Pssst. Can I let you in on a secret?
Stephen and I don’t know everything. Huge shocker, right?
Sure, we’ve lived in lots of different countries and cycled through many more. We’ve gotten lost in souks in Syria and medinas in Morocco. We’ve climbed mountains in Malaysia and eaten perogies in Poland.
Despite all this alliterated experience, there are still a million things we know nothing about when it comes to travel. So what do we do when we need info and advice on the things we don’t know? We turn to other (awesome) people who have made a life out of travel.
Here are 11 essential travel planning posts from some of our favourite travel bloggers. Required reading for anyone planning a trip.
1. How to Travel If You Have Too Many Responsibilities
by Craig and Caz of YTravel
“Don’t let your life be dictated by things that don’t bring you joy and satisfaction. Within each day, there are things that have to be done, but what can you do to minimize them? Ask yourself, what are the responsibilities you feel so burdened with? Do you really want to be doing them? Are they helping you find happiness? Are they bringing you fulfilment?”
I know for a lot of you, your responsibilities have always kept you from travel. Everyone has responsibilities and we tend to all have just as many as will fill every single minute of our time. Take a closer look and you might see that those responsibilities are just phantoms. If you think that’s nonsense, Caz and Craig’s story and their excellent advice might just change your mind.
2. How to Change the “I’m Too Poor To Travel” Mindset
by Matt of Nomadic Matt
“The only difference between those on the road and those off it is that those on it kept saying “yes” to travel instead of “I can’t.” Wake up today and say “Yes, I can travel too” and start looking for what you can do right now to make that happen. Start small. Each yes builds on itself and on the one before it.”
Don’t be fooled by his fresh young face, Matt has been almost everywhere and has a lifetime of travel experience to offer. As Matt points out in his post, the number one reason most people give for not being able to travel is money. For those of us who aren’t just out of college, our money is usually tied up in cars, mortgage payments and our long-held spending habits. Being able to afford travel all comes down to priorities. Read Matt’s post if you think saving money to travel is impossible for you.
3. How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 per year (or less)
by Nora Dunn of The Professional Hobo
“The slower you travel, the less money you’ll spend on transportation, interim accommodation (for example, between when you land in a new place and begin a house-sitting or volunteer gig), and even set-up expenses like buying groceries/staples or wear-and-tear on personal effects like luggage.”
Nora, a financial advisor in her pre-travel life, is our go-to travel blogger when we need money help. This post offers lots of ideas when it comes to keeping costs low on the road. OK, so if you’re starting from zero, $17,000 may sound like a lot, but let’s focus on the “or less” part. You can match your travel plans to your budget, making adjustments based on how much you’ll be able to save. As Nora points out in her post, it’s easy to make travel cheaper than staying home.
4. 20 Tips for Slow Travel First-Timers
by Dale & Franca of AngloItalian
“Someone once told me that they like to read books about the destinations they are going to, and they didn’t mean travel guides. Reading a novel or anything where the story is set in the place you’ll visit can increase your wanderlust more and can also help you understand the culture of that place a little better.”
Slow travel isn’t just about kilometres per hour, though there’s a lot to be said for keeping it under 20 kph on the seat of a bike! Nope, slow travel is about absorbing the true culture, choosing experiences instead of tourist traps, and doing one thing well instead of many half-heartedly. Yup, slow is beautiful and far more fulfilling than rushing from sight to sight, trying to do it all. When you’re planning a trip, keep Dale & Franca’s tips in mind!
5. Ecotourism and Responsible Travel: Useful Tips from Expert Travel Bloggers
by Ivanna and Gianni of Nomad is Beautiful
“When it comes to responsible tourism it is essential to do your research so you are sure you choose the activities and accommodation that are environmentally friendly and that don’t use people or animals as tourism attractions. We personally prefer to use home-stays if we can instead of staying in hotel chains to support the local families.”
Ecotourism and travelling responsibly is a topic dear to our hearts, as you know. To us, treading lightly as we travel is not optional. The last thing we want to do is ruin the very places we’ve travelled to see. From reducing waste, to choosing eco-friendly accommodation, and spending your money to benefit the communities you visit, these tips Nomad is Beautiful gathered from a host of travel experts are essential reading before you leave home.
6. Ultimate Road Trip Planner: Travel Checklist for a Long Car Journey
by Nienke & Nick of The Travel Tester
“When you start your road trip, you are probably on some sort of a time schedule, but having some room to breathe in your itinerary is really important, we’ve learned from our own trip. We (ok, me mostly) had planned way to much places to stop at and things to see and do, that sometimes we felt a bit rushed along the way.”
