The art of ‘poshpacking’: How to backpack around Asia in style
A LONG trip doesn’t have to mean lugging around ruck sacks and slumming it in hostels. Internet bookings, cheap flights, versatile luggage and a myriad of accommodation choices can mean that an extended holiday can be taken with élan rather than exhaustion.
With a few dollars in the bank, a bit of vacation time up your sleeve and some know how you can holiday in comfort (and occasional five stars) and still get off the beaten track. Here are some tips on “poshpacking”.
Do your research
Traveling with smartphones and tablets is a must and most mid-range hotels, even in far-flung places, have free WiFi. This makes it easier to stay in touch, and of course, research your next stop.
There are travel apps for everything imaginable including tripcase.com to keep all your bookings in one place. Rampant online reviewing takes the guesswork out of eating at upmarket restaurants, and even the ubiquitous Lonely Planet guides are now downloadable.
Consider hotel perks
Online travel agencies may flood with superb sleeping options but check out local booking sites at your chosen destinations too. Shelling out a bit more can save you money as mid-range places often offer freebies such as breakfast, infinite bottled water and airport transfers.
Meanwhile, house-sharing options like Airbnb not only offer longer stay discounts but also give you the opportunity to hang out in cool suburbs off-the-traveler-trail or rock up at beaches without braving the dread-locked hoards. And don’t forget to research ‘glamping’ options for safari or island stays.
Hold back on the luggage
Choose your luggage wisely. No need for rucksacks, but your three-piece Louis Vuitton ensemble, whilst handy for Hiltons, won’t get you across river rapids in Cambodia or through a Vietnamese train carriage. Go for a hybrid approach with wheels and emergency straps.
A minor investment in ‘cord tacos’ for your digital devices equals more space for another pair of shoes
Quit the cramp
Be it internal flights in Thailand, first-class sleeper trains in India, a car with a driver in Sri Lanka, or camper vans in Australia, getting from one place to another without a sore back has never been easier. Or cheaper.
Before contemplating hideous hours of sitting up by bus or locomotive do a bit of surfing and you’ll probably find a flight for a few dollars more.
For ultimate comfort, priority pass lets you use local airport lounges in 120 countries and for international hops you could even use your hard earned loyalty points for upgrades.
Don’t be scared to splurge
Poshpacking should never be grueling and treats along the way are compulsory.
Look out for five-star hotel discounts where you can top up your tan by the pool, tipple on two-for-one cocktails, stock up on designer toiletries, and pig out at the breakfast buffet (you’ll save money on lunch).
You might lose ‘proper’ traveler street cred but who can hear the critics through those designer noise-cancelling headphones?