(Actually 7.5 but 8 sounds better)
Often we meet other travellers who ask us “so what’s it like travelling for this long, any secrets?” This trip has definitely been a different experience from our typically shorter holidays. Which prompted me to write this blog post. Obviously everyone knows what works for them in the travel department (and each to their own), but here are my thoughts on why this trip has been a success for us.
1. Plan an itinerary that allows you to “stop”. Or, feel okay about having a day to just do nothing. You can’t be a typical tourist all day every day, and sometimes being a tourist is all about sitting in a park with a good book or at a cafe with a deck of cards (this was us all over the world). We had a pretty relaxed time in Nashville because we knew New York City was going to be busy. It was so convenient having cities along the way where we could just chill out without the guilt of feeling like we are ‘missing out’.
2. Savvy transport – we have barely caught any taxis over the past 8months! Walking to our accommodation kept our fitness (slightly) in check and getting local buses provided a more authentic experience, reinforcing our sense of adventure! We have learnt that travelling the world can be surprisingly affordable. This is a sure way to cut costs.
3. We took the time to pick accommodation we would enjoy spending time at. We booked lots of places in advance before we left NZ which meant we could take our time comparing prices, locations and amenities. With no actual home for 8 months, It was always so nice arriving in a place and feeling happy to be staying there. We have got some banger places through Air BnB and cheap deals and perks being regulars on booking.com!
4. Blog post searches on google always give out of the ordinary ideas on places to go to that aren’t all over Tripadvisor. You can find some gems through someone else’s travel blog (whether it’s food or what to see). I also use Instagram hashtags a lot for this too! It just takes a bit more scroll time but it’s well worth it!
5. Francis owns this tip of success along with many of you I am sure…Google maps. We haven’t got ourselves lost during the whole 8 months, which I think is pretty amazing! I know how glamorous it sounds to say “we got lost in Venice”, but google maps was soooooo insanely helpful all over the world, Venice included! Download the map and use the offline GPS (not available in every country). Francis will also “star” points of interest in a new city so we are ready to go. This 2 steps ahead mind set has ensured we are organised and onto it with our travel adventures.
6. Expectations in check! I approach every new place with a positive attitude however I always like to have reasonable expectations, then you’re always happy! We were in the middle of nowhere in Bolivia on a 3 day tour and another couple got mad at the guide that there were no hot showers. To be honest I didn’t even expect access to showers over these three days, so for us, when he said that there were showers we thought, great! Every public toilet in South America and South East Asia, I walk into expecting the worst. I think this helped me to not feel too put off by the toilets I have used, and instead, somewhat delighted!
7. Never settle. There have been restaurants we go into, sit down, both give each other a look, then politely leave. Sometimes a place just isn’t right and for me, it’s all about the good vibes! Having good food in the right environment is important to us and we never want a meal to go to waste. Food is how we experience the culture. These three dinners were a product of us walking out of a restaurant and finding something better (see below). They were 100% worth it!
8. Embrace good weather. We have been really lucky with the weather we have had during our trip. BUT, there has been the occasional situation where we have been caught out by putting an activity off for a day or two. For example…Rio, Brazil. We spent our first day soaking up the sun on the beach. Life was great. The following days were all pretty cloudy and we didn’t end up going to the Sugar Loaf because of this, which is something we were pretty keen to do. We only just made it to Christ the Redeemer before our flight out of Rio to London! So this is something we learnt quick. In saying that, we made a similar mistake on Zakynthos Island, Greece. So take it from me. If it’s sunny and you have something you want to do that depends on good weather, do it. Do not delay!
Day one on the beach in Rio, we could see the Sugar Loaf mountain as we sipped on caipirinhas. On day 2, 3, 4, and 5 it is hiding!
If you have any future travels coming up, I hope this gave you something to think about or that you simply enjoyed the read.