Our very best of 2017

2017 has been another incredible year on the road. In 2015 when we left the Netherlands to see the world we didn’t think we would still be traveling more than 2 years later. Yet 2017 brought some of the most incredible sights in our journey. We want to share them with you in this pretty compact list. Hopefully it will bring you inspiration for travels in the years ahead.

  1. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

We travel to discover something foreign, a culture, a sight, a cuisine which we don’t have at home. Gardens by the Bay is something truly unique, that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. For me it felt like a vision of a future city, green, modern and a perfect symbiosis of nature and people. I could go back there a thousand times, over and over again and to all of you I recommend it as my unbeatable number 1. Don’t miss the light show by the main Super Trees site. More about the Gardens here.

  1. The Kaluts desert, Iran

That’s Jandirk’s  number 1 and the first place we saw in 2017. The silence, the rock formations and the feeling of landing on the Moon made it one of our very favorite sites. Not to mention the beauty of solitude out there. More about the journey here.

  1. Fuji mountain, Japan

Japan as a country has stolen our hearts. Jandirk has been fascinated by their manga, food and culture for a long time but for me it’s a very new love. Japan as a whole is an incredible journey full of surprises on every corner. But if we had to choose a specific place we would say Fuji Mountain. It can be seen from so many different places and it’s so perfectly symmetrical and majestic. We were lucky enough to see a lot of it from many different angles and we somehow can not imagine a trip to Japan without it.

  1. Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

In 2017 we saw many incredible mosques in Oman and Iran but there was one winner and surprisingly it was in Abu Dhabi. It was completed in 2007 so I didn’t expect more than tons of gold and kitsch. I was wrong, the mosque is breathtaking! Every bit is magnificent, stylish, very thoughtfully made. In the evening it looks like a fairytale palace from Aladdin or 1001 Nights. It’s lit according to the phases of the moon so the color and intensity of the light changes every day. That should give you an idea about the amount of work and thought that went into this masterpiece.

  1. Pingxi mountains, Taiwan

I love mountainous views. Especially at sunrise there is something magical with the morning mist and clouds disappearing in between rays of light. I have to admit that I am not the type of person who likes hiking just for the joy of it. I have to have something spectacular at the top of the peak. Well Pingxi mountains gave us just that, super short, strenuous hike and absolutely magnificent views worth every bit of sweat and fear. About how to get there and exactly what to see go here.

  1. View on Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka

I’m not going to lie to you. We were not enchanted by Sri Lanka. We were stunned by the amount of garbage, scary transportation and not overly kind people. But one view stayed with us and it was the one on the Sigiriya Rock. It looked so blissful, so green, so Avatar-like, something we won’t ever forget. Tempted by this sight we actually visited the fortress on the top of that rock. We recommend you guys not to make that same mistake. It’s not worth the overpriced entrance and the slow, tiring walk up in a column of tourists.

  1. Japan in bloom

People tend to think that bloom in Japan means only cherry blossom and cherry blossom is only seen in Kyoto and Tokyo. The truth is cherry blossom is everywhere but just varies in period very much. This spectacle of nature, although very brief, brings Japan to life, pushes locals to celebrate and cherish what's fugacious in life. There are picnics and festivals everywhere and the trees look just breathtaking. After few days when the petals start falling it almost looks like snow. More about where to see cherry blossom here.

Except for cherry blossom we were lucky enough to see plum blossom which is almost as beautiful. It comes before the cherries and it’s more peaceful, less touristic.

  1. Kyoto, Japan

Every bit, every kilometer of it. It’s the city that charmed me the most this year. Kyoto is just pure essence of Japan for me. There is so much history there, so much soul but also plenty of modern, pleasantly weird Japan. I seriously can’t wait to go back there. For more info about our favorite places in Kyoto go to the post.

  1. Montserrat, Spain

No mountains are like those surrounding Montserrat Monastery. They look like sleeping giants overgrown with plants. I still can’t believe that all these times I came to visit Barcelona I didn’t think about coming here. Short trip away to huge joy.

  1. Tea plantations, Malaysia

We are massive tea drinkers and disappointed by tea plantations on Sri Lanka we decided to give it another tea try in Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. Although the villages in the tea region were hideous, the plantations made up for it pretty fast. Hills of green, filled with bushes of tea. Unforgettable experience.

