We just wrapped up a two week stay in southern Spain. Our days were filled with puppy kisses, long breakfasts, and nightly sunsets over a stunning view. The best part? All of it was free, thanks to house sitting. If you’re wondering how we scored such an awesome place on a travelers budget, and are interested in learning how to get free housing, read on!
What is House Sitting?
For many travelers, finding affordable accommodation can be difficult. Staying in hostels and using websites like Airbnb and HostelWorld can certainly lower the cost of accommodation abroad, but for those looking for free housing, there’s another option: housesitting.
We signed up with Trusted House Sitters at the beginning of our trip, and have used it several times throughout our European travels. The setup is simple: Home owners who plan to be away for an extended period of time list their home on a house sitting website, and travelers who need a place to stay apply for the job. Home sits vary in responsibilities but typically include locking up the house each night, maintaining the landscape of yards, and caring for any pets that homeowners have. In exchange for looking after a house, travelers receive free housing.
How Does it Work?
To apply for a house sit, travelers should first choose which site they’d like to go with. There a number of options at the bottom of this post that have good reputations, and we personally use Trusted House Sitters. Most house sitting websites have an initial sign up fee, but this pays for itself after two to three nights of house sitting, and is well worth the cost.
After signing up, fill in all the applicable profile details to show home owners who you are and what you can offer. If you have anyone willing to write you a review from previous experience, this is very helpful and should be added as soon as possible.
Once your profile is live, start applying for house sits! Make sure that each email is unique and clearly says who you are, what you can offer to the particular sit, and what experience you have that makes you the perfect fit. If it helps, think of each message like a job application. We’ve included additional tips and tricks to land your first sit below.
Landing Your First House Sit
1. Sign Up For Emails and Apply Quickly
When you sign up, allow Trusted House Sitters, (or related site) to send you daily emails. These emails contain the most recently posted house sits, and you should apply for any that suit you immediately. Most house sitters choose their sitter out of the first few people that apply, so it’s important to have your profile in that bunch.
2. Be Flexible
When it comes to applying for house sits in a certain location, it helps to be flexible. Most house sits aren’t in major cities, and the ones that are go incredibly fast. Try to be flexible with your location preferences to open a wider net of potential sits.
3. Practice Email Etiquette
Email etiquette is important, as this is the only impression outside of your profile that potential hosts will get of you before a Skype call. Double check for spelling and grammatical errors, include the names of the home owners and their pets in the email, and let your personality shine through in your writing. Imagine you are in a home owner’s shoes, about to leave your pets with a stranger. What would you want to see in an application message?
4. Have References
Having references on your profile boosts your chances of getting chosen immensely. Users gain references by completing house sits and having hosts write reviews for them on their profile. If you’re trying to get your first sit and find yourself getting declined even after following the rest of the above steps, try to get a reference another way. Most sites allow people to ask references about your work ethic, character, or past home and pet sitting experience outside of the platform. When we signed up, we asked our neighbor, whose dog we had watched several times, to write a review about our ability to care for pets. This review was enough to land our first house sit, and we’ve had no troubles since.
Which Site Should I Sign Up For?
The sites below are some of the best house sitting sites out there. Each of these sites has testimonials from travelers, and a decent variety of sits. Take a look and find one that suits you best.
- World wide, most house sits are in the United States, Europe, and Australia.
- Same cost for both home owners and sitters ($75 for 3 months, $120 for one year)
- Take 20% off with this code
2. House Carers
- World wide, most house sits are in the United States and Europe
- Free for home owners, $50 per year for sitters
- Smaller house sitting database, most house sits in the United States and Europe
- Free for home owners, $20 per year for sitters
- Primarily caters to European House Sits
- Free for home owners, has two membership levels (£35 and £75) per year for sitters
- Caters to United States House Sits
- Free for home owners, $30 per year to be a sitter
- Caters to Australian House Sits
- Free for home owners, $65 per year to be a sitter
- For luxury listings, smaller database
- Free for home owners, $25 per year for sitters
House sitting is a great way to get free housing while exploring new places. It allows you to meet new people, see places you may not have otherwise, and often times, cuddle and play with adorable pets. Regardless of your motivation, house sitting is an experience worth looking into!
