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Why we quit our jobs

Read about why we decided to quit our jobs and start travelling properly. And what we plan to do afterwards.



Mt Rushmore

To realise our travel blogging goals and travel like we want to travel, which is a LOT, we need freedom. So today we did what most people will never try.

We took a risk. We pursued a passion. We stepped out of our comfort zone.

We quit our jobs.

Seeing those four little words written down just sent shivers down my spine. Seeing them written down somehow makes it seem real. It now feels like a tangible item that we can reach out and grab a hold of.

For the last couple of weeks we have been talking about how we want to travel for a few months around Europe this summer from our base in Edinburgh. It always seemed like a bit of a distant dream. But the one thing that we knew was that there was no way that we could travel properly with jobs holding us back.

Sure we have been travelling around the world for over 2 years already and have seen a few sides of Europe. Including a long weekend in Paris, the madness that was Oktoberfest in Munich and even peep show in Amsterdam.

And even though the adventures were fun it wasn’t travelling like we wanted to travel.

Mt Rushmore

We like to travel slow.

We love to take in the culture and experience how locals live. Getting under the skin of a destination is what makes travel so special for us. By quitting our jobs to travel we now have the freedom to do it our way.

So in one week we are setting off on a trip through Italy and Spain. For six weeks we will travel through Italy with very vague plans.

We promise to outline our trip itinerary in more detail next week (with a few exciting announcements). But as a start we will be ticking off the ruins of Rome, trekking the Cinque Terre trails, winding through the waterways of Venice, eating pizza in Naples, cycling and get tanked in Tuscany and swimming on the alluring Amalfi Coast.

You think that after all that we would be looking to slow down and enjoy the siesta lifestyle of Spain. But you would be wrong. Three weeks of madness in Spain ensues from there.

We will be risking life and limb by Running with the Bulls in Pamplona. And when, if, we have survived that we will be surfing our way along the San Sebastian coastline for two weeks.

But then what…

To be honest, who knows?

Most likely we will end up back in Edinburgh as we have fallen in love with the place. Plus it is super handy to travel through Europe from.

But I am hoping that this is the end of the road for me sitting in a cubicle and working the normal 9 to 5 job. Four years I have toiled away as an Environmental Planner helping local farmers and businesses around New Zealand and now in Scotland construct Wind Turbines.

Adela has kindly offered to support me by returning to her cubicle while I pursue my newfound passion. I will try to take this travel blog to the next level and continue to grow it for you.

So thank you!

Because everything we have achieved so far has been as a result of you, our readers and passionate travel community. If you haven’t already then join the rest of us on Facebook and Twitter!

But not only will I continue to grow our blog I will also be pursuing a new career with all the skills I have learnt since we began this adventure travel blog. So if you are looking for a new Social Media specialist or blogger for your business then I am here to help. Just drop us a line via email or through our contact page.

Taking the plunge into the unknown is really exciting. And just a little bit unsettling.

Do I think I will end up back in a cubicle in a few months? Maybe.

But you know what? For now I am content knowing that we have two months ahead of us with nothing but our packs on our backs, jandals on our feet and a pocketful of opportunities in front of us.

Reader question: Have you ever taken the plunge or rolled the dice of chance on a dream? How did it work out? Any advice or tips for us?

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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  1. Jools Stone

    June 1, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Good luck gusy, I’m sure you won’t look back. Plus you have an in demand skill that I’m sure is pretty portable. I made the transition more gradually, through a combination of opportunity, timing and general frustration. I’ve been focussing on building my freelance profile up while doing the occasional trip, instead of a full time life on the road, whcih I’m not sure would suit me yet anyway. Anyway, well done and I’ll hoist one to you soon I hope!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 1, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      Thanks Jools! Its always nice to chat with the likes of you, Jane and Kash so that we can follow in your footsteps. Will need to pick your brain sometime soon on how to make all this work for us so will meet up for a drink in August hopefully when we are back!

