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50 lessons learnt from travelling the world

Check out all our 50 lessons learnt from travelling after more than 3 years of adventures around the world.

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Colisseum Pictures, Rome Pictures, Colosseum Panorama, Colosseum Pictures

After more than 3 years on the road we have had more “that was the best day of my life” days than we can count. And more “I am NEVER going to do that ever again” days than we care to remember.

Over 30 countries through more than 5 continents has tested us to our absolute limits. Physically and emotionally. Individually and as a travelling couple.

Four Jandals Egypt Pyramids

After so long on the road, we have learnt a thing or two about travelling and about ourselves. These are our 50 lessons learnt from travelling the world. And while they may not relate to everyone, you may just learn something to help you on your next adventure.

50 lessons learnt from travelling the world

  1. Jandals are the only travel necessity you need.
  2. Lack of food while travelling makes for a very angry Cole.
  3. Lack of sleep while travelling make for a very angry Adela.
  4. War and politics may divide countries and people. Yet somehow travelling makes these problems disappear.
  5. Travelling as a couple has made our relationship stronger.
  6. It is okay to say no to things that you don’t want to do.
  7. Jasper National Park is nearly more beautiful than New Zealand.

    A Guide to Visiting Jasper National Park

  8. Anyone can do adventurous travel activities. You just need the willpower.
  9. Travel should be done as slowly as possible. Where feasible.
  10. As we get older, we appreciate a little more luxury.
  11. Adela definitely doesn’t like caving.

    Four Jandals Caving in Budapest

  12. Flights at the crack of dawn are always the cheapest. Because they suck.
  13. Overland travel is so much easier than flying.
  14. You should NEVER kiss a snake in Marrakech.
    Wash your hands after handling snakes in Marrakech
  15. And travelling sick sucks. You need to stay healthy at all costs.
  16. Airport currency exchange counters give you terrible rates.
  17. Australians are everywhere. And contrary to popular belief, New Zealand is NOT a part of Australia.
  18. Hindsight when travelling is a wonderful idea.
  19. Sunrises are worth waking up early for. Always.
    La Notte Rosa sunrise in Rimini
  20. You should travel for a reason. Not just so say that you can say that you have travelled to the next “popular” destination.
  21. You should change your plans just so you can eat a local food delicacy.
  22. Working overseas while you are travelling allows you to travel longer.
  23. It is okay to request timeouts while travelling as a couple. Timeouts even work when stuck beside each other in a car driving across Canada and USA.
  24. Las Vegas really is an adults version of Disneyland.
  25. Get naked if the locals are naked so that you fit in with them.
  26. Skype is the worlds best invention for keeping in touch with family and friends.
  27. McDonald’s are everywhere. But we will only enter one to use their bathroom.
  28. Peeing in squat toilets is really hard. Prepare to get your feet wet the first few times.
  29. Street food is tastier and so much cheaper compared to touristy restaurants.
    Street food in Egypt Falafel
  30. Learning a tiny bit of the local language can get you so much respect in a new culture.
  31. It is not okay to stereotype people based on their race, religion, accent or the way they dress, before you get to know them. No matter how many times the stereotype turns out to be right.
  32. Cute Highland Cows will make the toughest or grumpiest person in the world smile.
    Cute Highland Cow pictures
  33. International media are often wrong. Most places they deem “unsafe” are, in fact, very safe.
  34. Amsterdam is a crazy place. But there is more to it than smoking weed and visiting peep shows.
  35. If travelling as a couple, make time for “date nights”.
  36. You need to have travel insurance. Especially if you are Adela.
    Snowboarding Broken Collarbone
  37. Exercise and routine can be important while travelling.
  38. So is sitting back on a beach and relaxing for the day.
  39. Travelling should make you open your eyes to change.
  40. When you are not looking for a toilet, they are everywhere. When you are busting, you will never find one.
  41. And paying for toilets will never become less annoying.
  42. No matter how much you have learnt about the Pyramids in Egypt, they will blow your mind in person.
  43. The more you travel, the more places and adventures we continue to add to our dream list.
  44. You should tear up your bucket list. Instead, live in the here and now.
  45. The Roman Colosseum is probably the coolest structure in the world.
    Colisseum Pictures, Rome Pictures
  46. Couples should have to travel together before they get married.
  47.  We prefer exploring adventures by ourselves, rather than on group tours.
  48. Jumping photos make pictures so much cooler.
    Cole jumping photo Eiffel Tower
  49. Nowhere is quite like home. But that is why you should travel the world.
  50. If something is holding you back from seeing the world. Quit doing that thing. Nothing should stop you from travelling.

Check out all these other awesome travel tips from us.

