Ever since Austin and I met, we were traveling together. The first month we were dating, we rang in the new year by traveling to Canada for a week together, and visited Las Vegas for a week 6 months later. Just 3 months after that, we traveled to San Francisco on a west coast road trip where we got engaged. Only about 3 months after that, we traveled to Southern California (via road trip as well!) to decide if we wanted to move there. About 3 months after that, we moved all our stuff from Olympia Washington to Southern California at just 19 years old. We constantly traveled back and forth to Washington, almost always driving.
In 2014, we attached a tow hitch to our Mini Cooper. We sold all our belongings and purchased a teardrop trailer, attached it to the Mini, and traveled on the road full time for nearly a year. We ended up ending our trip early (more on our Teardrop USA Adventure in another post series), and deciding we wanted to make beautiful Monterey, California our forever home base. After moving to Monterey, we took another 5- state cross-country road trip to Texas.
A few months after that, we took a very spontaneous work-trip to Ciudad Obregon, Mexico for about a week. I’m pretty sure we were the only Americans there.
About a year after that, we took a two week excursion to Maui, HI where we ended up traveling the entire perimeter of the island (a huge achievement for us!). About two years after that (just a few months ago, actually) we traveled to Tamarindo, Costa Rica for a week for our first destination wedding, returning only to set off again to spend two weeks in Washington for the holidays. In December 2017 we traveled over 10,000 miles alone.
We are currently finalizing our travel plans for summer 2018 in Thailand and Singapore, as well as a destination Oregon wedding this year. #alltheadventuresplease
Sprinkle in a few CA to WA trips here and there, and a few more Vegas trips (I lost track, honestly) and we’ve been all over, and traveled in so many different fashions. Over our hundreds of thousands of miles, we’ve amassed quite a few tips and tricks to make traveling (regardless of destination) easier and quicker, and sometimes cheaper!
The photos in here are from our Costa Rica trip! I will be sharing all our amazing stories in a later post in our personal posts section. Some of which might be a little fuzzy thanks to the crazy humidity but, hey, that’s half the fun of traveling!
I’ll spare you the Pinterest-esque travel tips like “how to pack light” and the obvious tips like travel safety, planning transportation ahead of time, etc.
1. Pack less, and buy some clothes when you get there. Allow yourself time to shop (if you enjoy shopping)!
We always used to over pack, not wear half of what we packed, and always wanting to buy the local clothing instead of souvenirs. A perfect example, our Hawaii trip was in November. I couldn’t find swimsuits anywhere beforehand. When we got there, they had so many adorable options for way less money than I expected! Had I known, I would’ve left far more room in my suitcase and just waited to explore upon our arrival. We took that insight when we went to Costa Rica and actually left an entire suitcase almost entirely empty with the expectation we’d get some clothing and gifts for family. I had no idea what to pack for Costa Rica and decided to go with the basics. Everything else I wanted, I ended up getting while I was there and now I love having summer clothing from our trip that I can wear later this year! It’s seriously such a fun way to experience the local culture and have a useful take-away. *disclaimer* as for clothing, I’m not talking about buying tank tops that say “COSTA RICA” all over them, I’m talking about traveling deep into town and finding where the locals shop for unique pieces you likely can’t find elsewhere in the world.
2. Never underestimate a bathroom shower/refresher. Bring wet wipes. During our Teardrop travels, we didn’t always have access to a full shower, but always needed to freshen up. We like to always, always bring along these Neutrogena Cleansing Makeup Remover Facial Wipes everywhere we go. Especially when you travel to humid areas, these are perfect for keeping you feeling refreshed and cool! They’re so mild and effective, and leave you feeling refreshed! It’s so nice to be able to wash your face and they work well anywhere else on your body as well! The neutral scent is perfect for both men and women, and the familiarity of using them at home and while we travel provides a subconscious comfort level as well. Highly recommended.
3. Invest in the right suitcase and versatile bags! Tumi is an amazing, amazing brand! Good luggage makes all the difference whether you’re traveling across the state, or across the globe. Our low-budget hard shell carry on broke in the middle of the Mexico City airport going through TSA and we lost an hour dealing with it. Luckily we had a long enough layover and got it fixed, but that’s not always the case. We like to invest in bags that can be flattened and stored within other bags for ease of travel once we reach our destination. My Jo Totes camera bag is so convenient as a personal item when I remove all my camera padding. It also folds flat and stores so easily when it’s empty.
4. Print your documents! I forgot my license once but had a photocopied paper version and it saved me so much stress. This may seem overkill to some, but we always print copies of our identification, our confirmations (flight, hotel, locations) and try and get as many backup paper resources as we can. I try to buy a book on where we are going as well for local reference (even translation books if you are traveling somewhere you don’t speak the local language) and maps – never underestimate how useful the original paper resources truly are, even in the age of technology. You won’t have reliable service or WiFi everywhere you go, so don’t plan around digital accessibility.
5. Keep a healthy mix of planned and unplanned activities. Think “we’ll be in this area this day, that area the other” instead of trying to plan every minute of every day packed with activities. Our time on Maui was so much fun and such an overwhelming success in my opinion because we did a few things; we split up our stay between the two areas of the island (more southern and more northern) so we could explore the entire island. We also didn’t plan a vast majority of our trip. We sectioned off the areas of the island mentally and decided a plan that looked something like this: Day 1. Southwest part of the island. Must see’s include: Kihei Caffe and the sugar farms. Day 2. Explore the beaches in the Southwest side of the island and so on. By planning our trip in such a laid back fashion and with so little pressure, we were able to see so much more than we could have ever expected and the vibe of our entire trip was so low pressure and FUN.
Do you love to travel? What are your top travel tips or favorite destinations? We’d love to hear in the comments below!