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Best International Places To Travel With Toddlers (first-hand experience)

Traveling with young kids aka toddlers and babies can be a lot of fun. But only if you choose the right destination and know what to bring. That’s why we compiled a list of best international places to travel with toddlers to make your next family vacation a fun memory.

Additionally, we asked other travel bloggers to share their best countries to travel with toddlers to make this post a first-hand experience guide only!

(Note: Traveling today is possible but require a bit more of planning ahead. Make sure you meet all the requirements before buying your flights tickets.)

Blog graphic pink background with white letters saying 'Best international places to travel with toddlers'; on the right side: a toddler walking in the sand with a bucket in his hand.
Do you agree with best international places to travel with toddlers need to include the beach? Yes? 😉

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How to define the best international places to travel with toddlers anyways?

The word “best” is so individually different, that I think I’ll need to explain first what “best” means for us. Then, you’ll be able to check if that resonates with your preferences too. So, for us, the best international places to travel with toddlers have the following on offer:

  • Safety
  • Fun
  • Good Company
  • Healthy food options

Let me explain further! 

Safety first, that is a no-brainer! I think hardly anyone would like to travel to an unsafe country – especially with your children in tow. So, you will only find safe countries or places that are on our list.

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And then, you should choose your next family travel destination in accordance with the amount of fun you can expect there. By fun I mean, is there a lot to do? Will you find lush nature or a wide variety of kid-friendly activities? In general, can you expect to have fun there, whatever fun means for you?

Last but not least, for us, it is crucial to know in advance that we will be in good company. By this, I mean other families. Since Vincent, our oldest, turned 2 years old, we noticed that it became more and more important to him to play with other kids – at some point we were simply too boring for him. So, we make it our priority to check in advance if we will be able to find other travel families before we go.

And then, we always feel best if there are vegan food options available. We have been vegan for three years and focus on healthy, plant-based, and nutritious food. We know a few places that are ideal for vegans but some aren’t. Currently, we enjoy the various options here in Thailand and are grateful for being spoiled on such a high level. In places like Bolivia or Argentina, where we travelled before having kids and before our shift in awareness about food happened, we would have probably not been able to eat as healthy and balanced as we can now.

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Our Top 5 Best International Places To Travel With Toddlers:

1. Koh Phangan, Thailand

Our favourite place is Koh Phangan, Thailand for the above reasons. That’s why I will list it here first as our number one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.

Thai people are so in love with children, they literally freak out when they see a baby or small child. So, everywhere we go, we feel very welcomed and loved – which is wonderful and important when being in a foreign country, I think!

Plus, Thailand and, especially this island, feels very safe. We never have to worry about our stuff when we are on the beach or walking in the streets. Not like in other places where you always keep a hand on your bag afraid of pickpocket tricks or similar things.

This is our fourth time on this island and the second one with children. We love coming here because it is also a winter getaway for families from Europe. As a consequence, we have many German and English speaking families surrounding us, which helps our son with communication and connecting.

Insider Tip: Koh Ma Beach Resort is THE place to stay if you love a right-by-the-beach location and a huge swimming pool!

A family standing next to big pool in a resort in Thailand - one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
Our kids loved the pool and staying at Koh Ma Beach Resort.. it became our “home” for three months!

Reasons why you’ll love Koh Phangan

We’ve made many friends here, and most importantly, our sons have found playmates who they play with on a daily basis. For me, as a mum, this is really important, because if my kids are happy and have social contact, I am happy too.

There are also a lot of activities for young and old. If you are into yoga, dancing, art and all connected with bodywork and spirituality – this is your place to visit. Also for kids, there are playgroups, learning activities and sports that they can try out.

A mother and her toddler in turquoise water.
Koh Phangan has so many kid-friendly beaches – it’s just paradise!

Lastly, Thai food is yummy but not your healthiest choice aka mostly fried. So, if you are, like us, consciously choosing ‘clean’ food, you will find yourself in vegan heaven on Koh Phangan. Especially in Sritanu, one of the popular areas for families and anyone who is on a spiritual journey, there are plenty of restaurants with a focus on healthy eating.

Perhaps you want to read more about this island, you can do this here in our extensive guide on Koh Phangan for digital nomad families.

See for yourself why we decided to stay in Koh Phangan and why we think, it’s one of the best international places to travel with toddlers!

2. La Palma, Spain

Another island makes it onto our list of best international places to travel with toddlers, yes. This is a very special one for us. Why? Because Niklas, our little one, was born there. We spent six months on La Palma in 2019, from the end of March till the end of August. We rented out a little Finca on the East Coast of the island (bad choice weatherwise as it’s the more humid/rainy side!) and enjoyed some wonderful quiet months there.

A pregnant woman with her toddler sitting at the beach in one of the best international places to travel with toddlers, La Palma.
9 months pregnant here – sitting and playing in the sand was one of the favorite activities back then! 🙂

Our son was born at home without the help of anyone. This wasn’t exactly our plan but this is a whole different story. 🙂 What we really enjoyed was to be able to stay on a very secluded and private property to prepare for birth and enjoy our time as a new family.

As soon as we were ready to socialise again, we loved the fact that there is a big community of alternatively living families, expats and travel families there. So, Wednesdays and Sundays, we went to the gatherings on the West Coast of La Palma, at Tazacorte Beach, to mingle with other families and let Vincent play with the kids.

Best beach on La Palma

If you love scenic routes, rough cliffs and steep mountains, you will love the nature on La Palma. It is also great for hiking. One of our favorite beaches you can only reach by foot after a 20 minute hike, it’s called Playa de Nogales. So worth the steep steps you’ll take!

A mother with her toddler standing on a staircase right at the border of steep cliffs on the way to Playa Nogales, La Palma.
This is not your easiest hike to a beach but it’s worth every step!

Foodwise, we found some healthy options to eat outside, but honestly, we preferred cooking. Eating out with kids, especially with a newborn, wasn’t on top of our priority list.


3. Lago di Garda, Italy

Before we turned into digital nomad parents, we were quite nervous if our previous lifestyle was going to be feasible with kids or not. So, anxiously waiting for the day to come, we took our eldest son on a road trip from Germany to Italy when he was just about six weeks old. He passed the test and we decided that our newborn was absolutely travel-proof.

In Italy, we stayed at Lake Garda, which is a very touristy location but at the same time, it is so beautiful and full of other families on vacation that it’s a very safe and ‘easy’ destination to travel with a baby.

Mainly, we lived by the principle of the Italians: ‘Dolce far niente’. This means that we did not do much more than eat pizza, pasta and ice cream. I guess, for this reason alone you could already agree that Italy is one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.

Additionally, Italians are known for their big heart and love for children. Even the policemen on the street wanted to be in our pictures. So, that too made it a unique and memorable trip.

Policemen and a man with a baby in his arm smiling into the camera.
Spaghettiiiiii 🙂 even the police gets all distracted by a baby!

4. Fuerteventura, Spain

This is another Canary Island that made it onto our Top-5 list of best international places to travel with toddlers. We took Vincent there when he was 9 months and he started walking in the sand at the beach.

The island is windy – as the name already implies – and not as green as La Palma, for example. But it has its charm and we loved the beaches there, especially those that we could have all to ourselves in the early morning hours.

Father and son looking at each other in front of the beach.
Empty beach, anyone? 🙂 Yay!

You’ll find many families and European pensioners on this island (which is true for the Canary Islands in general) as it has a constantly pleasant climate and basically everything you need.

Fuerteventura: Best time to go

If you prefer warmer water temperatures like us, then make sure to visit during the summer months June, July and August. We spent the month of February there and therefore hardly swam in the ocean for its cold water temperatures! Of course, if you travel off-season you are most likely to make a good deal for your accommodation! I’d say, it’s the months of May through to September are great to pay this little island a visit!

Where to stay on Fuerteventura:

The North Coast was our favorite area. That’s where we stayed in a small village called “El Cotillo“. We rented out a little condo right at the beach in a nice calm bay. It is perfect for kids as the water is very shallow there.

For the last 10 ten days of our stay, we moved to the more crowded area in the South, Morro Jable. The huge beach is stunning and good for running and walks at the beach. It depends on what you prefer, Fuerteventura has a lot on offer and is definitely worth a visit.


5. Freiburg, Germany

It would be cruel not to list my home country as one of the best international places to travel with toddlers, wouldn’t it!? 🙂

And, to be honest, there are many great places in Germany where you can find the above three criteria: safety, fun and good company (and also healthy food!).

Grapevines in the middle of a city.
Beautiful green spots in the middle of the city are one reason why this city feels more like a big village.

Especially if you look at rural places outside big cities, you’ll find scenic routes for hiking, biking, camping or swimming at one of the many lakes the country has on offer…

Cool places to visit in Germany:

This being said, we also love and have friends in family-friendly cities like Freiburg, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin too. So, it depends on what you are after, there is plenty to do and see in Germany. If I had to choose one favorite place though to travel with kids, it would be Freiburg. It’s a family-friendly city, loads of activities and has a good vibe. And straight after it comes Munich and its scenic surrounding area where you can visit castles that inspired Disney!

Hit me up if you are around! Most likely, I won’t be there as we travel and live most of the year outside of Germany, but I am happy to give you personally tailored travel tips for your next visit to Germany! And make sure to put this destination on your list of best international places to travel with toddlers!


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Best Countries to Travel With Toddlers According To Other Travel Bloggers

And then, we asked other travel families and travel bloggers what they consider to be the best international places to travel with toddlers. We curated a list with their answers in alphabetic order.

Note: This list is not meant to be a complete list. There are certainly many more great travel destinations you can visit with kids. But we hope you enjoy the selection below and get inspired for your next big family adventure!

Australia

Tasmania

Tasmania has been one of our favourite places to visit with our children. Our first visit was a few years ago before our youngest daughter’s second birthday. As children under the age of two can fly for free, it is the best time to take advantage of traveling to an interstate destination. Tasmania’s compact size, family-friendly attractions and beautiful scenery make it a perfect location for family travel.

The best way to explore Tasmania is on a driving holiday, and the east coast is one of Australia’s greatest road trips.

Our journey started in the capital city of Hobart. From there, we traveled through farmlands, until the road hugs the coastline, passing secluded beaches and charming towns. Over nine nights, we indulged in delicious fresh produce, admired stunning views from many lookout points, learnt about Tasmania’s history and saw incredible native wildlife.   

Tasmania’s popularity has increased over the past few years, particularly with families who are exploring Australia by caravan. We received a friendly welcome in each town and being a safe place to travel; it is a top-rated destination for visitors. Traveling during summer allowed us to experience the warmest months, with the least amount of rainfall. Summer also has the longest daylight hours, allowing visitors to explore for longer.

A man walking towards a lighthouse.
Like a walk in the park…stroller-friendly walkways are the best! Photo credit: Sharee Middleton.

What we loved about visiting Tasmania with a toddler was the abundance of attractions that are suitable for children of a young age, many of these being free. Lighthouse walks, swimming in crystal turquoise waters, seeing native wildlife, visiting historical sights and appreciating culture in a fun interactive way are some of the highlights you can expect to encounter on a trip to Tasmania.

Sharee Middleton runs the blog Inspire Family Travel and can also be found on Facebook.

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Victor Harbor, South Australia

Victor Harbor is around 90 minutes from Adelaide in South Australia. It is a popular seaside destination for family summer holidays. The beaches within the bay are protected. This makes the water very calm and easy for toddlers to explore the sand and gentle waves.

Granite Island is set in the middle of the bay, joined to the mainland by a causeway. Children of all ages will delight with a ride on the Horse Drawn tram across the causeway to Granite Island.

A horse-drawn tram.
What a special way of transport… Photo credit: Curious Campers.

The foreshore is lined with grassed reserves that are perfect to relax and spread out for a picnic or BBQ. If the weather is not ideal for swimming you can take a pony ride. Or, for the older children, let it be a camel ride along the beach.

The Victor Harbor foreshore has plenty to keep the active toddler busy. There is a large nature-play playground with an old steam train engine to climb on. There is a small amusement park with bouncy castles, rides, fairy floss and ice cream that is always popular.

Perhaps one of the favourite activities in Victor Harbor is a visit to Urimbirra Wildlife Park. Just a few minutes out of town you can pat a Koala or even hand feed a Kangaroo. There are many other animals and birds to visit, it’s family-friendly and easy to take the pram.

Australia is a very safe destination and Victor Harbor has a range of accommodation. You can select from Caravan Parks, Cabins, Apartments, Hotels and B&Bs. It is easy to spend a week or two exploring and relaxing in this seaside town.

Natalie & Steve run the blog Curious Campers – check them out on Facebook too.


Belgium

Brussels

Brussels is known for its beer and waffles. One of the lesser-known but a very deep-rooted, cultural aspect of Brussels is its love for comics. In fact, there is a dedicated Comic Strip Route in Brussels, that passes through various street-art & museums dedicated to comics. The route is so extensive. It spreads all over Brussels, so it would be impossible to see all the murals even in an entire day! However, it’s a good idea to cover at least a portion of the route, and not miss it.

Belgium is the birthplace of Tintin and Smurfs. There are 3 museums dedicated to them in Belgium and 2 of those are in Brussels – MoOF and Comic Strip Museum. Comic Strip Museum has humongous prints of some comic strips, many figurines (esp., an entire floor dedicated to Smurfs). There are also indoor games for the kids on the top floor. MoOF museum, on the other hand, is super cool with very many old to new figurines as well as a mini-movie theatre.

A mother and her child sitting in front of a painted wall with comics which makes Brussels one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
Childhood memories will come up when visiting the Comic Strip Museum.
Photo credit: Bhushavali

For someone living in Brussels, I took three days to explore all the street-art murals and the two museums. In one day, it would be possible to complete two museums and a small portion of street-art. Or you could do one museum and a larger portion of street-art.

Bhushavali runs the blog My Travelogue by Bhushavali – social media handle: @MyTraveloguebyBhushavali


China

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most common stopovers for international flights and therefore a great opportunity for families to have a rest in between a long-haul flight. While many travellers think of nightlife and shopping, there are actually lots of things to do in Hong Kong with Kids.

The main highlight is of course Hong Kong Disneyland Resort which is one of the most popular things to do with kids of all ages. You can spend the day there, or even a couple of days if you have time. Enjoy the live shows, the character meets and greets, and of course the wide range of rides.

Another highlight of Hong Kong includes Ocean Park which is a sea themed park. A visit to the Big Buddah is a must and includes a cable cart ride up to the top. Make sure to head up to the world famous “Peak” on the old tram where you can find some of the best views of the city. While you are up there you can also visit Madame Tussauds.

Our family of four stayed in Hong Kong for 4 nights, which was perfect. Getting around, there is the metro which is quite easy to take, and really quick during peak times. Taxis are reasonably priced though, so if you are a family of four or five, a taxi is sometimes easier.

The skyline of Hong Kong - one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
Hong Kong with toddlers can be fun – especially if you choose from the many kid-friendly activities.

When heading out to eat make sure to try the famous Character Dim Sum, it is amazing how they can turn a traditional dish into a fun meal for the kids.

And when you are looking for somewhere to stay, I suggest staying near the harbour in Kawloon. Hotels and apartments tend to have larger rooms than staying in Tsim Sha Tsui centre where a tiny studio can be quite expensive. If you are travelling during the Summer try to find accommodation with a pool so you can kick back and relax at the end of a warm day sightseeing.

Chontelle Bonfiglio from Mum’s Little Explorers


Indonesia

Bali

Bali is an awesome place to travel with a baby or toddler. Firstly, it has a well-established tourist infrastructure so it is easy to find Western-style conveniences at every turn. Secondly, the Balinese love kids, an interesting fact about Bali is that they consider the babies angels.

We spent about 3 weeks in Bali all up with our children, staying at a range of different places. We started out at a 5-star resort in the gated Nusa Dua area and ended up travelling up towards the north and staying in much more typical type hotels. 

Toddler walking on a small concrete footpath in between rice fields, Balinese houses in the background.
So much to explore in Bali. The rice fields and cute little huts make this a unique place to visit. Photo credit: Ariana Svenson.

If this is your first international trip with a toddler then Bali is perfect – the 4 and 5-star resorts all have kids clubs, and in many cases themed kids rooms. Alternatively, if you are not comfortable leaving your little ones at a kids club, you can also hire professional nannies to give yourself a break. There are many other families around at every turn. 

It is easy to get Western-style food if your toddler is fussy, and also to buy good quality nappies and other toddler requirements.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to carry baby /toddler paraphernalia there are a number of hire companies in Bali that can supply toddler car seats, right through to safety gates and pool fencing if you are staying at an Airbnb without a pool fence!

Ariana from World of Travels with Kids – find her also on Instagram @worldoftravelswithkids


Italy

Lake Como

We absolutely love Italy and have spent several weeks exploring different areas including Rome, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Puglia and Sicily. Our most favourite place, however, was Lake Como. 

Lake Como, near Milan in the North of Italy, is one of the most beautiful places we have visited with our kids. Lake Como with kids is something I would highly recommend doing. It has picture-postcard villages with cobbled streets and historical buildings all set against the backdrop of a glittering lake and towering mountains. 

Two children playing mini-golf at Lake Como, Italy - one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
Can you wish for a better scenic playground!? Photo credit: Emma Morrel.

We stayed in the little village of Argegno in the summer of 2017 with a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old and it was completely perfect for us. Summer in northern Italy is considerably cooler and more comfortable than elsewhere in the country. 

The kids loved running around Argegno and other little villages like Belaggio. Many of them have pedestrianised areas which was very nice for my stress levels as we could let the kids run around a bit. There was also an incredible mini-golf course to play in Menaggio.

Various ferries can take you to destinations across the lake (a huge hit) and we also hired a little speedboat for an afternoon one day. The bigger towns all had these little trains to take you on a tour as well. We also enjoyed going up the little funicular railway with an easy hike at the top and visiting as many Italian lidos as we could! 

The food was hugely successful – most kids will be delighted with pizza and pasta while the grown-ups made the most delicious fresh dishes and local wine. Everyone was happy!

Emma Morrell runs the family travel blog Wanderlust and Wet Wipes – social media handle @wanderlustandwetwipes


Japan

We loved our trip to Japan with our 15-month-old son. A couple of years before we spent a month exploring Japan as a couple. Back then, we were backpacking with a tent and hiking as much as we could. While our Japan family trip was very different from our previous Japan experience, it was no less fun!

Japan is a very safe country. Due to its amazing public transport system, traveling (long distances) is easy and comfortable. For example, the Shinkansen bullet train can take you from Hiroshima to Tokyo in just four hours (that’s 900 kilometers!). This makes it possible for families to discover very different parts of Japan, without feeling rushed.

Something else parents will love, Japan has Takkyubin, aka door-to-door delivery of your luggage. That means, that instead of lugging around your family’s heavy suitcases, you can just send them to your next hotel. This way you can travel around with just a day pack and a stroller.

A small kid on a playground climbing in one of the best international places to travel with toddlers, Tokyo.
Perhaps the best place to take a break from sightseeing: a playground. Photo credit: Lotte Eschbach.

You’ll find so many things to do with kids in Tokyo, so we recommend starting your Japan trip there. Tokyo has many public playgrounds that always come with spotlessly clean family restrooms and often even nursing facilities. Many Tokyo restaurants have highchairs and special kids’ menus. It’s perfect when your little one doesn’t love the taste of sushi as much as mom and dad.

Sanrio Puroland is a wonderful indoor playground where even the youngest can safely play. Toddlers will love the TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum with its fascinating lights and sensory tricks. Note that strollers are not allowed into the museum so bring a baby carrier. And let’s not forget the amazing Duplo Village where adults aren’t allowed unless accompanied by their kids!

I could go on but it’s safe to say that Japan is a wonderful destination for a family trip!

Lotte Eschbach runs the blog Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog – find her also on social media @phenomenalglobe.


Aruba, The Netherlands

There’s no denying that a visit to this Caribbean island is almost guaranteed to include good experiences, fine food, friendly locals, beautiful landscapes, and a good mix of cultures and languages. Aruba is a year round destination and throughout the year, the tropical climate and summer breeze guarantee great weather and sunshine.

Fortunately, it is a destination that is well suited for families and there is a whole lot of things to do here with kids. The time leading up to the New Year is our favourite time to visit this island, usually spending a week. As one of the safest countries in the world, it made exploring the country as a family a welcome experience.

A bunch of palm trees at the sea shore.
Who else wants to hang out there with their toddlers?

Adventurous families will enjoy exploring the coastal areas, swimming in the cool waters, or partaking in the numerous activities on offer at any time of the year. Other highlights include snorkelling at Baby Beach, a visit to De Palm Island, the Butterfly Farm, and Flamingo Beach.

Public transportation is cheap and well suited to get around to most parts on the island. Expect to find a wide variety of accommodation options, including a sufficient amount of family-focused places. Famed for its tropical setting and points of interest, the island comprises interesting places and is well worth taking the time to get to.

Rai Haan runs the blog A Rai Of Light – find him also on social media @araioflight.

Norway

If you’re looking for somewhere to travel to with a baby or toddler, look no further than Norway. This breathtaking country has plenty for you and the little ones to do- and they LOVE children. Also, everyone speaks impeccable English. And people are so helpful – you don’t need to worry about not knowing the language or getting into difficulties. 

We visited for a couple of weeks with our daughter when she was young. Strangely, she was less than impressed by the magnificent fjords and historical sites- but she LOVED Sverd i Fjell.

Sverd i Fjell are 3 HUGE bronze swords- put into a rocky outcrop with breathtaking views over a fjord. The swords are over 10m high (imagine what that looks like to a toddler) and commemorate a battle fought there in 872AD. The swords are a symbol of peace. All this was lost on our daughter, but she enjoyed running around the park and field nearby after we’d looked at the swords. It’s definitely one of the best places to see in Southern Norway.

A boy looking up three gigantic swords statues stuck into the ground right by the ocean.
Clearly not your average type of swords… Photo credit: Kathryn Bird.

The entire country is incredibly safe- it’s one of the safest countries in Europe. We felt much more relaxed here than we did in many other countries, especially when our daughter was playing with other children. 

Overall, it doesn’t really matter where you visit in Norway. There will be something for your toddler to do- or just throw stones into the many, many bodies of water you’ll find. Everywhere you visit, you’ll find children’s clubs, playgrounds and other families- and Norwegian parents are VERY enthusiastic about engaging their children with English speakers- you’ll have playdates lined up for weeks if you want them. 

Kathryn Bird is the founder of the motorhome travel and road trip blog Wandering Birdfind her also on social media @wanderingbird.adventures


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Singapore

Singapore is an epitome of how well a city’s civilization can function. The security, network of public transport and amenities available in this island city make Singapore a perfect travel destination with toddlers. It not only gives you mind’s peace but also offers many attractions that the entire family can enjoy. 

I visited Singapore a year ago and had a great time there! We stayed at Hotel Marina Bay Sands and had a lovely view from the room. Along with that, we also enjoyed the infinity pool a lot. Sipping coffee after taking a dip in the pool is a great memory of mine! There were many families with kids around and the pool itself was a picnic destination for all. 

Woman in orange dress handing her hand below a water fountain. The skyline of Singapore is in the background.
Singapore is fun – during day and night! Photo credit:

In addition to enjoying the hotel, we also visited the attractions in Singapore. One of the best attractions that we saw was Universal Studios in Sentosa Islands. The kids love this place due to the fancy set up and animated characters around. This place is the most favorite destination for families visiting Singapore.

One can also enjoy many other family-friendly attractions such as The Merlion Garden, Gardens by the Bay and the very famous Singapore Zoo.

Along with the Zoo, kids would also love Jurong bird park and would appreciate the colorful birds fluttering around. 

Singapore is one of the best destinations to travel with toddlers. There are many cool and unique attractions in Singapore and they are so awesome the kids may remember them for the rest of their lives!

Umang Trivedi runs the travel blog TravelMax – check their Facebook here.


Sweden

Stockholm

Stockholm is one of the best international places to travel with toddlers as it’s safe, clean and family-friendly. It’s very easy to get around by public transport and practically everyone speaks English well. You’ll find lots to see and do whether you spend a week or just a weekend. 

We spent 2 days in Stockholm with kids by Helsinki to Stockholm ferry. In May the weather was ideal for walking and outdoor play. There were quite a few other families around too but we didn’t find any of the places we visited at all crowded.

Junibacken theme park was our absolute favorite spot in Stockholm. A small ride through scenes from Astrid Lindgren’s books is very pleasant opportunity for both kids and parents. Pippi Långstocking’s house and wooden horse allow children to experience first-hand the story and they had so much fun playing there! The outdoor play area is wonderful for the little ones if weather allows and there’s nice sea views towards Stockolm city center too.

Miniature house in a museum
For everyone who knows ‘Pipi’, this is a must-stop when in Stockholm! Photo credit: Pia Oravainen

Just around the corner from Junibacken is Skansen, the largest open-air museum in the world with old buildings and a lovely atmosphere. There’s lots of space to run around and enjoy the fresh air and green surroundings.

The Royal Palace is beautiful and offers lots to admire if you don’t mind a bit of walking. Also, the Abba Museum and Vasamuseum are worth the visit if your toddler enjoys museums.