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102 Comments

102 Comments

  1. Memographer

    September 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Nice list! A pic of a cute highland cow made my day. And, YES, Australians are everywhere! 🙂

  2. Andrew

    September 20, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Great post! I can definitely relate to most of those points (and if Jasper Park really is *nearly* more beautiful than NZ, I’ll definitely have to put it on my list!)

    • Cole Burmester

      September 28, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      Jasper is really that beautiful Andrew! Put it up on your list 🙂

  3. Jeremy Branham

    September 20, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Good lessons. Agree with #4 completely. Disagree with #1 completely (I rarely wear them and hate feet)! 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 28, 2012 at 6:19 PM

      Not sure that we can be friends if you dislike jandals 😉

  4. Ashley

    September 20, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    This is so true and made me laugh- Flights at the crack of dawn are always the cheapest. Because they suck.

    Also I loved the picture of the highland calf. So adorable.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 28, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      I just had to catch another dawn flight this week. Ewwww such a nightmare. Even slept at the airport for it!

  5. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls

    September 20, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    Number 12 really hits home! Cheap flights save you so much money, but the ungodly hour makes you lose your sanity, sometimes. And, they just suck! 🙂

  6. Pretraveller

    September 21, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Thanks for the tips. I am hoping to make the comparison between New Zealand and Jasper myself before too much longer!!

    While I have not taken the long term trip like you have I have tried to have a ‘travelling spirit’ as we go through life. This means that where possible we try to get out of the house and explore our local area. And we have hopefully set up a child free date night in the next week where we intend to go and explore our hometown of Brisbane!

  7. Amanda

    September 22, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    Great lessons! Totally agree with almost all of them – especially #46!

  8. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    September 22, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Great life lessons. I definitely agree that every couple should travel together before they get married. You’ll learn all you need to know in a very short period of time. Recently, we found ourselves getting up way before dawn because of a time change. Each time we saw the sunrise I was reminded why it’s worth waking up for. Beautiful photos!

  9. D.J. - The World of Deej

    September 24, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Awesome stuff…so many of these made me chuckle either from experience, or from reading the story behind the lesson here:)

  10. Lee Carter @ Global Goose

    September 24, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Very good tips, I can defiantly relate to most of them, apart from the jandals of course as I don’t lift my feet.

  11. Callie

    September 24, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Good list (especially the part about the cow. Freaking adorable.)! Also, good meeting you at TBEX!

  12. Angie Away

    September 24, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    That cow is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! And your list is great – No. 50 sums it up nicely!

  13. Angela

    September 25, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    I totally relate with #9 and 32! I travel slowly and those cutest things ever do make smile (and I’m also grumpy sometimes :P)

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:18 PM

      Haha we are all grumpy from time to time. At least you know where to come if you need cheering up 😉

  14. EurotripTips

    September 26, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Very true about toilets. And very true about street food.

    And even truer about traveling as a couple. So many people underestimate how hard it is to travel as a couple, sometimes – and I mean travel, not a week vacation to an all-inclusive resort. Long term travel with a significant other can be both wonderful and exhausting, romantic and aggravating. It really is a good test before marriage. And it worked wonderfully in my case, going on 6 years now 🙂

    Our first test? Living together abroad for one year, in a 18m2 apartment in Camden. When we were done, I said that if we had gotten through this, we could get through anything!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      Totally agree with you. Living together and travelling together are totally different things. Living together in a foreign country, just as tough 🙂

  15. Andrea

    September 26, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    So true! The best lessons are learned when you step out of your comfort zone and go explore the world! Some of the lessons I have learned have proven to be invaluable in my daily life and I am more adaptable to difficult situations now.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      Travelling totally changes your perceptions on life (in a good way). I wish everyone had the means and desire to want to travel. I think we would all be better off.

  16. Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5

    September 26, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I agree sunrises are worth it and early morning flights truly are the worst!

    Great list!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      We have caught too many cheap flights at ridiculous hours of the morning. Wish we were not cheap asses haha.

  17. karin@personaltravel

    September 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Great list!! Keep safe while traveling and enjoy your adventures!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      Cheers Karin! Hope you have safe travels too 🙂

  18. ANGLO/Dale

    September 26, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Too many points to comment on, but the one that I can’t ‘completely’ agree with is number 42 ‘The Roman Colosseum is probably the coolest structure in the world’.

    Personally, I don’t even think it’s the best building in Rome.
    For me it’s got to be the ‘Square’ Colosseum : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_della_Civilt%C3%A0_Italiana

    Check it out 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Everyone has personal opinions Dale 😉 I just like the way the sunlight reflected off the Colosseum in the mornings and evenings.

