Taking part in the #Adventurechat Twitter conversation on Mondays is like being slingshot straight into the week with a bang. Think immediate comraderie with essential strangers spread worldwide with one thing in common: their love for travel and adventure, and an infectious enthusiasm for wanting to share stories from the road (ok, that's two things). So meet @monicagoesshow, the fun, friendly and vivacious host of the chat posing all the questions and helping us answer them too, with her wealth of knowledge and experience from travelling the world. (See her website here.)
@monicagoesshow kicked off the chat with an easy one:
What is the longest trip you've ever taken?
@muddleandjoy (what a cool Twitter handle :D) started off with: "Went on a 2-week road trip through Colorado with my family. Easily my all-time favorite vacation!"
Road trip with family - impressive patience I say!
@IBBTravel saw either a whole lot or nothing at all (just kidding) in 100 days: "Longest was 3.5 months of backpacking through Europe. It was a whirlwind trip - hit 22 countries!"
That's an incredible journey to take anyway.
Others added images and way more time onto their answers, showcasing some serious travel experts:
Moving on from everyone's nostalgia from their fabulous trips (yes, we did ask a bunch of questions about the who/what/where/when/how [no need to ask why in this crowd] and all the trips sounded surreal), we were then asked:
How do you keep up with everything back home when you're traveling?
It sounds like everyone makes the effort to check back in using various methods:
@always5star: "With my @ASUS computer, #Iphone, Internet & @facebook keeps me in touch"
@AFKTravel: "WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, Viber and Email."
@MomsWanderlust: "My phone is my lifeline....when I have wifi. But I truly try and unplug as much as possible so I can soak in the moments"
And @monicagoesshow remembers what it was like without all the latest amenities: "When I backpacked, no internet or phone (it was awhile ago) now it’s lots of phone time and yet I never feel caught up"
With such developments as the EU reducing data roaming charges (and abolishing them completely in 2017), and Three's incredible 'Feel At Home' service now available in almost 20 countries, it's getting easier and easier to maintain contact wherever you are. To truly escape, you're really just going to have to turn off that phone!
The next question expanded on the previous topic:
How do you stay connected on social media when you're on the go? Or don't you?
While some of us are die-hard social media junkies, others are happy to maintain a modicum of contact in order to keep those at home happy (and/or jealous):
@muddleandjoy: "Maybe a few instagram pictures when I have service, but I mostly just ignore the outside world."
I like that idea: Showing what an incredible time you're having but on your own time and without letting it interrupt the trip.
@TravelatWill had some great advice for those Canadians travelling and trying to keep in touch: "We almost always look to be connected while travelling!" and provided a helpful link to explain how they manage it, and included a tip for travel bloggers too: "Blog in draft offline. Instagram and Facebook pics as we go. Publish blogs when home and pics all edited."
An interesting thing happened with @monicagoesshow's answer which started with a mention of a popular social sharing app: "I try to post once a day on instagram and use hoot suite for twitter. and airplane wifi is great"
When @hootsuite jumped on this and replied: "We're happy to be part of your social life. Sounds like you'd be a good fit for our #IWorkFromHere contest!" and "For some context, here is the contest page 😊ow.ly/HDOw300YpBk. Win 2 flights to anywhere in the world!" [Update: Contest now over, sorry!]
Now! What more can you ask out of a Twitter chat than the chance to win that incredible prize!? Entries open until July 1st, 2016! [Now over :( ]
@BackpackBritts said: "We usually use a Nexus 7 tablet & a cell that we load a SIM into. Looking into laptop for travel writing"
Maybe this article on 2016's best travel laptops will help you decide. I personally use Google's Chromebook which I find lightweight, superfast (2 second startup and shutdown), works seamlessly since it's connected to all my Google accounts, and it's really cheap to boot. It's designed to be used while connected to the internet but with an offline feature, works great for on the go writing.
How do you stay connected when there's no wifi? Do you even care?
@Bigfatheadz keeps others in mind: "Nah, I'll get over it. But we make sure to post on FB that we'll likely be out of touch to stop the worrying"
While @Villagemonde took it a little farther: "We do care...but it's also nice to be immersed in your travel and the community you visit. Live like a local!"
And @IBBTravel had a great idea that many got on board with: "If I'm in a country for an extended period of time, I get a local SIM card for data!"
@AFKTravel agreed: "Mobile data has been a lifesaver for me on many occasions - its the easiest way to connect especially in Africa"
So picking up a local phone provider's SIM is a handy option when landing in a country you expect to be for a while. All airports sell local SIMs for basically the same price you'd get them in a shop so get one as soon as you land, ideally with a bit of credit included, and you'll be connected immediately! Handy if your location has Uber or linked to CityMapper so you can find your way in private or public transport.
Let's talk packing. How long of a trip do you need to be on to unpack your bags? Do you?
A lot of varied answers here. Some heathens don't even bother unpacking. Some civilised souls unpack the minute they arrive. I'm not biased.
@always5star: "I don't completely unpack my luggage. I just hang clothes to avoid wrinkles"
@muddleandjoy: "Unpack? You mean a pile on the floor, right? #suitcaselife #neverunpack"
@monicagoesshow: "I get stressed out living out of a suitcase after 3 or 4 days. I try to unpack when I can"
(Sing it, sister!)
@BackpackBritts: "Our backpacks make it easy to live out of them. Both our's unzip whole length. Packing cubes save lives!"
(Ok, I'll forgive you this one, that totally makes sense.)
