Benefits of Group Travel: Why Every Traveler Should Experience It

At every stage in a travelers life they should experience group travel. While solo backpacking, or couple travel, can be rewarding in its own right, there’s nothing quite like exploring a new destination or activity with a group of friends.

Whether you arrange a trip with your closest friends, or join a tour company, traveling with other people helps create new friendships and solidify old ones. The new experiences help create lifelong memories and bonds between people that extend well beyond your trip. No matter what type of traveler you are, here are a few top reasons you should travel in a group.


Benefits of Group Travel with Friends

One of the best things about traveling as a group is being able to share all the wonderful new experiences with some of your closest friends. Back home you’ve got your everyday memories together from school or work or social events, but now you’re off gallivanting around the world making stories that you’ll never forget.

Move over hilarious story about the time Susan slipped over at work, let’s replace that with something slightly more interesting. How about an exciting trip to the party island of Thailand for a half moon party in Koh Phangan?

Forget about the time Will threw his school books off the library roof, now Will is legendary for doing a backflip off the second story guesthouse into the pool… responsibly of course. Traveling as a group will not only solidify your friendship, but you’ll be reminiscing about those memories for years to come.



Making New Friends when Traveling as a Group

A lot of people don’t have a group of friends that are willing to pack up and take off on a three month trip around Southeast Asia. Some of them might not even want to pop over to Bali for a week long holiday, so you have to branch out and find a group to travel with.

Organizing a group tour can be an easy way to find a likeminded group of people to travel with. It takes the pressure off having to go out and find travel buddies. And it also allows you to be social and share experiences with people while you’re traveling.

Some on my closest friends over the last few years are people I’ve met while traveling as a group. Back in 2015, when we were traveling with a group of people in Thailand for two weeks, we became so close that we all decided to get matching tattoos (true story!). To this day we still stay in touch and we may or may not have added to our matching tattoos (spoiler alert, we did!).



Traveling with new friends gives you the chance to get really close to them, really quick. You spend more time with these new friends in a week than you probably do with people back home for months. Plus the memories and stories you make together will now bond you for life. Everything is accelerated when you’re traveling and spending 24/7 with someone, so friendships become deep really fast.

Imagine spending a week with someone traveling the Nusa Islands in Bali, everyday more exciting and adventurous than the last. During the day you swim through waterfalls, zip around on scooters, relax on beaches and explore local temples together. While each night you sip on Bintang beers and share stories from other travels or back home. Adventures + cheap beer = best buds for life!



Group Travel as a Couple

Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of traveling with a group. In fact, sometimes connecting with a group tour is the perfect way to branch out and for you and your partner to meet new people.

When you’re traveling as a couple, it can be a bit more difficult to meet new travel friends naturally. When you’re solo, you’re generally a lot more open to meeting other people on the road. Because you’re alone you put more effort into being social and it’s easier to meet and spend time with other solo travelers.



However, when you’re traveling as a couple, sometimes its hard to find new travel friends. Other solo travelers see you and your significant other as unapproachable. They might think you would prefer to spend time with your partner, even though you’re hanging around a bar waiting to make new friends.

Both Christine and I are extremely social people, so we enjoy meeting new travel buddies. We love the fact that travel brings you closer to people and lets you connect with others from different walks of life. When we travel we sometimes found it hard to meet people in hostels and guesthouses or while going out. We often find ourselves connecting with other couples, but even that can be challenging at times.

Traveling in a group, even as a couple, gives you the added bonus of being with your partner, but also being able to hang out with a bunch of new potential friends. It also stops you from having to spend 24/7 with your partner, which can cause problems on its own. Not that Christine and I ever want to kill each while traveling of course….



Managing Group Travel Expectations

One of the hardest things about traveling in a group is trying to manage everyone’s different expectations and needs. Some people are early risers, some party until the break of dawn. Some like history and culture, others are more into lazing about on the beach and sipping cheap cocktails.

No matter how hard you try, it’s always going to be difficult to travel as a group and please everyone. That’s why it’s important to manage group expectations and learn to compromise.

The best way to avoid any potential problems is to have open and honest discussions within your group about the activities they want to do. Let people voice their expectations and try to either work out a compromise or an easy way to split up for the day.



You might find it’s as easy as half the group spending the day at a museum or temple, and half the group going to explore the local market. You can coordinate a time to meet up later in the day and everyone wins. That keeps the group happy and your friendships intact!


Regardless of how you approach group travel, with friends, solo or as a couple, you’re bound to have an amazing time! Having people to share your travel experiences with helps you relive them for years to come. It also means you’ve got some travel buddies that are ready for the next group trip when it comes around!

From Travel Blog To TV Show

We’re going to be on TV!

And not just any old TV, Christine and I will be hosting our very own travel show on the Travel Channel!

Yep you heard it correctly! What was once just a fun little way for Christine and I to chronicle our stories, is now coming to your TV screens around the United States! Well not the blog, but at least the beautiful faces behind it. We are the hosts of the new Travel Channel show, Shoestring Getaways! The pilot will be airing Saturday June 24th at 1pm PDT/ET, 2pm Central and 4pm Mountain!

Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, how did we get here? It’s been a whirlwind of a journey. From wandering around Latin America for 2 years without any real plan, to establishing a successful full-time business through our blog, to getting ourselves onto TV! I can tell you one thing, over the last four years it’s been one hell of a journey.