      • ANGLO/Dale

        October 1, 2012 at 7:34 AM

        Completely agree. Personal opinions make me me & you you.

        Sounds like a comedy double act: ‘MeMe & YouYou’.

        We need a theme tune…

        • Cole Burmester

          October 1, 2012 at 2:37 PM

          Hahaha brilliant. Is it weird that the Sound of Music popped into my head straight away?

          • ANGLO/Dale

            October 1, 2012 at 6:59 PM

            You too?

            Spooky!

  19. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    September 26, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Fun list–here, here for # 19, 21 and 33!

  20. Laurence

    September 27, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Wait a second – I spent a year in NZ under the impression it was just another Ozzie state!

    Seriously though, have to agree on the travelling as a couple. I reckon if you can survive long term 24/7 living, you can do anything!

  21. Meeah

    September 28, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Love the post!!! The cow is so adorable!!! 🙂 and yes, jandals rock 😉
    I could relate with many points – keep safe while traveling and especially snowboarding!!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      So glad you call them jandals too! Maybe see you on the ski slopes sometime soon 🙂

  22. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    September 29, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Yes! to number 9.

  23. Ava Apollo

    September 30, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Noted, I won’t kiss any snakes. Agree, sun rises are always worth waking up for. Great post 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:52 PM

      Just make sure they have a clean bill of health if you want to kiss any snakes 😉

  24. Just One Boomer (Suzanne)

    October 1, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    I’m probably a tad older than most of your followers, but most of your assertions resonated for me, but I’ll comment on just a few
    #17: I’ve known for a long time that New Zealand is not part of Australia, but I am embarrassingly bad at differentiating the accents of NZ, Oz, Britain, Ireland, and South Africa. Before I assume an English speaker who sounds American is from the US, I trick them into saying the words “out” or “about”, so I won’t tick off any Canadians.
    #10: we do prefer “a little more luxury” as we age–like only sharing a room (and preferably a bathroom) with people we love–or at least are fond of
    #13: can’t say I agree that overland travel is always easier than flying—the Andes in Peru come immediately to mind
    #19: I wouldn’t get doctrinaire about ALWAYS waking up for sunrises. Sunsets are very nice too and are so much more conveniently timed.
    #28: squat toilets–something you can figure out how to use eventually (even ladies), but they are also something you are happy to avoid when possible. Travelers spend more time on average thinking about toilets than the general population. I was moved (pun intended) to write a blog post about the toilets in Japan.
    #32: Please tell me they don’t eat those incredibly cute highland cows.
    #45: I’m with Anglo Dale on this one. The Colosseum is kind of amazing in historical context and certainly a must see, but I’d have to think about this for awhile before anointing it the “coolest structure” in the world.
    #46: If you like to travel, you should definitely take your beloved out for a test trip before saying “I do”. My man passed with flying colors 31 years ago.
    #51: Q.: What’s the 8th wonder of the world? A. A Kiwi with a return ticket. (Told to us by a Kiwi theology student who gave us a tour of the Vatican.)

    • Cole Burmester

      October 1, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Thanks for stopping by Suzanne 🙂 Always love having new commenters!

      Agree with lots of your points there. I do love the Colosseum (just not the crowds). And love your #51. Definitely using that at a later date 🙂

  25. Alana - Gen Y Wanderer

    October 1, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Totally agree with #43…my list is never-ending and ever-growing…

    • Cole Burmester

      October 1, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      Damn the world being such an exciting place to explore aye Alana!

  26. Audrey | That Backpacker

    October 3, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    I too get cranky if I don’t eat, hehe. I’ve learned to either carry food with me, or take lots of cafe breaks. p.s. Those highland cows are pretty cute!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      We have slowly figured it out too. Lack of sleep and lack of food = not a good relationship hahaha. Simple things to keep us happy 🙂

  27. Addison S. @ Visa Hunter

    October 3, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    You’ve hit the nail on the head here. Numbers 2 and 3 particularly bring back traveling memories of my own: the man must eat and the women must sleep. Whereas nowhere is quite like home, I am of the belief that it is definitely possible to find somewhere that matches up and I have fortunately found this place more than once.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:05 PM

      Haha love that you agree with our eating and sleeping rules 😉

      Glad you have found a few places that match home. It is always just nice to return to that special place, and NZ is quite hard to beat really 😉

  28. Agness (@Agnesstramp)

    October 7, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    You are right saying Australian people are everywhere. What I pitty I don’t see any Polish backpackers. Great tips. Travelling is a life lesson 😉 and I have learnt that Karma always gets back around 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      October 7, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      Thanks for stopping by Agness! Adela is actually part Polish as her Grandma moved to New Zealand as a child. Would be great to meet some more Polish backpackers 🙂

  29. Turtle

    October 9, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Great lessons – love ’em. Although I don’t know why you bothered going past number 1 🙂
    Oh yeah, because you wanted to have a dig at the Aussies. Fair ‘nuf.

