Top 5 Best Travel Decisions
In order to best plan a trip like ours it’s essential to think about what you want to get out of your time traveling. Here are the top 5 travel decisions (in no particular order) that we feel have most enhanced our trip. Maybe some of these tips will help you to get the most out of your future travels.
If you missed our last list, Top 5 Islands you can check it out here.
Stay tuned for our next list, Top 5 Travel Mistakes!
1. Not Buying an ‘Around the World’ Ticket:
Buying an around the world air ticket might seem like a good idea for a trip like this but for us it would have been constraining in every way. Choosing to buy independent tickets when necessary gave us the freedom and flexibility to take our time and choose our own destinations and routing. It also meant that we were able to find some incredible flight deals on our own. For example, we paid only 310$ each to fly with Qatar Airways from Johannesburg, South Africa to New Delhi, India. That’s a steal!
2. Downsizing Baggage:
It’s hard to pack for a long term trip. You have to account for every possible climate and culture. You also don’t necessarily want to have to spend money buying things you could have just brought from home, so you tend to over pack at first. One of the best things I did on this trip was to downsize my 65 litre pack to a 45 litre. I was forced to get rid of the MANY things I wasn’t using at all which made my life infinitely easier. Now, it takes me 5 minutes to pack, I can haul my bag around for ages without complaining and I can even use it as a carry on if necessary. Even though it’s small it still fits my sleeping bag, hiking boots and my copy of War and Peace (why I’m carrying around a book that large is another story).
3. Doing Things Independently:
We are both very independent people so it’s no surprise that we like to travel that way as well. Aside from a few small exceptions we have done every bit of this trip independently (i.e. NO TOURS!). Some people enjoy guided tours as it absolves you of having to consider all of the logistical aspects of traveling but we actually enjoy figuring these things out. We’ve taken a great deal of satisfaction over the years at having figured out how to get to and from every place we’ve been, as well as figuring out the best places to stay/eat/visit. It’s not always easy, but it is always achievable with some effort. Doing things on our own has enabled us to see cities, countries and major attractions at our own pace and usually at a far lesser cost. It has also meant that we’ve had much greater exposure to local cultures. It’s easier than you think to do it on your own and it’s far more rewarding.
4. Waking Up Early to Visit Major Attractions:
This is such a simple trick but it is the very best thing you can do if you want to thoroughly enjoy a major attraction. Whenever we’ve gone to see something hugely popular like the Taj Mahal, Ephesus or the Acropolis we’ve set the alarm to sunrise. It’s not easy waking up that early in the morning, but we were always SO glad that we did it. We never had to stand in long entrance queues, we were always able to get wonderful people-less photos and we always beat the midday crowds and heat. An added bonus is being able to watch the sunrise from the site of the attraction. Dawn is always a magical time of day, but even more so when you’re at Angkor Wat or the Taj Mahal!
5. Couchsurfing and Staying with Family & Friends:
If you haven’t heard of couch surfing, it’s a website where people offer up space in their homes to travelers to spend a night or two (or more) free of charge. Both the host and traveler have profiles and are reviewed by each other so future hosts and guests know what to expect. We used Couchsurfing.com several times throughout our trip, first in Tahiti, then in Turkey, India, South Africa, and New Zealand. Each time we met amazing people and had experiences we never would have had had we not chosen to Couch Surf. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet new people.
We have also been lucky enough to be invited into the homes of several more wonderful people across the globe, some of whom we met traveling, or were set up with through friends and family others were already friends or family. We can’t even begin to express our gratitude to these incredibly generous people. Being in your homes made us feel closer to the home we’ve been away from for so long.
Thank you to Areti, Marc, Kuldeep, Kaila and Fraser, Jonathan, Oguzhan, Dan and Gabrielle, Sharin and Josh, The Gruszka’s, The Malek’s, Ania and Michal, Marta and Wiesiek, Gosia and Czarek, Marcin and Aga, Babcia Zosia and Dziadek Mietek, and Babcia Roma and Edward. You have added to our trip immeasurably. We hope you’ll one day visit us so we can return the favour!