Some of the above links are affiliate links. This means that we make a small commission if you choose to sign up after clicking on some of the links in this post, at no extra cost to you.
Every traveler packs a little differently, but most travelers need some sort of travel makeup bag in their pack. We posted a robust packing list already, but didn’t delve into what female travelers should pack in a makeup bag. Packing light is hard, and I struggled to find posts on what to bring when I initially packed for my trip. Now, I travel with a small sized packing cube that I keep all of my “girl stuff” in, and know what my must-have items are. Here’s what I brought on my round-the-world adventure, and what I regretted not packing.
1. Ponds Face Cream
Keeping healthy skin is very important to me, and I’m sure to many other women. I’ve used Pond’s face cream for years and re-packaged a large tub of it into 100ml tubes for this trip. TSA compliant!
2. Norwex Face Towel
This was a christmas gift from my Mom and an item that I use every day. Norwex is a product line aimed reducing chemicals in the home. Their towels have microfibers in them, which pick up dirt much better than regular towels. In a pinch, you can even use these without soap; the fibers will grab the dirt from your face!
3. Vaseline or Chap Stick
I always carry some mini cocoa butter vaseline cubes with me, and they’re great for travel because of their size. Carmex lip balm also does the trick to keep lips from cracking, and both of these items are so small that you can easily fit them in a travel makeup bag.
4. Acne Remover
Particularly in hot climates, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent breakouts. Though drinking enough water, eating well, and washing your face every day helps, sometimes skin just has a mind of its own. For breakout situations, I carry one small tube of Clean and Clear topical gel to put on my face at night. Though it’s a strong solution, it clears most problem areas up by the next morning.
I didn’t bring q-tips initially and regretted it every time I had water in my ears after a shower. Luckily, they’re an incredibly common product and super cheap, so you can buy them pretty much anywhere. I put a handful in a plastic ziplock and keep them in my travel makeup bag.
6. Foot Exfoliator
This is another item that I neglected to bring and had a hard time finding later in a compact size. Travelers walk a lot, and there’s no helping the dirt and dead skin that’s bound to accumulate. Having a small exfoliator makes the hugest difference in how your feet feel, and makes the beach more fun!
7. Deodorant, Toothbrush, and Toothpaste
Obviously, please pack these.
The girls I’ve met while traveling all do this a bit differently. Some prefer to go au natural and just let their leg hair grow. Power to ya. I have a pet peeve of hair on my legs, so before the trip I began using the most generic razor brand possible. I’ve been able to find the same style razors around the world and keep a few in my travel makeup bag. This gets me through several months at a time, but everyone has their own preference. Find what works for you, whether it’s skipping shaving, buying disposables, or getting detachable blades.
9. Feminine Products
Again, everyone does this differently. In most countries, standard pads and tampons are easy to find, so I wouldn’t worry too much. I have met a few female travelers who swear by the Diva Cup, so if you don’t want to worry about finding products in another country, it may be worth looking into.
10. Small Travel Makeup Bag
There’s a reason I put this last. I stopped wearing makeup almost a year ago and really, you don’t need any to travel. However, there are still times where it’s nice to dress up a bit to go out, so having a few of the essentials in your travel makeup bag can be beneficial. The only products I brought with me were:
TLC Foundation – I like this foundation because it’s oil-free, doesn’t clog pores, and has light coverage
Bobbi Brown Concealer – I love all things Bobbi Brown, and all of the skin products that they make feel light and moisturizing. This corrector is good for under eye and problem spots.
Bobbi Brown Blush – Same as above, the blush from Bobbi Brown shows up very light and looks natural. The colors look much more vibrant in the case, so don’t be afraid of choosing a bright shade!
Maybelline Waterproof Mascara – I’ve used this mascara for years, and it’s great even when swimming.
NYX Nude Eye Palette – This palette rocks because you can choose a shade as light or as dark as you like and play with the palette to create different looks. I use the darker shades as eye liner as well, rather than carrying a pencil.
