Top tips to have the best European train trip

There is something so romantic about train travel, nowhere more so than through the European countryside. But you still have to be prepared. Here are the top tips to have the best train trip possible with the Eurail pass.

Who has never dreamed of exploring Europe by train?

There is something so romantic about train travel, nowhere more so than through the European countryside.  This was a huge bucket list item for us, and was a dream come true for us to partner with Eurail and discover the beauty of this old continent together.

 

It was also the perfect way to end our 15-month adventure around the world!  With so much to see and do, here’s how we made the most of our train trip through Europe, and how you can too!

Why choose the train?

There is nothing better than sitting back in comfy seats, and enjoying the view out your window.  Watching the scenery change from one stop to the next, from one tunnel to the next, from one country to the next.  You don’t have to worry about strenuous security checks, long lines at customs, or any of the usual hassles that come with flying.

Best of all, train travel can be super spontaneous!  You can show up at a train station on a whim and grab the next train to your location.  We loved having the flexibility to change our plans and take off to a new location without the heavy planning and expensive cost of plane travel!

Passing by the cutest Austrian town on our way to Salzburg
Passing by the cutest Austrian town on our way to Salzburg

In fact, one of the best things about taking the train, is that it’s one of the more eco-friendly ways of traveling.  By now you should know how we love being eco-travelers.  Trains emit between 66 and 75 percent less carbon than cars and airplanes.  Trains are also more sustainable in terms of energy consumption, use of space, and noise levels.

And finally, train travel is by far the most comfortable way to travel across borders.  With smooth turns and solid rails, you can forget the bumpy bus rides or turbulent flights.  With plenty of leg room, and handy tray tables (or even actual tables), working on the train is so much more pleasant that trying to get work done on a plane.  Regardless of if you want to work or just enjoy the ride, the atmosphere in the train feels less crammed and is more enjoyable than any other mode of transportation.

Crossing the river by train on our way to Salzburg
Crossing the river by train on our way to Salzburg

This is why, the train is our all-time favourite!

What Eurail pass to get?

The best choice for your Eurail pass will depend on how many days you want to travel, how many countries you want to explore, and your style of traveling.  For example, the Global pass is available for a few days, up to three months, and can be used all throughout Eurail’s network of 31 countries.  Or, you can opt for a country pass that is valid from one to four countries.

Passing by The Cologne cathedral in Germany by train
Passing by the Cologne cathedral in Germany by train

You can also choose to buy your tickets individually, but this might mean that you spend more money than you expected.  It will also mean that you need to be either very loose with your itinerary, or plan it all out.  Yes, that seems like polar opposites, and there’s a reason for that.

By keeping your itinerary loose, you can show up at the train station and pick your next destination on the fly (which you can also do with a Global pass or a country pass).  Or, you will have to know exactly when you want to go where.  However, you will only be able to buy your ticket to the next destination once you get to the city you are leaving from.  So it really depends on your style of travel.

Passing by Austrian mountains
Passing through the Austrian mountains

When we were debating on what pass to get, we found that the tool on the Eurail website was super helpful to see what pass was best suited for our needs.  We could input how many days of travel we wanted, and what countries we wanted, and voilà!  We were presented with the best option for us!  The 1-month continuous Global pass was it.

Now, we had the flexibility to travel to as many countries as we wanted, when we wantedfor up to 30 days.  If that’s not the ultimate freedom, we don’t know what is!

How to plan your trip?

Our goal was to get the most out of our Eurail pass, but we also wanted to enjoy the cities we visited.  Even if a part of us wanted to do 30 cities in 30 days, we figured that might not be so wise.  Our crazy idea was to visit as many countries as possible, without killing ourselves, so we opted for 13 cities in 30 days (well, 32 days, but you know what we mean!)

Being silly at the Budapest train station, Hungary
Being silly at the Budapest train station, Hungary

Once again, the Eurail website and their Rail Planner app were the best tools we could have asked for!  We could not recommend them highly enough, regardless of what type of traveler you are.  You can pick what city you start from, where you want to go and at what time.  Both tools will show you all trains from start to finish, the number of stops in between, train transfers and if you need a reservation.

So to make your ultimate itinerary, start with the countries you want to visit.  Then pick the cities you want to visit in each country.  Obviously, this is the simplest way to get started.  Now, let’s start having some planning fun!

Looking out the window on our way to Prague
Looking out the window on our way to Prague

Pull up the handy timetables available on the app or on the website and start with your first city (where you’ll be leaving from or where your plane lands).  Then, pick the second city you want to visit.  We found it helpful to look at Eurail’s map and see what the closest connecting city was.  This was done to ensure that we don’t spend too much time on the train, and to check if we could get to the next destination (city #3) easily.

Going one city at a time, you’ll be able to build your itinerary quite quickly.  Just make sure you keep the next city in mind when building it.  This will help you be more efficient with your time on the train.

As for the number of days in each city, that depends on your style of travel and your goals.  We spent two days in each place, knowing we would come back to these countries or cities.  If you want to take your time, then feel free to do that.  This is not a race.  Just go at a pace you are comfortable with!

Day trains vs night trains

Sometimes going from one city to the next via train can take some time, like when we traveled from Prague to Krakow, and then again on towards Bratislava.  That’s why in some cases, your best bet might just be to take a night train.

Our bed for the night on our way to Bratislava
Our bed for the night on our way to Bratislava

By doing this, not only are you saving yourself one night’s accommodations, but you’re also not missing out on time to explore your destination.  You’ll arrive early in the morning, ready to go on your next adventure.

If you have a long trip, usually 8 hours or more, do yourself a favour and take the night train.  You’ll get to your destination nice and rested the next day.  We would recommend grabbing a sleeper car and getting in a good night’s sleep.

Working on the sleeper train on our way to Bratislava
Working on the sleeper train on our way to Bratislava

You could always opt for a regular seat, if you are the type to sleep sitting up easily.  But the seats don’t always recline too much, and you’ll have your head bop around all night (yes, even with a neck pillow), so go ahead and spend the extra money.  Get yourself a cabin, get some good shut eye, and go out to explore the next day!

Cabins are comfy, safe and clean.  The beds are pretty spacious, enough so that Derek (and his whole 6’4″ frame) could even almost fit in them!  You can even choose between a private cabin, or shared cabins (between four and six people).  To us, it was a no-brainer – it made night travel so much fun!

First class vs second class

The price difference between first class and second class on Eurail’s network is not significant.  So if you’re not strapped for cash, we highly recommend opting for first class.  Traveling with the added service and comfort will justify the extra cost, without a doubt!

Our first train ride, heading to Ceske Budejovic
Our first train ride, heading to Ceske Budejovice

If you’re wondering what the differences are, here’s what to expect.  In first class, the seats will recline and are more spacious.  This means there are less people per wagon, making it more comfy and quiet overall.  An added bonus for long-term travelers like us, is that first class wagons usually have more room for luggage as well!  Sometimes, on some high-speed trains, the first class ticket will include a meal.

Second class train tickets are going to be more affordable, but you have a lot less space, because the seats are smaller and there are more per wagon.  Also, because most people travel second class, you may need to reserve your tickets in advance.  Having first class tickets, we never had to worry about pre-booking our spots as there were always seats available on our trains.

 

If the majority of your train trips are going to be short (1-2 hours long), you may not need to splurge on first class tickets.  Because we had a few days where we spent 5-6 hours on the train, it was well worth it for us to choose first class tickets!

Tips to make the best of your train travel

We learned quite a few things while we were on the train, things we wish we knew before we embarked on this adventure.  We hope these tips will help you avoid some of our mistakes!

Walking through the streets of Bratislava
Walking through the streets of Bratislava

Bring water

This will always be our #1 tip for any type of travel.  Always bring water with you, because water is life!  But being the eco-warriors that we are, we would recommend you bring a reusable water bottle so you can easily fill it up, or get yourself a LifeStraw Go so you can turn any water into drinking water!

Checking out Prague
Checking out the sunset in Prague, Czech Republic

Bring snacks

Not all trains are created equal!  Some trains have a restaurant in them, where you can get drinks, snacks and actual meals.  We tried quite a few items on the train menus across Europe, and we can attest that they are delicious!

The most magical view ever at Lake Bled in Slovenia
The most magical view ever at Lake Bled in Slovenia

But in case you take a train that doesn’t have a restaurant integrated in it, make sure you bring snacks.  This is our #2 rule in life, in travel, and in relationship advice.  You never want to travel with a hangry person, so avoid the situation altogether!

Give yourself time

When you are building your itinerary, check if you have a connection.  If you do, leave yourself enough time between the trains.  The trains are very punctual, so if the change is tight, make sure the connecting train comes often so you don’t have to spend a night in a city if you miss the second train.

A beautiful day in Prague
A beautiful day in Prague

Luckily, we never ended up missing a train, but we did have to run between one platform and the next to make the next train.  Often, we were ok with having 5-10 minutes between them.  We did get lucky however, in the fact that none of our trains were delayed.  And although we ran into some maintenance issues with some trains, the Rail Planner app made it easy for us to get back on the right track, so it was fine!

Make your reservation early

Most of the trains we took did not require a reservation, so we would just hop on the train and pick an empty seat.  However, some trains to more popular cities require reservations.  If they do, make the reservation as early as you can!

Jumping for joy in Amsterdam
Jumping for joy in Amsterdam

For us, it was our train to Paris that needed a special reservation.  We thought we would be ok reserving our seats 24 hours ahead of time, but we were wrong!  We couldn’t get on the specific train we wanted, so we had to take a few connections to get to a location that had 2 free seats into Paris.  We made it all the same, but having known this, we would have made the reservations online much earlier!

Enjoying the sunset in the main square of Ceske Budejovice
Enjoying the sunset in the main square of Ceske Budejovice

Also, if you are traveling in the high season (summer in Europe is a dream), make sure you reserve your tickets in advance.  Trains tend to fill up faster, especially in second class.

Not all trains are created equally

Depending on the country you’re in, if it’s a ‘international’ train or a local one, you will notice that there is sometimes a huge difference in services, comfort, and amenities.

Working and chilling in 1st class on the train
Working and chilling in 1st class on the train

Before you get on the train, you can always check what is included online or on the app.  This will help you be more prepared for the trip to come.  We sometimes found out the hard way that a train was not equipped with Wifi or power outlets (even in first class), which made working on it a little harder.

Validate your tickets

Before you board your first train, make sure you get it validated at the station.  You will also need to fill out the travel form so the staff can stamp it.  These are not long to do, but to avoid any problems and save time in the long run, make sure you do them!

Kissing in front of the Hundertwasser house in Vienna
Kissing in front of the Hundertwasser House in Vienna

Find a hotel near the train station

Going from one city’s train station to the next every other day meant finding a hotel near the train station.  Being able to hop off the train and simply walk to your hotel means you don’t need to find transportation after your train ride, and makes for easy timing when you need to go catch your next train.

 

Seemingly every European city’s train stations are usually situated close by to the old parts of town, where you will likely be spending most of your time.

Ask the staff

The staff on the train, and working at the counters were probably the nicest people we have met!  They were all so helpful and accommodating, especially when it came to getting those reserved tickets to Paris.

Wandering through Ceske Budejovice
Wandering through Ceske Budejovice

Don’t be shy, just go ask them if you’re confused about your platform, your wagon or seats.

Count your days

This mainly applies to Canadian and US residents.  We found this out the hard way, though luckily, not the expensive way!

 

As Canadians, we have a limit as to how many days we can stay in Europe, and more specifically, the Schengen area.  This area is a made up of 26 European countries that created common entry and exit requirements to remove the need for internal borders.  This same agreement allows us foreigners to travel freely between these countries without having to go through border controls.  This is super convenient for sure!

We don’t need a visa to travel to these countries for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period, so 3 months out of 6.  If you leave the Schengen area and return within the same 6-month period, the previous stay counts against the permitted 90 days.

Enjoying the view on our way to Prague
Enjoying the view on our way to Prague, Czech Republic

If you plan to stay for longer than 90 days, you have to contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are traveling and obtain the appropriate visa before you travel.  If you don’t obtain the appropriate visa and you stay longer than the 90 days in the Schengen area, you may be fined or deported.  So count your days and make sure you avoid any troubles!

Our itinerary

Just in case you were curious, or crazy enough to attempt the 13 cities in 30 days, here is what our itinerary looked like.

Our one month itinerary through Europe
Our one month itinerary through Europe

We ended up staying two nights in each city.  This gave us about two days to explore each city.  We started our adventure in Vienna, Austria, then headed to the Czech Republic to visit České Budějovice and Prague.  We then took a night train to Krakow, Poland and after two full days there, we were off to Bratislava in Slovakia.

We took another night train to head to Budapest in Hungary.  Then, it was Zagreb, Croatia, followed by Ljubljana in Slovenia.  We then made our way back to Austria, checking out Salzburg this time.  Then we met up with friends for 3 days in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Romance in Bratislava
Romance in Bratislava, Slovakia

As our month was coming to an end, we spent a single night in Frankfurt, then four days in Amsterdam, two days in Maastricht and finally made our way to Paris, where we headed back home from!

If we were to redo the trip, we would probably take an extra day in each city.  Not that we didn’t have a blast doing it this way, but it did get tiring after a while, and we would have loved to visit more of each place.

No visit to Budapest is complete without hitting up the baths
No visit to Budapest is complete without hitting up the baths

We loved our month long adventure though Europe.  We discovered so many cities.  We traveled in comfort and style the whole way through.  We were able to get work done easily, either catching up on blogging, or even planning the itinerary for the city we were getting to.  Overall, we could not have imagined a better way to end this 15-month trip.


Disclaimer:  This article is produced as a part of our collaboration with Eurail.  We were given 2 one-month Global passes that allowed us to travel by train through Europe.  However, all the opinions and commentary in this article are our own unbiased account of our trip.


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Top tips to have the best European train trip. Lessons, tips, recommendations and knowing the basics before discovering Europe by train #traintravel #eurotrip #traintrip #traveltips #traveladvice Wediditourway

10 things NOT to forget to pack for your long-term trip

As much as you try to plan what to pack, there is always something you forget.  With the next 10 items, we learned things the hard way!  Hopefully, you will learn from our mistakes and bring these along on your next long-term trip

As much as you try to plan things and pack in a smart and efficient manner, there is always something you forget.  With the next 10 items, we learned things the hard way!  They may not seem like much but they ended up being really helpful when we finally got them.  Some we have yet to purchase.  But we’ve seen how much other travelers love them, and how they could have been helpful to us.