Gamla Stan old town is a great place to go for a stroll and visit the cafes and restaurants. There are plenty of great playgrounds in Stockholm that toddlers will love. Additionally, Gröna Lund amusement park has fun rides for all ages.

Pia Oravainen runs the blog Next Stop TBC – check her also out on social media: @nextstoptbc


Taiwan

Taipei

My son and daughter were born and raised in Taipei. I had found Taipei to be a comfortable place to live for years, but it wasn’t until my wife and I had kids that I realized it’s also an incredibly suitable place to raise children and probably one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.

To begin, Taiwanese are known for being hospitable, and this is especially true for visitors with babies or toddlers. They are fascinated by foreign (or in our case ‘mixed’) children, always going out of their way to be nice to us.

Another positive aspect of visiting Taipei with young kids is that the city has one of the world’s best public transportation systems. The Taipei MRT is super safe, clean, and easy to navigate with kids, with elevators in every station, breastfeeding rooms, and designated seats for parents. The MRT goes almost everywhere you’d want to go, but taxis are also plentiful and cheap.

Taipei also offers loads of kid-friendly activities. The city abounds in excellent parks and playgrounds, not to mention dozens of indoor play centers. The Taipei Children’s Amusement Park is great fun and extremely reasonably priced, while museums like the Science Education Center, Astronomical Museum, and Land Bank Museum (featuring dinosaurs) are always fun.

Two young kids laying on the floor of a high building watching outside the window.
Being on top of the world for one day… or at least this high building – is fun! Photo credit: Nick Kembel.

Even the typical tourist sights in Taipei are suitable for young children. My kids loved going up to 89th-floor observation deck at Taipei 101. They also got a thrill out of riding the glass-bottomed Maokong Gondola over tea farms, and the excellent Taipei Zoo right next door.


Last but not least, our favorite winter activity in Taipei is getting a private room at Beitou Hot Spring, where our whole family can relax together and enjoy the hot springs without worrying about bothering other people. See here for even more things to do in Taipei with kids

By Nick Kembel of Spiritual Travels  – check him out on Instagram too! 


Thailand

Koh Lanta

Thailand has to be one of the best international places to travel with toddlers. With a wonderful tropical climate, amazing beaches, great food, fascinating culture, friendly locals and stunning scenery, Thailand has it all.

When we travelled in Thailand with a baby and toddler it was the beaches and islands that we loved the best as we spent a couple of months island-hopping around the Andaman Sea. We spent a lot of time in Krabi Province and found some places that were perfectly suited to travelling with young children. 

Two small kids sitting at the beach.
Every grain of sand is a little wonder… Photo credit: Chris Bienemann.

Of all the Thai Islands, Koh Lanta must be one of the best to visit with kids. It has all the amenities that you need but it has retained that laid back charm we all want from a paradise island. 

The beaches are the main draw but inland you will find mountains shrouded in jungle, a protected mangrove forest and a pristine national park.

One of the great things about Koh Lanta and Thailand, in general, is that you can find some really good accommodation for reasonable prices right on the beach. This makes it so much easier to manage with a toddler than other countries where the hotels are further from the beach.

If your little one likes to socialize you will be pleased to hear that Koh Lanta is very popular with families, especially those with young children and babies. 

Chris Bienemann runs the blog MORE LIFE IN YOUR DAYS


United Arab Emirates

Dubai

Dubai may come across as a big glitzy city in the desert, but it is a surprisingly ideal place to travel to with toddlers in tow as so much is built with families front of mind. You could simply enjoy a relaxing week by the pool at one of the city’s family-friendly beach resorts draping the Arabian Gulf coast or get out there and explore!

During the cooler winter months (November through to April), enjoy the city’s many water parks and outdoor theme parks, including Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park especially for the little ones – although all the big water parks have special zones especially for smaller children. Dubai Garden Glow & Dinosaur Park and Dubai Miracle Garden – the largest flower garden in the world – are both magical favourites with our kids.

Two little kids in front of a miniature Arabic mosque.
Legoland is a fun place to go – for the little ones AND big kids too! Photo credit: Keri Hedrick.

The winter months are also ideal for strolling many of the city’s popular neighborhoods including The Walk and The Beach in JBR, the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk and quite recent additions including the fun and funky La Mer Beachfront and Al Seef, a modern addition to the city’s Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood for a taste of traditional Dubai living by the creek.

There’s still plenty to explore during the hotter summer months too. Toddlers visiting Dubai will love the Green Planet tropical rainforest biodome and the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, housed inside the world’s largest mall with countless toy stores and kiddy place centres to explore! Enjoy the free nightly fountain displays underneath the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, or the incredible Imagine light, fire & water show at Dubai Festival City.  

So, Dubai deserves to be on the list of best international places to travel with toddlers, we think!

Keri Hedrick is the founder & editor of the blog Family Travel in the Middle East


United Kingdom

Northern Ireland

After traveling all over the United States with a toddler, we found Northern Ireland to be one of the best international places to travel with toddlers. People often travel throughout Ireland with kids, but there are some lesser-known destinations up north that make it very appealing with small children.

A couple with their toddler standing in front of a scenic landscape, the ocean in the back.
Expect stunning views like this on your next visit to Northern Ireland. Photo credit: Amanda Emmerling.

The best way to experience the country is with at least a one week Northern Ireland road trip. The Causeway Coast is beautiful and relaxing for a drive, and there are several great stops and towns along the way. 

Belfast is a great start to your tour of Northern Ireland, with a stay in the family-friendly neighborhood of Ormeau Park. From Belfast, the seaside town of Carrickfergus is the perfect stop for toddlers. Enjoy hands-on activities at Carrickfergus Castle or the amazing Marine Play Park, it’s a highlight of any trip to Northern Ireland with kids.

After that, you can visit several toddler-friendly attractions outdoors including Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Giant’s Causeway and seaside towns including Portrush and Portstewart. Along the Causeway Coastal Route, there are several family-friendly towns with a playground at each one, which makes for an easy break with toddlers. 

Aside from the beautiful views and attractions, one of the highlights for our toddler was the friendly people we met along the way. Our toddler loved chatting with the locals, and we felt very safe the entire time. Northern Ireland is definitely an amazing experience for an international trip with a toddler.

Amanda Emmerling is the creator and content writer of the family travel blog Toddling Traveler. Find her on social media as @toddling_traveler

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Scotland

Edinburgh

My favourite place to travel with a baby so far has been Edinburgh, Scotland. We visited the city very successfully for 2 nights when she was just 5 months old. 

There are so many essential sights to see in Edinburgh, I found the best way to see everything in a short amount of time with a baby is the hop-on-hop-off bus. The tour is run by Edinburgh bus tours and includes 3 routes in and around the city, some with commentary to enable you to explore areas you might not have got to on foot.

Although the baby slept most of the way, it was nice to know that we could get on and off at any time should we need to. The bus also stops at several top attractions such as the children museum, Edinburgh parliament and Edinburgh castle.

View onto the outer walls of Edinburgh Castle.
Going back in time, here at Edinburgh Castle. Photo Credit: Sylvie Simpson.

The city is stroller friendly and well connected by a newly built tram system. As well as the major sights, there are plenty of attractions that kids will love too. Edinburgh Zoo is home to over 1000 species from all over the world, including the UK’s only giant pandas and Koalas. The Royal Yacht Britannia is also well worth a visit – the ship was the queen’s former floating palace for over 40 years. Edinburgh also has a fabulous beach. Portobello beach is only a few miles from the city centre.

If you fancy something to eat, Toots play café, aimed at under 5’s, the café is filled with traditional toys and aims to make adults feel comfortable when the kids play. Alternatively, the Scottish Parliament café caters well for babies and toddlers, it also has a free creche on-site providing free childcare for up to four hours while you tour the parliament and enjoy the café.

Overall, I found Edinburgh a very safe city to explore and therefore one of the best international places to travel with toddlers. There’s a friendly atmosphere in Edinburgh with lots of other families, both local and tourists.

Sylvie Simpson runs the family blog Travels with Eden – check her out on Instagram too!

+++

Turks & Caicos Islands

One of my favorite places to travel with a baby or toddler would be Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. My 2-year-old and I traveled here and loved it! At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was just her and I but the island turned out to be very safe and the natives are super friendly!

Since we rented an Airbnb unit renting a car was the best transportation option for us. Let me tell you . . . I rent cars while traveling a lot but renting a car there was an experience in itself. 🤣 

There’s so much to do while in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos but it really depends on what you’re looking to do while you’re there. As you may or may not know, you have to be open when it comes to traveling with small kids. . .

You’ll find yourself planning most of the trip around them. I personally went to unwind and chill out by the pool and beach. Our Airbnb unit was so cool. . . It was in a very secluded area of the island called Chalk Sound. We had our own infinity pool which was a few steps from our front door.  I loved staying there since there were fewer tourists on that side of the island. 

Mother with her daughter in turquoise water.
Sometimes all we need is a little swim… Photo credit: Shalona London.

There are plenty of things to do for the entire family but most of the activities are on the main side of the island which is Grace Bay. That’s where the resorts and villas are located. But it just really depends on you and the family.

Shalona London runs the blog Moms Need a Break Too – find her also on Instagram: @momsneedabreaktoo


USA

California

A California road trip is one of the best bucket list trips and one that can easily be done with a baby or toddler. We went with our son when he was nine months old, spending one month exploring the coast from San Francisco down to San Diego. We took it slowly, but you could do a shorter itinerary in as little as a week. The benefit of taking it slowly with a baby/toddler is that you can keep the drive times short.

For our trip, we stopped at Sonoma; San Francisco; Santa Cruz; Monterey; Big Sur; Paso Robles; Santa Barbara; LA; Laguna Beach; San Diego and Joshua Tree. Depending on the amount of time you have, you can pick and choose your favourites, and perhaps add a trip to Yosemite. However, I’d say driving the Pacific Coast Highway, especially the stretch along Big Sur, is an absolute must, and one of the things that make this trip so iconic.

Young mother with baby carriage facing the ocean, looking at the sunset.
Driving down Big Sur you will find endless great photo ops! Photo credit: Victoria Watts Kennedy

It’s an ideal trip to do with a toddler as there’s so much to see and do that will keep both the little one and the adults entertained. From the museums and galleries of the cities to the splendid nature of the redwoods, vineyards and coast. One highlight is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and there’s no end of beaches to explore. You’ll find that nearly all restaurants are willing to cater to children. It’s a very family-friendly destination, and a trip you’ll never forget.

Victoria Watts Kennedy runs the family blog Bridges and Balloons

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St. Thomas Island

St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands is the perfect beach vacation spot with little ones. When traveling with small children, renting a house or condo is often preferable to a hotel, and the beachfront condos at Sapphire Bay in St. Thomas are the perfect spot for the whole family.  Our family has been multiple times, but most recently spent the week of New Year’s soaking up the sun, and the kids can’t wait to go back.   

With the calm blue bay and white sand beach at your doorstep, there’s no need to lug all of that beach gear anywhere.  Plus, most of the best snorkeling and beaches are just a few minutes from each other making it easy to break the day up into shorter outings- something we’ve learned makes for much happier little travelers.

Crystal clear water and a toddler in the ocean.
Crystal clear water is toddler-safe! Photo credit: Kristin Young.

Although petty crime is somewhat common, especially at night in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas is overall quite safe as long as you stay aware of your surroundings and remain in the tourist areas.  

St. Thomas is also home to Coral World Ocean Park offering touch pools, sea life encounters, and an underwater observatory tower. Or, take a ride through the sky on the tram to Paradise Point with gorgeous views of the harbor and Charlotte Amalie.  

Brewer’s Bay Beach is a great spot to spend a few hours as it’s located just next to the airport.  The kids will love to watch the planes come in for a landing on the airstrip that extends out into the ocean, and parents, be sure to bring your snorkel gear as Brewer’s Bay is a common place to swim with sea turtles. 

By Kristin Young at Snorkel and Hike


Did we miss something? Where is your favorite place to travel with your small children? Comment below, we’d love to know!


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Your Complete Toddler Packing List: 27 Worry-Free Tips

Are you wondering what to bring when you travel with your toddler? You’re not alone! It’s a big task! That’s why we created this toddler packing list to help you tick off all the essentials that you need to bring when you travel with your toddler. 

 Related: Best international places to travel with toddlers.

As soon as you know where to go, make sure to bring as much as necessary and as little as possible – it’s all extra weight that you will have to carry. I am sure you know how much your little ones love to be held, no matter how full your hands are or how much weight you are already carrying on your shoulders, overpacking will cause more trouble than it’s worth!

So, with this complete toddler vacation packing list that includes 27 worry-free tips for beach and winter holidays, the chances are high that both you and your children will enjoy creating new memories, and traveling the world together.

Pin for Pinterest with a collage of pictures and 
text saying 27 tips for your toddler packing list.
Your complete toddler packing list – save it for later!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a small commission but come at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running our blog so we can keep our content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See the full disclosure here.


Prepare in advance, but pack light 

While you do not want to bring too many items, especially if you’re paying for checked bag fees, some things are essential when it comes to traveling with young ones. 

It is imperative to prepare in advance and think about the individual needs of your child. Since every child has different needs and every trip is different, planning for your little ones in advance is better than being underprepared. 

Yet, with this in mind, many items are available for purchase at your selected destination. But who wants to start their holiday with a run to the supermarket? 

I don’t know about you, but I know I prefer to have a few items prepared and planned so I can enjoy the benefits of traveling and exploring a new destination rather than worrying if a store has my preferred cloth diapers in stock. That is why I follow a toddler travel checklist to ensure I always pack what my littles need. 

While there are shops for children all around the world and many at lower costs than our home countries, some items are essential to bring and create a less worry-free holiday for us busy mothers who deserve the extra time to enjoy our family holiday 🙂

Related: Choose the right backpack/ luggage for you!


Toddler packing list for plane rides

A mother and her child walking on the rollfield towards an airplane, the mother looks back and smiles.

With long haul flights, the stress of entertaining your little ones, and even luggage restrictions and federal regulations, packing for your children can be confusing, and often overwhelming. Here is a reliable flying with a toddler checklist that includes various must-haves to pack in your carry-on bag for a stress-free flight. 

1. Diaper essentials 

Pack your standard diaper bag complete with the essential items you typically bring for an outing. Your toddler tote should include diapers, changing pad, wipes, bags for soiled clothes, and diaper cream. 

Pro Tip: Bring a pack of disposable diapers even if you’re using cloth diapers like us. While you are on the way to your destination, it’s a lot easier to use disposable diapers – depending, of course, on the travel time, but for a long-haul flight, you don’t want to collect dirty cloth diapers in your carry-on luggage. 

2. Inflight entertainment 

If traveling with an active toddler, you will need plenty of options packed in your carry on to keep your little one entertained. Packing small and inexpensive distractions like toys, books, crayons, or playdough can provide cognitive and emotional stimulation for hours of inflight entertainment. 

3. Snacks and drinks 

Bring more snacks and drinks than usual to prepare for long-hauls, possible delays, and those above-average hungry days. To prevent pickiness from offerings in the plane or airport, pack a few of your children’s go-to snacks, and a sippy cup, preferred drinks, and juice boxes to hydrate.

4. Wet wipes 

Having wet wipes, in general, is a smart tip when traveling with little ones, but even more so in the time of COVID. Wiping down the tray tables before your children eat off of it will give you peace of mind.

5. A stuffed animal and/or blanket

A stuffed teddy bear partially covered with a blanket - for the complete toddler packing list.

Packing the items your children tend to gravitate towards for sleeping is essential for nap time, long flights, or on a redeye. Planes can also be quite cold, and a blanket will keep your toddler nice and toasty. I also tend to pack a hat in case of cold planes to keep my little one’s ears warm.

6. Extra clothes 

I always travel with extra clothes in case of diaper leaks, potty training accidents for the older ones, or general emergencies. There’s a possibility you might experience an accident and will be exceedingly grateful for the extra set.

7. First-aid kit

Pack a first-aid kit in your carry on with bandages, fever and pain reducers, any prescribed medications, and motion sickness relief.

8. Sky pillows 

Sky pillows or inflatable travel pillows offer neck comfort for your little ones during nap time, for yourself, and make long haul trips more tolerable for the entire family. 

9. Toy bungee

The toy bungee is an essential carry-on item that attaches to your kid’s toys to prevent them from launching across the cabin, from touching the floor and keeping their toys germ-free. Without this strap, you might have toys hitting other passengers’ heads or even flying down the aisle!

Toddler packing list for beach destinations

A toddler is sitting at the beach viewing the ocean.
Beach anyone?

Going to the beach with a baby or toddler can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be! With a great travel checklist for kids to follow, a little planning and preparation in advance, you can sit back and watch them splash, giggle, and play, knowing you have everything you need. You might even have time to sneak in a few pages of that book you’ve been eager to read.

1. Sunscreen  

Pack your favorite baby-safe sunscreen and reapply as needed. 

Pro tip: Choose a sunscreen with zinc, which creates a barrier to protect the skin and is even great for sensitive skin. Also, avoid oxybenzone when packing a sunscreen due to its potential hormonal effects, and destructive properties to coral reefs. 

2. Sun hats

A baby smiling at the camera wearing a sun hat - mandatory on your toddler packing list!
Protect those little ones from the sun!

We need to keep our littles sun-safe while at the beach, and sun hats are great for keeping faces and ears shaded.  

3. Swimsuits

If you’re planning on an extended trip to the beach, packing two swimsuits per child will always allow you to have a dry one available. For additional sun protection, packing rash guards and cute cover-ups are great options to protect your baby’s skin.

4. Beach shoes 

Even for adults, walking on the hot sand is torture, and water shoes are a great option to protect your baby’s feet from not only the sun but any chance of sharp rocks in the water. 

5. Beach towels 

Beach towels toddler travel essentials for any trip for fun in the sun, and having one per child will ensure no fussiness for sharing a soaked towel for two unhappy kids.

6. Floaties and toys

A little girl is jumping in the water of the ocean wearing floaties.
Having fun in the water, independently thanks to floaties!

Inflatables and swim vests are great tools for interactive water play. They give confidence and independence to little ones, especially if they’re learning how to swim. For optimal sandcastle building without taking too much space in your beach bag, bring only a few buckets and shovels. Your children will be grateful for the ability to mold sandy creations and utilize their imagination.

7. Swim diapers, wipes, and bag for changes 

Pack extra diapers for accidents, wipes for a sand-free clean-up, and a bag to carry any soiled items. 

8. An option for shade

Two little kids below an umbrella at the beach.
A cool place to stay at the beach…

To make beach trips less of a hassle, consider packing a portable umbrella or beach tent to give your little ones a break from the sunshine. Depending on where you are traveling, the sun can be powerful, and sometimes, sunscreen and sun hats don’t offer enough protection for our children.

9. Beach blanket 

A large beach blanket is easy to pack and perfect for the entire family to sit on. It also comes in handy for diaper changes. 

10. Drinks and snacks 

Pack a small cooler with easy beach snacks such as fruit, sandwiches, crackers, and chips. For drinks, bring water and juice boxes to offer plenty of options to keep your little ones hydrated. 

11. Change of clothes 

To prevent rashes from a long day at the beach in wet swimwear, bring extra clothes for a dry nap or in case of accidents. 

12. Pacifier or teething toys 

Depending on the age, I would advise bringing a pacifier or teething toys to prevent your children from eating sand, rocks on the beach, or any other foreign objects you certainly don’t want your littles to touch. 

13. Don’t forget about yourself. Bring a separate bag for your beach essentials

Mothers need self-love and attention too. Pack a separate small bag with your own go-to beach essentials. I typically bring:

  • Sunglasses
  • Phone
  • Keys
  • Money
  • Hair accessories 
  • A compact first aid kit 
  • Aloe vera 
  • Chapstick 
  • Hand sanitizer 

Kids travel packing list for winter holidays

A mother and her child in a landscape wearing long clothes - helpful for a toddler packing list
There is no bad weather, they say…!

Packing and preparing for any holiday is no laughing matter, but packing for a winter destination can be stressful when ensuring your children stay warm and toasty amid unpredictable weather. The key to packing light for cold destinations is layering, and always starting with a base layer followed by more. If your little one starts overheating, remove one layer, and place it in your travel bag. To prepare in advance for any emergencies or accidents, keep two sets of clothes for both tops and bottoms on hand. Keep reading for tips on my toddler travel packing list for winter holidays.

1. Winter tops 

For the first layer, choose a singlet or long sleeve top. The goal is to choose clothing that will keep your children warm for exploring colder destinations for prolonged periods. For the second layer, add a sweater or knitted jumper to provide extra warmth, and finally, add an insulated outerwear jacket with a hood for wind and rain protection. 

2. Winter bottoms 

For a base layer, start with cotton leggings or tights, followed by fleece, corduroy, or snow pants, depending on the activity if playing in the snow. 

3. Keep the toes and fingers warm

A happy camper in the cold weather will need insulated socks and gloves and waterproof boots. Boots will keep their tiny feet warm, and will offer a better grip while walking or playing in the snow. 

4. Other essential items 

Of course, like any destination, you will want to bring your go-to bag for outings. Your toddler tote should include diapers, wipes, changing pad, Ziploc bag for soiled items, pacifiers, a first-aid kit, toiletries, medicine, nap-time essentials such as a blanket or stuffed animal, and favorite toys. 

5. Calling ahead for night time 

Before booking an accommodation, I like to prepare in advance and call the hotel to reserve a crib or pack n play. With the fear of COVID, I ask them to sanitize them thoroughly before use, and I even prefer to use wipes to eliminate any likelihood of germs. If the hotel or Airbnb doesn’t have what I need, I try to recreate their home bed as much as possible. For example, I bring their favorite stuffed animal, blanket, toddler pillow, and baby monitor. 

Remember to enjoy your holiday 

There you have it, a complete toddler packing list with 27 worry-free tips for each destination, no matter the season. Traveling with your little ones can be stressful and a hassle. But following a traveling with kids packing list like the tried and tested one I’ve created in this article will make your holiday more enjoyable and give you the well-deserved time to appreciate memories and present moments with your family. 

How do you prepare for the holidays with your children? What would you add to our packing lists? Let’s chat in the comments! If you enjoyed reading this article, why not share it with a friend who is preparing for a red-eye flight or holiday to the beach with their family. 

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General Family Travel Tips Top Travel Posts Travel

Best Travel with Kids Quotes in 2021

Traveling can be a special experience, and traveling with your family enhances that experience even more. It can sometimes be hard to put this unique experience into words, so we are here to help. We’ve gathered some of our favorite travel with kids quotes that you can use to inspire your own travels, or use to get you and your audience into that wanderlust mindset. If you’ve recently taken a family trip and are looking for family trip quotes to use for your Instagram, look no further!

Bonus: We asked some of our fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite travel with kids quotes and the stories they connect with them.

So, buckle up and get ready for some inspiration!

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Pin this travel with kids quotes pin for later.

10 favorite traveling with kids quotes from fellow travel bloggers

Father, mother and their son in an airplane.

“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.” – Og Mandino

I’m a firm believer that travel is great for kids for so many reasons. One of the greatest reasons is the wonderful memories that will last children their lifetimes.

When your children are adults, they might remember a few special toys, but they won’t remember most of them. They won’t remember the clothes they wore, what car you drove or much of the food they ate. But they will remember the time you spent traveling together as a family.

When I was young my parents had a caravan. We used to spend weekends and school holidays visiting different places in the UK and that has given me so many happy memories. Even though I can’t remember too much of the actual places we visited, I remember sitting around the table playing cards as the rain hammered on the windows of the caravan, I remember throwing stones into the sea and I remember the friends I made at the playground.

Does that mean that travel has no benefit for children who are too young to make lasting memories? Of course not! It’s still a fantastic thing to do for their development. Plus, happy parents make better parents. So, if travel makes you happy and it makes your children happy, then that’s a good reason to do it as much as you can. Whether you’re backpacking around the world, taking a luxury cruise or just camping a few miles from home, don’t waste any opportunity to make happy memories with your children.

Jenni Fielding runs the family cruise blog CruiseMummy.co.uk


“Are we there yet?” 

12 months before our family was due to set off on our 6 month trip around Australia we started preparing the kids for the journey. At the time they were 8 and 10 years old, the ideal age for the book by Alison Lester – “Are we there yet?”. The family in the book were missing a term of school, so our kids were very impressed that we would be away for two school terms. The book also helped to prepare the kids for the idea of living in a camper trailer, and let’s just say they were possibly more excited than us.

The book follows the family’s journey around Australia as they visited many famous landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Ayers Rock, Head of the Bight, The Pinnacles, Murphy’s Haystacks and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

As we took off on our own adventure, we incorporated many of the places the kids had heard about in the book and I think this made the trip even more special. To travel around Australia, you are required to cover vast distances between each location and the familiar cry from the backseat during the 6 month road trip was “Are we there yet?”

Natalie and Steve run the Australian family blog Curious Campers


“Travel in the younger sort is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience.” – Francis Bacon

Traditionally, a child’s education was synonymous to classroom learning. Nowadays, more and more families are realising the importance of experiences in a child’s development and a unique way to supplement classroom education.