  30. Agness (@Agnesstramp)

    October 10, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Yeah, that’s cool. I am hoping to meet you guys on our travels in the future 🙂 Happy travels!

  31. Raymond @ Man On The Lam

    October 13, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    I’m having a hard time with #37 — I need more exercise! Great list!!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 14, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      I struggle with it when I am not travelling! Luckily we spend most of our time wandering cities or on crazy adventures. So it definitely helps.

  32. Laurie

    October 14, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Great post The Roman Colosseum is probably the most amazing structure you could see. Love the history

  33. Jeremy (TheTravelApprentice)

    October 15, 2012 at 4:23 AM

    Awesome list you two, I feel like I could have written in myself… 🙂 I especially like the one about Egypt, I’ve never been, I know tons about it and actually wondered the other day if Egypt would live up to my extremely high expectations of it… I want to believe it’ll blow me away when I finally get there.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 15, 2012 at 8:51 AM

      It blew us away (Egypt). Definitely try and get there sometime soon. Such an amazing and diverse country!

  34. Shamis @ Gawaya Travel Blog

    October 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Nice (and some funny) tips 🙂 Especially the cute cow and street food. I totally agree with the #49 and #50.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 17, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      He is really cute! Thanks for dropping by Shamis 🙂

  35. Matt Gomio

    October 17, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    I love those pictures, especially the one jumping “against” the Eifel Tower – that’s more creative than just “picking it up”!

    Let’s stay connected and check out our Blog as well.
    I bookmarked this one 🙂

    Take care you both,
    Matt

    • Cole Burmester

      October 17, 2012 at 7:20 PM

      It was a shame the picture was a bit blurry but oh well! Thanks for dropping by Matt, will definitely check out Gomio!

  36. Tom

    October 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Awesome list, Cole!

    I loved number 46 and wow, that highland cow was REALLY cute 😀

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      46 should be made into some law that everyone signs when they get into a relationship haha.

  37. Trudy Florence

    October 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Agree with so many of these! Particularly 46 haha. Love all your travel lessons, we have learnt so much in the past year and a bit. I think the big one is that our relationship is the best tool we have when travelling the world. Travelling together long term is such an amazing experience that we will remember forever.

  38. Laurie

    November 2, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    Your are right on the mark. Love 49

    • Cole Burmester

      November 2, 2012 at 8:48 AM

      Thanks Laurie! Hopefully everyone can agree on at least one point 😉

  39. Cho

    November 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Love the little moo in the middle of the post!! I would definitely travel!!

  40. Alexandra

    December 6, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    I have to revist Amsterdam as apparently I didn’t see everything the city had to offer 🙂

    Seriously though, great list! I’m in the process of booking my second RTW flight in less than two years. I can’t even begin to fathom the lessons I will learn traveling overland through Africa and India

    BTW: We Hawaiian call them Slippahs and I really don’t understand why I ever bring any other type of footwear with me

    • Cole Burmester

      December 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      Totally agree with you about not needing any other footwear! Our jandals (slippahs) are the best travel accessories 🙂 You will love Africa and India I am sure.

  41. Ian [EagerExistence]

    December 11, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    Australians are everywhere! …and YOU love it

    • Cole Burmester

      December 12, 2012 at 1:04 AM

      Hahaha they are good value… most of the time.

  42. Pingback: 25 Lessons I Thankfully learned travelling and living abroad

  43. Kay Rodriguez

    December 26, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Cute and entertaining list! 🙂 I love travel because it teaches me things I would have never learned reading a book or sitting in a classroom. And the best lesson from traveling is that there’s always more to learn!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Whole heartedly agree 100% Kay! Those 50 lessons are only the tip of the iceberg of what we have learnt. More importantly we have discovered food, cultures and friendships that will remain with us forever.

  44. Eartha

    February 1, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    I LOVE… absolutely LOVE this list!!! (And yes I did smile at that highland cow photo!) I’m about to do an RTW that starts in a couple months, and I will live and breathe this list.
    You guys are awesome! Keep traveling!

    Xo

    • Cole Burmester

      February 2, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Thanks Xo! Hope you enjoy your RTW trip and we might see you somewhere along the way 😀

  45. Anita

    February 2, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    Some great advice, Jandals! I especially like #44. Living in the here and now is not easy to do…but it’s so satisfying!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 2, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Definitely Anita! So easy to get caught up in other things and problems that can pull you out of the here and now.

