Analysing the ‘flashpacker’


According to a new poll from Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF), Australian millennials are spending more on their summer trips than any other demographic. The survey, undertaken on TTF’s behalf by pollster Nielsen, found that nearly a quarter (21 per cent) of Australian travellers aged between 18 and 24 plan to spend anything between AU$2,000 and $5,000 on a summer holiday, compared to 13 per cent of those aged 65 and over, and just eight per cent of those aged between 45 and 64. Not worrying figures in and of themselves; but when one takes into account a 2016 study from the Insurance Council of Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which found that 15 per cent of this millennial demographic are unlikely to take out travel insurance for the trips – while at the same time being 74 per cent more likely than other demographics to engage in ‘risky behaviour’ while overseas – a slightly more concerning picture emerges.

“The days of young people travelling with little more than the shirts on their back are well and truly over,” commented Margy Osmond, Chief Executive of TTF. “What we are seeing is the rise of the ‘flashpacker’ – young travellers who have a relatively high disposable income and are not tied down with mortgages and other high household expenses, and who are seeing Australia and the world in a way their parents might not have. Rather than being seen as just a leisure activity, more and more young people look to be choosing to postpone a long-term savings plan by opting to take more extensive and adventurous holidays and to increasingly look to gain ‘life experiences’ such as exploring different cultures, learning languages and gaining work experience through travel.”

Presumably, those life experiences these ‘flashpackers’ are looking for do not include being marooned in another country, facing a bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars for emergency medical treatment – in which case, it might be prudent to spend a tiny fraction of that $2,000 to $5,000 summer holiday fund on a decent travel insurance policy…