  1. Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Already the name says it all. It’s a spectacular location that has a lot to offer when it comes to nature, culture and even modern architecture. Perfect escape from somehow chaotic cities of Taiwan. Every Dutch person will be delighted to hear that the best way to explore the area is by bike. More here.

How to save money during traveling?

These days traveling is almost for everyone. There is something for every budget. Although the smaller the budget the more effort and research it costs. After more than 2 years on the road I got pretty good in finding ways to save and I would love to share it with you guys.

Accommodation

That’s the biggest part of any budget and the most essential part of any journey. Everyone has to sleep somewhere, right?

Airbnb

Airbnb offers the most original and interesting accommodations possible. Sleeping in a castle, trailer, hammock or a tree house. All there, it’s just a matter of money. It’s not a cheap option but many times it’s worth the price and there are possibilities to lower the costs. Here is how:

  • Booking your first trip you get a discount on your first reservation. You can also use a discount send by a friend or partner. Inviting a next person into the Airbnb world get you a discount when that person books her/his first stay.
  • Weekly/monthly discounts. Many places offer a special price for longer stays. Some for a week, some for a month. It can be 10% or even 50%. It all depends on the owner. Some places do not even except stays shorter than a certain amount of days. We saw a place in Kyoto that didn’t accept any reservation under 22 days. We managed to get an apartment on Taiwan with a discount of 45% above 28 days stay. If you want to stay longer it’s worth searching for offers like that.
  • Special offer. The host can send you a special offer. We had few situations when we asked about a room and the host just send us a discount to push us to book. Or when he committed a mistake with our booking and had to switch rooms for us. Other times we saw that some spots had discounts for low season. When we started using airbnb we didn't know that the price can be negotiable, now we know that in some situations we can just ask. We got 10 % off in Malaysia just like that.

Booking.com, hostelworld and knocking at the door

Many of you ask if it’s better to book or just show up. There is no simple answer to that. What we usually do is checking few spots we like and compare the prices on booking, hostel world or any other of those pages. Then we check if the hostel has its own web page with better deals. Since hostels need to pay to booking they sometimes offer better prices at their own web page for people to book directly with them. If not it's worth sending an email and asking for a nice deal especially if you want to stay for a couple of nights. Usually staying longer than 3 nights is good enough to bargain. If it’s dead season, you’re aiming for, you can just pop by at the spot and ask. That’s the best option to get the best offer since if you’re not taking the room, there is a big chance no one else will…

If you're really on a tight budget some hostels allow camping or hanging your own hammock (especially popular in Colombia).

Couch surfing

Although we don’t really like that method, you can also consider staying for free with a local via Couch surfing. Make sure you choose your host carefully. Some stories about CS are quite epic and include harassment or stealing. We saw pretty many listings where guys were only offering a place to sleep for ladies and only in their own bed. Often CS offers not much flexibility, you can stay when the host is there but when she/he goes to work you have to go out as well. You are also expected to be rather social so if you don’t click it’s a bit of a miss to begin with. That I’m not gonna mention that both sides can cancel the agreement any time which can leave you on the street…

 House sitting

The idea behind house sitting is taking care of someone else's house while they are away on vacation. It usually involves taking care of animals as well as just being present at the house. We never tried that option during our journey simply because the countries we traveled to didn't have enough options to make sure that we at least got our fee and hassle back (some web pages require recommendation letters and other paper work). But if you're going to Europe, Australia, Canada or the US it's definitely worth trying. I have done it once in Amsterdam for a friend of a friend and I really liked it. You live like a local and stay in a local neighborhood and you also get a companion, dog or a cat or various 🙂 Some of the most popular web pages that other travelers recommended to us are: Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House

 

Transport

Another big part of any budget is transport. Often it can be the most expensive part of the trip. Flying to Colombia can cost way more than staying there for 2 weeks, especially on a low budget.

Flying is the most expensive mean of transportation and whenever we have to book a flight we make sure we book the best possible option. I always stay alert on deals from Secret flying, fly4free and many polish sites like Mleczne Podroze. From fly4free we got, for example, our flight Paris- Buenos Aires for 380 euros each.

Because I'm still a bit of a planning freak I also check skyscanner, kayak and momondo frequently. We also signed up for many airlines newsletters.