  46. Wally

    April 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I thought only Canadians had to blog about simple travel experiences.

  47. Wally

    April 6, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Although I do agree with #9

  48. david fountain

    April 9, 2013 at 3:57 AM

    Great info…also…wear sunscreen!

  49. Matt

    April 20, 2013 at 4:13 AM

    As someone who is about to embark on a 6 month+ round the world journey with his wife and two best friends, its posts like this that make me smile (75% because of that ADORABLE cow). You have reminded me that I have no reason to be scared, I can’t WAIT to see all the sights, the pyramids, the food….the list is endless. I agree that if anything is holding you back just do it! I’m scared, excited, nervous, happy and sad that I’m leaving everything behind all at once…and I wouldn’t change a thing! Thank for for the inspiration!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 21, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      Good luck on your trip Matt and I hope you find a way to keep travelling after the 6 months is up 😉 All I can say is to enjoy every moment and take each day as it comes.

  50. Dream Holidays Guide

    April 23, 2013 at 11:23 AM

    I agree with the lessons you wrote here,i kept smiling while reading each lines. When I was just starting out traveling overseas, I always get ripped off by airport money changers, now I learned it’s cheaper to take money out from the ATM when abroad.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 23, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      Either from the ATM or at least find a really good rate online before the airport. So many places allow you to buy currency online and delivered to you as well.

  51. cathie

    June 23, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    No. 47. Enter Micky d’s for one other reason…ice!

  52. Mj

    July 3, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Hmm I definitely agree ! I am Asian and first time to travel out of my country. When you start to travel and get out from your comfort zone you will realize that there is much more fun in the neighborhood 🙂 travelling tells you a lot , learned a lot of things and the questions you have in mind were answered by your foot steps :). Thanks a lot for Sharing your travel tips and learnings 🙂

  53. rrenny

    July 19, 2013 at 6:11 AM

    Jumping does make pictures look so much better.. Especially at parks, lakes and on hills. It kind of emits the joy and exuberance.

    • Cole Burmester

      July 31, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      You look ridiculous doing it but when you see the pictures you are always stoked!

  54. cham (volunteertravel)

    September 16, 2013 at 4:26 AM

    Great list and so true! I think routine and doing something you feel is beneficial are some of the most important things while traveling.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2013 at 7:18 AM

      Totally agree with you Cham 🙂 Especially for long term travel!

  55. Charles Rahm (@DWJustTravel)

    October 15, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Great post. I agree that adventurous activities certainly take a certain amount of willpower which I am sadly lacking in! Well done to have gone caving- Must have been an unforgettable experience. Definitely paying to use the toilet is still one of my greatest peeves.

  56. Jaryd

    February 1, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Awesome list number 8 sums it all up – Anyone can do adventurous travel activities, you just need the willpower. Love it! The greatest thing I have learned whilst traveling over 6 continents is that endorsing yourself in the culture of each country truly helps you to understand their way of life.

  57. Pingback: Travel Memories from Cole [Four Jandals]

  58. Eric

    September 24, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    You did not need to tell you that ” travelling sick sucks” after number 14 which is you should not kiss a snake in Marrakech.Made me smile.
    Healthy travelling.
    Cheers

  59. Zulian

    April 16, 2015 at 1:42 AM

    You are really full of Experience, All about travelling have you felt. Now you have the way to avoid a saturation Buddy

  60. hanoi food tour

    June 14, 2015 at 4:21 PM

    I am going to Thailand next week and this is the first time i travel to oversea. Useful information. Thanks

  61. Susan

    October 31, 2016 at 4:02 PM

    Couldn’t more agree on point 46 and 49 haha! I’ve been learning a lot from your blog and the more i read it, the more i want to explore more, you are my inspiration. Keep up writing and share for people 🙂

  62. Shane Dayton

    January 7, 2017 at 7:49 AM

    Great advice all the way through, though maybe none so good as “Tear up the bucket list and live in the hear and now.” Granted, I have the long bucket list of places I want to see and experiences I intend to have, but those are guide posts to get started and motivation when life forces me down for a while. Being able to embrace the moment, where you are, what possibilities open up – that really is the essence of travel, IMO.

  63. Alex S

    March 7, 2017 at 1:11 PM

    Awesome list… I agree those cute Highland Cows are soooo cute!

    I would just add one more on the list. 51. Always wake up early on a powder day & get 1st chair… ALWAYS. 🙂

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Travel Tips

A guide on choosing the best air mattress or sleeping pad for the trail

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If you’re planning an overnight hike, the essentials that can make or break it are the essential provisions (food & water) and a good night’s sleep.