On the contrary, travel in the elder sort, is a part of experience. Throughout childhood and adulthood, you learn so much about different places in the world. Getting the chance to experience these magnificent places is the best feeling.

What I love most about this quote is that it includes all age groups. It mentions children and shows how important travel is for them, not just for an experience point of view, but also for an educational perspective. But it also includes elders and reinforces how important traveling is for families.

Traveling can be made child-friendly. In fact, it’s easier than you think to choose kid-friendly activities to enrich their minds, that adults too will love. One example is a holiday in the Cook Islands. Located in the Pacific Ocean, this little-known holiday destination is popular for New Zealanders and Australians. There are many great things to do in Rarotonga perfect for families, including traditional arts and crafts, cooking classes and educational cultural shows.

Many activities provide a means of education that do not conform to society’s norms of a classroom. Being a millennial, I relate to both sides of the quote. Although I have gone through the traditional education system, I still feel I have a lot more to learn through travel, and many more places to experience.

By Delilah Hart from Our Travel Mix 


“As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen” from Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne

We spent a year touring Europe in a motorhome while homeschooling our daughter, and we often used to say this quote to each other. 

We’ve always been big ‘Winnie the Pooh’ fans and our blue days are ‘Eeyore days’, but this quote perfectly sums up the excitement of traveling with people who just make life fun- make the smallest, silliest thing into an ‘event’.  

It’s often confused with another AA Milne quote “ “When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”- also in the House in Pooh Corner.

This is another charming saying we love to (mis)quote when we put on our adventure boots, ready to see where the road will take us this time! 

If you’re traveling with kids, it’s a fun idea to grab a whiteboard and write some quotes onto it, so they can see, read and remember them. That way, they’ll be able to use them and you can create your own version of cute travel quotes. 

By Kat from Wandering Bird


An té a bhíonn siúlach, bíonn scéalach (Irish proverb)

 “He who travels has stories to tell.” 

This is the English meaning of this Irish proverb and is one of my favorite travel quotes. Although my son is a little young to understand the meaning, it is one I will teach him about as he gets older. It is a saying that is applicable whether young or old.

Although he doesn’t realise it, he already holds true to this proverb, through his recounting of stories and memories he has of our travels. Tales like making a fire in the woods during our Yellowstone trip and making s’mores, seeing Santa in Lapland or visiting the best castles for kids in Ireland and pretending to be a dragon hunter. He is still young but certain trips have obviously resonated with him. He even surprises by saying “do you remember when we went to …” and telling us a memory that we genuinely did not think he remembered.

It is also a quote that makes me think of my son’s grandfather, my Dad. My father has always travelled, ever since his early twenties. He’s been a deep-sea fisherman in the North Sea, worked on building sites in London (but originally from Dublin), worked on several different mines in Africa and spent several years in Angola during the civil war in the 90’s. And often regals us with tales of his time in these different places.

So, the saying holds true. Anyone who travels will have stories to tell of those travels. Whether young or old, whether the trip was good or bad, there will always be a story to tell from a trip.

By Cath from Passports and Adventures



“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

My favorite travel quote is from the 1978 book ‘I Can Read With My Eyes Shut’ by Dr. Seuss. The book was poignantly written after Dr. Seuss (otherwise known as Theodor Seuss Greisel) had started to lose his eyesight. The quote is ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’ Though this quote can be applied to people of any age and ‘going places’ may not refer to traveling, I like to think this quote means that the more you read, the more curious you will be about the world around you and the more you will want to see it for yourself. I regularly quote these words to my three children in the hope of inspiring their own wanderlust. I also used the quote many times to encourage the children to homeschool during our family gap year in which reading formed the backbone of their home school education! Their love of reading has helped to inspire their wanderlust. For example, my daughter longs to go to Greece after reading the Percy Jackson novels whereas my other daughter wishes to go to Prince Edward Island after reading Anne of Green Gables.  

By Sinead Camplin from Map Made Memories

Children sitting on a wooden table out in a field reading books.

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“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.” – Trenton Lee Stewart

Traveling as a family can bring about a lot of different adventures and experiences.  Many families experience things at home, and travel infrequently.  Their highs and lows are experienced mostly in one place and their home base is where the majority of their memories are formed.  When traveling with family, it is important to experience meaningful experiences, new adventures and important milestones anywhere, but especially while adventuring.  A lost tooth in a hotel in London, a first walk at a grandmother’s house in Poland, chasing a pigeon for the first time in Krakow, or going on a boat adventure in Spain.  These memories and experiences bring our family closer together even though we may not be in the comfort of our own home. Even little things that we may not think will forma s a memory, such as having a new breakfast will be remembered more so if it isn’t at our own home.  A new meal, or a new friend that isn’t against a familiar backdrop creates a new adventure. 

Milestones and family time can be spent anywhere, and this quote resonates immensely in that it fully explains that being home isn’t where things happen.  Home is where your family is, and that can be anywhere.

By Diana from Travels in Poland

Mother and her son from  the back sitting on rocks overlooking the ocean and cliffs.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” 

Though this quote is often attributed to Emerson or considered a Native American proverb, its origins are unknown. Often quoted and paraphrased, the meaning isn’t lost: respect the earth now for it belongs to generations to come.

For me personally, it reminds me to not only show my children the world, but educate them to preserve it. It encourages me to travel mindfully and teach my children how to respect nature, history, and culture, whether that be through eco-tourism, volunteer work, or just through respectful exposure.

Growing up in a social media driven world can often instill a sense of instant gratification in children. The meaning behind these words can counter that by reminding families to approach travel as a means of connecting and learning about different places, cultures, and landscapes. Not just visiting a place for a picture but to understand it.

Ultimately, I love this quote because it reminds me that we are all connected. None of us is more important than the other, nor are we more important than the Earth that provides us with so many resources and experiences. Keeping that in mind can help preserve and create a more tolerable, connected world through travel, especially when we pass those sentiments to our children.

By Victoria from Tori Leigh | Family Travel & Lifestyle


Pin for Pinterest: Travel with Kids Quotes

“When you travel with children you are giving something that can never be taken away… experience, exposure and a way of life.” – Pamela T. Chandler

For me this quote totally encapsulates my feelings on family travel. It is so much more than checking out of work to enjoy a week in the sun. It’s about finding connections and a deeper understanding of the world we live in. For my children, travel is the best education. It opens their eyes to all the possibilities that are out there.

From a very young age we have travelled extensively as a family. We have trekked the Himalayas, lived in India, meditated with monks in Thailand and traversed Africa in a Land Rover. Yes they may have only been two when they saw the Taj Mahal, or three when they saw Victoria falls. But those memories stay with them in their own way and have formed them into the people they are today. 

Our boys are now 5 and 6 years old and travel has become our way of life. We don’t stay in fancy hotels and lounge by the pool (well we do sometimes for a very special treat), but we often travel using local transport, stay with local families or camp, and try as much local food as possible. All these little experiences and exposures develop into the way we choose to view the world. 

By Jenny from TraveLynn Family

Two small children looking out of a tent on the roof of a Jeep.

“The best education you will ever get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.” Mark Paterson

I like this quote because I have lived it. Over the period, I’ve come to realize that learning comes to life and becomes all the more fascinating when kids step outside the four walls of the classroom. Kids learn far more by seeing and observing than by reading and listening. Travel is when education mingles perfectly with fun giving an extra edge to kids. And, then travel teaches children to be patient, perseverant, accommodating, compassionate, forgiving, and responsible – attributes (highly underrated) that kids don’t learn in schools.

Supplementing our daughter’s school education with extensive travel across the world has helped her grow in prodigious ways. I mean, it’s amazing how exposing kids to diverse cultures, traditions, and languages around the globe epitomizes raising well-rounded kids. Now at the age of eleven, my daughter is fearless, bold, knowledgeable, confident, and kind. All because of the experiences she has gained while traveling. Watching her grow from a naive little girl to a fine young girl makes me feel glad about my decision to choose travel as a way of life for our family. Our travel blog aims to inspire parents to invest in experiences rather than material things.

By Anjali from Travel Melodies 


“Having kids is a reason to travel, never a reason to stop.” – Author Unknown

In a lot of cases, travelers who have children feel that they need to stop traveling once they start a family. Of course, your family comes first so every family will be different BUT you shouldn’t think of children as a reason to stop traveling. Instead, you should think of it as having more travel partners! 

For us, we had been traveling around the globe for five years non-stop before our kids were born. At first, we debated and weren’t sure what would happen after we had our children but it became clear very quickly that we would not want to change our lifestyle. In fact, we were getting more and more confident that our lifestyle would be as much fun for our children as it is for us.

Seeing them grow up exploring the world with us is the greatest gift and our fuel to continue traveling with kids – until the moment one of us says stop. But until then, we keep enjoying learning as much about life and this planet as possible, day after day, one place at a time.

By Julia from Jey Jetter

Woman holds a small child in her arms, the ocean and rocks in the background.

More great travel family quotes

Pinterest pin for travel with kids quotes.

“It is never too early to start exploring the world.” – Unknown 

One of the best gifts you can get your children is the gift of travel. Introducing them to travel at a young age opens up so many doors. As the quote says, it really is never too early to start exploring the world! These are the memories that children will remember as they get older, and hopefully it ignites something in them to continue traveling.


“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” –  Bob Talbert

Children learn through their parents, so setting a good example when they are young will stick with them. Introducing your children to travel and what is out there in the world is a great start exposing them to the ‘bigger picture’. School is important and plays a large role in a child’s future but it’s also important for them to understand there is life outside their homework.

Mother and her little child looking up at the sky towards hot air ballons.

“Don’t just tell your children about the word. Show them.”  – Justgoplacesblog.com

Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing it! You can tell your kids about all these far off places, and they will only seem like a dream. But if you can, the best way to truly understand these places is by exploring them. 


“Not all classrooms have four walls.” – Anonymous

As mentioned before, there are new ways to learn, outside of the traditional classroom. The traditional way of learning, inside a classroom, is still vital to a child’s education, but in today’s age there are other ways you can educate your children. Traveling with your kids is one way to continue their learning experience outside of the classroom. There is so much to learn through travel, about other people, places, and cultures, and about yourself.


“In the end, kids won’t remember that fancy toy you bought them, they will remember the time you spent with them.”Kevin Heath

Material items will come and go but memories last forever. Traveling with your family may not be cheap, but if you spend money on travel experiences, instead of toys, you won’t break the bank right away. Spending quality time with your children when you can will help influence who they will be as an adult. Sometimes kids might not fully appreciate the meaning of travel at a young age, but as they grow older, they will look back on it and understand the value of these experiences, and (hopefully) understand all the long plane and car rides!


“A road trip is a way for the whole family to spend time together and annoy each other in interesting new places.”  – Tom Lichtenheld

Travel is never perfect, and that includes traveling with your kids. If you have more than one child, chances are they will argue or disagree during your trip. A road trip is a great way to test those boundaries. 


“There are no perfect parents and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way.” – Dave Willis

This quote deals with the not so perfect side of traveling. Behind all those perfect family photos, there might have been a meltdown or two, but that doesn’t take away from the good parts of the trip or memories. 


Did we get you into wanderlust mood? Let us know in the comments below, which favorite travel quotes you like best.

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Thank you, COVID-19!

In times like this, when crisis and panic are your neighbours, it’s even more important now to stay calm, sane and positive. A few weeks ago, I did not think that the coronavirus outbreak could affect us during our stay here on Koh Phangan. In fact, I didn’t even pay much attention to it, as I don’t read/watch the news. Only when people started talking about it in Facebook groups and when they cancelled one of the events we were supposed to attend in Europe, I knew, the upcoming months would be changing drastically…

And that’s ok. We are stuck in paradise, it could be worse.

No, seriously, I mean, at first, it sucked, sure. Especially because we lost around 1000 Euro due to non-refundable accommodation bookings and flight changes, not considering the potential business ops that such events mean for us. But hey, in the end, it is only money. We are not hurt or don’t suffer anything other than being forced to change our travel plans. 

So, I know this is complaining on a high level. Therefore, I decided to not think about it any longer. Why waste this kind of energy if you simply can not change it?


Here is our Coronavirus Diary, to give you a daily update on how things go here in Thailand:


Why every crisis is also an opportunity

A few weeks ago, I talked about this on my Instagram feed and wondered how many people are actually thinking about the Covid-19 outbreak as a positive thing. I, by no means, want to belittle things and I truly feel sorry for those who are affected and suffer from the virus’ effects. But at the same time, I think we all need a little upbeat music in this orchestra of serenades.  

https://www.instagram.com/p/B91idOAJvgS/

And that’s why I think, we should start to put this into perspective, so here are some stats for you:

  • Seasonal flu deaths this year: 102,429
  • Road traffic accident fatalities this year: 284,514
  • Deaths caused by smoking this year: 1,053,641
  • Deaths caused by Coronavirus this year: 154,388 (18th of April 2020)
  • Recovered Coronavirus Cases: 575,837 (18th of April 2020)

Again, I am not trying to diminish any concerns about this virus, but before you start buying supplies or survival kits, please look at the stats without the panic glasses on – according to worldometer.com ‘an estimated 290,000 to 650,000 people die in the world due to complications from seasonal influenza (flu) viruses’ – every year. This is a fun website to check out, by the way, but that’s a different topic, let’s go back and focus on the stats again.

What do you think are the causes for the worldwide panic and hysteria then?

Exactly. The media and our governments are freaking us out. Right!? Even if the virus spreads in an extremely rapid manner, and ok, yes, it is highly contagious but AGAIN, look at the numbers, PLEASE. It is still not some sort of killer virus that goes around to erase human mankind. I simply don’t get why in Europe now panzers and the military pop up like pimples! Do you?

Why the f… are we not globally staying at home for two weeks or more and the whole drama would come to an end?! Seriously, if the lockdowns are there to minimise the spread or even eliminate the virus, then it should be done on a global level. Otherwise, all the individual efforts of those countries who are putting their people under quarantine or into lockdowns will be in vain.

What I truly appreciate, in times like this, is the fact that our travel insurance is covering us all the way, even when my home country’s companies long have turned their backs on us! In general, I am a big fan of SafetyWings, they are such a great solution for nomads like us. Plus, I met the Co-funder of SafetyWings in Chiang Mai and learned that the company is not only delivering great products and solutions for location-independent people but also are truly idealistic and visionaries too.

So, if you are looking for travel or health insurance that covers you worldwide without breaking your bank account, consider booking via our affiliate link here (to no extra cost to you, of course).

UPDATE (18th April 2020): Check this site to know if you are eligible for coverage in a coronavirus affected country: HERE.

Back to our story.

How Coronavirus messed up our travel plans:

For us, travelling is not some sort of vacation – it has turned into our lifestyle. This means, when I say that our travel plans have been messed up, I am actually talking about that our life, in general, has come to a halt, as we don’t have a home base. So, every flight that we have to cancel means that we don’t know where else to go, or at least, we have to rethink again. Yes, we are homeless but happy, so to say.

But especially during a crisis like this one, it makes it a bit more complex: if your government tells you to return to your home country, they are talking about ‘normal’ people with a home and a life there. We don’t have either. 

So, when we came to Chiang Mai in January where I gave a talk on social media marketing at Nomad Summit, our plan was to continue in March from there to Italy to attend another travel conference. As you can imagine, this conference was cancelled.

This was the first blow because without the conference our flights to Europe became obsolete: why head to Europe if there is nothing but cold weather (well, and lovely grandparents, uncles and aunts, and some friends, of course)?

So, we decided to spend some money to change our flights (=445 Euro) and extend our visa (=100 Euro) for another 30 days.

It seemed to be a smart decision back in February because we thought that with the upcoming speaking gigs in Georgia in May (Nomad Summit) and Rumania in July (Bansko Nomad Fest), we will have to fly to Europe anyways… we still don’t know if those will happen – who knows for how long the worldwide air travel ban will last.

As of the moment of writing (18th of April 2020), the situation in Europe seems to become under control though, so there’s hope.

Currently, our visa is valid through to the 30th of April, and then we will have to see what the Thai government decides for those foreigners in their country who have already overstayed their normal visas, like us.

A month ago, we were looking at these three options:

  1. Leave Thailand and go to X destination
  2. Leave Thailand and come back in (aka do a visa run)
  3. Take our scheduled flight to Germany
    All three options stopped being options by the end of March when Thailand closed its borders and international air traffic was put to a halt. (see updated text in red below for the current situation here in Thailand)!

UPDATE (18th of April 2020): Thailand’s borders are still closed The country is still under a state of emergency. At the beginning of April, the Thai premier minister officially announced that most foreigners’ visas will be renewed automatically until the 30th of April.

As of the moment of writing, this is the situation with Coronavirus in Thailand:

  • Total Cases: 2733
  • Active Cases: 899
  • Recovered: 1787
  • Deaths: 47

The German embassy helped stranded tourists to get an extension to be able to overstay their visa without being fined. On April 5th, our flight got cancelled, so we were part of the group of foreigners affected who got stuck in Thailand.

Looking back now, we have had so little restrictions for our daily life here and have been able to participate in pleasant activities such as going to the beach, driving around the island on our scooter or using the resort’s pool, that we are very grateful and happy that we decided and were forced to stay put.

Still, I can only say, thank you, COVID-19 for making all our lives a bit more complex.


I will update this post on a frequent basis, so make sure to bookmark this page and check back on a frequent basis if you are interested in how our journey will continue…

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy. <3

Oh and, here are two websites that I think everyone should know of…

Best resources to check Coronavirus updates:

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4 Day Thailand Itinerary

The headline sounds crazy, I know! But perhaps one day you’ll find yourself in this tricky situation where you’ll be short on time when it comes to visiting one of the most popular Asian destinations. So, imagine you only had four days to spend in beautiful Thailand! Here is our 4-day Thailand Itinerary and what you could do to get a glimpse of Asia’s number one travel destination – even in such a short time!

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4 Days Thailand Itinerary. Pinterest

How to Spend 4 Days in Thailand

Let’s pretend, you’d only have four days to discover the beauty of Thailand, here are the highlights for a 4-day itinerary you won’t want to miss if you go to one of the most popular Asian countries for travellers.

A boat trip to one of Thailand's beautiful islands.
Even on a cloudy day, the dramatic scenery of Thailand’s waters is so intriguing… Photo by Marcin Kaliński on Unsplash

2 Days in Bangkok

Really the only place to start any trip to Thailand is the capital city of Bangkok. We suggest two days in Bangkok will just about be enough to see the main sights and give you a good feel for the city.

Day One: Best Temples in Bangkok

Thailand has always been known for its beautiful temples and palaces, more than just its lush, green forests and pristine beaches. Some of the best temples are in Bangkok; there are four must-see temples in Bangkok alone, and one Royal palace to visit. In our Bangkok itinerary, we recommend ending the tour with a relaxing river cruise.

Book your River Cruise Tour here!

Begin your tour at the Grand Palace. It is made up of complex buildings divided into four main parts, namely: the Outer Court, the Inner Court, the Middle Court, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It used to be the official residence of the Royal Family from 1782 to 1925. Currently, the Palace is open to the public as a museum, but there are still royal offices operating inside.

Grand Palace in Thailand. Photo credit: www.jeyjetter.com
The Grand Palace in Bangkok. Photo credit: jeyjetter.com

MORE RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES:

Next, walk a couple of blocks south from the Grand Palace to Wat Pho. It is the oldest, largest, and most famous temple in Thailand. It had been recognised by UNESCO in their Memory of the World Programme because it is believed to be the earliest public school in Thailand. But their most popular attraction here is the Reclining Buddha, which is 46 metres long and 15 metres high.

Wat Pho in Bangkok. Photo credit: www.jeyjetter.com
Wat Pho in Bangkok. Photo by www.jeyjetter.com

After, make your way across the west bank of the Chao Phraya River to visit Wat Arun. It is also named the Temple of Dawn, and you can get the most breathtaking views of the city here. There are five prangs in the temple, you can choose to climb the main prang which is decorated with colourful porcelain and ceramic tiles.

Still need accommodation in Bangkok?

Lastly, drive back to Chinatown to visit Wat Traimit. It is hard to miss the six-ton, solid gold Buddha statue in the temple. It is considered to be the biggest golden statue in the world, valuing in an estimated $250 million.

Walking through the streets of China Town in Bangkok - one must-do when in Thailand!
Walking through the streets of China Town in Bangkok – one must-do when in Thailand! Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Cap the day off by cruising down the Phraya River via a water taxi. You can relax throughout the ride, get a view of the city from your cruise, and just take it all in.

Note that you should wear something that will cover your elbows and knees when you go to the temples. A long-sleeved shirt and pants will do fine, but if you did not bring any, you can always bring a jacket and a long cover-up with you. If you see the locals leave their shoes outside the temple, you should do the same.


MORE BANGKOK ACTIVITIES:


 

Day Two: Shopping, Food and Muay Thai in Bangkok

Other than the temples, it is not a Thailand trip if you will not get to experience at least one of the floating markets in Bangkok. The two most popular markets are Taling Chan and Khlong Lat Mayom. If this is your first time in Bangkok, you should probably stick to those two first. It is recommended that you get there early in the morning before it gets crowded, not just to make it easy to shop, but so you get first dibs on some of the items.

You can also buy lots of local delicacies, jewellery, produce, and clothes. But you have to decide fast, though, the canal is filled with boats, you do not want to cause water traffic. If you do have some spare time you could also visit If you have time you could also visit Amphawa floating market.

Floating markets - a big highlight when visiting Bangkok!
Floating Markets – a big highlight when visiting Bangkok! Photo by Harvey Enrile on Unsplash.

Next up, a Muay Thai fight in Bangkok! You can make your way to Rajadamnern Stadium, home to authentic Muay Thai fights – by authentic, we mean, there is no show, no script, none of that touristy feel. Muay Thai is considered a national sport, and watching it in Thailand is something you should not miss.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B7jTvSlg-I0/

The best thing about Bangkok is there are restaurants and food stalls on almost every corner. You have already been to Chinatown from the first day, but giving it a second visit just for the food is also the perfect way to gear up that food tour.


Beach time in Thailand – one mandatory stop on your Thailand travel guide.
Famous for its beautiful beaches: Thailand really has uncountable hot spots you need to come back for! Photo by Farsai C. on Unsplash

Day Three: Find the Best Beach in Koh Chang Island

After spending your time in the city, you are probably itching for a day at the beach. The great news is there are two cool beaches you can easily reach from Bangkok, one of which is Koh Chang island. From the mainland, it is a five-hour bus drive or a 45-minute ferry ride.


INSIDER TIP: Take the worry out of your arrival or departure from Suvarnabhumi Airport and pre-book a private transfer to or from major destinations in Thailand, including Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Koh Samet and Koh Chang. Book your transfer here!


Koh Chang is home to beautiful beaches like the Lonely beach and White Sand Beach. There are also several waterfalls on Koh Chang, like the popular Khlong Phlu Waterfall and the Khlong Nonsi Waterfall, plus parks like the Mu Ko Chang National Park.

Even on a party island you'll have the most peaceful sunsets...
Even on a party island, you’ll have the most peaceful sunsets… Photo by www.jeyjetter.com

Relax and find the best beach in Koh Chang by day. Remember by night Koh Chang is considered to be one of the best party island’s in Thailand, especially in Lonely Beach, so be ready to get your party on when you find yourself here.


Day Four: Chill Out on Koh Samet’s Beaches

Another beach destination for your fourth and last day in Thailand. Koh Samet is only two and a half hours away from the city by bus. You can go to Ao Phai or Hat Sai Kaow. This is where you can truly enjoy the tranquillity of Thailand, away from the city and the crowds and just chill out on Koh Samet’s beaches.

Travel guide for your Thailand trip: White sand beaches are a must see.
Enjoy some quiet time after the hassle and buzz of the city! Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash.

After a chill day at the beach in Koh Samet, make your way back to the city for one last look at Bangkok before you leave. By following this itinerary, you will be able to enjoy the country’s thrilling capital with its delicious food but also get a glimpse of the beautiful nature this country has to offer – in four short days. Make sure to come back one day with more time in your pocket!


NOT DONE READING YET?

As a digital nomad family, we simply LOVE Koh Phangan, read how we got stuck there during Covid-19 and explore our family digital nomad guide for this beautiful remote island.

Or try out our Thailand island hopping beginners guide .

If you are not in a rush or want to come back to Thailand one day (which I recommend you should!), here is why you have to put Chiang Rai on your list!

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*This post may contain affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

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Destination Guides Digital Nomad Family Tips General Family Travel Tips Top Travel Posts

The Ultimate Guide to Koh Phangan For Digital Nomad Families – What to Do And Where to Stay

It’s no secret, Thailand is a magnet for travelers and digital nomads alike. We found that Koh Phangan for digital nomad families is just perfect! During my eight years of roaming the world, I was lucky enough to visit this beautiful spot of the world several times. But the last time was different. It wasn’t old backpacker-me ticking off tourist attractions this land of smiles has on offer. Nope. This time, I brought my little nomadic family along.

Read on if you want to know where are the best places for digital nomads and how living on Koh Phangan as a digital nomad family looks like.

