Before I left on my trip, I literally scoured the internet for hours and hours in search of all the tips and tricks I could find that would help me plan my trip, create a budget and design a travel route that both made sense and included the places I had dreamed of traveling to one day. Sure, you can just buy a ticket and go but a little research and planning can go a long way towards getting the most out of your trip (and your money)!
“The Big Trip” by Lonely Planet
While trying to plan out my trip around the world, I really had no idea where to start. I did do a lot research of course on other people’s travel blogs as well as the internet in general but this book really helped me put it all together and also find the answers to some of my more pressing questions such as whether I should work or volunteer during my trip, how to organize my travel route and how take into consideration things such as festivals along the way and also how to narrow down the places I wanted to go and how to budget.
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
Most of you have already read this book. Congratulations on that. If it’s been more than a few years, I suggest reading it again, mainly for its ability to inspire you to take action. Its not about planning nor is it mainly about traveling itself. Instead it is a story about the dreams and aspirations that are within us all and finding the courage to go after those dreams. It’ll help put things in perspective for you and get a clearer picture of what you want in life and offers up a great story that exemplifies how to go after your dreams, travel related or not.
“The Four Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris
Ok, so this book is not strictly about travel but both long term world travel and short term travel are both centered around lifestyle design. He does a great job helping you get to that place where life is lived on your own terms.
AMAZINGLY USEFUL SITES
One of the best sites to navigate train travel all over the world. The site provides hard to find information on train travel including useful advice for the Trans Siberian railway and many other routes.
If you’re planning a trip that will involve changing currencies often, I’d go ahead and bookmark this site. It is by far the quickest and best one out there for current exchange rates. I found myself using it on an almost daily basis!
A great go-to source for world wide travel information. This site is based around input from travelers from all over and because the information that is shared gets uploaded to the site so quickly, it is often much better and accurate than the guide books that come out every year since they take such a long time to edit and publish. In other words, its a wonderful up-to-date resource with tons of helpful travel info and travel alerts!
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one or likely use this one on a regular basis. Trip Advisor offers travelers a great reference point for honest and unbiased reviews on everything from hotels and restaurants to other places of interest.
A great and affordable way to travel around the world and stay in all sorts of unique accommodations. Everything from homes and apartments to castles, tree houses and yachts. This growing online network started in 2008 and offers travelers a place to stay all over the world at every price point imaginable.
A great way to travel on the cheap as well as meet people from all around the world! The site is made up of a huge network of both hosts and travelers in more than 100,000 cities. It allows travelers to stay on their “Host’s”couch for free and in turn, its a great way for hosts to meet travelers around the world. I have had great success with this site.
This is probably the one site I used more during my travels than any other. They have a network of thousands of hostels, hotels, and guesthouses throughout the world and have the most user-friendly website when trying to map out and screen through many different places to stay. Also the feedback written by previous travelers is extremely helpful when trying to decide where to stay.
Another great site for booking hostels. Here is the quick run down… Use HostelWorld for researching as they have the best map features and the greatest number of useful customer reviews, basically a more user-friendly site overall. But then go to Hostelbookers.com to actually book the hostel you’ve chosen. They don’t charge any fees while HostelWorld charges $1.50 each time you book a room! Maybe it’ll take you a bit more time to do this but savings can be in the hundreds on a long term trip for sure.
This was the one store I spent the most time in preparing for my trip. Everything from travel towels to backpacks. They have it here… quality gear, clothing and footwear for traveling. All products are backed by a 100% guarantee.
Having such a passion for taking great photos and video while traveling and also getting so many questions on what I use and what I recommend, I decided to help others by putting together this article on defining what’s important to consider in a camera and weighing all the pros and cons within each top rated camera in its class.
You’ve likely heard of Wwoofing your way around the world. It’s an organization that connects people that are looking to volunteer and work on organic farms in exchange for food and a place to sleep. They are in the majority of countries and have a great reputation around the world.
Located just outside of Vang Vieng in Laos, this is one organization I can personally recommend after having spent time there myself doing volunteer work. The organization has a clear purpose, is open to everyone and doesn’t require much advance notice in order to volunteer. For my experience there, you can check out this blog post.
Thorn Tree Forum
This is Lonely Planet’s online traveler forum and an amazing place to connect with other travelers, seek advice and research destinations based on feedback from other travelers that have already been there. It’s also a great place to ask the advice of your planned itinerary before you embark on your trip. Often, you’ll get some very candid opinions on your travel route and plans. It can also be a great method to link up with other travelers especially when traveling alone. This is how I came to partner up with another traveler that wanted to drive the Ring Road in Iceland with me and it worked out great.
Cheaper than most other sites and allows you to search for a flight +/- 3 days of your departure which typically translates to substantial savings for the flexible traveler. It also allows you to choose a monthly option that affords even more flexibility and searches across a wide platform of flight options.
This is usually where I’ll find the absolute cheapest flights. In fact, I have yet to find one that has been found cheaper elsewhere. Like Kayak, it also allows a lot of flexibly in searching for a cheap flight without locking you into a set date to search from.
By far the most popular blogging platform out there (and its free) – you just need to choose a domain and hosting plan and you’re ready to blog away!
My new favorite way to share and store photos online. I believe its one of the best ways to present photos as well as categorize them.
After many many months of traveling, I have finally caved in and purchased Lightroom over the standard photo editing done on my Mac via iPhoto. I’m still learning the software so I can’t speak to its usability and advantages yet but I know it’ll be much more dynamic and robust than what I have been accustomed to. Will check back in soon with an update on this…
Since starting my travels, I’ve gone from using a very small Sony compact camera to then using a Canon Powershot S95. It is about as close to a manual/adjustable camera as you’ll find in a small compact point and shoot that takes amazing photos. About half of all my photos taken on this travel blog so far were taken with this camera. After wanting more features and benefits from what I’d been using, I finally upgraded to a Canon DSLR and started with a T2i. Since then, there have been many newer models that have come out but for me, this one works great. However, having wanted something of equal quality and smaller size, I opted to move towards a Micro 4/3 (mirrorless) camera and an Olympus OM-D was just what I was looking for. If you are considering getting a new camera for your travels and having trouble deciding, I wrote an all inclusive article on choosing the Best Camera for Travel Photography. Within that article, there is probably more information and research than you’d ever want or need and I hope I don’t have to write another article like that however, I hope it really helps!
Macbook Air and iPad
These two devices have been my lifesavers when it comes to blogging, internet and everything in between. Why two computers? Well it didn’t start out that way. I started with a cheap Asus (sorry Asus but the lemon I bought was purposely left for dead in Nepal). I finally added a Macbook Air to partner with my iPad and was never left with out battery charge with a combined 15+ hours of battery life between the two. If I had to choose one, it would definitely be the Macbook Air simply because of the functionality but really, unless your blogging or running an online business while traveling, a simple iPhone or smartphone would do just fine to surf and check emails.
Online storage – another great thing to have while traveling. It always amazed me how many travelers I’d met along the way that had either lost their cameras or unfortunately had them stolen. Whether you back up your pictures on a USB device, keep them on your computer or store them on separate memory cards, its still always smart to keep your photos and other data in cyberspace. Dropbox and others such as Carbonite will usually offer free storage up to a point but even if having to pay for additional storage, it’s still well worth it at $10 or $20 per month. You can’t put a price on your memories and when it comes to photos, I’d rather have someone steal my camera than my memory card inside the camera