Getting the former right is not so complicated – you know your needs, you know the trek you’re tackling and you plan the volume and how energy-dense your food needs to be to keep you going.

On the other hand – getting a good night’s sleep outdoors is a bit trickier and calls for a bit more planning. The paramount choices you’ll need to make are the tent, the air mattress (or sleeping pad) and an add-on like a sleeping bag.

Today, we’ll look into what you need to know to choose a good air mattress. We’ll go over some basic rules-of-thumb and then we’ll mention a few specific products that might be right, depending on your scenario.

The basic questions

Before you even look at specific products, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Are you backpacking or driving to the trail?
  • Will you be setting permanent camp or move daily?
  • How do you adjust the size of the airbed to the size & shape of your tent?

Scenario 1: You’re driving to the trail & setting up camp to get back to each day

This is a scenario that will give you the most options to choose from because you don’t have to think about the weight of the airbed, the only thing to think about is fitting it into your tent.

The one mistake people make

You look at the space you have on the tent floor, you look at the dimensions of the air mattress, do the math and if they fit you might think that you’re OK.

It might sound basic, but we’ve seen it too often to ignore it – people tend not to take the slanted sides and the height of the air bed. This part is especially important if you have one of the two most common tent types – a ridge or a dome.

The inward sloping of the sides will become a problem if you go with a high-rise blow up mattress. The higher the air bed, the more it reduces the sleeping capacity of a tent with slanted walls.

For a 2-person tent

Rule of thumb: If it’s a 2-person tent you’re “working with”, a low-rise twin airbed or pad is your safest bet. Our picks as the best air mattresses for this scenario are the SoundAsleep Camping Series & the Lightspeed Outdoors TPU.

As per the user reviews we looked at, the SoundAsleep Camping Series is the top-rated classic airbed – it comes in Twin & Queen size, inflates in just under 3 minutes (the pump is included) and comes with a 1-year warranty.

It sits at 9” and will not “waste” any significant tent space.

The Lightspeed Outdoors, on the other hand, is not what you’d call a classic model. The first thing that’s not classic about it is the material – it’s not vinyl but TPU. TPU is closer to the “feel” and characteristics of fabric than plastic.

It stretches less and, as a result, feels firmer.

The 2nd thing that’s worth mentioning is that it is an inch longer and an inch narrower than a twin airbed (usually 78 x 60 “). It sits at 8 inches high.

The SoundAsleep weighs just under 10 lbs (twin size) and the Lightspeed Outdoors is significantly lighter (just over 5 lbs).

Not only were these two models top-rated by users but they’re also labeled as best air mattress as per TheSleepStudies.com – a website that tests and reviews air beds.

For a 4-person tent

A 4-person tent will be approximately 65 feet square. These are large enough to comfortably fit in a queen size inflatable. Our pick here & the best queen size air mattress is the Coleman SupportRest.

We didn’t have to do much research because this Coleman is the official camping air bed of the National Park Foundation.

It’s raised at about 20 inches and comes in Twin & Queen size. One thing to be aware of though, is that it doesn’t come with the pump by default. If you go with the Queen size, you’ll have to get the pump separately. The combined price of the two (the bed and the pump) is just over $70.

If you need something more durable & heavy-duty, you might look into Coleman DuraRest that was one of the top picks as per the Independent.co.uk.

Scenario 2: You’re backpacking or moving camp each day

In this scenario, an inflatable mattress will simply not be an option; they are too heavy to be carried around. You’ll want to go with a sleeping pad.

The best air camping air pads are significantly pricier than the options we mentioned above. The reason behind it is the fact that more technology goes into keeping you warm with a pad that’s lighter than 1 pound.

Our top pick here is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm. This Therm-a-Rest has been top-rated and listed as Editor’s choice as the best sleeping pad at OutDoorGearLab – a website that tests outdoor products, including sleeping pads.

What’s better about it is that the company managed to design so that it’s amazingly light and thin (just over 1 pound and 2.5 “).

They did it by using what they call triangular core baffles and ThermaCapture material. The former minimizes heat transfer between the ground and top surface of the pad, while the later reflects the body warmth of the sleeper.

If you don’t need so much insulation

If you’re not expecting cold night on the trail, you can go with something more budget-friendly, like the Klymit Static V. It’s wider and more comfortable than most pads in its price range. You can see more reference info about types and option you have when choosing a sleeping pad on REI.com

Do bear in mind that the R-value (describes how well the pad insulates the sleeper) of this Klymit is much lower than the mentioned Therm-a-Rest NeoAir (1.5 vs. 5.7). This means that it will keep you comfortable but won’t do much in terms of keeping you warm.

