Travel is so cool! The more you do it, the more you learn. And I love the learning process, which is probably one of the reasons I love to travel so much. A world of travel is an exciting way to live!
LOVE WHAT YOU HAVE. NEED WHAT YOU WANT. ACCEPT WHAT YOU RECEIVE. GIVE WHAT YOU CAN. ALWAYS REMEMBER, WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND. – UNKNOWN
A world of travel is fully immersive, the more you give, the more you get. Time, patience, perspective. And whilst you give all these things to travel, just hoping to have a good holiday and enjoy yourself, travel reciprocates a lot of things. In fact, travel is so generous, it often gives you way more than you could ever give it.
Here’s a list of 7-things a world of travel has given me, that I would never have anticipated.
- A greater appreciation for a Western toilet. Seriously, men have it easy! But as a female, I have really learned how to lower my standards. From stopping on the side of the road on a long road trip at night to learning how to navigate the various versions of toilets around the world. It’s been a great experience, but I’m definitely spoiled back home and can’t wait to get back to the comforts of my Western toilet!
This one looks way more inviting than some I’ve used!
- How to not experience travel sickness. Unfortunately, this isn’t something I can teach you. Growing up, I was always sick in the back seat of the car every Sunday, on the way from church to grandma’s house. And even as an adult, I’ve often experienced it, driving just an hour down the road on some windy roads. In our travel preparation, we bought some Sea Bands, which are meant to help alleviate travel sickness symptoms. But luckily enough, I’ve never used them, and I’ve not once been sick on the road. Admittedly, I was sea sick once on rough waters whilst diving in the Maldives, but never once in a car, on a bus, or on a train. And we’ve been on some shocking roads! Locals have been sick, and I’ve just been able to sit there and read my book. Crazy, but hey, I’m not complaining!
A travel sickness nightmare!
- Creative ways of doing laundry. I’ve learned how to wash our clothes in the sink with a bar, powder or liquid soap. I can clean our clothes in a bucket or in the shower. And, I’ve learned how to be creative in drying our clothes too. From traditional ways of hanging them on the clothesline to using a dryer. From utilising random nails and hooks in our room, to loading my arms up with underwear to dry whilst we’re cruising around on a motorbike for the day.
Washing and drying laundry in India is hard work
- How to say hello in 20+ different languages. Whether from places we’ve visited, or people we’ve met along the way, it’s nice to be able to say “hello” in the local language. While a smile and a wave seem to be universal, we definitely improved our language skills (however basic) throughout the journey too.Hi (English). Halo (Indonesian). Shalom (Hebrew). Yo (Slang). Aloha (Hawaiian). Namaste (Hindi). Selamat Datang (Malay). Hola (Spanish). Ni Hao (Mandarin). Xin Chao (Vietnamese). G’Day (Australian). Bonjour (French). Mabuhay (Filipino). Sawadee (Thai). Sabaidee (Lao). Susaday (Khmer). Sain Bain Uu (Mongolian). Ayubowan (Sri Lankan). Mingalarpar (Burmese). Guten Tag (German). Hallo (Dutch).
Hello from the other side
- How to say goodbye. I get attached to people very quickly. And sure, while its great to say “see you again” or “until next time,” the realist in me knows the odds of that happening are pretty low. I mean, I don’t even get to see the people nearest and dearest to me frequently enough. So, learning to really be present and enjoy every moment with people is something travel has definitely assisted me with. While I still get sentimental sometimes, I always cherish the memories.
It can be hard to say goodbye
- A stronger resolve. No longer are we going to settle for living the 9-5 life, we’ve found and appreciated the freedom a world of travel offers and will incorporate this into our lives moving forward. We’re not afraid of hard work, though will spend our time building our dreams rather than helping someone else build their own.
Live your dreams
- A better sense of humor. You definitely need a good sense of humor when traveling South East Asia. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh to get through a situation. Catching a bus 3 hours in the wrong direction to tuk-tuk drivers taking you to fabric, silver and spice shops as part of your tour, laughing helps you see the bright side of most situations.
3 flat tires in 3 days, all I could do was laugh!