Lip Gloss – If you’re going to bring lip coverage, choose a darker shade. The lip balm from the list above works as a nude gloss, so I keep a darker lip gloss for when I want to dress up to go out.
With these six items I’ve been able to look ready for night out, a job interview, and every day exploring. Unless you’re a luxury or beauty traveler, makeup really isn’t a priority, and outside of the U.S and the U.K., girls don’t wear much, if any makeup anyways!
Travel quickly teaches that you don’t need much to feel well. Again, every traveler packs differently, and the most important thing to bring is what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident. My hope is that for those lost as to what to pack, this list will help make things easier, while keeping you feeling clean and pampered on the road.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you purchase any of the items from a link in this post, we get a small commission to help keep this blog running at no extra cost to you.
It’s been almost a year since Greg and I traded our Silicon Valley apartment for two backpacks and a pair of one way tickets. We left everything we knew and began an adventure that we knew would change our lives, but had no idea how much. Over the last eight months I’ve learned more about Greg, and he about me, than we knew was ever possible.
After spending a year and a half of our relationship doing long-distance, we thought that we’d talked through everything we could possibly talk through. Boy, were we wrong. The only thing harder than sustaining a long distance relationship is sustaining a 24/7 relationship.
We travel together, live together, explore together, and now work together. As two strong, opinionated individuals, this has not been without its struggles. Our relationship has changed and evolved and continues to do so as we travel and adapt to new ideas and surroundings. For all the traveling couples out there, we’d like to share some tips to keep things going smooth(ish) on the road.
1. Know When to Be a Best Friend
All that glitters is not gold, and all parts of travel are not watching sunrises from mountaintops. Traveling has its hardships, and having a best friend who is there no matter what is often times more helpful and beneficial than having a romantic connection. Know when to be the best friend cheering each other on and making each other laugh, and when to bring the romantic spark out.
2. Find Time For Romance
At the end of the day, though traveling is great, the relationship has to take priority. If you’re determined that you’re traveling with your forever person, your relationship needs to come before everything else. Make time for date nights once in a while, and don’t forget about the little things throughout the day; they make the biggest differences.
3. Apologize Often
When spending every single day with any person, whether it be a significant other, family member, or friend, eventually you’re going to step on each others toes. Greg and I have both had our fair share of moments when we said some things we shouldn’t have, or picked an argument that was pointless. Always remember to apologize and forgive as quickly as possible while still being genuine so you can move on and enjoy the rest of your day. We’re only human after all!
4. Eat Often
If I had a dime for how many arguments were started because one of us was hungry, tired, hot, or sore from carrying our backpacks, I’d buy a really big cup of cocoa. It’s never a good idea to argue or have an important conversation when one party is not on their ‘A-game’, so carry snacks and try to have big conversations after a nice meal.
5. Establish a Piece of Home
Whether traveling as a couple, solo, or in a group, there are going to be times that are difficult. Everybody misses home or the idea of home at some point, so establishing a sense of home in some small way can make the biggest difference.
When Greg and I travel, I bring store bought coffee grounds and make a cup for both of us every day. This way, no matter where we are in the world, our mornings start the same. Greg’s sense of home comes from his over-ear headphones, which was his “can’t leave without” item during packing. Having a small item or daily routine helps keep a sense of home while traveling.
6. Ask Yourself the “Is It” Questions
When frustrations arise, it’s easy to say what’s on your mind without thinking about how it may come across to the other person. After spending so much time together, couples may become too comfortable and say things on accident that are hurtful. Recently, we started working on a new thought process that’s been going well so far. Before speaking, we ask ourselves, a) Is it kind? b) Is it necessary? c) Will it add value to our relationship/project/etc? If the answer to these questions is no, don’t say it.
7. Share Common Goals
Traveling with someone who has drastically different goals than you will almost never work. Unless you find a way for your schedules and goals for travel to align, be prepared for a bumpy road. Figure out what works best for both of you in terms of when you go out, what you enjoy doing, and when you have work and relax days. Once this is established, everything will move more smoothly.