For others transportation we ask locals around about deals for buses or in some countries we bargain. In most Latin American countries that’s what you absolutely need to do. Leave your shame behind and do your best, otherwise you’re gonna get a true “gringo” price (gringo- white foreigner, in some countries the word is used for the white visitors from the US).

Food

The best way to save money on food is to cook as often as possible. To do that we always tried to get a place with a kitchen. We also always tried to use local ingredients rather than the ones we knew and loved from back home. Humble mozarella can be cheap in Europe but in Colombia the price can leave you speechless. So forget what you know and sail away in the supermarket. Reading some food blogs beforehand is not a bad idea. Otherwise you really don't know what you buy and how to prepare it.

Second best is eating locally, in the most crowded places. Giant queues give you a better chance for good food and a reasonable price.

Others

Great way of saving money as well as getting to know the country from the inside is volunteering. You can do that via web pages like workaway (for hostels, farm work, English teacher and pretty much anything), WWOOFing (farm work) or just ask around once there. More about volunteering read our post here.

If you have certain skills you can also exchange them for accommodation, food or excursion. Let’s say you speak Spanish and English, you can translate on a hike and go for free or even get paid. That's what I did on the Ciudad Perdida hike. Same with skills like photography, web design or cooking. Imagination is the limit! The most crucial part is to ask. Those who don’t ask always miss opportunities.

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How to save money for the big dream?

We often get asked how it’s possible that we can travel for so long. Most people just want to hear that we are rich because then they can settle down and explain to themselves that they just can’t do it. That long-term traveling is just for those fortunate few.

It really is just for the fortunate few, but not the rich ones, but those who have the courage to leave everything behind and those who have the persistence to save up OR do whatever it takes.

To those few who have what it takes, a few tips.

So, how to figure out how much you have to save?

That’s the big question. When you search online for travel budgets they really go everywhere from 10 k to 100 k USD per year per person, depending on the style of travel. That’s a massive spread so how could you figure out how much you need?

It’s all about a mindset. Any amount of money is good enough to travel. Really any. But first you need to ask yourself some important questions…

What is your priority? Do you want to explore, visit, and see things?

Or do you need to travel in style, eat in fancy restaurants and sip champagne? If the answer is yes there is no way around it… the costs will be massive. Simple saving won’t cut it so you’d better marry well before you go.

But if you are willing to travel on a budget there will be many possibilities to cut the costs.

But you have to ask yourself: how much are you willing to sacrifice?

Can you sleep in dorms?

Can you volunteer?

Do you have any specific skills that you can trade? Maybe you can take pictures or you can teach English? Or translate?

Are you open to cook or do you want to eat out?

Be honest with yourself. We met a few hardcore people who only ate rice and whatever other people left and volunteered the whole time. Like this you can travel for a very, very long time. But is it fun? Is it what you really want to do?

We approached our journey thinking we wanted to be on a budget but also enjoy. We wanted to eat out every now and then but mostly cook. We didn’t mind sleeping in dorms but we wanted to stay in nice hostels, not in shabby, forgotten places (although that also occurred), we wanted to have adventure but also some peace. Sometimes we even did a bit of luxury, other times we volunteered or traded our skills. Our budget has been very moderate. During the 368 days we stayed in South America we spent 24 938 euro for both of us. You can visit the budget section for the exact costs of each country.

Could it be cheaper? Yes, of course. It could also be more expensive.

But it gives you an idea of how much you need and a mindset you need. If you don’t have that kind of money, you can volunteer more, splurge less, sleep in dorms more often and maybe even camp.

How to save it?

Now that you have an idea of the budget you need and you’re sure you really want to do it. How can you save all that money?

It really is all about the small things. First of all set up a spreadsheet of ALL your spendings during the week. That’s what we did. Track every single penny you spend. At the end of the week, analyze it.

Do you buy lunch at work? It’s cheaper to make sandwiches at home

Do you pay for plastic bags at the supermarket? It saves money to bring your own.

Did you pass by a local café to buy some coffee on the way to work? You can drink one at home before you go.

Did you go out for drinks? You can buy a bottle of wine and invite friends home

Is your rent super expensive because you live in the center? Maybe you can move to the suburbs?

There really isn’t any remedy that will make this money magically appear. It takes those tiny sacrifices to achieve it.

