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15 Reasons Why Muggles Love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

15 Reasons Why Muggles Love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Growing up, I could not put the books down and I waited with anticipation for all the movies. Actually, I am a major geek when it comes to both, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

This fact made it impossible to say no when Amanda from A Dangerous Business, asked if I would be interested in a spending a weekend at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Orlando to cover the Harry Potter Celebration.

Diagon Alley

The wizarding world of Harry Potter

Universal Studios spared no expense when recreating one of the most popular locations from Harry Potter. Strolling on the cobblestone of Diagon Alley transports you into the magical world of Harry Potter.

There are shops to go into, butter beers to drink, and even the Leaky Cauldron to dine in. In the distance, you can see a tormented fire-breathing dragon looming on top of Gringotts Bank.

One of the coolest things about the wands is that they are interactive with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter………but more on that later.

Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes

Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes Universal Stuidos

As you enter Diagon Alley, Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes greets you on the right-hand side.

This is Fred and George’s joke shop, and one Harry Potter Shop you have to go into. Walking into the vibrant atmosphere of the shop, they are practical jokes lining the walls including a Cycling Dolores Umbridge and Extendable Ears.

Ollivanders

Olivanders Wand Shop

Both muggles and aspiring wizards rush to Ollivanders Wand Shop. Walls of wands are overflowing from all sides.

They have wands from popular wizards and witches for sale. A unique twist is finding a wand that fits your personality.

Hanging on the walls are charts describing the personality traits that correspond to different types of wands not seen in the movies.

Interactive Wands

Ready to have your mind blown? The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is so magical, it has places you can cast spells. No joke!

Throughout both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, are little gold emblems on the ground giving directions on how to cast a spell.

Wave the wand and magic happens before your eyes! A few spells include making it rain, lighting chandlers, and shooting water out of a fountain.

Street Performances

The wizarding world of Harry Potter

I wish I would have caught more than just a few fleeting glimpses of the performances.

In Diagon Alley, they were telling the story of the Deathly Hollows with puppets that resemble the cartoonish style from the movie. In Hogsmeade, they also had the Hogwarts Frog Choir putting on a show.

Exchange Money for Galleons

Universal Studios exchanging money for Galleons

A nice touch is that you can exchange money for galleons. However, they’re not the coin galleons from the movies, but rather galleons notes.

Before walking in, I imagined myself walking out of the money exchange with a bag full of galleons ready to spend them in Diagon Alley. Instead, I walked out slightly disappointed with a handful of bills that resemble Monopoly money.

The money is accepted all throughout the park, and while it is not as cool as I thought, it was still nice little touch for a muggle like me to enjoy.

Knockturn Alley

A small offshoot from Diagon Alley is Knockturn Alley, where the evil wizards and witches hang out. Nocturne Alley also lives up to its name and is completely pitch black.

You can also visit infamous Borgin and Burkes to see the vanishing cabinet.

Honeydukes

Eat a chocolate frog, try a pooping Fizzling Whizbee, and test your bravery by eating a handful of Every Flavour Jelly Beans.

Honeydukes candy shop has treats for young wizards and older muggles that will satisfy every sweet tooth, and in some cases, like when I got an earwax flavored jelly bean, distort your face.

Honeydukes was my favorite Wizarding World of Harry Potter Gift Shop.

Hogwarts Castle

hogwarts castle Harry Potter Universal Studios

Hogwarts is both a ride and an attraction in Universal Islands of Adventure.

As I am discussing the rides later on, we will just focus on the attraction part of the castle which takes place as you are waiting in line.

Hogwarts is very entertaining. As you walk through, the pictures on the wall talk.

In one room, there is a light snowfall from a misplaced spell. Harry, Ron, and Hermione use the cloak of invisibility to sneak onto the balcony and talk to you.

It is the only time in my life where I have disappointed because the line was moving too fast.

Moaning Myrtle

In the Harry Potter Universe, Moaning Myrtle is a ghost that hangs around the bathrooms bothering people.

The bathrooms in Hogsmeade are no different. As you use the bathroom, Moaning Myrtle nags you endlessly.

It is not a massive part of the park, but just shows you how much detail Universal Studios put into making this experience memorable for Harry Potter fans.

Rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express at Universal Studios - The wizarding world of Harry Potter

This isn’t so much a ride as an experience. It also is the easiest go between Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

As a bonus, it is also the quickest way to get from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure. The ride is simple and entertaining.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts

This was my favorite ride in the park. Rides nowadays are much cooler than when I was a kid.

In 3D, you rush through the Gringotts vaults; feel the heat of a dragon as he fights to free himself, and rush through the vaults with Voldemort hot on your tail.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

This is another insanely immersive ride. You are taken on a magical journey flying around Hogwarts while being chased by a dragon.

Both the Hogwarts castle ride and the Gringotts ride are a mixture of a roller coaster and an interactive experience.

This was Amanda’s favorite ride at Harry Potter World!

Flight of the Hippogriff

This is a rollar coaster right outside of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This is a rollar coaster meant for smaller kids.

Dragon Challenge

A fast and entertaining roller coaster for kids and adults.

Note: Entering the roller coaster also lets you see Hagrid’s house which you can’t enter, but view from the outside.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a fantastic experience for fans of the series, American Backpackers, and families on vacation in Florida. Universal Studios does a fantastic job of magically transporting you into the both Hogwarts and Hosmeade.

This was just a few things I loved about Harry Potter World Orlando. Now I’ll just have to wait till the Harry Potter Wizarding World California opens up!

What is the first thing you would do at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

10 Travel Jobs That Give You the Freedom to Travel The World

10 Travel Jobs That Give You the Freedom to Travel The World

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Travel Jobs – Traveling the world while earning money is a dream for many people, but the thought of actually making your dream travel job a reality can be discouraging. However, if you are willing to do a little research and work hard, you can build not only a job but a career and truly make a living while traveling the world.

There are many travelling jobs for people who have an unquenchable wanderlust, and lets face it, we all want to get paid to travel. I’ve done a some of research for you, so let me try to break this down into bits and show you a few ways to make money while traveling.

10 Best Travel Jobs that Pay While Your Traveling the World.

Travel Blogging

Have you noticed the increase of travel blogs while surfing the net?  With so many people entering the travel blog business, the market has quickly become over saturated.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love being a travel blogger, but it is work and I must warn you, it is much harder than most people initially realize. Travel Blogging takes a lot of imagination, organization, research, patience, negotiation, and an insane amount of time.

Everyday you are fighting to stay ahead of the game and all with the hope of just a little growth and recognition. Oh, did I mention bull-dog determination? When starting out, you do all this for little to no pay. Yes, you need determination.

One of the things I like best about travel blogging is that I work for myself. I make my own schedule, find my own freelance work, and report to no one.

That being said, I work a lot more than 40 hours a week, therefore I must love what I do.

In truth, I’m obsessed. A few years ago, I told people that traveling was my obsession, but over time that has changed to including blogging and sharing my travel adventures like visiting Hobbiton or running with the bulls.

Overall, very few people are lucky enough to make a sizable income by writing while traveling. Please understand, I’m not trying to discourage anyone from starting their own travel blog. I’m simply telling you how it is. Be prepared; it takes blood, sweat, and tears. But luckily there are some great resources on how to start a travel blog.

