Business-Savvy Digital Entrepreneurs ‘Disguised’ as Backpackers

If your lodging at a particular hostel is purely to save money, you’d naturally assume the same of every other guest you meet there. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Frequent travellers in particular see it as utterly stupid to pay more than what you need to pay for any aspect of travelling, including and especially accommodation. So you might have a millionaire supposedly slumming it out in the same backpackers’ you’re staying in because of your low travel budget. Or you might meet a business traveller travelling on a budget who speaks passionately about his single free night, after which he’ll be staying at a hotel.

These travellers are the exception rather than the rule. Typically, we think of backpackers as people who have very little money and must squeeze in as many cheap digs as possible in order to save cash. However, the number of millionaire “hippies” (as the travel section of the New York Times once dubbed them) has increased from less than 1% to more than 5% of backpacker bookings in the last few years. While it’s obvious these are extremely wealthy individuals, what’s less widely recognised is the change in perception of backpackers. The term was originally used as a slur to demean the lifestyles of the young and/or travelling classes; in today’s youth-obsessed culture, it’s not often used in a negative light.

Not everyone is making the same amount of money

The backpacker scene is characterised by a certain level of income disparity. Many backpackers will be travelling with family or friends; this may mean families paying for food and accommodations or even having to chip in for the flight. Similarly, someone from a corporate office might have the option to take a business class flight on a company plane, but then may have to budget for a hostel or two in order to stay on budget. With that in mind, we can look at two obvious demographic comparisons to make sense of the fact that the rich are now in the backpacker scene.

Many digital nomads run automated online businesses from which income they are able to fund their extended travels. It’s often during interactions with these types of business-savvy backpackers that you learn about how catering software in Australia pretty much demonstrates the best use of a remote setup to operate what is really a physical business.

RipplePay was one of the earliest companies to take advantage of these ideas. Founded in 2012, the company saw an opportunity to make online currency transfers more convenient by digitising paper checks for currency exchange.

The results, however, were less than stellar. The company merged with another startup and closed its doors in 2014.

Now RipplePay CEO Michael Arrington is returning to his roots to launch Ripple, a virtual currency platform and app that operates as a bank.

Ripple users can transfer money among themselves, pay merchants, and buy goods in an instant. The app also tracks transaction activity, and provides interest on deposits.

Ripple’s value proposition is simple: It’s a good way for a Bitcoin user to get the full effect of owning Bitcoin, by taking the advantages of a Bitcoin store and the security of a traditional bank account.

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