Is it really December? Seriously, I know they say time flies when you’re having fun, but 2016 was a blur! If your year was anything as crazy as ours, you may have missed a few of our most popular travel blogs (and that’s ok!)…
MAYBE YOU CAN AFFORD TO WAIT. MAYBE FOR YOU THERE’S A TOMORROW. MAYBE FOR YOU THERE’S ONE THOUSAND TOMORROWS, OR THREE THOUSAND, OR TEN, SO MUCH TIME YOU CAN BATHE IN IT, ROLL AROUND IT, LET IT SLIDE LIKE COINS THROUGH YOU FINGERS. SO MUCH TIME YOU CAN WASTE IT. BUT FOR SOME OF US THERE’S ONLY TODAY. AND THE TRUTH IS, YOU NEVER REALLY KNOW. – LAUREN OLIVER
But, in case you missed any of our most popular posts from 2016, here’s a recap so you can check them out. Read the excerpt from the post, and if you like what you see, simply click on the image to keep reading! If not, that’s ok too. I promise we can still be friends.
- Kauai (Kah-Why-Ee) The Garden Isle…
Kauai has a magical feeling that hits you as soon as you arrive! Each area of the island has its own distinct environment and culture. It definitely lives up to the name, so make sure to check them all out. Here are our top picks…
- The Luzon Mountains are Calling!
Northern Luzon, Philippines, that is! After spending nearly 3 weeks in the Visayas region, island hopping, it was time for a change of scenery. So, back to Manila we went – boarded the night bus to Banaue and slept as much as possible on our 10-hour journey! For those who haven’t made this trip, it is the coldest we have been in the Philippines due to freezing A/C…
- Where to go in Singapore
We could easily have spent more time here, but if you only have 3 days, here’s everything you need to know about where to go in Singapore. A sprawling metropolis, Singapore is extremely well connected by public transport options running throughout the city…
- Mae Hong Son Loop – 1 Bike – 700 Km – 4 Days
A motorbike that is. We’re not crazy enough to do the loop on a bicycle as many of the cyclists we’ve seen on the road. Whilst our story is not an original one (as thousands of people do the Mae Hong Son Loop every year), it is a colorful one. So sit back, read along and enjoy the ride…
- Relaxing in Southern Laos & The 4000 Islands
If you’re chasing the laid-back island life, the 4000 Islands are for you. There is three main islands set up for visitors – Don Khong and the sister islands, Don Det & Don Khon…
- Phnom Penh – The Killing Fields Tragedy
The capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, welcomes you with an array of people, traffic, and sites. However, the history that lies within this town and within this country still mars the hearts and souls of its’ people. On April 17, 1975, just after the Vietnam and Secret Wars, the fate of Cambodia changed forever. Led by Pol Pot, the Democratic Kampuchea regime, (also know as Khmer Rouge), set out to ‘revolutionise’ the country, only it ended in one of the largest genocides the world had ever seen…
- Don’t Visit Dalat Without Trying This
It was nice to see familiar faces at breakfast. In listening to everyone’s plans for the day, they were all heading canyoning. Rob and I had previously discussed it and decided we would give it a miss. We were going to hike 14km to the top of Lang Bieng instead. After a baguette with egg, and coffee with copious amounts of sweetened condensed milk, we returned to our room to get ready for our hike. Call it peer pressure, fear of missing out, or deciding to face my trepidation of it, the topic of canyoning rose again. After speaking to the front desk, they advised us that yes, we could still go that day. We quickly changed our minds and off we went…
- Hong Kong Highlights
Did you know “Hong Kong” is one of the only destinations in the world you can pronounce without moving your mouth? Don’t believe me, try it now :). Not a city, state or country, Hong Kong is politically considered a Special Administrative Region. Rich in history, Hong Kong has strived to retain its’ independence from neighboring China throughout the years. For now, China has agreed to let Hong Kong remain as is until 2047, though Hong Kong people aren’t resting on their laurels…
- Northern Mongolia – Follow me to Khovsgol Lake
Situated just south of Siberia in Russia, Northern Mongolia has a lot to offer. From its scenic nature to the array of outdoor activities, you’re sure to find your “happy place” amongst it all. The best time to visit is between June-July. By then, the weather starts to warm, you can enjoy a number of local festivals in the region and enjoy the spectacular nature on offer…
- What Not To Eat In China
If you’re wondering what not to eat in China, make sure you are well informed so you can skip on the food you don’t want. Read on below for our suggestions on what to eat and what not to eat in China. You simply cannot visit China without experiencing the local food culture. Not only do they eat it for the beautiful flavors, but they also see it as medicine. Try it, taste it and enjoy it…
- 7 Days in Paradise at a Maldives Beach Resort
The Maldives used to cater just for honeymooners. But, now it offers a treat for solo travelers, backpackers and couples alike. The crystal blue waters invite you to relax, soak up the sun and enjoy your well earned holiday! If you want to know what it is like to spend 7-days in paradise at a Maldives beach resort read on…
- Get the Sri Lanka Info You Need for a 2-Week Adventure
Read on below to get all the Sri Lanka info to have an awesome adventure! Whatever you do, don’t make the same mistake we did. Allow yourself more than two weeks in this beautiful country! You’ll love every minute regardless of how long your stay is…
- Why Visit India?
