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.


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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


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!


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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.



 

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!


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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


Wediditourway how to plan for long term travel.png

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?


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!


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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


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!


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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


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

10 tips for travelling with parents

Travelling with parents can be fun and challenging all at the same time. Keeping these tips in mind will ensure you both have a great time and enjoy your holidays together.

After 10 months of travelling just the two of us, Derek’s parents decided that they missed us enough to come join us on our trip.  Of course, this meant big changes for both couples in terms of how we travel and live from day to day.  When you spend so much time together, just 2 people, you know how the other thinks and what they want before they utter a single word.  It’s a whole new ball game when you include another couple, who are much older, in our case in their sixties and seventies, and who has a different style of traveling altogether.  So we have put together this list of tips for traveling with parents.

That’s why it’s so important to take certain things into consideration before you set out on an adventure with the parental units.  This will ensure expectations are managed and everyone has a great time.

1. Agree on a budget

Just like you would when picking a restaurant, agree on the budget you want to spend. This will help dictate a lot of the other things that you’ll need to decide on like the destination and the type of traveling you’ll do.  It will also help you see how long they’ll be joining you for.

On our end, we’re on a strict budget so we can’t be spending money like it ain’t no thang. We let our parents know so if they wanted, they could have picked different types of accommodations or done certain activities we skipped.

2. Agree on the type of travel

Not everyone travels the same way.  Some people like the all-inclusives where you don’t need to move, others prefer going off the beaten path and exploring long-lost corners of the earth.

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia, still under construction, for another 22 years!

Before you set out, agree on what type of travel each of you would like to do.  This can range from the overall leisure to adventure type or even day-to-day activities.

We found it helpful to give our parents options as to what to do each day, from sight-seeing to beach chilling.  This way, they can feel involved in the decision-making process and everyone is happy.  What also worked best for us was to do half days: explore in the morning and chill by the beach in the afternoon.  You can guess who wanted to do what!

3. Know their limits

Not everyone walks at the same speed, or can climb up hundreds of steps.  You should keep that in mind when planning your activities.  We are huge walkers, and that’s how we prefer to discover a city.  Our parents however, prefer taking cabs around.

We found it helpful to start with a little test to see what their capabilities actually were.  We walk a lot when we travel so we’re not afraid of long distances or walking all day.  We picked a location that was a 20-minute walk away and saw how long it actually took.  This helped us decide whether we would walk, cab or take the public transport moving forward.  It also helped us plan our sightseeing days out.

4. Be ready to compromise

Because of budgets, because of physical capabilities, because of interests and preferences, know that you’ll probably both be making compromises.   People are often set in their ways and aren’t likely to change how they are.

Valencia science park
Valencia’s City of Arts and Sciences, where we took our parents.  They sat in the shade and we explored.

As long term travellers, you probably have thicker skin and can roll with the punches better so just go with the flow, and let them enjoy this unique trip they’re on with their child.

5. Take time for yourselves

Just like you do when it’s just the two of you, make sure you take time for yourself as well, either as a couple or individually.  Spending 24/7 with your lover is one thing, doing it with your parents or in-laws is another.  So let everyone know when you need time for yourself, either to disconnect, pamper yourself or to do your own exploration.

Because we wanted to explore more on foot than our parents did, we would often drop them off at a nearby café and go explore, or we would head out earlier than them to get things done.  Either way, it was great to have some alone time to better appreciate the time spent together.

6. Agree on a location

Once the budget and type of vacation are agreed on, you can agree on a location.  Our parents wanted to visit a place they wouldn’t have gone to on their own, and we wanted to make sure they were not completely out of their comfort zone.  So we chose to split our time between two countries: Spain and Morocco.

Eco Desert Morocco tour group Tafraout painted rocks
The whole Morocco gang in Tafraout, at the Painted Rocks

Spain was well within their comfort zone and offered a mix of city exploration and beach time, while Morocco was somewhere they would never go alone.  In Morocco, we opted for a private guided tour with Eco Desert Morocco which made it all easier for everyone.

7. Agree on how you will split your spending there

Just like you agreed on a budget, talk about how you want to split the spending.  Is it a 50/50 split for all common expenses?  Will they foot the bill when they want to eat at a more expensive restaurant?

Talking about it before you spend will help you avoid awkward conversations later and make sure everyone is staying on track with their budgets.

8. Keep it short and sweet

Although your parents will want to spend as much time with you as possible, they are probably not used to taking super long vacations.  To make sure the whole trip stays enjoyable for everyone, we would recommend a 14 to 18 day trip together.

Marrakech souk restaurant
The famous souk in Marrakech, Morocco.  Our parents may have bought everything here.

After that, it seems like parents start to miss the comforts of home and are less eager to explore.  Of course, this depends on the type of trip that you’ve opted for.

9. Avoid moving around too much

For so many reasons!  To keep your budget low, to reduce the stress of packing and unpacking, to make sure you’re not spending more time in a car/bus/train than enjoying the trip, to make sure the parents don’t get too tired. Try to spend at least 2-3 nights in the same spot if you can.

10. Enjoy it. These are precious moments for everyone

Things might get tense or stressful, people will get tired and cranky, but the best thing to do is take a breathe and remember that these are precious moments.  When is the last time you took a trip with your parents as an adult?  When is the next time you’ll do it?

On top of the sand dune in the Sahara Desert with my parents
Sitting on top of the sand dune in the Sahara Desert with my parents

Just enjoy the ride and put things into perspective and all should be smooth sailing after that.

Are there other things you think would help make the trip smoother? Let us know!


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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


10 tips to make travelling with parents fun and easy for everyone. Tips and tricks we've learned while traveling with our parents.  www.wediditourway.com

20 ways to survive long-term travel as a couple

Are you planning on travelling with your significant other full time? Click here to see how to make your travels work for the two of you.

