 56

Posted by TassieWombat on 8/8/2012 at 17:10

True gracetandil and letmeinplz go for it, you don't get any younger :-(
And I myself and Tassie Devil are starting to feel that opportunity slipping away. BUT as we cannot head off for our years planned trip until our Great Dane has passed on (follow all posts) we are starting to wonder if we will make it. I mean ..... even to us, backpackers / flashpackers / travelers whatever you call it in their 70s sounds a "strange" thing to be doing.

"Silly sods are too old to do that !!!!!!!" :-) He He

But feel young and have fun... Damn, you are a long time dead............. :-(

#63 TassieWombat has been a member since 6/4/2012. Location: Australia. Posts: 44
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