  2. Lucy Dodsworth

    June 1, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Congratulations to you both – sounds like you have a fantastic summer lined up! I’ve quit my job twice now to travel and the adrenaline rush never wears off! First time I did a 16-month RTW trip then came back and found another job fairly quickly. Second time was last year when I went freelance and have been mixing work and travel ever since. I always thought that the worst that could’ve happened was that I had to get another office job and that’s where I started off anyway! Hope it all works out for you and happy travels.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      Cheers Lucy. Great getting your feedback and showing us that it can be done 🙂 Will hit you up if we need any help if that’s okay!

  3. Andrea

    June 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Good luck Cole! I’m sure you’ll never regret it and your site will really take off with the more time you have to spend on it. I can’t wait to seeing how things work out for you. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      June 1, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Thanks Andrea! Fingers crossed it goes well for us for the next few months 🙂

  4. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    June 1, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Feels great, right? Good for you guys and welcome to the world of untethered travel! Since finding a niche that will keep you productive AND on the road is part of the challenge I just want to point out that I’m fairly certain NGOs around the world would love to hire the services of an Environmental Engineer to assist with wind turbine and other projects around the world on your terms. Just sayin’.


    • Cole Burmester

      June 1, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      Thanks so much Karen. Having the support of the likes of you guys is a huge help! Will definitely keep the idea of working around the world with wind turbines in the back of my mind 🙂

  5. Erica

    June 1, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Congratulations! Exciting isn’t? Sometimes you will just have to take the plunge and go for it! I am sure you will find a way to stay out of that cubicle.. Good luck!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      Hope I will be able to stay out of and thanks for the well wishes Erica.

  6. Lee Carter

    June 1, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    We did the same thing just over a year ago, Its an unconventional lifestyle but its what we want to do :). Fortune favours the brave.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      We were definitely inspired by you guys Lee! Thanks.

  7. Lindsay Hartfiel

    June 1, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Excellent itinerary for Italy – Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast are two of my favorite destinations. The food, the wine, the people and the sights are incredible! Best of luck with your upcoming endeavors!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      Thanks Lindsay. We will post our full itinerary next 🙂 can’t wait to eat all the amazing food there!

  8. Wandering Educators

    June 1, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    yahoo!! and congrats! that is awesome – and scary, and life-changing, too! i am so proud of you, and excited to follow along on your journeys. we like slow travel, too. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      Thanks so much for your support! Can’t do it without it 🙂

  9. Jarmo @ Arctic Nomad

    June 1, 2012 at 9:35 PM

    Good luck guys! That is a big decision, but like all the others have also mentioned, I’m sure you won’t regret it! And we should catch up in Pamplona then 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      Are you going to be in Pamplona for the last weekend? Definitely should catch up. And thanks mate.

  10. Ayngelina

    June 1, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Oooh six weeks in Italy? Make sure you post lots of food photos.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:30 PM

      We will just have to remember to take photos before we stuff our faces haha.

  11. The Rowdy Chowgirl

    June 1, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Oh wow, good for you! I’m particularly looking forward to hearing about your experiences in Pamplona–because running with the bulls really was one of those rare life changing experiences for me, and in San Sebastian–because it’s on our short list right now.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Did you run in Pamplona? Adela is nervous as not many girls do it.
      Can’t wait for San Sebastian as we have heard such good things about the area.

      • The Rowdy Chowgirl

        June 4, 2012 at 3:20 AM

        Yes. I did! And she’s right, there weren’t many girls at all. I hope she goes for it!

  12. Caz Makepeace

    June 1, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    Awesome!! You will have such an amazing time. Good for you. It’s not easy to take the risk to pursue your dreams but you will never achieve them unless you do.
    Your Europe trip sounds so good. As we head into winter here I am so jealous!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Haha your winter is so much nicer than the UK summer 🙂
      You guys are role models for us so thanks for helping us realise our dreams (without even knowing it). Should be a fun few months as we try it out.