I love blogging and I think it is the best of all the other travel jobs listed here, but it is tough.

Always remember, “good bloggers are busy bloggers”.

Pros of Travel Blogging

Easy to find work with companies

Travel Deals

Set you own Hours

Build something for yourself

Con’s of Travel Blogging

Hard work

Long hours

Little to no pay for at least the first six months

Over saturated market

Online Freelance Work

I love freelancing because I can do it anywhere. Are you great at writing? Don’t mind deadlines? Know how to research? And looking for a job that permits you to travel the world without being stuck in an office? Then freelance work is the job for you.

Freelancing online doesn’t pay the best but it is a steady source of income for a travelling job. Popular freelance jobs include data encoding, article writing, researching, blog article writing, and running websites. Using companies like Odesk and Freelancer will provide paid work that can you do almost anywhere in the world.

This travel job lets you make money while travelling across the world.

However, you must remember you are bidding on these jobs and at times you are bidding low just to win steady contracts for your future. Basically, you work hard, show your stuff, and then ask for a raise. Employers pay for these jobs via paypal or direct deposit into a bank account.

Pros of Freelance Work

-Basically all you need is a laptop and internet connection.

Can obtain and full-time travelling job from anywhere in the world.

-Work at your own pace.

Cons of Freelance Work

Competitive Field.

Pay isn’t great at the start.

Wesbites like Odesk take a commission from the people who hire you which means your rate is lower.

Social Media Management

Social Media is only getting bigger and being skilled in social media management can lead to some high paying jobs. Social networking is crucial to both small time businesses and major 500 companies. Many companies look for people that know what they are doing, think outside of the box, and have the motivation to work hard.

Skilled social media managers know what content gets shared, how to read analytics, and how to mange mulit-social media accounts. A

ll this can be done online, and the pay is decent and only gets better.

Pros of social media manegment

High paying

All you need is a laptop and internet connection

-Good job market if you know what you are doing

Cons of Social Media Manegment

Competitive Specialized skills needed

May need to stay in the same area for extended amount of time.

Café/Restaurant Work

Travelling Job

Of course, cafes and restaurants are located all over the world and many long term travelers work in them.

Why?

Because it is fast pay, good pay, and just temporary enough for traveling. Plus, you learn a lot about a country and its people while working in the restaurant business.

A lot of cafés like hiring foreign help under the table, but you can find legitimate jobs as well.

If you are in the same area for an extended amount of time and looking for some extra cash, it is worth your time to visit the local eateries to see if you can get a few weeks work.

Pros of Service industry

Often tax free

Experience can get you a job anywhere.

-High demand for foreigners.

-Moderate pay

Cons of Service industry.

Have to stay in the same areas or at least a month or so.

Hard work Long hours

Risk of working under the table

Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is a modified online store that does away with inventory problems.

Basically, you sell products online, and are the middle man between the customer and retailer.

Pros of Drop Shipping

Can be done by a laptop with internet connections.

You can do anywhere you have an internet connection.

Cons of Drop Shipping

It is a lot of work in the beginning but once you get it running, it takes a lot less time.

Scuba Diving Instructor/Surf Instructor

Scuba Dive Jobs that allow travel

Being a scuba diver instructor, becoming a dive master, surf instructor is one travel jobs that is a passion in itself. Many countries all have scuba diving adventures for tourists. Australia, United States, Brazil, and Thailand are just a few of the major scuba diving havens.

Getting your scuba diving instructor’s license can open doors all over the world for many full time travelers to live and work. However, most companies will only hire you if you commit to at least one or two seasons.

Pros of being a dive instructor

Scuba dive for a living.

Do it almost anywhere legally.

-Live in beautiful, exotic areas.

Cons of being a dive instructor.

Mid range pay based on location

– Commitment for at least one season

-Long hours ( But let’s be honest, you’re scuba diving)

Cruise ship/yacht crew

Cruise Ship- how to make money traveling

Having your scuba diving instructor’s license makes it easier to get a job as a forgiener, however, if you have experience as a stewardesses, waiter, or deckhand, you have even a greater chance of getting a job. Cruise ships, as well as the newest Super-yachts, need large crews to ensure that their long lists of daily tasks are completed.  This is one travel jobs that almost anyone can do.

This jobs truly allows you to travel the world. However, there is a catch. You only get to see the world in between your shifts. Nomadic Matt has a great article talking to Wandering Earl on this subject.

Pros of working on a yacht

Pretty good money – Cruise Ship Jobs pay average though.

Travel to some beautiful, exotic places.

Since you are not spending $ on hotels, airfares, etc., you save money while seeing parts of the world.

Relatively easy to get a job.

Cons of working on a yacht

Long hours Not free to explore all the areas you might want to.

-Limited time spent doing your own thing.

Must commit for certain amount of time.

Working on a cruise ship has almost all the same pros and cons however, a cruise ship isn’t the highest paying job in the world.

Salaries average between $600-$1000 per month.

Travel Photographer

Travel photographer

A travel photographer gets to see the world while taking pictures of countries, culture, people and beautiful scenery. Some photographers work as freelancers while others are attached to a magazine, newspaper, or social media company.

However, being a travel photographer means you have to make a name for yourself. Therefore, the pay isn’t great until you do.

Pros of travel photography

-Work for yourself.

-Travel the world while working in a field you are passionate about.

-Takes you to exotic places and off the beaten path.

-Many companies are eagar to work with Photographers

Cons of travel photography

-Career usually starts at a slow pace.

-Freelancing means finding your own work.

-Camera equipment is expensive.

-Everyone is a photographer these days so you need to really know your craft to stand out in this highly competitive field.

Teach English Abroad

English happens to be the most spoken language in the world and being a native speaker already gives you an unique advantage.

Non-English speaking countries pay well to have a native speaker teach them the nuances of the English language. Depending on your contract, the pay can be very well.

Plus, you normally receive free accommodations and an allowance for food. This is a traveling job that allows you to travel to just one area of interest. Learn more about travelling with a TEFL here. 

Pros of teaching English Abroad

Allows complete immersion in the culture

Depending on the country, the pay is very good

-Save money while living in and exploring a country in depth.

Cons of Teaching English Abroad

-Must commit to stay in the same place for a year.

-40+ hours a week

-Waking up super early

Travel Nurse

The short supply of nurses in almost all areas of the world, make you not only desired but highly sought out. A walk in job can be had in many hospitals with many giving a sign-on bonus. However, one must keep in mind that this type of job will tie you down for an extended period of time.

If you want to only spend a couple of weeks in the country, private practice might be a better choice. Many travel nurses basically tour the world while getting unique experience and great pay.

Pros of being a travel nurse

Nurses are in high demand almost every where in the world.

-Nurses are paid well while traveling

-Nurses can move to different countries relatively easy.

Cons of Being a Travel Nurse.

It is a highly specialized field; at least a bachelor’s degree is required.

-Nurses might be asked to commit to stay in the same place for at least a year.

These are just a few of the many travelling jobs that allow individuals to explore the world while making some cash. Some restrict your freedom, some pay little at first, and some are highly competitive.

