Travel Tips · Uncategorized

8 Places That the Canadian Dollar Goes Far

I was speaking with a friend the other day, and he advised “I can’t travel man, our dollar sucks everywhere i don’t know.. what do you think is the cheapest place to go?” This question stuck with me because it didn’t come down to where was necessarily cheaper, but the concept we were talking about was called ‘currency arbitrage’ which means “making your money go further by using a strong currency in a country with a weaker one“.

Let’s face it.. If you’re Canadian you already know the struggle of our dollar.. IT SUCKS VIRTUALLY/PHYSICALLY EVERYWHERE lmao.. Okay, maybe I am being extra but our dollar really does suck in most places. Thus, I’ve done deep research, and talk amongst my backpacker friends and here are 12 places where Our Canadian Dollar surprisingly goes far. This list is in no particular order.. I am just listing places.

One thing, I wanted to stress is that I don’t believe there is such a thing as, ‘poor’ countries and ‘rich countries’ because CLEARY during this pandemic we have seen big countries do absolutely nothing for their people. So there’s that myth.. BUSTED. That is not to say that there isn’t many people living in poverty. Globally people are facing a myriad of difficulties in their lives however, I just wanted to disclose that identifying a country as ‘poor’ vs ‘rich’ just doesn’t sit well with me.

Below you’ll find a collection of 12 countries that may not be the cheapest in the world, but that represent the best value for our dollar – and thus are worth visiting. I wanted to give a combination of back-packer friendly and travel friendly countries. If you need help finding cheap flights to these places, take a read of my post of finding cheap flights. Surely, it will help.

Please, leave a comment if you’re not sure which country to visit based on your style or send me a email 🙂

1/10

Romania

$1 CAD = 3.13 leu

100 Romanian leu = $31.94 CAD

Romania is an ancient land, full of castles and historical antiquities, and the exchange rate presents some serious bargains for Canadians. For example, a typical meal for two in the capital of Bucharest will run you under $35 Canadian, the cost of living is estimated to be nearly 40 per cent lower than living in Toronto. Imagine that!

2/10

Croatia

1$ CAD = 4.87 Kuna

100 Kuna = $20.53 CAD

Croatia is just a phenomenal and easy country to back-pack for two. Not, to mention how romantic some parts of the country can be. A typical meal for two in the capital will run you about 289.80 kn which is just under $60.00. Keep in mind, Dubrovnik is one of the most expensive cities in Croatia and will double in price for basic things. Thanks to Games of Thrones attractions.

3/10

Cambodia

$1 CAD = 2740.42 riel

100,000 Riel = $36.51 CAD

Asia is a destination hot spot for Canadian travellers and I can see why. The cost of travelling is cheaper in these countries and the people are the most friendliest you’ll ever met. If visiting Phnom Penh, a domestic beer will cost about a buck and a half, while an average dinner for two will run less than $23 CAD.

4/10

Belize

$1 CAD = 1.54 (BZD)

100 BZD = $64.76 CAD

Average Hotel Price: $40

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $23 / for two: $55

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $78

Belize is the only country in (mainland) Central and South America where English is the official language! As such, it’s an easy place to travel to. This may not be the number pick for backpackers, but for travellers alike our money will go far.

5/10

Argentina

$1 CAD = 56.92 ARS

5692.42 ARS = $100 CAD

Average Hostel/Hotel Price: $20-25 / $51

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $12

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $76

6/10

Belarus

$1 CAD = 2.03 BYN

203.36 BYN = $100 CAD

Average Hotel/Hostel Price: $14-$25

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $7

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $25

Belarus is considered one of the gems of Central and Eastern Europe; visiting museum towns like Mir and Nesvizh will take you back in time, and they’re both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Vitebsk is the place to be in the summertime with lots of arts festivals. Trekking fans will love the ancient forests of Belavezhskaya Puscha National Park, which is home to 212 species of birds.

And because Belarus is one of the few European countries that didn’t adopt the Euro, our dollar goes farrr HUNNTYYY.

7/10

Indonesia

$1 CAD = 11307.52 IDR

1130751.62 IDR = $100 CAD

Average Hostel Price: $10-35

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $15

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $30

Honestly: I think people get clouded by ‘instagram photos of lavish life’ and assuming it costs an organ. In Indonesia you can ejoy the finest things because prices are super low and our money goes far !