  13. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

    June 1, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    How exciting! Safe travels!!!!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      Thanks Andi! It’s going to be a long hard road but should be fun 🙂

  14. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    June 2, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    Good for you guys! I hope you’re able to pursue your passion long-term. I’ve also just taken quite a big risk of my own — I’ve given my notice, too! My last day will be June 29th at a job I’ve been at for four and a half years. I am leaving to pursue a second Masters degree and change careers AND so that my husband and I can move to China later this year for his job. It’s a time of big change for us and much is still unknown. I’m quite nervous, as it’s been so long since I haven’t had a job. So we’re in this together, I suppose! Cheers!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      So glad to hear you are shaking things up too! I am sure you will love the changes and moving to China will be such an amazing experience. Wish you all the best!

  15. Kash Bhattacharya

    June 2, 2012 at 12:53 AM


    Congrats-big move but sometimes you got to step out of the comfort zone and then see how far you can go……I just went nomadic so I’m on a similar journey as you guys. Will be an interesting few months ahead. Look forward to following your travels and meeting you on the road sometime in the near future.

    Stay in touch and enjoy the freedom of the road.


    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      Cheers Kash. You don’t know how great it is having a support network like you and Jane that we can call upon if we need to. Definitely looking forward to catching up again soon towards the end of summer.

  16. Safiya - Four Itchy Feet

    June 2, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    It’s a big step so well done for doing what you believe in. Taking a chance is what life is about. I quit my job to go to England, travel and be with Craig. We married the following year, he quit his job, we had a 1 year working holiday…now nearly 8 years ago. It was an experience I recently wrote about
    There’s nothing better than being able to wake up together in a new place, explore and travel as a couple, without the constant stress and routine of 9-5 jobs. Good on ya both and we wish you all the best 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM

      Stories like yours just give us such an inspiration Safiya. It just goes to show us that it can be done! Thanks so much.

  17. Moss

    June 2, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    Proud of you bro! Awesome that you have got to this level and taking the next step! Can’t wait to catch up with you in Pamplona!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:44 PM

      Thanks bro. It’s only through watching you achieve all your goals over the last 10 years that has shown me its possible. Can’t wait to see ya!

  18. Sandra Foyt

    June 2, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    You might be quitting one job, but looks like you have a full-time career to focus on – travel writing. Happy travels!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 6, 2012 at 8:10 AM

      I think I have worked more on this blog than all my other jobs put together! But it has become a passion so the extra work is worth it 🙂 Hopefully we will see the success come from it.

  19. Steve Whitty

    June 2, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    I wish you both good luck for the future. It is good to see people living the dream.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      Thanks Steve. It’s scary to take this step towards our dreams but looking forward to it.

  20. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    June 2, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Good on you, Cole! I walked away from the traditional life of employment more than a decade ago, and it’s definitely the best move I ever made. The freedom of being your own boss is at once terrifying and incredibly liberating, but as long as you recognize that true security comes from within, you should be fine. Congratulations on the big move!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 2, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      You don’t realise how big an influence you guys and other successful bloggers have on us so thanks Bret! Totally daunted and semi shocked that its all happening now but no matter what happens it will be one helluva ride!

  21. Michael

    June 2, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Another great post guys and very inspirational. Here is my experience doing the same thing and I have included tons of great tips and helpful sources as well. I would love to hear your thoughts too!
    Warm regards,

    • Cole Burmester

      June 6, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      Thanks Michael for your post. We read a lot of those blogs already and they have been helpful for us as well. Good luck with your continued digital nomad lifestyle 🙂

  22. Kieron

    June 3, 2012 at 4:51 AM

    Good luck mate, love that you’re taking the plunge! Really hope it all works out for you and we can use you as an inspiration to follow down the same path one day…

    My work contract finishes in 3 weeks time so hopefully we’ll be traveling through Europe during the summer and can meet up with the newest full-time bloggers!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      Cheers Kieron. Not sure if it will last but it will be a nice challenge to see how we go over the next few months. Great to hear you are hitting the road again! Let us know your travel plans because definitely keen to catch up with you both.

  23. Cheryl

    June 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Congrats on taking the plunge! All the best. And enjoy the next 6 weeks, it all sounds amazing … two wonderful countries.