The truth is all of these travel jobs are…..hard work.

These are just a few of any number of travel jobs. If I have learned on things about working online it is that if you are determined to make money on the road you will find a way.

You just need to find the travelling job that is right for you, the one that meets your needs, and furthers your goal of finding a high paying jobs that travel.

Hobbiton – Traveling  through the Shire in New Zealand

Hobbiton – Traveling through the Shire in New Zealand

My all-time favorite travel movie is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. These movies spoke to my wandering soul long before I even knew I was a traveler.

Therefore, you are probably not surprised to hear that visiting the emerald fields and rolling hills of Hobbit shire in New Zealand had been on my bucket list since I first started traveling the world.

Last summer, I finally visited the well-known shire and felt a sense of joy and accomplishment as I crossed it off my list. It was such a good experience that I would love to take each and every one of you on a personal tour.

While I might not be able to make that happen,I invite you to come, join me for a few brief moments on a virtual journey through Hobbiton.

We enter Hobbiton along a winding stone path that slopes through gently rolling hills. As fans of the movie, we quickly recognize it as the place where Bilbo declares, “I’m going on an adventure!” Looking to our left, we notice a golden hobbit house built into a tiny knoll.

The Shire New Zealand

The overgrown grass slightly hangs over the round door. A hobbit-sized rocking chair half covered with a comfy blanket sits on the front porch selling the illusion that a hobbit just recently scurried inside to munch down his second breakfast.

Hobbiot Hole New Zealand

Venturing further up the path through the hills, we pass several other hobbit holes, each one having its unique shape, size, and personality. Every hobbit hole has a rustic, live-in feel about it. Little hobbit sized outfits hang blowing in the wind on the clotheslines.

Hobbiton New Zealand

Tiny wheel barrels full of fruits and vegetables sit near neatly kept gardens and small buckets lay at the edge of the pond.

Picture of Hobbiton

Your imagination takes over. It is easy to get lost in this world. In fact, we have to resist the urge to open every hobbit hole door. Most are locked. However, we are lucky and find a few doors that have been left a jarred. Of course, this means we can’t help but sneak inside to get a few photos.

I love the one of you peeking out one of the front doors. It almost looks like you belong there.

As we continue our climb towards Bag End, we stop for a few moments to take in the wonderful view of the shire. We peer out over the horizon and see distance smoke bellowing out of the chimmy of the Green Dragon.

There is a special feeling in the air, almost like visiting an old, close friend. We continue on.

As we near our destination, we recognize the gate guarding the entrance to Bag End, Bilbo’s home!

A sign nailed to the gate reads, “No Admittance Expection Party Business”.

We smile at each other as we recognize it from The Fellowship Of The Ring.

We look up to see the familiar beautifully crafted tree towering above us. As we push the gate open and make our way through the grounds, we find it cozy and inviting. I almost expect Bilbo to walk around the corner and warmly greet us.

Bag End New Zealand

Make sure you check the mailbox at Bag End check the mail box.

Bag End

On my previous tour, there was a letter stuffed inside which read,

“ Dear Visitor, Cool that you are looking in the mailbox! I did the same but there wasn’t a letter. So now I am writing this one! I love Lord of the Rings! I hope you have a good day. Cheers, Marit ( The Netherlands)”

Bag End gives an awesome view of the shire and we can’t help but feel the magic as we take in the Party Tree, the surrounding hobbit holes, and the Green Dragon.

We make our way back down the hill and into the green field where Bilbo celebrated his 111th birthday.

The Party Tree is enormous and we stop, relive the memory, and relax in the shadow of the it. As we peer up the hill, we notice what many believe is the best view of Bag End.

Isn’t the shire stunning?

Hobbiton

Tucked away in a cluster of a few other hobbit holes, we notice and appreciate one in particular. It is arrayed with colorful flowers lining the door. This is the house of Samwise Gamgee, the Brave. Our time in the shire is almost through but not before we head across the bridge and into the Green Dragon.

Green Dragon in the shire

It is just like what we expect a hobbit pub to be and as we push the hardwood door open, we are greeted with a free pint (yes, it comes in pints) and a smoky smell that’s very fitting to the atmosphere.

We sink into the deep leather chairs that are nestled in the corner by a crackling fire and wait for our order of hobbit pies….errrr I mean hobbit themed pies, not pies with actual hobbits in them.

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Personally, I would have loved to stay there all evening, drinking pints, smoking a pipe, and playing checkers with hobbits but everything in this world must come to an end, so we finish our meal, swallow our last swig, and meander on down the stone lane back to reality.

Inside the green dragon in Hobbiton

The whole time you have a guide, and in reality, it’s not me.

You have no choice but to do a guided tour and you learn many facts about Hobbiton as well as the Lord of the Rings films. Being a Lord of the Rings nerd, I knew some of these facts but, I was surprised by how much I didn’t know.

The guide shared many things about middle-earth that a person would only know if they were part of the film or Hobbiton crew.

What is the cost of visiting Hobbiton?

Photo of the shire

Hobbiton isn’t the cheapest place in the world to visit. The easiest way to get to Hobbiton is from the town of Matamata.

From Matamata, you can catch a one-hour bus.

The ticket fee includes the bus trip, entrance into Hobbiton, a two hour guided tour through the shire, and a free pint at the Green Dragon. Grand total is $90.

I guess that doesn’t sound too bad, but having never paid $90 to see anything, I gulped, took the cash out of my wallet, paid the fare, and started down the lane as poor as a hobbit.

Anyway, I knew I was getting ready to jump out of a perfectly good plane, and would regret not seeing Hobbiton before I died.

What is the cost of visiting Hobbiton on your own?

If you want to make your own way to Hobitton, you can. This reduces the ticket to $75. What do you think of Hobbtion? Is the magic of the shire worth the price of admission? When they rebuilt this movie set for the Hobbit, they built it to last, and they paid attention to every detail.

You honestly feel as if you have been transported to Middle Earth for two magical hours.

It is peaceful and serene and you get the feeling that if the wee folk actually lived here, their lives would move at a much slower pace than our own. It is an experience like none other and for any Lord of the Ring fan, one that can’t be missed. Only one thing could make it better – seeing Frodo and Sam leisurely strolling down the path towards the Green Dragon.

In my opinion, like the Glow Worm caves, Hobbiton is one of New Zealand Points of Interest that you must see.

 

20 Life Lessons You Learn Traveling the World in Your 20’s

20 Life Lessons You Learn Traveling the World in Your 20’s

This week I hit a life milestone. I transitioned out of my 20’s and into my 30’s.  In the past, the thought of turning 30 was always followed by a flop sweat, yelling at the top of my lungs, and a mild panic attack.

However, as this new decade of my life clicks over like the hands of a clock, I find that my nervousness has been replaced by excitement.

The main reason for this is because I am totally in love with where I am in life.

I spent at least three months out of every year in my 20’s traveling with the exception of one, in which was I was busy working, tying up loose ends, and saving for long term travel.

I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t always been all fun and games. I’ve had some hard moments. Some of these have included endless debates with myself about whether I should look for a career or risk everything to see the world.

I also have suffered the discouragement of many people that have said that what I was doing was wrong. Plus, traveling and working is not always easy to balance.

