Electric toothbrushes, iPads, hair straighteners – modern backpackers just don’t know how to slum it
When the author Patrick Leigh Fermor walked from Holland to Constantinople at the age of 18, he took with him a few clothes, the Oxford Book of English Verse and a collection of Horace’s Odes. But that was 1933 – a simpler time, when Latin poems were considered ample entertainment on those long nights spent sheltering from the rain in a farmer’s barn.
In 2013, according to a new survey, the average backpacker – or “flashpacker” – now carries more than £3,000 worth of kit, including hair straighteners and electric toothbrushes. They are more likely to “rough it” in a five-star hotel than a rickety tent, and tend to hop between destinations on a plane, rather than trek the full distance. But in case you fear that the artistry of the odyssey has been lost, the good news is that the iPad goes in the backpack. That way they can tweet their humble ramble. Hashtag: slummingit.