External hard drive

Sure, maybe you have cloud storage, and that’s a great backup.  But when you go to places where the internet is almost non-existent, your cloud storage is pretty much useless.  Do yourself a favour and get an external hard drive.  It will save you time, and a lot of frustration!  Because if you’re like us, and take tons of pics and videos, your laptop will just not have enough storage for all those wonderful memories.

A good adapter

Your electronics are probably the most expensive and useful things you’re bringing on your trip, so make sure you bring a good adapter to keep your things running smoothly.  We had bought a really bad one when we left, but luckily found this one that works wonders!

Our old one would barely charge our electronics, and when it did, it was so slow.  Again, save yourself the trouble and get a good one from the get-go.  In fact, get 2 or 3 because you’ll need them if you have tons of gear with you.

Lifestraw Go


When you travel, you underestimate how much water you actually drink, especially when it’s hot.  It’s only when you realize that you can’t drink the tap water in most of South-East Asia, and start buying insane amounts of plastic bottles.  Then, you start kicking yourself because you want to be an eco-traveler and this isn’t what eco-travels is about.

We left home without the Lifestraw Go and totally regretted it.  Luckily, we were able to get one delivered to us on the road thanks to a friend.  Not only did it help us save money but the environment as well, and we love that!

Drone

Yeah, it may be silly, but we really really wish we had a drone during our travels.  We were so gung-ho about trying to save money before we left, that we didn’t want to spend on such a big-ticket item… we regret it immensely now!

Why?

Easy!  Drones give you a point of view you can’t get on your two legs.  They give you a new perspective and a different way of seeing the world.  We have had the privilege of seeing so many beautiful places that we wish we could have seen them fully, from a bird’s eye view.  As soon as we have an income, this is the first big-ticket item we’ll be buying.

Tripod

This is a key piece of equipment, especially if you want to post pics on the Gram, and even if you don’t.  You can always rely on other people to take good shots of you, but way too often, they will be crappy.  We have the pics to prove it!

That’s why we got this great tripod when we found a good deal in Vietnam.  This tripod (we named him Javier) is so good to us.  It’s easy to set up, compact and light.  Perfect for travel!

Packing cubes

When we started out our trip, we had plastic vacuum bags.  They did the trick, but not for long!  Shortly after a few weeks of use, they started falling apart.  They didn’t stay compressed, they started letting air in, they tore.  They were just another piece of plastic waste.

We learned our lesson and have since moved on to packing cubes.  Better for the environment, longer lasting and easier to use.  We love them!

Scrubby bag

This is another handy little thing we wish we had.  Laundry is not always easy to do, especially if you’re staying in hotels often.  It can start getting pretty expensive.  That’s why we wish we had this little guy with us.  Some traveling friends told us about it and we’re in love.  This Scrubby bag is super compact and convenient to do your laundry anywhere, anytime!  Make sure you have concentrated detergent and you should be good to go!

Coral-safe sunscreen


We know, we know!  You have limited space when you pack for traveling long-term, but having sunscreen on is also key.  We found that sunscreen is a lot more expensive on the road than back home and the selection is teeny-tiny.  Also, most choices of sun protection in Asia are of the whitening variety and super polluting.  So save yourself the trouble and stock up on these coral-safe sunscreens.  Good for you and the environment! Double win!

Tiger balm


This little cream is a life-saver.  Literally!  It’s pretty much good for anything.  We used it where we had muscle pain.  Also, when we felt like a cold was coming on (or had already settled in).  It’s also great as an insect repellent and even as an “after bite” remedy.  Seriously, we wish we had known to bring this with us, because it’s the Swiss Army knife of life!

Shampoo bars

We actually didn’t know about these miracle bars until we found them through another blog… and we’re hooked.  Whether we’re traveling or not, we’ll be using these little puppies from now on.  No more plastic bottles.  No spill accidents.  No worries in carry-on luggage.  Just good-smelling, long-lasting bars!

There you have it! Our quick little list of 10 things we wish we had brought with us on our journey!  They say hindsight is 20/20, but the truth is, you don’t need hindsight if you learn from other people’s mistakes.

Have you gone on a trip, only to regret not bringing a certain item?  What was it?  Let us know, we always love discovering new life-saving, game-changing items!


Note:  The article contains Amazon affiliate links, on which we’ll make a small commission if you end up purchasing a product.  It’s at no extra cost to you.  You pay the same amount as if you visited Amazon directly.  The good thing is you’ll be helping us create free content and keeping this blog online.  For this, we are eternally grateful!


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How to plan for long-term travel

So you’re finally taking the plunge and traveling long term?  Amazing!  Get ready for one of the best times of your life.  But before you set off, there’s a lot of planning to do.  Planning for any trip can be so fun.  But there is something even more special about planning for long-term travel.  It comes with a lot more considerations than a short 2 -week trip.  Having spent more than 14 months on the road, we learned quite a few things really quickly when it comes to planning.

So here are the main things to keep in mind when you decide to travel long-term.  We’ve broken it down on a timeline, but obviously, it’s quite flexible.  We decided to leave 4 months before our date, so this is more of a general guideline.

6-12 months before

Ask the important questions

There are tons of ways to travel long-term.  That’s why it’s important that you ask yourself some key questions to prepare accordingly.

  • What’s your travel style going to be? Will you be roughing it or living it up in luxury?  Will you stay in dorms or private rooms?
  • What’s your budget?  This will depend on how much you can save, what you plan on spending, where you want to go and how long you will travel for.
  • How are you traveling? Are you going solo, with a friend, or a partner?
  • Will you be working as you travel?  You can choose to pick up odd jobs, doing a working tourist visa, freelance, workaways or just enjoying life.
  • How long do you want to travel for?  Is it a few months? A year? Until you run out of cash?
  • Why do you want to travel the world?  
  • What do you want to get out of the experience?

Start saving

It’s never too early to start saving.  Regardless of how you want to travel, chances are the money you save now will help you travel for longer.  Your dollar saved will probably go further abroad than it goes back home, so put in the effort and start saving now.  Even before you decide to travel, if you can!  Here are some tips on how you can save money before and during your travels.

Some important advice that might help you:

  • Have a piggy bank account:  Basically, make sure you have a contingency that you keep on the side.  This is in case things go wrong, or your trip costs more than you think.  Because it always ends up costing more than you think!
  • Keep money for when you get back:  Just like your piggy bank, make sure you keep some money for when you get back.  We kept about $2,000, just enough to get things started again.  Depending on where you live, and what your situation is, you may need more or less than this.

Passport

Regardless of where you’re going, you will need a valid passport.  Make sure yours won’t expire for at least 6 months, or longer than you plan to travel for.  Check that you have at least 4 empty pages.  Also, make electronic and hard copies of your passport and keep them in a secure location while you’re traveling (not in your wallet).  And finally, give a copy to your parents or someone you trust.

Passports.jpg
You won’t be going far without these bad boys!

Start planning your itinerary

This does not mean to start planning every single day of your trip.  In fact, we beg you not to do that!  Keep some flexibility because itineraries change.  What we mean is to start making the list of countries you want to visit.  Check when the high and low tourist seasons are, look at the weather (dry vs wet season), look at the cost of living there, make sure there are some festivals happening.  This is also going to help you decide what to pack.

Travel map Europe
Grab a map and figure out where you want to go!

Visas & other paperwork

While your checking the list of countries you want to visit, look into visas as well.  A few countries don’t need any visas, others you’ll need to get online and some you can get at the airport.  Some are more expensive than others, so just make sure you do your research before you head out.

Also, if you’ll be driving in any of the countries you’ll be visiting, make sure to get an international driver’s licence.  You may need it to rent scooters in certain countries so make sure you have it done.  It’s not that expensive and it’s well worth it.

3-6 months before

Vaccines

Once you have your initial list of countries, make your way to the traveler’s clinic.  Get all the shots you need to get.  Start doing this at least 4 months before you head out, as some need multiple shots.  They will also let you know if you need any medication.

Insurance

We debate about this all the time, but really, there should be no debate.  Just get travel insurance.  It is a hefty chunk of money, but it’s well worth it.  Our rule is that is your trip is going to cost more than the cost of insurance, you should get it.  You can see what you want to have covered, but keep in mind that luggage gets lost, goods get stollen, flights get cancelled.  Don’t be stingy on this.

Start downsizing and selling

Depending on if you’re looking to live the nomad life forever or for a determined amount of time, start downsizing and selling what you no longer need.  You can start getting rid of things you know you won’t need or miss before you leave right away.  For anything else, wait 2 months before leaving to start selling it.  You’ll probably need it until then.

You can get rid of clothes, furniture, electronics, kitchen supplies, whatever.  You’ll notice as you travel that you get used to having so little so you don’t want to come back to unnecessary clutter.  Good sites to sell things on are Craigslist, eBay, and Kijiji.  You can even host a garage sale or a private sale for your friends.  Some things you can donate to charities.

1-3 months before

Check-ups

About a month before you head out, go get your usual check-ups done.  Dentist, gynaecologist, family doctor, allergy specialist, whatever you need to do on a regular basis.  Let them know you’ll be traveling for a while and where you’ll be going.  They may have important information to give you or medical advice to follow for your specific condition.

Car and real estate

At this point, you’ll need to decide what to do with your car.  Will you sell it like we did?  Will you break your lease?  Put it in storage?  These are options you can look into.  Obviously, it will depend on what your current situation is and what you expect to come back to when you get back home.  Our car was quite old but in great condition, so we just sold it.  We know that when we get back, we can get a cheaper lease or use a car-sharing service.

As for real estate, again, it depends on your current situation.  We own our condo, so we decided to put it up for rent, and have our parents take care of any issues that come up urgently.  If not, our neighbours and tenants can reach us at anytime, so this was not an issue.  If you are renting your place, you may want to break your lease or sublet your apartment.  Either way, make sure you let your landlord know.

Get gear you need

Sign up to your favourite stores’ newsletters and start keeping an eye on sales.  You’ll probably need some gear, so make sure you get them when they are discounted.  Even if you haven’t started packing yet, you know what you need to update or upgrade, whether its your photography gear, hiking shoes, backpack, whatever.  Just start looking so you have enough time to compare prices, test out some options and get a great deal.

Book your ticket

This is the other exciting thing you’ll be doing.  Book that ticket baby!  Usually, they say it’s best to book it 3 months before you go, so start looking at prices and be flexible.  Check to find the cheapest but most convenient way to get where you’re going.

2-4 weeks before

Quit your job

This is probably the most exciting and nerve-wracking part.  It’s time to quit your job!  Depending on your relationship with your employers, and what you what to do on your trip, and when you get back, you can look at different options.

Derek after leaving his job for the last time
Last day of work, peace out!
  • Leave of absence: You can ask your employers to take an unpaid leave of absence.  If you know your return date, they can potentially keep your position so that you can return to it.
  • Work abroad: We’ve met quite a few people who were able to continue working for their employer as a freelancer from abroad, or as a temporary employee when they need some extra help.  If you plan on working as you travel, this is a great option for both you and your employer as there won’t be training required.
  • Quit your job:  If these 2 options above are not possible, you can just quit your job.  Give them enough notice so that they are not stuck in a tight situation.  You want to leave on good terms.
  • Find new work: If you choose to work while you travel, start looking for contracts you can pick up as you travel.  Either you can contact local clients or you can offer your services online through sites like Fiverr.

Let your bank know

This is an obvious one.  Make sure you call up your bank and credit cards to let them know you’ll be traveling abroad, and how long you’ll be gone for.  This is so they don’t block your cards as you’re on the road.  Make sure you also know where to contact them in case they do freeze your account.  This happened to us because we stayed on the road longer than we expected.  Luckily, we knew what to do.

Power of attorney

Depending on what your situation is, you may want to give power of attorney to a trusted loved one.  Because we own property and have investments back home we can’t tend to on a daily basis, we gave power of attorney to one of our parents.  This way, if anything were to happen, we had a legally-assigned person to take care of things.  This will really depend on your situation, so it may not apply to you.  The best thing to do is to call your notary and see what does apply to your specific situation.

Packing

About a month before, start packing.  Carry your backpack around the house, check that it fits well and isn’t too heavy.  Try living with only the clothes you want to take with you.  This is a great way to figure out what you still need to get, what you think you need but don’t really, what you can live without and your absolute musts.

Cancel contracts

Cancel any contracts you don’t need anymore, like your phone contract, electricity, internet, etc.  Let them know your last date in country and when you’ll come back, if ever.

Redirect mail

Pretty straight forward.  Make sure you get your mail redirected to a loved one’s place.  Your parents, siblings, BFF, whoever.  Just get it sent there.

Say your “see you laters”

This is another one of our favourite things to do.  Have a huge party (or 3, like we did) to say Au revoir to all your friends, family, colleagues, and loved-ones.  Try to convince them to come visit you on the road.  But more importantly, enjoy your time with them.  Take pics and videos and keep those memories dearly!

And there you have it, that’s all you need to plan to get going on your long-term trip.  Is there anything else you did before leaving on your trip?  Let us know in the comments!


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15 things we wish we knew before starting our Instagram

Here are 15 things we wished we knew before starting our travel Instagram account. If you’re looking to monetize your account, you may want to know these things too.

Instagram.  We all have our opinions on it, love it or hate it.  We’ve been on the platform for almost a year now. We’ve grown to a decent following, and have worked with many brands during this time.  We are, by no means, experts on the matter, but after a long period of high activity on this channel, we’ve learned quite a few things.  We’ve been through some good times and some rougher times on the platform.  We want to share what we’ve learned with those who want to document their trip in the hopes of becoming the next big social media travel influencer.  We don’t have all the answers, but this should help get things started.

Our journey

We started our Instagram page about a month after leaving on our long-term trip.  Our friends back home were begging us to document our travels so they could see where we were and what we were doing.

We started out innocently enough, posting decent enough pictures that we edited through Adobe Lightroom.  We just wanted to make them pop a little more.  We had very little followers and were doing this more for fun than with the hopes to become content creators (we actually hate the word Influencer, but that’s a story for another day).