@thewannabegypsy: "I only unpack if it will be a week or more, otherwise we just live out of the suitcase!"
Am I the only one who unpacks as soon as I get to a room and if there are not enough drawers or hangers, I go slightly crazy finding nooks and crannies for my things!?
I think @MomsWanderlust is with me, at least to maintain her own sanity :) : "Oh yes! Living out of suitcases is AWESOME for a month with a hubby and 2 kids. Said no. mom. ever."
Carry on only? Or do you just bite the bullet to take what you need? Carry on peeps: Tips?
I'm firmly with @monicagoesshow when she says: "I wish I could just do carryon but it never seems to work! Shoes, makeup, hair stuff, i’m doomed"
I've tried carry-on only but my liquid containers are always over 100ml and the bag allowance is really small! Especially taking into account travelling with a suit bag that counts as hand luggage so my one small carry-on has to hold enough for two! Never gonna happen.
@TravelatWill has the right idea: "Carry on rolling bag for electronics & emergency stuff. Checked bag - stuff split with hubbies bags."
Others are more flexible, lucky devils:
@BackpackBritts: "40L Backpacks! Don't waste time waiting at baggage claim! We're already enjoying our 1st beer!"
That's an incentive if I ever heard one.
@muddleandjoy: "Carry on only - I hate losing luggage! Critical for standby flying. Tip: Buy toiletries on the go"
Good tip, I'll use that one when forced to carry only...fees for checking luggage on short haul flights are going up and up!
@kmsmithtweets: "Prefer carry-on only if possible. A friend spent a week in Ireland w/only 2 outfits. Hand-washed daily."
This I just don't understand. And in Ireland you're no doubt going to be caught in a flash rainstorm or unexpected heatwave, in any season - you just can't plan for that in two outfits!
Flights get delayed, busses get missed, hotels and campgrounds fill up. How do you keep calm?
I'd like to hear experienced travellers' advice here - I panicked when I found out, at the airport no less, that my work had booked a flight for me a day late. I shouldn't have worried; I was in Madrid and would happily have stayed another day, but the whole shock of it, and the fact I was on my own and unable to get in touch with the right people, just spun me. Thanks to American Express and their incredible customer service, I was on the next flight out of there back to rainy London and work on time, yay!
These expert travellers have been there and done that - delays and problems don't faze them any more. Here are some cool cucumber tips for managing with that kind of situation:
@BenOnAdventures: "just try to have a back up plan. Use delayed flight time to eat, get photos, send snap chats, tweets, etc."
@monicagoesshow: "I find the more I travel the calmer I get with mishaps. I try to remember they’ll make great stories"
@AFKTravel: "I remind myself that there's another bus, hotel & flight that can be booked. It's all part of the adventure"
@BackpackBritts: "The backpacks really help with this too! You have everything you need on you. Just figure out a new plan!"
@bigfatheadz: "I don't get stressed as long as we get there in the end. Though communication is the soother"
Agreed. Taking a few deep breaths and relaxing into finding an alternative solution will serve you much better than panicking like me. Hopefully you've left yourself plenty of time for these mishaps to occur and be rectified before your journey is delayed much further.
How do you stay healthy on the go? Or do you?
Interesting question in this day and age of the super health conscious individual. Are we willing to forego our hard-earned health and fitness from healthy eating, daily workouts and yoga routines just because we're away from home? Why not incorporate that into the structure of our lives so that when away, it's just as easy to do as when at home. I must admit though, I do need help with the motivation side of things!
The chat participants had some sound advice for us all:
@TravelatWill: "We walk a lot. Rent bikes if it is likeable. Try to not over-indulge too much."
@AFKTravel: "I do yoga or go for a run every day. I do however struggle to eat healthy and being vegetarian mean eating loads of pizza"
Nothing wrong with that! ;)
@Snorkelstosnow: "Walking to explore the area. Sometimes hotel gym. Also scuba for summer break & skiing in winter!"
Of course we know what's important on a trip, i.e. the new food and drink experiences we have to take part in:
@BackpackBritts: "We walk EVERYWHERE. We rarely take a bus or taxi. We have to make room for all the incredible food/drink!"
@muddleandjoy: "Not always the best at this...hard to say no to indulgences when you're on vacation!"
@monicagoesshow: "something I’m struggling with right now! I try to make or pack at least two meals of the day"
This is definitely the option I go with when long term in a location. I'm all for picking up fresh ingredients at a local market and cooking at home.
What's one daily practice you do that you take with you on the go?
Answers varied from the practical:
@always5star: "I check my @TripIt itinerary to make sure that I stay organized. Its amazing!"
to the romantic:
@BackpackBritts: "Weekly, we do a wine and a dessert every Sunday together. Even when traveling together or separately!"
to the health concious:
@ankit1989: "Practising Yoga"
@AFKTravel: "Meditate in the morning and have a good breakfast"
All great practices we should all keep in our daily/weekly repertoire.
Last question and chance for everyone to impart some of their knowledge:
Top 3 on the go tips!
@BenOnAdventures: "1. Be smart 2. Study up on the location 3. Pack light."
@AFKTravel: "Pack lightly, bring along snacks and stay organized"
@TravelatWill: "Don’t over plan itinerary, walk for spots off the beaten path & take time out from devices occasionally."
@bigfatheadz: "Water (container) , Wet wipes and your destination address not just on your smartphone"
All tips I am literally going to use next trip I take - remember guys, these are the experts and know best :-)
And we'll end on a great sentiment from @always5star:
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