Also, most people have no idea just how big and diverse Indonesia is as a country. Many also don’t realize that the popular tourist destination of Bali is just one of many (as in, 17,000!) Indonesian islands, each with their own flavour and sometimes culture.

8/10

Philippines

$1 CAD = 37.30 PHP

3729.58 PHP = $100 CAD

Average Hostel Price: $20

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $12

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $20

9/10

Thailand

$1 CAD = 24.00 Baht

2400.22 Baht = $100 CAD

Average Hostel Price: $14

Average Cost of Food for a Day: $10

Average Daily Cost (Per Person, Per Day): $25

Thailand is a very easy place to visit, and has been a backpacker haven for decades. It’s easy not only because it’s cheap (Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Phuket all made the 2016 Price of Travel Index’s list of cheapest Asian cities), but also because it’s incredibly friendly it’s the ‘land of smiles’ thats for sure. I survived in Thailand for one month with $300 CAD!! Cant you believe that!

10/10

Chile

$1 CAD = 591.05 CL

59104.95 Chilean Peso = $100

Average price of dinner for two is 35,000 CL

If hiking through Patagonia is on your bucket list, now could be the time to go as every dollar is worth 18% more. Peak season in Patagonia lasts from November until March, when temperatures are perfect for exploring the wonderlands of Torres del Paine, Laguna San Rafael and Bernardo O’Higgins National Parks. Of course when your travelling it is always recommended you download apps, just to help you situate yourself in countries that are more spread apart in terms of activities in different cities.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post, xoxo.

2020

Uncategorized

How to Survive Your First Hostel

Here, we are looking at your first hostel…

Typical Hostel Room with 4 Beds

It’s not as bad as you think. I remember talking to my friend Alexis laughing at her because I couldn’t believe she was staying in a hostel. I felt so scared for her! and I had so many questions. So i decided to re-visit this conversation and share my knowledge with you all. I also decided this would bring me to starting my “Hostel Series” which I review hostels and share photos. I am telling you all, that you’d be surprised at some of the places I stayed.

I think every traveler should try staying at a hostel at least once in their lifetime. Even if you have a luxury-hotel budget, hostels are a cool and unique experience that can result in some amazing memories. I for one have made, memories that will last a lifetime. I’ve met loads of backers that were not on a tight budget, but actually chose to stay in hostels because they prefer it and honestly, you end up having more fun in my opinion. And you read that right, they prefer hostels to luxury hotels and apartments.

No- hostels are not glamorous. And yes, you may have to say goodbye to privacy. But hostels truly are of one of a kind experience and are absolutely worth a try. **That being said, many people have had awful experiences so just be sure to do your double checking.

There are a few things any first-timer should know before staying in a hostel. Here is a basic guide to staying in a hostel for the first time:

WHY STAY IN A HOSTEL?

The hostel experience is one that is completely different from any other type of accommodation. I will say again and again, hostels are the best way to meet people while traveling. This is ideal for solo travellers- as a hostel is a space where other solo travellers congregate, so you will meet like-minded people from all over the world. Hostels are definitely the most social form of accommodation. You are literally living with other travellers, sharing showers, essentially a university lifestyle on the go.

Anna and Nicky – Ayutthaya, Thailand

BENEFITS OF STAYING IN A HOSTEL:

  • It’s cheap. Obviously, hostels are much cheaper than hotels and most other forms of accommodation. This makes your travel reduce in overall fee, keep in mind sometimes you pay for what you get for. This makes hostels the perfect place for budget and/or long-term travellers. Depending on the location, a hostel bed will cost anywhere from $10-$80 a night, give or take.
  • Travel Longer. You can easily travel for longer periods of time when you stay in hostels. You know those people that just seem to be traveling constantly, and you wonder how the hell they can afford that lifestyle? Well, unless they are rolling in cash or are a travel influencer collaborating with hotels and tourism boards, they are most likely staying in a bunch of hostels (AKA MEEEEE). But, I just love hostels and its not only for singles you can bring families to there is many kinds of options in terms of ‘bed setting’.
  • You can wait until last minute to book.  I remember being in Cinque Terre, and moving onto Venice I had no clue where to stay. I decided I would use Hostelworld, as a way to find a quick overnight place. If your super last minute (not me) you can book in the morning for the afternoon. The only problem is, sometimes if you’re going to a popular city the option for ‘girls only’ may be booked quick. That being said, there will always be room.
    • NOTE: hostels in major tourist cities do sometimes book up during peak season. Try to book at least a few days in advanced if you are visiting during this time.
  • Activities. Most hostels offer activities to bring the guests together and create a sense of community. Hostels may offer free walking tours of the city, day trips to nearby areas, pub crawls, etc. Usually, these activities are either free or super cheap, so it is a great way to see the area and make friends who are also staying in the same hostel.
  • Meeting People: It is way easier to make friends in a hostel than any other type of accommodation. This is my all time favourite part! You end up meeting people who become your family for the short time your there together (see below) the photo on me and two girls who adventured around Zadar, Croatia.
Luanna & Sheelagh I met in Zadar, they biked through Croatia and we met in different cities after first meeting in the hostel in Zadar.

