Important things for travel prep, like travel insurance?
For travel prep I am going to say you have a few must need, or need to know items.
These include but are not limited to:
Travel insurance – we use World Nomads. Fun fact, we were exempt from needing insurance in 2018 because we were out of the country for the months that we did not have insurance. So, that was winning. Travel insurance does not count as normal medical insurance. Know that.
World nomads has a few options, we went with the highest option just to be safe. We were traveling with a drone, camera, lenses, two laptops and some valuables that we felt were worth having coverage for. Nate’s wallet was stolen in our first location, Santiago, Chile, and we filed a claim and received $83 I believe it was. Yes, that was stressful, but it was nice to know that when we rented a vehicle, like in Europe for four weeks, we knew we had coverage. They also provide hotlines that you can contact in case of emergency or sickness that will lead you in the direction of English speaking doctors and facilities. Insurance is always for the peace of mind, right? Rarely need it, but sleep a little easier knowing you have it.
Next would be two V’s of international travel – vaccinations and Visas.
Vaccinations – You can look up what vaccinations are required and then suggested for the countries you are planning to visit on the cdc website. Then find a travel clinic near you or simply call your doctors office and they will lead you where you need to go, because it is likely that they do not provide these vaccinations.
Visas – The Miller’s had a rough go with visas on our first trip around the world. We misunderstood the rules for the European 90 day tourist visa and overstayed by 23 days. That was fun – I’ve mentioned it before, but we drove, took buses and had flights through 14 European countries so our passports looked like a hot mess and we were not asked about any of it or our timeline until we flew from Poland to Singapore. Plan was to finally leave Europe from the Helinski Airport in Finland. We had a 45 minute transfer and they held us at customs. We were clueless. Long story short, we thought Scotland broke up our 90 days and then restarted a new 90 days when we entered back into the European Union. But the rule is 90 days WITHIN 180 days. And we def stayed for four months in Europe. Oops. Because we weren’t coming back anytime soon, they gave us the stamp, let us go, and we sprinted to our gate.
When traveling from Philippines to Vietnam, waiting to board our plane, we were informed we needed a visa for Vietnam. Somehow in our planning we just didn’t see this. So, having lodging booked and an itinerary we needed to try and stick to, we hopped on the computer, missed our flight, expedited visas, booked a new flight for the next day and got a hotel room near the airport. It was a rush. But it all worked out. Just a few hundred dollars later.
Just do a google search fam. “do US citizens need a visa for _____” (enter desired country).
From there it can be tricky or super easy depending on the country. Some countries are visa upon arrival, other require more info + passport and a photo to be emailed etc. Just depends. Which is why I say the two V’s need to be addressed early on in your planning, VACCINATIONS AND VISAS.
Beyond insurance and the two v’s I would suggest having a credit card that will benefit you while traveling long term overseas. You don’t want to deal with foreign transaction fees or your bank blocking your card because you’re in Bangladesh. Plus you get all the points if you use a credit card.
We did annoying amounts of research before we left on round 1 and we love the Chase Sapphire. This also gave us the option of tacking on the Priority Pass which gets us into nearly all international lounges. Which fam….I cannot tell you how much lounges have changed my life. You think I am joking. Do you know how ABSOLUTELY amazing it is to get off the plane or arrive four hours early to the airport and go directly to a lounge with free food, drinks – yes, alcohol is included in that, comfy chairs, private seating areas, and good wifi? It’s the best thing ever. Especially in comparison to buying overpriced airport food, sitting in intensely uncomfortable airport seating with who knows how many other people? If you travel internationally, you NEED a priority pass.
We then use points earned on the credit card to get flights or hotels, whichever suits what we need.
Get your vaccinations, visas, insurance and a credit card.
Moving on to the next question. I am combining these questions because they can go hand-in-hand.
Cost breakdowns and planning tips?
How do you plan? Any website recommendations?
How to find the best deals on places to stay?
How to find cheap flights?
So, cost breakdown is hard because this COMPLETELY DEPENDS ON YOU. But I would say for 2 people, $50-60k per year is a good average. You could do it in less and you could CERTAINLY do it in more. We met a family along the way who was likely spending $20k+ a month just on lodging.