Wediditourway Bannf Canada
The Canadian Rocky Mountains are amazing!  Banff, Canada our first stop and one of our first pics

Slowly (and yeah, we mean very slowly) our following started to grow.  After 4 months, we had about 4,000 followers.  We didn’t quite understand why people were following us, but they did.  Then, over the course of 2 months, we more than doubled our community, finally reaching 10k followers.  That was an awesome milestone!  We were so proud, so happy.  We had started putting a lot of time and energy into growing our community.

But then, things started to change.  We went go from gaining about 700 followers a week to being stuck between 11k and 12k for the last 2 months.

Wediditourway Lake in Alberta Canada
Our very first Instagram picture on our account. A beautiful lake in Alberta, Canada

This isn’t the same journey for everyone.  Some grow super fast, then stagnate.  Others are super slow to grow then gain 50k followers in 5 months.  Others just grow consistently throughout time.  It’s different for everyone, but most will tell you that these lessons are universal.

Through the ups and downs, we keep sharing our adventures with others, hoping that we can inspire others to get out there and create their own adventure.  We also love documenting our adventure through photography.  We often take a look back in time to see how far we’ve come.

So here’s what we learned along the way (and are still learning).  Hopefully, it will help you get off the ground a little quicker, and get you to where you want to be.

What we learned

You are not alone. Find your niche

When we started out, there were tons of other travel accounts out there.  There are new ones popping up every day.  Don’t worry, because there is room for everyone in this world (and on Instagram).

Wediditourway Jeju South Korea
South Korea’s island paradise, Udo Island, near Jeju

So to set yourself apart and find your niche.  Be super targeted.  If you want to do travel, dig down another two layers.  That can mean eco-friendly couple travel, or budget nature travel, or LGBTQ travel with pets.  Whatever it is, there is something that makes you unique.  Focus on that.  Always.

Find inspiration but don’t copy

Pretty simple, no?  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again.  It’s ok to get inspired by your favourite couples out there, those amazing photographers, or the witty captions you read.  What’s not ok, is straight up copy them.

Wediditourway Mayajimacho Japan
A ferry ride from Hiroshima is Miyajima, Japan and its famous torii

It’s ok to find inspiration, in fact, it can help you get started or out of a creative slump.  It also helps you figure out what type of pictures you like, what kind of editing you want to do, and what you want to focus on.  So take a look at what other accounts are doing, what works and what doesn’t, but be sure you make it unique in your own way.

Consistency is key

We’re actually really bad with this, but we know it’s super important!  A very popular couple we know and love posts at the same time every single day.  That is commitment, and that’s the right way to do it.  Your followers will know that you are serious about the account and your work, and they’ll know to expect to see you at the same time every day.

We try to post every day, but timing gets tricky.  We’re travelling and we want to enjoy our trip as well.  We won’t turn down dates with friends, or pull our phone out when we’re in the middle of an activity.  We’d rather be fully present in the moment.

Wediditourway Cairns Australia.jpg
A fun hike through the rainforest in Cairns, Australia

Find a balance that works for you, look at what times your audience is online, and stick to that timeframe.  Be flexible, but have some rigour about it.

Extra tip: To figure out what the best time to post is, make sure you sign up for a business account on Instagram.  Use the data to target your posts as much as possible.  This will also help when you’re building your media kit.

Content is king

Your pictures, your stories, your captions, everything you put out is your content.  It’s part of your brand, and it should be as awesome as you can make it.  It’s a process for sure, and you will continuously be learning.  Make sure your content is not only good for your standards, but for the standard of what’s online.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put anything out until it’s perfect, because perfection doesn’t exist.  Just make sure it’s the best thing that you can put out at that time.  If it doesn’t make you happy or proud to put it out there, skip that day, or post something else.

Wediditourway Wanaka New Zealand
We found this little furball near Wanaka, New Zealand

Extra tip: To make sure your pics are always on point, make sure you edit them with software like Adobe Lightroom.  If you want to create a consistent feed, use presets like the ones from Aggie Lal (@travel_inhershoes) or Marie Fe and Jake Snow (@mariefeandjakesnow).

Stories are queen

Often, people focus so much on their feed, they forget to put effort into their stories.  Your stories should to have purpose too.  They need to show your personality and what makes you unique.  Put effort into your stories, and show the real you.  Take people on the adventure with you, share candid moments.  This is what will keep them coming back.  Be consistent with your stories as well!

Wediditourway SignaporeWediditourway Marine Bay Sands Signapore
Staying silly, as always, in Singapore

Extra tip:  If you want to create a nice theme through your stories, use an app like Unfold.  You can also put hashtags in your stories so more people see them, either through the #Hashtag sticker, or even just as text hidden in your story.  Be sure to use the location as well, as that will help get more views and help locate people.

Another extra tip: If you start creating your story, then save it to share later, beware!  Pretty much anything you save, like the slider, a poll, heck even hashtags, will not work if you post a saved story later on!  So create your caption and save that story, but add anything else that adds engagement just before posting.

Start before your trip

This was one of our big lessons.  We should have started creating content before we left on our trip.  There are so many reasons for that.  You get to learn how to use your gear.  You figure out what works and doesn’t for you (in terms of style, poses, editing, all of it!)  You get to see if you need more gear.  And even more importantly, you start building your community while you’re still at home.  Just make sure your content fits with your niche.

Wediditourway Ao Nang Thailand
Thailand has the nicest sunsets, Ao Nang is no exception

Engage. A lot.

The key to succeed on Instagram is no secret.  Engage, engage, engage.  The earlier you start, the more you do, the better!  Some larger accounts say that to grow, you need to spend a good 3-5 hours/day liking, commenting and following other accounts.

To be honest, we know we should have done more of this, especially in the beginning, when the algorithm wasn’t such a *insert expletive of your choice here*!  But to be honest, we were having too much fun on adventures to spend that much of our time on social media.  But if your goal is to grow quickly, then spend your free time engaging.  It’s called social media for a reason.  So get social.

Wediditourway Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia
Angkor Wat, enough said!  Siem Reap, Cambodia

And like we said, if you start before you leave, you can do this while you’re watching TV at home, vs taking time away from your adventure, once you’re abroad.

Extra tip: It’s hard to get people to comment on your posts naturally, unless you are super kick-ass (which we’re sure you are!)  In the beginning, we would recommend joining 2-3 pods to get more comments (aka engagement).  Once your growth starts happening organically, you can drop out of them, as you will be getting regular engagement anyways.  Also, when people comment on your posts, be sure to return the favour and like/comment on their latest post too.

Don’t focus on the numbers

Ok, easier said than done.  Hell, we still get caught up in the numbers sometimes!  And we get it.  You put in so much time and effort to create great content.  You pick outfits and props, take the pics, edit them, think of captions and engage with others.  You want the numbers to reflect your hard work.  But the algorithm changes again, and you’re stuck wondering why your numbers are garbage.

So save yourself the trouble.  Really!  Don’t pay too much attention to the stats.  They will get you depressed.  And don’t compare yourself to others either.  You never know what they are really doing to get their numbers.  Did they buy likes, followers or comments?  Are they using the right hashtags?  Are they spending twice as much time as you on this?  Who knows, and really, who cares?!  Just work on your own path, enjoy the journey, and stay focused.

Wediditourway Langkawi Malaysia
Enjoying one of many waterfalls in Langkawi, Malaysia

The only times we would say to pay attention to those numbers are when a post does really well, or really poorly.  Try to draw conclusions so you can either replicate or avoid the same things.

Post only your best

Post only your best work on your feed.  Not what you think is ok, but really your best or your favourite.  If it’s not good enough, then don’t post, and just engage on that day.

Wediditourway Dumaguete Philippines
Taking it easy near Dumaguete, Philippines

People see so many posts in a day, that to really get the best engagement, you should be posting only your greatest work… or work that makes you happy!

It’s a lot more work than you think

We totally thought we could put some hashtags up, take good pics and grow a following magically.  Nope!  It’s a lot of work.  Like a lot!

We’re not just talking about the Instagram part, but all of it.  If you want to have a blog and a Pinterest, that will take a lot of time.  If you want to work with brands, you’ll need to build a media kit.  You’ll need to reach out to a lot of brands who often won’t answer you.  Reaching out and sending personalized requests takes time, effort and grit.

Then, once you get a collaboration, the work doesn’t stop.  You have to shoot, edit, put together what you promised the brand and send a report of your results.  It’s a lot of time and effort, but if you enjoy it, it’s totally worth every minute of it.

Wediditourway Berlin Germany
Taking in some awesome street art in Berlin, Germany

If you’re not in it for the long-term, or to monetize your account, then just stick to the parts you enjoy, and focus on those.

Extra tip:  When brands do start wanting to work with you, choose wisely.  There is no need to push products or brands you wouldn’t use in real life.  So stay true to who you are, and use your “influence” for good.  The perks may seem enticing, but don’t sell out your community for a quick pay-check.

Keep learning and evolving

Don’t get comfortable.  Ever!  Always look to perfect your skills.  Whether it’s your photography, your captions, your editing, your poses, whatever.  There area ton of sources out there to help you.  Look for the content creators you like and soak in their knowledge.  It will only help you grow as a creator, and keep your material fresh.

Wediditourway Valencia Spain
Always time for a good laugh, Valencia, Spain

Have fun with it

This is our #1 rule.  Just have fun with it!  Don’t let it get too serious.  Don’t get into arguments because of it.  Don’t let that famous Instagram shot be the only purpose for your trip.

Wediditourway Sahara desert Morocco
Strolling through the Sahara Desert, Morocco

The day you stop having fun, you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing and how you can make this fun again.  And if you can’t find the fun in it anymore, maybe it’s time you stop…

Have no shame

We’re not talking about getting naked, but if that’s your thing, go for it.  We’re not saying it’s ok to break the rules either, cause you should never “Do it for the ‘Gram”.  We’re talking about taking pictures in front of people.

It’s pretty awkward to set up a tripod in a crowded place, and start posing in front of strangers.  Like the time a security guard followed us around and stood 3 feet from us while we were shooting… AWKWARD!

Wediditourway Eauze France
We got some stares here, being silly again, in Eauze, France

People will stare, they will ask questions, and give you weird looks.  Just ignore them and have fun with it.

Make friends with other couples

This is probably the best part of Instagram: being able to connect with people.  Being a content creator on Instagram is not a competition.  Don’t push anyone down.  Seriously, there is room for everyone on the platform and that’s pretty awesome.

Wediditourway Athens Greece
Athens was jus amazing, Greece

Make friends with others, because the travel life can sometimes get lonely.  It’s fun to meet Insta-friends around the world.  When times get tough, or you need some advice, you can have a support system around you.  A bonus is that you can have friends (and places to crash) all over the world!

Diversify your portfolio

We were lucky that pretty early on in our journey, we met an awesome, pretty famous Instagram couple.  They were kind enough to share some knowledge that was passed on to them by another wise blogger.  And we’re passing it on to you now.  Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket, i.e. Instagram.

They told us to focus on our blog, because that’s a piece of the internet we actually own.  When wise people talk, we listen.

From then on, we focused more of our energy on the blog, not forgetting IG completely, but not putting in as much time and effort into it.  We also starting building our audience on Pinterest.

Wediditourway Dilijan Armenia
One of a hundred amazing sunsets we have captured, Dilijan, Armenia

We’re really happy we took this piece of advice.  We’re happy Instagram gets us to work with amazing brands, companies and hotels, but with the ever-changing algorithm, we’re using it more as a media channel for our blog.  If Instagram wants you to pay to get your content seen, and they are acting like a media outlet, then we will treat them like one!

The blog isn’t for everyone.  You really need to enjoy writing and have to find your niche there too.  If that’s not your thing, go for a Youtube channel, or become a Pinterest guru.  Just focus on the things that bring you joy.  And if you just want to post pics on Instagram, then do that.

So there it is, all the advice we wish we knew before we got started.  It would have helped manage our expectations and helped us avoid some important mis-steps.  But like we said, it’s a process, and for the most part, we’ve been enjoying it.

If you want even more tips from some of our favourite Instagram couples, you can check out their wise words here.

Is there any advice that you got that could help others?  What’s your favourite tip?  Let us know in the comments!


We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

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15 things we wished we knew before starting our Instagram account. We've learned so much in less than a year. We're happy to share our journey with you so you can learn from our mistakes and thrive. www.wediditourway.com

What to pack for long-term travel: advice & checklist

When it comes to packing for a year of travel, the task can be daunting! After 13 months on the road, we’ve put together our best advice and a handy checklist so you know exactly what to bring

When it comes to packing for a year of travel, the task can be daunting! As if packing for any trip wasn’t scary enough? We always fear we’re going to forget something, or lug useless things around.  After 13 months on the road, we’ve learned quite a few things about packing and what to bring with you, so we wanted to share the wisdom.  Sharing is caring, after all.  So here is our best advice and a handy checklist for you.

Things to consider

Before you start making your personal checklist and starting to pack, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.  These questions will help you figure out what you can do without and what your musts are.

What countries will you visit?

Maybe your list isn’t complete yet, or maybe you have the next year all planned out.  Regardless, make sure you bring clothes that are suitable for the countries you plan on seeing.  Are they conservative?  Very religious?  Highly liberal?  Always dress respectfully and adapt to that culture.

Japanease Alps lake

What seasons will you be going through?

This goes hand-in-hand with the countries you’ll visit.  Are you staying mainly in summer weather?  Will you go through all four seasons, like us?  Are you going through dry or wet seasons?  Your list will greatly vary from one list to the next, so make sure you bring some essential items depending on the climate you’ll go through.

What type of activities will you do?

Are you a beach bum like Derek?  Do you like to go hiking like Carine?  Will you do a lot of city walking?  Will you cab it most of the time?

Wediditourway Roy's peak Wanaka New Zealand

What is your budget?

We’re more middle-budget type travellers.  We don’t mind splurging once in awhile, but we usually stick to a decent budget.  We won’t do dorm rooms, but private rooms in hostels are ok.  We brought sleeping sheets, our pillow cases and bath towels, but if you prefer a life of luxury, you don’t need these.

What kind of bag?

Check-in of carry on?  Suitcase or backpack?  We were going through all four seasons, so we couldn’t fit everything into a carry-on.  But that’s our next packing goal.

Depending on your style of travel, you may be able to work with a good backpack or suitcase.  This choice is really personal.  Regardless of your choice, make sure you pick sturdy and durable bags.  There is nothing worse than having an ill-fitting backpack or having to replace your bag on your trip.  It may be an extra investment at first, but it’ll be well worth it.