8. Find Time For Yourself
At the end of the day, everyone needs some alone time. Greg and I learned that he enjoys experiencing nightlife, while I’m more of a PJ’s and Netflix kind of girl. We balance this by having Greg go out with travelers and explore the evening scene in different countries while I get some time to relax and just ‘be’. Everyone we’ve met handles alone time differently but agrees that it’s a crucial part to traveling as a couple. Don’t be afraid to take small breaks from each other!
9. Laugh A Lot
So many absurd, frustrating, surprising, crazy, and just “out-there” moments have happened during our travels, and we quickly learned that the only thing to do is laugh about it. As soon as we learned to make fun of ourselves (and each other) when things went wrong, traveling became even more fun. Take a breath, get some perspective, and just laugh!
10. Make New Friends
Whenever we meet other people traveling as a couple, Greg and I throw a mini geek fest. Making friends on the road is one of the coolest parts of travel, because you get to have a first hand look and fresh perspective into someone else’s way of living.
For those traveling as a couple, meeting other couple travelers is even better because of how many things you have in common right off the bat. It also gives you both space to hang out with someone new on your own. Don’t be afraid to attend events, walking tours, or online groups to meet new people on the road.
11. Never Stop Trying
Greg is a wise man, and my favorite belief that he holds, and that I share, is that any relationship can succeed if both parties commit to keep trying. This means from day one, both people are doing everything they can to be the best partner they can be. Both parties go out of their way to make the other smile, and both people never, ever stop trying, even when they’re mad, sad, upset, or hurt.
Even through our toughest times, which we’ve certainly had, Greg and I always come back to this point and it’s a big part of what has kept us going the last 4+ years.
12. Remember Why You Started
At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong way to travel. There’s no blogger, traveler, YouTuber, or luxury vacationer who does it “better” than anyone else. Never forget that initial pull to see and experience the world, and how buying that first plane ticket was the best feeling in a long time. Remember why you decided to travel, and keep going until it feels right to come home.
Traveling as a couple is not easy. It tests relationships in ways I never thought possible and both parties need to be fully committed to making it work and embracing change. Traveling as a couple requires patience, forgiveness, and an understanding that travel changes everyone in different ways.
For those who can talk through the issues, forgive the mistakes, and make the most of the reality of life on the road, traveling together can change your relationship in so many positive ways and you’ll become a stronger couple than when you left home.
Choosing to embark on a long-term trip is a big decision. There are many sacrifices and compromises that come with extended travel, but there are also many amazing reasons why it’s worth it. Here’s our list of the top reasons to travel.
1. Bucket Listing
Travel is a great way to knock things off your bucket list. Not only does travel allow you to explore new places, but it also gives you the time to learn new skills and try new things, which is what bucket listing is for in the first place.
2. Meet New People
Even those who are solo traveling will tell would-be travelers that you’re never truly alone if you don’t want to be. From meeting other travelers at hostels to enjoying meals with locals, the wide array of people you meet will impact your trip and your overall outlook on the world.
3. Learn a New Language
The best way to learn language is to immerse yourself in it. By going to a country where the language is spoken and read every day, you’ll have far more opportunities to practice. Learning a new language can help in countless ways down the line whether you choose to continue traveling or use it in a new job.
4. Choose the Season
Tired of waiting all year for summer? With extended travel, no worries! Just switch locations to chase summer and follow a warm weather pattern.
5. Eat New Foods
It’s possible to travel around the world and eat noodles and chicken nuggets every day, but there are far more delicious dishes to try! Every country and city has a unique cuisine and your food palette will grow exponentially the more you try local foods.
6. Wake Up to A Perfect View
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side…until it is. One of the beautiful reasons to travel is having the ability to wake up anywhere you want. Whether it’s ocean views, mountain views, or big city vibes that you’re searching for – traveling has endless opportunities for amazing places to wake up to.
7. Stay Active Without Even Trying
Traveling isn’t for the lazy. Even if you take taxi’s and metro’s in every city, you’ll still end up doing a ton of walking. Traveling forces people to get up, get out, and stay active, whether you’re exploring a city or hiking to that perfect view.
