The guide to planning your next trip
Author: Kristie Kellahan
1. Take the hard line: Swap your soft luggage for a hard case. Offering more protection for your packed items, and more room for your holiday buys, hard cases are favoured by professional travellers. Available in many sizes, look for sturdy but light cases with manoeuvrable wheels. See samsonite.com.au
2. Wear the pants: Swap denim jeans for luxe bamboo pants. As comfy as pyjamas but a little more refined, bamboo lounge pants by Swedish label The White Briefs are made from 100 per cent organic Pima cotton. The relaxed, breathable fabric looks elegant and feels great, even on long flights. Pair with a crisp white T-shirt and smart loafers. See mychameleon.com.au
3. Raise a glass: In steamy climates, swap the offered glass of cookie-cutter sauvignon blanc for an icy gin and tonic or vodka soda. Ice cubes keep your drink colder longer (just make sure it's made from clean water). The quality of wine in some destinations can leave much to be desired, but a well-made cocktail satisfies.
4. Join the revolution: The digital revolution has changed the way we enjoy books, magazines and music. Swap your heavy guidebook for an online edition, listen to an audiobook read by your favourite author, and consider a digital magazine subscription (grab the latest iPad issue of Gourmet Traveller here). iPads and other digital tablets weigh next to nothing and can hold hundreds of books and magazines.
5. Use your points: Swap American Express Membership Rewards points for a host of travel benefits, including flights and upgrades from a choice of up to 10 airline partners, and premium accommodation from hotel partners. Platinum Card Members also enjoy complimentary access to over 900 VIP airport lounges worldwide. See americanexpress.com.au
6. Stay connected: Say goodbye to shocking international phone bills and swap your phone plan before you leave Australia to one tailored for travellers. Optus, for example, has a deal for $10 a day that includes standard international voice calls and limited roaming data in many frequently visited countries. See optus.com.au
7. Live like a local: Swap your hotel stay for a private apartment, villa, farm or houseboat. The sharing economy has opened up opportunities for tourists to live like locals in homes from Paris to Phuket. Do your research to find the best neighbourhoods and always book through verified channels. See onefinestay.com; airbnb.com.au; vrbo.com; myprivatevillas.com
8. All aboard: Millions of travellers around the world have swapped land-based tours and independent travel for the ease and convenience of cruising. Unpack once, leave the logistics to capable cruise directors, and wake up in a new destination each day. For those who love good value, ocean cruising is where the last-minute super deals can be found. See cruisecritic.com.au
meta: Swap your hotel and airfare searches from single
website browsing to "metasearch" engines, such as Trivago,
Skyscanner and Kayak. The site does the hard work for you, scouring
dozens of sites for the best prices and deals, then connecting you
when it's time to book. See trivago.com.au; skyscanner.com.au; kayak.com.au;
This article is presented by American Express. Go the distance with Membership Rewards.