Whatever you think you know about India, you are probably wrong. Our friend Abi, Delhi born and raised, whom we met on our travels in India, told us, “The problem with India is that even Indians do not know what India is.” And we couldn’t agree more…
- Contact Donald Trump…We’re Still Coming Home!
How do we contact Donald Trump? Is the world mad or what? Honestly, have we all gone crazy or are we just living like we are? Seriously? We’ll keep this short and sweet, but with the results of today’s election, we felt compelled to comment on the subject…
- Discover the Annapurna Circuit
If you’re unsure whether you want to complete the Annapurna Circuit route then you’ve come to the right place. If after reading my detailed story below you are still not convinced, then maybe it’s not a right fit for you. I’ve broken this post into a two part series as there was just so much of the story I wanted to tell.
- Southeast Asia Backpacking – 8 Places You Should Skip
Southeast Asia is a backpackers dream. However, some places are best to be avoided. You have no doubt spent countless hours deciding where to go, and what to explore. And it’s equally important to take a look at where you should skip…
Wow, thats a wrap of our most popular travel blogs, which was your favourite?
Are you looking for gadgets for travelling abroad? Read on to find out what I consider to be the best gadgets when you are heading away for a short or long trip.
I’m never going to be that person who travels long periods without a connection to the digital world. I like the convenience of being able to find my way with maps, ask a question with an immediate answer, discover where I should avoid eating, all whilst listening to the latest hit podcast. Although I sometimes feel like half my weight is technology, it’s a sacrifice I am willing to make. Nerds need to work out too right?
Whilst not a definitive list, the below items are in my opinion the top 10 gadgets for travelling abroad, which have been very useful during my travels.
- Headphone Splitter. Perfect for traveling couples. No more struggling to listen to that podcast with one earbud; experience the rich sound of two earbuds. Your life will never be the same again! Traveling solo? No worries, make friends and discover new music along your journey. With the introduction of Apple’s new Earpods this device may soon be a thing of the past.
A two-for-one special
- Power bank. Power points are hard to find when you are travelling through national parks, deserts or on long bus trips. The last thing you want when navigating or taking that perfect selfie is for your phone to die. Cue the power bank. I can’t believe I waited so long to purchase this piece of technology, though now I love it.
Don’t run out of battery when you need it most
- LifeProof case. The LifeProof case is a machine! It has saved my iPhone a number of times. Hard surfaces, water damage, kids with sticky fingers – all are a distant threat. Sure they are a little expensive, though the cheaper knockoffs are no match. After using my LifeProof case for a number of years, I recently downgraded to a Remax case from China. Three weeks later I was filing an insurance claim for a water damaged iPhone 🙁
Proof that your iPhone can handle anything life throws at it
- Long charging cable. If you’re a traveller hitting up dorms, charging your device whilst kicking back in your bunk is your God given right. Cut that short charge cable to shreds…or at least keep it as a backup 😉
Don’t get caught short
- Multi-country adapter. Although at times I feel like I’m using more power than a small village, a good multi-country adapter is a must for travellers. Be sure to get one with USB ports for an added bonus. You don’t want to be that traveler hogging the only free powerpoint, at least this way you can share.
Adapt to wherever you are
- Tablet/eReader. The last thing I want to do is lug around a backpack full of books. Thankfully the powers that be have digitalised that shit. Now I can carry a library around with me on my iPad without the guilt of deforestation.
Library at your fingertips
- Laptop. Ewww, no one likes using the dirty keyboard on the shared computer. If you’re an aspiring digital nomad (like many travellers) then a good, lightweight laptop is part of your daily life. I recently purchased a Samsung Pro S which has the lightweight benefits of a tablet combined with the features we’re used to in Windows 10.