Traveling full time is like anything else in life. It takes hard work and passion to accomplish your goals.

I’ve fought through the discouragement, doubt, and more sacrifices than I care to mention. However, every single moment of it has been worth it. I have found that the rewards I get from traveling far out way the sacrifices.

Looking back, I realize that I am obviously not the same person I was at 20. Travel has completely effected every fiber of whom I am.

So in honor of everyone out there (still in your 20’s) trying to make your travel dreams come true, I thought I would share 20 ways in which traveling will change you, and some of the benefits of traveling the world.

Life Lessons you Learn Traveling the World in Your 20’s

1. Travel Makes You Fiercely Independent.

When you are solo backpacking, a small task like getting to the airport or finding a place to sleep can turn into a massive hassle.

At times, complications will rise. When such things happen, you learn very quickly how to plan and execute these tasks by yourself. Of course, it is never a bad thing to ask for help, but knowing you can work through problems on your own is invaluable.

2. Gives you Ultimate Freedom.

The early 20’s are an important time in life for finding out who you are and gaining a lot of freedom.

Nothing makes you feel more alive and free than traveling. After spending countless hours studying the world map, you find yourself standing right in the middle of it. Suddenly the world is a tangible place, and you realize that none of it is out of your reach.

3. Traveling the World makes you Believe in Yourself.

Travel shows you how strong of a person you really are.

Going through all the stages of planning a trip and then executing the plan, gives a deep feeling of self-fulfillment and confidence. You learn that you can do any task that you set your mind to.

4. Teaches You not to Stress Over the Small Stuff.

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With my entire being, I hate cockroaches! Their disgusting shell of a body and the way their limbs swim in the air when they get flipped over like a turtle on its back makes my skin crawl.

However, as I am writing this, there is a cockroach looking up at me from the floor. Why am I not freaking out? Well, because travel has taught me not to sweat the small stuff.

I am in beautiful Thailand and I pay $75 a month rent for a nice apartment and a cool ride. This one cockroach is a small price to pay to be where I am and it’s not worth the stress. (Notice, I did say one cockroach)

Travel teaches you how to handle the small things. Getting lost, your atm card getting denied, or getting stuck in traffic when you should already be at the airport are all examples of small stresses on the road.

However, after confronting these problems a few times, I’ve learned that things seem to fix themselves.

Plus, these tiny stressful moments usually become the stories I share with others. Travel teaches you not to worry about the things that aren’t worth your time and energy.

5. It teaches you that it is okay to Embrace Failure.

No one is a perfect traveler and when you throw in the added bonus of foreign countries and language barriers, a fair share of failures are likely to occur.

Travel teaches you to embrace the failures, realizing that they will actually turn into something good – if nothing else, a learning experience.

As long as you are always determine to get back up, there is nothing wrong with falling down.

6. Traveling the World teaches Wisdom.

Traveling the world can make you as wise as an old hermit. You learn countless things about our world, the land, the people, and their cultures.

You observe both the ancient and the modern, yesterday’s ghosts and tomorrow’s dreams, the young and the old, and how they all exist together.

You learn firsthand about the good and bad decisions countries and governments have made. You witness their effects and you hear multiple points of view.

Basically, you gain valuable insights into various parts of the world that you would never otherwise have the opportunity to see.

7. Teaches You How to Communicate Without Words.

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Do you want to really learn nonverbal communication? Then head to the middle of nowhere in a foreign country.

Truly, you will mastered it in a month! Throughout my travels, I’ve played charades, drawn in the sand, and have made ridiculous faces to get my point across.

Sometimes it is slow. Sometimes it is frustrating. But always it ends up being a good time.

8.   You Learn How to be A Social Butterfly

Traveling solo, you learn quickly to let go of your inhibitions about interacting with those you do not know. Just remember, every friend was once a stranger.

After a long stretch of being alone, you will have no problem walking up to fellow travelers, introducing yourself, and making friends.

The backpacking community is wonderful and don’t forget, all of us have a couple of things in common right off the bat. All of us are traveling, in a new country, and looking for something more out of life.

9. You Learn the Life Lesson not to be Materialistic and Selfish.

When everything you have fits in a backpack, you realize just how little you really need.

Living in hostels, meeting locals less fortunate than you, and traveling with people from all over the world teaches you how to be considerate of others and share what you have.

Many people are surprised by the kindness they encounter when traveling, and it only makes them eager to pay it forward.

10.  You Learn It is Okay to be Alone.

Traveling the world solo teaches you how to deal with loneliness.

Let’s be honest. You make tons of friends traveling, but there are stretches when you are on your own.

This gives you ample time to learn how to entertain yourself, pick up a hobby, and delve into a fantastic travel blog ( * cough, “this one”, * cough)

11. Teaches The Importance of Worldwide Friends.

Ah yes, tons of friendships are forged while traveling. Many are passing friendships based on being in the right place at the right time, but there are also lifelong friendships crafted out of traveling.

Since you are experiencing all these new things together, far from the ordinary comforts of home, these traveling friendships grow intensely fast and even a short amount of time with someone has the potential to turn into a lifelong bond.

12.Teaches You that Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness.

People that have been to third world countries can attest to this. Some of the happiest and most generous people

I’ve ever met while traveling are also the poorest. They find joy in spending time with the people they love, the smallest comforts they actually have, and sharing what they can with strangers.

For someone from the western world, it is a humbling experience.

In the grand scheme of things, money doesn’t matter. Life experiences and relationships do!

I decided long ago that I would rather have the experience of living a fulfilled life than one of chasing green paper.

This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from backpacking the world, and it has changed my entire outlook on how I live. Today,

I look at fancy cars, mansions, and overpriced luxuries and think about all the unforgettable life changing experiences they could have bought.

13. Travel teaches Money Management.

I never was the best at money management. Keeping track of my expenses was always overwhelming.

Well, that was before I started traveling. Long term travel or traveling on a budget teaches you to account for every little cent.

This is a great life skill to get in your early 20’s and yet, one that many high schools and colleges fail to teach. Travel teaches it “in your face” quicktime.

14. It Breaks Down Your Walls.

When you spend time with different cultures and see the kindness of strangers, it breaks down the stereotypes.

You learn that 99 percent of the people in the world, really are good people. In fact, you realize that you actually share more things in common than what you could imagine. Most people want a better world, peace and happiness, and they are willing to reach out to help their fellow human beings.

15. Travel teaches you to dream big.

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Never Stop Dreaming.

Once people plan and accomplish a big travel goal, they realize how easy it is to achieve their dreams when they really put their mind to it. Some people are afraid to dream; afraid that it will only lead to failure.

Other people let their dreams stay exactly that….dreams. Travel can give you the drive to turn your dreams into your reality.

16. You Learn to be More Adventurous.

Travel has a way of bringing people out of their shell.

It will bring a side out of you that you might otherwise never would have known existed. This is my favorite side, the adventure side. As you start facing more fears, you become more fearless.

Driving a third of the planet? Running with the bulls? Skydiving? Scuba diving into ancient shipwreaks?

If someone would have asked me ten years ago if I would ever do any of these things, I would have laughed.

Not only have I conquered my fears and done them, but I am hungry to experience new adventures in the future.