Extra tip for choosing a good backpack:  Make sure you give it a good run before you commit.  Pack it up, wear it around the house, try living out of it for a week.  Return it if it doesn’t do the trick.  This will be your home for the time of your trip, so make sure you love this bag!

Best advice for packing

We wanted to share some of the best advice that saved us on our trip.  Again, this is really personal, so just go with what you’re comfortable with.

Pack for a 10-day trip

On a 2-week trip, you can bring an outfit for every day.  When you have to lug everything around for a year, you can’t pack for 52 weeks.  Some people say to pack for a week, but laundry can get expensive and things can go wrong.  Our advice is to pack for 10 days, just to have some extra wiggle room.

Think simple

Derek learned this the hard way.  Don’t go for flashy colours or big bold prints.  Make sure everything matches together.  This will help with laundry and ensure you don’t pack too much.  Also, prioritize colours that don’t show dirt too much, or sweat marks… yeah, those aren’t cute!  And, make sure all the clothes you bring are machine-washable.  It’s a no-brainer, but a life-saver!

Make sure you can layer

In many countries, tropical or not, the weather can change greatly from day to night, so make sure you can layer things.  This is also helpful for religious monument visits (temples, churches and mosques), or certain countries where they are more conservative.

Have a packing system

Derek is the king of organization, so this is his tip.  It’s a pretty good one!  Have a system, so you know where everything is at all times.  Always pack the same way to avoid scrambling to find things.  And keep the daily things close-by and handy.

You don’t need to have everything on you

You can’t account for everything, and it’s not worth lugging things around for months for those “just in case” moments.  You can always buy or ditch things as you travel.  Things (clothing and medication) are often cheaper on the road so buy them as needed.  Also, if you haven’t used something in weeks, chances are, you don’t actually need it!  Donate it to someone who does.

Know what is cheaper at home

Mainly sunscreen and bug spray.  You have more choices (eco-friendly and better quality) at home.  We’re not saying to lug these around for a year, but if you’re going to SE Asia, know you will pay 2 or 3 times the price for these items.  And if you want to stick to a budget, you may want to bring these items with you.

Buy smart toiletries

Buying toiletries for a year in insane, so just buy smart (i.e. less plastic) and travel in an eco-friendly way.  We love the plastic-free shampoo bars, toothpaste pills, and concentrated detergent.  They last longer and are better for you and the environment.  Plus, they help you save money!  Win-win-win!

If you love it, leave it at home

Shit happens a lot on the road.  If you love something, leave it behind, because you might lose it, have it stollen, ruined, whatever.  I really miss my wedding ring, but I’m happy I can go back to it when I get back home.  I’ve heard too many stories of people losing theirs on their trip.  No thanks!

If you can, do a test run at home

This may sound crazy, but if you can do it, DO IT!  Try wearing your packed items for a month (or 2 weeks at least).  Does everything fit ok?  Do your outfits make sense or do you look like a clown?  Are there things you never wore?  At least you’ll be able to make changes to your bag before you go!

Must haves

These are things you should have on you regardless of where you go.  Basically, if you don’t have these, you’re going nowhere!

Travel essentials

  • Passport:  Plus bring a copy or 2, just in case.
  • Travel insurance:  You never know if you’ll need it, but if this trip is going to cost you more than the cost of the insurance, GET IT!
  • International driver’s licence:  In a lot of countries, you’ll need this to rent anything motorized.  It’s not expensive, but totally worth it!
  • Student card:  If you’re young and lucky like that, bring it.  A lot of places offer discounts to students.
  • Cash money:  Always have at least $200 of the local currency on you (well, maybe less if it’s a really cheap country).  You don’t need to carry it with you, but you should have some cash, just in case.  Cause as my dad says “Cash is king”.  Wise words from a wise man, because in most countries, they don’t take cards, just cash.
  • Bank cards:  A debit card to pull money from ATMs, and a credit card.  Make sure you get one with rewards, cause those plane tickets add up!
  • Prescription medication
  • Glasses or contact lenses:  Bring spares if you can.  Like we said, shit happens!
  • Scarf / Sarong Bring 2 of these.  They can double as beach towels, as cover-ups for temples, to cover your head on hikes.  They’re lifesavers!
  • Flip flops Not just for the beach, but for certain hostel showers as well.
  • Day pack:  You’ll need this on hikes, if you’re out for a whole day and need to lug water, a jacket and a camera around.
  • Purse for everyday:  A small purse is great to have.  Make sure it slings around your body, both for comfort and safety.
  • Compression cubes:  These babies are a must.  They keep everything organized and smoosh them enough to make room in your bag.
  • A good book:  Bus rides are always longer and English books are hard to find, so bring one and trade it in when you’re done.  Better yet, get an E-Reader!
  • For the ladies, Thinx:  Depending on your menstrual flow, these underwear will save you and save the environment.  Well worth the investment (plus that link will give you a discount.  You’re welcome!).
  • Laundry line:  Because you will need to do your laundry in a sink at one point, and this little guy will save you!
  • Carabiner:  To put your bag off the floor, to hang up your laundry line, to hook things together.  It’s a small investment, but well worth it!
  • Concentrated detergent:  These detergent sheets are awesome and so practical!
  • Shampoo bars:  We love the ones from Lush Cosmetics!
  • Lifestraw Go:  To save money, to stop buying plastic bottles, to have drinking water anytime, any place.  We love this guy!

Packing list

So here we go, here’s what we recommend you pack.  Obviously, you can personalize this list to where you’re going, how you’re travelling, and your own style.  It’s more of a good base to work with so do it your way.

Clothes

  • Underwear x 10:  Ladies, I recommend a mix of thongs and full underwear, but it depends on your preference.  Also, depending on your menstrual flow, 3-4 Thinx underwear for your period.
  • Bra x 2:  One sports bra and one bralette.  Note: I hate bras now.  I might burn the ones I have back home!
  • Bathing suit / Bikini x 2:  Again, depends on where you go and if you’re a beach bum.
  • Socks x 3-5:  These are easy items to wash, and you can bring less if you’re going around in flip flops all day.  Make sure you bring at least 1 wool pair, just in case!
  • Dresses x 3:  Go for light ones, and bring one long one for temple days (make sure it covers your knees and shoulders).  If you don’t wear dresses, pack an extra top and bottom.
  • T-shirts / strappy tops x 3:  Make sure they match your skirts, pants and shorts. Pack 1-2 dri-fit ones if you plan on hiking a lot.  Guys, go with 5, unless you’re packing dresses.
  • Longsleeve top x 3:  If you’re going through fall/winter months.  Bring one (like a zip-up) that you can wear over the t-shirts so you can layer.  Bring just 1 if you’re staying in warm weather.  It will come in handy in temples.
  • Shorts x 1 for the ladies, if you have dresses.  Bring 3 if you don’t like dresses or skirts.  Guys, bring 3 pairs of shorts.
  • Skirts x 2: One long, one short.
  • Pants x 1:  Go for linen, cause they’re light and pack nicely.  If you hike a lot, bring some hiking pants (maybe those that convert into shorts).
  • Leggings x 1:  Men, bring light chilling pants.
  • Hoodie x 1
  • Rain jacket x 1
  • Packable warm jacket:  This little guy will save you in winter months, and you can layer with other clothes to make it warmer!
  • Flip-flops
  • Sneakers or hiking shoes:  Or both, depending on your type of trip.
  • Comfy walking shoes:  Especially if you plan to hike a lot in the previous pair.
  • Sarong X 2:  You can use them as a scarf, a beach cover-up, a towel. So many good uses.
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Toiletries

  • Shampoo / conditioner bars
  • Deodorant:  Or not.  We actually stopped wearing it.  It’s better for you and the environment.
  • Soap bar:  Avoid heavy liquids than come in plastic bottles.
  • Dental kit:  Toothbrush (bamboo ones, preferably), toothbrush cover, toothpaste (in tubes or pills), floss
  • Lip balm:  With SPF, obvi!
  • Nail clippers & nail file
  • Tweezers
  • Comb
  • Hair bands
  • Razor with razor blades
  • Sunscreen:  SPF 30 is a minimum.  We used 50 because the sun is lethal!  And make sure it’s coral-friendly.
  • Aloe Vera / moisturizer:  Perfect after long beach days
  • Makeup:  Only if you really need it.  I packed some, and never used it… and I used to wear makeup every day back home!  This is personal, so bring what you are comfy with.  I had a blush cream (that i used as eyeshadow and lipstick too), mascara, an eye-liner, and lipstick.
  • Contraception:  Condoms and/or pills.  Just be safe!
  • Sanitary towels / tampons / menstrual cup / ThinxWhatever works for you.
  • Sink plug:  To do your laundry in the sink.  Or get a washing bag!

Medical kit

  • Safety pins:  Bring a few, we always lose them and they’re so handy!
  • A needle:  Blisters happen!  And can be vicious in some countries. Ask Carine about her bug bites that turned into blisters in Vietnam!
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Antiseptic cream:  Polysporin is our favourite!
  • Plasters / Bandaids
  • Bandages
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antihistamines:  Especially if you have allergies.  They seem more severe when you travel
  • Oral rehydration sachets (Hello Hydralyte)
  • Antidiarrhoeal (Imodium):   We hate taking meds, but sometimes, you need it!
  • Antacid:  For indigestion or heartburn
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tiger balm:  This puppy is the best! For when you have a cold or sore muscles, as a repellant against mosquitoes, or as Afterbite, it’s so so good!
  • Baby wipes:  If you must, make sure they’re biodegradable and without scent
  • Insect repellent (DEET 50%)
  • After bite

Gadgets

gear

  • Mobile phone:  Well obviously!
  • Camera and gear: Camera, batteries, 32GB memory card, cables, tripod
  • Laptop:  Go for something light and compact.  We love our 13-inch Macbook Pro
  • Plug adapter:  Get a good one, because this puppy will be your best friend.  Bring 2 even!
  • Power pack:  This guy will save your life.  On long travel days, especially!
  • External HD:  Because wifi isn’t always great and your laptop and phone will run out of space.  Just get one, you’ll thank us!
  • USB stick
  • Flashlight or head lamp:  Always good to have!  We prefer a USB charging headlamp
  • Spare batteries:  Rechargeable is better!

Miscellaneous

  • Travel towel:  If it’s a 2-pack, even better!
  • Sleeping sheet & pillow case
  • Travel pillow:  The ones you can blow up with air.  Perfect for flights, bus rides and long waits
  • Eye mask:  especially if you’re a light sleeper
  • Ear plugs:  because of birds, loud snorers, and noisy streets in big cities
  • Book / E-Reader:  We highly recommend an E-Reader.  English books are hard to come by in a lot of countries, especially that book you really want to read!
  • Safety pin / sewing kit
  • Swiss army knife
  • Waterproof cover for bag
  • Laundry line:  This little guy will save you!
  • Carabiner
  • Concentrated detergent:  These detergent sheets are great for laundry days

So there you have it!  Our this is what we had for a year of travel.  It may not seem like much, but sometimes, we feel like it’s too much.  If you have friends or family meeting you somewhere, like ours did, they can bring and take some items with them too.  Or if you really love some pieces, you can have them shipped back to your home.  Either way, don’t get too attached to things, and don’t stress too much about this.  You’re out living your dream, and you can alway buy or ditch along the way!

Let us know what kind of packer you are in the comments.  Were you able to travel long-term with just a carry-on?


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Discover our best advice and a helpful checklist on what to pack for long term travel. Includes important questions and our best recommendations after 13 months on the road

1 year of traveling: our best adventure yet

After one year of traveling full-time as a couple, we wanted to take a minute to share the moments that made this trip memorable for us.

We said it after the 6-month mark, and we’ll say it again.  Time flies when you’re having fun!  After one year of traveling full-time as a couple, we can tell you that this is the most fun we’ve had ever.  So we wanted to take a little moment and go over the little and big moments that made this trip memorable for us.

We picked out the best highlights from each country we visited.  We never planned the whole list of countries we wanted to visit.  As each month passed, we modified our list a little.  Some countries were musts and we actually made it there.  Others, we had to drop because of timing or visas or surprise visits from friends and family.

In either case, each country we visited taught us something new about its culture, its people and ourselves.

Surprising nature days in Korea

wediditourway Nami Island South Korea
An afternoon stroll on the magical Nami Island, South Korea

Yeah, you probably weren’t expecting that from Korea, but this country is home to crazy beautiful waterfalls, hikes, beaches and mountains.  We actually went to Korea without many expectations, and we were blown away!

On Jeju Island, we chased waterfalls and hiked up Korea’s highest peak, Mount Hallasan.  In Busan, we chilled on the nicest beaches.  In Andong, we watched barrels of hay on fire get thrown down cliffs.  Sure, Seoul was amazing with its temples and skyscrapers, but Korea’s nature is what we will always remember.

High-speed travel in Japan

Japan was a whirlwind, we visited something like 18 cities in 21 days.  This was largely possible thanks to their awesome high speed trains, called Shinkansens.

wediditourway Tokyo Japan
Taking a stroll in the park near the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan

We were like total children every single time we had the honour of taking the Shinkansen.  This high-speed train connects all major cities in Japan to each other.  It’s the fastest and easiest way to get around.

To be honest, it is the coolest thing ever!  Seats that rotate, comfy chairs, enough leg-room for our friendly giant Derek, clean wagons, and such punctual drivers.  Seriously, what more could you ask for?

Discovering beach life in Australia

Beach life is two-part for us when it comes to Australia.  First, there are the actual beaches of Australia.  Then, there is the underwater world that we finally got to explore.

To us, Australia has the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever been on.  We spent a large percentage of our 8-9 weeks in the land down under working on our tan.  We would jump in the water, battle the mega waves and just chill by the water!

Wediditourway near Bondi beach Sydney Australia
Hanging out near Bondi beach in Sydney, Australia

From the shores of Airlie beach, to the WhitSundays, down through Mooloolaba and Maroochydore, without forgetting the famous Bondi beach in Sydney, and the colourful beach house lined sandy playgrounds of Melbourne.  If you’re a water-baby, Australia is the place for you.  It sure might be the place for us!