    About running with bulls, check out A bunch of female travel bloggers are going to do it … so Adela may like checking out their page or you guys could even meet up with them! 🙂

    I still owe you a response to your email. Will reply today! Sorry for my delay.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Thanks so much Cheryl. Should be exciting, scary and fun all at the same time over the next few weeks.

      We have been in touch with the girls so might be able to meet up with them. Sounds like they are more keen to run than me haha.

  24. Sophie

    June 3, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Good luck. It will no doubt be loads of work, but also loads of fun 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      Cheers Sophie. Totally daunted by the task ahead but hopefully it pays off in the long run.

  25. Raymond @ Man On The Lam

    June 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    I quit my job almost a year ago and haven’t looked back. I’m back home for a short blip right now, but come July 1st, I’m back on the road again.

    You are going to love Italy. And the Italians. I know I do. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      We follow you very closely Raymond so really glad to hear it has been working for you! Just gives us even more inspiration.

  26. Laurel

    June 3, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Congrats and how exciting! It’s amazing the different directions a travel blog can lead to and the skills it develops. Enjoy your travels and best of luck with your portable new career!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      When we started our adventure travel blog we had no idea it would lead to a life where we could take it full time. Whether that turns out to be the case or not we will have to see Laurel 🙂

  27. Laurence

    June 3, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    You’ll never know what might happen unless you try, so well done for giving it a go 😀 Have an amazing trip, and I trust that it will all work out for you – looking forward to continuing to read your adventures!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      I just wanted no regrets and our 2 months of travelling starting at the end of this week seemed like a good opportunity to grab it with both hands. And thanks for the inspiration Laurence.

  28. Jeff @ GoTravelzing

    June 4, 2012 at 4:27 AM

    I love to hear stories like this. You are on your way to living the life that you want. I recently got started with my own travel blog and am still trying to figure out what I am going to do with it.

    Good Luck. I look forward to hearing about your adventures.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      Thanks Jeff! Good luck with your new travel blog. Its a bloody frustrating and rewarding hobby 🙂

  29. Jesse

    June 4, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Besides, best stories are told when you experience the most risky business in your life while you came out either strong or a changed man. As for me, it is also my dream to risk out from my office job and go adventuring out there but always “chickening out”.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      Hope you can join us and take the plunge as well Jesse! No time like the present to get started on your adventure 🙂

  30. Trudy Florence

    June 5, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    My boy and I did this! We quit our jobs in Australia and moved to Holland to travel around and now we are back to office jobs haha. But it’s totally amazing and we love it. Tom writes about our travels too on Can’t wait to hear more about your Italy trip – we are heading there in August and I can’t wait. Please share lots of food tips!!!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Will be loads of food tips and photos Trudy from Italy 🙂

      And sounds like you guys had an amazing time in Holland! Nothing wrong with going back to your jobs to earn some more money and travel again!

  31. Andrea

    June 5, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Very exciting, guys – and congrats! You’ll love your “new” life

    • Cole Burmester

      June 5, 2012 at 4:29 PM

      Thanks so much Andrea! Will see where the journey takes us over the next few months.

  32. Ali

    June 5, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Congrats on your big risk! I’m sure you’ll do great and enjoy all the traveling along the way!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 6, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      Thanks Ali. Really nervous but woke up this morning and didn’t have to go to work so although already on the laptop and it is before my usual start time 🙂

  33. Rachel

    June 6, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Nice one guys. It sounds like you’ve got some great destinations lined up and I look forward to hearing about your time there.

    I have no regrets about us quitting our jobs to spend a few months travelling earlier this year. It showed us a new part of the world and how much opportunity is out there. We’re back in the UK now and my other half is looking for jobs in other countries. So the digital nomad lifestyle isn’t one we’re going to be pursuing, but I’m looking forward to living somewhere else and having a new base for future travels.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 10, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      Sounds like you are still exploring though Rachel! We are loving the freedom at the moment but its hard work doing this while we travel. Shouldn’t complain though should we! 🙂

  34. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    June 7, 2012 at 2:04 AM

    Congrats! It’s a huge step. I did it 1.5 years ago and have no regrets.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 8, 2012 at 5:43 AM

      Love hearing from people like yourself that have made it successful Stephanie! Fingers crossed we have the same success as you 🙂

  35. Bianca Remington

    June 11, 2012 at 5:00 AM

    looks like fun fun fun! Sometimes we need to decide on our selves whether we quit or stay and if we choose to put an end to our job, One Door Closes Another Door Opens.