Traveling makes you open to trying new things and overcoming your fears. Soon you realize that the scariest thing about fear is not what you are afraid of, but the act of facing the fear itself.

At one time, I would go into a panic anytime I was in deep water. It’s a fear I fought all my life. However, recently I have begun making plans to get my scuba diving masters certificate. Travel changes your perception of fear.

17. Travel Teaches you to Cherish the Small Moments.

A lot of the time, the small quiet, seemingly insignificant moments are the best.

Sipping a cup of tea with a local, butchering a simple “thank you” in a foreign language and then sharing a laugh, being greeted with kisses on both cheeks and a warm meal after spending 10 hours on a plane are small moments that make big memories.

A personal favorite of mine is sitting under the stars on the bank of the Nile River on the outskirts of a remote village with a Nubian tribesman.

We stared up into the heavens, talked about life, and drank coffee. He was having girl problems and asked my advice. I never knew the man before that night and I never saw him again but his memory will be with me forever.

These moments are priceless.

18. Travel the World and Learn Who You Are.

Travel forces you to face yourself.

An old travel saying states “Everyone who is traveling is either running from something or running towards something”. When you have long layovers, train rides, or alone time, you have a lot of time to think.

Frequently thoughts drift from one thing to another and often lead to yourself – who you are and who you want to be. Not long after being on the road, you discover your strengths and confront your weaknesses.

By its very nature, travel calls you to stop and reflect on your past, take a hard look at your present, and focuses you on your future.

19. Travel makes you Sexy.

Intrepid Travel did a singles study on RSVP.com that showed that 55% of the people surveyed said traveling makes someone sexier.

Yep, you read that right. Traveling makes you more attractive. That alone should encourage many of you to call the airlines today. After all, who doesn’t want that?

20. Travel Teaches You to Make the Most of Each Moment.

Life is short and the older I get the more I realize how short it really is. Each day is a new beginning, a fresh awakening, a beautiful opportunity for something wonderful to happen. And each day comes with a choice

How are you going to spend it? Too often, people get lost in the rut wasting away precious minutes. Traveling makes you aware that there is so much more to see, learn, and experience.

Yes, travel does change you. It will stretch your limits, open your eyes, and blow your mind. It will cause you to deal with things that most people put off all their lives and it will allow you to explore beyond your dreams. It has its cost but also its rewards and I firmly believe that it is truly beneficial to those who embrace it. No matter what stage of the game you are in, consider making travel apart of it.

Like this post? Check out my personal favorite traveling the world quotes, or traveling the world jobs that you might be interested in starting.

What has traveling the world taught you? 

Skydiving in New Zealand – Why Not Jump Out of A Perfectly Good Plane?

Skydiving in New Zealand – Why Not Jump Out of A Perfectly Good Plane?

My Day started with Skydive Tapou picking me up in a Limousine.

This was a nice start to the day, but I was nervous for what was to come next.

There is a saying, “ When in New Zealand, do as the Kiwis do”….errr or was that Rome?

Either way, New Zealand, a country, packed full of adventures such as bungee jumping, skydiving, glow worms caves, and rafting, is a mecca to adventure travelers like myself.

That is….Normally!

As the propeller of the tiny pink plane turned over, I felt a not so adventurous shiver run down my spine. The plane started its slow crawl onto the runway before picking up speed in preparation for its 20 minute ascent to 15,000 ft.

Skydiving in Lake Tapou

Somehow I had decided that this altitude was just right for jumping out of a perfectly good aircraft. *Slap hand against forehead*. “At least I got see see the vibrant rolling hills of Hobbiton before I die” I thought.

Yep, I was about to make my first skydive over the gorgeous mountains of  Taupo, New Zealand. It was a perfect day for Skydiving in New Zealand.

I never before realized that twenty minutes is an extremely long time to contemplate your immediate future. I quickly reflected on my life travelling the world.

I kept repeating Skydive Taupo’s logo which was plastered on the side of the plane, “Fear Is Temporary. Achievement is Permanent.”

 

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My skydive instructor, a tall Australian with a beard that would rival Zeus himself, scooted close and started fiddling with buckles, tightening straps, and checking cords. “At least I wasn’t alone in this,” I thought.

It felt like a group of espresso fueled butterflies were running a marathon in my stomach, but overall I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I envisioned myself.

Forcing the butterflies to subside, I tuned my head to face my dive partner, Amos, and got up the nerve to ask, “How many jumps have you done?”.

Closing my eyes, I turned back around and held my breath, I hadn’t been this nervous about someone’s answer since the cops said they weren’t going to take me in Russia.

If his answer was anything under 100, I knew it would thrust my fear level from ‘proceed with caution’ to ‘abort mission status.’

“9,000,” he replied as I exhaled a sigh of relief. I could hear the smile in his voice as he said, “You have nothing to worry about.

This is my office.” He motioned out the window to the beautiful cloud covered mountains, the deep blue lake, and the rolling green hills of New Zealand. “Damn. I thought my nomadic office of beaches, coffee houses, and hostel common rooms were good. This guy’s got it made!” Now this is a travel job that I want! 

View from my Skydiving Plane

He pointed to the snow covered mountain jutting past the clouds.

The sun reflecting on the snow made the mountain appear half gold.

“It’s Mt. Doom from Lord of the Rings,” he said. Being a massive Lord of the Rings fan, the thought of skydiving over Mt Doom replaced all my nervousness with excitement. Then the plane door slid open.

A gust of cold air hit me like a hard slap in the face. The sobering reality of the situation clamped down on every synapse in my brain. Suddenly this skydiving thing took on a new level of realness.

I watched almost in a daze, as three different skydiving pairs sat on the edge and then in a split second, disappear on a speedy descent towards the massive, solid object below – earth.

From behind, my tandem partner pushed me across the seat in a massive scoot, waking me from my stupefied state. Instantly, a wave of emotions shot through my head. Anxiety pulsated through my veins. Strangely, I was conscience that my body was numb while my mind urgently screamed that this was totally insane.

All my determination went into not shouting, “Hey Beardman, STOP scooting us to the edge of the door!”.

After a couple more scoots, we were unbelievably sitting on the ledge. Looking down, I zeroed in on my legs dangling 15,000 feet above the world.

I knew I had to get control.

Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, I cleared my head of everything but one simple thought. ‘I want to live this moment entirely’.

I lifted my head as the adrenaline of life conquered all my fear. I felt myself start to lean forward and ever so gently, somersault out of the plane.

I was flying!

It took a second to register and to come to terms with the rush of my thoughts and feelings.

First, I noticed that it felt more like floating than falling. Fear was conquered by a wave of massive adrenaline and yet at the same time, peacefulness.

As I took in the landscape, the wind beat across my face. My lips curved into a smile and I started screaming excitedly. (Which is why, my face, in the video is red and looks like I am going to pass out).

My guide and I tossed and turned as we took in the unrivaled view of Lake Taupo in the early morning sun, a view that only New Zealand can provide.

Then we started playing with the camera, giving thumbs up, gnarly signs, and showing off the writing on my hands (Adventure Rocks). Garth made a gesture and I knew he was asking if I was comfortable enough to do some spins.

