We are Craig and John, a married couple from the UK, who've lived and travelled together for well over 20 years. Before leaving our jobs and home, we struggled with the concept of exchanging our very comfortable and happy lives for that of somebody who travels on a long-term basis. After many years of prevarication we decided to make this change. We started our around the world trip in Australia in 2011 and have been on the road ever since.
We set up this blog shortly before leaving home, to keep family and friends informed about what we were up to. However, we quickly realised that other people were interested in our journey. I suppose our blog is the story of how we changed our 9-5 (or more realistically 8-7) existence, so that we could experience a different challenge. The travel blog tracks our progress across the world as we slowly travel to explore new destinations. The content of our writing has evolved to include more details about prices/costs, and our personal opinions about the things we see and do (whether good or bad) so it is of interest to our diverse and growing number of readers and those searching for travel tips about the places we visit. We also like to read and publish experiences others have had on their travels that we think are interesting or humorous.
We don’t know how or when our ‘adventure of a lifetime’ will end but hope you enjoy sharing our travels with us.
Flashpacking: Why flashpack and why forty?
As defined by thenewconsumer.com
“Backpacking with flash or style; travel that combines modest accommodation with free spending on activities and other indulgences; budget backpacking that incorporates high-end technology.”
Our travels don’t usually contain much flash and only occasionally a little bit of style. Our accommodation is mainly modest, but there is definitely the incorporation of lots of technology and travel gadgets. We’re no party poopers, but we think being a couple in our forties is maybe just a little too old for getting down with the kids for slumber parties in a dorm room. We usually stay in guest houses and budget hotels and travel between stops in anything but first class. The forty bit comes from our ages, as we’re now both in our forties. So in a nutshell, that’s why it’s flashpacking.
What is flashpacking?
Once we’d finally made the decision to travel on a long-term basis, we pondered how to explain this to colleagues, family and friends. We didn’t want people to think we were experiencing some mid-life crisis. We decided the word ‘flashpacking’, rather than ‘backpacking’, better communicated our approach to travel. As most people have an assumption, rightly or wrongly, of who and what a backpacker is. There isn’t a dictionary definition of what a ‘flashpacker’ is. This gave us the chance to explain, in more detail, our rationale for this trip.
For us, flashpacking means obtaining good value in procuring any travel services by utilising the latest travel gadgets, industry promotions and on-line travel related resources available. This will not usually be the lowest cost option available, but choices will be made to get the maximum benefit in terms of services and facilities at the most competitive rate.
We are not expecting to travel long term in the same standard of accommodation and facilities you would choose for a shorter trip, but you can get close using these tools.
This doesn’t involve hauling round an outdated printed guide book, but using the Internet to find the latest information and best deals. It’s being a bit smart, and worrying about the dollars and not the dimes. We meet so many backpackers, who are concerned about how much a taxi costs, but are paying well over the odds on flights and getting a substandard deal on their accommodation. We think if you go against the flow, and let your main overheads dictate when and where you visit a destination, then you are on to a much more reasonable and hassle free travel experience.
I think your typical flashpacker would expect a minimum standard of accommodation such as private bathroom, WiFi air-con, cable TV, fridge etc. and would rarely book the cheapest option available as they are concerned about quality and location.
We join schemes and loyalty programmes for airlines and hotel accommodation providers. We've found that different providers and flight and hotel aggregation sites offer superior deals depending on what destination you're visiting. Sometimes our next destination is dictated by where the best value flight is available (we flew from the Philippines to Japan for US$53).
Taking A Career Break
Having enjoyed successful careers, we reached a point in our lives when we needed a change. We’d spent many years visiting exotic destinations, staying at luxury resorts and realised we wanted to visit more places in the world. Many of our friends went backpacking, after university. Neither of us had the advantage of taking a gap year, before or after university, we just couldn't afford it at the time. Instead we spent our time moving up the career and property ladders. Until it dawned on us, our annual holiday allowance wasn't going to allow us to visit the places we wanted to see in this lifetime. So our decision to go flashpacking was made.
Travelling Around the World
As a couple we’ve visited over 35 countries together and so far over 20 together on this single trip. You can see the places we’ve blogged about and travelled to on our RTW route map.
You can check out some of our best travel videos from our world trip, that we update on our YouTube channel, don’t forget to subscribe for latest clips featuring the new destinations we travel to.
Flashpackatforty You Tube Videos
Our Top Travel Destinations
Craig: On this trip I'd have to say Cambodia, ranks very high for its soul and charm. Although one new skill I've picked up on this trip is diving, and I had a great fun diving in Malaysia. We both share a love for the South of France, having had a holiday home there for over 5 years, and always enjoy the food and cafe culture when visiting friends.
John: One of the most surprising and interesting places from our around the world trip has to be our visit to Myanmar. However, I'm a total sun worshipper so I need to hit a beach somewhere hot every month or so to feel the sun on my bones.
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We are not really ones for the cultural shows that you regularly find in travel destinations. Often they are a thin representation of the actual song or dance traditions of a community, overpriced and leave you feeling a little bit cheated. This was certainly the case in Waitangi doing the Haka with some actors. Sometimes […]
We hang about in Goa for our remaining time in India sampling foods from home and join the large expat community and retired folk enjoying what is on offer. We had decided in Udaipur that it was time to invest some time doing some work on the blog. Our traffic has been growing steadily over […]
For those arriving at this travel blog post hoping to find out detailed information about our experiences and things to do in Udaipur, leave now, as you’ll need to look elsewhere instead. The hectic schedule of our last two weeks on the road with our driver had wearied us a little. The thought of seeing […]
Two Week Itinerary for Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle You can get to see some of the top sights in Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle in India in fourteen days or less, it will not be a restful experience, but you will gain a lifetime of memories and images from the magnificent Taj Mahal to […]
How to Rent a Car and Driver in India We’d like to share our experience, and a few of the stories we learned about renting a car and driver from our two week tour of Rajasthan. Like arranging other things in India, it is not always as simple or easy as you may first imagine. […]
Jodhpur – The Blue City It was a long drive to Jodhpur, our second to last destination in Rajasthan, before waving off our driver. The three restful days in Jaisalmer and our separation from each other had allowed driver and passenger relations to be restored to more friendly less tense mood levels. So we set off […]
In our last travel blog post I mentioned that I had done another diving course. I’ve included some underwater photographs and videos taken whilst I was on this course. We stayed in Bohol, longer than anywhere else in the Philippines, because of the excellent diving sites at very reasonable prices. Bohol is a magnet […]
A delay in this post has been caused by very slow internet connections throughout the last part of our travels in the Philippines. Apologies. However, it now means you have a fun packed bumper blog of travel frustrations, cute monkeys, the chocolate hills and a small slightly disappointing beach. Weather Retreat Given the weather we […]
Reluctant as we were to leave the beauty of Saud beach we had a lot more Filipino treasures to explore. From the relaxing, serene shores of Saud beach, we headed south towards Donsol in search of some whale sharks. The weather proved challenging, but the wildlife made it all worthwhile. From Pagudpud we reversed […]
The ‘Borocay of the North’ is the strapline trying to attach itself to this beautiful part of Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. While I cannot make the comparison yet, I believe Saud Beach in Pagudpud really is a little hidden gem that may eventually give its more famous southern cousin a run for its peso. We […]
We arrived in the Philippines on board another Jetstar flight at around 8pm on a Saturday. Having left Bali we had a brief layover in Singapore before our arrival in Manila. The immigration, customs and baggage pick up went like a dream and we were out of the airport within half an hour of touching down. This […]