8. Learn to Budget
For most people, traveling long-term means budget traveling. Learning to set and stick to a budget is a valuable skill that you can use for the rest of your life. We recommend downloading an app like Mint to get started.
9. Test Your Comfort Zone
Long term travel pushes people out of their comfort zone. This is one of our top reasons to travel because of all the opportunities that come from being unsure of what the next step is. Travel will make you test yourself and expand the your comfort zone.
10. Get A Fresh Start
Life isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t always work out the way we’d like it to. Whenever you need a fresh start, travel will be there. Travel provides a healthy outlet to start over, gain some time to think, and reestablish what your priorities and passions are.
11. Prove You Can
Confidence can be hard to grow, but is a valuable asset to have. For those who struggle to reassure themselves, travel may be a solution. Successfully navigating a different country that doesn’t speak your language can instill a sense of “I can do this” that can in turn give you a boost to try, and succeed at other things.
12. Catch Pokemon
While I personally do not understand why this game is so popular, it has been requested that I include it in the reasons to travel list. Traveling gives ample opportunity to walk around and catch Pokemon, so gamers, don’t forget your data plan.
13. Gain Perspective
The view of other people and places changes when the country next to you at the moment gets bombed. New habits form after seeing how people conserve food and water out of necessity. Finance takes a whole new meaning after meeting someone who lives off a tenth of your salary. Travel puts life into perspective in a way that’s not easily found elsewhere and provides a new sense of understanding.
14. Have Amazing Stories
There’s no doubt about it, traveling produces some amazing stories. Whether they’re crazy, funny, sad, or exciting, anyone who travels long term will come home with a repertoire of stories to hold close and share for the rest of their lives.
There are countless more reasons to travel, and everyone’s adventure will be different. Extended travel is a big decision, but we haven’t met anyone who’s traveled and regretted their choice. We hope that this list helps to inspire others who are hesitating to take the leap and try something new. If you’re still unsure whether travel is right for you, take our travel quiz to find out!
Traveling the world is a fantastic. Every day we get to meet new people, see new places, and learn new things. However, there are some down sides to long term travel that would-be travelers should know before considering a long term travel lifestyle.
1. Carrying Backpacks
This is right at the top of our list of the worst part of travel. Carrying backpacks to and from destinations is never fun, and at times is downright maddening. We’ve been stuck walking to the train station in pouring rain and sweltering heat. More than once, we’ve forgotten things and had to lug all of our packs back to our accommodation. We’ve had back pain, shoulder pain, and blistered feet from carrying heavy loads, and that’s with only carryon sized bags. Unless you’ve allocated a budget to take taxi’s to stations, carrying a backpack long distances is one of the worst parts of travel.
2. Getting Sick
There’s no getting around it, travel will make you sick. It will break down your body, test your mind, and expose you to a whole range of germs that you wouldn’t have met at home. Being sick on the road is not a fun experience but is an aspect that comes with long term travel.
3. Sleeping in Hostels
Sleeping in bunkbeds is never fun, but Airbnb’s aren’t the cheapest or best option in every city, even though we wish they were! This means that some, or most nights are spent sleeping in hostel rooms with 4 to 20 other people. It’s highly probable that someone in the room is a snorer, so make sure to pack earplugs to avoid sleepless nights.
4. Daily Goodbyes
Meeting new people and making new friends is one of the best parts of travel. Learning about other people’s values, beliefs, and culture makes you a more worldly citizen, but it also means saying goodbye. Over and over and over again. After a while, it becomes difficult to have so many relationships short-lived.
5. Lack Of Constant Community
When talking about the worst part of travel, not having a constant community is right up there with saying goodbye. It’s easy to take friends, family, and even neighbors for granted when you’re living in one place and seeing them often. Traveling makes staying in touch hard on all parties, and it’s likely that your social circle will extend to you, any travel companions, and your close family members.
People say travel is a great way to “find yourself” and this is true. However, the reason finding oneself is possible is because of the amount of time you have to just “be”. At first this can be a blessing, but after some time it’s easy to become lonely. Even surrounded by other, like-minded travelers it can be hard to connect in a meaningful way and get out of your own head.
