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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you travelled as a couple? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.
Why you Should book Zimbabwe as your Next African Safari Holiday
Following years of planning and a supposed £120 million loan from China, Zimbabwe finally opened its landmark Victoria Falls International Airport back in 2016.
Even more recently, it was announced that Brits would be able to board direct flights from London, creating a portal into a world of unheralded adventure and relatively unspoiled landscapes. It’s also seen demand soar for africaodyssey.com African safaris, which help you to navigate some of the wildest terrains safely and securely and depending what you opt for, even in luxury.
If you’ve yet to discover Zimbabwe as a viable holiday and safari destination, however, you’re missing out on an incredible escapade. To confirm this, here are three reasons why you should consider booking Zimbabwe for your next safari excursion.
1. See the iconic Victoria Falls
The development of the new airport tripled the capacity to around 4.5 million passengers each year, meaning that more people from across the globe could see the iconic Victoria Falls.
Offering one of the very best reasons to visit Zimbabwe, it’s one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and serves as the greatest mass of falling water anywhere across the globe.
Towering 5,633 feet wide and a staggering 343 feet tall, it’s provides a stunning backdrop to any holiday and represent a true must-see destination.
While it’s possible to view this wonder from a number of neighbouring locations, Zimbabwe offers up to 16 viewpoints including a particularly unspoiled vantage point above the thunderous Devil’s Cataract.
2. The Diverse Range of Available Lodges and Accommodation
Whether you want to stay in town or enjoy a more rustic travel experience on the outskirts, you’ll find that Africa, and particularly Zimbabwe, has an incredible range of options on offer.
The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is particularly beguiling, as it offers tremendous luxury and is in close proximity to the iconic water fall. It also enables you to see of the so-called ‘Big five’ game in their natural habitat, which is the whole point of booking on a safari in the first place!
If you’re in search of a more intimate experience and wish to stay on the outskirts of town, the Zambezi Sands bush camp offers the ideal getaway. Located on a remote and unspoiled stretch of the Zambezi river, it was created by conservationist Mark Butcher and provides a unique insight into Zimbabwe’s beautiful wilderness.
In addition to heading out on safari, you can also arrange a host of activities here, including fly-fishing and photographing the lunar rainbows that are cast over the falls at night.
3. Enjoy Several Different Species of Wildlife at the Hwange National Park
Another iconic location in Zimbabwe is the Hwange National Park, which covers an incredible 5,625 square miles and is approximately nine times the size of Greater London.
In addition to its vast expanse, this location is also home to a wider variety of wildlife than anywhere else in the world. More specifically, there are an estimated 50,000 elephants in the region (who often roam in herds as large as 400), along with more than 100 species of mammal and 400 different types of bird.
The type of game that you see depends on the precise area that you visit, with the hilly, north-west region home to several species of wild dog. In the central area, lions are frequently spotted, including select prides that have perfected the art of elephant hunting.
Regardless, the Hwange National Park is a great location for any true wildlife lover, particularly if you want observe species’ in their natural habitat.
How to Pack for A Walking Holiday in the UK
A sense of real-life adventure, the great outdoors, and the fresh air are all the things you can expect from a walking holiday. Indeed, one main reason that a walking holiday is so rewarding is that it’s challenging, therefore, you get a sense of having really achieved something.
Of course, to make the challenging aspect of a walking holiday enjoyable as opposed to uncomfortable, you’ll need to pack adequately.
You’re really excited about your South Downs Way walking holiday; a well-deserved break rumbling through the serene countryside, exploring the local villages, and taking in the beautiful woodlands. But, you’ll first have to pack. This checklist will ensure that you’ve got everything you need for that perfect walking holiday.
A small medical kit which can fit in your rucksack might be very useful if you or anyone you’re with encounters minor health issues which can be easily addressed especially when you’re far away from the nearest pharmacy. For instance, you can pack painkillers for strained muscles and headaches, wet wipes, diarrhea treatment, and plasters for blisters. If you suffer from altitude sickness, you can request your doctor to prescribe some medication.