Koh Phangan for digital nomad families offer so many cool places like this swing heald by palm trees where a couple with their child sits, the ocean in the background.
Swinging life away on Koh Phangan for digital nomad families… at one of our favorite beaches in the south of the island.

Note: This is a collaboration post, partially from people we personally know and have met on my travels, and partially from my blogger network. It aims to give you a not single-minded perspective on the island’s potential! You’re welcome! 😉

Koh Phangan For Digital Nomad Families – why go?

For us, the question of ‘where to next?’ pops up as soon as the days of our current visa come to an end. It’s mostly a challenge and it requires a lot of patience and travel planning skills if you want to slow travel as budget-friendly as possible. But there are a few things that can help you make a decision: One big factor is the weather. Yes, it’s that simple. Don’t visit Europe, for example, in the cold and grey months of November and January (December is fine if you like Christmas, then it’s actually lovely there!).

So, in 2018, during our stay in Portugal’s scenic Algarve, we met so many families who travel and work remotely just like us. After a while, it happened so that we connected and exchanged travel plans. Most of the other families already booked their flights to Asia. And since we now focus on what is best for our kids (back then, we were still with our first son only and me being pregnant again), we decided to follow along and meet with our and his playmates on Koh Phangan, Thailand. Such a great decision!

Koh Phangan for digital nomad families has it all! The (still!) laid-back island vibe you are looking for when thinking of an island escape. GORGEOUS beaches and lush green jungle spots! Oh, and boy, do I love Thai food – take me back, please, yum!

Bird-eye view onto Koh Ma Island on Koh Phangan for digital nomad families.
One of the best views you’ll have up at the 360 Bar.

Koh Phangan for digital nomad families: best places to eat on

Orion Healing Center

This place alone gives me a reason to go back to Koh Phangan. Seriously, I wanted to stay there as soon as we walked in the first time (and we came back many more times during our stay on the island). How can I describe it best to do it justice: you walk into the outside sitting area when you come from the parking lot and feel already peaceful and calm. It’s actually a healing center where people practice yoga and enjoy detox treatments. But you can (and should!) also eat in their fabulous restaurant and cafe.

Collage of one big picture with an outside sitting area with hammocks, palm trees, and two small pictures with typical food.
Take me back… Yummy food and a peaceful vibe!

When you have the time, then you should come several times as it is impossible to try all their food at once – which I really recommend – you can tell, I am absolutely in love with this place (and this is no paid advertisement, it’s my genuine opinion LOL). You can choose from Yogi breakfast bowls to yummy vegan dishes and, of course, sip your way through their healthy smoothies and freshly squeezed juices.


Seed to Feed

We love the idea of this place: they grow their own salads, herbs and green leaves right next to the restaurant. Besides this awesome fact, everything is nicely presented to the visitor and there is simply a relaxed atmosphere. Oh, and of course, the food is delish too! Try one of their yummy salads and you’ll see what I mean. It is a nice change when you want to eat something fresh instead of the evergreen Pad Thai dish. But, of course, you can also get traditional Thai food in case you’re wondering…

collage of two photos, one showing hanging menu signs and the other showing four glass jars with spices and herbs.

Eat.Co

Vegan restaurants are on the upcoming as it is no secret that many travelers come to this beautiful island with a mission to heal, relax and exercise. That’s why you also see many yoga places and organic shops around. Eat.Co makes it a priority to serve creative dishes in a very laid-back and artsy ambience. You can even shop some organic clothes and hand-made jewellery as well as soaps, oils, incenses and non-chemical insect repellent.

Tip: The portions are rather small so if you’re hungry you will have to order two dishes each if you don’t want to leave hungry… But then again, I was there when I was pregnant, so perhaps you will be fine! LOL


Pantip Market

As a digital nomad in Koh Phangan, you can’t eat out in restaurants all the time. Even in Thailand that can get pricey. One of the best solutions, other than cooking yourself, is to go eat at the Pantip Market.

Thai street food market, food stalls and vendors

Koh Phangan’s Pantip Market, also known as Pantip Night Food Market, is an all-day food market in Thong Sala, the largest town on the island.

Whichever time of day you come there, you’ll be able to choose from a wide array of reasonably priced meals. Ranging from the smallest snacks such as pancakes, doughnuts or meat/tofu skewers, to full-on meals such as Pad Thai and of course you can find also the beloved mango & sticky rice dessert. Many of the stalls have started using paper plates and banana leaves instead of the omnipresent plastic.

The market becomes the liveliest in the evenings. Around the Full moon dates, even stalls selling souvenirs pop up in Pantip and it can become quite difficult to find a free seat in the common seating area. 

This tip comes from my friend Veronica from Travel Geekery. Check her also out on Instagram:



What to do on Koh Phangan

One of the greatest things to do on Koh Phangan is clearly to enjoy the countless beautiful beaches and explore the many hidden bays. See below for a full list of best beaches on the island. But one highlight you simply can’t miss is going snorkeling in the little bay of the so-called Secret Beach.

Snorkeling at Koh Raham – Secret Beach

Pass through the jungle-like resort and restaurant entrance from which you will get to the very far back of the sitting area. Once you’ve reached the end of the pathway, you will see people jumping off the little rock. You can also simply put on your snorkeling gear and climb down the stone stairs to submerge into the crystal clear waters.

Immediately you will be surrounded by plenty of fish that hang out there and get attracted by the food people through into the water… (not my favorite part, as I don’t think humans should feed wild fish, but the kids loved to see them and swim with the little fishes…)!

Little alley with coconuts on the side, woman with child in her arms underneath a sign that says Koh Raham
You will feel like a pirate in this place!

Angthong National Marine Park

When we travel, we always try to look outside the box and find activities that are not so common or done while in a destination. Our idea is, in this way, to generate content that is not very common and can help more travelers to plan their trip, and to us to increase traffic to our blog.

During our trip to Thailand, we went, of course, to Koh Phangan, an extremely popular island that almost every traveler to the country visits. But here we found a tour to a national park called Angthong National Marine Park which, despite widely publicized everywhere, very few people really did take. Everyone prefers to party at night and rest in the day…

Man and woman standing at the beach smiling at the camera, sun glasses on their eyes, the ocean and a green jungle mountain in the background.

So, we decided to go on a tour that left at 07:00 am and returned around 19:00 in the afternoon. We were surprised and loved it. We saw several nearby islands, hidden lagoons between mountains and paradisiacal beaches with practically no people. Without doubt, one of our favorite activities in the area, and for which to this day many travelers ask us about.

This tip is from Alejandra from Universo Viajero, you can find her also on Instagram:


Full Moon Party

No article about traveling to Koh Phangan should be without a short mention of the legendary Full Moon Party. It might not be for everyone and is clearly not for (anymore). But this Koh Phangan travel guide wouldn’t be complete without it. So, here is my honest opinion on this rather special event.

When I visited Koh Phangan the first time, back in 2011, I also went to see what it’s all about the Full Moon Party. The hype is huge, people who want to be part of this massive party at the beach, travel from other parts of Thailand (and even outside the country), just to be there when Koh Phangan goes wild. Prices go up, hotels fill up and alcoholic beverages get scarce. Everyone buys colorful (or white) shirts and those neon colors that reflect at night.

Full Moon party bracelet on arm wrist

When you are in your mid-twenties celebrating with your friends, you might have the time of your life dancing the night away right at one of Koh Phangan beautiful beaches. But if you have kids and get a little older, like us, a wild party event like this just doesn’t do the trick any longer. I’d rather stay at home or sit by the bonfire at Zen Beach.

Should you go? Yes, sure. It’s one of those things you can tick off your bucket list. But no harm is done if you miss out. But that’s just my humble opinion… Please leave a comment at the end of this article if you agree/disagree. Thanks!

Check for more activities and tours on Koh Phangan here:


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Where to stay on Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan, one of Thailand’s fairest island getaways, is known for its beauty but, too often, it’s party culture. The home of the infamous Full Moon Party, it can be a little tricky to find places to suit travelers who aren’t on their gap year.

Bluerama

That’s why Bluerama, a small hilltop resort about ten minutes from the port offers the best of all worlds. Situated at the top of a (very) steep hill, this small boutique outfit only has ten bungalows on stilts, each offering incredible views of the bay before them. The bungalows are tastefully decorated, beautifully air-conditioned and offer privacy from other guests.

However, because of the location, the hotel also has one of the world’s most stunning swimming pool views, as you are almost suspended above the ocean. And this poolside setting usually attracts a cool clientele with trendy music and a laid back cocktail vibe around sunset.

view from terrace of the Bluerama on Koh Phangan
Photo credit: Bluerama

Bluerama is also ideal for digital nomads as it offers some of the strongest WiFi signals we’ve seen over South East Asia. Working by day at the pool and streaming Netflix at night means you’re easily connected, albeit in some beautiful surroundings.

This tip comes from James and Lee Scrivener from The Travel Scribes.

NOTE: This is not an ideal hotel for families, in fact, it is an adult-only spot. However, we wanted to include it in this post anyway as it can be interesting for couples and solo travelers who might stop by and read this post too.


Buritara

What can I say – would I recommend it? Hm, not to everybody, I think. But here I am telling you that we had a wonderful time there. Why? Despite the somewhat rundown facilities and the not so ideal location, we can definitely say that it is worth to stay at Buritara if you are a digital nomad family.

Every year, during European winter, many German-speaking families have made it their habit to reunite on Koh Phangan to escape the cold. In fact, there is this one famous German travel family, the Horlachers, who started the so-called ‘Koh Phangan Winter Camp’ back in 2017.

people at the beach, in the middle there is a bonfire lighting up, clouds hanging in the sky.
Getting ready for our bonfire night…

The reason this is such a great resort to choose when visiting Koh Phangan as a digital nomad family is because you will be surrounded by not the ordinary hotel guest but with people who think and breathe exactly like you: travel, location-independence and anything that is related to an alternative lifestyle.

If you are interested to be part of such a community during your workation on Koh Phangan, check out this (German) Facebook group, or simply speak to anyone at one of the many beaches who looks German and for sure they can tell you where the next get-together will take place. Your best place to connect is clearly the god ol’ Buritara.

A big outdoor swimming pool in a resort, children playing in the water, palm trees and the view towards the ocean in the background.

Song Pi Nong and Longtail Beach Resort

The reason I am listing these two hotels here together is that I cannot really speak from personal experience as we did not stay there. But from all the families we met on the island, who stayed at either of the two places, they highly recommended them. In fact, if you want to have a little more European standard and cleanliness, then you are better off at one of these places. Like I explained above, we didn’t mind the lower standard that Buritara had on offer because the people made it an overall positive experience, but as a travel blogger who recommends hotels and restaurants, I honestly have to say that I wouldn’t stay there under ‘normal’ circumstances.

Tip: Check for availability at Longtail Beach Resort and Song Pi Nong way ahead of time, these are popular places and sell out fast during December till March!


Search here for your Koh Phangan accommodation:


These are perfect beaches on Koh Phangan for digital nomad families!

Often we are asked which beaches we find the most beautiful. To answer this question is not so easy, because one beach is more beautiful than the other, that’s how we feel. But here are our two most favorite beaches:

1.) Srithanu Beach (Nice Beach)

Our house beach in Srithanu. We have consciously decided to stay only a few minutes by motorbike from Srithanu Beach. This is where we are most frequently found. We like the clear, calm water, the small bay, the white powder sand and the Nice Beach Restaurant with the delicious Thai cuisine. This beach is particularly suitable for families with children of all ages.

woman with child plays in shallow water at the beach. In the background you can see the sandy part of the beach with little shops and restaurants.

One can walk very far into the water, as the beach doesn’t drop much towards the sea. Since there is very little current in this bay, the water is clear and calm. Here you will find the ideal bathing fun for the whole family but be aware that there are only a few shady places…

From approx. 6 pm you can enjoy here also daily beautiful sunsets. For us, the Srithanu Beach (Nice Beach) is the number one beach on Koh Phangan.

Sunset at the beach, some people are in the shallow water, a couple is laying on a blanket in the sand and watch the sun go down.
Always worth a visit: Happy Beach or Nice Beach, as they call it.

2.) Malibu Beach

Malibu Beach lives up to its name. If you didn’t know you were in Thailand, you might think you were in Florida. It has the finest, whitest beach in the north of the island. From afternoon (approx. 2 pm) more and more shade falls into the bay and thus also on the beautiful beach. Therefore we recommend a visit in the morning. Like at Srithanu Beach you can walk far into the sea. So you can relax on the beach while the kids play in the water.

There is only one restaurant on the beach and it is highly overpriced – on top of that bringing food is not allowed. However, as far as we know, the beaches in Thailand are mostly public, so we decided to bring small snacks, fruits and drinks with us. Tip: Just don’t sit directly in front of the restaurant.


3.) Bottle Beach

This beach in the northeast of the island is very difficult to reach by land, so the best way to get there is by taxi boat. You can book the trip directly at the port in Chaloklum and it should not cost you more than about 300 BAHT for both ways. For children up to 11 years of age, there is usually no need to pay. The travel time is approx. 20 – 30 minutes. It is best to start in the morning at the harbor in Chaloklum. If you are traveling with a larger group, you can certainly negotiate a group discount.

At Bottle Beach, you will find a handful of hotels and restaurants, so there is plenty to eat and drink. Best time to visit: Avoid the weekend! Then, you might be lucky to find the beach all to yourself!

typical Thai taxi boats on the shore of crystal clear turquoise water

4.) Haad Khom / Coconut Beach

Coral Bay Beach, as it is called by most people, is well known for its pet: a huge and friendly pig. In the spacious bay, you will find many cozy places in the shade. Children will love the swings that are hanging down from the palm trees. The restaurants offer good Thai food and the beach pig is, of course, an attraction. As the name „Coral Bay” already suggests, the sand is not the finest and in the water are sometimes some stones and corals. This makes a good snorkel spot though, so don’t forget to bring your goggles.


5.) Zen Beach

Zen Beach is not very suitable for swimming, especially for families with children. Apart from its strong current and the fairly deep entrance right after a few steps into the water, there is a high chance of being stung by a sea urchin. It happens quite frequently that people come out of the water with one of the long spines in their feet.

Nevertheless, this beach has an absolute special vibe. At sunset many alternative free spirits, musicians and acrobats meet here to make music, dance and enjoy a huge fire show. It is a special experience to soak up the colorful hustle and bustle with music, acrobatics and dance around the campfire. Many practice yoga or simply enjoy a coconut and watch the beautiful sunset.

woman kneeling in the sand watching her child walk in the distance towards the ocean, the sun goes down in the background.

More beaches on Koh Phangan

These were our top five beaches on Koh Phangan. As you can imagine, there are many more beaches. Here are more beautiful beaches we recommend to visit:

Thong Nai Pan

Thong Nai Pan is located in the east of the island. With a scooter, it takes about 30-45 minutes to get around.

Cocohut Beach

Famous for its legendary swing, this beach is worth a visit. Make sure to enjoy some delicious food at the Cocohut Resort.

Haad Yao

The bay at Haad Yao is relatively large and offers plenty of space for families with children.

Haad Salad

The bay is very, very beautiful. However, you can always find sea cucumbers (harmless) or sea urchins when snorkeling further out.

Although we have already spent 7 months on Koh Phangan, there is always something new to discover. We can recommend the „Koh Phangan Travel Guide” from „Home is where your Bag is”. We were surprised ourselves about what we discovered in this pointed travel guide.

These tips for Koh Phangan for digital nomad families are from our lovely friends Sabrina and Holger at Worldsafari Family. Check them also out on Instagram.


Conclusion

Koh Phangan for digital nomad families is a very special place – either if you are after the colorful Full Moon Party or if you simply want to stay for a few months and use it as your nomad base. Especially for digital nomad families, this Thai island has a lot on offer: calm and beautiful beaches, friendly and relaxed people which is probably the reason why there is a healthy mix of both travel families and solo travelers.

If you liked this post, please share it with your family and friends. Also, leave a comment to let us know what part of Koh Phangan you like best or if you are still planning to visit this gorgeous island. Stay tuned for more Thai content as we will be back there from January-March 2020!

In the meantime check out our existing Thai articles:
4 Day Thailand Itinerary
Island Hopping Guide for Beginners
5 Things to Know Before Visiting Bangkok


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Digital Nomad How To Make Money Top Travel Posts

World Travel Tips for Digital Nomads

Have you ever wondered how life on the road really looks like? It’s a complex form of living and then again it’s the simplest way you’ve ever dreamed of. It includes living out of a suitcase, travelling to anywhere you want (and where there’s WIFI) and so much more. But it also means that you have to take care of a few things that common life doesn’t require. Want to know which are these things? Here is your ultimate guide to a digital nomad’s life!

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This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Life on the Road: All You Need to Know About How to Become a Digital Nomad

The Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal. What does each of these spectacular world landmarks have in common? Well, for some of us, each of these locations could be an office with a million dollar view. Remote work offers the best of both worlds to the tech-savvy and adventurous among us. Sightseeing while you work can be a dream, and you don’t need much to get started. Oftentimes all you need is a functional computer, a good internet connection, and an entrepreneurial spirit to become a modern-day digital nomad!

For today’s digital nomads, the possibilities are just emerging as increasingly more companies offer remote contracts or the ability to work from home. With a bit of planning and determination, you can join the ranks of other global nomads making a living on the road.

1. Establish Your Goals

For digital nomads, the end goal is generally to travel while working and create some kind of sustainable income. Although the popular image may be one of whipping out your laptop poolside, enjoying a cocktail — it’s not that simple (or practical!) to do.

The digital nomad is often envisioned as a 20 or 30-something Millennial having the right profession to combine travel and work, but you can hit the road at any age.

The life of a nomad is a balance between working on-the-go and enjoying new culture and sightseeing. It doesn’t always mean you have to leave the country — plenty of nomads spend their time exploring the diversity of culture in their own backyard without ever setting foot on the tarmac. A simple camper van and a sense of adventure can easily satisfy your urge to get out of town for a while.

Check out how one day CAN look like in the life of a digital nomad family!
The video is in German – English subtitles are coming soon!!!

2. Identify Your Skill Set and Income Sources

A person using a computer

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The most common question asked by nomadic wannabes is how they can get started. It’s not that hard if you already have the right skill set. If you aren’t lucky enough to have that perfect work-abroad job offer, develop your talent and create a situation where you can work digitally. Create sources of passive and active income as you embark on your journey.

Active Income:

  • Have a journalism degree? Establish a freelance practice before you set out.
  • Are you an educator? Many tutoring programs have moved online.
  • Have some other tech-savvy skill? Try blogging, web design, or creating a podcast.

Passive Income:

  • Rent your permanent home while you travel.
  • Create an online store to generate income.
  • Write and promote a book and publish it online.

Whatever your talent, you can move it abroad under the right conditions. Develop your income before you set off. Have a plan in place and create a timeline. It’s not a bad idea to have more than one source of income just in case.

Click HERE to get my FREE cheat sheet on how to find remote work!

3. Expect Hurdles to Your Nomadic Life

Many a global nomad enjoys the good life for several years, only to find that things get… complicated. Marriage, changes in health, babies, ageing parents, long-term plans and retirement plans all begin to emerge as potential hurdles. You may miss the boat on buying your first home or begin to see cracks in your social circle as you travel. Just like in any job, being a digital nomad means accepting that:

  • Loneliness is to be expected.
  • One day, you can return home, wherever that may be.
  • It’s never too early to plan for retirement.

Just as in the typical “day-to-day” grind, you will find yourself with items to take care of on your personal agenda. Health insurance, paying the bills, and taking care of family do not disappear when you venture on the path of global nomadism.

4. Complete a Trial Run

If you find yourself questioning whether or not life on the road is for you, it’s not a bad idea to complete a trial run before you throw in the towel on your 9 to 5. Take a break or a holiday first, and see if you can make it work.

Before putting in your notice, book a ticket to your location of choice with the intention to work as you go. Your aim here is work/life integration, not a vacation. This will allow you to work out the kinks before the real departure.

5. Choose Your Location … Wisely

A large crowd of people

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The global nomad can live anywhere, but that doesn’t mean they should. Choosing your locale to suit a budget is not only smart but it saves you the headache of relocating when things go south. Choose your location based on your income and don’t overstretch your budget. The same rules apply anywhere. Here are some tips:

  • Try affordable locations first. Southeast Asia, South America, and Eastern Europe are all great budget starting points. It’s like finding a starter home — once you know you can make it there, move on to pricier areas if you feel ready!
  • Stay long-term first. It takes several months to establish yourself in a location. Before bouncing off to the next country or city, plan to stay in each location for several months or a couple of years at a stretch. This helps you get to know the ins and outs before moving on.
  • Save before you go. Never start your nomadic experience in debt or without a financial plan. It’s a recipe for Couchsurfing disaster! Pay your debts before you go or at least know that you have enough saved to pay the bills for the next six months before setting off.

Remember, if you have financial or personal problems, they won’t go away just because you did. Whatever baggage you travel with (be it emotional or financial) will follow you wherever you go. Deal with your reality before departure to make sure you plan is successful.

6. Say Goodbye to Tradition

As a digital nomad, your life may diverge quite drastically from others in your social circle. This adventure comes with a trade-off. There will be no white-picket fence in your nomadic future, and you may find yourself cutting ties more frequently.

  • Be prepared for a moment when you question your decisions and be prepared to adjust accordingly.
  • Check in with yourself from time to time. Are you okay missing out on milestones and trading that for the travel experience?
  • Surround yourself with other nomads who “get it.” Don’t be afraid to let go of friendships temporarily as you experience this new lifestyle.

The quiet life, working at the same place for your entire life and settling down just don’t always work well when you’re spending more of your time on the road. Be prepared to hunker down wherever it works in the moment and move on when opportunities have been exhausted.

7. Don’t Brush Off Visas or Taxes

If there’s one piece of smart advice we can offer, it’s this: taxes and visas are a given. Neglecting these two areas can leave you in some pretty serious trouble. Many an adventurer sets out without obtaining appropriate financial advice regarding taxes. Or perhaps, it seems adventurous to “just go” and “see what happens.” We strongly advise against doing this. You still need to have a plan!

  • Depending on your country of residence, not filing taxes can come with swift penalties.
  • As a global nomad, you are likely self-employed. Seek out advice on filing taxes before you go.
  • Never enter a country without the appropriate visa or travel document and always register at the embassy if you go abroad.

In the case of a natural disaster or other unforeseen event (it happens more often than you think), be prepared to have an escape plan. Make sure you copy all your documents and have a close friend or family member guard them back home just in case. Or, keep copies of important financial information including taxes close to you at all times.

8. Protect Your Most Important Companion

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Speaking of cutting corners, this is one you don’t want to mess with! We’ve heard it all. Journalists who go abroad only to lose entire interviews and data on the road. Designers left with no editing equipment. Videographers with no tape.

  • Protect your gear and guard it with your life! Insure it, hide it when not in use, and back it up.
  • It’s likely most of your work while on-the-go is done via your laptop or even your phone or iPad, so don’t leave your gadgets unprotected. Invest in cases or other protective gear that functions as a barrier against drops and damage.
  • Invest in luggage and gear that doesn’t impede transit through customs. Keep things moving along with a suitcase that is versatile and modern.

Get your travel and tec gear before you start your digital nomad life:

Pick a few simple tricks of the trade if you plan to venture abroad on your nomadic journey. Take it from us, time saved equals money earned while you wait for your flight!

Get Started Today

Being a digital nomad does involve a lot of forethought and work, but the payoff is worth it. With the right attitude and willingness to plan, your business could be up and running within a few short months. In search of more advice? Many digital communities are thriving on social media, so do a quick search and connect with other nomads in your area of choice. Happy travels!

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About the Author:

Katie Tejada (McDaniel) is a writer, editor, and travel enthusiast. With a love for adventure and the great outdoors, she spends much of her time writing outside.

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Destination Guides Top Travel Posts Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Alaska

After spending half a year in the sunny region of New Caledonia, the idea of heading somewhere colder did not appeal to my inner warmth-loving self. However, I promised myself I’d expand my bucket list a bit further to include some of those northern lands that are famous for their vast natural landscapes and untamed wildlife. Or, in the case of Alaska, for their very specific manner of treating moose, so just in case you were planning to offer some beer to a moos – don’t, the law forbids it.

All jokes aside, Alaska, also known as the Last Frontier, deserves the unparalleled pride its inhabitants feel for their homeland, and as soon as you build up the courage to head to this remote destination, you’ll understand why we all need at least one trip to Alaska in our lifetime.

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In an attempt to warm up to the idea of cold, I’ve done my fair share of research, and I suggest you do the same in case you decide to head to this majestic country. Add to that this first-hand experience, and you’ll know if this should be your next nomadic experience or if you’d rather stick to island-hopping and sunny coastlines of tropical lands. Without further ado, here’s my take on Alaska, and I hope it will help you fall in love with its breathtaking wilderness, inside and out, as much as I did.

Beautiful scenery awaits you when visiting Alaska.