7. Missing Out on Celebrations
For most long term travelers, flying home every time there is a birth, wedding, holiday, or even funeral isn’t always realistic. Flights can be costly and the reality is that certain life events will get missed during your travels. Sure, you can always send a card and “be there” over Skype, but it isn’t the same as spending time with your loved ones. This is one of the worst parts about travel and is a tough realization to come to terms with.
Is Long Term Travel Still Worth It?
It’s important to note that though this post is a compilation of the downsides of travel, it in no way undermines all of the amazing parts of travel. For every negative there are countless positives, and often the negative experiences make the best stories. Be aware of the less glamorous parts of travel before you decide to plan a world trip, but appreciate every moment. After all, the absolute worst part of travel is missing it when it’s over.
Let’s be clear: traveling with your significant other isn’t always as amazing as it sounds. Sure, you make countless memories together, are with each other for all the ups and downs, and know each other better than anyone else. But, there are times when traveling with your significant other is incredibly difficult.
Traveling with another person means true, 24/7 contact. You take transportation together, explore together, relax in together, and maybe even work together. That much togetherness can get exhausting quickly, and it can be easy to take out frustrations on your partner. However, there are ways to adapt in order to have a more harmonious trip as well as strengthen your relationship. The five tips below contain a few suggestions on how to travel the world as a couple.
Tip 1: Alone Time is Okay
This is tip number one for a reason. Even couples that live together don’t typically spend 24/7 together, so it’s important to schedule out time for yourselves to stay sane. Whether one person explores with another fellow traveler while the other has a Netflix day or whether you work in different rooms of an Airbnb to get some breathing space, taking time to recharge alone will help both parties appreciate each other’s presence more.
Tip 2: Remember the HALT Rule
My mother taught me this rule and it’s true what they say: mom’s know everything. HALT stands for ‘hungry’, ‘angry’, ‘lonely’, ‘tired’. If you or your significant other are feeling any of these things, don’t engage in an argument or debate. Solve the HALT issues first, and then see if it’s still a discussion worth having.
Tip 3: Communicate
Once the HALT factors are solved for, make sure to remember to communicate clearly with your partner. This includes sharing the joys, excitement, fears, and failures openly with each other and never forcing one person to play a guessing game of what the other person is thinking or feeling.
This also means communicating in a way that resonates with the other person. Knowing your partner’s love language and preferred communication styles can prevent many problems before they even arise. The more that issues or potential issues are talked about and worked towards together, the more peaceful and loving the relationship will be.
Tip 4: Share Responsibilities
Traveling the world alone is hard enough, and though there are many great reasons to travel the world as a couple, there are also many additional challenges. It’s important to share the workload equally so that no one party feels like they are pulling more weight than another, and no one party feels a lack of purpose.
The best way we found to to this is to write down all of the daily and weekly tasks that need to be accomplished (blogging, video recording, planning transportation, planning itineraries in cities, brand connections, making money, etc.) and then divide them up equally, or in a way that works best for you as a couple. Having an equal workload can help to increase understanding between couples as well as make each person feel like what they contribute is valuable.
Tip 5: Don’t Take Your Partner for Granted
This last tip is so crucial and yet so easy to fall into a habit of. It’s not easy spending so much time with the same person, but if you can sustain long term, or even short term travel together, then you’ll be that much stronger for any other obstacle that comes in life. A huge part of making it all work is appreciating the things that your partner does and letting them know that.
Whether it’s little things like her making coffee and breakfast every morning or big things like him staying up late to finish projects, let your partner know that they are appreciated. Likely, you’re the only one they’re hearing it from on the road which makes it all the more important.
These tips aren’t everything that goes into making a relationship work on the road, but they’re a good start for those wanting to travel the world as a couple. Have any couple’s travel tips? Comment below!
Last week Greg and I announced that we intend to travel for 1,000 days on our vlog. We left a corporate lifestyle behind last December and have been on the road for almost seven months now. I wrote about why we left in this post, but at that time we had planned a six month to one year trip. Two months into our journey, we knew that we would be traveling for much longer.