HOW TO CHOOSE A HOSTEL:

Most major tourist destinations will have tons of hostels to choose from. That being said, it can be overwhelming to choose which hostel to stay at. Below you will find my top tips for choosing a hostel.

  • Read the reviews. This is the first thing I do when choosing a hostel. I will usually check out the reviews on Hostel World, Google Maps, and Booking. My biggest thing when it comes to a hostel is cleanliness, security, and location. One review I look for in particular is those from Black women/ Women of colour.  If those factors got low ratings, I will avoid that hostel all together. Even, if I wasn’t Black I wouldn’t want to stay somewhere where people are treated based on their race/ethnicity.
  • Location, location, baby. Location is always one of the first things I look at when booking a hostel. I prefer to be as centrally located as possible, especially when I am traveling solo. Make sure you have a general sense of the area you’re staying in. It’s best for first timers to pick a place that is within walking distance or close to transportation.
  • What type of room do you want to stay in? Do you want a female only dorm? Bed curtains for privacy? Single beds? A private room? How many other people are you comfortable sharing your room with? Knowing what type of sleeping situation you want is a major part of choosing a hostel. I typically went with 6 Mixed-Bed or 6 all Female, depending on what my mood was at the time of booking.
  • What type of experience are you looking for?  Do you want a social party or one that is quiet? Mad Monkey hostels are known for parties, that being said I stayed in one Hostel in Pai that was super small (10 beds) and it was the best partying experience I ever got.
My make-shift, privacy curtains I typically do for hostels without the curtain.

WHERE TO BOOK A HOSTEL

  • The hostel website:  Third-party apps get a percentage, so I strongly recommend booking your hostel directly through the hostel’s website, if one exists. *Travel Tip* It is usually cheaper on the website of the hostel to book with.
  • Hostel World: Although I think it’s best to book directly through the hostel’s website, I always look at Hostel World first just to see an overview of my options. I also use this app to read reviews right away which has been very helpful for me. Hostel world is a great tool to use to compare reviews, location, and pricing among the hostels in the area. I typically used this form on my first backpacking journey.
  • Hostel Bookers: An alternative to Hostel World. Check out both websites to compare prices, and check out different hostel options.
  • Booking.com: Booking isn’t just for hotels – you can also find hostels here!
  • Airbnb: Yes, you can find hostels on Airbnb! Sometimes it may be someone’s apartment that they have converted into a small hostel. You can use my code to receive up to 75$ CAD off your first stay and $20 CAD to use towards an experience worth 75$ or more!

GETTING SLEEP IN A HOSTEL

Lol….

Well, you CAN get sleep. But, if you are a light sleeper I recommend booking a private room. OR investing in some really good head phones. Shop my Amazon store for all your back-packing needs.

Top Bunk vs Bottom

This really depends, I’ve done both. Typically, I like the bottom and when there is no curtains available I hang my towel/ the hostel towel up and create this barricade which allows me to have privacy to change/ read or journal at night.

If sleep is a priority for you, do not, I repeat, DO NOT book a party hostel. Party hostels are usually easy to point out, based on reviews, pictures (if there are a ton of pictures with giant groups of people, wearing pub crawl t-shirts, and shot gunning beers or doing shots, then yeah, odds are it is a party hostel.) A lot of party hostels will have written on their website, “If you a good night’s sleep is your priority, then this is not the hostel for you.” Etc. Here is a perfect example of a party hostel-it is pretty obvious.

Bring earplugs. These are a life saver for light sleepers.

It’s also a good idea to wear an eye mask if you are sensitive to light. Lights can commonly go off in some dorms so this keeps you sound asleep.

