Deciding to try long term travel can be a little scary so we’ve put together a few tips and tricks for you. We spent 335 days travelling the world and it was a bit of a rollercoaster – but ultimately so much fun! It was one of the best things we’ve ever done and we would do it again in a heartbeat. If you want to find out a bit more about The Kiwi Couple and who we are, here’s a little intro.
1. REST DAYS
You probably think it’s strange to need rest days when you’re on holiday! When you travel, rest days become a necessary part of your life – just like a weekend. Long term travel can be TIRING. You’re constantly on the go, moving from place to place, spending time on overnight buses…the list goes on. We actually loved our rest days on the road – we’d try and have a week on a beach somewhere or lose ourselves in nature. You can catch up on reading your books, have a dip and just breathe.
2. BE PREPARED FOR SICKNESS
We only got sick once during the whole trip, thank goodness! When the stomach bug hit us, basically everything went wrong. It was in the middle of nowhere (the Guatemalan jungle), we were running between our bed and the toilet for 4 days and it was just not pretty. We were able to still visit the sight we had travelled there for, but Rachel couldn’t exactly enjoy it. Definitely take re-hydrating sachets or something for a stomach bug with you! We thought that if we ever got sick we’d be able to buy a Gatorade and some soup, but no. Fingers crossed you’ll never need them though…!
3. KEEP YOUR PLANS FLEXIBLE
You get to meet a lot of really awesome people when you’re on the road. Half the time they’re travelling the opposite direction to you, so they’re like treasure troves of information and tips. We changed our plans all the time, which was the beauty of being flexible. Sometimes you hear about secret places which aren’t plastered all over the internet – you want to be able to fit them in!
4. SPEND TIME WITH THE LOCALS
This one is pretty self explanatory. The best tour guides ever? The locals. We’ve had so many awesome experiences thanks to locals all over the world. It helps you feel more connected with the place and can really open your eyes up to the culture. We’ve heard some interesting stories about human sacrifices, learned how to plant rice and ended up at an all Spanish speaking house party. You never know what’s going to happen!
5. PACKING CUBES ARE YOUR FRIEND
We did a bunch of research before we took off on our 335 day adventure. We’d never travelled longer than 21 days so it was a huge learning curve. One of the gems of advice for long term travel was to invest in packing cubes. The cheapskate in us wanted to use zip lock bags, but we are so in LOVE with our packing cubes now. The main reason for having them is to separate your clothes easily – underwear, tops, dresses, pants. When you’re rummaging through your stuff in a tiny hostel this is a lifesaver. And the difference between packing cubes and zip lock bags? You can unzip them all the way so you can reach the clothes at the back. Genius, we know.
6. WHAT’S IN OUR BAG? TOILET PAPER, HAND SANITISER, PONCHOS AND A CAMERA
Okay, this one sounds like a weird combination – but they’re not all to be used at the same time. Unless you have some strange interests, hey – you do you! But seriously, in those continents where toilet paper is NEVER in the bathroom or you’re in the middle of a national park and the toilets are ‘natural toilets’, you will thank us. The poncho is pretty self explanatory. They’re light, waterproof and can be reused. We went on a camping trip in Africa in RAINY SEASON because we were really smart…and our ponchos were our best friends. People’s jackets got pretty soaked after sitting in a canoe for an hour in the rain – but guess who stayed dry? Us. It was us. And for the camera, attach it to your hip. You never know what you’ll see even on what’s meant to be an uneventful stroll.
7. RESEARCH THE CULTURE
Just a little bit, please! Be respectful of the dress codes even if you’re on an island or by a beach. In a rural area near Chiang Rai we swam in our t-shirts and shorts because a bikini would be pretty shocking. Check if you need to have your knees and shoulders covered even if it is 40 degrees. Rachel would keep a light scarf in her bag so that she’d be prepared to cover up before entering temples, or sometimes you can rent them there.
8. BE AWARE
We were aware of our surroundings while travelling – but we were also really lucky that we didn’t get anything stolen. Jeremy was targeted by a pickpocket team in Peru but was quick to secure his belongings, so they ran off. You don’t want to ruin your travels by being paranoid and freaking out, but just be aware of scams in the places you’re travelling to and keep your things locked up on buses etc.
9. SAY YES
We actually made a promise to each other that before we went on the trip we would say YES to anything that scared us. YES to things that we didn’t really want to do. Jeremy wasn’t the biggest fan of swimming before the trip – while Rachel has always been a water baby, so she basically just made this up to force him to swim more. It worked! We ended up opening ourselves to a multitude of incredible and scary experiences, like swimming on the edge of a waterfall and dancing on the world’s biggest salt flat. Get yourself out of your comfort zone and try it.
10. LIVE IN THE MOMENT
Originally before we took off on our round the world trip, we wanted to make a TV show about it. Before we left we did some test runs and found we would spend so much time filming and re-doing things. What was the point of travelling if we weren’t really going to see and experience it? We got the best advice, that no matter what we do on our trip – we have to live in the moment. Best advice ever! We decided to scrap the TV show idea and just enjoy our trip of a lifetime. Have fun on your travels everyone!