Initially, we were traveling to a new city every week. We covered a lot of ground, but we were exhausted. From writing for this website, to filming vlogs, to worrying about our budget, we barely had enough time to see anything. So, we changed our strategy and started to travel slower. Spending ten days to two weeks in a city gives us enough time to work, explore, rest, and plan ahead. We’ll continue to travel this way to better explore each place we visit.
The result of this is that we won’t see everything we’d like in a year. It just isn’t possible to do with our travel style. It’s not possible to do in 1,000 days of travel either, but our goal isn’t to see every country. We travel to experience and understand other lifestyles around the world while sharing what we learn with others and making an impact where we can.
It has become more and more apparent that problems arise when people don’t make an effort to understand other cultures. Stereotypes, biases, and superiority complexes form that can cause devastating problems as time goes on.
As a race, diversity should be a strength that we value, not something that we fear and shy away from. Travel helps break down barriers and strengthen our common goals as humans. The more places we visit the more we realize that although the world is complex, at the core we’re all the same. We all have goals, dreams, wants, and needs. We all require food, shelter, love, and purpose. Traveling has taught us so much in a short time, and we’re eager to continue learning.
1,000 days of travel will be difficult. It has and will continue to test our relationship, our resolve, our patience, and our health. We will need to be creative in how we travel, frugal with our budget, and kind to each other. In the long run, Greg and I will be stronger individuals from this experience as well as a stronger couple.
For those who still think that three years on the road is too long, here’s another way to look at it. In September 2018, Greg and I will hit our 1,000 days of travel goal. At this time, we will be 25 years old. We will likely have been to every continent, and we’ll have seen about 40 different countries. We will have self-planned and self-funded almost three years of travel on our own, and learned more about our world in those three years than most do in a lifetime.
To me, that seems like a pretty good investment in my future. At 25 years old, it certainly won’t be too late for either of us to re-enter the lifestyle we were pursuing before we left either.
1,000 days of travel is something that we thought about and planned for months. Most importantly, Greg and I have both found something that we’re passionate about, fulfilling our initial purpose for traveling. As always, we’re so thankful for the support so far, and look forward to what the future holds.
If anyone is planning to travel soon, check out where we are and send us a message to meet!
Anyone who is planning a trip longer than a few weeks will want to pack differently than if they were going on a standard vacation. Living out of your backpack long term is much different than packing a big suitcase for a short trip. Depending on what type of travel you plan to do, your travel packing list will vary in content. Below is our suggested travel packing list for long term round-the-world travel with a carryon sized (40-50L) backpack.
No matter how long you plan to travel for, you really don’t need much more than a week to 10 days worth of clothes. The trick is to pack items that you can mix and match to create a large variety of outfits. When choosing clothes, try to pack things that roll up small. This way, you can pack more items and have more outfit choices on the road.
You’ll want to pack a small med kit to have minor emergency items on hand. Everyone’s med kit will be slightly different, so pack what you think you’ll need most. Below are some suggestions of common medicines to include. We suggest only packing small amounts of standard medicines, and if you get sick buy the medicine you need in whatever country you’re in at a pharmacy or drug store.
Again, your travel packing list for a bathroom kit will vary hugely depending on what your skin and hair care routine is. The best suggestion we can give to save space in your pack is to be as low maintenance as possible. Below are the items we suggest and use when traveling, but you can tailor it and substitute them out to fit your own needs. Don’t forget that most products can be found all over the world, so unless you have a very specialized product that you can’t live without, standard bathroom items can easily be purchased.
There are some standard electronic items you’ll want to have with you, and some you’ll only need if you plan to photograph or video record extensively. Check out our post on the Top 8 Electronic Items for Travel for a more in depth review of the products below and links to our favorite travel electronics.
Now that you have an idea of what to pack, here are some tips on how to fit everything into your bag.
1. Roll your clothes instead of folding them
Rolling clothes instead of folding them will save tons of space in your bag. Almost every full time traveler we know packs this way – for a reason!
