It’s been 5 years now since I sold all my possessions and left England with the hope of seeing more of the world.
My adventure started just before Christmas in 2013 when I took a one-way flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. I can’t say I was nervous, nor did I know what to expect and like all things in life saying yes to this adventure was one of my best decisions to date.
Since then, it has been one hell of an adventure, and to kick off this new period of my life (I quit my job to work on this blog full time) I thought that I’d share some of my top tips to making travel even better… if that’s at all possible!
Side Note – We’d love to hear about your travel tips so leave some comments below or share them with us on our Facebook.
When I first started travelling, I treated a lot of days as I would have back in England. As a remote worker I still had my job, but I also had the “travel” as my hobby. I would get up as late as I could and by the time I was finished with work; it would be dark outside, and there would be nothing to do! Kinda makes the travelling pointless, right?! So, my top tip for you is rise with that beautiful sunrise and start the day early. The extra hours of sunlight will be more than worth it, and just think of all those beautiful sunrise shots you can get!
This is more of a recent discovery inspired by our slow-moving home, Red the 1969 VW Bus, and it’s certainly one of my favourites. We used to rush everywhere and try to fit everything into one day, and to be honest, we saw a lot – but didn’t have time to truly take it all in. To take a moment and soak in the wonder that was, for example, hanging out with penguins on the beach in South Africa.
The thing to remember is you’ll never see it all on the first visit so just come back next year and do the stuff you missed. Take it slow and make the most of now!
This one is actually mainly for Europe. I’ve been in third world countries that take card more often than European business’ do and got damn have we missed out on some cool stuff because we travel like a couple of young Scandinavians used to using a card for anything and everything!
Just to clarify we’re young British people who used to live in Norway! I don’t want to confuse you! Anyway, keep cash on you and way more than you think you’ll need. It’ll come in handy one day. Trust me!
By gold I mean the locals know where all the best stuff is in their area. They don’t need those tourist guides to find cool stuff and have all the best inside knowledge. The times we’ve been stuck for places to go or places to camp, and we’ve asked a local have been some of our best moments on the road.
Would you rather be on that crowded tourist beach or have an entire beach to yourself? You may even come away from the destination with a new friend for life. You might be reading this and thinking “Well, that’s obvious”, but be honest – when was the last time you plucked up the courage and asked a local for some tips?!
Did you know my current Instagram is my second? I used to have a travel account years ago, but it got lost to a hacker along with all the photos because my laptop broke around the same time. Yup, 5 years of travel and I only have photos of that last 2! Lesson learnt and I now backup everything. Google photos is great for this as it auto backs up every photo on my phone and my computer. I highly recommend it over a hard drive as that can always break or be stolen.
This one is kinda obvious but always worth a mention. You can never have enough photos. I don’t even take enough photos! Looking back over photos is a great way to remember your travels and the finer details that easily get forgotten- especially if, like me, you have a memory like a sieve!
Even if they’re not Insta-worthy photos they’re memory worthy, so take loads on your iPhone, and I also recommend a lot of videos to capture those sounds and movements that a photo cannot do justice.
I spent the first 4 years of my travels with a single, hand luggage sized backpack and nothing else. It was also mainly filled with cameras, and I can safely say I never felt like I was missing anything. The less you have, the easier it is to travel, the lighter the bag and the more you appreciate experiences over possessions. Even Nadia managed the single backpack rule and just the speed at which we got in and out of airports was worth the lack of possessions alone.
Side Note – I do recommend a bag with wheels. I did 4 years of a backpack, and as much as it gave me epic muscles, it also sucked for my back.
Budget travel is not something I have ever been into. For me, it always seems like the gateway to losing experiences. I think treating yourself when you travel is the way to go. Eat out, take classes, do those activities. If you don’t say yes you’re just missing out. And with the world now revolving around digital remote jobs, I feel a little extra work is worth the extra experiences.
Go on. Treat yourself
Co-Living is huge within the digital nomad tribe. We occasionally use it as a way to live and work with like-minded people, and I highly recommend it.
