Travel Planning With Class

By David DeFranza on 31 January 2008 (Updated 9 June 2011) 2 comments
Photo: batsignal

Bring up class and most people start to get touchy. Unfortunately, it's an unavoidable reality when traveling. From the airport lounge, to the seat assignment on a ticket, to the bed on the train, to the floor number of a hotel room, class is presented to the traveler in the most unsubtle terms. In reality, different groups of travelers define themselves and others by class. It sounds nasty, but it is not all bad. In fact, these largely self imposed class divisions are something you can use to make your trip planning more effective.

Of course, there is no one that is going to force you to pick a group and stick to it. Everyday of your trip may be characteristic of a different class of traveler. After all, unexpected changes and surprises are part of the fun. However, understanding these traits can help us narrow down our options when planning a trip.

Let's take a look at a few different classes of traveler and their accompanying traits.

Bring up class and most people start to get touchy. Unfortunately, it's an unavoidable reality when traveling. From the airport lounge, to the seat assignment on a ticket, to the bed on the train, to the floor number of a hotel room, class is presented to the traveler in the most unsubtle terms. In reality, different groups of travelers define themselves and others by class. It sounds nasty, but it is not all bad. In fact, these largely self imposed class divisions are something you can use to make your trip planning more effective.

Of course, there is no one that is going to force you to pick a group and stick to it. Everyday of your trip may be characteristic of a different class of traveler. After all, unexpected changes and surprises are part of the fun. However, understanding these traits can help us narrow down our options when planning a trip.

Let's take a look at a few different classes of traveler and their accompanying traits.

1. The Backpacker

A backpacker is the person who has taken the slowest means possible to get to wherever you are. Perhaps a bus, the back of a truck, a camel, or even on foot. She did this because she thinks it is a more intimate form of travel. It was also the cheapest. Time is her asset and she uses it to the utmost advantage. At the same time, frequent day tours, meals out, and even hotel rooms are considered luxuries.

I have done a lot of traveling in this style and I can attest it is not all scrimping, fasting, camping, and hitchhiking. And it is not all smelly and dirty. It is, however, slow. If you have a lot of time, a very budget conscious trip will help you maximize the money you have over a long period. Focusing on activities that are free like hiking, camping, and people watching, help keep daily expenses down. Local buses are slow and offer an often harrowing ride, but they are cheap and great places to meet local people. All said, this can be a very fun way to go if you have a surplus of time.

2. The Flashpacker

He is a also likely to be young and equipped with a backpack, but his gear is not so threadbare. He is listening to an mp3 player on the bus and is not afraid to buy food and a beer at dinner. He enjoys the far-flung destinations, but has the money to make the budget less austere. Flashpackers are often young professionals, between careers or taking a break from work.

Flashpacking is a great option for people that like the idea of cheaper or less touristed destinations but also like to keep their options open. As a flashpacker, having several good nights out in the city wont break the budget, and there is nothing to keep you from going to both recommended museums in spite of the admission costs. This class of travel blends the adventure of backpacking with the ability to travel quickly to cover more ground.

3. The Expatriate

The expatriate has made the choice to live and work abroad. While budgets and lifestyles vary among expats, they all have become, to some extent, rooted in a foreign place. They have gone beyond experiencing the culture and become a part of it. Expats have developed routines and relationships in the place they live. It has become more than a trip. It is their life.

This could be a great model for your travels. Even if you have only a week, you can still try to keep your movement to a minimum. Rent an apartment and explore one neighborhood extensively before moving to the next. This can be a great way to travel with kids, and often ends up being a very cheap trip.

4. The Jetsetter

She has been to Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris, and Buenos Aires...this month. Always between trips to the most fashionable destinations, she lives for the night life and culture of these cosmopolitan cities. With an itinerary defined by parties and events, this traveler is always on the go.

While this lifestyle may be a dream for most, it too can help tailor the much more modest trips of our own. If you like fashion, high culture, and experiencing the night life, your trip may need a larger budget. However, even in the most expensive cities of the world, there are deals to be had. The pace of the jetsetter may also be appealing. There is nothing wrong with hopping quickly between cities and this would be desirable if your time is very limited.

Focusing Your Goals

Among these group, there is a progression in budget from small to limitless, but one is not better then the other. We must realize that, while initially divided by money, this is not the only characteristic that differentiates them. Available time, interests, and lifestyles all contribute to forming the group identities. When you sit down to plan your next trip and are confronted by all of the available options, remember these groups. Ask yourself, "would the flashpacker enjoy this trip? What about the jetsetter?"

Travel is a chance to experience new cultures, try new things, experience the buzz of the cosmopolitan, and get away from it all. There is an endless list of places to visit in the world, and just a many ways to experience each destination. By defining your goals, your style, your class, it will be much easier to plan the trip of your dreams.

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I use the GRN membership. It allows me to be a semi jetsetter on a flashpackers budget.

Click my name to check it out.

Get out there and learn some new culture.

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plonkee

I started out as a backpacker, and now I'm probably a flashpacker - in fact reading the description again, not only does it describe me perfectly, it actually sounds like exactly the sort of traveller I'd like to be.