Timing does matter when visiting Alaska

If you’re anything like me, and you’d prefer to skip the swarming tourist crowds, then summer is out of the question when visiting Alaska. However, there are many perks of the lovely June-September period, from the mild and warm weather, easy access to some of the most remote parts of the country, all the way to the flora in full bloom. For those who can enjoy the somewhat bustling streets of the few cities in Alaska, then, by all means, go in summer, you’ll also learn what it means to experience never-ending sunlight, as the sun never sets in Fairbanks (and further north) for approximately 70 days per year!

Winter, on the other hand, is not for the faint of heart and those who easily get cold feet – literally. As the country of many extremes, Alaskan winter means you’ll be deprived of too much sunlight, especially if you stay in the north, although the main perk and the key reason so many still venture to Alaska in this time of year is Aurora Borealis – the inexplicably stunning northern lights, only visible during the colder months of the year.

I myself chose to go there in the transitional period of early spring, and it seems that the forecast will be similar for 2019. The Spring Equinox of this year will happen around March the 20th, which means perfectly dark skies for Aurora-spotting, and not such harsh weather as in the dead of winter.

Brace yourself for the vast coast

Alaska takes beach beauty to a whole new level of magnificent and unique. To put things in perspective, Alaska’s coastline spans across staggering 49,000 miles, which is an area that would engulf all of the USA’s coastline and then some. Most of it is uninhabited and some of it unreachable from land, but even a single cruise would get you near some of the world’s most enchanting cliffs and meandering sediments.

In fact, taking an Alaska cruise means you’ll get a glimpse of native wildlife in its natural habitat, onshore and offshore alike, absorb the views of glaciers, and admire the rugged terrain that dramatically changes from one region to another. You haven’t seen true Alaska unless you’ve seen its fjords, charming towns, and National Parks that span across the entire country. My personal favorite was the cruise into the Inside Passage, where snow-capped mountains and iridescent waves compete for your utmost admiration.

The unreachable capital of Alaska

While we’re on the subject of shore, did you know that Juneau cannot be reached by traditional means, that is, by land? Unlike any other capital of the world, this one requires some extra effort if you wish to stay there longer, work, or spend a few weeks exploring the surrounding areas. You’ll need to either fly directly to the city, take a ferry through the Alaska Marine Highway, or alternatively, visit through a cruise, since any single one of them exploring the Inside Passage will take you to the capital as well.

Although it doesn’t boast an endless list of quirky activities tourists normally enjoy, if you’re headed to Alaska, you should expect nature in all of its pristine glory, and a local experience if there ever was one. My advice? Mix and match between wildlife-spotting (whale-watching is extremely popular here) and tasting local delicacies. A trip to Alaska Brewing Company will warm you up in a matter of sips.

The nomadic challenges when visiting Alaska

Now, whether you’re staying in Juneau, Anchorage, or Fairbanks, this is no typical digital nomad spot you’ve ventured into. Of course, you’ll find that local coffee shops are indeed tantalizingly warm and comfortable, but you’ll rarely encounter too many locals at their laptops typing away. However, the recently-opened Juneau Coworking is a promising space for digital nomads who are eager to enjoy the local life of Alaska without taking a long, unpaid vacation.

This coworking space has only recently started operating, and it’s located in the Senate Mall, so if you’re planning a longer stay, it’s definitely worth looking into. On a more mood-related note, winter travelers will often find it difficult to focus, since little sunshine and plenty of snow can make you crave for yet another tropical escape.

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Get €25 in travel credit towards your next trip when you sign up for Airbnb using my referral link: www.airbnb.com/c/jjerg or

check out some properties on booking.com:

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Bring out your inner foodie

I personally do not decide on my destinations based on the local menu, but I have to admit I do take interest in what the new country of travel has to offer each time I book my ticket. After all, it falls directly under my task of budgeting, so that I know what I’m getting myself into in case I’m planning to buy my own sustenance for the duration of my stay.

Alaska is a rather peculiar little gem when it comes to food. It’s a foodie paradise so to speak, but a very specific one for the curious souls who don’t mind trying reindeer hot dogs or anything and everything with smoked salmon. Pretty high on the “quirky foods list” is their Eskimo Ice Cream, a local delicacy made of snow, Alaskan berries, seal oil, and reindeer fat. It’s fifty-fifty in terms of the disgusting-vs-delicious ratio, but you won’t be disappointed if you give it a go.

To wrap up

If I had to summarize visiting Alaska in mere words, I’d say it’s fascinating in every way. Depicting its local vibe, the annual festivities, and the many wonderful encounters I’ve had would take a novel, not a blog post several thousand words long. Alternatively, I’d love for you to use this guide to inspire your own adventures and help others envision Alaska for what it truly is – the epitome of freedom.

About the author

Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels, she likes to read poetry and prose and surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. She spends most of her free time at home walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography and a regular author at AdventureFit Travel. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitterand Pinterest.

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Destination Guides Digital Nomad Top Travel Posts

The Philippines, Every Digital Nomad’s Dream Workation

jeyjetter.com: Great WIFI - even at the beach!

When it comes to working remotely, picking the right place is crucial. Finding somewhere that offers a great working environment as well as new experiences and adventures is what we all aim for. Which is why I’m sharing why everyone should spend some time in the Philippines, digital nomads especially.

To be fair, you have to be careful about choosing the right island, because Internet connectivity varies a lot. But don’t worry, there are places that have it all! Read on if you want to find out how to combine the perfect island escape, with some efficient work hours!

Being A Digital Nomad In The Philippines: Work, Play And Enjoy

Let’s be honest, the whole digital nomad lifestyle only makes sense if you fully embrace the fact that you are location-independent. So, why spend your days in a noisy city if natural beauty is your thing?

At least for my taste, I can get so much more out of it, if I’m in a relaxing and beautiful environment. Surrounded by palm trees and the sound of ocean waves, I just simply seem to function better.

That’s why I loved our one month trip to the Philippines in October. It was the perfect mixture of getting some serious workload off my chest, while successfully improving my suntan. Almost every day, we enjoyed a swim in the ocean and a long walk at the beach, while also being productive a few hours each day. That is my definition of a perfect life-work-balance.

Plus, we got to spend three days with 400 fellow travel bloggers in Manila, networking with companies from the travel industry at TBEX, “The World’s Largest Gathering Of Travel Bloggers, Writers, New Media Content Creators, And Social Media Savvy Travel Industry Professionals.” A perfect wrap-up of what it is like to be a TBEX newbie is coming soon. So stay tuned!

Back to our reasons why it’s so much more fun in the Philippines! Let’s start with my favorite part, the beach:

5-reasons

1) 7641 Philippines Islands For Digital Nomads To Choose From!

If yIf you have been following my blog then you might know by now that I am an absolute beach bum and sun follower. Recently, I got 20 of my travel blogger friends to tell me their top 5 beaches from around the world, in order to get more inspiration and extend my bucket list. But that’s a whole other story.

Our Favorite Island

In the Philippines, we visited many places but if I had to pick one favorite, it would be Kalanggaman Island, a small island an hour from Leyte Island.

It’s a hidden gem and I’d say it’s an absolute insider tip that you should keep to yourself for now or only share it with your best friends. So, yes, you are now part of the inner circle and if you still hesitate, let me show you why you should go to Kalanggaman Island at least once in your life.

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What I love about traveling is when I discover places that are not yet overrun by tourists. To be honest, I’d rather be on a deserted island than sipping a cocktail on a beach chair next to hundreds of others. Perhaps that’s why I loved it so much on the Galapagos Islands this year in March.

Robinson Crusoe for one day: take a break from your WIFI addiction!

On Kalanggaman Island you (still) don’t have to elbow your way through to the water, it actually gives you the feeling that Robinson Crusoe must have had.

Things To Do On Kalanggaman Island

There are no restaurants, sleeping facilities, or any running water on the island. Ok, so you will have to forget about WIFI and your work for a day or two! But if you hire a tent or bring your own, you can play castaway for a night! And if you stay only for the day and get bored of lying on your beach towel all day, you can go snorkelling, rent a stand-up paddleboard or even go scuba diving.

For advice and help, the friendly staff at Leyte Gulf Travel and Tour are happy to assist you. It’s totally doable to organize everything on your own though, but they are there to makes things easier during your time in Leyte, not just at Kalanggaman!

jeyjetter.com: How to get to Kalanggaman Island

How To Get To Kalanggaman Island:

  • On the Island of Leyte, you take a bus from Tacloban City to Palompon (3 hours). Then hop on a boat (1 hour). Done!
  • Hire a van from one of the well-known companies, Grandtours or Havens, in Tacloban City for about P300 round trip.
  • Make a reservation for your boat at the Eco-Tourism office a day or two in advance. They monitor the number of people and limit it to 500 per day. So, especially in high season be prepared and book in advance.
  • The price for the boat (for a maximum of 15 people) is P3000, so be sure to make friends beforehand and split the cost!

jeyjetter.com: Where to stay on Kalanggaman Island

Where To Stay And What To Do On Kalanggaman Island:

  • We stayed in Tacloban City at XYZ Hotel, which is not a budget accommodation but includes a yummy breakfast buffet and pool on the rooftop. Check out their availability for your travel dates.
  • If you prefer to stay in Palompon, there is Pacci Hotel – a local’s recommendation, check the reviews and prices here.
  • If I go back one day to visit the island, I’d prefer to stay in Palompon. This saves you the long bus ride in the morning. You simply hop onto a boat after you wake up and enjoy the beauty of the island for a whole day.
  • On second thought, I’ll be bringing my tent and sleep on the island – a unique experience for sure!

2) Friendly; Friendlier; The Philippines!

Beautiful landscape and dreamy beaches are only half of your travel experience. It’s mostly the people around you who can turn a trip into an unforgettable memory.

At least, this was my experience in the Philippines. Asia-lovers already know that there is some sort of special kindness and friendliness towards travellers in countries like Thailand and Indonesia.

Yet, I got the feeling that it is almost a tad more genuine or intense in the Philippines than anywhere I’ve been in Asia.

Friendly people in the Philippines

3.) Food Heaven – Delicious Taste Will Make Your Senses Go Wild!

Now, there could be a whole blog post about this topic, but I will keep it short and simple: O-M-G! Think delicious spices, mixed with fresh vegetables and seafood, plus a portion of love. The food in the Philippines is absolutely delicious.

And if coconuts, mangos, curries and seafood are your thing, welcome to paradise! So, while you are working hard on your digital nomad projects, rest assured that your nutrition will be well balanced!

One of my favorite food experiences was the so-called “Boodle Fight.” Everyone stands in front of a table that is covered with big banana leaves. On top of the leaves, you’ll find fresh seafood, a mixture of vegetables and fruits, delicious sauces and plenty of rice.

Now, the best part is that you get to eat with your hands! Perhaps that is where the name comes from… although we didn’t end up fighting with each other. Fighting with ourselves to learn how to elegantly shuffle rice with sauce into our mouths, on the other hand, was a different story!

jeyjetter.com: Boodle Fight and other food delights

4) Great WiFi For Working Nomads On Philippine’s Best Beaches

Let’s go once again back to this topic: the beach. I know, I’ve said it before, but it’s so hard to pick one favourite in a place of almost countless islands. Living nomadic in the Philippines means you’ll need to fit some work into your visit.

So, I thought I would give you a few more examples, in case you decided to try to combine your work with a vacation hotspot.

Best beaches in the Philippines

4 Good Places To Combine Relaxation With Work

Of course, you need to get some work done (hence the ‘workation’), but you can’t miss out on the relaxing and enjoying either. Here are the best places to visit for both working and relaxing.

Manila:

While this is not the beach escape I mentioned earlier, I want to start with the country’s capital as an exception.

Manila lies right at the ocean, but it’s not recommended to take a dip there. It used to have the cleanest waterfront in Asia but that was a long time ago.

Yet, if you want to get into vacation mode (perhaps you don’t ever get out of it as you are continuously travelling like me) then the Belmont Hotel gives you an introduction to Filipino diversity.

It’s a five-star hotel close to the airport where we were hosted a couple of nights during TBEX. The rooftop pool and great WiFi made me want to stay longer…Check for availability here.

Bohol:

Of course, I was glad to leave the city in order to fully immerse in the more natural side of the Philippines! Bohol is an island south of Manila.

We flew into Cebu and took a short ferry ride to neighboring Bohol. This green island is famous for its funky little mountains that are known as the “Chocolate Hills”. Due to a current project, we skipped the tour to the mountains and stayed at our accommodation by the beach.

TIP: Skip Alona Beach! It’s plastered with hotels, boats, and vendors. The West coast around Momo Beach is almost deserted and has nice waters to swim in!

Bohol

Bantayan Island:

An odyssey later, we arrived on an island Northwest of Cebu Island. Bantayan Island seems to be slowly moving its way into the radar of travellers.

The people on the island seem to be preparing for the big tourist rush, with many new hotels and beach bungalows under construction during our stay. The ones that are already up and running are mostly spread out along the beach.

We stayed a few days at Marlin Beach Resort and enjoyed a good WiFi connection right at the beach. Check their availability for your travel dates here.

TIP: Break up your journey or start as early as possible in the morning! The traffic in Cebu city is horrendous! It took us almost two hours to get from the ferry dock (coming from Bohol) out of Cebu city. The bus ride up to the North also was longer than the expected 3 hours. In the end, we missed the last ferry (at 5 PM) and had to stay in a little harbour town to wait for the next ferry in the morning.

jeyjetter.com: Great WIFI on Bantayan Island

Leyte Island:

Sad but true, this island was put into the center of the world’s attention only after it got struck by typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Three years later, the terrible disaster that took many lives is almost invisible, and the optimism of the people who survived and still live there is incredible.

If you want to experience genuine happiness shown to you by welcoming locals and watch a flourishing variety of tourist activities, then you should pay a visit to Leyte. Small cafes, with a great work-space atmosphere in Tacloban and good WiFi, lush nature and crystal clear water are at your doorstep.

jeyjetter.com: Your next digital nomad base: the Philippines

Quirky Facts about the Philippines that will blow your mind!

Travelling is about widening your horizon, right?

For me, it is the most entertaining way to learn new things. Like I said before; the number of islands you find in the Philippines seems infinite.

If you wanted to spend one day on each of the 7641 islands (including the 534 recently discovered,) it would take you over 20 years! Wouldn’t that be a great nomad challenge!?

This huge amount of islands naturally creates a vast cultural diversity and many firsts. You will be able to say without a blink: the Philippines are unique and one of a kind.

Some facts about the Philippines you didn’t know:

  • There are 170 different languages spoken and only two official ones: Filipino and English.
  • Nowhere else in the world will you find so many different dialects in one nation: more than 500.
  • Some Filipinos don’t even understand each other when they speak in their home dialect.
  • From June to December is typhoon season – the Filipinos name those heavy winds from A-Z. Each year they get through the whole the alphabet.
  • The Filipinos start their Christmas preparations on the 1st of September. You’ll see Christmas trees and decorations everywhere while listening to Jingle Bells & Co!
  • The Philippines have one of the world’s largest population (over 100 millions), but you can still find deserted islands and beaches because in total the area is big enough to not make it feel crowded.

Chasing work-life-balance

So, who is up for a workation in the Philippines?
Hopefully this post got you into the mood… Let me know how your workation goes!

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NOT DONE READING YET?

Check out A 13-Day Workation on the Atlantic where you can read about a cool cruise from Columbia to Portugal with 200 fellow digital nomads.

Or perhaps you’re still deciding if the digital nomad lifestyle is for you, read here how Five years of full-time travelling have changed my life.


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PIN IT jeyjetter.com: A workation guide for digital nomads


Thank you TPB Philippines for this great trip to Leyte Island.
Like always, all opinion are MY OWN. So, to everyone else, no worries on biases or BS, you won’t find that here. I keep this real. Thanks for the support!

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Destination Guides Top Travel Posts

Cancún Travel Tips – A Guide for First-time Visitors

If you’re planning on going to Cancún anytime soon, but you aren’t really sure what to expect, this guide full of Cancún travel tips is for you.

White sandy beaches, crystal clear blue water, fine dining and a thrilling nightlife scene – Cancún has it all! It’s known as Mexico’s Mecca of beautiful beaches, many great spa-offers and pumping nightclubs.

Mandala Beach Club Cancun
Cancun Travel Tips: Soak up the sun at ‘Mandala Beach Club’

And on top of that, Cancun is the perfect starting point for your Maya expedition! This sounds perfect, right?

So, here are some tips for travelling to Cancun. As well as what you can see and do while there.

 


 

Tips for Anyone Wanting to Travel to Cancún

Some simple tips for a Cancún vacation, great for anyone heading on their first-ever trip to this amazing beach holiday spot – even for families:

  • Brush up on your Spanish
    • Most people working in tourism will speak English, but it won’t hurt to make sure you can say some basic phrases. It’ll help when dealing with the locals, as well gain you their respect.
  • Pack LOTS of Sunscreen
    • The Mexican sun can be ruthless, especially to those not used to it. You don’t want to spend your holiday feeling sick and sore with burnt skin, so lather on the SPF and stay hydrated in the shade!
Mandala Beach Club
Handstands never get old, do they?

Cancún Sightseeing Tips

When sightseeing in Cancún, these are the top tips to help you get the most out of your trip:

  1. Take your time

Don’t try to fit too much into one day. Time in Cancún moves ‘slower’, and it’s going to take you longer to do something than you think. So rather pick a few things to do and see, and spend any spare time soaking up the sun on the beach. That’s what Cancún is for.

  1. Lookout for private property

Most, if not all, beachfront hotels are private property and prefer for non-guests to use the public beaches. You can access one of the public access points, just ask a local if you’re not sure.

Cancún Honeymoon Tips

The most important tip, if you’re in Cancún for your honeymoon, is to go easy on the spicy Mexican meals, especially if you’re not used to spicy foods! They may be too delicious to pass up altogether, so eat them in moderation. You don’t want to be suffering from stomach cramps (or worse) while trying to enjoy a romantic holiday.

Cancun travel tips: Married Couple in the ocean
You can either do what this couple did or follow our Cancun travel tips and this itinerary below

Most Important Things To Know When Traveling To Cancún

You’ll no doubt learn a whole lot about Cancún during your stay, but here are some important things to know before you go.

Many people ask the question, is Cancún safe? While the city is relatively safe, it is still advised to be cautious and to keep valuables safe. Just as you would in most new and foreign countries.

The cost of food in Cancún will vary, but prices are quite average when compared to anywhere else. Tipping in Cancún is usually at 10%, so it’s a good idea to add that into your Cancún budget.

Best Cancún Advice

Another great Cancún trip tip: make sure you have the Mexican currency, Pesos on you. Cancún traders will accept dollars, but you’ll have to use your brain power to make sure you get the correct change back, according to the exchange rate. So it’s easier for everyone if you exchange some cash when you arrive.

Things To Know About Cancún

Here are some amazing and interesting facts that should be known by anyone travelling to Cancún:

  1. The beach sand is cool – in more ways than one

Not only can you take advantage of the stunning white coastline, but your bare feet are welcomed by the crushed-coral sand which stays cool constantly. So even though the temperatures soar, you won’t have to worry about burnt feet.

  1. In 1970, just three people lived in Cancún

A massive difference from the large crowds of locals that mingle with the even larger crowd of tourists along the streets and beaches today.

  1. The second largest Coral reef in the world is just off Cancún shores

The Maya Barrier Reef, second only to Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef, draws many people to Cancún’s shores every year.

Things To Avoid In Cancún

While you are relatively safe in Cancun, there are of course things to be wary of, just like any other place.

  • Walking about alone, especially at night

It’s hardly safe to be in a deserted street wherever you are in the world these days. So it should come as no surprise that tourists are not encouraged to walk the streets at night alone. Be sure to stay in a group and be aware of your surroundings.

  • Timeshare presentations

There seems to be a large group of people specifically trying to sell timeshares. Try not to fall for their charms, and avoid them at the airports and information stands.

  • Tap water

Unless filtered, the water in Cancún is most likely not going to agree with your body. Hotels and restaurants will have filters to serve water to their guests, but while out exploring it is advised to carry bottled water.

Cancún, Mexico Travel Guide

In addition to the above Cancún tips, here’s a rough guide on how to get the best out of your vacation.

Accommodation: Where To Stay In Cancún?

No list of Cancún Mexico travel tips would be complete without tips on where to stay.

Depending on your budget and the type of travel you are planning, Cancún offers two options: the centre/downtown area or the Hotel Zone (“Zona Hotelera”). For me as a nomad/ long-term traveller, I am always chasing the most economic and convenient options. At the moment I am house sitting in Merida, for example, in order to lower my budget…but that’s a different story.

If you want to save money on accommodation in Cancún you’re better off staying in the city centre. We chose a wonderful hostel called Mezcal Hostel, close to the ADO bus terminal in Cancún. For one month we formed part of their team and supported the hostel in the area of marketing and guest relations. It was a great way to save money and put some action into our daily travel-life.

We found this place on a website called Worldpackers which is an organisation that helps travellers and hostels around the world to connect. You don’t work for money but volunteer and receive free accommodation in exchange. On top of that, we got some free tours to some of the attractions in and around Cancún! Not bad for 4 hours of social media marketing.

Hammock_Mezcal-Hostel
‘Working’ on some social media projects… this is the kind of office that I like!

NEED MORE TRAVEL TIPS FOR CANCÚN AND SURROUNDING?

Check out my other post if you want to know which day trips you can do from Cancún.

Or perhaps you are looking to stay in Playa del Carmen – here is my hostel review from our stay.


Beaches: Best Beaches In Cancún

I could stand there all day and take pictures of all that BLUE!!

If you chose to stay in the “Hotel Zone” you’ll be surrounded by restaurants, bars, clubs and also Cancún’s beaches. And there are many of them on the 18 km long strip that divides Cancún’s centre and the beach area. Most of the important hotels have their beaches in front of them.

Playa Delfines
I could stand there all day and take pictures of that BLUE!!

Cancún’s top public beaches:

  • Playa Tortugas
  • Playa Marlín
  • Playa Ballenas
  • Playa Delfines (*my favourite beach, all photos in this section!)

If you stay in the city centre as we did, you can get to all the above beaches with the local bus R1. It takes about 15-25 minutes, depending on which one you choose (Playa Delfines is the furthest away, Playa Tortugas is the closest). The bus costs 10.50 Mexican Pesos no matter where you get off (as of Oct. 2015).

Playa Delfines, Cancun
Playa Delfines: Plenty of umbrellas to stay in the shade…free of charge!

My favourite beach is definitely “Playa Delfines”, where you can find the very colourful Cancún sign. Out of all my Cancún travel tips, here is one of my favourite one: If you intend on taking a picture with the sign, bring some time and patience: people line-up for it!

Cancun Sign
Bring some time to stand in line…this is a popular photo spot!!!

 

Shopping: What Else To Do In Cancún?

Along with all of the other tips for vacationing in Cancún, we suggest doing some serious shopping!

Apart from the beaches, shops and restaurants, there is a very popular market among tourists where you will find all sorts of Mexican souvenirs: Mercado 28. You can buy everything from Sombreros, Ponchos, Ceramics, Pottery, Jewellery to Tequila, Sweets, Spices and more.

A fun way to spend a couple of hours! Make sure to hang out until lunchtime, some of the restaurants sell great food. Look out for the “Menú del Día” options, where you can taste some delicious local food for a good price!

Mercado 28
Colourful, spices and yum!!!
 

Not into local shopping? Why not search for your souvenirs on Amazon and let them send directly to your friends and family:

 


Nightlife: Where To Shake Your Booty In Cancún?

Cancún attracts many club lovers for its vibrant nightlife scene, and this is a must-do for all the party animals out there. People come to party in Mexico’s tourist hotspot in order to see the “Cirque de Soleil” of Cancún at various clubs such as Coco Bongo, Palazzo and Co.

Palazzo
One of the main reasons people come to Cancun: it’s pumping nightlife!

Most clubs offer ‘open bar’ for their pricy entry fees, so you really have a mission to complete by the end of the night: get as many drinks as possible so your 80 USD is well spent. Luckily we are not passionate about clubs, so we didn’t spend money on it.

However, as part of our hostel volunteer program, we went once, for free, and watched the spectacle. I prefer smaller places, like Señor Frog, for example, even though they are sometimes not really less crazy.

Cancun travel tips: Enjoy a night out at Senor Frog
A night out at Señor Frog’s crazy restaurant and club…

How To Get Around In Cancún

If you’re not sure how to travel in Cancún, taking the bus is the easiest and most cost-effective way to get around. Bus drivers in Cancún are used to transporting tourists through the streets. You’ll be met by friendly and helpful answers to any questions you may have.

For those wanting a bit more of a structured trip, why not book a guided tour. Going through Cancún, with someone who knows where they are going, will help you familiarise yourself with the place. You’ll also get to hear the best bits of history, news and interesting facts about the place you pass.

For organised tours, check out these great deals:

 

Itinerary: Cancún Travel Tips For One Day

Last on our list of travel tips for Cancún is an itinerary for the best day you could spend in the city. Don’t be lost as to what to do while in Cancún, just use these ideas.