Second thing is to go through your things. Do you really wear that pair of jeans? Do you use that DVD player that you have in the closet? Think about it. Leaving on a big adventure, you won’t take all of that with you. Storage place costs money and it’s useless to store stuff you don’t even use. We sold what we didn’t want anyway and some other things we didn’t want to store. And you know what… Now that we think about it, we wish we sold even more of our stuff.

About us

So many people search for excuses not to try hard enough for their own dreams. So many think that we won a lottery or we were just rich to begin with. Well nope. We also didn’t have absolutely amazing jobs that paid thousands. We just had a mindset of people that don’t spend that much. We worked in Amsterdam but decided to live in Volendam because we were not willing to spend double the price to live in the center of it all. We always repaired our clothes rather than bought new ones.

Don’t get me wrong. We went out with friends, had a few drink, went for weekends away and vacation. We love enjoying life but all in moderation. Especially when we decided to leave everything and travel.

Being Polish I know that it all depends on the country where you live. It’s not the same saving up Polish zloty or euros. But it’s still doable if you really want it. And having a EU passport means you can chose where you want to live. Which we often forget.

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Japan

12 souvenirs from Japan that I just couldn’t resist

Usually I associate souvenirs with kitsch, plastic gifts made in China and faded postcards of doubtful beauty. Over those two years travelling I’ve rarely been tempted to enter a gift shop less even to buy a single thing. Japan has changed it all. The amount of effort and creativity put in so many little objects here makes them unique and really worth buying. Not to mention the tradition and the beauty that go with them. Below some of gifts that I couldn’t resist, even having in mind that I will have to carry them around. Others I will have to get next time.

  1. Multi-functional piece of cloth- Futoshiki

So simple and traditional and yet so functional. The technique of folding a square cloth around anything has been around for centuries. Previously it was used to carry things and to wrap gifts. The patterns and colors were a way of expressing the purpose of the gift and feelings of the generous person. After World War II part of this beautiful art got pushed out by cheaper and more common plastic and paper. But it hasn’t died just yet. The material can be folded in a really nice bag, actually many different types of bags, only imagination is the limit. That variety of a humble piece of material and the idea of supporting something so fragile pushed me to buy some for myself.

  1. Colorful and very unusual socks

Patterns of sushi, shrines, Mount Fuji, cats and soooo much more can be easily found in any shop selling socks. They are colorful, fun and many are divided in “two toes” or even “five toes”. That makes them perfect to wear with your flip flops, as weird as that sounds. We especially loved the collection available in some Don Quijote. Cheap and just brilliant.

  1. Arty, colorful postcards

Japan has numerous different techniques when it comes to postcards. They can be painted, made from recycled kimonos, washi paper. Options are countless and they all look stunning and one of a kind. I don’t think there is any other country I have seen with so many different patterns and so much art and love put into postcards. Honestly I felt sad I had to send them out… Obviously I kept a few for myself 🙂

  1. Fragrant bath salts

We never really appreciated the benefits of a bath. Not until we came to Japan. Here it has almost a ritual like importance and is supposed to relax you after a tough day. And it really does. But the addition of fragrant, Japanese bath salts is the cherry on the top. The smell is as divine as the package looks.

  1. Playful carnival-like facial masks

I know it sounds weird but in what other country can you become a panda or a cat for a few minutes? Only in Japan. The masks are not only playful and cute in a weird way but also very soothing and relaxing. Perfect little detail going in the bathtub. For more picky customers there are also ones that will make you look like a geisha or hello kitty.

  1. The most beautiful bathrobe - Yukata

Yukata is a kind of casual kimono. It literally means “bathing cloth” and at the beginning it was used just as such, since it’s so easy to just wrap it around you and it can dry the leftover moisture from your skin. Nowadays some wear it as a summer version of the kimono. We got them at one of our Airbnbs and I absolutely loved mine. They were colorful, playful and really comfortable to wear. Jandirk wasn’t overly impressed, yukatas for men lack patterns and are generally kept in darker tones.

  1. Fans for the hot summers ahead

Fans are something that have been in use for centuries and perfected over the time. Now only the imagination and budget is the limit. The can be foldable or rigid, bamboo or paper based. They come in unbelievable variety of forms and patterns. In museums we even saw some covered in gold… those I probably wouldn’t buy as a gift even for my best friends.