So, let’s take a step back to see how this all unfolded. If you’re not familiar with the story behind how we met I’ll break it down in just three sentences. Jules is from Melbourne, Australia, Christine is from San Francisco, US; we met in 2012 while volunteering for a disaster relief organization in Peru; we fell in love, we continued to travel, we started a blog…. And here we are now, with half a sentence to spare.

About a year into our travels, around March 2013, we had this crazy idea to start a travel blog. We had collected so many photographs and stories along that way that we were dying to share with our friends and family. We also knew that we wanted to continue traveling, but weren’t sure how we’d be able to continue a life of full time travel. We thought creating a travel blog would be the perfect way to document our stories and hopefully earn some money to fund our travels. At the time we had no idea how much work it would be to build a successful travel blog!



But over the next couple of years we worked our asses off trying to get it off the ground. We traveled through Central America,  spent some time in the States and lived in Australia for a year. In 2015 we went over to Southeast Asia to work at a nonprofit in the Philippines. By the time August 2015 rolled around, we were exhausted! 50+ hours a week volunteering in the Philippines, studying part-time for our Masters, trying to enjoy our travels and then this thing called the blog. We were barely making any money from it after two years in and we seriously considered giving it up.

Then in October 2015, we went to our first travel blogging conference in Thailand. For the first time we met and properly interacted and networked with real bloggers in real life. We hung out, talked shop, drank too many beers and heard the struggles that everyone else was having in this crazy world of travel blogging. But, more importantly, we also heard the success stories. The stories about people who stuck with it, who pushed themselves to learn more, who wanted to be better! We were inspired! We were invigorated! And we were motivated to give it a shot.



I look back on this moment in October 2015 as a significant milestone for Don’t Forget To Move. The blog may have been born in mid-2013, but this was definitely a coming of age for it. Call it the equivalent of entering adulthood. It was mature enough to flourish, but definitely still immature enough to make mistakes.

2016 was a big year for the blog! For the first time in the history of Don’t Forget To Move we worked full time on growing it as a business. Well, at least in between Masters assignments. As long-term, slow travelers, 2016 was a whirlwind. We hit up 4 continents, 15 countries, took over 35 flights and traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the world.

Christine got dengue fever in Cuba, we ate a truckload of tacos in Mexico, rented an apartment in Colombia for a month, went on our first ever cruise ship to the Dominican Republic, and then decided to take a ship for two weeks across the Atlantic Ocean. I visited Europe for the first time ever and celebrated in the streets of Lisbon with cheap wine. I ate a sardine sandwich, but didn’t realize you weren’t supposed to eat the head. We drank 32 year old Port in Porto on an empty stomach and got sick. We saw Italy by train and took a sweet road trip through Spain where we ate LOTS of cheese and I got kicked out of a castle for flying the drone. We lived in Bulgaria for two months, just because (no seriously, Plovdiv is legit!). We went bear watching in Estonia, got naked with two older Estonians and then almost ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere.



In between all of that our blog grew to new levels. We worked with some big names in the travel industry, partnered with tourism boards and finally started making enough money so we could save money while traveling. Somewhere toward the end of the year we were contacted by a production company. They interviewed us as hosts for a new show they were developing with the Travel Channel. Spoiler alert: they chose us!

The next couple of months was a lot of working out logistics and solidifying details. Finally, at the end of January we filmed the pilot! We filmed for 5 days all over San Francisco. It was incredibly interesting to see the behind the scenes of a travel show. It was fast paced and the days were long, but we had so much fun! We felt like celebrities having a 6 person film crew follow us around the city. Crowds would form behind the cameras and tourists would stop to take photos of us. Someone even ran up to us and asked if we’re famous. Of course, we said yes ?



One of the coolest parts of filming was seeing new things around San Francisco. Even though Christine is a Bay Area local, there were quite a few places that she’d never visited before. We can’t give too much away, but we had a $12 dinner overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge!

After the long weekend of filming we had a few more days of pick up shots in the following months. We came to know our producer and crew better and better and our beginner’s nerves started to subside. By the time our last day of filming rolled around, we felt like old pros…kind of. We did start to feel much more comfortable in front of the camera and it just became really fun. If we get the chance to turn this show into a series, we know we’re going to have a blast running around to different cities acting like our usual goofy selves in front of the whole country!



What Now?

For now, there’s only one things to do: watch our show! Shoestring Getaways airs Saturday June 24th at 1pm / 2pm Central. Whether it gets picked up for a series depends on how this premiere is received, ie. do people tune and watch till the end? This is a bit of a nerve-wracking time, but we can’t wait for the world to see our show! If you want to support us, please tune in!

Of course, we’ll keep everyone updated on any developments. For now, we just want to give a huge thank you to our readers and followers. Without you guys we wouldn’t have any of this, so thank you for supporting us over the years! We appreciate you all so much!

The Beauty of Traveling Without A Plan

“Long term travel taught me that not everything goes as planned… and that is actually a good thing.”

This piece is a guest post from our blogging friend Claudia Tavani of My Adventures Across the World. Check out her full bio at the end of the article *

I have always thought of myself as a independent and expert traveller. Several short-term trips and one long haul each year seemed to justify my vision. I thought I had it all figured out. I loved designing my trips, whether they were a weekend away in Europe or a four-week holiday on the other side of the world. That is until I decided to go to Cuba, and realized that as much as I tried, I could not really plan my trip into much detail. All I could do was have a vague idea of the places I wanted to visit.