Ok, we’re not going to lie here.  Traveling with someone 24/7 is pretty freakin fun, especially when that person is your lover, your best friend and pretty much the best tag team partner you could ask for.  But long-term travel will probably make or break your relationship.  If there’s anything that tests it to its core, this is it.  So here are some ways to help you stay strong during the tough times.

Long-term travel is something that most couples don’t go through, so if you’re on your round-the-world journey, give yourself a pat on the back.  You’re already doing great.

We’re no experts in the field, but having been on the road for almost 11 months, we’ve learned quite a few tricks.  We thought of some ways to avoid friction, and to get the good vibes back so you can make the best of your journey.

1.  Communication is key

Yeah.  This is the most obvious of them all.  Talking things out will probably make you skip the drama and just get back into the groove of things.  So if things aren’t going as expected or if they’re getting heated, take a breather, collect your thoughts and talk it out.

wediditourway balcony
Whispering sweetness in my love’s ear

Of course, there are times when things are going to come out all wrong, but we try to keep our cool and speak rationally.  We also know when to give each other a break so things don’t escalate too much… or when they do escalate too much (Calm down Carine!)

We get along really well for a couple who’s been together for 8+ years.  We barely argue or bicker, though we do have our moments, so when we’re just feeling out of it, we let each other know, which brings us to the next point.

2.  It’s ok to take a break

Being with someone 24/7 is not a normal situation for anyone.  Even back home, you rarely spend so much time with anyone… unless you’re literally attached at the hip.  You have a job, a social life, activities, something that allows you to take a break from your significant other.

With long-term travel, that break doesn’t exist.  You are with the same person ALL THE FREAKIN TIME.  Your significant other will see you at your best, at your worst, and on your off days.  It can be tiring at first to explain why you’re not your usual chipper self, but there’s an easy fix for that.

There’s nothing worse than having to answer the infamous “what’s wrong?” question every 5 minutes.  So before the barrage of questions gets started, we’ll just let the other know that today is an off day.  Nothing is wrong, but we just need space or time alone.  No feelings hurt, no need to justify anything.

3.  Live in the now

Surprisingly, this can be hard to do.  We are constantly thinking of what’s next, or what we just did, that we forget to enjoy the present moment.  The best thing to do in these cases is just to stop, close your eyes, take a deep breathe, and remind yourself that this is your moment in time.

And that’s pretty freakin’ awesome!

wediditourway silly time never ends
Our moments are usually made up of “Silly time”

4.  Make compromises on your activities

There is nothing better than sharing your favourite activity with the one you love.  But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything together.

Derek and I often take the time to do what we love alone.  If I need to get some work done, he’ll read a book.  If he wants to watch his favorite show, I’ll go out for a walk.  If I want to wake up for sunrise to catch that magic shot, he’ll sleep in.

Obviously, we still do the major activities together, but we still find the time to do our own thing.  We’ll check out the list of things available to do in the city and then, we’ll agree on which to do together and which ones to do alone.

Then, we’ll alternate between things he wants to do and things I want to do from one day to the next so that we both get our fair share.  Travel, like marriage, is all about compromise after all.

5.  Get comfortable outside your comfort zone

This is a tough one.  You will probably go through some feelings and emotions that most other couples will never experience together.  This is not a 2-week vacation that you go back home to and forget about the time shit hit the fan.  This is long-term travel.  This is 365 days of being confronted with situations that will test you and your relationship.

From dealing with local customs and having to cope with severe food poisoning, to missed flights and wrong bookings, you will be tested.

wediditourway living on the edge
We are always living life on the edge!

So our advice here is to calm the f*ck down, take a breathe and put things into perspective.  Yeah, you’ll get sick.  Yeah, things will go wrong.  But it could be a lot worse. You could be back home grinding it out from 9-5 stuck in a routine that doesn’t make you happy.

This crap-storm is a temporary moment and that’s how you should deal with it.  Is it the worse thing that can happen?  Probably not.  Is it annoying AF?  At the moment, yeah, it sucks.  But how cool is your story going to be without the “remember that time we were stuck in an airport for 22 hours and went mental?”  One day, you will look back at this moment and laugh, so brush it off and keep going.  You guys got this!

Also, it’s true what they say about “what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger”.  This is why you’re on this journey after all.  To grow as a person, to change your perspective, to discover what makes or breaks you.  Sometimes, it’s pretty great to have your best friend with you to trek through those hard times.

6.  Make sure you keep the flame alive

It’s fairly easy for this journey to change the chemistry of your relationship.  Since you’re spending so much time together, you may not have a chance to “miss” the other, and get that longing feeling.  It might actually create the opposite effect where you won’t want to see them anymore… at least for a few hours.

That’s why it’s so important to keep the love alive.  Even if we’re on a budget, every 2 weeks or so, we’ll go out on a date night together to a “fancy” restaurant.  We’ll often surprise each other with little thoughtful gifts (i.e. a pack of his favourite chips).  And obviously, we’ll make sure to get some sweet sweet loving too.

7.  Don’t argue about money

This one took us a while to figure out, but the worse thing to stress and argue about is money.

We didn’t stick to a strict budget because we wanted to enjoy life, but that ended up causing friction when we realized we were spending too much money on silly things.  So instead, we found creative solutions to stay on track, spend less and live better experiences.

8. Get social and make new friends

As a couple, it’s so easy to make new friends.  Just start talking to another couple you see and voilà!  We actually met a bunch of travelling couples while we’ve been on the road either through Instagram or just by talking to them.  We adopted solo travellers through couchsurfing or hitchhiking and spent a few days with them.

Hanging out with our friends Brie and Daniel, aka the love and adventure
Chilling like villains with our besties Brie and Daniel, aka @theloveandadventure, in Hanoi, Vietnam

Making new friends is actually a great way to break the routine, get some new conversation topics, share larger expenses for group trips, and have photographers around when you need them.

We’re joking a little, but it really is great to meet travellers, share stories and meals.  And hey, who knows when your paths will cross again?! We know that we have made friends for life even if we just shared a few days with them.