  • Have breakfast at your hotel or hostel (most places offer breakfast included or for a small additional fee they will prepare something for you)
  • Stroll through the stalls at Mercado 28 and find some nice Mexican souvenirs!
  • Eat lunch at one of the local restaurants close to the ‘Ayuntamiento’ before you hop on the bus R1 to the Hotel Zone.
  • Relax at one of Cancún’s many beautiful beaches like “Playa Delfines”, “Playa Marlin” or “Playa Tortugas”
  • Sip a Margarita and watch the sunset at JC Capitan and stay for dinner!
  • Dance the night away in one of the many bars and nightclubs on the hotel strip
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But the best part starts now: From Cancún, you can make a ton of day trips…So, make sure to check out my other blog post with travel tips on where to go and what to see in one day. This post includes a trip to Isla Mujeres, Chichen Itza, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Holbox Island!!

DID YOU LIKE THESE Cancún TRAVEL TIPS? Feel free to like, share and comment below!!! Happy travels, Y’all!

 

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What to do in CANCUN? Travel tips

Do you want to read more about some of the best things to do in Cancun? Here you go! 🙂

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Thailand Itinerary – A Beginner’s Guide to Island Hopping in the Land of Smiles

Information and itinerary for travelling in Thailand from island to island

With hundreds of islands spanning the coast of Thailand, island hopping is an exciting and fun experience for the avid traveller. Whether you are travelling to the Andaman Coast on the South West coast of Thailand, or the Gulf Coast on the South East there is a multitude of great options to meet your desires. This itinerary for your Thailand island hopping experience will give you a reference to some of the best islands to travel to, how to get there, attractions, and more.

 

Find out more and pre-book a private transfer to or from major destinations in Thailand!

 

Thailand Itinerary for the South East Thailand Islands: Gulf of Thailand Coast

Koh Samui

Similar to the island of Phuket on the South West coast of Thailand, Koh Samui serves as a base for island hopping. Tourists can travel to the island by plane, and then go island hopping because of the vast array of tours available on the island.

If you are considering a vacation, you may be wondering, how is the weather in Koh Samui? To answer your question, the weather is typically hot, with extended periods of rain. However, because of the vast array of indoor activities on the island, visitors can travel to the island year round, even during the raining season. You still can have entertaining activities to do when it rains in Koh Samui.

 


Not sure what to bring on your trip?

Read here which gadgets we use for travelling and for our digital nomad life.


 

Koh Tao

Thailand itinerary: Mae Haad Pier, the ferry services from Koh Tao to Koh Samui
Mae Haad Pier, the ferry services to Koh Samui © Andy Wright via Flickr

One of the smaller islands on the gulf coast of Thailand, Koh Tao is a secluded yet exciting island. Island hoppers can easily reach the destination by taking a tour from one of the larger islands.

The island tour allows vacationers with a variety of fun activities and marvellous scenery. This includes rock climbing, snorkelling, and hiking, and diving. Book your dive tour here for the best chance to see a whale shark at the famous dive site Sail Rock in the Gulf of Thailand.

 

INSIDER TIP:
Travel to Koh Tao on your own terms and stay longer than you would with a tour company. Get there via high speed catamaran within 20 min. On the island you can rent a scooter and discover the island. Make sure to drive up on to one of the hills and enjoy beautiful views of the island.

Find out more and book your high-speed catamaran and coach to Koh Tao!

Koh Phangan

Thailand itinerary Koh Phangan
The vendors selling “The Bucket” by the beach on Full Moon Party night © Lim Ashley via Flickr

The island of Koh Phangan provides island hoppers on the South East coast of Thailand with an exciting and beautiful destination. In order to get to this island, travelers must take a boat or ferry tour either from the neighboring island Koh Samui or the mainland port in Surat Thani.

Once you reach the island, there are plenty of options for entertainment. For starters, there are multiple beaches to travel to, all of which have clear waters and incredible views. If you are looking for some exciting activities to do then Koh Phangan has you covered as there are waterfalls, hiking trails, and water activities.

Koh Phangan is most recognised by its Full Moon Party. This event occurs every month and is full of excitement. It is an all-night event and should be a part of your trip to Koh Phangan.

Also, read: Our Travel Guide to Koh Phangan as a Digital Nomad Family

 

Koh Wua Talap

Thailand itinerary Mu Koh Ang
Mu Koh Ang Thong (Ang Thong National Marine Park) © Robin Hickmott via Flickr

Koh Wua Talap is a sparsely populated island off of the coast of Thailand. It is a part of Ang Thong National Marine Park. This island is perfect for those who want to visit exciting destinations and witness stunning views. The only way to island-hop to this location is through a tour from one of the larger islands on the gulf coast of Thailand. One very popular one is the Mu Ko Ang Thong Park: Semi-private Sunset Cruise Tour where you enjoy a relaxing sailing cruise aboard a luxurious yacht to the limestone islands of Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine Park. Secure your spot here!

The island is a popular tourist destination due mostly to the mountains, beaches, and Angthong National Park. If you want to take in the full magnitude of the island, then I would recommend going on the Pha Jun-Jaras hike with a private tour, where you will be taken to the highest point of the island and witness an incredible view.

 

Find out more and book a customised day trip to Ang Thong Marine Park!


Thailand Itinerary for the Andaman Coast: South West Islands

Phuket

Thailand Itinerary: Patong beach, Phuket
Patong beach has a wide variety of activities and nightlife © Luke Ma via Flickr

The country of Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is one of the premier destinations for traveling and island hopping. Phuket is one of the few islands off the coast of Thailand that has an airport, as well as boating companies to help you hop from island to island. This means that it is a great choice to travel to in order to journey to other islands.

The weather in Phuket is hot year long, and during certain times there are weeks straight of heavy rain. If you are looking to travel to Phuket the best time to do so is during the winter months through early spring, which allows you to avoid the monsoon season.

If you plan on staying in Phuket for a little while then take the time to experience the pristine waters, exciting nightlife, and downtown area. Also, consider booking a day-tour to one of the neighbouring islands if you like snorkelling with a guide, for example.

 

Find out more and book the must-do James Bond Island Day Trip!

 

Mu Koh Similan

Thailand Itinerary: Visitors can travel to Similan via speedboat from Phuket or Khao Lak
Visitors can travel to Similan via speedboat from Phuket or Khao Lak © Fred von Lohmann via Flickr

If you are island hopping from Phuket, one of the prime destinations to visit is Similan. The relatively uncivilised island is a few hour boat ride, well worth the wait.

Once you get to the island, the beaches are pristine, with crystal clear water almost like a mirror, and several exciting activities to participate in. As part of the tour to Similan, travelers get to walk the beaches, snorkel, dive and hike to some of the most beautiful sites on the island. Similan is definitely one of the hidden beaches to visit near Phuket.

 

Find out more and book a full-day Similan Islands snorkeling trip from Phuket!

 


Do you still need a few things for your trip? Shop them now on Amazon:

 


 

Koh Yao Noi

Thailand Itinerary: Long-tail boat ride around Koh Yao Noi is another great experience
Long-tail boat ride around Koh Yao Noi is another great experience © Madeleine Deaton via Flickr

If you are looking to island-hop to a quiet, peaceful island then Koh Yao Noi has you covered. The island is still underdeveloped compared to modern standards, however, the sightseeing, beaches, hiking, waterfalls, and nature is nearly unparalleled.

Unlike some of the more secluded islands on the coast of Thailand, this destination is a little bit less secluded, offering hotels and shopping for its visitors. If you plan on traveling to this island expect a boat ride of a few hours.

A fun way to discover the island is by bike. Your English speaking guide will show you the beauty of this island and introduce you to locals and their culture. Book your ticket here!

Find out more and book your Full-Day Bike Tour on Koh Yao Noi!

Koh Phi Phi

Thailand Itinerary Phi Phi Island
Hopping around Phi Phi Island includes visiting Monkey Beach, Maya Bay, Viking Cave © Evan Krause on Unsplash

Similar to many of the other islands on the Andaman Coast, Koh Phi Phi requires a boat ride from Phuket. The islands of Koh Phi Phi are however more populated than some of the other islands off of the coast of Thailand. There are several shops and hotels to make your island hopping experience even better.

Koh Phi Phi boasts some of the best views and scenery of any of the South West islands. Island hoppers can participate in a variety of activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, and visiting the Phi Phi Le National Park.

INSIDER TIP: Koh Phi Phi attracts also many party loving young travellers and backpackers. If you book a room in one of the guesthouses or hostels there, then make sure to check the location beforehand. The more you’re in the center the louder it can become during the night! Click here to find the right place to stay!

 

*This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

 


Thailand Itinerary author RiyaAbout the author: Riya is an inspired writer, passionate about traveling, lifestyle and encouraging startups. She is currently in Thailand. As a freelancer, she understands the importance of productivity at work. Riya never stopped finding new ways to create her work productivity. Twitter, @sanderriya.


 

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Do you only have a few days to spend in Thailand? Here is our guide for four days in Thailand.

Or are you headed to Australia next? Then check out our road trip itinerary for NSW.

And make sure to always bring along the right gear!

 

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Ultimate Thailand itinerary for island hopping

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3 Must-Do Slow Travel Stops When Road Tripping Across New South Wales Australia

Road Trips are fun! Don’t you agree? Whenever I even think of one, I get excited and want to hop into the car! Perhaps it’s the freedom of travelling at your own pace that excites me most. On our road trips on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii, we enjoyed the fact that we were allowed to sleep in the car wherever we wanted. Guess where we stopped most of the times!?! BY THE BEAAACH YO! Waking up to the sound of the ocean and skinny dipping instead of a shower – ah… the definition of perfection 🙂 Okay, before I am drifting away in good ol’ #travelmemories, here is today’s guest post on slow travel routes across Australia’s New South Wales.

Short Itinerary for Your Next Road Trip from Sydney

Fancy a slow travel itinerary around New South Wales? Home to the famous city of Sydney, this eastern Australia state provides travellers with a range of experiences, including a chill, and not to mention picture-perfect road trip! This article covers why taking a slow travel adventure across New South Wales could be the next great thing to do!

1. Sydney

Home to Australia’s largest entertainment events, Sydney is Australia’s most populous city bustling with culture, events, music and much more. If you are into energetic music festivals, shopping, and sightseeing the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney should definitely be on your bucket list.

Top 3 Slow Travel Stops in NSW Australia - Sydney

Since Sydney is a metropolitan city, the best time to visit the city for shopping is late mornings to avoid traffic, from 10 am onwards. For those of us who want to enjoy a night out, this fashionable city host Australia’s best names in the business, and Vivid Sydney in Winter. You could spend a month here if you’re energetic and enjoy the high life, and hustle and bustle on offer. However, if you like fine dining and the great outdoors….

Top 3 things to do in Sydney:

  • Join a walking tour and stroll around The Rocks to learn about the history of this area!
  • Make your way from Bondi to Coogee along the infamous Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk!
  • Give your legs a rest as you continue your explorations to North Sydney and catch the 30-minute ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Wharf. Not only will you get to experience all that Manly has to offer but on your journey across the harbour, you will get outstanding views of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Kirribilli House.

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3 Top Stops on Your Road Trip Through NSW, Australia for Pinterest

2. Hunter Valley

Take a slow drive to Hunter Valley, home to the finest vineyards in Australia. The region is located two hours away from Sydney but is a must-do for a fine dining experience. The area boasts great local produce, providing numerous local restaurants with the freshest ingredients in a wide variety of cuisines, with multiple Australian owned establishments.

A view onto Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
Source: Kevin Rheese via Flickr

Perfect to spend the mornings and early afternoons, the Hunters Region also boasts great hiking trails for those who are into exploring flora and fauna and the natural environment. With the advantage of slow travel being the abundance of time, book a few days at a local Hunter Valley accommodation. The best way to get around various establishments in Hunters Region is by car, as it gives you the freedom to choose how you’d like to spend the time of your day. Just be sure to leave the driving to a designated driver if you plan on wine tasting.

Top 3 things to do in the Hunter Valley:

  • Forget lunch today because it’s time to taste some of the best gourmet cheese and chocolate the region has to offer. Make your way to the Hunter Valley Cheese Factory tasting rooms and select the best option for you.
  • Visit one of the 150 wineries and taste some of the most decadent wines in Australia! Book a wine tour to make your way around the area with a group. Some tours have lunch and/or food included so look out for good deals!
  • Take a hot air balloon ride! The flight lasts for approximately one hour, travelling over Lovedale, Pokolbin, Broke or Rothbury, followed by a champagne breakfast at one of the gorgeous nearby wineries.

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3. Byron Bay

Complete your experience with a visit to the coastal town of Byron Bay, located on the New South Wales North Coast The town is famous for its amazing surf and sunsets, and retreat type vacation. Visitors can enjoy wide-ranging outdoor and water activities, such as surfing, snorkelling and even hot air ballooning. Join a relaxing day at the spa, or an outdoor meditation retreat.

Bird's eye view onto Byron Bay in NSW, Australia

Enjoy the spectacular views that the drive has to offer, along with the eastern coastal route. Located 8 hours’ drive from Sydney, visitors are encouraged to stop by other towns like New Castle and Macquarie for a meal and to check out small town living before finishing their drive.

Top 3 things to do in Byron Bay:

  • Avoid the tourists and make your way to Wategos Beach. Just around the corner from Main Beach, Wategos is surrounded by a headland making it pretty perfect for swimmers!
  • Stroll through the weekly local markets to try the local food and produce and pick up a few interesting souvenirs.
  • Take a surfing lesson!!

New South Wales provides an exciting opportunity for slow travellers. The wide variety of accommodations, activities, and suitability across a wide range of budgets translates to freedom of choice to participate in activities at their own time. Travelling by car across the city of Sydney and country town seems to provide the best balance between freedom and convenience, while not placing any pressure on time constraints.

What are your favourite stops in New South Wales, Australia? Please share your travel tips and stories down below in the comments! Thanks and happy travels 🙂 


Want to take along a good camera on your trip? To help you make up your mind, check out this travel camera comparison from Jessica over at Longest Bus Rides. 

Or do you fancy another scenic drive? You might be interested in the Great Ocean Road starting from Melbourne.


About the author:

Guest Post by Alex Johnson Aussie Adventurer & Lifestyle Blogger - Inspire A Better Life

This guest post was written by Alex Johnson, a blogger and lover of the little things in life, from delicious brunch spots to interior design. Recently moving to Sydney, he began his blog Inspire A Better Life to positively influence others to get out there and see all life has to offer. Join Alex as he discovers this life one day at a time, documenting his thoughts and others along the way!


 

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When in Australia, a common route for many travellers is to combine it with a trip to Asia. Check out my destinations page for travel tips for Thailand, North Sumatra and the Philippines.

If you are in the mood for a little adventure, check out these mysterious islands!

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The Coolest Things About Visiting Rio

Bucket list: Rio de Janeiro; Photo Credit: Agustin Diaz

This is still a big one to tick off my bucket list: Rio de Janeiro. When we travelled from North to South America, this was one of the countries we left out, unfortunately. But it’s just such a big country and we were running out of time as we had to catch our cruise ship to Europe with 100 other digital nomads. If you haven’t done so already, check out our posts from our trip through Central and South America, from Mexico to Ecuador. But now, sit back and enjoy this guest post about one of Brazil’s most thrilling destinations!

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What to do in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most otherworldly cities on our planet. As major cities go, it strikes the ultimate postcard image, with its vast harbor, famous beaches, curious mountains, and the towering, world famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. It’s also known as something of a wild destination, characterized by beach parties, bustling crowds, and at times, unfortunately, a high crime rate. Provided you plan your trip well and stay in safe areas, however, a vacation to Rio can be incredible. If such a trip is on your radar, pay attention to these suggestions for the coolest things to do once you’re in town.

1. Christ The Redeemer Up Close

I already mentioned Christ The Redeemer, which more or less defines the skyline of Rio. But it’s something you should absolutely make the effort to see up close if you get the chance to visit. Widely viewed as one of the manmade wonders of the world, it’s a towering and imposing statue. What some don’t fully realize, however, is that it’s atop 690-meter-high Corcovado Mountain, which only makes its effect all the more striking. Up close you can appreciate both the magnificence of the statue itself and its position overlooking one of the planet’s most beautiful and intriguing cities.

Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro

2. Sugar Loaf Mountain

If there’s a view to rival that from Christ The Redeemer, it’s the one from Sugar Loaf Mountain. This is a mountain you’ll probably recognize even if you’re not familiar with the name. It’s essentially a tall, rounded peak that frames the city of Rio in the bulk of images of the town. Roughly 1,300 feet high over Guanabara Bay, it’s actually reachable via cable car, making for a pretty thrilling (yet relaxing) experience. Many tourists prioritize this cable car ride, and with good reason.

Sugar Loaf Mountain South

3. Local Dancing

Brazil is home to one of the most famous festivals in the world, simply called Carnival. But dancing in the city, you can actually experience a taste of Brazilian Carnival no matter when you happen to be visiting. That’s actually a point that’s made in the description of a casino game based on this cultural aspect of Brazil, and that speaks to the popularity of dancing in Rio. That everything from an online slot machine to an internationally renowned festival can spring up from a city’s dancing culture ought to be a pretty big draw. Even if you don’t personally like to dance, you might consider checking out the city’s clubs to watch some of the experienced dancers.

4. Prainha Beach

If you’re familiar with the image of a gigantic beach packed with people, you’re probably thinking of Copacabana. This is the most famous beach in Rio, and certainly something you have to see and experience for yourself. But Prainha Beach may actually be the more pleasant experience for a lot of tourists. Located a short distance outside the main city, it’s just a little bit smaller and more secluded than the main attraction. That’s not to say you’ll have it to yourself, but it’s a more relaxing alternative to the busy (but still very fun) atmosphere at Copacabana.

Prainha Beach in Rio de Janeiro

5. Maracana

You might consider looking into a tour of the Maracana – Rio’s famous soccer stadium – whether or not there’s actually a match going on. But if you happen to be in town when the national team is playing or any other soccer event is being held, the Maracana should be at the very top of your list. Ranking it among the 10 best soccer stadiums in the world, the sport site FourFourTwo goes so far as to say it’s partly thanks to this football shrine that Brazil’s passion for the sport is known the world over. It’s a massive, historic venue that, on the right day, can make a sporting event seem almost like a spiritual experience. And if that sounds like it might be a little bit of an exaggeration, just ask some of the local fans how they feel about it!

Bucket list: Rio de Janeiro Maracana Stadium; Photo Credit: sama093 on Flickr

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There are plenty of other spots worth exploring, for sure! This is just a short list, an appetizer to get you into the Rio-mood! What about you? Have you been to Rio yet? What must-sees have we missed to mention? Drop a line in the comments below, we’d love to know! 


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Are you looking for more Latin American travel guides? Check out our post on Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize if you are into scuba diving. Or what about a less sporty and therefore more cultural trip? Then you might like to read our Guatemala Travel Guide with tips for the ancient Mayan ruins in Copan.

Or are you curious about the lesser travelled routes in Honduras or Nicaragua, make sure not to skip these gems of Central America! Here is another post on Nicaragua about our fun day sailing along the coast of Playa Gigante.

 

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Bucket list: Rio de Janeiro

 

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Top 5 Beaches Around the World From 21 Travel Bloggers

It’s been five years since I left home and my conventional life. My routine and lifestyle today looks completely different from what it was back home in Germany. My main mission in all these years was to be close to the ocean, as I love beaches and being in the water. In the context of my travel anniversary, I asked 21 travel bloggers for their Top 5 beaches around the world. Here is a list of experienced travellers, that might be useful for your next vacation. My Top 5 is at the end of the list, too.

1.) In the Loop of Travel

John writes about cruise travel and fitness, giving tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your adventures. John’s motto is to Travel fit, Travel happy and Travel often.

  1. Playa Tortugas, Cancun
  2. Orient Beach, Saint Maarten
  3. Playa de la Caleta, Malaga
  4. Baby Beach, Aruba
  5. Platis Gialos, Mykonos

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches Around the World
Playa de la Caleta, Malaga

2. Travel Through Life

Life through stories and travel without guides. After spending 5 years living and travelling in Asia, this husband and wife team decided to settle down in America and still live their lives with that exotic sense of wanderlust closer to home. Encouraging local travel and a search for adventure anywhere!

  1. Nacpan Beach, Palawan Philippines
  2. Lonely Beach, Koh Chang Thailand
  3. Anda, Bohol Philippines
  4. Gili Air, Indonesia
  5. Dream Beach, Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches. Photo: Duke Stewart Writes.
Nacpan Beach, Philippines

3.  McCool Travel

Charles shows travellers how to find destinations and deals that fit their travel style and budget. His ultimate goal is to increase travel happiness and reduce stress on every trip.

  1. Anna Maria Island, Florida
  2. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California
  3. Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu), Maui
  4. Outer Banks, North Carolina
  5. Black Sand Beach (Reynisfjara), Iceland

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches from 21 Travel Bloggers. Photo: McCool Travel
Outer Banks, NC, USA

4. The Daily Adventures of Me

While running a busy dental practice and raising three boys, Jamie makes sure to fully engage in as much of the world as possible. She loves savouring every taste, every destination, every day and wants to encourage others to do the same.

  1. Narragansett Town Beach, Rhode Island
  2. Main Beach Laguna Beach, California
  3. Playa Akemal, Mexico
  4. Tamae Beach, Moorea, French Polynesia
  5. Black Sand Beach, Vik, Iceland

jeyjetter.com: Vik, Iceland. Photo: The Daily Adventures Of Me.
Vik, Iceland

5. Mom Endeavors

On Mom Endeavors, you’ll find creative lifestyle tips and family travel stories. Sara travels with 3 young boys in tow and they travel as often as possible, sharing tips & ideas wherever they go!

  1. Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos
  2. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
  3. Anini Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
  4. Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia
  5. Carmel Beach, California

6. A Cork, Fork & Passport

Julie combines her love of good food and wine, travel, family, and technology to create her online lifestyle magazine, now in its 7th year of publication.

  1. Coronado Beach, CA
  2. Cape Cod, MA
  3. Duck/Outer Banks, NC
  4. Rendevous Bay, Antiguilla
  5. Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches. Photo: A Cork, Fork & Passport
Coronado Beach, USA

7. Backroad Planet

Howard enjoys sharing his adventures and off-the-beaten-path discoveries from road trips and cruises. He believes exploring historical and scenic locations, combined with immersion in local culture is the best way to travel.

  1. Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
  2. Ancud Beach, Chiloe, Chile
  3. Sand Beach, Acadia NP, Maine
  4. Dunn’s River Falls Beach, Jamaica
  5. Playa Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica

jeyjetter.com: Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. Photo: Backroad Planet
Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

8. Stress-Free, Baby!

Desiree offers readers a daily dose of hope, humour, and helpful tips to make life less stressful. You’ll find travel tips and ideas for family fun, and hopefully, you will become ‘stress-free, baby’!

  1. Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL
  2. Turks and Caicos
  3. Aruba
  4. Sandestin, FL
  5. Vero Beach, FL

9. Flashpacking Duo

Dom and Claire have a passion for all things travel and are about to give up everything to embark on a 3 year trip. They will document their travels as they go and seek out new adventures in each country along the way.

  1. Akumal Beach, Mexico
  2. Porthcurno, England
  3. Phra Nang Beach, Railay, Thailand
  4. Hendaye Beach, France
  5. Elafonisi Beach, Crete

10. Salwa Kisswani

A travel lifestyle blog documenting Salwa Kisswani’s stays within various cities around the world in story-based, reflection posts, with a heavy emphasis on pictures and videos.

  1. Black Sand Beach, Iceland
  2. Playa la Ensenada, Puerto Plata DR
  3. Aqaba, Jordan
  4. Huatulco Mexico beach, Oaxaca.
  5. Miami beach/ South beach, Florida

11. Just Go Places

Shobha is an American expat living in London. She enjoys travelling with her family, experiencing the world’s food, culture and other good things in life.

  1. Delnor-Wiggins State Park, Naples Florida
  2. Long Point Nature Reserve, Martha’s Vineyard
  3. Ipanema Beach, Brazil
  4. Ile de Re, France
  5. Alassio in Liguria in Italy

12. Two Scots Abroad

Gemma and Craig, full time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Check in at Two Scots Abroad for travel tips, quips, and pics that please. Go on, MAKE TRAVEL HAPPEN.

  1. Las Penitas, Nicaragua
  2. Playa Acon, Cuba
  3. Lake Katherine (not tech a beach but still stunning), Canada.
  4. Playa Rojo, Peru
  5. Macir Bay, Scotland

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches Around the World
Las Peñitas, Nicaragua

13. MomsGoodEats

MomsGoodEats savoring bites of food, travel and Life Done Well. Whether taking on bucket showers to reach remote locations or enjoying the best of the best, MomsGoodEats enjoys all types if travel.

  1. Manini Beach, Kona Hawaii
  2. Playa Rincon, Dominican Republic
  3. Escambron Beach, Puerto Rico
  4. Cape Columbo, Santorini
  5. Sandal Beach, Belize

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches. Photo: MomsGoodEats
Playa Rincon, Dominican Republic

14. No Back Home

No Back Home focuses on Karilyn & her 5 year old son’s adventures, at home in Southern California and around the world. They inspire families to get out and explore the world starting in their own city! Outdoor adventures, urban explorations and seeking out the beauty wherever they find themselves is the guiding force behind No Back Home.