Once there, it did not take me long to realise that half of what I had planned to see was impossible to reach in such a short time and with little means; as much as I insisted, asked and begged, I would not be able to do as I wanted and that I had to change my plans eventually. Not getting things my way was frustrating and at times unnerving: there were things I wanted to do in Cuba that just didn’t work out. This was frustrating, but when I finally let go, I was able to experience so many other amazing opportunities. I ended up having a blast: no phone, no wi-fi, no Facebook and no real possibility to plan ahead had an exhilarating and liberating effect on me. Everything was spontaneous and refreshing.



My new style of traveling didn’t last long, however. When I began travelling long term, my old self took the lead once again. I packed my backpack for the first long term trip of my life in November 2013, headed to Latin America for my dream trip across the continent. I had a very clear idea of the places I wanted to visit, the things I wanted to do, the experiences I wanted to have, the places where I wanted to volunteer and even the emotions I wanted to feel. I had spent weeks reading guide books, following blogs and taking detailed notes, making lists and creating the itinerary I wanted to follow. I even had a good idea of the hostels I wanted to stay at all of that, for at least 6 months of travel. I know, total control freak!

I ended up following my plans for the first 3 weeks of travelling. But then I remembered how great I felt in Cuba, when everything I did was almost entirely spontaneous, and it did not take me long to realise that things would never go as I had planned them anyway. Plans change and quite inevitably so. I finally understood that following a strict schedule made no sense, and the beauty of travelling long term and fulfilling my dreams was that I could savour each moment to its fullness, that I could change plans if I needed and wanted to, and that guess what? Nobody would look down on me if I did!

And so, I did. I met other backpackers and would follow them for a while. I spent days in which I did not talk to anybody. I got sick, and had to stay longer than expected in a dirty hostel because I was simply unable to get out of bed. I ended up taking a plane from Panama to Colombia because after 24 hours of sailing I thought I was going to die and could not stomach my way across the ocean on a sailboat. I was horrified by some places that looked so good in the guide books and were indeed disappointing to my eyes.

I ended up in places I had not even heard of before, and spent days there just because I got such a good vibe. I realized that no, just because I was in Central America and they were all over I would never be able to overcome my cockroaches phobia, and fled a hostel in Nicaragua and a permaculture farm in Costa Rica were I was meant to volunteer because they were infested. I visited off the beaten path villages in Peru just because a local told me about them and in the whim of a moment I decided it was worth my time, then almost got stuck there when I realized there were no buses to take me back to town. And all of this because I decided to ditch my itinerary.



The beauty of long term travel is relieving yourself from the pressure to see everything and fill your day with activities, just to make it worth the flight. There have been days when I did absolutely nothing other than just hang out at the hostel, read a book while relaxing on a hammock, Skyping with my family on the other side of the world or even go to the local market to just browse around. Those days were great and needed, because as anybody who has been travelling long term may confirm one gets burnt out of constantly hopping on a long bus ride or having to deal with the tremendous heat of the Caribbean coast.

Long-term travel has thought me that plans can and will change, and this may actually be a very good thing. It taught me that by letting go of the itinerary, we make room for spontaneity and in those times you’ll find the best moments of your trip.


What do you think of traveling without a plan? What have you learned from it?

  Claudia Tavani is from Cagliari (Sardinia) and is obsessed with traveling. A former human rights lawyer and academic, after devoting her life to the protection of cultural   identity, in November 2013 Claudia decided to give in to her biggest passion and started  traveling around Latin America, and she has hardly stopped since. Blogging came as a natural consequence, for Claudia wanted to let her family and friends be updated with her adventures. Read about her travels at My Adventures Across the World and connect with her on Facebook & Twitter.

Hippyocrisy: Trying to Understand the Hypocrisy of Traveling Hippies

Is it just me, or has anybody else ever thought that some of the hippies you meet while traveling can be pretty hypocritical? I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and while I’m not about to write off every single traveling hippy out there, this post is definitely directed at a couple of those ‘deeply spiritual new age hipsters’ jetting around the world right now.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while, but swayed away from the idea of offending people on a platform that we’ve worked so hard to please people with. But, you can’t please everyone in life, so the least we can do is stay true to ourselves. And so here it is fellow hippies, strap yourself in for this truth bomb!

The Hypocrisy of Hippies = Hippyocrisy

I think I’ve invented a word. Well, I’ve Googled it, and I didn’t find much, so I’m just going to claim it. It’s called HIPPYOCRISY, and I’m seeing it everywhere I go around the world! Before I explore this, let’s get back to the roots of this word ‘hippie’. According to a very opinionated and definitely misrepresented Google search on the term ‘hippie’ this is what you get…

“A person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair and wearing beads, associated with a subculture involving a rejection of conventional values and the taking of hallucinogenic drugs”

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So, to be a hippy you can’t show that you’re conforming to conventional values. But, what exactly is conventional these days? Any form of ‘non-stereotype’ takes effort, so just own the fact that you’re trying to be a hippie, or a hipster, or a nerd, it’s ok, I’m not judging you on that part. I could get stuck into a lot of stereotypes or subcultures, but I’ve just focussed on hippies this time.