Friends I met in Hvar, Croatia (Pub Crawl)

MEETING PEOPLE IN A HOSTEL

Making friends is super easy in a hostel. However, you do have to put yourself out there a little bit. For all my shy/introverted readers, this may mean getting out of your shell a little. The common room in a hostel is the best place to meet fellow travelers. If there is a group of people talking, just go up to them and say “Hey what’s up, my name is _____.”. Eventually, you end up meeting friends that you can go and travel with.

Another great way to meet people in a hostel is to go on a pub crawl or event the hostel is hosting. This way you meet people who are staying in your dorm/ the hostel.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW:

  • Shower shoes are a must. You will be sharing a bathroom with a bunch of strangers. Always have a shower shoe to avoid foot fungus and other things.
  • Search reviews: For my sisters, try to search for reviews from Black women/ women of colour. This will help you gauge the environment.
  • Laundry: Almost all hostels offer laundry services or you can find a nearby place that can do it for it and some places even deliver.
  • Some hostels require a small rental fee for towels. Research this on the hostel website before you arrive, just so you won’t have any surprises.
  • Many hostels will accept cash-only payment. Make sure to have cash on you when you arrive (most will accept payment at various times)
  • Peak seasons will always be more expensive. Try avoid visiting certain places during their peak seasons (Google search)

HAVE FUN

Hostels can be the most amazing experience! Just remember to try and have the most fun while staying there.

Thank you so much for reading, don’t forget to like/ leave a comment. It means so much to me and I’ll see you in my next post.

Island hopping in Croatia, with friends.
2020

Uncategorized

VENICE

As a teacher, I am constantly meeting the learning styles of all my students and most of that stems from tuning into the multiple intelligences of students. That being said, this week’s post is a little different. I am sharing with you my ‘5 MUST SEE’S IN VENICE’. I made this video a couple of months ago in the middle of quarantine and I felt that it was only fitting to share it with my new followers on this platform. If you’re wondering why I went to one of the most Romantic places in the world, check out my blog post here on Why you Should Solo Travel!

Special shoutout to all my new followers on here!

Thank you to everyone who has recently followed/liked/commented and subscribed for email notifications. This means so much to me and I can’t wait to share all my experiences with you! Let me know in the comments below if you enjoy a mixture of videos/ short blogs.

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How Am I Surviving During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Thanks to COVID the travelling world has been halted/changed forever. I for one, am very nervous about the travelling industry and what this means for hostels/hotels. I know things wont go back to the way they were but, hopefully they will become better! These are some things I’ve been doing to keep myself sane during these unprecedented times.

Ways to Ease Your Wanderlust During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Plan your next adventure

While nobody knows how long this is going to last and how long there will be restrictions on travel, nothing stops you from having fun planning your next adventure. Perhaps order yourself a scrapbook and make a wanderlust book. Make lists of all the places and things that you would like to see, print off some pictures and place it in a journal! This will help you narrow down where you want to go!

Eat international food

Satisfy your appetite for wanderlust! If you can’t go to the destination of your dreams, bring the destination of your dreams to you! I would recommend searching for family owned businesses that specialize in their country cuisine this can really satisfy your ‘belly wanderlust’.

Sort out the practicalities

Why not get everything ready so that when you can travel again, after the covid-19 pandemic has passed, you are prepared to go straight away. Perhaps your passport needs renewing – why not see if you can do that now? 

And let’s say (because this is the truth) COVID doesn’t disappear research what other countries are doing to keep their residences safe and see if this aligns with your worries. This is a great time to research and see if the country you’re planning to go has proper safety protocols in place.

Watch Must See Video’s

This is a great time to research “MUST SEE VIDEO”. Where people post the top must sees in specific places. Have you seen my ‘5 MUST SEE’S IN VENICE?’. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Read travel blogs

That might have brought you to me.  Well, if that’s the case WELCOME and thank you so much for reading and following my blog. By reading travel blogs, you can always find new information such as, new places to visit or new destinations you would of never have considered to visit before.

During this time I have been reading a lot of travel blogs, this is the perfect way to get a hit of travel and ease your wanderlust. Stay tuned for my new series I started with ‘Photo Journaling’ places in the World.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post! Leave a comment below what you’ve been doing!

Check out my latest posts below and take a read, xoxo

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What Solo Backpacking has Taught Me

Lost in the Rice Fields in Ubud, Indonesia

I did a lot of solo backpacking in 2019 and it was my first time ever doing it. It is crazy to think, I just jumped in head first and didn’t look back. This was by far the biggest fear I had to overcome thus far in my life and honestly, I do not regret it. I do regret not doing it sooner. It took a lot of time and patience with myself to reframe my understanding and really commit to what I wanted to do.