Normally an Apple guy, but love this Samsung
- Headphones. Ok, we all want to rock it like Dre, but when on the road for long periods a set of more compact headphones is the go. We opt for Apple devices, so naturally, we prefer their standard, though there are many good options out there.
- USB stick. In a connected world with language barriers, it can be easier to just pass a USB drive to the attendant and simply say, “Print”. You can also backup those precious photos and watch those “legally” downloaded movies on smart tv’s.
Easily transfer that data
- Fitbit. If you need to justify that extra dumpling or an ice cream, there is a guilt free way. Hit your required 10,000 steps and then pig out. You’ll be surprised just how fast you reach this number.
Step it out
Do you agree with our list of top gadgets for travelling abroad? What’s the one piece of tech gear you can’t travel without?
Southeast Asia is a backpackers dream. However, some places are best avoided. You have no doubt spent countless hours deciding where to go on your Southeast Asia backpacking trip, and what to explore. But remember, it’s equally important to take a look at where you should skip as well.
THE GREAT THING IN THE WORLD IS NOT SO MUCH WHERE WE STAND, AS IN WHAT DIRECTION WE ARE MOVING. – OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
We always make the most of wherever we visit, but some places are easily more enjoyable than others. From our personal experience, here are a few places we’d recommend not going out of your way to explore. If you find yourself in any of these spots, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed. But your valuable time and money will likely be spent better elsewhere.
- Jakarta, Indonesia. Do you enjoy traffic? Love inhaling heavily polluted air? If so, then Jakarta’s the place for you. If not, don’t bother. There are so many beautiful places to be seen in Indonesia. But unfortunately, Jakarta just doesn’t make the cut.
*Cough, cough* I can’t breathe!
- Patong, Thailand. Patong is overrated; simple as that. There are much nicer beaches just down the road, with half the tourist population. Check out our tips on how to make the most of a week in Phuket which we visited during our recent Southeast Asia backpacking trip. If you’re looking for a real party, head to Koh Phangan to experience one of the infamous Full Moon Parties.
- Pakse, Laos. Only good as a short stopover heading North to South or vice versa. The bus drops you 20 km outside of town, and as you make your way into the city, you’ll soon realise there’s not much to see. The nearest attractions are a couple hours away. So in my humble opinion, you’re much better spending your precious time in Laos somewhere besides Pakse. For example, check out the stunning Konglor Cave Loop instead!
Your favourite time in Paske will be when you’re leaving!
- Kuta, Bali. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok when you’re 18. But seriously, Indonesia, and the island of Bali in particular, have so much more to offer. If you’ve never been before then you probably should go check it out as part of your Southest Asia backpacking tour. As much as I hate to say it, it is in some ways a rite of passage. Get caught up in the hype for one night, recover from your hangover the next day, and then don’t make that same mistake again.
Unfortunately, Kuta is not as picturesque as this!
- Strung Treng, Cambodia. We actually planned to spend a couple nights here when crossing the border from Laos. However, upon arriving, we knew it wasn’t somewhere we wanted to spend any more time than we had to. So, we booked the first bus out of there, and away to Siem Reap we went; Angkor Wat was waiting for us!
No need to get off the bus – just keep going!
- Udon Thani, Thailand. Apparently, there is a rather large expat community here. But unless you’re planning to stay a while and get involved, we suggest giving it a miss. We had a much better time in the surrounding cities such as Loei and Khon Kaen; why not check them out instead.
From what we saw, it was just a dirty town!
- Cebu City, Philippines. With so many beautiful spots on offer in the Philippines, don’t spend your time here. The island of Cebu itself has some beautiful places to visit, but Cebu City does not happen to be one of them. We were excited to check out Mango Street one night, touted to be similar to Bangkok’s Kao San Road. But when we arrived, we weren’t even sure if we were at the right place. Sure, there were a couple of bars and a few restaurants, but nothing compared to the bar-hopping evening we were anticipating.
Keep moving so you can witness more of this beauty!
So, there you have it – 8 places you should skip on your Southeast Asia backpacking adventure. Enjoy!
What do you think? Let us know if you think we’ve got it wrong. Or, if there are any other stops you think South East Asian visitors should give a miss, let us know that too!
