Friday, January 22, 2010

Confession: I can't backpack

I have been reading on the web about a sort of "match" between backpackers and "luxury" travellers. First of all, I'm not sure why who doesn't travel with a backpack is seen as a luxury-traveller. I never "luxury-travel" and I never backpack, I just travel.

I think the main difference between the two "travel-types" is meant to be the amount of money someone is able/willing to spend when travelling. One of the main aspects, apart from the type of luggage, is the diference of the places travellers choose to sleep: backpackers usually prefer hostels, other travellers stay at hotels.

These two differences aside, I don't think there's any other reason for argument.

As for myself, I'm usually quite close to a broke status, so I always travel on the cheapest budget possible, however, even if I'm aware that hostels are much cheaper than hotels and B&Bs, I can't think of staying at a eight-bed dorm (I know, I'm not twenty anymore).

Also, I'm not able to backpack. Literally. First of all, most backpacks are bigger than I am; second, I don't know how to stick all my stuff in it without messing it and crumpling my clothes.

Besides, if men have invented the wheel, why do I have to carry all my stuff on my shoulders and cause myself a sure backache, when I can easily use a trolley?

Yes, I confess, I use trolleys. They are small, easy to handle, they fit comfortably in the proper space on the buses and my clothes don't come out crumpled.

In fact, another myth is that only backpackers use the public transport. When I arrived in Ireland, my choice was between the Dublin car rental and the 16A: I didn't wait for the bus only because of money issues but also because, coming from Italy, I would have surely tended to drive on the wrong side. But this is material for another post.

My tiny black trolley? It's used to buses and any kind of adventures.

12 comments:

Shannon OD said...

I think each method has their own drawbacks - the backpack and the trolley - but it really comes down to preference! Although I am sure some holier-than-though backpackers would kick you out of the club, I vote that traveler/backpacker/tourist, we're all just there to explore right?!

AngelaCorrias said...

ahahah deal! I'm wondering if there is also a trolley-club :-P

Mosher said...

Trolleys are no use on beaches! Trust me, if you ever go to somewhere like the Gili islands, you'll regret having something on wheels. Believe me, I ended up carrying my backpack and struggling with my girlfriend's wheeled case on all three islands!

Wheels + sand = lots of hard work :)

I've also seen people really struggling with wheeled items in countries with bad roads/pavement.

Oh, and not to forget the party of Korean tourists attempting to climb Fansipan in Vietnam. With all their cases. My guide couldn't believe it!

AngelaCorrias said...

Hey Mosher, thanks for your comment! I was born and spent 20 years of my life on a beach, so trust me, I know how to walk on sand ;-) And, sure, I can confirm wheels don't work.
However, for me backpacks don't work either!
I'm not going climbing with my trolley, I use trolley just for travelling, but when I undertake some hard outing I never carry all my stuff with me.
Usually I book somewhere to stay, and there's where I leave my things. After that, yes, I go out with a small backpack, VERY small and light, as I normally carry around paper, pen and camera.
Nevermind the wheels, if I carry 10 kg around all day, the morning after I can't move due to a backache!
Do you bring ALL your stuff with you whenever you go when you travel?? That's not comfortable! :-P

Mosher said...

I was backpacking for 3½ years so I did take everything! Although "everything" covered less and less as time went on and I realised what I could do without :)

Nowadays I travel with around 12kg of backpack plus a small separate daybag with netbook, reading material, writing stuff etc. I do leave most of my stuff in the hostel/hotel/wherever but I quite often move place to place on a 1-2 day schedule.

When I started travelling I was carrying nearer 30kg, which shows how much I've "slimmed down"! The one time I really had no choice was a charity walk (Monaco to Newcastle). By day 3, I was throwing stuff into a bin in one of the towns I reached because I couldn't handle the weight. I think I still ended up with around 16kg.

I couldn't understand the Korean party. It's a common climb and usually done as a 3-day/2-night excursion. All the agencies that do it offer storage for luggage in the town so that tourists only need a small bag with essentials. Watching this group of 20 or so struggling up one steep section with suitcases beggared belief!

AngelaCorrias said...

Of course I don't have my trolley when I go on such excursions, but I don't carry a backpack either: I couldn't carry 16kg on my shoulders for a whole day.
I just don't see the point to carry my stuff around, and actually, yes, I pack very light, lighter at every trip, I'm getting obsessively hypersensitive to heavy luggage: one day I might end up not bringing anything and buying all I need once at destination!
I just want to be comfortable while walking, that's why I leave everything in the hotel and use a tiny backpack.
I rarely move on a 1/2 day schedule, unless is *really* necessary, because since I'm somewhere new, I want to enjoy, absorb and soak in the culture I'm visiting as much as I can!

Mosher said...

Oh yes - I do like the "buy it when you get there" ploy! Especially with the likes of RyanAir now charging so much for baggage, you can save money by not taking a case/rucksack on the outbound flight and bringing back bargain clothing on the return.

I used to be able to sit somewhere for ages. Sadly, now I'm back at uni with a view to working next year my holidays are more compact so I do move around a bit more. I do love soaking up a culture, but I also want to see/do as much as possible. It is a difficult balance to strike.

AngelaCorrias said...

I know it's a difficult balance, that's why I've decided to work travelling :-P
I've tried to do a 9-5 job to have more stability, I went crazy after two months..
I've read about Ryanair, it's unbelievable, they just make the airport experience less and less pleasant. Well, after a couple of "jokes" they did to me, I stopped flying with them two years ago and they are doing nothing to make me change my mind!

Mosher said...

I will, if possible, never fly with them again. I got stranded in Tenerife a few months ago when the airline I was with went bust. RyanAir were offering a "special" repatriation fare of £60. I met someone who'd booked with them - her final ticket price was over £200. Plus it landed her in a minor airport a long taxi ride from the city she was actually heading back to!

AngelaCorrias said...

Terrible, typical Ryanair style. I've written a post on my misadventures with Ryanair, but honestly, I've heard so many horror stories with this airlines that mine, compare, are minor details really..
My cousin was refused to board because she had three children and she lost 700€!

Mosher said...

And I suppose you've heard about their "pay to pee" policy? I know they denied it but I'm sure they've followed that up with a "actually, we think we will..." admission.

Then there's than incredibly annoying trumpet fanfare when you land!

AngelaCorrias said...

ahahah! I've heard about the "pay to pee" policy and knowing Ryanair I'm sure it's true!
As for the trumpet, I've had the pleasure to hear it myself, such an experience!

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