“Yes please!”, I gestured. We spun around the lake and mountains behind us and the bright green hills in front of us. In the 60 seconds of free fall, I felt free and alive.

I felt a tiny jerk as the parachute caught us.

Now we were gliding slowly back to the ground, which was perfect since I wasn’t in any rush.

As we landed, I eagerly thought, “Let’s do that again!”

Skydiving lets you live in the moment. You don’t think about everyday life, worries, or any problems you are facing. They simply don’t exist there. It just you, your guide, adrenaline, and one hell of a view. It is one of the most exciting and liberating things I have ever done.

The adrenaline buzz lasted all day for me. I was a little uneasy going into skydiving, but now I can’t recommend it enough.

If you are ever in New Zealand, I suggest doing your skydive at Lake Taupo for a few reasons.

1- Skydive Taupo was extremely safe. The staff is friendly and the dive partners make you feel comfortable throughout the whole process.

2- It is the cheapest place to skydive in New Zealand.

3- The views are amazing! Lord of the Rings fans get the opportunity to skydive over Mt. Doom.

4- If something goes wrong with the filming equipment or you get less than 300 pictures, they refund your video cost.

5- They Pick you up in a Limo!

So what do you think now? Would you skydive?

The Essential  List of Southeast Asia Travel Tips – A Backpackers Guide

The Essential List of Southeast Asia Travel Tips – A Backpackers Guide

Welcome to the complete list of Southeast Asia travel tips. Let’s get started.

Southeast Asia is a sensory overload of vibrant temples, chaotic streets, and intoxicating smells of food.

While backpacking in this type of environment can sometimes seem a little hectic, Southeast Asia is one of the best places in the world for you to start your adventure travels.

Why Visit Southeast Asia?

Southeast Asia Travel Tips

Well, because it has beaches that will make your jaw drop, food that will make you visibly drool, and prices so cheap, that your mind will be dizzy.

Oh yea, let’s not forget some of the other perks like some of the best diving in the world, incredible landscape, amazing jungles, and some of the most warm-hearted, friendly people I have ever met.

Each country is different and has a distinct culture and so much to offer that you will desire to return to this part of the world over and again.

Go for a few months, and you will have plenty of time to mark some things off your travel bucket list without spending hours in line.

Southeast Asia has lots of yoga and mediation and is a good place to get in touch with you inner self, and reflect on some of the life lessons you learn traveling the world.

It is hard not to fall in love with Southeast Asia. In fact, for many, it is love at first sight.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips

When to travel to Southeast Asia?

Peak Season – One of the first Southeast Asia travel tips you should know is that peak tourist season is late October until early May.

This is when frozen tourists run here to thaw out in the warm climate every year.

Weather -Southeast tends to be humid all year round with some exceptions.

Summer- Summers temperatures are in the 80s-90s. June through Sept is also the monsoon seasons, so expect a couple hours of rain each day.

Winter- Winter in Southeast Asia is still warm, unless you are up north. You will want to have a lite jacket in certain areas at night.

Do You Need Travel Insurance For Southeast Asia?

One of the Southeast Asia travel tips that I recommend is to get travel insurance.

It is vital for any traveler to protect themselves buy purchasing travel insurance before heading out on your adventures.

Here is why. For example last year my travel insurance ran out. I didn’t feel the need to reactivate it right away….big mistake. A couple weeks later I got my cell phone stolen, and got a horrific case of food poisoning. My hospital bill was upwards of $400 and replacing my phones cost $400.

Within a week I had lost $500! That’s almost the price for the entire year of insurance. If I had insurance during that week I wouldn’t of had to pay a dime.

Now I never travel without insurance to protect the electronics I travel with, and myself for any unexpected illnesses that come up.

So is travel insurance worth it? The choice is up to you, but in my experience it is better to be safe than sorry, and travel insurance has saved me money in the long run.

For insurance I use RoamRight. They are a great company that I recommenced.

The insurance is affordable and they offer fantastic coverage. They have phenomenal customer service.
Here are some of the things RoamRight Covers.

Trip Cancellation

Cancel for Work Reasons

Trip Interruption

Emergency Accident, Sickness Medical Expense, and Dental Medical

Personal Effects Accidental

Cost of Backpacking South East Asia Breakdown

Backpacking Southeast Asia Travel Tips

Southeast Asia Travel Tips -How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Southeast Asia?

If you are looking for a place to make your money last then look no further than SEA. This glorious party of the world is cheap.

My cheapest month in Southeast Asia was when I was living in Thailand. I spent less than $600.

Traveling to Europe, or the Uk can be 3 to 4 times more expensive to visit.

Yes, Southeast is the place to come if you are looking to travel long term without breaking your bank account.

Food

Ahh…. cheap, good food – that is what I am talking about.

Meal Cost – The typical meal in Southeast Asia will range from $2- $5. You could easily eat street vendor food all day for around $5.

I suggest lots and lots of fruit smoothies; they are the best in the world.

Local Restaurants- Hole in the wall restaurants delicious, and are about $2 a meal.

I have a general rule the more it looks like I don’t want to eat there the better the food will be!

Accommodation – Typically hostels dorms and guest houses– Range between $3 – $20 a night. If you are paying more than that, you are being ripped off. Of course, price does vary from country to country.

In Thailand, the average hostel is $10-$15 a night but in cheaper countries like Cambodia, it is far less with a range of $5-$10.

Privates Rooms- Private rooms range between $10 -$30 a night.

Airbnb – A lot of people have success with Airbnb. It gives you more privacy than a hostel and is cheaper than a hotel. You can even rent places for a month. I have seen awesome apartments in Bangkok for  as little as $300 a month. Want to save more?

Use this link and get $25 off your first stay with Airbnb!

Ways to Get Around Southeast Asia

Backpacking Southeast Asia

Let’s talk transportation. You can take budget airlines like Air Asia to get between destinations or if you prefer, take trains or buses. As always, buses are cheaper than trains but less comfortable.

Prices vary but for a lengthy trip between countries; it will be $20 -$50. Not bad at all.

One Backpacking Southeast Asia Travel tips I elaborate on below is not to go for the cheapest option when it comes long rides on buses and trains.

Pay a little more when it comes to overnight buses, it is worth it.

If tours are your preferred method of traveling is taken a tour, then you are in luck.

These are some great tour companies around Southeast Asia.

G Adventures – Gap Adventures is a fantastic tour company that runs tours all over Asia. They often have a lot of tour deals and you can save up to 25% on Last Minute Adventure Travel PackagesSoutheast Asia Travel Tips

Intrepid Tours – Intrepid is another travel company I recommend. They focus on small group tours, and are great at getting off the beaten path. They also offer Up to 25% Off Last Minute Deals!Southeast Asia Travel Tips

These are companies I not only like a lot, but also trust. Another way to get around Southeast Asia is by taking a tour. A couple of the most popular tour companies is G Adventures, and Intrepid and I have always had good experiences with them.

You can check out my G Adventure, and Intrepid Travel Reviews here.

Party – South East Asia backpacking nightlife is some of the best in the world.

Countries like Thailand and Laos are full of streets dedicated to parties.

Streets like Koa San have bars that are 24/7.