Budgeting tip is to weigh your options. For long term travel it will always be cheaper to stay for a month when talking about Airbnb’s. The most we paid for a month long stay in an Airbnb was $1,200 on the beach in Copacabana Rio De Janeiro. On the flip side, we paid more than that for a week and a half in a villa in Bali ($1,700 to be exact). When you stay for 28 days in an Airbnb you get massive monthly discount.
We use Airbnb and Booking.com for accommodations – and because we use Booking so often we have some membership thing were we get extra discounts. I don’t know all the details on that. But we love Booking because often you can reserve a place and pay at the property instead of paying for EVERYTHING up front. This is helpful for us because we tend to plan in large chunks at a time and spreading out payment can be nice.
I haven’t yet purchased this but likely will. My friend Chloe (her IG is @deeper.than.money) has a negotiation playbook and I know people save on hotels and Airbnb’s using her scripts. So that is about to be a part of the Miller Travel toolbox as well.
Seasons are important to consider for accommodations – We find that booking further in advance tends to be cheaper. The closer we get, the more prices increase. You’d think people would be desperate to get you in so they would drop prices but that’s not how it works. They know you need a place to stay and you’ll pay the price to get accommodations.
Book in advance unless you like arriving somewhere and walking to hotels and hostels to negotiate for the cheapest price. That’s not how we want to spend our time, but def met people who travel this way. To each their own.
There are great deals sometimes on Google flights and whatnot but because we plan things in advance and not last minute, it’s more about finding the best deal on exactly what we’re looking for.
What we like about Kiwi is that you don’t have to pick a date. You can see prices for months at a time and see trends in price fluctuations. For instance, some flights don’t fluctuate much. But often, you can look ahead and see that the best time to purchase for a certain location seems to be about three months or six weeks out from the departure date.
We will play around in the beginning with different locations we want to go to and choose which flights we will buy, and when based on that little bit of market research.
On that note, always search in incognito – on a Mac I believe it is command, shift, n. I kid you not, Nate and I have tested this more than once and the more often he searched for flights, the price would increase, while mine, being incognito, didn’t change. Of course we were doing the exact same searches multiple times to make sure.
If you don’t have a Mac just google how to search incognito on your laptop or whatever you have.
Knowing local holidays can be helpful. We had to book a few flights during some Southeast Asian holidays in different countries and it doubled the price. We had to fly during these dates so we couldn’t get around it, but it would be worth knowing ahead of time for sure if you can avoid flying during the equivalent of spring break or Christmas in the states.
So, Airbnb – monthly stay will save you, you can 100% negotiate prices, in fact we have when we added a person and the price doubled – we called bullshit, they lowered the price back to the starting rate.
Also worth noting – we tend to stay in a hotel the night before we travel out of wherever we are because it’s nice to have the hotel set up a shuttle or taxi for you. It also is great not worrying about putting the trash for your Airbnb where it needs to be, and making sure the key is back in the key box etc. Hotels can make the travel experience smoother and less stressful for sure.
Consider seasons – accommodations and seasons can double and triple prices SO EASILY. We like to try and be everywhere in the off season or in shoulder season. That’s how we largely plan our trips.
List everywhere we want to go – then research best seasons to be there for NOT being there in HIGH SEASON. Then plug and chug from there. For this next round, we do need to be in a few places during high season just due to weather and availability. Like Patagonia for instance.
Traveling in the off season or shoulder season will absolutely save you money and you’ll likely get to enjoy your travels with less tourists around. Which for us, is always winning.
Mindset around not working out as much and still eating foods I enjoy?
To be honest, we just live life. We both like meat, we like protein. We try to get it in each meal. In fact food is a huge motivator of traveling for us. We want to eat amazing food, local food, new food. So that’s what we do.
As far as not working out. This can get frustrating for us both. But I actually enjoy running when we travel. I don’t advertise it much. But it’s a fun way to get fresh air and see a new city. In fact in Rio, we could have got a gym membership but we just ran and did beach workouts because it was so nice out all the time and the boardwalk was amazing.