The foundation for a perfectly enjoyable and unforgettable walking holiday is comfortable boots. Your legs and feet take a lot of strain from walking, and getting the right boots will significantly reduce the chances of blisters and sore feet. The best walking boots have great ankle support to cope with uneven or slippery paths. Where the route is less arduous, trail shoes or lower cut boots would be a good choice, particularly if your feet get really hot during summer.
The ideal boots are lightweight, solid, waterproof, and have a breathable membrane to keep your feet comfortable and dry. Planning on buying new boots for your trip? Try on several pairs before settling on one. And then, before you go on holiday, wear them as often as you can to avoid getting blisters. Also, buy socks that are specially designed for hiking. The socks usually have extra cushioned soles to protect your feet.
Quick-Dry Shorts or Trousers
Heavy cotton and jeans trousers or shorts are okay for wearing at the hotel, but not a great choice for your day’s walk. They’ll fast get soggy in case it pours. You should pack at least a pair of walking shorts or trousers made from lightweight and quick-drying material. Or, instead of carrying shorts and trousers, you can find trousers that double up as shorts. Alternatively, you can use sports shorts or tracksuit bottoms which are also made from quick-drying and lightweight fabric.
Shorts or trousers with plenty of pockets are very useful for keeping your items, including phone and maps, safely.
Summer in the UK is characterized by occasional cooler mornings or showers. You’ll need a waterproof jacket for these types of weather changes. Get a jacket that’s substantial enough to keep you warm in the morning or evening yet small enough to fit in your rucksack.
Consider buying a jacket with the following: adequate pockets to put all your small items, a breathable membrane to ensure you don’t sweat excessively, and zips for your under-arm ventilation.
Choose a variety of lightweight T-shirts, and a few vest tops. Vest-tops are great if you want to get a tan, but you should alternate them with sleeved T-shirts. This will help avoid the discomfort and irritation of sunburned shoulders. T-shirts that are made from treated merino wool or technical fabric are designed for walking, and they’ll keep you cool as well as wick away excess sweat.
A Bandana or Hat
Summers can get extremely hot, and a sunhat will definitely come in handy. You don’t want to risk getting unsightly sunburns or worse, sunstroke. A cotton bandana will help keep hair away from your face. It can also prevent your neck from getting sunburns and be used to wipe off sweat as well.
Pack a fleece in case you encounter chilly moments in the evening or even in the early morning. Your T-shirt, when layered with a mid-weight fleece, should give you adequate warmth. If you can get a waterproof fleece, the better.
Since most walking holidays entail walks from your hotel, you’ll only need a sizeable rucksack to carry what you need for the day. A sack of about 20 to 30 liters with mesh pockets for holding your water bottles, lots of zipped compartments, and loops should be ideal.
It’s also advisable to carry a few plastic bags to store items such as your phone, clothes, maps, and anything else that can get wet in case of a sudden downpour.
For gentle and flat walking routes, you’ll not need a walking pole. However, for arduous routes or paths that have steep climbs, you might require a walking pole. If you’re walking on a mountainous terrain, a walking pole will help ease the strain off your legs and knees. The walking pole will give you some much-needed support on steep, slippery, and uneven paths.
Foldable or telescopic poles are recommended since they are easy to pack and carry in your rucksack.
A Reusable Water Bottle
The most important part of your walk is to always stay hydrated. When you’re taking a walk in the rural areas, you’ll need plenty of fresh water supply. To avoid wastage as well as conserve the environment, get a refillable bottle to carry your water.
Supportive and comfortable underwear is definitely a must for walking. Pack only a few lightweight and wicking underwear including sports bras. You can wash them as you travel.
At the end of a long and adventurous day of walking, and after a shower, you’ll want to put on an outfit that’s suitable for relaxing or dining out. Lightweight clothes, shoes, flip-flops, or trainers will fit the bill perfectly for your post-hiking wear.