There’s also nothing wrong with trying to look like a hippie while you’re traveling, or whatever the look it is that you’re going for. Dress how you want, I’d never judge people on that. What HIPPYOCRISY is all about is a person who will dress, act and preach a certain lifestyle to be trendy, and can’t live up to the hype! Hypocrisy is all around us, and nobody is perfect, but there seems to be a lot more of these wandering wannabes traveling the world right now.

And let me add, in many senses of the definition I consider myself a hippie. As a global vagabond, vegetarian and humanitarian, I’m just wandering this earth passing on knowledge about the simple life. I don’t need a lot of fancy items in my life (pretty much everything packs into one backpack these days), but I also don’t need to preach about my body’s positive energy as I eat a bag of mushrooms and wear tie-dye to be an environmentally and animal friendly compassionate guy.

So What Is Hippyocrisy?

Rather than a definition, let me give you an example of some hippyocrisy at its best!

Christine and I are taking a ferry trip from the incredible Kong Rong Island in southern Cambodia. As our ferry lazily glides across the water towards the mainland there are bunch of these ‘non-conventional’ ladies sitting across from us. Dreds, long ripped baggy pants, more necklaces and bracelets than Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and they’re talking about this new age mumbo jumbo. Everything they’re saying starts to get me thinking; “hey they’re the real deal”.

As they start to dig into some really deep convo a couple of them pull out cigarettes and light up (no I’m not even going to get stuck into them about supporting a multinational corporation that promotes death… too easy). The story goes on and the cigarette dwindles down to the butt. One girl in particular who seems to running the ‘guidance session’ satisfactorily concludes on a point, but not before stubbing out her butt and throwing it over the edge into the ocean.

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WHAT? Was she serious? Polluting the word with her contradictions and non-degradable cigarette butts, am I alone in thinking this is madness? Forget the fact that she’s just committed Hippyocrisy in the highest degree, but why in this day and age are people still thinking it’s ok to litter? It’s beyond me!

Other examples that really piss me off are as follows:

The ultimate wanderer, living out of a backpack without a care in the world. Probably watched Into The Wild or The Beach a few too many times. Lands on a beautiful pristine island and sets up camp, when its time to continue life’s journey, gets up and leaves all their rubbish behind! HIPPYOCRISY… and a tool!

People who preach to me about balancing my Chakras, finding my positive energy, and how their body is a temple, but then they smoke two packs of cigarettes a day. Sorry, that’s HIPPYOCRISY!

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself on your travels, but don’t tell me you’re off on a deeply spiritual journey of enlightenment while sitting in a bar every second evening. HI-HI-HIPPYCRIT!

A Growing Trend

Unfortunately this example of Hippyocrisy isn’t an odd event along the backpacking trail. Being scrubby, letting your hair get matted, accumulating bracelets, taking lots of drugs, partaking in retreats… these are all growing trends among some (definitely not all) backpackers these days. There’s nothing wrong with all of this, we even enjoy a few. Each to their own I say, but if you’re going to start taking up a new trend, at least pick a couple of the most important convictions and stick to them.

What To Do If You See A Hippycrit?

If you see a Hippycrit, or any form of Hippyocrisy please act now! You are not alone in this battle against the nasty Hippycrits taking over the world. If something looks Hippycritical, please speak out. We have established a hotline at 1800-NO-HIPPYOCRISY or you can visit our newly developed website at for more information. This is PSA brought to you by Jules and Christine of Don’t Forget To Move.

Am I alone with this idea? Or have you seen a few of these Hippycrits floating around on your travels? Drop us a comment below or find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Our Best Moments of 2014

And just like that we’re staring down the end of the year. Can anyone else believe this? We’re almost closer to 2030, then we are to 2000! For many people (definitely us) that’s gotta make you feel old!

As another year wraps up Christine and I take a look back at our top moments from 2014. Compared to the last few years we’ve had on the road it hasn’t been as eventful, but it’s been an important year to really solidify our life together, our careers, our blog and our future travel adventures. As always we give thanks to everyone who has been a part of the journey, from both home and afar. Here’s a look at our best moments of 2014.

Being Re-united… Twice!

After spending everyday together for the first two years of our relationship we were suddenly forced to experience distance apart. During 2014 there were two occasions when we separated for periods of two month times. The first when we were anxiously awaiting Christine’s Aussie visa to arrive, and the second when she ducked back home for a few important weddings. They say ‘absence makes the heart grow stronger’, but in this case it’s an understatement.

Re-Commencing our Studies

It took a few years on the road to work out exactly what we wanted to do with our lives, but there’s no denying our hearts are set solidly on development work. After spending a good chunk of our time working for small grass-roots organizations in Latin America we’ve decided this is where our future lies. At the moment we’re almost half way through our Masters in International Community Development, and we’re pumped to see where this will take us.

Exploring Melbourne

We just love Melbourne, and it’s hard not to when it offers such a diverse combination of culture, music, food, nightlife, sport and activities. For Christine everything was new and exciting, and for me it’s even been fun being a tourist in my own hometown. We’ve found quirky little restaurants, sourced out free gigs, experienced all types of festivals and made some awesome new friends along the way.