  1. Everyone’s necessity- chop sticks

They come in a variety of shapes and designs. We especially loved very simple wooden ones. There is a certain charm in the fact that no two chop sticks are exactly the same since no trees are identical.

  1. Something for the stomach- matcha and green tea

Before coming to Japan we have never tried matcha and we were not big green tea drinkers. Here we got thrown into deep water, we saw and tasted matcha not only as a powdered green tea just served as a drink but also in variety of deserts and snacks. We fell in love with its strong flavor and even stronger green color. It’s one of those ingredients that we will take with us and incorporate in our daily life. Same with the cold green tea that became indispensable to us over those months….

  1. Traditional or modern pottery

This one has totally stolen my heart. I hope one day we will return with an empty suitcase and full bank accounts to buy some of so many stunning pots, mugs and plates. We especially loved collections available in small, cozy ateliers in one of the old pottery towns- Tokoname.

  1. The famous "folded paper"- origami

This beautiful technique of folding paper into complicated but beautiful shapes is especially dear to my hearth. Many of the gifts that I got from Jandirk were origami folded animals and flowers. Here in Japan he could go even crazier with all the variety of paper available. Every Japanese person knows how to fold at least a few basic figures, they learn that at school. It has been a nice beginning of a conversation for us and sometimes a nice evening activity with a little origami battle.

In many shrines and museums we saw origami bookmarks and cranes that we could just take for free.

  1. Something for the soul- sake

Sake comes in such a variety of tastes that I just can’t imagine someone wouldn’t enjoy it. It can be sweet, it can be very dry, it can be clear or contain particles of rice, it can be served cold or hot. There is something for all taste buds out there. I don't think there is anyone that could resist the traditional sake serving. The liquid is supposed to overflow from a shot glass or wooden container onto anything that is under it. Being raised in Poland in a society that drinks vodka and likes to show its generosity, I'm shocked we never came up with it.

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Oman

How to travel long term without going crazy?

Long term travelling is not a vacation, it's being away from family and friends, missing weddings, births and birthdays, it’s having your house on your back and leaving the rest behind. Two years after we left our jobs and lives, being on the road became our lifestyle. It’s been an amazing journey that has taught us so much but it hasn’t been easy. Constant traveling, change of food, environment, packing, it all gets difficult after a while.

How to travel for a long time without losing your mind? How we adjusted our lifestyle on the road…

We can’t and don’t want to see everything

Sounds obvious but it took me a while to understand that. We get so many tips and so many times during my research I read that 100 km further there is again something worth visiting. And well we have the time, right?

It’s just impossible to see everything and at this point we don’t even want to because that means we would be running around the whole time and lacking time to enjoy where we are at that moment. As a remedy I decided that we would have some highlights of places we wanted to see and besides those we would go with the flow which for long-term travelling works best. Sometimes we met incredible people or hear of something really unique and we are able to join because we don’t have a tight schedule.

We unpack

We don’t have a house and diving into a backpack every time I'm searching for something, was driving me insane so I decided to unpack everywhere where we stay more than 3 nights. That is one of my favorite routines that makes me feel at home straight away. Even if there is no closet, I spread plastic bags under our beds and unpack there.

We take stuff we don’t “need”

When we left I thought I wouldn’t bring any make-up because I was going backpacking and I need to have a light backpack and cosmetics are just not essential. To be honest I just missed them. I just like having a bit of vanity from time to time and that’s a small treat for myself. Besides the basics are not so heavy to bring along 🙂 The same happened for me with books. I brought an e-reader because it’s handier and lighter but I missed the feeling of turning pages and reading a real book. After a while I decided to take books that I find and exchange them along the way. That has worked pretty well.

It’s true that the backpack needs to be light enough to carry around for some time but it needs to have things you actually like.

We don’t travel as cheap as possible

When we started in Argentina we were able and happy to travel cheap. Sleep in dorms, walk instead of taking a bus etc. But now we got tired of people turning on the light at night, coming back drunk or snoring. Thankfully Japan has actually forced us to lift the standard since economic guesthouses are more expensive than renting a small studio on Airbnb. It made us realize that we really have to limit dorms and shabby places to the minimum for the sake of our sanity. Sharing with others and meeting new people is great but we also need our own space and privacy.