Pack all the necessary toiletries and keep in mind how long they’ll last. Some hotels provide small containers of shampoo, soap, and lotion. However, it’s best to bring your own, as well.
Remember to carry sun cream or sunscreen, sunglasses, camera phone or camera, insect repellent, universal plug, washing detergent, antiseptic gel, and camera and phone charger.
Many lodges or B&Bs will pack a small lunch for you. You can also stock up on heavy snacks such as trail mix, protein bars, cheese, bread, or crackers. You’ll need plenty of protein on your walk. And don’t forget to carry candy. You’ll relish a sweet treat while you’re burning those calories.
Ultimately, the right equipment and packing right will make your walk trouble free, relaxed, and more enjoyable.
Camping with Your Guitar: Things to Consider
Going on a camping trip with an acoustic guitar is always a fun and exciting idea that’s definitely possible with proper planning. Going anywhere with an instrument can be a complicated affair, with factors to consider such as the weather, handling, storage and even if your guitar can survive the trip to and from your destination unscathed.
If you don’t want to risk your primary acoustic getting damaged during your camping trip, consider investing in a guitar that’s designed for traveling. A travel acoustic guitars are small and lightweight, yet produce a sound that’s good enough for jamming around a campfire or at the back of a van. Some travel guitars are even equipped with a pickup, allowing you to plug them in a small battery-powered amp. Getting a travel-friendly guitar is actually the best way to protect a more valuable instrument from the risks of transit.
Let’s say you haven’t gotten around to acquiring a travel acoustic yet. What can you do to keep your beloved guitar in top condition during your outdoor adventure? Consider the following and prepare accordingly!
Is your guitar case suitable for a camping trip? If you have a hardshell case and you’re going to the camping grounds by car, storage shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re backpacking however, a hard case probably isn’t the best idea. Choose a sturdy padded gig bag that’s lightweight and has straps to make it easier to carry.
Make sure your guitar fits snugly in its case and it doesn’t move around in it. Put soft shirts (without buttons) around the headstock, lower bout and other places where there’s extra space. You want to make sure your guitar doesn’t get jostled around in its case so it doesn’t get damaged.
Loosen the strings a bit to prevent warping if the wood on the guitar expands or shrinks. Put masking tape or better yet, duct tape along the seams and clasps to prevent water from coming in and to keep the case tightly closed.
At camp, find a spot where you can place your guitar without it tipping over or getting trampled on. Inside a car in the shade (with windows slightly open) and inside the tent are your best options. Avoid keeping it close to the campfire or leaving it in a hot car.
Acoustic guitars are made of wood, which needs just the right amount of moisture to keep it from cracking or expanding. Your guitar should be kept in an environment with a relative humidity of 35 to 50 percent.
While you can’t control the humidity outdoors, you can control the humidity in your guitar case. Get a humidifier-dehumidifier, which absorbs moisture from the guitar when it’s too humid and humidifies the guitar when it’s too dry. Remember to keep your guitar in its case when you’re not playing it, and make sure to lock or zip the case properly.
We’re assuming you have the good sense to plan your trip during the summer or when you know there isn’t a storm coming. However, the weather can be really unpredictable, which means you can get drenched in an unexpected shower. In such event, it’s important to keep your guitar dry. If your guitar case isn’t waterproof, make sure you bring along a plastic sheet or an extra bin liner/trash bag where you can place your guitar case if it begins to rain.
We hope you keep these considerations in mind when planning your camping trip. If you still have time, it would be really wise to invest in a lighter, more compact travel guitar than to expose your favorite and probably more expensive guitar to the elements.
Meet Cole and Adela
We 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...
New on Four Jandals
- Why you Should book Zimbabwe as your Next African Safari Holiday November 14, 2018
- Best Places to Relax in Austin, Texas November 14, 2018
- How to Pack for A Walking Holiday in the UK November 12, 2018
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