9.  Forgive quickly

Back home, you can hold a grudge more easily, just ask Carine.  When you’re traveling full time, it’s just silly to stay angry.  You’re just going to be wasting each other’s time.  So speak your peace, find a solution together and move on.  Ain’t no body got time to stay angry.  You’re in paradise, so get on with enjoying it.

10.  Share the planning and the responsibilities

There is nothing worse than being the only one who plans it all.  From the larger scale “where are we going next?” to the smaller “what are we doing tomorrow?”  It takes a lot of time and effort to travel long-term and to stay on budget.

What we recommend is playing off each other’s strengths and sharing the responsibilities.  I usually do the budget planning and bigger scale planning while Derek takes care of the day-to-day organization.  We found a system that works for us and we’re sticking to it.  Find yours and you should be golden.

11.  Appreciate your partner and the life you’re living

This is especially for those moments when you start missing home and the comforts it has.  Yeah, there will be hard times.  We’ve had a ton ourselves.  It’s at those moments that I think back to my worse client presentation, and all of a sudden, things don’t seem so bad.

floating through life and enjoying the ocean
Floating through life, enjoying every moment

So make sure you take some time every day to show some love and gratitude toward each other, and the precious moments you have of ultimate freedom.  Live in the moment and enjoy floating through life for a little while.

This may be a rare opportunity, so just enjoy it.

12.  Take a break from travelling

This is not a 2-week sprint vacation where you have to see as much as possible.  This is a freaking long marathon.  You will not be able to see everything on your tourist trail so don’t move around every other day.  Take the time to get to know a city and its people, and really enjoy the place you’re in.

Traveling is hard on your mind, your body and your wallet.  Try to keep it to a minimum when you can.  We loved spending 2 weeks in Koh Tao, 1 month in Langkawi, 2 weeks in Bohol, and now almost a month in Southern France.  It gave us a chance to slow down and reconnect, to cook a home-cooked meal and enjoy the simple home life.

13.  Don’t let hanger strike

This may seem like a joke, but we don’t kid when it comes to hanger.  It’s a serious matter.  Don’t let it affect you.

wediditourway stealing ice cream in Alona Beach, Philippines
Don’t steal my ice cream!  We found the best little ice cream stand in Alona Beach, Philippines

We always have snacks and water with us.  Because buses aren’t always on time, because pit stops are few and far between, because when you’ve been traveling for 20 hours straight and dealing with fatigue and frustration, you don’t want to add hanger to that explosive cocktail.  Our worse arguments are usually when we get hangry, so we’ve learned to avoid the situation altogether.

14. Some moments should be left private

If you’re spending 24/7 with a person, you have no privacy, unless you’re paying for expensive hotels where you can escape each other.  If you’re traveling long-term on a budget like us, you’re probably staying in places that don’t really have too many doors for some alone time.  That means all your grooming, all your little ticks and tricks are out in the open, ready to be discovered.  Yeah, we’re talking about all the things you do to seem a little more perfect for your partner.

Our solution: you do you!  But away from preying eyes.  You can still keep up your routine, but do it in the privacy of the bathroom (which is sometimes teeny-tiny) or ask the person to leave for a bit.

Again, communication is key, so just let the person know that you need some pampering “you-time”.  Also, there’s nothing wrong with splurging a little at a spa or salon.  Yes, staying on budget is important, but most of the services cost less on the road then they do at home.  Like they say, some days you have to #treatyoself

15.  Look after each other

There are days where one of you will feel like shit.  Food poisoning, fatigue, migraines, viruses, you name it.  And that’s when, despite what you’re feeling, you’ll need to take care of your love.  Other times, you’ll be in sketchy places, big crowds or awkward situations.  Make sure you have a game plan, and that you look out for one another.

Basically, be kind and gentle with each other.  After all, this journey wouldn’t be the same of it weren’t the two of you.

16.  Make sure you can both be connected

Staying wifi/data connected on the road is important, especially when all your friends back home are buying houses and making babies.  To be honest, most places don’t have great wifi connections, so avoid arguing about who gets to use that one device that has internet capabilities, make sure you have two.

Each doing our thing by the pool at Bou Savy, Cambodia
Each doing our thing by the pool at Bou Savy, Cambodia

Also, we found it hard to blog properly with only one laptop, since we edit our pics and program everything on it.  Usually, it means I end up writing everything on my phone… not great.  But when we have an income again, we’ll probably invest in another typing machine.

17.  Remember to disconnect

We apply this rule at home and during travel.  We put all devices away when we’re eating.  We spend no more than 2 hours in front of a screen per day, unless it’s for work, of course.  We make sure that our conversations are not only about the blog or Instagram or our trip.

Your brain needs a break once in a while so make sure you put the devices away and just enjoy what you have going on irl (In Real Life for you non-techies).

18.  Take happy pictures together

This may seem like a silly one, but the fact that we take fun and happy pictures together for our Instagram feed actually makes us happier.  It’s not a “fake it ’til you make it” thing, but more of a “smile and spread love” thing.

Sure people laugh at us.  Hell, we laugh at ourselves too.  But at least we’re having fun doing it.

wediditourway on Cenang beach in Langkawi
Having a huge smile comes easy with us on Cenang beach in Langkawi

And a word of advice if you want to “make it” on Instagram, please, please don’t just “do it for the ‘Gram”.  We know too many couples that fight about locations, shots and captions.  They go to Instafamous spots to get the same shot as other Instagram couples.  Please don’t let this become you.  This is not fun and it will be a source of frustration.  Just have fun with it and do your thing.

19.  Don’t argue about work

If you’re blogging or on Instagram while you travel, don’t let it become a source of frustration and arguments.  Split up tasks, find a schedule that works for both of you and enjoy the process.  Just keep it light and fun.