  36. Jeremy Branham

    August 9, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Definitely a big step forward! I’ve had to manage the blog and working full time and it’s very tough. I don’t sleep much and it can be quite stressful. Hope this works out for you and you have an awesome adventure!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 13, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      I still don’t seem to sleep much but hopefully it pays dividends in the future. Still working out how to make a living out of it but will see what happens.

  37. Danielle

    April 19, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    Your blog is amazing 🙂

    I just started reading it so I can’t comment too much, but I do hope you guys wrote somewhere what you do to support the travelling-around-the-world bit. I am doing a 9-6, and it is also a dream of mine to quit a boring cubicle job and do something like what you guys do!

    Meanwhile, I’ll just slowly go through the archives. Great job Cole and Adela!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 19, 2013 at 11:25 PM

      Thank you Danielle for your comment 😀 We definitely support working and travelling around the world. It is a great experience and well worth doing! And I say just go out and do it! Good luck and safe travels.

  38. Anne

    November 21, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    Hey Cole!
    So happy to have stumbled upon your site – from Zara and Ashray of Backpack Me.
    Also – sorry to hear about the break up. 🙁 My boyfriend and I are leaving on our first big trip this upcoming January – starting in India and moving our way East. I lost my job back in July, but he’ll have to go through the whole quitting his job to travel thing sooner than later. We’ve been talking a lot about how that’s all going to go down… what a scary but liberating moment! I wish you all the best on “two jandals” and hopefully the job is going well – but that you’ll continue to stay traveling too. NZ is such a beautiful place to be!
    Anne 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      November 22, 2013 at 1:21 AM

      Hey Anne,
      Thanks so much for your beautiful message 🙂 Means a lot. Things are going great in New Zealand actually. I am loving being back home after 4 years of travel. Not sure what the future holds yet but it’s all amazing at the moment!
      Good luck with your travels and you will be glad once you start because all the stress will leave you.

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Travel Blogging Tips

How to Spend Some Quality End-of-the-Year Downtime on your Holidays



While it may be tempting to fill your schedule with funtivities on your upcoming holiday, there’s nothing wrong with spending time with yourself and enjoying some downtime. It provides a great opportunity to do those things that you wouldn’t’t ordinarily get the chance to do.

To help you unwind and get ready for the year ahead, here are five tips on how to spend your downtime on an end-of-the-year holiday.

Take stock

Many people take stock of the past 12 months at end of the year. When New Year is around the corner, you have a great chance to reflect on 2017 and consider what you’ve learned and what you would like to improve upon. List the five accomplishments that you feel the happiest about and note any behavioural patterns that resulted in your success. It would also be wise to list five failures; and note behavioural patterns in those cases, too, to contribute to a better 2018. Buy a goal-setting journal and make some new goals or re-evaluate your old ones.


Your vacation downtime is also a great time to find those who will helped you succeed in 2018. Whether you are seeking new friends, a romantic relationship, mentors, employees, or business partners, this is the ideal time to do it. Keep your eyes and ears open. You may find some of these people on your holiday or you could find them by researching online.


The beginning of the year provides a great chance to start afresh. Whether in business or in your personal life, you have the opportunity to reposition yourself. Carry out an in-depth assessment of both your personal life and business activities, such as your finances and any marketing materials you may have. Make sure that your social media profiles represent you and your brand in a positive and truthful manner and that all of the information is up to date. Further, check to see that the image you are projecting aligns with your goals and values and that the message you are giving is compelling and clear.