Beyond its beaches, we also go a glimpse of the underwater world in Australia.  We had the privilege of discovering the biggest coral reef system in the world.  The Great Barrier Reef spans almost half a billion square kilometres, teaming with life, beauty, and mystery.

The corals weren’t in their best shape, as half of this living organism has died since 2016.  It’s such a shame… but there are steps to be taken that can bring this marvel back to life, things that we strive to do every day of our lives.

We are so grateful that we were able to visit the GBR and still had a great time.  There was still a vast amount of marine life.  Carine saw a turtle, something Derek has been snakebitten towards (he’s never seen one).  We even swam right up to some reef sharks, which sounded a lot scarier than it really was.

Driving a campervan in New Zealand

Roadtrips have always been one of our favourite things to do.  So it’s no surprise that our journey through New Zealand was another of the major highlights of our trip.  Having the freedom to explore this beautiful country on four wheels was amazing.  Going where we wanted, when we wanted, and seeing the beautiful landscape that New Zealand has to offer around each and every corner.

Wediditourway Roy's peak Wanaka New Zealand
Looking out at beautiful Wanaka from Roy’s peak, New Zealand

Add to this the relaxation of packing it in for the evening and meeting new people at campgrounds across this marvellous country.  Sitting by a camp fire with a beer or two in hand and sharing our experiences with new people every night was great.

And the stars… the indescribable stars.  You have to see them to believe.  Never have we been so enthralled by balls of gas burning light years away.

Scuba diving in Thailand

One of the great things about this trip is that we learned a new skill together.  We found an activity we are passionate about and can do all around the world.

Wediditourway Railey beach Ao Nang Thailand
We couldn’t be happier than being here at Railey beach in Ao Nang, Thailand

Scuba diving has been one of our favourite things to do on this trip.  We got bitten by the scuba bug in Thailand.  It helps that we saw a whale shark and got to swim naturally with one right before our last dive to get certified.

Beyond learning a new skill together, scuba diving has taught us some great life lessons.  Mainly that in many moments in life, you can just disconnect and focus on the now.  When we scuba, all we need to do is appreciate our surroundings and focus on our breathing.  This is something we can all do when life gets overwhelming.

Discovering technology and culture in Singapore

Singapore is such a unique place in Asia.  It has all the craziness of South East Asia, but it has the refinement and technology like nowhere else on earth.

Wediditourway Supertree groove Singapore
Wow, these SuperTrees in Singapore are just amazing

On one end of the spectrum, you have your typical hawker centres, where you can taste foods from the four main cultures in Singapore (Malay, Indian, Chinese and Western) for pennies.  On the other end, you have the marvels around the Marina Bay Sands, with the SuperTrees, the FlowerDome and the Cloud Forest.

With so much to do and see, Singapore was one of our favourite places in South East Asia.  Best of all, it was actually more affordable than we expected, so it was a double-win for us!

Small town living in Vietnam

Vietnam has so much history to share, and the major cities have a very real hustle and bustle vibe to them.  If you are trying to cross the street in either Ho Chi Min or Hanoi, well… good luck!

Wediditourway Ho Hoan Kiem Hanoi Vietnam
Walking around the old town of Hanoi, Vietnam

But what really stuck out to us during our time in Vietnam was the quaint city of Hoi An.  After being on the go for much of the 5 months that lead up this country, we finally stayed put for more than a week in this charming UNESCO World Heritage site.

We made some great friends here, notably our favorite Coloradans, Bre and Daniel, also known as The Love & Adventure.  Though we only briefly met them in Hoi An, we would meet them many more times throughout our time on the road.

Zen vibes in Cambodia

wedidiitourway Angkor Wat Cambodia.jpg
Stepping back in time at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia was the epitome of zen for us.  Sure, the Angkor Wat temples are completely insane and sometimes get crowded.  But to be able to walk around these century-old sacred places was just magical.  There are always little nooks where you can find total zen in the chaos.

This is something we learned from our first yoga retreat at Angkor Zen Gardens.  For 4 days, we stayed in a hut, ate delicious vegetarian food and practiced yoga for 4 hours a day.  Basically, we disconnected from the world to better connect with ourselves.  This was the ultimate zen time.

Scooter life in Malaysia

After experiencing scooter-insanity in Vietnam and Thailand, we were happy that our first South East Asia scooter-riding experience was in Langkawi.  For 1 month, we stayed put on a beautiful island to do our Workaway.  This was the first time we had access to a scooter, and needless to say, we took full advantage of it.

Wediditourway Langkawi Malaysia
Discovering Langkawi was awesome with our scooter!

Scooter life in Langkawi was the ultimate freedom.  We explored every inch of the beautiful island.  We hopped on and off at every cool spot and just whizzed around this place we called home for 4 weeks.

A traditional Filippino wedding in the Philippines

The Philippines were exciting for two reasons, both of which were that we met up with friends of ours!

Bohol cliff jump Philippines
Peaking down before taking the plunge in Bohol, Philippines

First was Derek’s best friend Shawn, who flew into the Philippines for his father’s wedding.  We actually first met up with Shawn in beautiful Vancouver, Canada.  Shawn isn’t exactly a travel type, so the fact that we met up with him halfway across the globe was very exciting.

We got to stay in the small town of Tanjay city, where we were literally the only tourists.  Staying with Shawn’s future step-mother Laura, we were able to get the real Filippino vibe.

After being a part of a traditional Filippino wedding, we then moved to Bohol, and were reunited with our friends Bre and Daniel!  We spent a good two weeks hanging out with them by the sandy shores of Panglao island, working on the blog and enjoying island life.

Food with a great view in Spain

We only had a short time in Spain, but it was a memorable week.  Needless to say that the food and wine were delicious.  If you’ve never had tapas, you need to.  As they say, sharing is caring, and this is what Tapas Life is all about.

Wediditourway Science centre Valencia Spain
Having a little fun at the science centre in Valencia, Spain

The beaches also took our breath away, whether in Barcelona, Valencia or Málaga.  After days exploring the cities, the beach breaks helped us cool down and disconnect from the city hustle.

But there’s one thing that stood out to us more than anything and that was the stunning architecture in these 3 cities.  From the famous Gaudí structures in Barcelona, to the bay windows, to the modern City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, each city had beautiful architecture.

Sleeping under the stars of the Sahara Desert in Morocco

Being two Canadians that have become accustomed to harsh, cold winters, the Sahara desert was the polar opposite of what we are used to.

Wediditourway Hassan II mosque Casablanca Morocco
We were blown away by the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Going to the desert was a no-brainer when we decided to visit Morocco.  Derek rode a camel, we slept under the stars (a nights sky that almost rivals the New Zealand sky), we frolicked in the sand dunes, and visited Berber tribes living out in some of the world’s harshest conditions.

To say it was hot, well that is obvious.  But we certainly were blown away by 50°C heat and just how much water you need to drink to stay hydrated while there.

Another surprise, the desert has an abundance of water!  We always thought that there was no water in the desert, but in reality that sand dunes of the desert could not be possible without a vast amount of subterranean water.

Country life in France

Imagine being surrounded by the rolling hills in Southern France.  Fields of vines ripening in the hot sun.  Sunflowers as far as the eye can see.  Beautiful century-old churches at the centre of every picturesque town.  Not to mention eating delicious local foods from the weekly markets and drinking wine from the neighbours vineyards.

Wediditourway Gaillac vineyard France
We are just going to go get a glass of wine, and maybe some cheese!  Gaillac, France

Our time in France is what you expect every French dream is made of. We will fondly remember this time as the month we had too much to eat and drink, and that we worked insanely hard on the blog.  Basically, it was the perfect mix of chilling and work.

Island hopping in Greece

After spending nearly three months with friends and family, we got a nice 2 weeks of going back to just being the two of us!

Wediditourway Naxos Greece
The Greek island of Naxos is just perfect!

We went from Santorini, to Paros, to Naxos, and finally finished our trip of Greece in Athens.

Our time in Santorini gave us beautiful sunsets.  In Paros we spent as much time as we could at the beach.  We discovered the Aegean sea in Naxos, while sailing with Xanemo Sailing.  And Athens gave us all of the sightseeing we could stuff into the two days we spent there.

All in all Greece was amazing, highlighted by the copious amounts of food we ate!

Getting local in Armenia

Since the day we met, Armenia has been on our bucketlist.  Carine is of Armenian descent, so you can guess why it was on our list.  If you know any Armenians, you know how proud they are of their heritage and their country.  It was also an opportunity for her family to finally come see us, after a full year of traveling.  Can you believe that most of them had never been to their homeland?

Wediditourway Republic Squarte Yerevan Armenia
Chilling at Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia

From the delicious food, to the beautiful landscape, the warm and generous people to the impressive history of the country, Armenia is a mix of everything we’ve seen so far… well, except the beaches.  A hiker’s paradise, a foodie’s dream come true, a historian’s heaven, a mix of European flair, amazing traditions, low cost of living and comfy standards.

As we’re writing this, we still have a good 3 weeks left here, and so much more to explore. Armenia is probably the best place we could have celebrated our 1-year on the road, mainly because there are always celebrations going on here.

This year was a great reminder for us.  We learned the importance of living in the now, of enjoying every moment we have together.  It also reminded us of how lucky we are to be able to chase our dreams, as we’ve seen so many people just struggling to survive.  It showed us how beautiful our planet is and how important it is to take care of it.

floating through life and enjoying the ocean
A year of floating through life, carefree as can be. Bohol, Philippines

This trip is one of many more we’ll take to explore every corner of this earth.  We’re excited to head back home soon (we do miss our friends and fam), but we’re even more excited to head back out.

Have you ever been on a long-term trip? Tell us about it in the comments, we’re ready for more inspiration!


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The highlights from our 13 months on the road. The amazing experiences we've had after 1 year of traveling. This is our best adventure yet. www.wediditourway.com

The best advice to start your travel Instagram account

Starting a travel Instagram account can be hard. We asked our favourite Instagram couples for their best advice to start your own travel account.

Off you go!  You’re setting out to travel the world and you want to showcase your experiences on Instagram.  But as you scroll through your feed, you realize, you’re not the only one.  So many others are out there creating beautiful content and sharing their trips with the world.  Don’t worry!  There is room for everyone on this platform.  That’s why we asked our favourite Instagram couples to share their best advice with those who want to set out, explore the world and create a beautiful Instagram feed.

@voyageatraversnous

VoyageATraversNousPictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are:  We’re Alizée and Jordan, a young couple in love with travelling.  It’s been 11 months since we started discovering the most beautiful places in the world.  We do this to inspire people to chase their dreams.

Why we love them:  We love their whimsical editing style, and how throughout their journey, they’ve stayed hidden.  Although we’ve never seen their face, they look like such lovely people.  We love this French couple and their feed.  They make us feel like we could be in those magical places ourselves.

Their advice:  Love what you do.  And don’t start your account with the idea that you’ll get 100,000 followers.  Be authentic and unique.  Don’t do what everyone else is doing.

Where to follow them:  You can find their stunning pictures on Instagram or follow their advice on their blog.

@wanderersandwarriors

Charlie and Lauren from @wanderersandwarriors

Who they are:  We’re Charlie & Lauren, a free spirited couple on the run originally from the UK.  We combine our sense of humour, love of travel and passion for life to explore the world.

Why we love them:  They were one of the first couples we started following.  They’re always smiling and happy and their light comes through in all their shots.  We even had the chance of meeting them in Singapore, and they are just super sweet!  They’ve been one of our inspirations from the get-go.

How long they’ve been travelling together:  We’ve been full-time travelling together for 16 months now.

Their advice:  Always make sure you show the real you and document your travels for how they really are.  Have fun and let the pictures come naturally… don’t force the Instagram life!  And always stay true to yourself!

Where to follow them:  See them travel the world on Instagram (and make sure to watch their stories) or check out their amazing blog for the best tips… especially if you’re heading to Bali.

@over_globe

OverGlobePictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are:  We’re Estelle and William, a 24 and 25 year-old French couple who decided to go around the world indefinitely since January 2018.  

We decided to share our adventures on Instagram for several reasons, the first was the willingness to share our day-to-day adventures with our friends and family.  Then, we are passionate about photography, so the network seemed to be the most appropriate.  Finally, because the feed allows us to have a permanent “photo album” of our travels and we really like that. 

Why we love them:  Not only are these two vegetarians, but they have a raw and unedited style of travelling.  Their dry French sense of humour got us hooked, and they keep spoiling us with some of the most beautiful and untouched places we’ve ever seen.

How long they’ve been travelling together:  We’ve been on the road for the last 10 months.  At the moment we’re focusing on Asia, Southern Africa and a work-travel visa in Australia for the following year.  Our next step will surely be the Pan-American Highway!!

Their advice:  If we had 3 tips to give to those who would like to embark on the Instagram adventure it would be the following: Post quality photos that appeal to you first, and not for the sole purpose of pleasing the community. 

Don’t hide some parts of reality.  Even if it’s not always glamorous, be honest and true.  This is important to us to create a real connection with others. 

Do not be fooled by or get sucked into the Instagram machine.  Do not be tempted to buy likes, followers or other things like that.  Instagram is too unpredictable for you to lose your legitimacy!

Where to follow them:  They have a beautiful feed on Instagram, and for amazing tips on where to go to be the only traveller, check out their blog, en Français, bien sûr!

@freeoversea

FreeOverseaPictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are:  We’re Patricia & Miguel, a passionate couple who quit our jobs to travel the world and chase every bit of sunshine.  Our mission is to inspire people to live consciously and work on their self-development, travel the world to engage with communities, find home on earth and promote change.

Why we love them:  They have a way of transporting us to the most beautiful places, and their captions always hit home.  They are two beautiful souls, and their light shines so bright!

How long they’ve been travelling together:  We’ve been traveling together for about 2 years.  It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives.

Their advice:  Choose a name like you would a brand. You want people to remember you so make it personal and appealing. We played a game where we wrote some words down on paper, related to adjectives that characterized our beings, as well as names or expressions that described our passions.

Have a mission, because it is even more common now to have a couple account.  If you want to stand out, you must have a mission, so make sure you write down what your goals are with your account, so you can focus on the message you will deliver with your photos and captions.

And always be yourself.  This is the most important thing in the social media world.  If you want to engage with people and have them trust your influence on them, you must be real all the time, transparent and never copy other’s lifestyle.  Remember, we are all unique and true beauty relies not only on being the best version of yourself, but the real one.