20.  Agree on when to stop

Traveling full-time is an adventure in itself, but it’s not for everyone.  That’s why it’s important to agree on the come-back date.  It can be flexible and you can move it around if you both like, but if one of you wants to go home, the rest of the trip won’t be fun if one of you doesn’t want to be there.  Same goes for the date to leave a country.

wediditourway sitting on a motorcycle in Penang
You have to agree on heading home

Like we said in Point 1, communication is key, so talk it out and figure out a solution together.

These are some things we found helpful to make our long-term trip more enjoyable and stress-free.  What do you think?  Have you found any other tips helpful?


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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


20 ways to survive long-term travel as a couple. Find out our secrets to making this amazing trip even more unforgettable. Tips, tricks and some pretty awesome advice. www.wediditourway.com

Our big secret: how we afford to travel full-time

Tips, tricks and recommendations to save money before and during you long-term trip. This is what we did to afford to travel full-time for over a year.

We always get a lot of questions about how we’re able to travel full time.  Did we win the lottery?  Unfortunately not!

Did we get a big inheritance?  Nope

Were we super rich and just didn’t tell anyone?  Yes!

No, of course not!

If we were, we would have left long ago!  But none of that is important, because we learned that you don’t need to be super rich to travel well.  you just have to make smart choices and be comfortable with your decisions.

So, you know why we decided to head out on this trip, but here’s how we did it.

They say that a journey of 1,000 miles starts with one footstep.  Well, the same goes for this trip.  It takes one decision to make it all possible.  Maybe it was perfect timing for us, but we just decided to do it.  That’s all it took.  A simple yes.  And somewhat of a plan, but more on that later!

There were a hundred reasons keeping us at home.  The good jobs, friends and family, our cat, our condo, the actual expense of this trip, the things we were going to miss out on.  The list goes on and on.  But the fact that we wanted to go on this journey was enough for us to take that leap.

We know we’re putting our careers on hold. And we know we’re missing out on hockey nights and Thursday Happy Hours, but we’ll jump right into that when we get back home.  And the money?  Yeah, let’s be honest, this trip is costing us a pretty penny, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

_DSC0892
Peace out Canada, here we come world!

So, how did we save so much?  Well, we were careful with our money.  We had actually started saving to buy a place long before we had this idea.  So a chunk of our spending money comes from the savings we had.  Sure, that doesn’t leave much of a security blanket for later, but we know we’ll be heading home eventually, getting work, and we’ll fill it back up. (Then probably decide to leave and spend it all again).

We actually don’t mind that. We realized that we want to travel more than to have that security anyway.  With everything we do, we do it our way, so we’ll make it work.  We know that this is what we want to be spending our money on anyway, so it doesn’t matter how much we have in the bank now.

Before the trip

So how did we save?  Well, we made sacrifices.  Our priority was to fill our account as much as possible, so that’s what we did.  At all costs.  Did we stop having fun?  No, we just limited the amounts of times we did it.  It’s crazy once you stop buying things, you realize you actually don’t need that much.

So here are some of the ways we saved before our trip. Basically, we looked at what we were spending the most on and started cutting there.  You’ll notice that most of our spending was on drinks and nights out.  We knew that having less fun at home, where it costs more to live, would mean more fun on the road.  That was motivation enough.

Make lunches and dinners

We’ll start off simple, and it might not seem like a lot, but spending $10 on lunch 2-3 times a week adds up real quick!  Ordering in does as well!  Instead, we would make weekly meal plans and make sure we had enough for lunches too.  Your meal cost goes waaaaay down when you start making a weekly meal plan that uses the same ingredients.  We bought in bulk when we could, but avoided wasting food.  Did we coupon shop?  No, that’s not our style, but if it’s yours, then you go with your bad coupon self!

Go out less

We love going out with friends.  Drinks on Thursdays, date nights on Tuesdays, random party nights on Fridays or Saturdays.  And we like to eat and drink a lot.  So that’s the first place we cut.  Not to say that we didn’t go out, but we limited ourselves to going out once every 2 weeks or once a month.  This was a vast improvement from our usual 2-3 nights out.

When out, spend better

This is pretty simple, we would simply stick to a budget when we went out.  We would pick a more affordable (but still delicious) place.  We would only have 1 drink (or none, if we were feeling strong), and pick an affordable meal option.  This usually means no appetizer, but that’s ok!

Stay in and host

We throw epic parties! Always have, always will.  And we love hosting, so it was easy for us to keep this trend going.  One thing we did do however, is to host less, and spend less when we did.  I make insane amounts of food, so Derek had to limit me and veto some of my more expensive choices, but our parties were still epic.

Quit the drinks and snacks

This is probably where most of our money goes.  We love a good bottle of wine, or scotch, and probably make alcohol runs every week to stock up our cellar.  We had to cut on spending here, and make our runs less frequent.  We also limited the number of snacks we got and ate in a week.  Derek is a snack fiend, so this was harder for him!

Be a cheap date

We are firm believers in date nights.  After 8 years together, we want to keep the flame alive, so we try to do a date night every week.  Instead of going out, we would find cute date nights to have in.  Each week, the other person would plan, and it could be as simple as watching a movie, to cooking an elaborate meal with a fancy wine.  If we were feeling extra special, we would splurge on getting a dessert.  There are still tons of things you can do keep the romance alive, without spending a ton of money!

Stop buying

We had started doing this long before this trip.  We realized that we actually don’t need that many clothing options to look good and professional at our jobs.  Trends come and go, and the stores want you to buy more.  Instead, we bought classic pieces that would not go out of style, and didn’t spend on things.  Do we really need 4 pairs of jeans?  Probably not.

Buy with incentive

One of the things we discovered was buying through Ebates.  A lot of the sites you buy on, like Amazon, booking.com, Sephora, and more are on the site.  So when you buy from those sites, you actually get a percentage of your spending back.  And everyone loves to get money back!

Shop the sales & sign up for the newsletters

That’s pretty clear.  If we needed to buy things, especially for this trip, we would only shop during sales.  Mark-ups in retail are pretty crazy, sometimes as high as 60%.  Knowing this, it only makes sense to buy things when they are on sale.  Also, we signed up for the newsletters of all the stores we knew we needed things from for our trip.  Signing up gave us extra discounts that we used towards our purchases.  Another easy win!