We treat ourselves

Sometimes we go to the cinema or we buy ourselves something small. We try to lead a normal life on the road and treating ourselves is an essential part of it.

We cook

Eating out tends to be more expensive than cooking. More importantly budget eating out lacks in vegetables, nutrition value and many times its deep fried. That’s why we prepare our meals as often as possible. We eat a lot of vegetables, fruit and we drink a lot of water and tea.

Food is an important part of any culture and so we always try local cuisine and many times we try to prepare it ourselves as well. Cooking local means also lowering the costs, ingredients used and grown in the country are way more economic than those brought from abroad.

We stop

We never stay in a place less than 2 days (3 nights) and generally we try to stay way longer, preferably at least a week. We like exploring places slowly, being able to come back to a spot if we want to. We love stopping, observing, sitting down and chatting with people passing by. Many times we have lots of places we want to see in a day and we decide to stay at the first stop just because it’s magical and has a great vibe. We love the feeling that we have time to do so. Seeing less is often more for us.

Some spots change completely with light, seasons, and atmosphere. Canals in Amsterdam are not the same place at dawn as they are in the middle of a hectic day. Japan during cherry blossom is a completely different experience than during the winter months. Why rush if we don’t have to?

We emerge in a culture

We read, ask and observe as much as possible. That’s my favorite part of the journey. It’s a continuous, never-ending learning process. That’s partially why we prefer to stay in countries with longer tourist visa's. To feel that although we came with so little knowledge, we broaden our horizons and scratch the surface of understanding at least a bit.

Disappointment is part of the journey

Online research creates expectations and those are a perfect recipe for disappointments. We have seen so many places that didn’t impress us at all and they stood high on our bucket list. It’s part of the journey. If we didn’t see those we would probably still think they were amazing and regret not going. At least we know. It’s important to understand everyone is different and for someone Machu Picchu can be a life-changing experience. We know that Peru has so much more to offer and many of the Incan ruins are a true Indiana Jones treat so we didn’t feel impressed with overrated and crowded MP. We were still happy we saw it though.

We enjoy small things

We appreciate when the sun is shining but we are also happy when it rains. We enjoy the time we get to spend with people that inspire us and we try to let them know that. Every day we remind ourselves of just how lucky we are to get this opportunity from life and how important it is to be conscious about it.

We accept

Bus is going to be late? It will come tomorrow? Well than we have time to read a book, update the blog, talk to people around us. In long queues and never-ending waiting times I learned to crochet. Something I always wanted to be able to do but never took the time to learn.

Travel taught us adapting and making the best out of circumstances that occur. Why to drill and get mad at things you can’t change? It’s lost energy. It’s better to take a different approach and “row with the oars you have”as the Dutch say 🙂

Powerbank

The List
Our Equipment For The RTW

After the decision to leave everything and go travelling comes the most difficult part: what should you take with you? You start reading and buying all this fancy, new stuff but is it really worth it?

We had the same problem, we also didn’t know what to take and we had no idea if what we decided to bring would be handy or not. But now we know… let’s go through our list of handy, useless, and missed stuff

 

Top handy:

  1. Powerbank

We got it as a gift actually and didn’t know that it is such a life saver! We use it all the time. Our powerbank can charge a mobile phone four times and it has a light. It’s also not too scared of water which helps. Check out our powerbank the Sandberg IP54Powerbank

  1. Backpacks

Without it there is no backpacking. The most important thing is that it’s not too big because when it is you will pack it full before you notice and then you will have to drag way more kilos than necessary! Another feature that is really handy for your big backpack is that it opens like a suitcase as well as from above.

Initially we took two 38 L BACH backpacks and a tiny itsy bitsy BACH. All three of them are still with us and serve us very well. Later on we bought two additional backpacks but about those you will read futher below:)

  1. Washing kit (line, universal sink plug and soap)

Another great gift we got! We didn’t even realize that we wouldn’t be able to just leave our dirty clothes by some laundry place or that in so many places it would be so expensive. It saved us from stinking so many times!Washing/Drying Kit

  1. Shoes

It’s very important to have good ones just because they should be your only ones if you want to travel light. We both trusted Scarpa and never regretted it. They are perfect for hiking, walking around cities and surviving rain. They are also not too ugly. They are our only footwear on the road except for flip-flops.