Developing Don’t Forget To Move

Just because we’ve been grounded for most of the last year, doesn’t mean we’ve completely stopped traveling and working on the blog. We still had so many places to write about upon our return that we spent the first six months catching up on old articles. In the last six months in particular Don’t Forget To Move has really got off the ground, especially considering we we’ve had so many other commitments to juggle this year. At 15,000 followers and 10,000 page views a month we’re pretty happy though. 2015 should see an even bigger bump in these numbers!

Booking our Next Trip

So we slowed down a bit this year in terms of travels, but it’s all because we’re gearing up for the next adventure! Two years on the road takes its toll, financially, physically and mentally. A year break to save cash and focus on other areas has done us a world of good. In less than a month we’ll be back on the backpacker trial working our way through Southeast Asia. We’ll have more to report in the New Year!


And speaking of our next trip, we’re also happy to announce that we’ve secured an internship in the Philippines working for a development organization called Philippines Communitere. At this stage we’re planning on six months in the middle of the year, but hey, our plans are always flexible and we might just decide to stay longer. We can’t wait to share with you all the awesome work that’s happening on the ground. And this will also give us a great opportunity to write extensively about the Philippines!

Planning 2015

At the moment we’re busy planning away for next year. And it’s been so fun! Late nights have turned into even later nights as we pour through the extensive resources out there about Southeast Asia. We’ve also planned out our travel gear a lot better this time and bought some handy gadgets that will make our backpacking experience even more enjoyable. All these and many more will be posts over the next month as we prepare to leave on yet another long-term backpacking trip!

Tell us, how has your year? What have been your best moments of 2014?

Wanderlust Inducing Travel Movies Streaming On Netflix

One of my favorite ways to fulfill my wanderlust cravings, next to perusing Pinterest and impulsively buying a plane ticket, is watching travel movies on Netflix. And lets face it, if a movie isn’t streaming on Netflix, I’m probably not watching it. Netflix has such a great selection of travel movies and documentaries. The only problem is, you can spend hours just browsing to find the right one.

After many hours on the couch I’ve narrowed the hundreds of titles available down to the best travel movies streaming on Netflix. And just to clarify, this post has not been sponsored by Netflix, we just love their site!

Best Travel Movies Streaming on Netflix


Amelie is one of those movies you can watch over and over. It’s such a whimsical little French classic that’ll never get old. The story, adorable without being cheesy, is based around a quirky and endearing young waitress who finds purpose in doing random acts of kindness for her friends and neighbors.

Her overactive imagination brings a playful touch of magic-realism to the Parisian landscape. If you weren’t interested in traveling to Paris before, the shots of Parisian rooftops punctuated only by the Eiffel tower will definitely change your mind.


Set in New Zealand in the 1980’s this sweet, and at times heartbreaking, film is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Eleven year old Alamein, known as Boy, lives in a house with his grandma and a gaggle of adorable young siblings and cousins who are just about the cutest kids you’ve ever seen.

Boy daydreams that his absent father is off adventuring the world, but when it turns out he’s been in prison for 7 years and is just returning home, Boy has to deal with the reality of who his dad really is. The acting is superb and during the quieter, more contemplative scenes, the dreamy New Zealand landscape takes center stage.

Crystal Fairy and the Magical Cactus

A movie in which Michael Cera plays a backpacker hell-bent on taking the infamous Latin American hallucinogen San Pedro, while traveling through Chile. He heads on a road-trip with three Chilean brothers to find the plant, and an uninhibited hippie comes along for the ride. Michael Cera plays his role as the arrogant, pseudo-free spirited backpacker perfectly. Anyone who’s backpacked the gringo trail through Latin America will recognize this type of traveler immediately.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

This documentary follows 85 year old Hiro, one of Japan’s most hailed sushi chefs. Jiro runs an incredibly unique, world-famous sushi restaurant located inside the Tokyo subway. Despite its humble location and small size, the restaurant has been given 3 Michellen stars and is booked out months in advance. This movie is guaranteed to not only give you a serious sushi craving, but inspire a foodie trip to Japan.

The Way

Have you been wondering to yourself where Emilio Estavez went? No? Me neither, but I’ll tell you anyway. He’s taken a hand at directing this lovely moving starring his father, Martin Sheen. In the film Estavez attempts to trek the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in the north of Spain, but tragically dies along the way.

His father, an uptight homebody, goes to collect his remains and decides to finish the trek, spreading his son’s ashes along the way. It’s a really moving story and a reminder that travel can be truly life-changing, at any age. The north of Spain is a stunning backdrop and it has cemented for me that the Camino is one of my top goals for Europe.

Whores’ Glory

This confronting documentary examines the lives of sex workers in three developing countries; Thailand, Bangladesh & Mexico. Although not exactly the dreamy wanderlust movie that will have you packing your bags immediately, this non-judgmental, raw film reminds audiences that there’s a darker side to most tourist destinations.

As a traveler it’s important to note the realities of the places you travel to and remember that even if a place feels like a carefree paradise, the locals may be experiencing a very different world.

Una Noche

This movie follows Raul, a young man living in Havana, Cuba, desperate to immigrate to the US. When he is accused of assault his dream of fleeing the country soon becomes an urgent reality. He plans to make the 90-mile journey to Miami with his best friend, but is torn between his close bond with his sister and his only escape. If you’ve had an interest in visiting Cuba, do yourself a favor and see this movie. It does a beautiful job capturing the intensity of life in the capital city.


What are the best travel movies that inspires wanderlust for you?