Sell, sell, sell as much as you can

We had to clear out our place to move out, so what better opportunity than this to get rid of all those things we don’t need.  We have a rule that we stick to, and that’s if you haven’t used it in 1 year (sometimes even 6 months), then it’s time to get rid of it.  We give a lot to our local Salvation Army and to our friends, but if we had things that were gently or barely used, we sold them.  From clothes to kitchen appliances to furniture.  Whatever we could, we did sell!  We even sold our car, which helped us quite a bit.

Truth be told, we probably could have spent less and saved more, but we don’t like to limit ourselves to the point that being at home is no longer fun.  We kept our budget loose, but whenever we were going to spend money, we would ask ourselves if it was really worth it and if we really needed it.  And if the answer was no, we would just walk away!

During the trip

We also try to keep our spending to a minimum while on this trip.  That means getting creative with the way we do certain things.  We’ll get into detail about some of these but here are some tricks we’ve found that work for us.

Renting our condo out

We didn’t want to sell our place, though, that may have made us some more money in a quick flash.  Instead, we decided to reap in the long-term benefits of owning property and renting it out. We don’t make huge margins because of the way we get taxed, but it’s enough to keep the travel going a little more each month.

Cheap hotels

We don’t slum it completely, but we try to pick pretty cheap hotels.  Truth is, we barely spend any time in our hotel room.  So why spend a huge amount on a place we’ll only be sleeping in.  We pick private rooms (we’re too old for dorms) in hostels, cheap hotels, whatever we can get a good deal on.  If they have laundry or breakfast included, then it’s a major win!

Hotels with kitchens

We love cooking and being away from home, it’s harder to do when we travel so much.  That’s why we like to get rooms that have a little kitchenette.  Even if it’s just to make breakfast in the morning, or pasta a few nights, it’s nice to eat in and to save on meals.

_DSC0119
I’ll take your sweetest mango to go with the sweetest wife

Using referral codes

Because we book so many hotels, we have a pretty sweet deal through Booking.com.  And you can have it too!  We have a special link that allows us to get $25CND back when people book through it.  When you use this link, you get $25 off too!  We have other friends that have this link too, and we use theirs when we book our rooms.  So that’s a whole lot of savings and money back.  Win for everyone!

Another great way to save some money for you and your friends is by referring people to Airbnb.  By having someone new sign up to Airbnb, they receive a $45 discount, and at the same time, you get a $25 dollar credit for you to use.  For anyone looking to get in on this deal, check out our link here.

Hotel collaborations

Because we have a growing following on Instagram and this blog, we have been fortunate enough to work with certain hotels.  In exchange for visibility on our platforms, we get free nights accommodations.  We still end up doing a lot of work to get these, but they do help our budget out.

_DSC1395.jpg
A recent collaboration with Bai Hotel in Cebu, Philippines

They are also beneficial to the hotels as they get added visibility and content that they would not get otherwise.  We also offer them other services to help them out.  Each influencer has their own thing, so if you want to do this, find what works best for you and for them.  It’s important that this relationship be mutually beneficial.

Eating smart

This may not be a great solution for everyone, but it works for us.  We usually wake up pretty late, just in time for brunch.  Then, we’ll grab a fruit and veggie snack for a late lunch, and eat an early supper.  By cutting the number of meals we eat during the day, we end up saving quite a bit.  Another solution is to find cheap local eats that are still delicious.  In Japan, the 711s and Lawson’s have some pretty delicious meals that are cheap AF.  Street food in Thailand is also amazing.  The food at local markets give you nutritious and delicious meals at a fraction of the cost.

_DSC0768
Market food is so good, and so cheap

Drink and snack less

This is probably the hardest thing for (one of) us to do.  We drink and snack a lot back home, so breaking this habit was a little tougher.  But once we realized how quickly things start adding up, even the $0.50 beers in Vietnam, we put a cap on our drink/snack spending.  We only drink 1-2 beers with 1 meal.  And we only drink 2 days of the week.  As for snacks, we have a weekly budget so that it doesn’t get too out-of-hand.

Couchsurfing

This is not a way to get free accommodations.  This is a way of life and a great way to connect with people.  We love, love, love couchsurfing.  We have met such amazing people while we have been traveling through this platform.

_DSC2039
One of our best nights in Japan with our Couchsurfing hosts and 2 other couchsurfers

Living with locals, taking part in their daily life, seeing a part of town that tourists don’t see, that is what couchsurfing is about.  Yes, you get to stay with someone for free, but that is just the cherry on top of the sundae.  It’s so much more worth it for the lifelong connection.  But more on that later.

Workaway

Workaway is a great way to give back, stay put and get back to a certain routine.  Basically, you are given accommodations and sometimes food, and in exchange, you help people out.

_DSC0055
Derek doing a little handy work during our Workaway in Langkawi, Malaysia

The types of organizations you work with are smaller, mom-and-pop type operations, eco-resorts or other community-oriented places, which is great because you really feel like you’re giving back!  The type of tasks can range from hospitality, minor construction, cooking, cleaning, whatever.  Usually, you work for 4-5 hours a day, with 2 days off a week.  More on our first Workaway experience here.

Petsitting

This one is for pet lovers only.  We wouldn’t recommend this if you don’t love cats or dogs.  Basically, this is like house-sitting but for people who have pets and who don’t want to put their fur babies in a kennel or pet hotel while they travel.  You live in the person’s house while they are away and take care of their pets.

We did this in Sydney, for 2 weeks over the Christmas holidays and it was an awesome experience.  Not only were we in a great part of Sydney, but we got to get cat cuddles for 2 awesome furry friends.  As you can guess, we’ll have much more on this later.