  1. Headlamp

You would think a torch or just a lamp in your phone would fix the problem but nope. Sometimes you really need your hands and that's when a headlamp is perfect.

  1. Sowing kit

When your clothes break (and they will!) you will need it. We used it soooo many times.Sowing Kit

  1. Earplugs

Without those be prepared for many sleepless nights. There is always at least one snorer or drunk in the dorm!

  1. Microfiber towels

They are horrible, they give you this weird feeling that you don’t get dry. Everywhere we could, we tried to use a normal towel but it doesn’t change the fact that the microfiber ones dry way faster than the normal ones and they occupy way less space.

  1. Layered clothing

A key to pack clothes is to bring lots of layers so that you can still use seperate things depending on the weather. We each brought an underlayer, t-shirts, a fleece and a rain jacket. With all these layers we managed to survive in Patagonia in the beginning of the winter.Glaciers, El Calafate, Argentina

  1. Headphones

There is nothing more uncomfortable when the whole hostel hears your skype conversation. Headphones give you privacy and the right to listen to some music and watch a movie when everyone is sleeping

  1. E-reader

I personally love the smell of books, I like holding them, seeing how much I read but… they are heavy. When you want to have many books and some guide books it’s better to invest in an e-reader. P.S. E-books are also cheaper and you save a few trees- that’s what I tell myself to cheer myself up when missing a real book:)

  1. Hard drive

We take pictures almost every day and not every day we have internet to upload them. Besides uploading takes ages. So to have a backup we always have a hard drive.

  1. Universal plug adapter

Unless you are in the middle of a forest and you want to just enjoy the nature without any electronics...

  1. That little something for a special occasion

Every now and then it's amazing to put something on that doesn't have stains and holes. It doesn't have to be fancy but a shirt for a guy or a dress for a girl would be great. Believe me, there are times when you don't want to feel like a hobo!

 

Things we missed and bought along the way:

  1. Good camera

Before we were traveling with two pocket size cameras- one underwater as we love diving and one normal compact camera. After some time of taking pictures every single day we missed something better. We had more and more the feeling that we couldn't capture what we were seeing so we went for the real deal and bought our precious Canon... and some lenses:)

  1. Other backpacks

For our camera we needed a separate backpack so we bought an amazing Lowpro one. It's absolutely perfect, it fits not only the camera but also the lenses and it has quite a big space for some food, water and whatever you want. It's also very safe because the openning of the compartment where the camera is, is at the back so when you have it on you can't even see it's a camera backpack.

Except for the camera backpack we also bought just a standard north face day pack. Our itsy bitsy was just really uncomfortable when taking big weight.

Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, Panama

  1. Laptop

We though we would manage only with our smartphones and an old tablet but no way! To mantain the blog and work on our pictures we bought a very simple and light laptop.Alto Bonito, Salamina, Colombia

Things we took and were useless:

  1. Merino wool socks

So we took two pairs of socks each because we were told that those wouldn’t stink and were unbelievable for hiking. We wore them at home for one week straight and they were great but during the trip they were a total miss, they stunk like normal socks do and they were not as special as you would expect from 20 euros a pair.

  1. Sheets

We read it would be super dirty in hostels and we would need to use our own sheets. That was not true except for the Amazon and The Lost City in Colombia. Except for that they were useless. Although we will give them another chance when going to Asia.

  1. Money belts

Absolutely useless really. We wore them maybe twice and they were extremely uncomfortable, not to mention that after two times they stunk like sweat. We never regretted not wearing them. We never had any unsafe situation and no one ever robbed us. Well maybe except for a dirty pair of panties that got mysteriously stolen from me.

  1. Medication

We were prepared for everything starting from bladder infection to malaria and guess what … we didn’t use most of it and we had to drag it around. We only used diarrhea related stuff and that’s what we’re gonna bring to Asia. If something happens there are pharmacies everywhere.

 

Stuff we missed and will buy:

  1. Speaker

When we finally had a private room and wanted to watch a movie we had to wear headphones cuz we couldn’t hear a thing. Going to Asia we will definitely take a speaker to enjoy our private cinema.

 

Hopefully the list helped you a bit. Don't get too frustrated packing! Keep the goal in your head:) Something for motivation below:)

Even more flamingos

 

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