We believe we got our bases covered

This guide was planned to look at the process of choosing from different angles and scenarios. We believe we’ve covered 90 % of those. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment section and we’ll do our best to help.

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Travel Tips

Tips for Couples Travel: Keeping Romance alive

Travelling as a couple on the road can be extremely hard. Use our tips for couples travel to help your travels especially in time for Valentines Day.

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When you are travelling as a couple it is really important to remember to keep romance alive. These tips for couples travel will hopefully help.

You have to take great care to not only keep each other happy but also to celebrate special events such as anniversaries and other romantic moments in your lives.

Why?

Because travelling can take it’s toll on even the strongest relationships.

A lack of sleep while crossing different time zones will leave nerves frayed. While the stress of navigating your way around a foreign country will rattle tensions further. And to top it off you will be in each others faces through the good times and the bad 24/7.

Hospital Broken Collarbone Marmot Basin Ski Area

Adela in hospital after breaking her collarbone

Considering that with most budget travel, your savings will not usually allow for extra expenses such as romantic dinners which can help to recharge those relationship batteries. Instead you will find yourself arguing over whose turn it is to cook the spaghetti on toast!

With Valentines Day nearly upon us it might be worthwhile sharing some of our own little secrets of how we travel as a couple.

So how do we find the energy while on the road keep from tearing each others heads off every second day?

It’s easy!

Think outside the box

You shouldn’t have to look very far from where you are at that moment to gain just a little bit of inspiration. Travelling is romantic in it’s very nature!

Valentines Day in Paris

Sure you may not be in one of the most romantic cities of the world like Paris or having an epic Hawaii holiday on the beach. But, you are likely to be somewhere that isn’t home! That is what makes it special.

Stop being a tourist and slow down

I don’t mean for the entire time you travel but you can definitely spare a day or even an hour to slow down. For that short period you need to stop, think and act like a local.

What do locals do to keep their romance alive wherever you are? I am sure that they don’t wake up at the crack of dawn to be the first in line at the local attractions! No, they sleep in and savour each others company. Or they just stroll hand in hand through a park.

By slowing down you will enjoy those moments of madness as you run to make your train travel trip because you know you can chill out sometime soon.

Samoa waterfalls

Don’t be selfish

Travelling as a couple is all about compromise. If you have chosen the last 2 places to eat at or the last activity then it is time to hand over the reins. There is nothing worse than just getting to enjoy what you want while the other grins and bears it.

Other selfishness acts can be as simple as showing a little bit of courtesy. All it may take is to help her put on her backpack after a long day of hauling it around a dusty city and the romance will be kept alive.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

You need to let the small things slide. You know that really cute chewing sound she makes when she is eating her food? Well that kind of starts to grind on your nerves when it is just the two off you.

But if you cannot learn to accept those small imperfections (and face it everyone has them and I am clearly no god myself) then the bigger worries are really going to set a wedge between you.

Time outs

Travelling is all about sharing special moments together. But, and I cannot stress this enough, everyone needs space.

Whether you like to chill out by going for a run, reading your book or just pondering life’s mysteries with a beer in hand then make time for it. Just tell them upfront and trust me they will understand.

In fact they probably can’t wait to get away from you too!

Take time out when travelling as a couple

Take time out when travelling as a couple

Laugh

We have had some epic fights on our travels and have spent whole days silently driving across America not talking to one another. Do you know how hard it is to give your significant other the silent treatment for 8 hours when they are sitting next to you in the car?!

Let me tell you, it is near on impossible.

Those times are tough but as you sit in silence you will realise just how stupid the situation is. Here you are halfway around the world from your family and you only have one other person to rely on.

When you are laughing most of the time then the small arguments will bounce right off.

Four Jandals Maid of the Mist

Laugh at how ridiculous you look when acting like a tourist!

Spend time with others

Human beings are social in their very nature. Why do you think girls like to sit around with other girls and talk at a million miles an hour? It’s because we crave interaction.

I am quite happy to just chill out and be quiet. Adela on the other hand loves to talk. Early on in our travels I could not figure out how she can sometimes stand my quiet moments? Then it dawned on me.

It’s because we always find the time to interact with others on the road. If you spend your whole time abroad and only talk to one another then it is going to be one helluva boring trip.

Travel is about meeting others. When you do finally get that time alone together you will relish in it!

Date night

Most couples usually have date nights when they are at home. So why not when you are travelling?

I know I said earlier that most of the time budget travel won’t allow for you to go out for romantic dinners. But who said you have to spend $200 on a meal with a bottle of wine. Instead make a picnic and go chill out on the beach for a few hours.