You get that whole community thing combined with what is usually a rather fancy hotel with communal areas with desks to work from and kitchen to cook up a storm. You meet so many people and as, more often than not, they’re also travellers with digital jobs; you’re more than likely to make a couple of friends along the way.
I recommend Roam – they have beautiful spaces all over the world.
The best invention of all time for the frequent flyer. Never worry about that a baby in the aisle near you on the plane again and block out that pesky stag group that always seems to find their way onto the same mode of transport as yourself. Hands down the best purchase I’ve ever made as a traveller and I could not live without them.
It’s easy to get scared and say no. Whether that’s for an activity like skydiving or bungee jumping or simply heading to a destination that’s a bit outside of your comfort zone. Those moments are the ones you should live for. Leave that comfort zone behind and start living a little. You’ll see more and do more than you’d ever imagined.
Just remember that age-old adage “do something that scares you at least once a day” and you’ll be fine. Better than fine!
Part of the travel experience is eating local food. You get closer with the locals, and you’ll experience more than just the destination. This can be a little tricky if you’re vegetarian or vegan as a lot of countries have a meat-heavy diet. However, don’t let this stop you as there are always some dishes that are veggie friendly and even countries that have the complete opposite and cater more to vegans and vegetarians than carnivores.
Just like the don’t be afraid section. Saying yes is important if you’re going to get the most out of your travels. No is such an easy answer and in some cases an automatic response before even considering what it is that you’re saying no to. Remember that sometimes even if it makes you uncomfortable, yes can be the right answer. Even if the question seems kinda crazy! After all, you want great stories to tell your grandkids when you’re older, right?
We all love to plan our travels, to make the most out of them, but more often than not; plans change. My recommendation is to just throw together a rough outline. That way, if your plans go to hell, it’s no big deal, and you can happily go off plan and still have a blast.
We used to try and plan everything, where to go, on what days, where to eat, etc., and when the plan failed we didn’t feel so great. Now we just plan a destination, usually a country. Throw a few things on our map as “would be good to see”, and we just go with the flow. It’s more relaxed, allows for change and takes into account the inevitable fact that our bus will break down at some point!
This is one of the sections we struggle with the most. It’s hard to stay on top of your body. Working out, eating the right things and sometimes you just need to look in the mirror and remember to focus on you. The better your health, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll be able to do with your days.
Just remember to put some time aside for your body, and it’ll thank you later.
On the road, you make a lot of friends, but you shouldn’t forget about those friends and family back home. Staying in touch is key, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. We’ve found that focusing our communication on a single platform (we use Facebook messenger) means that everyone knows how to get in touch with us and we have all our loved ones in one place too. Making it that little bit easier to say hi when you see that they’re online.
For me, the most rewarding part of travelling is sharing it with others. I don’t think I’d do or see quite as much on my travels if I didn’t have someone to share it with. Solo travel can be great, but for me, it’s an experience better shared. I spend my time on the road with my lovely girlfriend, Nadia. But I also do trips with my friends as often as possible to make sure I get some guy time and mix things up a little. Nadia can’t be hogging all the glory!
This for me is the most important thing in life. Don’t live to work. Work to live. We work as much as we need to pay our bills and have some money left over for savings and activities. Usually, that equates to a 3 day week for us. Which gives us a long and beautiful 4 day weekend to enjoy the country we’re exploring and the activities it has to offer. I couldn’t recommend this lifestyle choice enough.
My first year of travel was device free. I had an analog camera, but other than that – I focused on the sights, sounds and smells that full-time travel offered up in bucket loads. These days it’s a bit more of a healthy balance. I make sure to capture the moments on my phone and digital camera, but my primary focus is to once captured put the device away and enjoy my day. Sometimes this fails me because I miss a great photo opportunity, but in most cases, I see and experience more because I’m not constantly looking at it through my iPhone display!
I hope you’ve found this list helpful and found some ideas to try on your next adventure.
If you have any questions on how we afford the lifestyle when working only 3 days per week. Check out this detailed blog post!