Where to follow them:  Together, they created Freeoversea, an online destination (Instagram and a blog) where they share stories, travels and promote an ethical lifestyle, focusing on sustainability and conscious living. 

@flipflopwanderers

FlipFlopWanderersPictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are:  We are Bram and Manon from Flip Flop Wanderers.  We met each other in 2010 and we had our first big trip together pretty soon after!

Why we love them:  They are one of the sweetest people out there!  Plus, they pimped out their own campervan and have been travelling through New Zealand for so long.  Because we loved it there so much, we love reliving the beautiful places through their feed!

How long they’ve been travelling together:  Currently, we are on our 2nd world trip which started almost 2 years ago already.  We are not planning on stopping soon either, there is still so much we want to explore!  We like to travel ‘slow’ and discover what a destination really has to offer and experience the country.

Their advice:  When you start with an Instagram account, aiming to be an influencer, it is important to think about what kind of niche you want to focus on.  This can be as simple as your own travelling style.  Think about a name that suits this niche, and make sure it isn’t taken yet.  Using a lot of underscores, numbers or dots might make the name look like a cheap rip off from an existing one, so you want to avoid that.

In our opinion, the thing that really makes a good Instagram account is content.  It’s important to make great photos, look at composition and lighting.  Try to avoid selfies and crooked photos.  It’s not impossible to grow without the best content, and of course, it’s a learning process, but if you’re planning to stay for the long haul, content is king!

Where to follow them: You can tag along their roadtrip on Instagram, or check out their amazing blog.

@our.taste.for.life

OurTasteForLifePictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are:  Our Taste For Life documents the story of Charlotte & Natalie – A British lesbian couple chasing our dreams around the world on a shoe-string budget.  We share a passion for adventure, writing & photography and spend majority of our time bickering over what our next meal will be.  We have recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary of being on the road, and have no intentions of stopping any time soon.

You will currently find us gallivanting our way through the fascinating & beautiful India.

Why we love them:  These ladies are funny, sweet and just real.  We feel like we could totally hang out with them, and we would laugh the whole time!  Plus, they show us the most beautiful places on Earth!

How long they’ve been travelling together:  We’ve been on the road for a year, and we’re currently in our 9th country.

Their advice:  Get creative – In the modern world where Instagram is a prodigious community, creativity is most certainly King.  We aren’t all born natural photographers, however with the beauty of editing software such as Lightroom & Photoshop, there are heaps of ways you can add creativity to your shots.

Be Yourselves & Have Fun – This one is really important, as it’s easy to start comparing yourselves to others and consequently losing your own identity.  Remember nobody is more you-er than you, and that will always be your greatest strength.  It’s also easy to get so wrapped up in taking the perfect shot that you forget to have fun.  Trust us when we say the best photos are the ones taken when you’re both relaxed and enjoying yourselves.

Be Patient – Instagram is a hard game to crack so don’t feel deflated if you aren’t growing as quickly as you’d like to be.  Just keep working hard, enjoy the journey and trust that good content will prosper in the end.

Where to follow them:  They have some awesome tips and itineraries up on their blog, and you can find them on Instagram too.

@onelove.ourlove

OneLoveOurLovePictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are:  We met 13 years ago in Vail Colorado when Jana came from Bulgaria to snowboard for one winter.  We fell in love and long story short, we’ve been together as a couple for 11 years now.  We are very passionate about traveling, spreading positivity and living a healthy lifestyle.  Jana’s been plant-based for over 15 years and Mikey for 12. We love the ocean and care about our environment.  We hope to inspire people to love the life they live and to be more kind and loving towards every living being.

Why we love them:  How can we not?! These two have beautiful pictures, and on top of it, they always have such motivating and positive captions.  They make anything and everything seem possible!

How long they’ve been travelling together:  We’ve been traveling together part-time for the past 10 years, and we’ve been to 53 countries as a couple.

Their advice:  One of the main things is to know and have a clear vision and idea of why you are doing it.  Figure out your message and the things that make you different and unique.

Another very important tip we tell everyone is to not get caught in the game of numbers, engagement and comparisons.  Don’t measure your worth by the algorithm and know that your relationship with each other is more important than your Instagram account.

Also, understand that it takes time to grow your account, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away.  Focus on getting better with your photography or other skills and make sure you dedicate more time to your relationship and the fun part of the journey.

Where to follow them:  Their Instagram feed is just goals and they have an awesome blog as well.

@barbieandpanda

BarbiePandaPictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are:  Hey everyone we are Corina and Greg.  A married couple living and working in NYC, travelling the world as much as possible.  Combined we have been to over 50 countries and our current goal it to hit all 7 continents together, which we only have 1 left!  Africa is the last one and we are hoping to knock off this next spring.

Why we love them:  For so many reasons!  These NYC folk show the best of the city, plus they travel to the coolest places (hello Iceland and Copenhagen!)  Plus, their editing is just super dreamy!  When we head back to NYC, we know who we want as tour guides!

How long they’ve been travelling together:  We first started travelling together just 3 weeks after meeting when we made a trip to Sayulita, Mexico.  All our friends thought we were crazy to be travelling internationally or travelling anywhere with someone we had just met, but if felt right!  And hey, 5 years later, we are happily married, travelling all over the world together.

Their advice:  1: If you are trying to make this into a business know it is going to take a lot of time and hard work.  It doesn’t happen overnight and be prepared to spend 3-5 hours a day growing your account, for at least the first 6 months.

2: Content is king.  This doesn’t mean you have to have the best equipment.  It just means try to be creative and take pictures from your own perspective.  Don’t just only take the same pictures that you see 100 times over on Instagram.  Switch up the poses, try and be as natural in the photos (which can be hard).  Laughing is key for this one we find lol.

3: Do it for fun!  If it is not fun, it is not worth doing!!

Where to follow them: You can tag along their travels through their blog and on Instagram

@theloveandadventure

TheLoveAdventurePictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are: We are Bre and Daniel from Colorado, USA.  We’re husband and wife, best friends, and travel companions.  We strive to deeply learn about each place we travel to through visiting local villages and partaking in volunteer opportunities.  As for our future, we’re not sure what it holds, but we are confident that our every move will be made in love and adventure.

Why we love them:  Because they are just lovable!  More than a travel couple, these two are our friends.  We had the pleasure of travelling 3 countries with them, and we can’t wait to discover more.  Their feed is beautiful and they are showcasing the best of South America right now.  Why did we not keep travelling with them?

How long they’ve been travelling together:  The world is a vast place and we knew it would take more than a lifetime to see, so in September 2017, we sold our belongings, packed our backpacks, and boarded a one-way flight to India. We’ve been on the road for 13+ months with no sign of stopping.

Their advice:  One of our favorite parts about being an Instagram user is that we’ve been able to evolve and learn as photographers and content creators.  We recommend using the platform to push yourself, to sometimes fail, and to grow from it.  Don’t be afraid to be creative, but also stay authentic.  We worry about the future of photography when images are faked or manipulated to a point of nonrecognition.

Try new things.  If you’re naturally good at landscape photography, try some portraits and use the platform for instant feedback.  Lastly, don’t think that your account needs to look like thousands of others to be successful.  Highlight the locals.  Post food pictures.  Take silly photos of yourself.  Just have fun with it and breathe — it’s only Instagram after-all.

Where to follow them: You can see where they are on the daily through their Instagram, or check out their blog for more details and inspiration.

@leaguetravels

LeagueTravelPictureAdvicefortravelcouplesinsta

Who they are:  We’re Zach and Tara Brose, creators and curators of The League Collective of Brands.  We’re born and raised in the United States (Zach in Wisconsin and Tara in South Carolina- but we met and fell in love in New York City).  We currently call Bali home.

Why we love them:  These two are all about wellness and living a great life.  We loved following their adventures through Greece.  Their pictures are always dreamy, and we just love it when they get creative and scribbly on their feed.  Come on, look how cool this picture looks!

How long they’ve been travelling together:  In 2017, we said goodbye to our beloved NYC and set out to travel full-time and build The League Collective into a lifestyle destination for all things travel, fashion and design.  Simply put, life in style for the modern adventurer.

Their advice:  Choose a niche and do it really really well!  The market is super saturated these days, so do something that is uniquely “you” and then perfect it. You can expand later! ie- traveling with a dog, the best Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, boutique hotels, something like that! Define your space and make yourselves known for it.  The better your photos/video are, the more you’ll stand out!  Invest in a nice camera and learn to use it well!

Where to follow them:  You can check out their amazing work on their blog, or see their daily posts up on Instagram.

@theglobegoers

TheGlobeGoersPictureAdvicefortravelcouplesinsta

Who they are:  Our names are Jared and Desiree.  We met in 2012 while attending Brigham Young University Hawaii.  After our marriage in 2015, we have always had a dream of travelling the world, but we weren’t yet sure how to go about it.  Starting in January of 2018, we saw an opportunity to take Instagram more seriously, and we started sharing our photos, experiences, and positivity with others.  It took a lot of work and research, but our following finally grew large enough to start working with brands and doing collaborations.

Why we love them:  Their silly antics and fun personalities got us hooked from the get-go.  Their feed is the happiest thing we’ve seen and their stories make us think we could be good friends!

How long they’ve been travelling together:  We finally made our dreams come true at the end of August (this year, 2018), when we worked to save up money, sold everything we had, and took off to start exploring!  We have been on the road (or in the air) ever since.

Their advice:  Be yourself!  Find your niche and roll with that.  It may take a while to figure out what you want to share or how to share it, but keep experimenting until you do.  No matter how many accounts may seem similar to yours, you can always find something to make yours unique and offer something different to your audience.

Tip 2: Do your research!  Learn about hashtags, the algorithm, optimizing your posting times, how often to post, etc.  This, too, will take some experimenting, but don’t give up!  There are a lot of resources out there that have answered many of the questions we had.  We have even found a lot of inspiration from analyzing successful accounts and determining what is working for them.

Where to follow them:  You can find them on Instagram or you can check out their awesome weekly vlogs on Youtube.

@letyouwander

LetYouWanderPictureTravelCoupleAdvice

Who they are:  We are Kim & Raphaël, a French couple that grew up in the Caribbean on the island that Haiti and Dominican Republic share.

Why we love them:  Saying we love their pictures is just not enough!  They are beautiful and they go to magical places together.  They are awesome, and somehow, they make long-distance relationships look so easy.

How long they’ve been travelling together:  Our first big trip was Cuba, summer 2017.  We stayed one month, which is still too little for this wonderful place.  I started taking pictures during this trip with the idea of documenting our travels.  In the beginning Rapha was reluctant but he started getting into it, and developed a taste for it.  When we got back we decided to start our couple travel account, so we could help young travellers with authentic experiences.

Their advice:  After doing it for almost a year we we happy a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t.  So here are our top tips:

Post consistently.  Posting every day is super important.  The more you post, the more chances for your followers to see your pictures (or even people that don’t follow you will find you through the explore page or hashtags)

Post good content.  Try to post the best content you can.  Good content means good quality pictures but also unique ones (either a unique angle of somewhere popular or a brand new beautiful place that no one knows).

Be yourself and enjoy this journey.  It is super important to enjoy this journey in every aspect from taking pictures, to editing them and posting them on the Gram.  If you don’t enjoy the process, you will get tired of it and will feel like all this is fake or superficial (I often felt like that, so I took responsibility for it and now I have much more fun). Always spread love!

Where to follow them:  You can see all their amazing pictures on Instagram.

Did you think we were done?  Well nope!  We have our own advice to give as well.  But we’ll keep it short and sweet, because everyone has given some amazing tips already.

wediditourway sharing ice cream bohol philippines

Our advice:  It’s called social media for a reason.  Get social, make friends and actually connect with people.  Social media gets a bad rep for being too curated and fake, and sometimes, it can be.  But one of our favourite things about this platform is that we got to make so many real connections with other couples and people.  We’ve met a few of them on the road, and our experience would not have been the same had we not created these real friendships.

Social media and travelling can both get lonely at times, so if you really want to make the best of this experience, reach out to people, talk to them, make real connections, meet up with them.  Heck!  This article would not have been possible had we not reached out to all these beautiful people.

So go out there, document your travels, bring people on this trip with you and always have fun.  And remember, Instagram is just a platform.  It may not be here forever, so until then, make friends, have fun, and enjoy this trip you’re on!

Have you found these tips helpful? Do you have other tips to add to this? We’d love to know in the comments.  And if you’re ready to take the leap and go on this journey, make sure you check out our blog on how to take couple pictures for Instagram.


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The best advice to start your travel Instagram account. We got the best tips from our favourite Instagram couples to help you figure out how to start an Instagram account you want to turn into a business. www.wediditourway.com

How to survive traveling as a vegetarian

We all know it, travelling as a vegetarian comes with its own unique set of challenges.  These are the tricks I’ve learned along the way to make things easier.

We all know it, traveling comes with its own unique set of challenges.  Well, so does being a vegetarian.  When you combine the two, it can really go either way.  It all depends on how you prepare yourself.

I love eating and have quite a refined palette.  I’m a firm believer that food is a great way to learn about someone’s culture.  It’s also a way to share joy, pleasure and love.  There was no way I wasn’t going to take full advantage of the countries we were visiting, and try all their delicious dishes.  Luckily, I didn’t have to cheat on my vegetarian diet to do it!

Vegan burger and fries at Shaka Burger Bohol Philippines
Vegan burger and fries at Shaka Burger, Bohol Philippines

After a year on the road, I want to share some of the things I learned along the way, and help you avoid some of the mistakes I made traveling as a vegetarian.

Why I became a vegetarian

Short answer, for all the reasons.  Because of the way we treat animals, because of the environmental impacts of eating meat, because of health reasons.  All of the reasons.  But I won’t get into that here.  I’ve already shared my journey in another article.

Traveling as a vegetarian

I’m not going to lie.  Traveling as a vegetarian is not easy.  People will constantly question your motives and try to convince you that the animals were put on this earth for us to eat.  Some people may even laugh at you for it.

Just be respectful with the people you meet.  If they ask you questions, answer them as honestly and calmly as you can, but know that you will probably not change their minds with one conversation.  If they pressure you, understand that it comes from a place of love.