Be entertained

There’s no shortage of entertainment available in your downtime, thanks to the internet. You can catch up on anything you’ve been meaning to watch via online streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Studios.  Whether you prefer movies or to binge-watch some of the more recent shows, such as Stranger Things, there are literally thousands of choices available. For those who love nothing more than getting lost in a good book, the likes of Kindle and iBooks make reading an easy choice, with a seemingly endless range of titles available. It used to be that you would pack one or two books in your suitcase- now you have access to thousands.

Find New Ways to Unwind 

Sometimes, we feel an urge for more active entertainment than books or series. While it may be a bit much to pack your video games console, there are online versions of classic video games, such as Command & Conquer and NBA Live. There is also no shortage of games available at online casinos. Sites such as Oddschecker provide a brief summary of some of the more popular bookmakers offering games, whether it is online slots or classic card games. Thanks to free bet and no deposit offers, you can try some no-commitment-necessary action at various online providers, to find new hangouts for your gaming in the new year.

Get back in touch

A vacation offers a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with those whom you haven’t managed to speak to in a while. Offer them an e-card or holiday wish to let them know that you’re thinking about them. You could even play the role of organiser for a reunion. Create an event on Facebook and get everyone on board. You don’t have to go crazy with a huge party; you can limit it to those whom you wish to spend some quality time with. Even if they can’t accommodate you into their busy schedule, they’ll be happy that you kept them in mind.


Of course, nothing says downtime like good old-fashioned rest and relaxation.  The first quarter of the year can be the most hectic and so you will want to recharge and regenerate. That way, you will feel positive, strong, and raring to go, to achieve your goals for 2018.  Whether it’s sipping a pina colada by the pool or relaxing with a good book while tanning yourself on the beach, there should always be opportunities to relax on your holiday.

We hope that these tips will help to make your 2018 a spectacularly successful year. 

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Philippines Couples Vacation



The Philippines is one of the least explored countries in Southeast Asia. While tourism has picked up over the last few years, it is still mostly a backpacker’s destination. That said, one recent trend has been the increase of couples, especially honeymooners, who come to the country in search of romantic, unspoiled beaches.

While standard honeymoon vacation packages offer a visit to the country’s main tourist spots, Palawan and Boracay, there are so much more you can see if you dare go off the grid for a short while. This is especially true now, with Boracay island being closed for at least 6 months for rehabilitation.
Boracay’s closure shows exactly why responsible tourism is so important, to preserve nature and keep the place clean and safe. Over-development is a huge risk in 3rd world countries which are rapidly becoming tourist magnets, and it’s clear this is already starting to happen in the Philippines. Luckily, there are so many other beautiful islands to which the mainstream tourists didn’t come to yet. This might be your last chance to enjoy those places before they are lost forever in the hands of modernization and commercialization.

Palawan’s hidden secrets

No one in his right mind would tell you to not visit Palawan, one of the most beautiful islands in the world. There is, however, ways to make your trip more special and help you avoid the crowds. The 2 most popular locations in Palawan are El Nido and Coron, both offering some of the most spectacular small islands and hidden lagoons you will ever see. The problem is there are literally hordes of tourists taking the island-hopping tours each day, so you never get to really enjoy those places to yourself.
One solution, if you can afford it, would be to hire a private speedboat. You can leave at your own time, and since the boat is faster than the sailboats used for regular tours you can easily reach all the nice places before the organized tours gets there. This option is more relevant for families and larger groups, since you can split the cost of the speedboat between all of you. Couples might find renting a boat each day to be too costly though.

The alternative to that would be to go to the islands and beaches which are still off the tourist radar instead. In El Nido, a perfect solution would be to stay at the Qi Palawan resort and take their tours when you feel like it. This romantic boutique resort is owned by foreigners and standards are very high, it’s a perfect place for couples who want a romantic and private setting for their vacation. The resort is located about an hour’s drive from El Nido town and facing the other side of the bay, so it’s ideal for going on alternative tours.

For Coron, the same trick applies. The northern part of the island is much less developed but the beaches and scenery there is just as breathtaking. Near the area called San Jose there is a small pier called decalachao, from which you can go diving with sea cows, one of the most unique diving experiences the Philippines has to offer. Alternatively, you can also stay at the eastern side of the island, where more traditional island hopping tours are offered.