In today’s post, I am sharing a few things that Solo Backpacking has taught me. Please keep in mind, this is specifically for Backpacking. Backpacking is a very different style of travel that not everyone is accustomed to. However, it is something that I think you should defiantly try. It really opens the doors for you to understand yourself in a different perspective. Without the influence of family or friends.

ACCEPT EMOTIONS EVEN THE BAD ONES

Not everyday will be the greatest day as a solo backpacker. But one thing I learned was that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Prior, to solo travelling I often feared sadness and showing that vulnerability because being a Black women in today’s society. You HAVE to be strong and often times being strong 24/7 can lead to a hard downfall. I learned while travelling it is totally okay to be happy and totally okay to be sad. In life, you have to take the good with the bad and allow yourself to experience different emotions to truly feel human. And if I’m being honest, bad emotions can often project you towards the right path.

If you follow my instagram: Kyramurrel, I post my awful bus chronicles (Croatia)

TO ASK QUESTIONS

This is an ego thing. I will be honest haha, prior to travelling asking questions was very difficult for me. I’d rather struggle and go through PAIN before asking a question. After, backpacking I realized it’s okay, not to know the answer. The most important thing, is to find out how you can get the answer. And if i’m being honest, in interview’s they love this shit. Being able to ask questions when “you’re not sure and seek support”, My friends, if you say this line you’re on your way to employee of the month baby. Lol, just partially joking. But in all seriousness, asking questions and seeking help is a big thing I learned while backpacking and it’s taught me so much about using the community and people to help me get by.

VALUE MATERIAL THINGS DIFFERENTLY

This is a very interesting one because you often think you don’t value material things or showing material things. However, when you step outside of your home city you learn just how much it runs a lot of lives. While back-packing I learned to value material differently for example, buying those bottles at the club and poppin champagne likes its always my birthday. It’s just not the scene for me anymore, that $250 bottle every night I go out can go towards climbing Machu Picchu. Now, Im not saying- not have fun but think of alternative ways that fun can be had that allows you to see the world because honestly, its beautiful.

TO LIVE WITHIN A MOMENT

I loved this realization and it is still an on-going thing for me because I am young and I love instagram and I love pictures. That being said, while backpacking there were a few times when I would be quick to take a photo and not just any photo, but the perfect photo. I would also record views and look through my phones lens (i know terrible right!?).

But most of us are guilty of that because it is what we’ve become accustomed to. For example, think about the last time you were in the club and either had bottles served to you or someone else. How many camera’s were recording? and who was really in the moment?

While, it is good to take photos it is also important that you live in the moment. Take one photo, and then LIVE in the MOMENT, observe it, take it all in or just look at the scenery listen to the; air, the birds, the people, and yourself and you’ll realize that there is beauty in simplicity and despite how terrible the world is, there is also beauty in it as well.

Sunsets in Croatia

I’VE RECEIVED MORE RACISM IN THE CA THAN ABROAD

Yep. You read that correctly! More than anything, racism (at least the face-to-face kind) isn’t something that a traveler can ever really be prepared for. TBH: Racism is always on my mind when travelling. But, in my years of travel (all-inclusives/short trips/back-paCking) I have only encountered 3 situations and that was in the US and than the every-so often case in Canada(where I live).

When I talk to other travellers (specifically back-packers), especially Black women, we all mostly agree that racism is more in your face in America. In almost all cases I have met nothing but respectful people who are willing to help/sell me items/hang-out with me. I sometimes get stared at thought. In most cases, it’s because Black people are not a common occurrence in the area. And yes there has been a few cases where it was “let’s take a picture” and yaknow I kindly say NEOOOOOOOOOOPE.

TO BE CONFIDENT

I learned very quick that you had to be confident in a holistic way. Confidence for yourself as well as confidence in yourself (decisions). The moment, I landed I had to make a lot of choices in every country and often times it has been easy for me to text a friend asking ‘what do you think’ and when you’re travelling you don’t have that. So i had to quickly, get on the Somewhere in the world train and just trust myself and be confident in my choices.