Away From Home For The Holidays

This will be the first year of my life that I won’t be home for the holidays. A surprising fact, actually, considering how much of the past 4 years I’ve spent traveling. Somehow I’ve always managed to tumble back home after months on the road, just before Thanksgiving, slightly tanned, sun-bleached hair, exhausted and so ready to be home. Then, after a whirlwind holiday season of dinners, get-togethers and much-needed family time, I’d be off again re-energized for my next adventure.



 “It’s not the same over-commercialized holiday that I hate to admit I love back home.”


This year is going to be a bit different. This year I’m in Australia, some 8,000 odd miles from home. The long trip to California is too exhausting, both mentally and physically, not to mention expensive. I wish I could jet home for a long weekend, but its just not going to happen.

The warm weather here has been a sort of mirage, allowing me to trick myself into forgetting about the holidays. We’re gearing into summer here and although the shops downtown have a random collection of decorations and the grocery store plays the occasional Christmas song, it’s not the same over-commercialized holiday that I hate to admit I love back home. Instead of bundling up to go Christmas shopping, sipping hot chocolate around the tree, Australia is donning their sun gear and hitting the beach. This transition into summer has allowed me to blissfully ignore the fact that the holidays are actually approaching.

That is until my mom sent me a photo of my 3-year-old cousin sitting in our favorite café back home, a big Christmas wreath hanging in the window behind him. That one photo was enough to send a sharp pang of homesickness right through me. And I finally had to admit to myself- I won’t be home for the holidays this year.



Luckily I’ll be having Christmas with Jules’ beautiful and welcoming family. And honestly, Christmas in a sundress, BBQ-ing in the backyard, sipping chilled white wine doesn’t sound too bad. Thanksgiving is going to be the tough one. Thanksgiving dinner is always held at my parent’s house. Aunts and uncles come out from the woodwork to celebrate being together. This year my cousin and his family are coming out from Colorado. There’s always even a few orphaned strays that get thrown into the mix. The more the merrier.

The day starts early with my mom working tirelessly, baking and mixing and mashing. There’s always a few turkeys cooking at once, one always ends up burnt (it’s tradition). Another is slowly lowered into a deep fryer in our driveway by my dad and brother while we all secretly pray the whole thing won’t explode. The boys play beer pong in the garage while the women gossip and sip wine inside. There’s always a mad scramble as we realize our 4 o’clock dinner has turned to 5 and then 6:30. We eat until we’re stuffed and almost forget but always remember to go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. It’s pretty much the perfect holiday.



 “A whole decade of laughs, leftovers, toasts, games and some of the best damn friends I could ask for. “


But Thanksgiving doesn’t end there. The day after is Second Thanksgiving. This small tradition of our few close high school friends reuniting for a thanksgiving feast during college breaks has now turned into 30+ people crammed into my friend Corey’s dining room and living room. This is the tenth year in a row we’ve had this event. A whole decade of laughs, leftovers, toasts, games and some of the best damn friends I could ask for. A proud Second Thanksgiving veteran, I’ve been to this event every single year since the first. Until this one.

But I’m not going to sit here and feel bad for myself. It’s not called Sadgiving, its called Thanksgiving. And even though I won’t be home this year, I have a whole lot to be thankful for.

 I’m thankful that I have been able to be home for so many years to celebrate the holidays. I’m thankful that I have the best family I could imagine waiting for me whenever I do and that I’ve had the same supportive group of friends since freshman year of high-school (or earlier) and that we’ve added some truly awesome additions since then. I’m thankful our bond is strong enough to keep us continuing our traditions well into adulthood. I’m thankful that even though I can’t be home this year, I have such an incredible boyfriend who is putting together a dinner party American-style to celebrate T-day here! And I’m thankful he has such a supportive family who has whole-heartedly taken me in and will be a lovely group of people to celebrate Christmas with.



Sometimes it takes a bit of distance to really appreciate everything you have. Travel has always given me perspective on how lucky I’ve been growing up where I have, with such a great support system. Next year when I’m able to celebrate the holidays back home, I definitely won’t be taking it for granted. Happy Thanksgiving!

Backpacking Solo: The One Thing I Wish I’d Known Before Traveling

The internet is filled with backpacking tips for first time backpackers. Bring this, ditch that, roll your clothes, pack bottom heavy. But the number one thing I wish I’d known before taking my first solo trip is this:

When solo backpacking, you won’t be alone!

Okay, I know that seems obvious, but hear me out. Backpacking solo can be really daunting. And unless you’re a total lone wolf, you’re probably a bit worried about being by yourself so often. I know I definitely was before my first trip backpacking alone through Central America.


When I first landed in Mexico, I was nervous to be embarking on my first solo backpacking trip. Wearily, I directed my taxi to take me to the busiest sounding hostel in my guidebook. I felt like I had newbie written all over my face. I nervously walked in, eyes darting around trying to assess the friend potential of each of the other travelers, praying I’d make at least one friend.

Spoiler alert: I did. I made many friends! I made friends that night from all over the world that I ended up traveling with for the next few weeks and some I still even chat to today. Because, that’s what happens when you travel.

Anyone who wants to see the world, but is too nervous to go traveling on your own, don’t be. Going solo pushes you to get out of your shell and talk to people you would otherwise never connect with. By the same token, being a solo traveler comes with a strange gravitational pull that attracts other travelers to you. A person by themselves is much more approachable than a couple or group. You’ll find yourself being asked to join on day trips, share a taxi or grab a meal.