TOP 10 FREE (MOSTLY) APPS FOR TRAVELLERS
We have a love hate relationship with technology whilst travelling (Kim more so than I), but I wouldn’t hit the road without these apps.
- Maps.me – Free. An offline mapping system which uses your phone’s GPS and doesn’t require mobile data (although it does use a lot of battery). Download maps for the areas you are visiting while connected to the Internet and you are free to roam around whilst saving data. It’s not as detailed as Google maps, but it will get you out of a tight spot. As an added bonus, it also shows nearby accomodation and food options.
- Trail Wallet – Free Trial. You’ll soon need to fork out $7.99 for the full version. But trust me, it’s worth it! We love this app and use it daily to track our travel expenses against our daily budget. You can set trip start & finish dates and multiple currency rates. It provides a handy breakdown of spending categories which can also be customised (ie. food, transport, accommodation & alcohol). We lump alcohol with other beverages to hide how much we are drinking, haha.
- Google Translate – Free. This app has come in handy a number of times when attempting to navigate to a town, find something specific or get an idea of how to better pronounce a word. You enter the desired to & from languages along with the word or phrase you would like to translate. You can also speak into the app in your native language and translate directly to the local dialect. This was extremely useful when working with a Vietmanese mechanic to fix our bike.
- Xe – Free. The app to use when converting to local currencies. We haven’t found a currency we couldn’t convert. Perfect for on the go when you need to be sure the old lady you are haggling with is giving you a good deal! 😉
- FaceTime – Free. Whether you’re feeling homesick or just wanting to check in, this videocall app will allow you to see you friends & family back home. FaceTime is only available on your Apple devices, therefore you may need to check out our other recommended videocall apps such as Facebook Messenger or Skype if using Android. As long as you’re on WIFI, the calls are free! When you have a weaker connection, these apps also allow you to drop the video feature, and still catchup via audio.
- TripAdvisor – Free. This app is great for helping you decide if you want to visit a town, attraction or restaurant. It contains thousands of reviews which help shape your opinion. Once you’ve been somewhere you can give back to the community by adding your feedback, positive or negative.
- Spotify – Free (with ads). Or upgrade to ad free listening for $9.99 per month. Perfect for chilling out, or passing time on a long bus journey. Each music app (ie. Pandora) has its own benefits and disadvantages, but regardless, you should have at least one music streaming app at your disposal.
- Snapseed – Free. Heal! and the person is gone. We love this app for removing that pesky traveller from our otherwise “perfect” travel shot. It’s not quite Hollywood special effects level, but is pretty good in its own right.
- 1Password – Free Trial. You can’t remember all of your passwords? And by now you know you shouldn’t use the same one for everything, right? Well, 1Password takes care of this by requiring you to only remember 1 password (hence the name). All of your other passwords are stored in a vault. The app will automatically fill the username and password fields of your favourite sites and allow you to add new ones as required. There is app integration with iOS & Android as well as standard browser support. You can even register your fingerprint for easy access. After the free trial expires the pro version is $14.99. I love this app and accessing sites on the go is now a breeze.
- PIA VPN – $39.95. Great for encrypting and providing further privacy when browsing sensitive content (ie. online banking at open Internet connections such as cafe’s). It also allows you to access region specific content by appearing like you are in a particular area (ie. get content restricted to USA users whilst travelling in Asia). Super handy for things like Facebook in China – sorry Communism, you can’t control it all.
*Featured image courtesy of www.pixabay.com
SAVE 1KG WITH THESE 10 Lightweight Travel ITEMS!
Ok, I understand 1kg may not sound like much, but trust me, it’s enough to make a difference when you’re exploring the world! Going over baggage weight restrictions can cost a fortune. Overpacking your bag can break your back. So yes, taking care in choosing lightweight gear to travel with becomes crucial. Here’s our top picks for decreasing your travel weight without sacrificing the essentials!
- Lightweight lock. 20g. Yes, you definitely need lock(s) for your bag, but some of the standard ones weigh a ton! You don’t need something like this weighing you down, so opt for a lightweight lock instead. Kathmandu makes a light, TSA compliant, combination lock that you need in your life! Compare this to a standard TSA approved combination lock (60-70g) and you’ll save yourself 40-50g of excess weight.