2019

YOU CAN BE ALONE AND NOT LONELY

If nothing else, being by yourself is a great way to learn who you are, what you love, what you don’t love and where you want to go in life. Learning who you are is a great way to build self-confidence, resilience and courage. Building that confidence in yourself is the first step to living a life you’re proud of.

I realize that such a sentiment is quite dramatic but I have found it to be true after my travels. If nothing else, it builds confidence in the smaller things. I used to be afraid to try new things totally outside my comfort-zone (i.e., doing these crazy long hikes). I am now more confident in my abilities and more willing to put myself out in the world and push myself to the limit. Travel is a big part of this.

I have already proven to myself that I can take care of myself. Why wouldn’t book bigger and better trip? I have already shown myself that I can do what I put my mind to. Why not step up at work and take on more responsibility? Take chances? Asks questions and LEARN.

A Beach in Zadar, Croatia

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post, don’t forget to leave a comment.

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My Favourite Travel Apps

In most cases, you can use a phone app to do just about anything – from booking a flight to buying a house, finding your partner, and getting WOKE. I can’t remember the last time I actually had to sign-on to a direct website or a bank’s website to actually do something since apps have replaced opening up a web browser. I mean, unless the app is just absolutely useless. Which I’ve come across a few haha.

Travel apps are amazing – from airlines, to hostels, to transportation, to storing documents it makes travelling so much easier. Especially as a backpacker, you really have to save space when traveling as a minimalist.

This post contains a list of the BEST free travel apps out there, for an even better travel experience in 2021.

I’ve listed the apps in order starting with Hostelworld.
  1. Hostelworld

This app is great for booking hostels on the go when you’re travelling place to place. It is also a good app to use if you know you’re going to one place and just want to book through here. They also show if the hostel offers any day-trips or excursions which makes it a lot easier on you.

2. Google

Google is a good app to have when travelling or backpacking. I find the safari searches better then using the one meant for my Apple products. It can also redirect you quickly to Google Doc’s which is also very important to have on your phone.

3. Skyscanner

Is a great app for finding cheap apps, you just have to be sure that you’re also looking at the ‘layovers’ at times, you can have a long layover/short layover/ or no layover. There are benefits to all of them. But, I will save that for another post.

4. Maps.Me

Is a offline mobile site that offers Maps for virtually anywhere in the world. The only thing you have to do, is download the country/city map you will be using when you have wifi and then you can use it whenever you’re ready!

5. Airbnb

This app is great for looking up alternatives to hostels/hotels and you can read reviews and see overall ratings. ** Just be mindful, that some hosts will do ANYTHING to get a good review. Therefore, look for both the good and the bad.

You can also use this app to book excursions, which me and my friend have used and I’ve used a few times and I have run into any problems yet.

If this is your first time using Airbnb to book your vacation here is a code for $45 CAD off your first booking plus you get $17 to use towards an experience booked through Airbnb as well.

6. XE Currency

This is an awesome tool for currency exchange without being bombarded with ad’s. Add the currencies of the countries you are visiting before you leave home! or when you have wifi. You will be able to put a price in and see it in your currency almost instantly.

7. Google Translate

This is probably, my favourite app I recommend you download when visiting another country. It helps support you with language barriers and allows you to read signs when you’re trying to figure out your location and how to get to a specific location.

8. Worldpackers

Is a “collaborative network for those looking for a unique travel experience. Develop skills, learn languages and meet others through cultural immersion with local hosts”. It’s an awesome way to travel and learn new skills, or simply to volunteer within countries local communities and learn the true culture outside of touristy attractions.

9. Audible

On audible you can download audiobooks for your kids or even yourself for long flight, drives, train rides, or even when you have that morning coffee alone at a cafe.

10. Your bank institution.

Typically whatever bank you’re associated with will have an app and it is very important that you monitor your spending on your trip as you can get carried away fast with all the excitement.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, I decided to give a hack which I found while travelling Europe.

11. Rick Steves Audio Europe

Okay.. Rick gives the most corny jokes on this app. But it’s TOTALLY FREE with NO AD’s and it’s honestly, the best thing I ever found. He provides FREE walking tours with maps which is great for parents as well as older kids. Included in the app is: various tours, maps, historical sites, museum you name it. Just download everything you need while you have wifi. This app got me through the Vatican City without having to pay for a tour.

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post!

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How to Start a Solo Adventure?

This was my very first inquiry, when I decided I was going to travel solo. There were so many question’s and so many thoughts in mind. Here are a few things, that quick-jumped my solo planning.