Relocations

While in New Zealand, we wanted to rent a campervan for the entirety of our stay.  Driving all over the South and North islands ended up costing us more than we bargained for, but thankfully, we were introduced to a campervan relocation online service called imoova.

They operate by renting you the campervan for $1 day in exchange for bringing it from point A to point B within a certain time frame and amount of kilometers.  We ended up taking a huge 4-berth campervan from Chirstchurch to Auckland, in 5 days over 1,000 plus kms.

Thanks to imoova, this journey cost us a ton less than had we rented a campervan on our own.  Details to come on this whole experience soon.

Freelance and make money

I have been fortunate enough to be able to freelance while I’ve been on this trip.  Before I left, I had 2 clients that I helped with branding, social media and business consulting.  It wasn’t crazy hours, but it was enough to add some money in our bank account.  It was more of a “cherry on the sundae” situation, than a “keep doing this and never come back home” thing.  It helped for sure.

If you have a speciality like translation, photography, programming, or anything really, you can also offer these services to hotels, restaurants and small businesses you meet along your travels.  Or, you can put up offers online through sites like Fivrr.

Airport spending

This one is pretty simple.  Keep airport spending to a minimum.  We usually eat before we get to the airport, and always bring snacks and water with us.  This contradicts a previous point, but snacks are essential because Carine gets hangry.  And it’s not pretty!

Also, have you seen the price of certain snacks at the airport?  No thanks!  And with our Lifestraw Go, we can always fill it back up at a fountain after clearing security, so no need to buy bottles of water either.

Buying certain things back home

Inevitably, some things cost more when you’re traveling.  We found this especially true when we were in South East Asia with something we needed everyday: sunscreen.  It costs 3 times the price of what it does back home.  You have much less selection, unless you are looking for a whitening cream, and you can’t find eco-friendly options that easily (because some sunscreens kill coral and we don’t want that).  So do some research and stock up on certain things before you leave.

Drink water anywhere, anytime

This is such a simple solution to save you money and save the planet at the same time!  Instead of spending insane amounts of money every day buying plastic water bottles, we refill our Lifestraw Go.  It’s a win for you and the planet, so it’s just awesome!

_DSC0564
The best water solution out there, the Lifestraw Go

No souvenirs

Can you believe that we have not bought a single thing in 9 months of traveling?  Not a single knick-knack, souvenir, trinket, nothing!  Yeah, sure, we’ve seen tons of cool stuff at pretty decent prices, but do we really need it?  Nope.  Because those things take up tons of space in our luggage, and they just take our money away from what we want to spend money on.  Experiences!

Not moving around too much

Another no-brainer.  It may not seem like it, but you can’t travel for a year like you would on a 2-week vacation.  The pace is impossible to keep up in the long-run.  So take your time and travel slow.

We know we’ll be coming back to these areas later in life anyway, so if there’s something we didn’t see, we can always go back to a country.  But moving around every 2-3 days just takes its toll on you.  And the cost of moving with ferry or bus tickets, taxi fees, entry visa costs and all that, just adds up too quickly.  Not to mention the time and effort it takes to find places to stay and things to do.  No, we didn’t see it all, but what we did see, we got to enjoy and really explore.

Traveling smarter

This one is another easy one.  Traveling smarter means looking for the cheapest but best way to get from point A to point B.  Same as the previous point, we look at where we want to go and see how to get there.  We’re not always married to our next destination, so we use the “Everywhere” on Skyscanner to find the cheapest city to fly to.  We scope out prices online and at terminals for bus or train tickets (usually, IRL is cheaper).  We look for deals or promo codes online to save a few pennies.  It may seem like a lot of work, but to us, it’s totally worth it.

There you have it!  These are the ways we’ve found to cut our spending or earn a little side money.  We’re curious to know if you’ve found creative ways of doing this as well.  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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


Learn our secrets for traveling full-time. How we saved, how we spend, tips and tricks to keep the travels going. Includes tips for before your trip and during your travels www.wediditourway.com

Workaway – How to afford travelling long-term

If you want to afford travelling for longer, check out our first experience with Workaway. Plus tips and tricks to make the best of your experience.

We’ve been away from home for over 9 months now, and are still hoping to be gone for the next 5 to 6 months.  To keep the dream alive, we have had to come up with ways to make our money last us a little longer.  We have discovered a multitude of ways to do this along our travels, from Couchsurfing, to pet sitting, to camper van relocations.

So when we meet other travelers like ourselves, we are keen to talk about how we all manage to stay on the road without a steady income.  When we went for dinner in Singapore with Charlie and Lauren (better known on Instagram to their 80K+ followers as @wanderersandwarriors) during an Instagram meet-up, it is no wonder that this topic was broached.

This is when we were introduced to the concept that is Workaway.  It was described to us by Charlie and Lauren as a way for them to stay in Sri Lanka for roughly a month with free food and accommodations in exchange for working 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, at the hostel they stayed in.

_DSC9967
Beautiful Tanjang Rhu beach, a short drive away from our Workaway home

Whether it was checking in guests, helping to prepare breakfast in the morning, or giving people recommendations on where to go and what to see, for a mere 25 hours a week, most of their living expenses were covered.

We made a mental note of Workaway and kept the trip going.  One day in late April,  while we were in Thailand, we were looking at our bank account, and thought to ourselves, that it may be time to put our money-saving knowledge to use!

We had also been moving around quite a lot in those last months, and were looking to stay put for a little bit.  Knowing that we were planing on visiting the Philippines in early June, we figured we should make our journey that way.  So we decided to check out the site and see what we could find in Malaysia.

_DSC9908-2
We lost count of how many sunsets we saw on Cenang beach, a quick scooter ride away from our home

What did we want out of this?  Well, obviously we wanted to save some money, so having our accommodations taken care for was priority number 1.

We wanted to be by a beach, for sure. But, I mean, who doesn’t want that?

And lastly, we wanted to do work in hospitality.  We figured that since we love meeting new people and hearing their stories, this would be a great fit for us.  Also, we have a dream of getting into the hospitality business ourselves, so this was a natural fit for us.

