Travelling is a priority for us.
It’s not even a matter of considering if we could be happy just staying still for a while. It’s not even a case of limiting ourselves by our mostly tiny budget. It is simply this; we absolutely love being places we don’t recognise, walking with people we may never speak with again, and we chose to make it a priority in our life. Emmy could learn about all of the places we go by Googling, or hitting up Encarta ’95 (a joke for us oldies), and she could still learn about culture and worldliness through social media, again Googling, and reading books. But she’d miss the smells of spice and street stalls, she’d miss the snowflakes falling into her hands, she’d miss the feeling of the Northern Hemisphere sun warming her face, and the Pacific breeze flowing through her hair.
There are many, many things in life we are content to miss out on. But travelling is not one of them.
So we find ways to make it happen.
Here’s our top travel tips so far:
- DON’T eat your money. At home, on the road, on weekly trips to the supermarket, we do not eat our money. Obviously if you don’t eat you will die. Don’t be too dramatic in your pursuit of cheap airfares. All I’m saying is don’t waste money on food. Shop to a list made from a menu planner, buy and cook in bulk when you can, make packed lunches, and buy fruit from cute little roadside honesty boxes. We LOVE food. All of the food. It’s great! But we buy smart. Meat on sale that needs to be frozen quickly or eaten even quicker, in season produce, and hardly any crap in packets. Pre-made stocks and seasoning packets are such a waste of money. Colourful food-like substances marketed as kids’ snacks are a joke. When we travel we always take our own breakfast and lunch foods so the only meal of the day we need to buy is dinner. This saves us so much money, and that money we can then spend on experiences. Or ice creams at the zoo.
- Lux Accommodation is money down the drain. When we are on holiday, we plan to spend every single moment we can out exploring, and looking, and finding. Fancy hotels are wasted on us. We travel for the adventures, not for the thousand thread count Egyptian cotton sheets at The Hilton. We use sites like http://www.booking.com or http://www.airbnb.co.nz (our new fav) to find super cheap accommodation. Emmy’s favourite holiday’s have been spent in 8bed dorms in backpackers filled with bustle and accents, and tales of travel that inspire us. That is what we want. Grassroots travel filled with life. http://www.airbnb.co.nz is great because you are staying in real people’s homes, and usually these people love travel too so there is many a good yarn to be spun. It also means we have managed to wrangle an adorable waterfront cottage for 3 whole nights while we are in Wellington next week for less than the price of one night at The Duxton. Win!
- Bargain Hunt! I bargain hunt like an absolute maniac. For the few weeks before any planned missions (planning is key) I spend a few minutes everyday checking http://www.bookme.co.nz and http://www.grabone.co.nz to get the best prices on any activities we are planning to do. We also grab meal vouchers when they come up so that we can enjoy a couple of fancy dining experiences without breaking the bank. You also just have to learn to be less fussy. Years ago corporate box seats at the rugby would’ve been pretty normal. This time around we look for tickets in the family zone (no alcohol allowed in these zones, total bonus) but still close enough to catch a sneaky selfie with try scorers in our corner. Our best finds for this trip so far are Ice Skating for $4, 3 nights waterfront accommodation for $117, tickets to a big Super Rugby game at the CakeTin for $39, a $40 Teppenyaki Restaurant voucher for $20, and kayak hire for $10.
- Do FREE things. They’re free. That means they cost nothing. We always plan to fill out our trips with activities that cost nothing but effort. Botanical Gardens, walks up local tracks to look outs, exploring the waterfront, and walking to destinations rather than driving. You get to see so much more of where you are, and get a real feel for the place and the people. Also, it’s free ($NZ0).
- Plan ahead. Have a plan which includes your budget, and stick to it. Or try and beat it, that’s what we always aim for. We also plan our activities to minimise travel (and time spent in traffic) and parking fees. All the little things add up so we try to waste as little as possible. We also plan our days around what we’re eating. We always eat breakfast before we head out for they day, over pack snacks and sandwiches just in case we get an attack of the greed, and we buy treats from the supermarket rather than dairy’s or fancy stores. Planning ahead means knowing where you’ll be, what you’ll need, and minimises impulse spending.
- FOMO is real. You will never remember that night you were too tired. Just do all of the things! Sore feet from walking all day? Go anyway. Do it anyway. There’s a small chance you many not get to do these things again, so #yolo and drag yourself out the door and just do it. Don’t miss out on things just because you’ve had a long day. It’ll be an even longer life spent regretting the fact that you didn’t go. (Please don’t drive tired, that’s just silly). You’ll be amazed at how far you can get fueled only by enthusiasm and #fomo.
- Prioritise! Make peace with the fact that you won’t always be able to do everything that you want to.Make a list of everything you absolutely MUST do, figure out what you can actually afford, and what the weather will allow, and then let everything else go. Time spent lamenting things you cannot change is pointless. Don’t let it ruin what will still be an amazing time, and that you are still somewhere completely new and exciting, which is an adventure in itself. Count your blessings!
- Be prepared to sacrifice. Making travelling a priority means missing out on other stuff. Unless we win the lotto, we will continue to sacrifice in other area’s of life so that we can continue our nomadic lifestyle. It means we’ll be cancelling MySky after the Olympic Games are done, it means I hardly ever get new clothes (minus the jacket I just SnapChatted), it means sometimes having to say No to dinner invites or lunch dates, and skimping everywhere we can in our daily life to make sure that our travel fund never gets too low. It might sound like First World problems, but outside of travelling (and really includes when we travel too) we live a very simple life.
- Have fun! Smile! Laugh! Travel with someone you love and can trust enough to be stuck in a car with for hours and hours at a time. Make the travel time part of the adventure. Play music too loudly and sing along even when you don’t know the words. Drive with the windows down when it’s hot instead of using aircon, and put your hand out the window to air surf. Take lots of photos along the way at all the new town Welcome signs and at giant carrot or jumping trout statues. Go to the parks, enjoy the fresh air, walk in the rain like crazy lovestruck idiots, and enjoy the fact that no-one knows your name. Cut loose, just enjoy yourself.
- Keep it humble. We know how lucky we are, and we never ever take our life for granted. We know that so many people would love to be doing what we’re doing but simply can’t. We know that however simply we do it, travelling is a luxury that too many cannot afford, and we feel incredibly blessed and humbled to be truly living a life that we love. I’m lucky to have made myself my very own like-minded traveller and I feel honoured to be able to show her how tiny we are in this vast and overwhelmingly incredible universe.
So there it is. Travel tips from the overenthusiastic, middle tier experienced adventure team that is Emmy & Me. Our next adventure starts in a little over 48hrs but we plan to make the most of those countdown hours with our family too. We’ll be blogging about our experiences along the way but for a more unscripted, unedited, and embarrassing look into how we actually roll, feel free to check out our journey on Snapchat (emmyandme13).