  1. Yasawa Islands, Fiji
  2. One Foot Island Beach, Cook Islands
  3. Papakōlea Beach, Hawaii
  4. Huvahandhoo Island, Maldives
  5. Akumal, Mexico

15. Our Family Travel Adventures

We are a family of 5 from California, who are on a great adventure! We have been traveling since 2013, and have explored much of Western Europe, Central America and the United States. We like to slow travel and often stay in an area for a few months at a time.

  1. Oppenheimer Beach, St. John, US Virgin Islands
  2. Blue Lagoon, Comino Island, Malta
  3. Playa Palancar, Cozumel, Mexico
  4. Ambergris Caye, Belize
  5. Anna Maria Island, Florida, USA

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches. Photo: Our Family Travel Adventures
Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta

16. Mom on the Move

Marianne travels with her two young kids in tow, checking out fun and adventurous activities at her destinations, and checking into luxury hotels and resorts along the way. She is based in Hong Kong, so most of her travels are based in Asia and Australia.

  1. Smiths Beach, Western Australia
  2. Datai Bay, Langkawi, Malaysia,
  3. Ha My Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam
  4. Palm Cove, Northern Queensland, Australia
  5. Bophut Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

17. Sand and Snow

Karyn and Mr. Locke are a married couple with two daughters from small-town Ohio. With a big lust for travel , love of photography, technology and Disney, they are on a quest to find the best restaurant and adult beverage in every city they visit.

  1. St. Simons Island, Georgia
  2. Crystal Coast, North Carolina
  3. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  4. Punta De Mita, Nayarit, Mexico
  5. St. Martins Sea Caves, New Brunswick, Canada

18. Dish Our Town

Andrew, Brenda and Bailey Tolentino are a family of 3 New Yorkers, traveling the world, one dish at a time with their pre-teen daughter. They have just finished one year of full-time travel in Asia and Europe, and will continue to travel while working and going to school.

  1. Angol Beach in Boracay
  2. Spiaggia di Fegina in Monterosso Al Mare
  3. Patmos in Greece
  4. Quercianella in Tuscany Italy
  5. Antibes in France

19. Go Epicurista

Christina is a hospitality consultant and freelance food writer on a mission to #MakeSomedayHappen, one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time. She celebrates great food and wine experiences everywhere she goes, especially in her hometown of Orlando FL, inspiring her 20K online friends to GO visit new restaurants, take their dream trip and do all the things on their “someday list.”

  1. Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales Turks & Caicos Islands
  2. Dawn Beach, St. Maarten
  3. St. Pete Beach, Florida
  4. Isla Catalina, Dominican Republic
  5. Manzanita & Cannon Beach, Oregon

jeyjetter.com: 5 Top Beaches. Photo: GO Epicurista
Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

20. Nomadic Lives

Sanket is the dusky charmer with husky voice behind Nomadic Lives. His story is best described as a twenty-something brown guy trying to traverse the invisible boundaries of global travel on a third-world passport! Nomadic Lives focuses on cultural, local and experiential travel in offbeat locations with a modest, but fierce following of 4.5k across its social media and email channels.

  1. Anse Source de l’argent, La Digue, Seychelles
  2. Radhanagar Beach, Andaman Islands, India
  3. Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty, Ireland
  4. Galgibaga Beach, Goa, India
  5. Serenity Beach, Pondicherry, India

21. Beloved Atmosphere

Amy is an avid world traveller, recipe developer, educator and serial optimist who loves sharing adventures with family and friends all over the globe. As Editor-in-Chief of Beloved Atmosphere, she’s travelled to 33 countries on 4 continents, and hopes to inspire others to ease out of their comfort zones to enjoy the abundance of diverse food, culture and friendship the world has to offer:

  1. Balangan Beach, near Jimbaran/Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
  2. Formentera, Ibiza, Spain
  3. Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Mexico
  4. Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, USA
  5. Ulua Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA

jeyjetter.com: Best Beaches around the World
Cozumel, Mexico

For me this list of beautiful beaches is as interesting as reading the newspaper! Seriously, I noticed quite a few beaches that I haven’t been to and therefore will put some on my bucket list for my next trips.

Here are my favourite 5 beaches:

  1. Playa Malpais, Gunacaste, Costa Rica
  2. Calangute Beach, Goa, India
  3. Mullaloo Beach, Perth, Australia
  4. Krabi Beach, Thailand
  5. Playa Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches Around the World
Playa Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island, Galapagos

If you liked this post about beaches, please leave a comment below and share with us your top 5 beaches!

jeyjetter.com: Top 5 Beaches from 21 Travel Bloggers
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How to Travel the Galapagos Islands on a Budget

There are not many places around the world that are considered to be unique. The Galapagos Islands, without a doubt, are one of them. Anyone who travels there comes back with a smile on their face. Simply because you get to see extraordinary species and get up close with wildlife that you usually only know from documentary channels such as National Geographic. On the Galapagos Islands, iguanas, sea lions and giant tortoises walk around like cats and dogs in most other parts of the world. Majestic birds like the albatross and colourful ones like the blue-footed booby decorate the sky. The good news is that, despite common beliefs, you can travel to the Galapagos Islands, even on a tight budget! Here is how we spent 14 days on three islands for less than 1000 US dollars.

Iguana on Santa Cruz

Myth #1: You have to cruise the Galapagos Islands

When research how to visit the Galapagos Islands, you get the impression that there is no way other than with a cruise. I was a bit frustrated after I read how much money you were asked to spend to get around and enjoy the individual islands. Then I found offers from tour agencies that sell 4-day cruises for around US 800, which first sounded not that bad. But after reading the comments of other people who had done such a short cruise, it became clear that within 4 days you lose 2 days for the boarding and cruising back to the original port, which didn’t sound like a great deal after all. It became even worse when I found out about the offers that would take you all the way around the islands, stopping at the uninhabited ones with more chances to see unique wildlife. It said, your best choice is to go at least 12 to 15 days for about 6000 to 8000 US dollars, depending on the type of boat you choose… I wasn’t convinced about that.

View from hike to Las Grietas

If you decide to not spend a fortune in order to visit the Galapagos Islands, and instead do it on your own, you will be better off to simply arrive and walk around to see what available. Don’t book any tour or accommodation online, is my advice! The only reservation that we made in advance was our hotel on the first night, because the website of the Ecuadorian government says that you have to show proof of your hotel reservation and pre-register online. We did not do the latter, and it was perfectly fine to fill out the form at the airport in Quito. Also, I found that the booked hotel room wasn’t really necessary, as the officer at the airport did not pay much attention to the copy of our reservation that I presented to him. I guess, it all depends on the officer at the airport, so, to be on the safe side, book your flight and the first night on your chosen island and you’ll be fine.

How to get to the Galapagos Islands

Flying from Quito to Baltra Island

When in Ecuador, you have two options to get to the Galapagos Islands: you can either depart from Quito or from Guayaquil. The flights from Guayaquil are slightly shorter (1.5 hours) and a tiny bit cheaper (190 US dollars instead of 220 from Quito, as of in April 2016). Both airports connect with the two airports on the Galapagos Islands: Seymour Airport on Baltra Island or San Cristobal Airport on San Cristobal.

For us, it was better to fly out of Quito, as we arrived by bus from Colombia. From Quito, we flew to Baltra Island (it’s inhabited and only a short distance away from Santa Cruz, see description below). We stayed on Santa Cruz Island for the first four days. Then, we booked our return flight separately from San Cristobal to Guayaquil. This way, we made the most of the ferry connections between the islands (see below) and got to see both Quito and Guayaquil. If you make your way up from Peru it probably makes sense to fly from Guayaquil and follow our route in reverse.

FInally there!

Before departing, you will have to pay 20 US dollars for your Transit Control Card (TCT). Keep it throughout your whole stay, as you will have to show it again at the airport when you leave the Galapagos Islands. Once you arrive on either of the above airports, you will have to pay an entrance fee of 100 US dollars to the national park. That’s it, you are in! From now on your expenses will depend on your style of travelling and your selection of activities.

Speed boat dock on Baltra Island

Once you land on Baltra Island, there are shuttle busses (2 US dollars) that will take you to the tiny port where small speedboats/zodiacs (1 US dollar) connect Baltra Island with Santa Cruz. On Baltra Island, there is nothing but nature and the airport. The bus ride from the airport to the port takes about 15 minutes and gives you an idea of the landscape you will be seeing on most of the other islands: dry, desert-like, with tons of cactus and lava rocks laying around.

Baltra Island www.jeyjetter.com

 Myth #2: You need to book guided tours to see wildlife or natural sights!

No matter which of the four populated islands you visit, you will be able to walk to most of the popular tourist spots. You can also rent a bike, take a taxi or in the case of Santa Cruz, there is even public transport that takes you to some of the points of interest (e.g. ‘El Chato’, see below).

Some destinations can only be reached by water taxi (which are usually around 0.50 US dollar cents to 1 US dollar). And yes, there are few cases where you will have to book a tour, like for example to ‘Los Tuneles’ on Isabela Island or to ‘Kicker Rock’ on San Cristobal. But it’s a myth that you HAVE TO have a guide in order to get around!

Such a great sign, only here on Galapagos!

Getting from island to island

There are speedboats that operate between the four main islands (Santa Cruz, Isabela Island, Floreana Island, and San Cristobal). To each of them it takes about 2 hours (to Floreana Island a little less, about 1,5 hours), and the cost is always 30 US dollars one way.

Speed boat schedule:

  • Daily 7am and 3pm
  • Exception Floreana Island: once a week or depending on the time of the year/ demand

If there is one bad thing about the Galapagos Islands, it is that you can’t connect between the individual islands. Unfortunately, you always have to go back to Santa Cruz and start your trip over again to the next island.

Speed boat example:

  1. From Santa Cruz to Isabela ($30)
  2. Isabela back to Santa Cruz ($30)
  3. From Santa Cruz to San Cristóbal ($30)
  4. San Cristóbal back to Santa Cruz ($30)

TOTAL: 120 US dollars to visit 3 islands.

This might look like a lot of money, but the total price of this travel option is actually a lot less than you would pay if you went with a tour agency from Santa Cruz. They offer day-trips or 2-3 day trips to visit spots near Santa Cruz or the other islands. But keep in mind, if you go, for example, to Isabela Island for the day or with a 2-day trip from Santa Cruz, you will be bound to the schedule and selection of the agency. Plus, you will end up spending more money than if you go on your own and use the speed boat example from above. For us, it was an obvious decision, as we wanted to go independently to each island and enjoy our time on our own terms.

Some of the most amazing sunsets you'll find on the Galapagos Islands

 First stop: Santa Cruz Island

It’s like coming to a little harbour town, yet, Santa Cruz is the busiest of all the Galapagos Islands. With its 80,000 inhabitants and central location between the other islands, Santa Cruz operates the main tourism of the Galapagos Islands and functions as the ideal spot to explore the nearby islands on day-trips.

On Santa Cruz, we stayed four days at Hostel Sir Francis Drake for 30 US dollars per night/person. It is one of the budget hotels on Santa Cruz, but a very decent one and centrally located just a short walk from the harbour.

Daily fish hunting show starring Mr. Pelican!

 Our Highlight of Santa Cruz Island

Our favourite spot on Santa Cruz is Tortuga Bay. From the town centre, you walk about 10 minutes to the entrance where you register your name and the time of your arrival. This way, the guard knows who is missing or not respecting the closing time of 6pm. They close the beach at that hour because that’s the time when the sea turtles normally come out of the water to lay their eggs in the beach area.

From the entrance to the beach it’s about a 40-minute walk/ 2,5 km, so bring your walking shoes and all you need for your beach day as you won’t find any kiosk or store to buy water/food. And that is exactly why we loved it there so much. This is where you can appreciate pure nature and beautiful white sand that you will share with only a handful of other tourists.

Tortuga Bay www.jeyjetter.com

The guard will tell you not to swim at the main beach, ‘Playa Brava’ (translates to ‘Wild Beach’) due to the strong currents. Instead he’ll ask you to walk to the very far end to reach ‘Playa Mansa’ (Quiet Beach). Playa Brava is a lot prettier because it faces the open ocean, whereas Playa Mansa is hidden behind the bushes and looks more like a lagoon rather than the ocean. And you have so much wildlife to watch (bring snorkel gear!!!) in the water and at the beach. We noticed that most people stay at the far corner of the beach and even the lifeguard doesn’t mind if you dip into that rather quiet corner that connects both areas.

If you are lucky, you might be able to watch a baby turtle making its way out of the egg and into the open ocean. We literally arrived one minute too late after a baby turtle crawled out of one of the 48 turtle nests and into the water… 🙁 All we saw was the excitement of the gathering tourists that just witnessed this unique natural spectacle. Lucky them!

Other places to visit on Santa Cruz

  • El Chato: watch giant tortoises walk around in their natural habitat 

Amazing creatures!

  • Charles Darwin Research Centre – here you can learn all about the history of the Galapagos Islands and their wildlife/nature

Charles Darwin Research Centre

  • Las Grietas – a hidden snorkel spot in between a canyon

Not the typical snorkel spot!

  • The local fish market: battle with sea lions, pelicans and iguanas for fish!

Compete with these guys for fresh fish on the local fishmarket!

Stop #2: Isabela Island

>> BRING CASH, there are NO ATMs on this island!!! <<< 

Someone took my seat!!!

In comparison to Santa Cruz, it feels a little bit less busy and more remote. The streets are not paved, and you are mainly on your own when visiting the natural sites, as the tourists spread out evenly all over the island. Perhaps this is also because we visited in low season, which is in April & May and September & October. We also witnessed breathtaking sunsets every night at the beach off the Malecon.

Gorgeous sunset on Isabela Island

On Isabela Island, we had four wonderful nights at ‘La Posada del Caminante’, which is a family run hotel only a few blocks away from the beach. The hotel consists of two buildings, which the locals refer to as ‘the small Posada’ and ‘the big Posada’. If you come back from a tour and the driver asks you the name of your hotel, make sure you’ll let him know which one you are staying at. If not, you get some extra exercise to walk the short distance of about 50 metres in between both buildings. 😉

La Posada del Caminante

What makes this place special is the very friendly and helpful owner! He gave us info about the island and even let us wash our clothes for free! We stayed in a double room with TV, kitchen and ensuite bathroom that costs 15 US dollars per night/person. On the patio, you have hammocks to relax after your hikes or where you can enjoy your self-prepared meal in good company.

Our Highlight of Isabela Island: ‘Los Tuneles’

Funky landscape: 'Los Tuneles'

Even though the Galapagos Islands are a special destination in general, ‘Los Tuneles’ is outstanding as it has a very exceptional landscape that you probably only see there. The tunnels that you can find in this part of the island are formed from lava, which lay above or below the water. You can visit ‘Los Tuneles’ only by boat, in fact, this is one of the must-do tours while on the Galapagos Islands, or you will really miss out on something special. Our day trip cost US 120 dollars and included the transportation to the tunnels (a 40-minute boat ride,) an English-speaking guide, two snorkel stops (plus equipment) and a lunch box.

Lava tunnels above and underneath the water!

About five minutes before you arrive at the tunnels, it becomes tricky and the crew tells you that it’s not yet clear if you are lucky enough to get to the spot. That’s due to the fact that the boat has to cross the surf to enter a calmer part where you find the tunnels. Depending on the day, the waves can be too big and too dangerous for crossing, because there is a high chance for the boat be tipped over by the waves. We were told, that just a few days earlier, one of the boats actually tipped over and some of the passengers broke their legs. We were lucky that day, as our captain managed to get through and we were able to get out again without any incidents.

Watch Penguins on the Galapagos Islands

On arrival, the boat cruises through the channels that separate the tunnels and you can enjoy the impressive landscape. Then our captain stopped for us to walk around on the lava formations. Our tour guide explained all about the rock formations and species there. We saw a lot of blue-footed boobies and sea lions. We were also able to watch a shark, turtles and golden Manta rays swim past through the tunnels.

Love his shoes! :-)

One part of the snorkelling is done right at the tunnels, which is a bit tricky because the water is really cold in this area. We only lasted 20 minutes and managed to swim through just a couple of the tunnels before we had to get out of the water and warm up. This is probably the downside of travelling in low season, although I read that the water temperature, in general, is never too warm in the Galapagos, so you’re best advised to put on a wet suit. Luckily, the second snorkel spot was in slightly warmer water. Afterwards, the boat takes you to a nearby bay area, which is known for its Golden Manta rays, white tipped reef sharks, turtles and seahorses.

Spot the turtle!

 Other places to visit on Isabela Island:

  • Volcano Sierra Negra and Volcano Chico: hiking tour to both volcanoes from 7 am to 1 pm for 30 US dollars

Moon-like landscape on top of the volcano on Isabela Island

  • ‘Wall of Tears’: rent a bike or walk there! The way is 6 km long and leads you along the beach. It’s a very scenic route with plenty of interesting spots to stop at or swim/snorkel!

Rent a bike to get to the 'Wall of Tears' when on Isabela Island!

  • Snorkelling at ‘Las Perlas’: Just walk down to the harbour and turn left, there is a little dock to hop in from and you are free to snorkel your way through the area. No need for a guide! Watch the surface, some iguanas might swim towards your way!!!

So cute!!!

  • Tour to ‘Las Tintoreras’: A tour in Puerto Villamil will let you watch sea lions, turtles and the Galapagos Penguins as well as some resting White Tip Sharks (we didn’t take this tour as we saw all of the wildlife on our own the day before while snorkelling at the neighbouring bay area, Las Perlas.)

 Last stop: San Cristobal

On this island, life picks up the pace again: San Cristobal is a bit busier than Isabela Island but still a lot quieter than Santa Cruz. The island’s town centre is mainly spread along the shore and has about four parallel streets up on the hill with shops, hotels and tour agencies. When we arrived, we hopped off the boat and turned left to walk along the water to look for accommodation.

Great place to stay when on San Cristobal!

Accompanied by the funny smell and noises of the sea lions that lay on the rocks at the harbour area, we found a hostel just a few blocks down the road, called Hostel Galapagos. Perhaps due to its relatively prime location, they have a bit steeper prices than we were used to. The double room we stayed in cost 30 US dollars per person/night. But we liked it because they have a nice patio with an ocean view and lovely staff that help you to find your way around the island.

Apart from their smell, I really think they're adorable! :-D

 Our highlight of San Cristobal: Diving at Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido)

If you’re a scuba diver, you won’t want to miss diving in the Galapagos Islands. Kicker Rock was our spot of choice, simply because we were supposed to have the highest chance of spotting hammerhead sharks in this area. These funny looking creatures stop at this rock formation on a regular basis to get cleaned by smaller fish and to eat the high density of fish.

Kicker Rock where you might find Hammerhead Sharks!

Sharks don’t like cold water (something they have in common with me), and we went there in the begging of May which is when the water temperature drops to around 15 degrees Celsius. Only when we arrived, we realized that it was already too cold for these sharks. After some disappointment, we were excited to see playful sea lions cruising in the water, loads of turtles, plenty of fish and the occasional White Tip Reef Shark. It was a great experience and we had two fun dives where we swam through the canyons on a mission to encounter big fish.

The tour is from 8 am to 4 pm and cost 150 dollars. It includes a 45 minute-stop at a beach, two dives, the equipment, delicious lunch and snacks, as well as our tour guide. We would have loved to see the hammerhead sharks but enjoyed it anyway. And this way, we have a reason to go back one day. 😀

Other places to visit on San Cristobal

  • Watch giant tortoises and their babies at ‘La Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado’ (together with a couple from Switzerland, we hired a taxi driver who took us for 10 US dollar per person to ‘La Galapaguera’ and the two following two spots, no guided tour needed!) 🙂 

Enjoy! :-D

  • ‘Laguna el Junco’: Hike up a short distance to the top of the crater and see the lagoon that holds one of the few freshwater lakes on the Galapagos Islands:

Day-trip on San Cristobal

  • Enjoy the beauty of the beach at ‘Puerto Chino’:

The most beautiful beach on San Cristobal: Puerto Chino.

  • Get up early to watch the sunrise and morning activities in the water at ‘La Lobería’ where sea lions hang out and hunt for fish:

Lazy Sea Lion on San Cristobal

Have you ever been to the Galapagos Islands? How did you spend your time there, self-organised or with a guided tour/cruise? Which of the islands is your favourite (if you are able to pick one!)? If you liked this post, please feel free to share, like and comment on it below! Thank you 🙂

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Zip Lining in Costa Rica’s Monteverde

There are mandatory experiences in a traveller’s life: skydiving in New Zealand, scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, eating ice cream in Italy and Zip-lining in Monteverde. You can’t get around it. The question is not ‘Will you do it?’, but ‘When will you do it?’ So, here are a few insights and tips for your next trip to Costa Rica. Oh yes, by the way, leaving the country without having visited the mountain village Monteverde would be like deciding against zip-lining, so don’t even think about skipping it! It’s one of the Must-Sees, Must-Have-Dones that you can check off your Things-To-Do-Before-I-Die-List. So, please don’t be ridiculous, here is how it works.

The view from the top platform is rewarding
This is where you fly above…

Finding the right company for Zip-lining in Monteverde

All tour companies offer more or less the same program: 14 zip-lines, one ‘Superman’, one Tarzan Swing and a Rappel. (Don’t worry, we will explain the different types later on). They all pick you up at your hotel/hostel in Monteverde and bring you back afterwards. The tour takes about 3-4 hours, so make sure you bring some water, our company did not have water included which would have been nice as it got hot and humid during our trip…

When you get to Monteverde, take your time and walk around the small village. You can compare each offer according to price and size of the group. We decided in the end to go with the tour company called ‘Extremo‘ because it sounded simply tempting to even put an extra bit of extreme adrenaline rush to it. We paid 50 USD which included the pick-up and transfer to the park area, the equipment and the transfer back.

What you can expect when you go Zip-lining in Monteverde

It goes without saying that this is a day filled with fun. I laughed a lot and screamed many times from the bottom of my lungs. Nervous, sweaty hands can be a common symptom, but once you’ve started and gone down your first couple of zip-lines, then you get literally the hang of it and understand that it is not as scary as it looks. Oh and the best part is that you fly above extremely beautiful scenery which makes this rush even more fun! Look down, that’s really breathtaking!

A beautiful view before you go down...

Although the canopy is not inside the main nature reserves like those of other companies, the views are extremely amazing. On top of that, it has the longest lines that are almost 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) in total. The individual zip-lines are between 40 meters (131 feet) to 750 meters (2,461 feet) long, including 4 cables that are longer than 425 meters (1,394 feet). You will walk many stairs and up a hill in order to make it from one end to the next line. It’s a great way to get to know the rest of the group, as we were about 15 people from all over the world lining up for the next zip line. 🙂 

When you make it through the first 10 Lines, suddenly you are supposed to leave your metal hooks in a bucket, as you won’t need them when you go down the Tarzan Swing. Imagine a bungee jump, but with your head up and feet down, plus you are holding on to the rope (all secured, of course). Well, like Tarzan you swing around after a jump off the platform and a free-fall of about 9 meters… it really is not for the faint of heart and made me scream again – I now understand why Tarzan did not swing in silence!

Smile! Before you go down, you have no clue but it's so much fun!
Suddenly, ropes become so precious… 😀 

 The highlight at the end is the so-called Superman which simply means that you are now ready to turn onto your belly and rush down the line with open arms as if flying like, well, Superman of course. Since we went with Extremo, our very last zip line even took us through a tunnel that was recently built to give you an extra bit of rush right at the end. Yet, for me, nothing topped the great scenery that we were able to look at throughout the whole time. All in all, we had fun, laughed and screamed a lot and definitely would go back to do it again!

If you love adventure activities, you might like our post about Sailing in Nicaragua. But first tell us, have you been to Costa Rica? And did you go Zip Lining in Monteverde?

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Travel Guide for Nicaragua

What to See and Where to Go in Nicaragua

When you come from Honduras, like us, then you might feel like entering an oven right at the border of Nicaragua. For me, as I hate the cold, this was a pleasant feeling. Yet, the heat in Nicaragua even made me sweat and gasp for a breeze. Our trip through the country became a mix of city sightseeing and beach escapes with fun things like sailing and hiking.

I still can’t believe that we managed to climb up one of the most active volcanoes of Nicaragua. The view was rewarding and the breeze up there made us forget for a moment that our legs were on fire! Check out our Video on YouTube with some images from our trip or read on for some tips on activities and places to visit. 

Border Crossing from Honduras to Nicaragua

Border crossing by foot, too easy!

Welcome to Nicaragua!We took a bus from Lake Yojoa in Honduras at 6 o’clock in the morning. It took us about 2 hours to get to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, and another 45 minutes to figure out which bus leads us to the border. We decided to go with local buses, because the direct tourist buses to Leon or Granada seemed to be a rip-off. It was pretty easy in the end. We just asked around the bus terminal in Tegucigalpa, which local bus goes towards the border of Nicaragua, and a couple of dollars later, we were on a bus for a fraction of the price we would have paid for a direct bus.