This is where Odin, Nurul and Langkawi came into our lives.

_DSC0669
Our favourite beach, Skull beach.  This is also really close to our Workaway home in Langkawi.

It’s weird how some things come together naturally.  When we tried petsitting for the first time, it was our first request that came to fruition.  Well just like that, it was the same with Workaway.  After reading Odin and Nurul’s listing, and checking out Langkawi, we sent them our information, and they got back to us right away.

A little Whatsapp conversation later, and that was it, we are on our way to Langkawi to work for 3 weeks!  We also later found out that it was their first Workaway experience too.

Odin and Nurul are a soon-to-be-married couple who are a tad younger than we are.  Their story is actually quite similar to ours.  Nurul has roots in Malaysia, but like Odin, grew up in Sweden.  In their 20’s, they decided to move to Singapore for work.

_DSC0580
You have to love lighthouses!  This is Langkawi’s only stone lighthouse.

Before you knew it though, they decided to make a change.  Tired of corporate work, the proverbial 9-to-5, they wanted something else (ya, that sounds familiar).  Having her roots, and family in Langkawi, they made the decision to move “back home”, so to speak.

They decided to open an Airbnb.  Odin actually stayed in Singapore for a little bit, while Nurul set things up in Langkawi, just in case their dream of island living didn’t go as expected.

Well hard work and dedication paid off, because it wasn’t long before Odin was headed to Langkawi as well.  One year later, they now boast nine units, seven of which are for rent on Airbnb and 2 to house Workawayers like us.  No small feat for such a short timeframe!

_DSC0055
Working hard putting up this towel rack at Rama Rama

Now back to us.  We arrived in Langkawi pretty late, around 10PM, and Odin and Nurul came to pick us up at the airport.  They showed us the unit we would be staying in and told us they would come by the next day to go over our responsibilities.

The next day, they filled us in.  Our main duties would consist of:

  • Checking in and out guests in their 3 units (as 4 of them were not ready to be rented just yet)
  • Bringing the linens and towels to the cleaners after guests checked out, and picking them up the next day
  • Helping them put the final touches on the 4 new places, including some handy work and gardening
  • Being the main point of contact for guests in case they had any questions or needed anything
  • Showing the guests around in case they booked any activities
  • Gardening and maintaining the 3 existing units
  • Insuring that cleaning supplies and required inventory were stocked at all times
_DSC0388
We are always silly, but maybe more so here Dash Resort, the perfect spot in Langkawi to go for a dip

Seeing as though we had to run around doing errands most days, they provided us with a scooter to get around.  I’ve driven a scooter twice before, and quickly fell in love with getting around on 2 motorized wheels!

We spent the first 2 weeks taking care of guests and putting the finishing touches on Rama Rama.  That was the toughest part, physically.  It was so hot the whole time (easily 35 degrees Celsius), and the work was either outside gardening, or inside drilling into ceramic and concrete, without AC!

_DSC9800
The sunsets over the paddy fields by Halia Village were pretty epic!

Even though we were working, we still managed to do a ton of island exploring (take a look at our blog on what to do in Langkawi), and hanging out at one of the many great beaches on the island.  We discovered great food at the local night markets, experienced controversial Malaysian elections and lived through Ramadan for the first time.

The work was different for sure, considering we haven’t really worked since we left in September (though Carine has done some freelance marketing work).  It was a balance of getting our tasks done, staying on top of things, doing our own thing; including still getting great pics for our Instagram, keeping up on the blogging, and enjoying life.  We are on one long vacation after all!

There were some frustrations that came along with our Workaway.  Most of which was attributable to two things: communication and expectations.

_DSC0254
All smiles when we have the day off and visit the Durian waterfalls!

Communication was an issue at times.  Often things would change last minute, like we would be heading out to do some exploring after asking for permission, and then half way there would be told that we had to return back to the units because a delivery was being made in 5 minutes…  This has a bit to do with the way islanders live as well, where nothing is done when expected.

As for expectations, it was little things.  When you think you are committing to working 5 hours a day, we thought that would be 5 straight hours, then we would have the rest of the day to do what we want.  And when you think we work 5 days a week, we thought it would be 2 days off in a row.  And lastly are these days off… we did have a few days where we didn’t have anything to do, but most of our days off still consisted of taking care of a check-in, or a check-out, or dropping off / picking up laundry.

These small things didn’t take up much time on our days off, but they did sometimes make it harder for us to plan doing what we wanted to do.

_DSC0146
We had the Durian waterfalls all to ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed our Workaway experience, we even extended it to a full month.  We got along well with Odin and Nurul, and even hung out with them for supper and games on certain nights.  We will likely be doing some more Workaways once we get to Europe and cost of living rises dramatically.  But sometimes, those little things can be irritating.

For sure the fact that it was both of our first times doing this contributed to some of these little issues, but it was still a great experience.  We learned a lot on how to run Airbnb units, how things work in Langkawi, we got to make some new friends, got into our little life routine, and best of all, we got to cook homemade meals.

So I guess the thing to take away from our experience for the future is to clarify things from the get-go.

_DSC0119
Fresh fruit is one of the best things about Langkawi

We loved our time in Langkawi and doing a Workaway was a big part of why we loved it.  It let us get a glimpse into the hospitality world, one we may one day also like to get into.  It also let us stay put like we hadn’t done since leaving our home.  We will fondly remember our time with Odin and Nurul, and ever appreciate the opportunity they gave us.

Tips for a successful Workaway experience

Here are a few tips to know to find a great Workaway for you, and to have a successful time with your hosts.

Know your strengths and your weaknesses

This is the most important thing in looking for a Workaway experience.  Know what you like and don’t, and know where you excel.  If you aren’t a people-person, maybe don’t apply to work in a hostel.  If you love to cook, try to find something that will let you use this passion.  You are working, so why not make it as enjoyable as you can, especially since you’re not getting paid.