Siargao island – the next Boracay

If you ask any Filipino where the next big tourist spot will be, the answer is always Siargao. And it seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy and the island is now fully booked for months in advance due to Boracay’s imminent closure. This has caught Siargao’s hotel industry by surprise, as this place is still relatively undeveloped and is now full of tourists looking for a place to sleep at.

What used to be one of the best hidden secrets and an ultimate backpacker destination is now quickly turning into a crowded tourist mecca. Now might be your last chance of going there and enjoying some peace and quiet before this happens. If you do go there, make sure you check for availability and book your stay in advance. luckily, there are plenty of places offering homestays, dormitory and Airbnb style accommodation, so finding room on a budget is still relatively quite easy.

The main area in Siargao is called General Luna, and it stretches out all the way into Cloud Nine beach. That beach also has quite a few hotels right next to it, since it is considered one of the best surfing spots in the world and is the original reason why Siargao picked up traction among tourists.

The best way to enjoy Siargao is by renting a motorbike and going on adventures yourself. The organized tours are cheap and quite fun, but you can easily get to all the cool places even without them. When you explore by yourself you get a chance to be on your own itinerary and stop anytime you see something interesting. And believe us, there is plenty to see in Siargao – hidden white sand beaches, thick jungles and stunning landscape all around.

If you feel brave, take the boat trip to Bucas Grande. It’s a grueling 3 hours sail in each direction, but once you get there you’ll understand it was worth the trouble. Sohoton cove is considered one of the most beautiful and unique lagoons in the country, rivaled only by the majestic scenes of Palawan. Right next to the lagoon there’s also the jellyfish sanctuary, where you can swim with stunning stingless jellyfish. Overall the area makes for a great location for a full day tour, filled with fun and unique attractions.

Malapascua – more than just diving

For people who really want to go off the beaten path, there aren’t many better places to visit than Malapascua – a small island right off the northern shores of Cebu island. The fact it takes 5-6 hours to get to the island (van/bus then a ferry) is actually a plus, as it keeps it remote enough that you can enjoy the ultimate island getaway adventure.

Malapascua is mostly famous for its amazing dive sites and a very well-developed diving scene in general. It’s one of the few places in the world where you are almost 100% guaranteed to see thresher sharks in the wild every day. What few people realize though, is that the island also has quite a few really nice boutique resorts. Developed by the island’s fledgling European community, these resorts offer a fantastic solution for couples who want to stay at a nice, small resort but still enjoy excellent amenities.
Overall, Malapascua is one of the best places to go to if you want that unspoiled island vacation, but also care about a comfortable stay. Thanks to the fact this island is so close to Cebu, it can easily be combined with other, equally beautiful locations nearby. Moalboal is a very popular diving town in its own right, and also home to the famous Kawasan Falls. Bohol is a popular tourist island nearby, closely resembling the beach party mentality of Boracay. Lastly, if you truly want to go off the grid, then take a trip to the exotic Camotes islands, a stunning location where even electricity and running water are considered luxury.

Don’t be afraid of exploring on your own

While the advice above is certainly enough to help you create an exciting trip, a big part of the fun is exploring the unknown by yourself. A big part of a vacation in the Philippines is its free spirited and adventurous nature. To fully enjoy what this country has to offer, you have to let go and learn how to go with the flow.
Luckily, the locals are extremely friendly and helpful and they all speak English. Start talking to people around you and soon you will be able to find a ton of exciting new things to do everywhere you go. Make friends with other travelers and book tours together – you’ll get to learn from their insights and it will also help you cut back on the costs.

The Philippines, with the exception of Mindanao island and some parts of Manila, is a very safe place. Don’t be too afraid to mingle or explore just because you feel you might get hurt. The worst you might encounter is petty crimes such as pickpocketing or small tourist scams, especially since couples are rarely targeted. These can be easily avoided by staying alert and using basic common sense. There’s no reason you won’t be able to discover everything this country has to offer and have the perfect holiday with your loved one.

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