Yep, they never close. This can be draining on your bank account and your body, but still nothing compared to Europe.

A typical night out will range between $20-$40. Of course, prices vary by participant.

Get Off the Beaten Track – One southeast Asia Travel Tips I always stress is to get off the beaten path and hang out with locals.

The locals in Southeast Asia are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the entire world.

In many countries in Southeast Asia, they treat tourist with respect, and kindness.

I love hanging out with locals, and the unlikely friendships I have made while traveling Southeast Asia. Don’t be afraid to talk to locals and joke around with them.

If you are not sure how to get off the beaten path and hang with locals there are some new companies that arrange this for you.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips by Country.

Backpacking Southeast Travel Tips

Southeast Asia Travel Tips For Thailand

I’ve never met a person that didn’t love Thailand.

One reason for this is that Thailand caters to tourist.

In fact, the whole country seems to be centered around pleasing and helping travelers, and tourist.

This means that the people are extremely kind, and the country is easy to navigate.

Thailand islands are famous for their beauty, parties, and diving. Basically, the islands of Thailand are small pockets of paradise.

Thailand is simply a country you can’t ignore when backpacking in  Southeast Asia.

If you are new to this part of the world, Thailand is exotic and yet pretty western making it a great place to launch your Southeast Asia backpacking adventure.

Top Cities in Thailand

Bangkok- Chaotic, crowded, and beautiful. Bangkok is an incredible city and one you have to visit at least once. I’ve been there three times, and I will be going back. Bangkok will seem like a sensory overload at first but once you settle into the city, it can be charming.

Chiang Mai- A vast expat community. There are so many great sights and temples, and the “Save the Elephant” foundation is not too far away. Chaing Mai is a perfect home base for long-term travelers and people waiting a break from moving every few days.

Pai – A wonderful riverside village has a laid back and relaxing atmosphere which might be why it has a natural draw for hippies and people seeking a care free way of living.

Things to do in Thailand

Let your lantern fly at Yee Ping- If you are anywhere near Chaing Mai, you won’t want to miss this festival. Yee Peng  is spectacular to watch thousands of lit paper lanterns soar into the sky.

Stay up until the sun rises at the Full Moon Party- The Full Moon Party happens once a month on Koh Phangan.

Numbers vary but a small full moon party is 10,000 people.

A large one can range as high as 30,000. (Careful with the red bull, it is no joke.)

Learn to Scuba Dive – Southeast Asia is one of the best places in the world to learn to dive. It is cheap and yet delivers a lot of beautiful ocean life to see even in the beginner dives.

I recommend learning in dive in Koh Tao through Epic Gap Year and then heading to Koh Lak to dive in the Similians. I was already afraid of diving, but I after saying to myself “I’m run an adventure travel blog, and I need to learn to face my fear and scuba dive”. I did! It was one of the highlights of my year, and my new obsession.

Have One too Many on Koa San Rd- This is the most well-known party street in Southeast Asia. No one has a small night on Koa San and you are almost guaranteed to have a night of full randomness no matter what your plans are.

After Koa San Rd, you will wake up feeling like you were in the movie, Hangover 2.

Make A Difference at the Save an Elephant Foundation- In this part of Asia, chances are you will be offered an elephant ride. This is one adventure you want to experience.

The elephants are tamed by being touted and mistreated. If you want to see elephants, go to the Save an Elephant Foundation. Here, you not only can see them but also make a difference.

Maui Thai Boxing – The matches are energetic. If you really want a close up experience, you can even train at the schools.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips Indonesia

When I think of Indonesia, the first thought that pops into this backpacking, travel obsessed head of mine, is the mixture of cultures, islands, and high altitude cities tucked away in the mountains.

Top Cities in Indonesia

Jakarta – The capital of Indonesia is a cultural hub, yet only lets you experience many diverse cultures from around the world. It is also a city filled with an electric nightlife, and party atmosphere.

Ubud – Heart to the Balinese culture they is no shortage of things to explore in this small Bali town.
Head out to find monkeys, grab some delicious food, or go explore the UNESCO world Heritage site of Elephant Cave, the choice is yours

Mando –The second largest city in Indonesia, Manado’s surrounded by stunning mountains, national parks, and also a great spot to go diving and snorkeling.

Things to do in Indonesia

Explore the history of Indonesia – Temples like Borobudur and Prambana are perfectly persevered examples of the old kingdoms of Indonesia and significant examples of the various religions as one temple is Buddhist and the other Hindu

Bandung – Bandung is a city that sits in the mountains ranges southeast of Jakarta. Driving between the cities, you will get to see the wonderful landscape, rice fields, and dormant volcanoes.

While flying will get you there faster, you will be missing out on some of the spectacular views Indonesia has to offer.

Relax on Gili T- There are a lot of things to do on Gili T, even though the island is so small that you can bike the whole perimeter in under an hour. No cars, no paved roads, no rush makes this island a great place to relax on the beach and snorkel.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips For Cambodia

While you will hear horror stories about the border crossing from Thailand to Cambodia, this is a country you must not miss!

It is cheaper and less touristy than Thailand. It is also rawer and ready to be explored! Are you up for the challenge?

Top Cities in Cambodia

Phnom Penh- It is the largest city in Cambodia. It is a safe place to settle into the country and get your travel feet under you. There are also impressive sites all around the city worth seeing.

Siam Rep – This will be a stop if you are planning on visiting for Angkor Wat, one of southeast Asia largest tourist attractions. This city has become an important tourist hub.

Things to do in Cambodia

Walk around Angkor Wat – The most stunning site if Cambodia, ( and possibly Southeast Asia) Angkor Wat is a beautiful example of temples and monuments.

Bayon Temple– A must see on any visit to Cambodia. Make sure to visit Bayon Temple on your visit to his famous monument.

Trek in the ancient capital of Koh Ker – The capital of the country in 944 AD. Koh Ker is now home to elaborate sculptures and ancient temples.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips For Vietnam

Most people either love or hate Vietnam. Those that hate it say it is because they felt like people were trying to con and rip them off.

I say that is just part of backpacking in this part of the world.

You do have to be wise and cautious while enjoying the amazing beauties of this country.

Top Cities in Vietnam

Hanoi Capital of Vietnam, this city is beautiful and alive and worth checking out on any trip to Asia. Lots of good food, and the heart of the country.

Halong Bay- This is an extremely popular tourist destination in Vietnam. It is also a Unesco World Heritage site.

Things to do in Vietnam 

Wander the  provinces- Head out of the cities to where life is laid back. Many small towns and villages are charming yet have the amenities of a city. Explore and learn.

Rent a motorbike and make your own road trip – Motor Bikes are everywhere in this part of the world.

Many people will let you rent them monthly which give you enough time to make your own road trip.

Party– Asia has a lively and vibrant night life. You should at least party a couple times.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips For Laos

The people of Laos are friendly and warm, and if you respect their culture, you will not have any problems enjoying your stay.

Laos is also known for its wild parties and insane nightlife.

Top Cities in Laos

Vientiane – I found Vientiane an odd for a capital city. There is a lack of skyscrappers, and it doesn’t have the buzz that most cities in SEA have.