 

Once at the border around 4 hours later, we hopped off the bus and walked through border control of Nicaragua after checking in with the immigration office. Make sure to bring US dollars, as you have to pay a fee of 10 USD and around 100 Nicaraguan Cordobas. Then, you simply walk over the bridge that leads to the first village in Nicaragua (not even 5 minutes away). Right after the borde, you’ll find plenty of local buses that will take you to any destination in Nicaragua. My advice, do the border crossing on your own and with local busses, so you save yourself quite a bit of money.

Buses waiting for you after the border of Nicaragua
You have plenty of options to get away from the border of Nicaragua!

Unless you are a slow traveller like us, check out this ‘Nicaragua itinerary‘ for two weeks. If time doesn’t matter, keep reading to follow our route.

León

By 6 pm, we arrived in León, our first stop in Nicaragua. Boiling hot and exhausted from a long trip, we stumbled into the first hostel that we could find. We were on the look-out for accommodation with some other guys from our bus and they told us that they would stay in León for a while to learn Spanish. Later on, we saw that this is apparently the thing to do in León, as the city has a vast selection of Spanish schools. We also noticed that León has a huge variety of clothes and shops that made my fashion heart pump higher! We spent the next day roaming around the little streets, hunting for clothes and cool drinks to get used to the heat. Honduras really was so much cooler, gah…

Colourful streets in León and churches are everywhere.

Leon has so many shopping options, I was busy for one day!The Lion who gave the city its name

 

Las Peñitas

On the beach of Las Peñitas you are sitting in the first row for a beautiful sunset

A couple of days later, we decided to leave León because we were desperate for a cool breeze from the ocean. At least, that’s what we thought…the only refreshing thing in Las Peñitas was the ocean itself and the beer, if you drank it fast enough before it got warm. Consequently, I spent a lot of time in the water and wondered if I am too weak for this heat, or simply not used to it anymore! After the cold waves in MexicoGuatemala and Honduras, our bodies seemed to be adjusting, just not quickly enough. Yet, what we saw was great and helped to distract us from the heat. At the end of the day, we still loved being there very much.

Las Peñitas has a huge and broad beach with not many tourists!

Las Peñitas is a really small fisher village with few activities besides hanging out at the beach, kayaking in the mangroves, swimming or surfing. It’s also a good place to enjoy some yummy seafood for a reasonable price and usually, an ocean view as most restaurants are along the beach or along the little lagoon area.

Granada

From Las Peñitas to Granada you have to go back to León, which is about a 45-minute ride by bus. There you board the connecting buses in León centre that go towards Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. By the time we arrived, 2 hours later, we decided to not stay. One, for the heat which is always less bearable in a city, I think. And two, for the less appealing neighborhoods that we drove through when we entered Managua. For us, Nicaragua’s capital did not seem to have much of interest. There are frequent buses to Granada so we didn’t have to wait long, and continued on with our journey. 3 hours later, we arrived in the centre at the bus terminal of Granada and saw a typical Hispanic colonial city with cute colourful buildings and old churches.

Colourful buildings in Granada's Centre

Granada has a lot of colonial buildings and churches in the centre

Traditional dish: Vigoron and Chicha

 

 

 

 

 

When you travel long-term, you have those days when you want nothing but rest. In Granada, we stayed 3 days but did not do much other than working on our computers in our hostel and walking around the streets of the old town. What we did discover, though, was the national dish called ‘Vigoron’ which was a mixture of cabbage, Jukka (native potato), meat, tomatoes and chilies… all neatly served on a banana leaf. We combined it with the very traditional, non-alcoholic ‘Chicha’, a beverage made out of fermented maize, sugar and in our case it had some raspberry juice. Yummy! 😀

Ometepe Island

Due to the low water level in Lake Nicaragua, the ferries no longer run from Granada directly to Ometepe. You’ll have to take the bus to Rivas, which is the closest town on the main road just 15 minutes away from the ferry dock. To get from Rivas to the ferry, walk away from the bus stop and ask for the corner where the local bus leaves every 20 minutes. If you’ve made it through the hassling taxi drivers, then you’ll realise that the bus costs a fraction of what they just offered you for their lift.

View onto Volcano Concepcion from the ferry
The ferry ride towards the island is already entertaining!

At the harbour, you can choose between the ferry and a smaller boat. Both options are around 45-50 Cordobas and take around 1.30 hrs. It really doesn’t matter which one you take, although some people might tell you that the official ferry is more secure and less rocky. We noticed no difference on our way back when we jumped on the ferry, only because it was scheduled before the other one.
On the island, rent a motorbike or scooter if you get the chance! It’s really worth it to explore all the different areas and drive through the small villages. If you get too hot, stop at the natural pool called ‘Ojo de Agua’. Its water is crystal clear and comes from an underground river, so it’s really refreshing!
Ojo de Agua is one refreshing stop on your trip on Ometepe Island!

Traffic jam!Beautiful bays and palm trees all over the island

There are plenty of little bays and beaches along your way and sometimes you even have to stop to let some horses or cows pass by…

Climbing Volcano Concepcion

Hiking up Volcano Concepcion on Ometepe Island.
It seems so close but this was still two hours away from the top!

Nicaragua has some of the most active Volcanoes in Central America and we climbed one of them! This was one of our most exhausting experiences in Central America so far. The hike to the top of Volcano Concepción takes about 4-6 hours, depending on your pace, of course. The top part is the trickiest of the entire hike, as it gets very steep and you walk on gravel and loose bigger stones. If you arrive before 1pm, you will be fine, time-wise, in order to make it back before dark.

We started our hike a bit later than planned and got to the top at 2:30pm, so a friendly tour guide who was on his way down with a group pointed out that we wouldn’t make it all the way to the top and back. We had about 50 meters left to the crater, but it would have taken at least another hour due to its steepness. We decided to call it a day and not push it to the very top (for us, this was already an accomplishment and the view from up there is breathtaking!)

Hike up towards the top of Volcano Concepcion
Far down you see lake Nicaragua and the rest of Isla Ometepe

Playa Gigante

Our last and favourite stop in Nicaragua was Playa Gigante. If you haven’t done so, then make sure to check out the post about our sailing trip along the coast. It was really one of the highlights of our stay in this country, and we were very tempted to stay for much longer…perhaps this is a place to go back to, one day!

Get on the Booze Cruise in Playa Gigante!
A fun day out on captain John’s sailboat!

Have you been to Nicaragua? What were your highlights? Did you climb Volcano Concepcion and have your legs on fire the days afterwards?

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Forget about Surfing: Sailing in Playa Gigante is the thing!

The ocean is my happy place. Sailing in Playa Gigante made this very clear to me again. No matter if I am at the beach, underwater or on a boat, it always feels like I am exactly where I need to be. Perhaps this is why one almost immediately gets soaked into those special destinations where like-minded people get stranded. We had no idea that it would be so hard for us to leave after just a few days in this gorgeous place. Thanks to a spontaneous encounter with a pirate and some fantastic hours on his boat, we call sailing in Playa Gigante one of our highlights in Nicaragua. Here is all about our trip that included awesome scenery, jumping off cliffs and ‘Pirate Punch’. 

Enjoying the cruise, Captain John (in the middle with the beard!) and his crew.
A fun crew and a special captain made our trip awesome!

First of all, let’s introduce John, our Captain, who reminded me a bit of the modern version of Captain Ahab! A lot friendlier, and an impressive character, John shows his guests a very awesome time on his sailboat. He is not only the owner of the boat we were sailing, but also the inventor of the legendary ‘Booze Cruise’. The sailing trip starts almost every day at 2:3o pm right from the beach in front of his hostel ‘Gigante Bay’. You don’t want to miss this unique trip, it’s so much fun to go sailing in Playa Gigante and sip some rum punch along the way!

Enjoyed a lot this sailing trip...or as they called it 'Booze Cruise' :-D
Sipping away yummy Pirate Punch…harr!

It's only about 10m high :-D
Captain John showed us cool jumping spots!

DSC05030_2

Sailing along the coast we past many cool rock formations!
The coastline is just filled with these gorgeous cliffs…

Thanks to Captain John’s adventurous soul, he personally swam along the coastline in order to explore every single rock, canyon and caves, and we were introduced to some awesome jumping spots along the way. With a lot of insider tips from your captain, you will get a glimpse of the gorgeous coastline south of Playa Gigante in a fun way. Originally from San Francisco, John has long lost his real connection to the United States and instead bought a hostel, started a family and grew a beard…the latter fits extremely well with his beautiful sailboat and gives the whole trip a special touch.

Leaving the steering wheel for a while...Captain John dips in the ocean
Captain John enjoys the water as much as his guests!

In general, this part of Nicaragua attracts a lot of surfers from all over the world. You can’t blame them, as it is a paradise that offers first-class waves, but still has not attracted mass tourism. Along the coast, you’ll find endless strips of beaches and bays that show off the most beautiful waves. Even if you don’t surf, sailing in Playa Gigante is a great alternative activity and a lot of fun, too. Furthermore, you can do horseback riding, yoga and, of course, it’s the perfect destination to enjoy a swim in the ocean.

Sailing in Playa Gigante with some yoga moves onboard.
No one said you couldn’t do yoga on a boat! 😀

How to get to Playa Gigante

It is a place that attracts tourists, but Playa Gigante is still very remote and not heavily crowded. Buses from Rivas run only from Monday to Friday. On the weekend, the only bus takes you to a little village 7km away from Playa Gigante… you can either walk, hitchhike or hope for a taxi for the rest of the way. Most likely someone will offer you a ride from Rivas once you get to the bus station. We happened to arrive on a Saturday and paid 4 USD each to a guy who offered us to take us. This doesn’t sound a lot, but it’s still 3 times more than the public bus.

Working at the beach, just perfect!
One of my favourite remote offices so far… 😀

Where to stay in Playa Gigante

Perhaps the exclusivity of this area makes Playa Gigante one of the more expensive places we’ve been to in Nicaragua. The lowest price that we could find for a private room was 20 USD but that was a very basic room. After two nights, we changed our hotel and went to Gigante Bay, a very fun hostel which has dorms from 10 USD up to AC private rooms. We loved it there, not only because of the free yoga classes every morning, but also because we happened to meet a lot of great people and went sailing in Playa Gigante.

Slack Lines in front of the hostel are just one great thing Gigante Bay has to offer...
Nestled in Playa Gigante’s bay, our hostel was just a perfect place to relax a few days…

Have you been there? Did you go sailing in Playa Gigante?


NOT DONE READING YET?

Are you looking for more Latin American travel guides? Check out our post on Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize if you are into scuba diving. Or what about a less sporty and therefore more cultural trip? Then you might like to read our Guatemala Travel Guide with tips for the ancient Mayan ruins in Copan.

Or are you curious about other places in Nicaragua? Then check out this travel guide for Nicaragua, a real fun place to visit when in Central America.

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Sailing in Playa Gigante

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Travel Tips for the Mayan Ruins in Copan

Honduras has a lot to offer right from the start: If you begin your trip in Guatemala like us, then you will most likely pass through the little town of Copan. That’s where one of the most important Mayan cities was built. Today, you can admire the well-preserved ruins and walk around on the former city’s area. Read here how to get from Guatemala to Honduras by bus. But don’t copy our style, we found ourselves in a mildly bewildered situation when we arrived at the border…

Welcome to Honduras!
Dark and no one around… a rocky start into a new adventure!

We should have done some more research before we started our trip from Guatemala to the Honduran border. But who could have known that the public transport system runs only until 6:30 pm! We could hardly believe it when the friendly Immigration officer told us that there were no more buses or taxis at this hour (7 pm!!) It was especially annoying, because minutes before, we politely waved away a very insisting Tuk-tuk driver…had we known that he was our last option for that night….! Yes, we even thought about walking all the way to Copan that lies 10 km from the border! But to be honest, the combination of too much luggage and the fact that is was already dark outside and little lighting on the street made this a bad idea. On top of that, came the friendly reminder of the officer that it was a rather unsafe way to take….

All we could do was sit and wait, hoping it would not be for the rest of the night. Only two hours later, we got lucky: a lonesome car appeared from the Guatemalan side! We stopped the car after it passed through border control and asked the driver to give us a lift. Done! The driver let us hop onto the loading zone of his pickup truck and took us to Copan. Relieved that we did not have to spend the whole night in the middle of nowhere, waiting for the next bus in the morning, we got to our hotel in Copan…exhausted but happy!

Wide and open to walk around and admire the archeological remains...
The Mayan City Copan was constructed on a huge area open for visitors today.

The next day, early in the morning, we went to see the Copan Ruins. It is the main attraction of Copan. The main entrance gate lies about 1 km away from the town centre. You can easily walk there or hop on a Tuk-tuk. Contrary to my personal weather preference, we were told that the unusual cool temperatures were doing us a favour. Usually, it is a very humid and hot place to visit as this ancient Mayan city lies in the middle of the jungle. But with clouds out, we had the perfect climate to stroll around undistracted and could fully enjoy the amazing architecture of this former civilisation.

Me being the absolute tourist!
You can actually climb up to some of the Mayan temples…

Inside the park, shortly past the entrance gate and before we arrived at the Pre-Columbian ruins, some ‘Guacamayos’, the national birds of Honduras, were flying around freely above our heads. These beautiful and colourful birds that I had only known from zoos or inside cages were so delightful to watch in their natural habitat. It was a very cheerful moment and it seemed like they were enjoying their attention very much, as they curiously stared back at us and sat still for the million photos that we took 😀

We almost forgot about the ruins...

Bird love!

They were lining up for us!!!
Patient parrots posed for our photo shoot…

After this highlight, the ruins were almost boring. Just kidding! They were very impressive too and, of course, we gave them, at least the same amount of attention as the birds… The ruins’ construction dates back to 427 A.D. which gives me the chills: such a long time back!!! In that time, the Maya leader ‘Yax Kuk Mo’ came from the area of Tikal (which is in today’s Guatemala) and arrived in the Copan Valley. With his arrival, a dynasty of 16 rulers began and turned Copan into one of the greatest Maya cities during the Classic Maya Period. Today it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Mayan statue.
Many of the statues are still in good condition.

Here are some more historical facts: It is said that the main period of Copan (like other bigger Mayan cities), was during the Classical period, AD 300-900. During that period, the Mayas made some significant achievements in mathematics, astronomy and hieroglyphic writing. These become evident when analysing their way of building: today’s archaeological remains reveal the three main stages of development in Mayan culture, during which evolved the temples, plazas, altar complexes and ball courts that can be seen today. The Maya civilisation inhabited the Copan city until the early 10th century.

Mayan Ruins of Copan
Today you can see temples, plazas, altar complexes and ball courts on the area.

Today the Mayan city of Copan has one main complex of ruins which includes the Acropolis and important plazas. Then there are several secondary complexes that surround the main complex. You also find many sculptured monoliths and altars. On the risers of the Hieroglyphic Stairway Plaza there are more than 1,800 individual glyphs which constitute the longest known Mayan inscription. Impressive stone construction that has over-lived centuries...There is some restoration work at the moment, so some of the statues and stone walls were covered or under a little tin roof.

Little tins roofs hover over some of the statues.
Little tin roofs ruin our pictures but supposedly protect the stones from bad weather…

You can easily spend 2-3 hours walking around the whole area. Of course, if you take a tour or go with a guide, the time varies and may be even longer. If you are planning your trip to this Honduran highlight, check out our post about ‘Where to stay in Copan during your visit to the Mayan Ruins’  for a very comfortable stay in Copan!

How was your visit to the Copan Ruins? Did you have a hot and humid climate when there? What other Mayan sites have you visited or would you like to see?

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Guatemala Travel Guide

Arriving in Guatemala City

Thanks to Lonely Planet, travelling has become very easy. Most of the time, it’s not very difficult to get around. This is also true for Central America as there seem to be mandatory stops and common routes that many travellers take. In our case, we started the trip on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, then went on to Belize in order to get to Guatemala. Along the way, we met many people who did the same. And there is a good reason for it: Backpacking in Central America is great, easy and safe! Here are the highlights from our trip to Guatemala, a country of beautiful natural diversity, a well-preserved Mayan culture, delicious food, coffee, cacao and very friendly people.

Isla de Flores at beautiful Lake Peten Itza

Flores at Lake Peten Itza in Guatemala
Flores is one of the popular stops for tourists in Guatemala… 

‘Flores’ is a place that attracts many tourists because it lies on a gorgeous lake. The town is actually divided into two parts: when travellers talk about Flores, they refer to the part that lies on the peninsula in the middle of beautiful Lake Peten Itza. Yet, when one arrives at ‘Flores’ it can be a bit confusing at first because the bus terminal is on the mainland. From this buzzing part of the town, you can easily get to the more scenic old town on the bespoke peninsula. It’s connected by road and you’ll get there within 10 minutes by one of the eager taxi or Tuk-tuk drivers that is waiting for you in front of the bus terminal. Here is a short video from our Tuk-tuk ride to Isla de Flores:

VIDEO: Tuk-tuks are fun… and they have them not only in Asia! 😀

The view from our hotel opposite the town Flores
Crossing the lake you have a great view of the colourful house facades of ‘Isla de Flores’ or the Island of Flowers…

We stayed one night in one of the hostels on the island and then ‘fled’ to the quieter shore just opposite of the town, from which we had an amazing view onto Flores’ colourful houses. The boat ride is less than 5 minutes, and brings you to an area where only local people live. Yet, there is one hotel (which is still a lot more economic than in the touristy old town of Flores), a couple of shops and a few houses of the local fishermen and their families. For food shopping, you will have to go back to the mainland, but it’s worth it. It’s everything you need if you are looking for some quiet and peaceful time at the lake.

Travel planning in Flores, Lake Peten Itza
Travel planning is one of  our daily tasks and one of the most important parts of your trip when you travel long-term!

There are plenty of things to do in Flores: you can take a scenic boat ride across the lake, stroll through the market, admire traditional Guatemalans’ horse demonstrations, go hiking in the nearby mountains or simply enjoy the view of the lake while sipping a cup of Guatemalan coffee.

Guatemalan tradition: Horseback riding
Spontaneous demonstration in the streets of Flores

Beautiful horses and proud owners
Proud of their tradition: this was a promotion tour for the following event in the market of Flores

Welcome to the capital: ‘Guate’

The streets of Guatemala City.
A typical street of Guatemala City’s centre…

From Flores, we took an overnight bus to Guatemala City or like the locals call it: ‘Guate’. It depends highly on your choice of bus company and price of the ticket whether you will enjoy this ride or not. We probably went a bit too cheap and hardly slept that night due to the bumpy road and the ambitious driver…we arrived safe and according to plan to the bus terminal at 7 am in Guatemala City.

Walking the streets of Guatemala City...
Safe and modern, Guatemala’s capital.

After a strong coffee and a bite to eat, we hopped onto the metro-bus that took us to the city. The public transportation in Guatemala City works with a pre-purchased card that you load with money. If you only stay for a couple days, though, do it like the locals who don’t have a card and ask in line if you can pay someone the price of one ride and use his or her card. It’s very cheap to get around and you would be never able to make up for the initial cost of the card. It’s very common, don’t be shy, everyone is friendly and happy to help out!

Guatemala has many accommodation options.
Spot my favourite motto in this picture….???

In the city centre, there are plenty of options to stay. We chose the Theatre International Hostel which is a cool place for backpackers. It has a pool, a decent common area to hang out, the rooms are nice and the breakfast is yummy! We stayed there two nights and liked it. From there you can walk to the main shopping area of the city, with loads of local and international bars and restaurants. A 10 minute walk away you’ll find the market to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and Guatemalan craft. This is the place where the locals eat lunch, so make sure to try some traditional dishes and enjoy the special atmosphere.

Traditional Guatemalan dish: Chile Rellenos
Chiles rellenos’: mildly spicy stuffed peppers with a delicious side soup of chicken broth… yummy!

What is true for most places in Central America, goes also for Guatemala City: it is considered dangerous. I would say that you need to be a normal person and not a scared victim when walking in the streets ANYWHERE in the world. Plus, stay in the areas that are safe (you can find that out easily by talking to locals or read some guidebooks, although some exaggerate extremely!) and don’t walk around with your valuables/a camera or phone visible in a real dark street late at night, unless absolutely necessary. I mean, all it takes is a bit of common sense and some research. But what I can say about this city is that we felt safe all the time. I find it’s absolutely fine to visit Guatemala City and it has a great deal to offer if you are into museums, shopping, nightlife or some historical buildings.

Centrally located but not running: the old railway station is now a museum.
The Museum of the Old Railway system is in the centre of Guatemala City and close to many city buses depart…

Tourist-Hub Antigua

DSC02331Antigua is dominated by international influence and is the leader when it comes to tourism. Someone in Honduras told me that all of the tourism of Central America is managed through Antigua. And I believe it. There are a ton of tour operators, travel agencies, cafes, restaurants and you can find many  international brands in clothes shops. It almost feels a bit like strolling through a European town… plus, you hear more English in the streets than Spanish. Most people stop in Antigua in to hike to one of the many Volcanoes in the area. We ended up not going because the weather did not match our gear and it was unexceptionally cold those days.

Souvenir shops with traditional handicraft of Guatemala.
If you don’t go hiking, you can spend your time strolling through the markets…

What else is there to do in Antigua? The usual: cute little markets and shops that sell all sorts of local arts and handicrafts. You can find in almost all the restaurants and bars very good coffee and hot chocolate – it’s a must when in Guatemala to try as many variations as you can (it was one of my missions at least ;-)). There are a quite a few bars and clubs if you want to go out at night. We had a quiet time in Antigua as the weather was too cold and windy – we stuck to the hot chocolate tastings for most of the time….

Hot Chocolate tasting is a must in Guatemala
Yummy hot chocolate made from Guatemalan cacao, milk and a bit of sugar!

Lake Atitlan

 

Capturing the moment of a clear view at Lake Atitlan
A lucky day with no mist and a clear view…one of the rare occasions during our time at Lago Atitlan…

One very adventurous bus ride and four hours later, we arrived at beautiful Lake Atitlan. It is really worth the somewhat stressful ride, but be prepared for some adrenalin running through your body on the bus. In general, the drivers in Guatemala seem to think they drive a race car. Luckily, the buses resist a lot, they are the old Ford School Buses from the United States, that were donated to the country….

Buses in Guatemala are donated from the US
The style of a race car represents the driver’s passion, I guess…

San Marcos, Lago Atitlan

Once you get to Panajachel, you can either stay there or hop on a boat to get to one of the places at the lake. The boat ride is about 15-30 minutes depending on your destination. We paid 25 Quetzales/ about 3 USD to get to San Marcos.

Water taxi on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
A very common way to get around at Lake Atitlan: water taxis.

We stayed a couple of nights in San Marcos, which is small hippie town with loads of organic food options, nature-focused shops and spiritual/mind-body workshops. You can do Yoga, attend some moon dancing rituals or get a massage…I think I am not a hippie after all, but like the idea that we should connect more with our body, mind, and nature. San Marcos gets you into the right vibe for that, for sure!

Working in a café in San Marcos.
Take your work with you: no matter where we go, we set up our office wherever we like. Here in a small cafe in San Marcos.

San Pedro de la Laguna, Lago Atitlan

After a couple of days of tranquility and some productive hours in the many cafés of San Marcos, we took one of the small boats (10 Quetzales/ 1.30 USD) and headed over to the busier town San Pedro.

San Pedro la Laguna in Guatemala
Walking the streets of San Pedro la Laguna to get to our hotel…

This place is the absolute opposite of it’s little brother San Marcos: it is a lot bigger and has very steep streets (almost like the streets in San Francisco but narrower) that are filled with the noise of constantly running Tuk-tuks up and down the hills. It’s perhaps great for people who want to meet other travellers and party. Actually, there are also a lot of Spanish language schools. So, many tourists stay for a few weeks in order to learn Spanish or improve their language skills. Guatemala is known for a very clear and almost accent-free Spanish.

Tuk-tuks and tourists - a typical sight in San Pedro...
Many tourists come and stay in San Pedro in order to learn Spanish. 

Leaving Guatemala

After another rocky bus trip back to Guatemala City, we headed over to the Honduran border. The whole way from San Pedro to Honduras you can do in one day, but you have to start early: We took the bus at 7 am in San Pedro and had to switch buses in one of the smaller towns after about 1 1/2 hours. The next bus took us straight to Guatemala City (it took us 5 hours and in total we paid 50 Quetzales which is around 6.5 USD. From there, we had to cross the city from one end to the other (about 2 hours in total, including the transition times) before we jumped on the next bus that took us to the border of Honduras (another 5 hours and 60 Quetzales this time).

At the border of Guatemala...
Still smiling there, not knowing that after we passed through immigration a big surprise came up…

We arrived at the immigration office at around 7 pm and were told that there was no more public transportation to the nearest town ‘Copan’. How we got to our hotel in the dark and why we would do it differently next time, you can read in our post about the Ruins of Copan

Did you like this post and/or have you been to Guatemala? Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts on how you liked it there and what other sights one shouldn’t miss! Either way, thanks for reading 🙂