From Glampacker to Poorpacker



5 star hotel. Breakfast buffets. Free flowing Starbucks coffee. 

Does that sound like a backpacker’s life to you? I choked on the mint leaf from my evian when I think about how, just a few months earlier, I was backpacking through India and Southeast Asia on $15/day- the cost of a bowl soup of at my hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I know.

Fruit Platter

I’m living a double life.

Some of you may know that I was given the opportunity to attend a course on becoming a Passion Test facilitator. I got to stay at the hotel where the course was being held. But I had to pay for other expenses like food, internet ($10/day), drinks and even cable cover. Now I won’t ramble on about that here, but you can check out my newly launched blog to get the details.

Water Cooler

So here I am in this swanky hotel where they serve fruits and vegetables along with your cold water. Invisible people fluff your pillow and make sure you don’t use the same towels 5 days straight. You even get a coffee machine in your room!

Others may get used to this. But I feel like I’m in Pleasantville where everything is pleasantly fake and outrageously expensive. I tried clicking my bright red flip flops: There’s no place like India… there’s no place like India.

Tom Bihn Tri-Star Travel Bag
Using my new Tom Binh Tri-Star backpack
So here are a few neat tricks I’ve done in order to survive as a poorpacker in a glampacker’s overpriced world:

-The nice lady at reception gave me some breakfast buffet vouchers. I would sneak off with a plate piled high with bagels, fruit and pancakes each morning.

Total savings: $30

-Walk to the closest gas station or supermarket to get grocery items. Imagine yourself walking along the freeway carrying 2 bags of groceries for 2 miles. That’s how “close” the Citgo was to my hotel. I got milk, cereal, canned beans and tuna, bread and fruit- all for $15!

Total Savings: $70

-We had power lunch sessions that I couldn’t miss. So I always got the cheapest item on the menu and ordered a $2 bowl of rice to go with that. The portions were pretty big, so I would half it and ask for a takeaway box. Save some for dinner!

Total savings: $25/day

And so today my short lived adventure in a glampacker’s world has come to an end. I leave you with this:

Overnight stay at Sheraton Hotel in Fort Lauderdale: $169
Overnight stay at the Fort Lauderdale Airport: $0
Getting my poorpacker’s groove back:  Priceless.

Sleeping at the airport
Photo Credit: Travelin' Librarian 
See you in some airport somewehere,
Sole Sister Lois

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22 Responses so far.

  1. Regin Reyno says:

    Wow.. I can relate to this post. Thanks Lois for sharing.

  2. RV Escatron says:

    good value for money indeed...
    ...and the experience being mentored with a best-selling and inspirational author is priceless. happy travels~

  3. once a poorpacker, always a poorpacker. mabuhay ka! lol.

  4. Wawan says:

    I agree Lois. I am now here in Japan. Very expensive. Groceries, Transpo, even a haircut! I walk a lot these days to save on expensive cab rides and city buses. I will tell you more about it when I find time to post it on my blog. See you around. :)

  5. Untiedescape16 says:

    A smart poorpacker is better than the other. Nice share! :)

  6. Richelle Macapagal says:

    I bring ziplocs and assemble sandwiches at the breakfast buffet. Then i grab at least 2 pcs of fruit (usually an apple and a banana) and a cup of yogurt, then I'm all set for the day :)

  7. dong ho says:

    it takes a smart poorpacker to enjoy trips at its cheapest yet still experience at its best.

  8. I can totally relate! When I was a poor student abroad, I would take fruits and sandwiches back to my dorm room as "baon" hehe. Beats eating pizza or subs. I also survived several days on ramen/instant noodles because the cafeteria only opened on the day classes started. I bought the noodles for like $5 for a huge pack at Sam's Club.

  9. grasya says:

    love it ^_^

  10. this is hilarious but insightful. I love the way Lois, that you save up enough funds to last throughout your stay. Well, what else could we expect in the US of A when everything, is as expensive as a glam but hey, you got to live it to share to us, so it is what is best for being there. You leave us inspired and that is one reason you are given the chance to see through it and write about it too. 

    see you on the road! 

  11. Solesisters Weare says:

    So glad this post connected with you, Regin. Please write about your stories on your blog and share it with us!

  12. Solesisters Weare says:

    Thanks RV, you know as poorpackers, we have to get really creative. At least it was a great laugh- after!

  13. Solesisters Weare says:

    oh yes, paul. in whichever country I'm in...

  14. Solesisters Weare says:

    Oh I love those stories Wawan! Do share. I remember living in NY and hating having to pay the $30 for a pedicure! I would even get a dry haircut just to save money. You can imagine the results were disastrous. Okay, you got me started... ;-)

  15. Solesisters Weare says:

    Oh yes, I even had some money left to pay for expensive Broadway tickets :-)

  16. Solesisters Weare says:

    I absolutely agree! 

  17. Solesisters Weare says:

    Now that's a great tip Richelle, next time I'll be better as a buffet bandit. I have to admit, working in pairs or in group works better...

  18. Solesisters Weare says:

    I love that you can relate Dom! Totally agree with you!

  19. Solesisters Weare says:

    Makes me realize that I never stopped being the poor student haha. Thanks for sharing Yols! Sams Club is great!

  20. Solesisters Weare says:

    Thanks Grace!

  21. Solesisters Weare says:

    Awww thanks Doc Wends, glad you were entertained by my story. The funny thing is, I do enjoy not having a luxurious life. I love being creative and resourceful with my trips. Thanks for sharing a thoughtful comment!

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