Lightweight Travel Lock
- iPhone EarPods. 10g. You don’t need the Beats by Dre headphones to listen to your music. Funnily enough, they actually added weight to the product to make it seem more premium, totalling 86g – not your best option for packing light. Even the Dre urBeats earbuds weigh in at an extra 8g compared to Apple’s EarPods. So jam out without weighing yourself down!
Rock Those Tunes
- Bobino Slim Pen. 2g. Compare this to your stock standard Bic pen, weighing in at 4.6g and you’ve got yourself a deal! Combine the light weight with the flat, compact design and you’ve got a real winner! For an extra bonus, you can even adhere it to a notebook with the adhesive included so you always have a pen when you need it.
Bobino Travel Pen
- Packable daypack. 160g. Not only will it save you space, but this comes in at our biggest weight saving alternative too. Look at it compared to a backpack that comes with a detachable daypack for example. My bag (40L Osprey Fairpoint) also comes in a 55L. This model comes with a removable daypack that is pretty sweet. Only disadvantage – it weighs a whopping 453g – a solid pound. Up to you but now you can see why this Packable daypack is consistently one of Kathmandu’s top sellers!
Perfect For Day Trips
- Inflatable neck pillow. 85g. Don’t be put off by the thought just yet. I’ve had inflatable neck pillows that were average too but this one is an exception. Sure, you have to splurge a bit to get it, but Sea 2 Summit’s Aeros Premium Traveller is super comfortable! Plus, it weighs a lot less than your other options – micro bead pillows range between 100-200g & memory foam ones are about 450g. Think about it 😉
Inflatable Neck Pillow
- Headlamp. 104g. Compare this other headlamps, some coming in at 300+ grams, and it’s a no brainer. The design of this headlamp makes it particularly practical. The elastic headband allows for great ventilation without putting too much pressure on the head. The 5-mode light settings and removable clip option make it the perfect lightweight accessory to have on hand!
Night Adventure Awaits
- Venus Snap Razor. 23g. It’s half the weight of the standard Gillette Venus razor (46g). The Snap’s ergonomical shaped handle makes shaving a breeze! It also comes in a great lil’ travel case that protects the blades (and keeps them sharp) so a solid investment all around.
- Multipurpose Makeup. 14g. I’m obsessed with NARS The Multiple. If you had to carry lipstick/gloss (4g), eyeshadow (5g) and blush(5g), you’re looking at the same combined weight. But why take up the space with 3 products when one product does it all? The decision is yours, but I highly recommend this one! PS. My favourite shade is ‘orgasm.’
Woman’s Best Friend
- Quick dry towel. 166g. Standard towels weigh between 400-550g. Combine that with their bulky size, and they don’t make the best travel companion. It’d be great not to carry a towel at all, though I’ve found it always comes in handy! So choose the light option and you’re all set.
Quick Dry Towell
- Collapsible water bottle. 22g. Weighing in at only 20% of the weight of a hard bottle (110g), it just makes sense! It puts you in a great position to stay hydrated whilst doing your part to save the environment! Many countries around the world offer refill services, so it’s easy to fill up as you need.
Can be filled with alcohol 😉
10 TIPS FOR SURVIVING A MOTORBIKE TRIP IN ASIA
- You get what you pay for. Of course you can find some cheap motorbikes for hire on the side of the road, but be selective. The least expensive bike can end up costing you more if you’re not careful. It may break down, leaving you in awkward situations getting it fixed, or even worse cost you some skin! On a recent trip we did, one of the guys bike used 3x as much fuel as ours because basically, it was a piece of junk.
- Take it for a spin. Once you’ve decided on a motorbike or narrowed it down to a couple, make sure to take it for a quick test drive. Ensure the speedometer, odometer, brakes and mirrors work ok and if not, see that they are fixed before you hit the road.
- Choose your helmet wisely. If something were to happen (heaven forbid), your helmet will be your main form of protection. All helmets are not made the same. Take care in choosing one well suited for your motorbike trip – ensure it has a face mask, check the straps to make sure they are tightly secured and make sure the helmet fits you properly.
- Carry a copy of your passport. Many rental companies will require you to seconder your passport or leave a cash deposit until you return the motorbike. This is their insurance policy. Choose a reputable company and you shouldn’t have any problems, but do always keep a copy of your passport with you (an electronic version works fine). PS. When travelling in a foreign country, you should always keep your passport (or copy of) with you at all times.