That’s not to say that you won’t ever be alone. Because you will. It’s an inescapable fact that at certain points you’ll be by yourself. But any solitary situations you might end up in will be worth it, because at your next destination you might find your new best friend, your soul mate or just an incredible group of people to explore the world with.

At the end of the day, no one can you teach how to travel alone. Once you experience it, you’ll know if solo travel is right for you. Until then, here are some more tips and tricks that I wish I knew before my first solo backpacking trip, that will make your trip as smooth and worry free as possible.



Traveling Alone? Be Prepared

I’m not saying you can’t spontaneously book a trip and be a plane the next day. But a bit of preparation goes a long way, especially when traveling alone. When you’re traveling solo, everything is your responsibility. You don’t have anyone to rely on to make sure everything goes smoothly. Doing your research helps limit the amount of OMG moments that will inevitably pop up. Here is a basic list of things to research before your trip:

  • Make sure your passport doesn’t expire for at least 6 months (we’ve heard of friends who have been turned away at the airport for not having at least 6 months on their passport!)
  • Have a proof of return ticket if the country you’re flying to requires proof of onward travel (ie. they don’t want you moving there on the downlow!)
  • Check if the country you’re traveling to requires you to have a visa
  • Bring some cash (you never know if your ATM card is going to be denied)
  • Research which vaccinations you need and get them!


Packing for Solo Travel

Unless you’re traveling to a super remote destination, you’ll probably be able to purchase most things abroad if you forget something at home. But it’s nice to feel assured that you’re traveling with everything you need before you step on the plane. When you’re backpacking by yourself, you don’t have the opportunity to borrow something from a friend. These are some items that we never travel without:



Buy Travel Insurance (When Backpacking Solo or Whenever!)

I can’t stress this enough. If you’re traveling solo and something goes wrong, the last thing you want to be stressing about is how much this emergency is going to cost you. Whether it’s a hospital visit or getting your phone stolen, you’ll want insurance to cover you. We’ve used our insurance unexpectedly so many times on the road. At best, you’ve paid for it and don’t need it and at worst, it saves you from going tens of thousands of dollars in debt. We love World Nomads because they’re affordable and we’ve never had any trouble collecting our insurance.



How to Meet People While Traveling

I know I said that meeting people is easy, and it is, but you do have to put yourself in situations that give you an opportunity to meet others. Hostels are a great place to meet travelers, if you’re cool with the young, backpacker vibe. Not all hostels are massive party hostels either. You can usually find a good mix on HostelWorld, from rager hostels to lowkey chill ones.

If you’re not a hostel person, it’s a little tougher to meet people at a hotel or Airbnb. There are great online resources though for meeting others. Couchsurfing is a good resource where you can stay with and meet up with locals or other travelers. They often host meetups in busy cities where big groups gather to chat about travel.

There are also some really popular Facebook groups for travelers where you can find travel buddies to go on the road with. If you’re looking for the best places to travel alone, females centered groups like Girls Love Travel and the Girl Crew Facebook groups and app have great advice. Plus there are lots of friendly locals and travelers who are keen to meet up!


Best Places to Travel Alone

Some places are easier to backpack solo than others. If you really think that you’ll want to be isolated from other travelers during the duration of your trip, look for more obscure destinations and consider traveling in the off season. If you want to be around other travelers and perhaps find travel partners, definitely look to more well known destinations. It doesn’t have to be Paris in the middle of high season, but at least consider a more well-traveled region.

Travelling alone in Europe, for example, may be easier your first time than travelling alone in remote areas of Africa. Most regions have a “backpacker trail” that travelers tend to follow. This can be a perfect place to start if you’re taking your first solo trip. You can always wander off to more obscure destinations and come back to the main areas if you get lonely. A quick Google search will make it easier to find out the best places to backpack alone. 

For example, my first backpacking trip I started in Mexico and ended in Costa Rica. There were definite backpacker hotspots like San Cristobal in Mexico, Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, Utila in Honduras and Bocas del Toro in Panama. At some point during my 3 month adventure, I felt like being by myself to have some quiet time for reflection. I decided to visit a smaller town on Lake Atitlan that receives much fewer visitors. Having that small break was perfect for recharging my batteries before hopping back on the backpacker trail to be social again.

The time of year plays a huge factor as well. We’ve visited locations that have been packed, only to return during low season and find them almost deserted. Plan your trip accordingly depending on whether you’re trying to avoid crowds or find your travel tribe.


Keep Your Plans Open

One of the best things about traveling by yourself is that you can make your own schedule! Even if you love to plan ahead, leave room in your itinerary for the unexpected. You may find new friends who will convince you to ditch your travel plans and join their adventure. Or you may realize that the travel destination you had your heart set on doesn’t live up to your expectations. Keeping a flexible schedule will allow you to adapt to the unexpected.

Obviously there are certain travel plans you’ll have to make ahead of time, like purchasing flights and booking hotels in high season. Besides booking reservations for things that will sell out or increase in price, try to avoid putting deposits down on anything. Having the opportunity to make last minute changes to your travels will open you up to amazing opportunities.