My mindset when we travel is completely different from when we’re home. I don’t see it as a season to make gains or “work on my body” in anyway really. I move for the sake of health and moving when we travel. And my body takes on whatever shape it takes on during those times, you know? It’s a season to travel, see new things, and have new experiences. Not to become quadzilla. I spoke more about this too in my last episode which was a Q&A about training.
How to find the places we want to visit? Tiny towns and secluded spots.
Half Instagram, half research. We normally see someplace on Instagram, via following travel accounts. And then start researching it.
Before booking an Airbnb or location, we research the neighborhoods.
For example, Mexico City – we knew we wanted to start in South America, and we’ve wanted to go to Mexico City for a while. So, it makes sense to start in Mexico City and then work our way down through South America to Patagonia.
Great – Mexico City. Now, where do we stay?
Research “best neighborhoods in Mexico City.” Then normally you can see blogs that break down the different areas or neighborhoods of city. We look for where most restaurants are at and where it is safe. So safety and food are normally our go to parameters for determining where to actually stay. We often don’t have a car so we walk a lot or use public transport which is easy most places.
And through research you’ll find little towns and things. It just kind of happens. We found our cottage hotel in the mountains of Switzerland because we knew we wanted to LITERALLY stay in the mountains. We didn’t want to stay in one of the large cities like Lucern or Bern. So we searched – “best place to stay in the Swiss Alps or in the mountains in Switzerland.”
How to choose safe places to eat + how to eat healthy and make good food choices while traveling?
Nate does the research here and we use our sixth sense…
If they are pulling the meat out of a plastic bin that is just sitting outside, uncovered and unrefrigerated…probs moving on to the next place. Yes, that is speaking directly from experience.
We eat pretty healthy. Nothing really changes for us while traveling. Like I said, we eat protein and drink water, and eat what we like. Which happens to be decently healthy food.
How do we communicate with locals?
Google translate – you can literally hold your phone over a sign or menu and it will translate it from the chosen language to english.
You can speak into it in english and it will translate it to whatever language you need. We used this often. Technology is cool.
But honestly most people in the service industry that you will be interacting with will speak broken English at least. It’s kind of pathetic really. In our experience so far, people in other countries speak multiple languages quite often. And one is normally English. So, it’s pretty easy to travel as an English speaking human.
Packing light (minimalist approach)?
This took TIME fam. I started packing for our first round, I kid you not, six months in advance. I had to go from having a room in my house dedicated to my wardrobe to…LITERALLY living in a backpack for multiple seasons of the year. We’re talking 19 degrees on the Baltic coast of Poland to 93 degrees with 90% humidity in Cambodia. HOOWWWWW? How do you fit that in a 55L backpack?
Well, really, you don’t. I had my mom ship me stuff in Poland, we had friends who came to visit and brought us clothing items, and sent ones home with them. We left things places, and we bought things as well.
So, to answer the question, you need to consider what weather you’re going to be in and what items are multifaceted.
This is why I now just have a capsule wardrobe at home. It’s all linked on my blog if you missed it.
The first round of travel I missed my style. I packed like a backpacker – strictly for functionality. With items that were simple and could be used for different occasions, which was needed. But I missed MY STYLE. I love fashion and clothing.
So for round two, I started planning my wardrobe before we were even home from round 1. Still functional, but to where I feel feminine and can still express myself through my clothing. Which I enjoy doing.
I suggest making a list
Somethings along those lines, then plug in items that you LOVE + can be used for workouts, or going to dinner. You know?
Also, know that you are likely going to leave things and purchase things. They make the best clothing for the weather in Thailand, IN THAILAND. And you might be surprised. Things are often cheaper locally as well.
For this round, I am packing mostly warm clothing – clothing that can be layered because we will be in 40-70 degree weather the majority of the time. No extreme heat for sure.
The last questions was actually about our latest trip to Canada, but you’ll have to tune in for that!
P.S. Save this value packed episode for later over on pinterest!
I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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