- Swipe left/right to see more
- Take photos. Of course on the journey, but also of the motorbike prior to setting off on your trip. Just as the rental companies use your passport as insurance, it’s important you have an accurate account of the motorbikes’ condition before you take it for a spin. This prevents any questions or misunderstandings about the state of the bike when you return it.
- Get an international drivers license. We have been stopped by police a number of times on the road and haven’t had to pay a single ‘fine’ yet. Whilst rates for the license vary country to country it set us back about $40 AUD and is well worth it in our opinion.
- Swipe left/right to see more
- Get Insurance. If you have decent travel insurance you are likely covered for riding a motorbike or scooter whilst travelling. Often if you have a license in both your country of origin and the one you are visiting and are obeying local laws (e.g. wearing a helmet, driving within speed limit etc, you ‘should’ be covered). For more information see World Nomads Insurance. Be sure to read the fine print.
- Be cautious. Remember, you are in a foreign country – it’s not the same as back home (unless your home is Asia). Cows will jump out in front of you, potholes will mysteriously appear, and children will play on the road. It is important to keep your wits about you, taking it slow and taking time to understand the local road rules (if there are any).
- Use sun protection. Ensure you have adequate sun protection – sunscreen, layers of clothing or a combination of both! With the wind, sometimes you may not feel the heat, but be sure to reapply regularly to minimise the risk of sunburn.
- Be fluid. With your plans – where you’re going and where you’re staying. You will see signs for sites that sound interesting – take a look. You’ll meet people suggesting you join them next – be flexible. It’s all part of the fun, so enjoy the ride!
Be sure to check out our latest motorbike trips around Laos and Thailand.
10 LESSONS LEARNED FROM 3 MONTHS TRAVELLING
- Just say “yes”. Seriously, you’re on the road – take the time to try new things. If we wouldn’t have said “yes” to everything in Bangkok (OK, not everything or Rob would have ended up with a ladyboy), we wouldn’t have got to help local kids with an interview, Rob wouldn’t have got a tailor made suit, and we wouldn’t have tried chicken intestines! All of which we’re glad we had the opportunity to experience (well maybe we could have lived without the chicken intestines).
Bangkok – Interview
- Learn to stay “no”. If you don’t like it, love it or need it, just say no. Whilst we may call it ‘getting ripped off,’ to other people it’s business – their way of life. Learn how to say “no” in the local language for added effectiveness.
- Enjoy the journey. We learned this one in the first week of our 3 months travelling. Things take longer – just embrace it. Trains will run late, your bus will take you to the wrong destination and the roads will leave you with a flat. Embrace it all!
Kim Driving Tuk Tuk
- Use hand sanitizer. Everywhere. Always. Shit, drink the stuff if you want. Haha, ok we wouldn’t really take it that far, but it’s helpful to carry with you. Most food poisoning in foreign countries is actually the result of dirty hands – not the food itself. Rob swears that this is the reason he hasn’t had food poisoning throughout our 3 months travelling.
- Eat street food. Just because there are language barriers, doesn’t mean you can’t order the local delicacy. One of the best meals we’ve had to date was at a restaurant in rural Philippines. There was no menu and no one spoke English. We guestured “two” and broke out the ‘chicken dance’ and had a delicious feed! ✌🏼
Rob vs Scorpion
- Rule of 3. Check multiple sources to secure the best rates on tours, transport etc. We regularly save a fair amount of money by following this one simple tip!
- Travel light. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. It’s that important. It’s invaluable. Trust us, you need less than you think you will. Your back and your wallet will thank you! Check out our full packing list.
Rob’s Packing List
- Do your homework. Have an idea of where you’re going, how to get there and costs. Unfortunately things sometimes get lost in translation from bus drivers and hotel staff. Local SIM’s with data are great for ensuring you’re in the right destination on the fly.
- Be grateful. For everything you have. For everything you wish you did. You are luckier than you realise. You will meet people with less money and less things that have so much more happiness in their lives than you could ever imagine. People and their stories will have an impact on you. Places will leave everlasting memories. 🍀
Laos – Silk Weaving
- Get creative. Get in touch with your inner McGyver. By adhering to tip #7, you’ll realise sometimes you need something small you don’t have. Need a bowl to eat some cereal? Easy, cut a 1.5 ltr water bottle in half and you’re all set!