Read up on your potential hosts’s reviews

You do this when looking for a restaurant, so why not do it to find out who your new “boss” is going to be.  Check out what others are saying about the hosts, what the tasks they did were and how they liked their experience.

After all, the list of tasks and responsibilities are chosen from a predetermined list, so sometimes it doesn’t accurately depict what you will be doing from day to day.  The reviews are a much better way to see what the experience will likely be.

Just be yourself

When writing to hosts or filling out your profile, just be yourself.  Don’t try to make yourself into someone you are not, with skills you don’t have.  Lying about having a certain skill could land you a workaway that you really want (based on timing or where it is), but in the end you will be the one who will probably regret this.

Don’t dismiss the value you bring

You will probably feel like the accommodations you are being freely provided are worth a lot, and they likely are.  But never forget that you are freeing up time for the hosts, and time is the most valuable commodity there is!  What each party provides has value, but don’t feel as though you are in their debt.

Clarify each party’s expectations

As we mentioned it earlier, make sure you talk with your hosts to clarify what you are both expecting from your experience from the get-go.  Ask questions, as many as you can think of.  Ask them what your schedule is, how the time off works, if the food is provided, what your tasks are, what your limits are.  Make sure that you are both seeing eye-to-eye on the major points.

_DSC0001
What a month in Langkawi, so many laughs with this lovely gal!

Make compromises and be flexible

This one is pretty simple, you have to be willing to make compromises, and to be flexible.  Of course we are traveling, and we want to do whatever we want, whenever we want.  This is the ultimate freedom after all.  But know that you will not be able to do that while on a Workaway.  Go into the experience knowing this, and you will have a better chance at having a positive time.


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.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.


Discover an affordable way to travel and work - Workaway. It's one of the ways we reduced our costs of traveling long-term. Including some tips and recommendations to make the best of your experience and pick the right Workaway.  www.wediditourway.com

6 months in: We’re still going strong

We have been travelling the world for the last 6 months and we have learned so much. This has brought us new perspective on life, our careers, our relationship and ourselves. But do we regret our choice?

Well, in the blink of an eye, it’s happened.  It’s already been 6 months that we’ve been on the road.  They say time flies when you’re having fun.  Well, they’re not lying!

In this short time, the two of us have been to 8 countries, 50 cities, countless hours in transit.  We’ve had quite a few highlights along the way, like hiking in the natural beauty that is Wanaka (New Zealand’s version of the Canadian rocky mountains); learning to scuba dive and swimming with a whale shark in Koh Tao; seeing the Great Barrier Reef before it’s completely bleached, and meeting some incredible people along the way that we now carry in our hearts (and our Facebook profiles).  This trip is one of the best decisions we’ve made, after getting married, of course!

The best part of these last months has obviously been to live care-free, without the stress of work.  But beyond that, it’s having the freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, and doing it all together.  Yup, we’re basically kids again, but with money and somewhat better judgement.

One of our worries when we left was if we’d get along spending 24/7 together.  What if we get into some huge argument that ended it all?  Well, the good news is, that hasn’t happened yet.  Yes, obviously, we’ve had a few scraps here and there but our relationship is probably stronger than ever.  We’ve learned so much about each other, things that we wouldn’t have know had we not been on this journey.  Like did you know Derek is the most organized person out there?  From his packing to planning the blog, to booking flights and accommodations.  It’s impressive and inspiring.  I need to follow his lead more.

And me, well it seems that Derek was surprised I wasn’t quite the princess he had made me up to be… though for the record, I loved camping and he didn’t, so who is the real princess here?  (Derek here, and for the record we do both love to camp now.)

It’s also good to be reminded of all the little things that made you fall in love with a person that you seem to forget when routine settles in.  We’ve also learned to be more patient, forgiving and understanding with each other, and playing on each other’s strengths.  So this trip has definitely brought us closer together.

_DSC5775
Still in love and going strong

We’ve also learned a lot about ourselves during these last few months.  We’re both more patient and understanding of other people’s life and situation.  A lot more empathy and compassion for the struggles so many people are going through on a daily basis.  We are truly blessed to live the life we have.  On a personal level, Derek has shown an eagerness to trying so many new foods, which if you knew him before, is a huge accomplishment considering how picky he was.  And on my end, I’ve learned to worry less, and live more in the moment instead of always planning 10 steps ahead.  I’ve learned to slow down and let go, to just go with the flow.  Derek had already mastered this.  Finally, we’ve also understood that we don’t need much to be happy, the minimalist life is a pretty good one.

Although we are having the best time of our lives, there’s a lot we miss back home.  The obvious things like Thursday night drinks with the girls, hockey nights with best buds, the epic meals we would host, Sunday suppers with family to name a few.  We also miss the little routine we had with Jax, our cat.  The way he would greet us at the door after a long day of work.  His cuddles, or how he would always sit in our spot as soon as we got up.  There’s also the small things we took for granted, like being able to cook a meal at home with good wine.  Having a comfy bed to sleep in at night (have we told you how hard these Asian beds are?).  Even having a choice of wardrobe.  Nothing big but we wouldn’t mind trading in some of the clothes we’ve had with us for months.

_DSC4948
We have to get our cat love somewhere

On the flip side, there are certain things we don’t mind having left behind.  Like winter.  Fuck you winter.  Hope we never see you again!  Especially since this year was one of the coldest and longest ones yet in Montreal.  And traffic.  Peace out traffic.  Especially the brutal gridlocks we’ve seen downtown, mainly caused by the epic construction fails the city is notorious for.  We don’t care to see those ever again.  We’d also be lying if we said we missed work.  Because we don’t.  Although we had some good careers back home, we don’t regret putting them on hold for a single second.  We can always pick up where we left off when we get back.  No bigs!

So that’s what 6 months on the road feels like.  We’re pretty excited to see what the next 6 will look like.




If you found this article helpful, please help us by pinning it for others.

6 months in we're still going strong