Backpacking through Europe or North America is no longer a journey made only by fresh college graduates with a small amount of their parents' money and a penchant for Kerouac.
In this new millennium, even the ramblers of the road are getting the customary Microsoft upgrade, evolving into sleek and refined creatures known as the "flashpacker."
The flashpacker is a new breed of traveler, tech-savvy adventurers who have traded in their copy of "On the Road" for a cell phone, digital camera, iPod, wearable electronics clothes and a laptop, all snugly tucked away in their ergonomically correct, multi-function backpack.
Flashpackers are customarily men and women in their 20s and 30s with established careers, a desire for adventure and a bankroll to fund their three-month sabbatical. Unlike their backpacking predecessors, the flashpacker opts for comfort and style, worrying less about saving money and more about saving time.
In a recent Hostelworld.com study, 21 percent of those surveyed travel with a laptop, 54 percent with an MP3 player, 83 percent with a mobile phone and an astounding 86 percent travel with a digital camera. Of all age groups, those 25-29 years old carry more of these items than anyone else.
With this trend gaining momentum, many in the hospitality industry are meeting the growing demand by providing equally tech-ready accommodations at high-end hostels that cater to the needs and wants of the flashpacker. Communal bedrooms and bathrooms have been pushed aside for eclectic accommodations, Internet access, MP3 downloads and hostel bars