Mozarella di buffalo tomato and pesto brushetta in Athens Greece
Mozarella di buffalo tomato and pesto brushetta, Athens Greece

A lot of cultures are very meat-heavy and can’t imagine a meal without a dead animal on their plate.  To refuse more politely, you can tell them meat makes you sick.  After 3 years of not eating meat, I can tell you that my system can no longer digest it.  So I’m not even lying when I tell them that!

So here are some tips I learned while traveling as a vegetarian.  I don’t eat fish either, so it may be easier for those who do.

Stay positive

Don’t despair.  It’s true that some days will be tough.  You won’t find much to eat except rice and eggs.  People won’t understand your reasons.  They may even mock you.  Just stay positive and know there is a huge community of vegetarians worldwide.  In fact, there are over 375 million people in the world who are in our Veg crew.  So don’t let a few nay-sayers ruin the good thing we have going.

Do some research

If you’re a foodie like me, you probably want to eat everything in sight.  Do your research and see what the local delicacies are.  Find out if they can be made without animal meat.  See if any of the local dishes are actually vegetarian from the get-go.  In most countries we visited, we were able to find vegetarian versions of all their local meals… or at least the best ones!

Vegetarian Laska at Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House, Penang Malaysia
Vegetarian Laska at Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House, Penang, Malaysia

Ask a local

Once you get there, ask a local about their food customs.  They will be able to give you the inside scoop on what veggie options you can find fresh, in-season and locally without breaking your neck or your bank account.  They may even be able to teach you how to make those local dishes.  Double score!

Know that in most places ‘Vegetarian’ doesn’t mean much

Once, in Japan, I ordered gyoza (dumplings) with a mushroom filling.  I took one bite and knew the gyoza had meat in it.  When I asked the waiter, he said “No meat”.  Being with some locals, I asked them to inquire again, but to find out what the actual filling was.  The waiter then said “Mushroom and chicken.  No meat.

Surprisingly, not every culture categorizes meat the same way.  Some don’t consider fish or chicken to be meat.  Others think seafood is fine for vegetarians (and sometimes, some vegetarians think seafood is fine too).  So go beyond learning “I am vegetarian” in every language.  Instead, learn how to say what you can and cannot eat.  Or at least, bring a phrasebook with you so you can clearly translate what you are ordering.

Get a kitchen

This is something we do to save money, and to make it easier to eat vegetarian meals.  Often, we’ll book a room or Airbnb that has a kitchen or a kitchenette included.  This way, we can make our own meals with the fresh ingredients we find.  Curries are super easy to make and can be shared easily.  Because you know, sharing is caring.

Use Happy Cow

If you’re already a vegetarian or vegan, then you know about Happy Cow.  And you probably love it!  It’s the easiest and best way to find veg-friendly restaurants in town.

Fried sesame pau at Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House, Penang Malaysia
Fried sesame pau @ Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House, Penang Malaysia

And if all else fails, just find the closest Indian restaurant.  When we were in Korea and Japan, the least vegetarian-friendly countries we visited, we would stop by the Indian restaurant. They’re almost always delicious, cheap and have tons of vegetarian options.  SCORE!

When in doubt, order a bunch of starters

Sometimes, the restaurant you find only has meat dishes or things made with animal meats as mains.  It’s happened to us a few times, when we get caught eating very late, with only a few options available.  Or we’re with friends who want very specific things to eat.  If there are no main dishes that are meat-free, chances are, you will find starters or sides that do the trick.  So don’t despair, and don’t forget to share!

Make a request

Usually, if there is nothing meat-free on the menu, you can still make a request and see if the kitchen can accommodate you.  Chances are, they don’t want to lose the potential business and they will create a vegetarian dish just for you.  You can ask them to remove the meat, or substitute it for something else.  Just beware that this doesn’t always work.

2 Fruit bowls at Shaka Burger Bohol Philippines
Our favourite fruit bowls at Shaka Burger, Bohol Philippines

In the Philippines, we ordered nachos and asked that they remove the meat.  They said it was impossible to do.  But when we asked if they could remove the pork from the pancit, that was no problem.  Why?  We’re still not sure!

Pack snacks and stock up of fresh produce

If you’re traveling short-term, you can bring some snacks, protein powders or nutrition bars with you.  If you’re traveling long-term like us, we recommend stocking up on snacks when you find some that are protein-heavy or highly nutritious.

Fruit stand Langkawi, Malaysia
Our favourite fruit stand in Langkawi, Malaysia

There are many places where the only vegetarian options I found to eat were rice and eggs.  Those nights were less fun but I was happy to have bananas and apples with me.  In most countries, the produce is super fresh and local so fill up when you can.

Know your limits

Some people change their eating habits when they travel.  Vegans will become vegetarian when they travel.  Vegetarians will have fish once in a while from local vendors.  Know what you are ok “breaking the rules” for.

Kimchi at street market in South Korea
Kimchi at the street market, Busan, South Korea

If you are comfortable with eating something once, you shouldn’t feel bad about it.  For example, when we were in Cambodia, I chose to eat bugs.  Not sure what the rules are about vegetarians eating bugs, but I was quite ok with the idea.

Be flexible

Another time, in the Philippines, we had a meal at the home of a family friend.  She cooked the whole day for us.  But our friend forgot to mention I was a vegetarian.  So she cooked tons of shrimp, crab, chicken and rice.  I’m always happy when there’s rice.  I didn’t want to be difficult, so I had some shrimp.  I didn’t like it, but I didn’t want to insult this person who welcomed us into her home and fed us.  It was just not worth it for a few shrimps that were caught by her family a few hours earlier.

Traditional Morocan vegetable Tajine
A traditional vegetable tajine, Tangier, Morocco

In other countries, where soup was a main staple, I didn’t constantly question if the broth was made with beef or chicken stock.  I would have driven myself, the waiters and my husband crazy.  I just chose to have it and not make a fuss about it.

Know where to go and be prepared

It’s always good to know if the country or city you’re traveling to is vegetarian-friendly or not.  Make sure you look into their cuisine and available veg options.  The countries that I found were the least vegetarian friendly were Korea, Japan, and the Philippines.  Those are the places where I had the same veggie meal over and over again (every day, for weeks).  On the other hand, Australia, New Zealand, Greece and Armenia were great for vegetarians!

Vegetarian Rendang at Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House, Penang Malaysia
Vegetarian Rendang @ Yun Shui Ge Vegetarian House, Penang Malaysia

These are the little things that I’ve learned to help me survive as a vegetarian.  Overall, just stay true to who you are, stick to your values, and keep an open, loving mind.

I’d love to hear what other tricks you’ve found too.  Has traveling as a vegetarian or vegan been easy for you?  Let me know in the comments.


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How to survive travelling as a vegetarian. It's not easy but it is a decision I would make over and over again. www.wediditourway.com

Cheating on my hometown hockey team

See how a hockey fan from Montreal, Canada, switched his Habs jersey, for a another team’s one! Was it treachery, you decide.

Hockey has always been a big part of my life.  Some of my best memories as a kid are of playing hockey in the streets in the summer and playing on the outdoor rinks with my friends in the winter.

I’m a Canadian who has lived in Montreal, Quebec his whole life.  It should be no surprise that I have always been a huge fan of the Montreal Canadiens.  If you don’t follow hockey, they’re the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys of hockey.  But don’t tell that to our neighbours down the 401 in Toronto!

wediditourway in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame
Carine and I in front of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto

Pro sports is a weird thing.  Grown men and women cheer on athletes they’ve never met, mostly rooting for teams in the cities they grew up in.  But these teams make changes every year.  Favourite players get traded all the time.  More than anything else, we cheer for the logo on the front of the jerseys.

Don’t get me wrong, I love professional sports, hockey most of all.  It’s a great way to bring friends together, a topic of conversation with work colleagues, something that unites complete strangers.  Few things get me glued to the TV like the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Alex Galchenyuk and I at the Habs blood drive
Alex Galchenyuk and I at the Montreal Canadiens annual blood drive

But recently my beloved Montreal Canadiens have been a frustrating team to follow, to say the least.  That’s when I started asking myself, why do I even like them?  Do I love all the players on the team?  Do I love the way the management operates?  Do I love the way the team presents their product to us fans?

Here is the uncommon story of a guy who grew up loving the most storied franchise in all of hockey, The Montreal Canadiens, and one day, after 35 years, decided that he would switch allegiances!  Blasphemy, treachery, or just a logical choice?

The early years

My first memory of the Montreal Canadiens, affectionately called the Habs, dates back to the first time I went to watch them in person.  My brother Craig brought me, at the age of 9, to the most famous arena in the world, the Montreal Forum.

The Montreal Forum
The Montreal Forum (photo credit: Archives de la Ville de Montréal)

They were playing the Hartford Whalers, a team that has since been relocated to Carolina.  I don’t remember who won, but I remember was I had a great time cheering on my team.  That’s when my love for them started to bloom.

The Stanley Cup

My next memories of the Habs are my best ones.

In the spring of 1993, the Montreal Canadiens weren’t a great team.  They had some good players, Patrick Roy, Vincent Damphousse, Brian Bellows and Guy Carbonneau to name a few.  Roy was an all-star, of that there is no doubt.  Many think that he is the best goalie to have ever played the game.  The rest of the team didn’t have any superstars, just a bunch of hard-working players who came together and gelled at the right time.

So it was during the playoff run that my real vivid memories of the Montreal Canadiens were made.

Guy Carbonneau accepting the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
Guy Carbonneau accepting the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (photo credit: Hockey Gods)

Many pundits say that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in all pro sports.  The reason for that is because if you are one of 16 teams that make the playoffs, you have a serious chance to win it all.  In other sports, there are only a handful of teams that have a realistic chance of winning a championship.  Look at the NBA, who have had the same two teams reach the finals for the past 4 consecutive years.

The Habs started off the first round of the playoffs playing their bitterest of rivals, the Quebec Nordiques.  They fell short in games 1 and 2 of the seven game series, leaving Montrealers reeling.  Teams that lose the first two games, are usually toast, but not this group.  Montreal went on to win 16 out of the next 18 games, beating the Nordiques, the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Islanders and finally the Los Angeles Kings on route to the team’s record 24th Stanley Cup Championship.

Patrick Roy hoisting Lord Stanley
Patrick Roy hoisting Lord Stanley (photo credit: five thirty eight)

They also did it in breathtaking way, winning a record 10 straight overtime games, a record that stands to this day and will likely never be replicated.

As a 10-year-old boy, I stayed up many nights, well past my bedtime, to watch them capture this title.  I watched every single game of the playoffs that year.

I will never forget the final seconds of the game, when famous hockey announcer Bob Cole said “a 24th Stanley Cup banner will hang from the rafters of the famous Forum in Montreal, the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup!”

It was my brightest memory.  There have been other good ones, but none that top this one, as the Montreal Canadiens are still sitting on Stanley Cup number 24.

Who knows when they will hoist number 25?

The dark years

After winning the Stanley Cup, the Habs weren’t very good, for a long time.  As a fan, I would still watch games, but sporadically.

One memory that stuck, is the trading of my favourite Hab of all time, Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy.  This was a prime example of the Canadiens management wrenching the hearts of their fans.  In a game against the Detroit Red Wings in 1995, then Habs coach Mario Tremblay (a former Habs star of the 1970’s and 80’s) decided to leave his star goalie in the game after he had allowed 9 goals.  Something that never happens, and has always been considered a spiteful act on the coach’s part.

Mario Tremblay staring down Patrick Roy
Mario Tremblay staring down Patrick Roy after allowing 9 goals vs the Detroit Red Wings

After the game, Roy said it was his last game in Montreal.  Four days later, he was traded in on of the most lopsided trades ever.

The Habs never recovered from trading Roy, missing the playoffs in 5 the following 10 seasons.  Considering they had only missed the playoffs once since 1970, Habs fans were furious at the lack of success.

Patrick Roy mock cheers vs Detroit Red Wings
At 7-1 Red Wings, after an easy save from the red line, Patrick Roy mocks the booing crowd at the Forum (photo credit: complete hockey news)

Saying goodbye to the Forum

In 1996, the business side of hockey reared it’s ugly head once again.  The Canadiens moved from the Forum to the newly built Molson Centre.  It’s said that the old Forum had ghosts, which helped them win their 24 Stanley Cups.

During this time I was playing ice hockey myself, and luckily my local team was selected to be a part of the parade that marked the official move.  Thirteen years old at the time, being surrounded by my favourite teams’ legends of the past is something I will never forget.

Beliveau and Richard say farewell to the Montreal Forum
Jean Beliveau and Maurice Richard say farewell to the Montreal Forum (photo credit: the Canadian Press)

Legends like “le gros Bill” Jean Beliveau, Maurice “the Rocket” Richard, Guy “the Flower” Lafleur were all there, along with current players.  I got to meet them all, and even had them sign the sweatshirt that we got to wear during the parade.  This sweater could be worth a pretty penny today, if my mother hadn’t washed it a few times.

Since the move, people say the Habs are cursed, the ghosts of the Forum having abandoned them.  This is obviously a superstition, but maybe there may be something to it, considering their lack of success.

The rebirth of my passion for the Habs

The dark years of the Montreal Canadiens finally came to an end in 2003 when got rid of the management team that ruined them and introduced Stanley Cup winner and former Hab, Bob Gainey, as the general manager.

Gainey, along with new coach, Guy Carbonneau, revitalized a franchise that was in desperate need.

Coach Guy Carbonneau
Coach Carbonneau firing up the troops (photo credit: The Star)

With this new management, the Habs started to win more games, they started to be fun to watch.  Unlike the stretch of 10 years that saw them miss the playoffs as often as they made them, they now started being a regular in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This success, and exciting brand of hockey sucked me in.  82 nights a year, I was there watching their games.  The next day, that was all that was talked about with my coworkers.

Did you see the Habs win last night?

How about Carey Price?  Did you see that sick save he made in the 3rd?

Carey Price Montreal Canadiens
Superstar Carey Price (photo credit: CBS Sports)

Alright, Habs are playing Boston in the first round of the playoffs, we got this!

It was exciting.  The camaraderie that comes with watching your team play is one of the best things about following pro sports.

Another blockbuster trade

In 2016, the Habs started off the season on fire, winning their first 9 games in a row. Things were going well, with the team heading into December sitting atop of the league standings.

Then the wheels fell off, in large part due to injuries to their best players, Carey Price, PK Subban and Brandon Gallagher. From December on, the Habs fell from their lofty perch all the way to the outside looking in on the playoff picture.