2. Use packing cubes
Packing cubes are the holy grail of things to have on a travel packing list. By putting your clothes and other items in cubes, not only does your backpack stay organized, but you can fit much more into your pack. We use and love these Ebags packing cubes.
Tip: Order a few sizes and experiment to see what fits best in your bag. When you pack, bring an extra cube or two – it can come in handy down the line for laundry, souvenirs, etc.
3. Lay out everything you plan to pack, then cut back
Before you put things into your backpack or suitcase, lay everything that you plan to bring out. Then start removing items that you don’t really need. When we first packed for our trip we had almost double of what we ended up bringing with us. Your back will thank you later!
4. Choose your backpack first
The best way to avoid overpacking is to not even give yourself the option. We bought our bags* before we even made a packing list, so that when it came time to pack we were limited to those constraints. We have no regrets using this approach and have never needed more space.
Tortura Backpack 44 (Greg’s backpack)
Osprey Farpoint 40 (Sara’s backpack)
We hope that this packing list was helpful, and if there are any items you love that aren’t in this list, we’d love to hear them! Comment below your must-have items for a world trip.
We’ve all been there before. You’ve booked your travels, perhaps even arrived in your destination, but aren’t sure what the best things to do are. Asking the hotel or hostel reception for tips will usually get you to the top touristy places, but experiencing more than that requires a bit of planning and research. This can seem like a time-consuming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below are my top tips on how to plan amazing things to do in any city.
Step 1: Pinterest is Your Friend
Yes, you read that right. Pinterest has more benefits than just photos of cute puppies and awesome recipes. Over the last few years their search function has dramatically improved and their content pool has grown. Type ‘things to do in’ followed by your destination of choice and you’ll see hundreds of pins. Many of those pins link to lists of things to do in any city you search for. Either save these pins to a board or pick your favorites and proceed to step 2. For a head start on this step, check out our Pinterest page to see our saved activities.
Step 2: Make A Foursquare Account
I never understood the use or purpose of Foursquare until I started traveling. Now, it’s a website and app that I use every week. Foursquare allows you to make lists of any kind, so make a list of whatever destination you’re heading to. Then, type in all those fun activities you found on Pinterest and save them to your list. Foursquare will place everything on a convenient map that will be used in step 4. Foursquare also has its own database of things to do in any city that you search for, though I find Pinterest’s variety to be larger.
Step 3: Use Google Search
Just to make sure that you have all of your options on the table, do one last search on Google for ‘top things to do in’ followed by your destination city. Not all travelers use social platforms like Pinterest Foursquare, or tripadvisor.com, and there have been several times that I’ve found some great hidden gems from travel posts by searching on Google. This is also a great time to check out the tourism website for your destination, as they often have deals on activities. Add any of your findings to the Foursquare list and proceed to step 4.
Step 4: Use Your Calendar
Time is the most precious asset you have during a trip, and too many people waste it carting back and forth between attractions. Head over to Foursquare and take a look at your completed map of your destination list. There should be dropped pins of all the things you’d like to see during your trip. Zoom in to a particular area and add items that are close together to your calendar on a specific day. Repeat this process until all of the pins are in your calendar, with three to six items per calendar day, depending on how long they take.
There are several benefits to doing this last step. The first is the obvious; it saves time. If all of your attractions are in one area of a city, you have more time to spend at each of them and less of a commute. The other advantage is that this approach will save you money on transportation. By doing activities that are physically close together, you may not even need to buy metro or bus tickets outside of getting to the first stop that day.
For budget travelers, this could stretch to the point of getting cheaper accommodation outside of the city center since you’d save money on daily transport while you’re out exploring.
Step 5: Explore
While having a plan ensures that you see everything you can during your trip, don’t be afraid to get lost and do things off the beaten path. Some of our favorite memories are from unexpected moments, so remember to relax and leave time to just wander.
The whole planning process should only take 30 minutes to an hour to complete, and will save you so much more time than that over the course of your trip. With the tools above, you’ll be well on your way to easily finding the top things to do in any city. For even more things to do, check out our Destinations page. What are your favorite trip planning tips?