I decided I would start a series through a few posts breaking down each of these things. However, for suggestion number one, see here how to ‘cheat your vacation time’.

Here is how I started my solo adventure:

  1. I had to decide how much time I had.

Now, not everyone has the same amount of time off. But, I was graduating and I wasn’t going to start working until September so I had months. I decided two months was going to be good enough for me.

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2. Research Countries

This is really important. Especially, being a black female I had to research other Black female travellers experiences in different countries. This is a sad reality for many Black people travelling as we don’t have the privilege to just go ANYWHERE! That being said, Everywhere has racism, the question is how much of it am I willing to tolerate in order to explore a country?

I joined a few travel groups and searched a few hashtags. Overall, I found it comes down to personal experience however, here are places I found where Black/Women felt uncomfortable:

Countries where BW felt uncomfortable: (just a few)

Barcelona, Spain
Morocco
South Africa
Southern, Ireland
Naples, Italy
Cambodia
Parts of Vietnam

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With that information (which there was many more places) and people are very willing to share their experience, I decided to search for the SAFEST countries to visit. Here’s what I found:

Portugal
Denmark
Thailand
Veitnam
Slovenia
Indonesia

I know you’re probably reading this list like, huuuh?! But, this is what I mean- research is the biggest part of starting your back-packing journey because honestly, you can spend hours watching Videos of peoples experiences or blog posts about it and learn a lot so while, it may take you away. In the end it’s really helpful, and I highly recommend it.

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3. Budget

This is BIG, I can’t emphasize this enough. Budgeting is what will help you make this a smooth process. I recommend if you’re from Canada. SEARCH OUR DOLLAR CONVERSION. GOLLY, this was depressing! our dollar doesn’t go far in some places. That being said, I was broke graduating from my undergrad but, I had this trip in mind for over a year so I’ve been saving. **Don’t worry I’ll post how I budgeted for a year for this trip.

Budgeting for a solo adventure, is much like doing a monthly budget if you ever done one. You input your daily costs (activities, hostels, food) and you calculate how much you’ll be spending daily and then you go from there. Keep in mind, this also takes research to see how much it costs daily as a back packer or solo traveller. There is a lot of information out there, and I’ll share how to find the best info.

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4. Growth Mindset

I learned this concept in my B.Ed and while we mainly use it for our students, I think its important to use it for other areas in our lives. It basically means, being open to learning and growing, and with that comes the possibility to reframe your previous understandings.

Going into solo travelling I had to get rid of certain thoughts and messages being sent when I shared my news:

“WHAT?!: You can’t go alone you’re a female”
“Maybe, you should just wait until your friends can go”
“I don’t think it’s safe”
“You wont like [insert country]”
“Go with a boyfriend, and enjoy life together”

The list goes on.. Don’t let it discourage you, continue your plan to travel and to make memories that can last a lifetime. I once had a cousin who told me, in life to “Make Memories to Last a lifetime” and if there’s anything I want my travel journey to do, is to inspire you to do, just that.

Source: Drew Doodles (2020)


Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post

Uncategorized

OK, I CAN’T TRAVEL I WORK FULL-TIME OK? Think Again.

I travelled as a full-time student to: Thailand, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

I also travelled as a full-time Masters student and full-time worker to Europe. It is, possible if you just try.

I try to make travelling a priority in my life because it makes me happy. I also know a lot of people who wish to travel however, they’re just not sure how to integrate it with their full-time job. In today’s post, I’m giving you 10 Simple ways to travel with your full-time job or as a student. Here we go:


1. CREATE A MONTHLY BUDGET

If you’ve never created a monthly budget, I highly recommend you start one now. This can help with overall better financial literacy skills as well as preparing you to save for a future trip. By creating a monthly budget you can see exactly where your money is going and how fast. This can help with looking at vacations and costs to save.

2. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET

Studies show that employees are typically happier when they take vacations (CLEARLY!!) and mental breaks. Employee’s are more likely to have a positive work-life balance when they take time off. When they return to work, after the first day back (we all know this feeling) have increased productivity and lessens early work burn-out.

If travel is something that you really want to do. You’ve got to start prioritizing it and become strategic about your time-off. Establish a plan and follow through with it, bank your vacation days and start saving NOW. I recommend creating a Savings account that charges you every time you withdraw money. This will help keep you on track.

Also, trips do not have to be 10 days in order to have the ‘back-packing experience’. They also do not have to be in another continent to enjoy as well.