PK subban celebrating a goal
PK Subban’s signature goal celebration (photo credit: The National)

Most fans chalked up the off season for the Habs as bad luck and a string of injuries. We will get them next year!

Then, one sunny June day, while visiting San Fransisco with my wife, I was scrolling through Twitter as usual, when I saw it.

PK Subban traded to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Shea Webber.

This trade wasn’t a horrible one.  Shea Webber was a perennial Norris trophy candidate. Sure, he was older, and more of a stay-at-home defenceman, but it was hard to see why this trade was made.  The brass said they needed new leadership.

PK Subban Montreal Children's hospital donation
PK Subban pledges $10 million to the Montreal Children’s hospital (photo credit: Sportsnet.ca)

PK was probably the player that fans loved the most.  He was charismatic and spoke his mind.  He was ultra-skilled, and was one of the few players on the team who elevated his game when it counted most in the playoffs.  Add to that the generous $10 million dollar pledge to the Montreal Children’s hospital he made less than a year earlier.

It was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of fans.

Current state of the Habs

It’s been a yoyo with the Habs the past few years.  One year, they show promise of winning it all, the next, they miss the playoffs.

They have become a team that has moved away from skill and toward character.  While the later is important, without players able to put the puck in the net, not only have they lacked success, but they just aren’t much fun to watch on most nights.

They even traded away their leading goal scorer and captain, Max Pacioretty, to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Road hockey

After leaving Montreal last September, one of the things I knew I would miss was watching hockey.  It didn’t take long before I figured out a way to watch them, though. Waking up at 6AM to watch the games became a regular event for me.

Watching the Habs by the pool in Australia
Watching the Habs by the pool in Australia

But again, they just sucked… why was I waking up so early, to watch them score 1 or 2 goals, or none, and lose game after game?

So what did I do?  The unthinkable.  I said screw this, screw the Habs and their management, I’m going to pick a good, fun team to watch.

So who would I root for now?

Welcome to the NHL, Vegas Golden Knights!

Golden Knights fans cheering
Now these fans have something to cheer for! (photo credit: USA Today)

Why not?  It was their first season in the league.  They had some players I liked, and they were proving all the analysts wrong.

Being an expansion team in the NHL normally comes with years of losing, before success can be had.  That’s why every sports writer and their mothers thought that Vegas would miss the playoffs in the 2017-2018 season.  Seriously, show me one who predicted they would make the playoffs, and I will eat my words.

Well guess what?  Vegas turned out to be one of the best sports stories of the year.

Las Vegas Golden Knights Vegas Strong
Vegas Strong: Remembering those lost (photo credit: NBCDFW)

It started off with the tragic shooting that took place in Vegas on October 1st 2017, 5 days before the start of their inaugural season.  To say that it brought the team closer together would be an understatement.

I remember as a hockey fan, right from the get-go, having an interest in the Golden Knights.  It was so entertaining, from the expansion draft, to watching them start the season with 9 wins in their first 10 games, to their high tempo, high scoring brand of hockey.

The face of the franchise was undoubtably Marc-André Fleury, nicknamed the Flower. He was a 3-time Stanley Cup champ with the Pittsburg Penguins, and was now the starting goaltender for Vegas.  He was also French Canadian.

Marc Andre Fleury pre game stretch
Marc-André Fleury doing a little pre-game stretching (photo credit: NHL.com)

I remember reading an article on my favourite sports website, the Players Tribune, written by another French Canadian member of the Golden Knights, David Perron, called: Vegas? VEGAS!  If you haven’t read it, do yourself the favour and do so now.

I’d had enough of the Habs, and I was now rooting for the Golden Knights.  They played fast, had a high octane offence, and won games, what more can you ask for?  Add to that the in-game theatrics and their social media presence, I was sold!

Vegas Golden Knights pre game intro
A little pre-game pump up (photo credit: Sin City VIP)

They finished the regular season in 1st place in their division, and were set to face off against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs.  Just making the playoffs for an expansion team was an amazing feat, let alone winning their division.

Their season was expected to end in April, after the 82nd game of the regular season.  In reality, it ended two months later, on June 7th, a mere 3 wins away from winning the Stanley Cup.

Vegas Golden Knights Stanley cup finals puck
2018 Stanley Cup Finals (photo credit: Amazon.com)

I haven’t watched as many playoff games as I did during the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.

A Golden Knights fan is born

So back to why we follow our hometown team.  It is a romantic idea to root for a team from your city, but if the point of watching sports is to have fun, why not root for a team you enjoy watching?

That’s why, at least for now, I am going to watch my former captain and cheer him on with our new team.

max pacioretty new member of the vegas golden knioghts
The newest member of the Golden Knights, former Canadians captain, Max Paccioretty (photo credit: TSN.ca)

Go Vegas Go!


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cheating on my hometown hockey team www-wediditourway-com

How to take couple pics for Instagram

How do we take our pictures for Instagram? We aren’t pros, but take a look at these tips to up your photography game.

Ok, it’s time for us to come clean and finally admit how we take couple pics for our Instagram feed.  This is probably the question we get the most often, after how we’re able to travel full-time.  Most assume we have a professional photographer that travels with us, or that we ask strangers to take our shots for us.  The truth is far from that.

Actually, we take all our shots by ourselves, with help from some very handy gear.  We’re not professional photographers, and we’re not models.  Everything we’ve learned has been self-taught.  We’re nowhere close to being done with our photography journey though, so sit tight, because this is only the beginning.

CouplePIctureDilijanArmenia
Having fun taking our pics!  This one is from Dilijan in Armenia

So here are the best tips we want share with you to take some good couples pictures.  Hopefully, they help you take some awesome IG pics as well (or just good pictures during your travels).  After all, these memories will last you a lifetime, and it’s pretty cool to share the stunning things you see with loved ones too.

Find some inspiration

There are tons of great accounts out there that will help inspire you on how to take pictures.  If you’re looking for poses, you can check out other couple or wedding photographer accounts.  If you’re looking for fashion shots, editing style, or framing, you can find it all on Instagram or Pinterest.  Just be respectful of other people’s art.  Getting inspired is fine, but never copy.  That’s just not cool.

Here are some of our favourite travel couples that inspire us every day:

@wanderersandwarriors:  We met these guys a while back in Singapore and they are so fun, approachable and genuine.  You can see their light shine through their pictures.

Charlie and Lauren from @wanderersandwarriors

@mariefeandjakesnow:  These two look so sweet, so kind and they work so hard to make the world a better place.  Their feed is beyond stunning.  More on them later!

Marie and Jake from @mariefeandjakesnow

@theloveandadventure:  Another couple we were lucky enough to meet and travel with (3 countries and counting).  They’re easy-going, adventurous and kind.  Plus, they go to awesome off-the-beaten-path locations.

Brie and Daniel from @theloveandadventure

@travelingfortwo:  These guys are fun-loving, easy-going and super relatable.  We love how they don’t even look like they try to take good pics, they just do!

Marla and Joel from @travelingfortwo

@lezseetheworld:  Fellow Canucks, and all-around awesome couple.  These two are super sweet and their pics are so lovey!

Kaitlin and Steph from @lezseetheworld

Get a camera with a timer or wifi

The gear you use will help you immensely.  Our camera has a timer function that allows us to set it, get into position then snaps up to 10 pictures of us.  Sometimes, we use our phone as a remote (and viewfinder) because our camera has wifi capabilities.

If you’re just getting started, we highly recommend our camera, the Canon EOS 1300D.  It’s great to learn the ropes and perfect your skills.

Use a tripod

Yes, this is the big trick, our big secret weapon.  Get yourself a good, sturdy tripod.  This has been our greatest investment and purchase yet.  Thanks for the advice Wanderers and Warriors.  You can’t rely on others to take the pictures you want, especially if you’re shooting in Manual mode.  Trust us, do yourself a favour, and get a tripod.  It will help your art so much!

Act natural

Sure, it’s a bit weird to pose in front of a camera on a tripod.  Sure, people will stare.  But ignore them and do your thing.  We used to feel super awkward, but now, we just act natural.  Our biggest tip is just to have fun with it.

stealing my ice cream Alona beach philippines
We started shooting and she decided to steal my ice cream. Can’t get more natural than that!

Use the best light

Sure, you can pretty much change anything with Lightroom and Photoshop, but give yourself a good start.  Make sure you shoot when the light is the best and softest, aka Golden Hour.

If you love sunrise, then you’re in luck, because that’s a good time to shoot.  If you’re like us and like to sleep, then you’re also in luck, because you have golden hour before sunset too.

Chocolate Hills Sunrise shoot golden hour bohol philippines
Taking advantage of the soft golden lighting at sunrise, at the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines

If you’re shooting outside of those hours, when the sun is the harshest, make sure you underexpose your pictures so the sun doesn’t “burn” any pixels.  Yeah, we may have learned this the hard way.

Overexposed picture from the waterfalls in Negros Oriental, Philippines
Where is Derek’s foot? The sun “burned” the pixels in this overexposed shot

Use Lightroom

Ok, this is another secret lifesaver/game-changer.  Get yourself a Lightroom account, pay the $15USD per month, and turn any picture into art.  Seriously.

Lightroom has helped us up our game so much.  You can change anything from the exposure of the shot, to the colours (hue, saturation and luminance), the angle of the shot, whatever.  You can get rid of things (or people) too.  It takes some learning to master it, and we’re no masters… yet.  We’re getting there!

LightroomEditingBeforeAfterDilijanArmenia
The magic of Lightroom brought the colours of the sunset to life

Little editing tip (also a photography tip): Always, ALWAYS shoot in RAW.  You will capture so much more details in your pics and editing will be easier.

And if you want to make things even easier, we recommend buying presets.  They automatically turn your pictures into the style you want.  Our favourites come these 2 accounts:

Never stop learning/evolving

From your photography style to your editing skills, there are tons of tools out there to help you out.  Like we said, we’ve learned all our skills by ourselves, but with the help of some great teachers.

We constantly search on YouTube for photography tips and editing tricks.  We want our art to evolve with time.  You can see how we used to shoot vs how we shoot now, the change is shocking.  We’re going to keep growing and learning.

Little photography tip:  Make sure you know how to shoot in Manual mode. It will take your pictures to the next level.

Be mindful of others

Sure, we say to ignore others, but we’re talking about ignoring their funny looks and laughs.  Yes, they will laugh and stare.  Or cheer, like the time Derek picked me up in front of a crowd!  Whatever happens, be mindful of others.  Don’t take too much time in front of a popular spot.  Don’t push people out of the way.  Don’t yell at them (yeah, we’ve seen it happen).  Just be cool, wait your turn, do your thing and move on.

CouplePictureSagradaFamiliaBarcelonaSpain
We waited for 15 minutes to take this shot in front of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We did 10 quick snaps and were out of there in under a minute.

Never disrespect

This is a no-brainer for us.  Don’t break the rules.  Don’t take pictures of others without their consent.  Don’t change your outfit in a religious place to look sexier for the likes.  If you bring props, take them back with you (please don’t litter).  Don’t shoot on people’s properties without their approval.

Treat the places you’re in and the people you’re around with respect.  Don’t forget, you’re not just representing yourself, you’re representing all Instagram couples and content creators.  Don’t give the community a bad rep!

Hassan2MosqueCasablancaMorocco
We asked a security guard for permission before shooting with our tripod in Hassan 2 Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Don’t just do it for the ‘Gram

This is key.  Don’t ever, EVER, do things just for the ‘gram.  Don’t chase the likes or follows by doing anything dangerous.  Don’t go take pictures of places only because they’re the cool spots for Instagram.  Don’t get into arguments together because of pictures.  Don’t do things that don’t make you happy.  And no matter what, never take pictures if you’re not in a good mood.  Because it will show.

So if you’re not both in the mood to take pics, just don’t do it.  And if you need other tips on how to travel as a couple, you can read more about it here.

DashLangkawiInfinityPoolMalaysia
Having fun during our shoots and making sure we don’t actually kill each other

Invest in good photography equipment

Okay, so you can get yourself some really expensive gear and shoot in automatic, or get yourself some decent gear and learn the ropes before you upgrade.  This will totally depend on how much you want to invest from the get-go, and how much you’re willing to learn.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re comfortable using the gear you have.

So here is some of the gear we use, and what we wish we had (Yeah, we’ll be upgrading as soon as we have an income).

gear

Here is what we use:

Cameras

Canon EOS 1300D:  Great starter DSLR camera, tons of great functions, shoots videos in HD and has wifi capabilities.

GOPRO Session 4:  Great for underwater video and shots.  It’s small, light and compact.  The only small downside is that you don’t see what you’re shooting, unless you use your phone as a screen.

Gear

GoPro accessories kit: It has everything you need to use your GoPro in all sorts of ways.  Great value for what you get.

Benro tripod: We love this thing.  It helps us shoot in pretty much all conditions, at different heights.  It’s light and portable.

Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch:  Light, powerful, beautiful, you will need one to edit your pictures and give them that extra little umph!

Toshiba 2TB external hard drive:  Because when you take this many pictures, you’ll need the extra storage.  Cloud based storage is great, but you don’t always have a good internet connection.

Aukey battery pack:  This thing is our lifesaver.  Whenever we’re running low on juice (for our camera or our phones), this little guy saves the day.

Next items to add to our arsenal:

DJI Mavic: We have serious drone envy when we see epic drone shots.  If we were to do this again, we would totally splurge and get one of these.  Yes, this will be the first thing we get when we have an income.

GoPro Dome: This takes stunning half underwater/out-of-water shots.

Chefchaouen blue streets wediditourway morocco
Good times getting lost in Chefchaouen, Morocco, and snapping pics along the way

So there you have it!  Our top tips for taking nice couple pics.  Our biggest advice is that no matter what you do, have fun!  Enjoy the process and don’t be scared to grow and learn.  Just enjoy the ride.  Laugh, be silly and stay in love.

We’d love to hear if you have any other tips for taking good couples pictures. Feel free to share them in the comments below.


Note:  The article contains Amazon affiliate links, on which we’ll make a small commission if you end up purchasing a product.  It’s at no extra cost to you.  You pay the same amount as if you visited Amazon directly.  The good thing is you’ll be helping us create free content and keeping this blog online.  For this, we are eternally grateful!


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How to take couple pictures for Instagram. The best tips, tricks and gear we use to take our pictures www.wediditourway.com