Vientiane isn’t my favorite place in the world but if you are travelling through Laos you might want to stop for a couple days to see attractions like Buddha Park, and the artillery museum.

Vang Vieng- The heart of Laos party culture it is no surprise that Vang Vieng has become a massive tourist destination for international travelers.

Luang Prabang- Bright green banks on the Nam Khan river, golden temples filled with monks in their vibrant orange robes Luang Prabang is one of the best spots in Laos

Things to do in Laos

Get wet at Vang Vieng- Mountians, cliffs, and rivers Vang Vieng is a popular spot for backpackers looking to do a little tubing and cave exploring.

This is a party spot, but the landscape has something to offers those not wishing to party.

Visit the golden temples That Luang – One reason to visit Vientiane is That Luang. This is the national symbol and one of the most popular sites in the whole country.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips For Philippines

When you hear the name Philippines, you think white sand beaches, fantastic food, jaw-dropping landscape and beautiful women.

Top Cities of the Philippines

Manila- Manila is a hubbub of activity and a mixture of people from all over the world and the Philippines as well.

It has a vigorous nightlife with restaurants and bars from upscale to low scale that is open 24 hours a day.

Huge shopping malls scatter all over the City and five-star hotels are common sights.

Cebu Cebu is found in the Eastern part of the Philippines and is a rare combination of modern and traditional way of living.

Life’s slow paced like Manila, but five-star restaurants and hotels are all around. This is the home to the most luxurious and opulent spas in the whole Philippines.

Puerto Princesa, Palawan- One of the cleanest cities in the Philippines, it has white sand beaches and scuba diving sorties. Island hopping using a small native motorboat is an exhilarating experience.

The American colonists built Baguio- This is city for homesick soldiers. It has a western feel, and the high altitude makes it nice and neat.

Things To Do in the Philippines  

Experience a ride on a Jeepney – This is almost a right of passage in the Philippines and the national public means of transportation that can take you to all the nooks and crannies of the place to explore until your hearts content.

Eat Adobo – The unofficial food of the Philippines, which is made from either pork or chicken or both cooked in vinegar and soy sauce.

Lake Sebu – Ziplining, tropical forest, and waterfalls. Need I say more?

Southeast Asia Travel Tips For Myanmar

Myanmar is a country wherein you can see the heavy influence of Indian and Chinese culture. You can see a lot of temples and stupas scattered around the country.

The country has only started recently allowing visitors, so everything is still off the beaten track.

One Backpacking Southeast Asia Travel Tips not to ignore, get here fast it’s popularity is growing and so it will be touristy.

Top Cities of Myanmar

Yangon is previously the capital of Myanmar. Walk with the Buddhists, who constitute 89 percent of the population. Be fascinated with its gold-plated stunning temples and tupas.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips  is to get a cheap taxi rate for $2-$3 and feel dizzy with the crumbling sidewalks and cars zigzag back and forth.

Naypyidaw is the current capital of the country. Be mesmerized by the city landscape and unique culture. Experience the local typical market with friendly people.

Mandalay – It is the second largest city and former capital of the country as well. Explore the fantastic temples.

Get relax and see the beautiful city by riding a bike. Meet stone carvers and get a chance to eat street foods and drink tea.

Things to Do in Myanmar

Experience to ride bikes in Hpa-An. While doing this activity, you can enjoy a day trip to captivate the beautiful rice fields and swimming holes. You can see here as well the caves that are full of Buddhist art and a pagoda on a vertical column of rocks.

Enjoy taking a boat across the Inle Lake. Inle Lake has several resorts that provide affordable accommodation. They also have  interesting workshops in stilt villages and  you can checkout their ruined temples.

Trip to Irrawaddy River gives you the chance to see small riverside settlements. You will also meet  the locals in ferries between Pathein and Yangon.

Watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon – One of the most popular things to do in Myanmar is to wake up early and catch a hot air balloon ride of the temples. It is worth you time!

Southeast Asia Travel Tips For Safety

Southeast Asia Travel Tips -Know who you rent from: While renting quads and scooters is fun, on some of the islands, you have to be careful. Some vendors try to take advantage of you when return them.

Always ask people at your hostel which can be trusted. Oh, and never, never drive in crowded cities like Bangkok. Never!! Save the scooter for less crowded islands and villages.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips -Money Belt:  A Money Belt keeps you important documents organized, and safe.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips -Watch out for cons:People trying to con tourists are everywhere in this world.

However, the people in Southeast Asia are really, good at it. If you feel like you are being conned or hassled, just stand your ground or walk away.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips -Keep your valuables locked up:This is a general travel tip for anywhere in the world. Keep your passport, most of your credit cards, and anything else you can’t afford to lose, locked in your hotel or hostel.

Most hostels and hotels offer lockers or will hold your valuables behind the desk.

Only take essentials with you when you go exploring. Never take your passport and always have it locked away, or somewhere safe when you go out.

Southeast Asia Travel Tips -Better safe than sorry. Copy Your documents: If you do lose you documents, or in the tragic case, they are stolen, you will have copies. Always scanned and sent copies to your email before you leave on any trip.

This is a massive headache reducer when you need to replace them. This is one of the most important Southeast Asia travel tips, well or any travel actually!

Southeast Asia Travel Tips -Go the Extra Mile: Southeast Asia is cheap, and while I always try to travel as cheaply as possible, excluding my daily coffee addiction, some of the public transportation can be rough, to say the least.

Spending $3 or $4 extra to upgrade to a nicer and safer seat on the train or bus is worth it. Plus you get more leg room and sometimes even snacks,

Southeast Asia Travel Tips -Watch your drink and what your drink: On a few of the islands that you are likely to visit, the liquor regulations are not strictly enforced.

This means that some bars will serve you what is basically rubbing alcohol.

If you don’t want to be running around the island like Adam Sandler in the “Water Boy” after having too much “Tackling Fuel,” make sure to check the menu.

It should say if it is ethanol or not, and if, in doubt, you can always avoid it entirely by only drinking beer.

You need to watch your drink at big clubs and massive parties like the full moon parties.

Of course, this is good advice for anywhere in the world. I’ve not heard many stories about drinks being spiked, but it is still wise to look out for it because it can happen.

Overall Southeast Asia is a beautiful, cultural, and life changing places you can backpack.

I am completely in love with this part of the world and will return to it over and again. It is a backpacker’s dream.

I hope these Southeast Asia Travel Tips and Backpacking Tips help you have a good experience.

Other Things to Do in Southeast Asia

There are many things to do in Southeast Asia. These are a few of my favorites experience and travel tips that might spark some ideas for you own trip.

Getting a Bamboo Tattoo- This type of tattoo is an experience. These tattoos are all hand done with a sharp piece of Bamboo. It actually is less painful, heals faster, and cheaper. It is a win, win.

Do a Quiet Retreat. Some Buddhist temples let you stay when them for a week. Depending on where you go most retreats are done on a donation basis, and you have to remain silent for the entire week.

It is a great way to reflect, and think about your life.

Learn Maui Thai – There are hundreds of places that will teach Maui Thai to foreigners in Thailand. You can pay per class or arrange a couple months of training.

Get off the beaten path – Some of my fondest memories in Asia have been when I got off the beaten path and hang out with the locals

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