Plan Ahead: Best Way to Stay Safe When Backpacking Alone

I know, I just recommended to keep your plans open,  but planning ahead (a little bit!) can be really helpful in the long run. Traveling solo is an incredible experience, but it does come with a certain level of risk. Women especially have to be aware of their surroundings and take caution. Researching destinations ahead of time can help keep you out of any sketchy areas or at least avoid walking through sketchy areas at night.

While I was traveling solo through Central America, I stayed overnight in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which happened to be the murder capital of the world at the time. I took a taxi from my hostel at 4 am and was dropped off at a deserted field that doubled as one of the bus stops to the ferry port. I sat by myself in that field until a couple of men showed up and just stared at me. Eventually more people arrived to catch the bus and the sun broke through the darkness, but for a while I was pretty nervous. The moral of the story is to know your travel route before you leave your accommodation and be aware if you’re traveling through one of the most dangerous cities by yourself at night!

To be clear, I’m not saying to fall for the media sensationalism around the dangers of travel. Most places around the world are perfectly safe. Just because one traveler had an unfortunate incident somewhere doesn’t make that place unsafe. People travel around every country in the world everyday and 99% of them finish their travels completely unharmed. Push the boundaries, visit countries that will shock your friends back home and go get some epic stories. Just stay aware of what’s happening around you and avoid situations that don’t feel right.


If you found our trips helpful, check out these travel resources for solo travelers that we highly recommend:


Best Way to Find Cheap Plane Tickets 

Skyscanner – We love Skyscanner because they always give you the best comparisons of different airlines. They also have a function where you can put in your departure city and then click “Everywhere” as your destination. This will show you the cheapest flights around the world for your dates. Perfect inspiration for daydreaming about your next getaway!

Scott’s Cheap Flights – This email subscription service has taken the travel world by storm. You can sign up for a free membership or pay for premium and the service sends you amazing flight deals straight to your inbox. Some of the deals are error fares and you can fly around the world for incredibly cheap. We highly recommend the premium service so you don’t miss out on anything!


Best Way to Find Accommodation

HostelWorld – Our go to platform for finding hostels. They have a wide range listed with pricing for dorms and privates, as well as reviews for each hostel. When we each traveled solo we loved staying in hostels! – We use Booking for our hotels. They have a really comprehensive range of options from low end to high end. We always find something that fits our travel perfectly!

Airbnb – Airbnb can be a good option for solo travelers if you want a few quiet nights to yourself. You can also book a private room in a house where you can have your own space but have the opportunity to meet others. Want to try it out? Click here and receive $30USD towards your first stay!



Best Way to Find Tours

Get Your Guide – This website has listings for tours and guides all over the world. From tours around the Louvre in Paris to safaris in South Africa, they really have it all. They also have reviews of each tour so you can get an idea of the quality, as they are all run by different tour operators.


Best Way to Book Transportation

Blacklane – We love taking public transportation when we travel, but sometimes we need to splurge on some private transport. Nothing feels more chic than stepping off the plane and finding a chauffeur holding a sign with your name on it, then slipping in to your private car.

AutoEurope – If you’re heading to Europe and want to rent a car (European road trips are the best!), AutoEurope is a great platform to compare quotes and cars.

Our Bed Bucketlist: 7 Of The Most Amazing Places To Sleep In The World

So far our travels have seen us sleeping in many dirty hostels, a couple couches and even an airport floor. Our backpacker’s budget doesn’t stretch far enough to cover any of these amazing places but someday we might just find ourselves knocking these off our bucketlist. Until then, a girl can dream!


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International Highline Meeting– Italy

Not quite a hotel, but an undeniably incredible sleeping experience nonetheless. We’re not sure we’d actually have the balls to even get in the hammock, let alone have a decent night sleep. Especially for a sleepwalker, like myself, this could be disaster! Still, you wouldn’t be able to beat that view in any other bed.


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Hotel Kakslauttanen– Finland

You know that tropical beach destination trip you’ve been daydreaming about? The one where you’re baking in the sun, margarita in hand? This is pretty much the opposite. You’ll want to bundle up before checking into your own private igloo. Don’t worry, each room is insulated to keep you cozy while star-gazing or, if you’re lucky, a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This one tops our bucketlist.


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Het Arresthuis– The Netherlands

Before you start imagining the cold confines of Alcatraz, this renovated hotel prison provides luxury while being behind bars. The halls still very much look like a jail but the cells have been tricked out and turned into lush rooms. You can participate in a jail-house dinner and even get decked out in a prisoner’s uniform.


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High Ropes Forest– Germany

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen this enchanting photo kicking around the internet. Like me, you might have thought that this was some beautifully dreamt up fantasy, the work of a creative Photoshop expert. But I am happy to announce that this is not only real, but also open to the public! Reserve your own private tent and enjoy the view!


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Costa Verde Hotel– Costa Rica

If you have a phobia of plane crashes, I’d probably skip this one. Otherwise, what cooler place to sleep than inside of a real jumbo jet? The plane has been placed among the trees (it didn’t crash there) and decked out to accommodate two gorgeous bedrooms.


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Poseidon Resorts– Fiji

This five-star hotel is the world’s first underwater resort. Located on a private island in Fiji, this uber-luxury accommodation has all the amenities you’d ever want in a resort. But if we could ever in a million years afford to stay here, I think I’d just spend hours in my room watching the marine world go by.


Have you slept somewhere truly spectacular? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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