3. USE THE WEEKENDS !!

Honestly, this is the !!golden rule!! and never forget it. I learned through experience it is best to use the weekends to extend your vacation and SAVE on your vacation time. Leave on a Thursday or a Friday and Save yourself the extra days.

Here’s an example: traveling Monday through Friday = 5 vacations days. VERSE Thursday through Tuesday = 3 vacation days.

Similarly, try traveling Friday through the next Sunday – this would give you 10 vacation days opposed to 5 using the same time off as traveling Monday through Friday, because you included the weekend before and after.

4. USE THE HOLIDAYS

I know, it can be hard to leave family behind for the holidays. That being said, for the past few years, I’ve missed a few however, I always made sure to face-time/call and be involved in the festivities. I’ve also celebrated before I left with people such as my grandma.

Using Holidays can also help you save on time off. I recommend looking at your work calendar and seeing which holidays you can piggy-back on. It’s basically a FREE- DAY.

5. FLY CLOSER TO HOME

You do not have to take 13 hour flights until you’ve banked enough days or gathered enough seniority to get whatever days off. And that’s totally okay! There are numerous closer destinations for you to visit and you can knock them off your bucket list first. Air-time can take away at least 2 days for a trip and jet-leg can honestly be a PAIN.

Here are a few places you can pick over a 22 hour flight to Taiwan: (Assuming you are in Canada/USA)

i.e: Costa Rica, Hondura’s, and Curacaco.

6. WORK FROM HOME

COVID-19 YA’LL. Has defiantly changed the work game moving forward. With many jobs moving to online work. I suggest you take this opportunity when borders open up to work in a new city. It’s 2020, you should also have no problem finding wifi. I remember having to look for wifi all over Croatia, because I had big deadlines to finish my assignments. (or just use data is all else truly fails).  

If working in a new city isn’t possible, you can always search hidden gems around your city. The KEY to finding these is searching for ‘Backpackers Edition’. But, I’ll come out with a post soon for that.

7. TRAVEL DURING LONG WEEKENDS

Travel during long weekends, and see attractions close to home (See #4 again). I’ve been to such beautiful countries and seen some amazing things. However, there is so much of Canada I’ve yet to see and even hidden gems within the GTA.

I also recommend banking not only on holidays, but also cashing in on those random long weekends we have. I know it can seem like “UGHHH i just want to relax”. But I am all bout maximizing your ability to travel while working a full-time job or as a student.

8. REMEMBER THAT BENEFITS PACKAGE?

Remember the company welcome package you first received when you were hired at your job? Most people don’t. The pages are overwhelming with information, most of which you think ‘mehh I’ll never use’ and often times the amount of jargon inside are hardly memorable and you’re just happy you have a job and one that can pay your bills/debt/netflix account/ You name it.

That’s how I felt, at least.

It may take a while to realize this job you need a vacation from may actually be able to help you take one… and it is all mentioned in your welcome package or benefits package that they provided during your orientation.

Many jobs offer a health and wellness program that encourages you to take ‘mental health leave’ or ‘health days’ or ‘compressed work days’ just to rejuvenate which is separate from your vacation days. So take a look through your package to see if this applies to you. Also, check to see if your employer offers you the opportunity to do a volunteering trip as professional development. This can also help you travel without worrying that you have a full-time job.

9. START EARLY

An early morning start will help you beat large crowds, and it literally doubles the time off that you do have in a given place. In some countries waking up earlier will also enable you to beat the HOT HEAT. I had to do this a LOT in Thailand because by 10am, the sun was unbearable. I am pretty sure i lost 15lbs just by standing in the sun for 5 minutes haha. If you are on vacation and you wake up at 7 or 8 am instead of 11 am or 12 pm, you’ve added 4-5 hours of daylight back into to your day (YIPPIE!)

10. TRAVEL SOLO!!

If you wait for friends to finally hop on board. You’ll never get to go or it will end up taking forever.

To be honest, we always think we have time and the saddest truth of life, is that we don’t. I’m not saying dash away your friends, but don’t wait for them to decide. JUST DO IT! You’ll end up loving yourself for it afterwards. It’s also difficult to align budgets and time off, so when you plan for just yourself it relieves a lot of stress.

BONOUS TIP***

YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO TRAVEL SOLO!

I’ve met people across all age groups and I promise you, You’re never to old to Solo Travel or go Backpacking !

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post.