What People Never Tell You About Traveling

Most people keep the bad bits out of blogs, or when talking about travel experiences, obviously nobody wants to be a kill joy but bad things do happen when traveling long term especially when you get further from the beaten path. I’ve listed a few things that people never tell you about traveling below, this is only to help you prepare yourself for what to expect.

Even with the handful of negatives I’ve written about, nothing can take away from how absolutely amazing long term traveling is, it will change your life completely in all the best ways imaginable and we both recommend it for EVERYONE.

1. You will get home sick. I think about family at home every single day, and even though FaceTime and WhatsApp make talking to people back home really easy, it’s still not the same as a face to face conversation. I dream about meeting my parents at Newcastle airport all the time.

2. Your going to get ill at least once. There’s no avoiding getting ill when traveling, we’re so lucky in Europe but we are a little spoiled and our stomachs just aren’t used to anything other than perfect hygiene standards. A fully stocked first aid kit should always be the first thing on your packing list.

3. Things rarely go to plan. The upside of this one is that locals are used to this and it’s super easy to change your plans along the way. Just make sure that anything you book has free cancellation, especially if your booking a while in advance.

4. You will see poverty. When you get out of the main tourist areas I can guarantee that you will see poverty, it’s heartbreaking and unfortunately you can’t help everyone. There are posts online and even in a lonely planet guide that I read about how giving to beggars can actually make their situation worse. The truth is that there is no right or wrong thing to do and every situation is different, all you can do is to do what you think is best.

5. It rains a lot. We see so many photos in magazines and online of perfect white beaches with turquoise water and a clear blue sky, and think it’s like that all the time. I used to complain about the rain in England all the time, but we don’t even get it that bad in comparison to Malaysia or the Maldives for example.

6. The language barrier can be an issue. We tried to learn basic words while traveling, hello, thank you, how much?, where is?, etc, but unless you speak the language fluently then you will come across problems from time to time, it can be frustrating but problems always have a way of resolving themselves. Even if you have to ask a random person in a shop to help you translate.

So yes, there are times when I find traveling stressful or exhausting, and I sometimes hate feeling like a homeless nomad, but I wouldn’t trade in this 1 year adventure for anything, I feel like the luckiest person on the planet to have seen and experienced so much of the world.

Ashleigh xxx

How to Haggle

Haggling or bargaining is expected in most countries, I’ve got abit of a head start being a professional buyer means that I’ve had my fair share of practice but it can be daunting if you’re not used to it. I’ve listed a few tips below that will help you along the way if you’re completely new to haggling. 

  1. It will be expected that you will try to haggle the price, because of this, the first price offered is almost always inflated. Never accept the first price. 
  2. A little bit of local knowledge goes a long way. Knowing what something should cost, gives you a good starting point. A quick google search can give you an estimate of taxi prices per KM etc. You can save a fortune by just spending 10 minutes online before your fly.
  3. If you are taking a taxi, always agree the price before you get in, it’s to late too try and haggle after the event. 
  4. Don’t be afraid to walk away, if the vendor is being uncooperative then the chances are you will find another one who is willing just around the corner. Never feel pressured into paying to much.
  5. Most importantly, remember to be realistic and ethical, sure you can buy this £2 sunglasses for £1 if you try hard enough, but is it really worth it? Remember that the vendors all have families to feed and bills to pay. There’s nothing wrong with expecting to pay a fair price, but make sure it’s fair for both sides.

Some people will argue that if you can afford to travel to a foreign country then you are instantly richer than the majority of its population and therefore should be willing to pay over the odds to help the local economy. However by paying to much you can have a negative effect by inflating prices for the local people and pricing them out of the market.

Let me know if you found this useful.

Ashleigh xxx

My Asia Bucket List 

With just a few days to go until our 1 year adventure, I’m most looking forward to spending 365 days alone with my perfect husband. But there are a few other things I’m looking forward to.

My dad bought me this massive wall map as soon as I told him that we were thinking of going long tern traveling. We’ve spent the past 6 months on Pinterest planning where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see.

A few day ago my friend asked me what my bucket list was. So, I thought I’d write down everything I want to do over the next year so that I don’t forget anything. Plus it will be fun to tick them off the list as we go!

1. Swim with turtles in the wild – Maldives

2. Release a baby turtles into the wild – Malaysia

3. See elephants in the wild – Sri Lanka

4. Hike along a section of the Great Wall – China

5. Attend a tea ceremony – Japan

6. See the Taj Mahal – India

7. See Everest (just see it, have no intention of climbing it ☺️) – Nepal

8. Sleep on the beach at least once – Wherever

9. Try food I’ve never even heard off – Everywhere

10. See a Komodo Dragon in the wild – Komodo Island

11. See an Orangutan in the wild – Borneo

12. Climb Adams Peak to watch the sun rise – Sri Lanka

13. See some bioluminescent plankton – Vietnam

14. See Pandas – China

15. Do yoga – Bali  

16. Get rid of my office butt and get really fit 😉 – Everywhere

I already feel like the luckiest girl on the planet, hopefully we can do as many of these things as possible, but even if we don’t, it’s going to be the greatest year ever.

My Top 5 Money Saving Tips

There are hundreds of blog posts out there explaining which airlines have the best rewards system etc., I won’t talk about that because most people will have read it a hundred times before. Below are a few little tips I have picked up on my travels and which have saved us A LOT of money. (Especially number 1.) Some of these you may have heard before, some you won’t.

1. Money

For those of you who haven’t heard of Martin Lewis, he is a UK based financial expert, he gives advice on regular TV appearances as well as his online blog. I’ve been following for years and one of the most interesting posts on his web page is about travel money, he spends €1,000 in 5 different ways then works out how much he has spent in GBP £. The best value for money as a specific oversees credit card which has no fees for spending foreign currency or withdrawing cash.

I applied for the card the same day I read this post and have never looked back. It’s really freeing to not have to worry about expensive back charges or carrying around a massive amount of cash.

Read the whole article here http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money 

2. Hotels

 I book almost everything on Hotels.com, you get a point for each night that you stay and once you get 10 points, you get a free night anywhere in the world. The amount your allowed to spend is an average of the 10 nights you have already paid for, but if you want to spend more you can just pay the difference. I’m keeping all my free nights for when we go somewhere expensive like Singapore, so that I don’t have to fork out quite as much for our hotel.

 

Traveling for a year, we would only need to pay for 10 ¾ month accommodation, the last 1 ¼ month would be completely free!

 3. Flights

If your flexible on dates, Skyskanner.com can show you the prices for a whole month and you can just pick the cheapest date, it’s a really good function that has saved us a fortune. Traveling on Saturdays or Sundays are usually the most expensive. 


If you’re really not fussy about where you go, they also have a function where you can search ‘everywhere’, it will list all the direct flights on that day and list them in price order, cheapest first. I’ve done this a few times when I just need a beach and don’t care where it is.

 

4. Shopping

If you’re traveling to Asia or Africa, make sure that you buy your sun screen before you go. It’s really expensive once you are away because its usually been imported. We saw a normal bottle of sunscreen in which was approx. £10 at home for £45 in Vietnam! 

5. Travel Insurance

Never ever buy travel insurance from your travel agent, I was once quoted £107/pp for insurance on a 5 day mini break to NYC, that just ridiculous. Use a comparison site like confused.com or comparethemarket.com to look up the best deals, in the end I got worldwide travel insurance for a full year for only £32 per couple. That’s a £182 saving.

So that’s our top 5 tips, short and sweet, if you have any other tips, please share them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading,

Ashleigh and Sean