Or just blow that budget and splurge! While your wallet might hate you, your relationship will thank you and the romance will be kept alive.

Splurging on chocolate in Quebec City

Splurging on delicious chocolate in Quebec City

Do you have any couples travel tips you want to share?

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Travel Tips

Couples Travel – Why every couple should travel before marriage

We think that every couple should experience couples travel before marriage. It will make you stronger by helping you learn more about each other.

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Romance in San Sebastian Cole and Adela

I have said it before and I will say it again. Before every couple settles down and gets married they should experience couples travel together for at least six months.

And I don’t mean just going somewhere relaxing and romantic.

Romance in San Sebastian Cole and Adela

I mean that you have to really travel together. You have to step outside your comfort zones together to see if you are going to go be able to go the distance.

Couples Travel

While we may not be married, we do know what 3+ years of couples travel will do to a relationship. There is nothing that will strengthen, or break, those intimate bonds of a couple in love quicker than couples travel.

Travelling as a couple can be one of the most rewarding experiences of any couples lives. It can also be one of the greatest challenges you will ever face.

Living out of each others back pockets for months on end in foreign countries can be tough work. You might not be able to speak the local language fluently which means that you often have only one another to talk to for a few days.

Or you might be driving 18,000 km across North America in a tiny car that is also your bedroom, kitchen and living room. There is no escape and nowhere to hide if you fight.

The silent treatment for 8 hours tends to get quite boring.

You have to be able to make it work.

Campervan, Couples Travel Tips, Cole, Camping

Yes we lived in that for 8 weeks.

So why should you travel as a couple before marriage?

Getting to know one another

During couples travel you quickly learn what makes another person tick. We have learnt a lot of life lessons while travelling as a couple and the ones that we stick to the most, are the ones that keep us both sane.

For example, I know that if Adela goes without a decent amount of sleep for a few days then she will be extremely cranky. And if I don’t get food on a regular basis then I am going to turn into something resembling the incredible hulk, just without the green tinge and muscles.

It is being able to spot those little changes in one another quickly that will help you overcome much larger hurdles later in life.

Cole and Adela, Couples Travel, Scooter in Tuscany

Good sleep + food = Happy couple

Facing your fears

Fears. We all have them. Whether it is a fear of heights or perhaps you suffer from claustrophobia, your partner can help you face those fears and overcome them.

We have a series on here about facing my fears where we deliberately put ourselves in situations that we are not 100% comfortable in. We think it helps us grow as individuals. But it also helps us grow as a couple.

When I suggested an adventure to go caving in Budapest, I knew that Adela would struggle with going underground. But she was willing to give it a crack. After we had walked just 50m underground, the door slammed shut behind us and Adela freaked out.

But knowing I was there to comfort her and help her out kept her calm until she got back to the surface. It of course didn’t stop me from carrying on afterwards and having an awesome adventure either!

Couples Travel - Caving in Budapest

Being stripped bare

Being stripped bare in front of someone you love is not the same as facing your fears. It is much worse than that. It is allowing someone to become so close to you that they see you at your most vulnerable.

Couples travel will open up your most vulnerable sides.

Imagine this…

One of you falls victim to a sneaky snake charmer throwing his pet snake around your neck. 12 hours later you can’t control the liquids coming out of either end of your body because of salmonella poisoning.

Marrakech Snake Charmer, Morocco, Cole, Couples Travel Tips

Not only do you wish that en-suite bathrooms with cowboy saloon style doors had never been invented. But this is also one time you don’t want to be alone.

For two weeks I was horrendously sick and lost a frightening 10 kgs. So far from home and without the support of my family I had only one person to rely on. Adela. Luckily she put up with the sounds, smells and stress, and supported me through it all.

For that I am so thankful because I will never forget how vulnerable I was and how she never exploited my vulnerability.

Perspective: It’s not all bad

Travelling as a couple is all about putting perspective on different events.

While you may become vulnerable, sick, frightened or angry, being there for one another is what counts to get you both through each situation. Because at the end of the day the good always outweighs the bad.

We never have to think too hard to remember the good times.

Indonesia Sunset Grim Lab

Sitting on a beach together watching the sunset. Drinking a coffee in a cute cafe in Paris or mountain biking in Canada. All of these experiences were made special because we did them together. They are treasured memories that we will share together forever.

Plus the bad can always be laughed at in the future.

In my opinion, if you can survive couples travel, you can survive anything. Including marriage.

Check out these Couples Travel Tips to learn how to survive travelling together. And if you want a “unique” Euro-trip adventure, you can always consider a holiday in Amsterdam to spice things up.

Have you travelled as a couple? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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