There’s something special about road trips, isn’t there? Some of our favourite travel memories have happened behind the wheel (of a large automobile). There was that time we drove in a traffic jam through Casablanca and the time we drove through a rainstorm across the Sahara and that time we put unleaded in a diesel rental car in France… ooops. There is definitely an art to road trip and I’m not so sure we’ve mastered it yet. If you’re planning a road trip, Nienke’s comprehensive guide will help you get going.
7. Why Google Flights is The Best Thing To Hit The Web Since Google
by Nick and Dariece of Goats on the Road
“Google Flights will then open a map of Europe with fares on each city, so that you can easily choose the cheapest place to fly to. All Europe travellers know that once you’re in Europe, you can fly anywhere for under $50 with airlines like Easy Jet and Ryan Air, so this feature will save a lot of time and money.”
The other day I was playing around with Google Flights and I was so stoked to see the amazing map feature. Luckily, Nick and Dariece were a little quicker on the uptake and have created a handy guide to getting the cheapest deals using Google Flights. Before you decide where you want to spend the first night of your trip, I highly recommend using the Google flights map to chop your flight costs.
8. How to Choose the Best Camera for Travel Photography
by Antonio & Amanda of The Adventure Junkies
“The more portable your camera is, the more likely you are to take it with you and use it. If you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, weight is a real concern. If you’ve ever tried to hike up a 12,000 ft mountain with a heavy camera bag, you know what I mean.”
Great travel photos are not just for showing off to your friends. When I look back through our years of travel pictures, it’s a little like a time machine. Each shot transports me right back to the moment the shutter clicked. Picking the right camera is a toughie, though. Every person wants something a little different from their camera, so the choice is personal. This post by Antonio and Amanda gives you a complete rundown (in simple, non-techy terms) of the things you need to know before you decide which camera is your perfect choice.
9. Tips For The Best Travel First Aid Kit
by Lesha & Jazza of NOMADasaurus
“It is always a good idea to have your own basic first aid kit. We never travel without one and it has come in handy in all kinds of situations. I used to volunteer with the St John’s Ambulance in Australia as an unpaid ambulance officer and learnt so much about first aid kits, skills and equipment during my time there.”
A first aid kit is one of those things you really don’t want to think about when you’re planning a trip. While it’s good not to dwell on the worst that could happen, it’s equally good to be prepared. If you don’t experience at least a few bumps and scrapes along the way, you’re probably having a boring time! In this post, Lesha lists exactly what they take along in their first aid kit and helps you decide what should go in yours. You’ll thank her the day you get your first road scrape.
10. 6 Tips to Help you Face Your Fears
by Dave & Deb of The Planet D
“Travel can inspire people to conquer their fears and face new challenges. I know that I never dreamed of jumping off a cliff or swimming in deep water before we traveled. But it was being away from home and all the obstacles that stopped me in life that helped me overcome many of my phobias and anxieties.”
Did I freak you out by talking about first aid kits? Sorry about that. Before heading out to see the world, a little fear is natural. (Actually, a LOT of fear is natural.) Don’t let fear take over when you’re travel planning. Dave and Deb have tried pretty much every scary activity you can think of (hello, swimming with whale sharks!) not because they’re super-brave super-humans, but because they figured out how keep their fears from getting in the way of their lives. Read their post to find out how to overcome your fears.
11. Where the Wild Things Are
by Dalene & Pete of Hecktic Travels
“Three male lions were stretched out just beside the road. They barely acknowledged our presence, nor the zeal of zebbies spread out around them. Further on, more lions. One male perched up on a rock a la Lion King, and another pride included one cub stretched across a dead branch. His rich fur shined in the golden hour sun.”
What does a post about the Serengeti have to do with planning a trip? Arguably, all travel planning starts with a gorgeous description of an awe-inspiring scene. You put yourself in the writer’s shoes and you know you can’t rest until you’re the one out there, having amazing experiences every day. So for sheer inspiration, this post by Hecktic Travels is sure to motivate you on your journey towards travel.
Bonus Post: 11 Travel Mistakes We Made and How to Avoid Them
by yours truly!
“Even travelling by bicycle, we weren’t able to avoid the trap of going too far, too fast. There were countless days when we pushed ourselves to exhaustion, for no particular reason, just so we could get up and do it again the next day. I wish we’d stopped for more pictures, taken more mysterious side roads, and spent more time lingering in small towns with seemingly nothing to offer.”
We all make mistakes and lord knows we’ve made a few (dozen) on our adventures. In this post I share our biggest travel mistakes and give you a few pointers on how to avoid duplicating them. It will free you up to make up brand new mistakes on your own trip!