I've decided to place all of my overseas travel adventures on one post. Previous travel tip blog posts will be at the "Travel Tips" category tab. I'll update this post along the way with some tips, photos, etc that I love. :) I'll try to make the tips lighthearted and easy to follow. Lord knows Americans can make controversy out of anything. Perspective is everything though. This is why I travel. :)
Budget - One of the easiest ways to budget your travels, especially if you'll be gone for months, is to look at your current lifestyle. Look at what you're spending on Rent, Food, Transportation, and Utilities. Aim to keep your travel budget below that. This allows you extra spending money for shopping, attractions, etc. Many long term travelers that I've spoken with have either sold unused items, saved for the amount of months that they plan to travel, and/or work as they travel (digital nomads, work programs, teaching, etc). Having a passive income source never hurts either! Everyone should invest and/or have some form of emergency travel funding. Trusted bank ATMS overseas can also handle quick cash needs.
Translation Devices - International phone sites like Mobal.com and Onesimcard.com provide you with overseas phone options.
Lingmo One2One 2-way translation device is another option if you want to have an offline conversation with someone at a cafe, beach, etc. I went ahead and got one due to it being on sale for AUD $99. It comes with two earpieces that you can wear or place on a table. It's just easier for me because I'm a chatter and my language learning days aren't keeping up. I'll have to test it out when it comes to making jokes. Having a little "robot" assistance speaker is quite humorous in itself though. :)
Online translation apps are always available for free and/or cheap voice translations as well. Do your research to see how much english is spoken and/or written at your travel location. You may not need to translate anything at all!
Accommodations - Everyone loves a little indulgence. Too much can create a lack of inspiration and/or idle behaviors. Travel can be that humbling experience that many crave after awhile. Keep your accommodations practical. Look for deals on sites like Booking.com or Agoda.com. Vacation rentals on Airbnb.com and Innclusive.com are options as well. Simply read what other travelers are saying about the location and amenities.
Google maps is also handy for having a look around the area for amenities like supermarkets, shopping, etc. Consider quiet residential areas if you're going to major cities. Locations near universities can be affordable and resourceful as well. You'll get more of a local feel that way. You can always book a little fancy prancy hotel on the way out or in from your destinations. Determine your yin and yang needs for every location.
Transportation - Ride sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft are affordable for the U.S. I ended up having a conversation with one driver about her cancer the day I headed out on my overseas adventures. She took photos of some of the supplements that I take (turmeric supplement, krill oil, etc mentioned on the blog). I also provided her with some healthy living tips and moving tips aka head North folks! The Universe is never done allowing you to be an angel in someone's life when you travel! The networks start right from the get go. :)
Overseas transportation is also affordable if you know where to look. Taxifarefinder.com provides taxi estimates for travel locations. RideGuru.com provides taxi and ride share estimate comparisons. Buses are always an affordable option. Buses can take a long time to get to a destination though.
Flight sites like Momondo.com provide flight day estimates and other flight site comparisons. Tuesday and Wednesdays are known to be cheap days to fly out. You'll have to play around with it though.
Social - Meetup.com was mentioned previously on my blog as a traveler friendly platform.
You can find out what's going on in your locations with sites like Timeout.com.
Local deal sites like Livingsocial.com and Groupon.com can hook you up with affordable treats.
You may have to search for foreigner friendly city magazines. The growing expat community in Busan has Hapskorea.com for example. This is just one interesting beach/port city to watch in the future for Generation Zs and Millennials.
Packing - If your entire life will be in two carry ons for awhile, congrats! I always have to congratulate minimalism and simplicity. Your accommodations can surely take care of any indulgences that you may miss (gyms, spas, kitchens, etc). Stick to what you may need for a month or less. This goes back to the first tip about evaluating your current lifestyle. Determine what you actually use in a month.
Consider a spinner hard shell carry on and an insulated backpack. Consider packing essential oils, mini toiletries, protein bars like Quest's cookies & cream, antibacterial wipes, face masks for the skin, antibacterial surgical masks for planes, satin blackout eye mask for sleeping, sunglasses, mini umbrella, sun hat, waterproof camera, laptop, and noise cancelling headphones.
Clothing can be kept simple with hand wash items (tank tops, leggings, tunics, undies, socks, pjs, etc).
Supplements can be bulky for carry ons. Consider small bottles if you want to take something with you. Activated charcoal can be handy if you ever get food poisoning. Do most of your shopping when you get to your location though. It's a great excuse to check out the local markets and stores. You can use google maps to take a virtual tour of local shopping centers and supermarkets. Many locations offer delivery to your accommodations. Gotta love modern day convenience! Check out all of your delivery options for those hot and/or rainy days. Those are also the best days to blog. ;)
Sharing is Caring
As a foodie, I don't ask questions when you give me food. The Universal sign of a good person is someone who shares their food and sweet treats with you. ;) This is what happened today as I was lounging on a tropical rainy day. A Chinese woman on my travels shared four treats with me that were absolutely delicious! She had a translation device due to her poor english. My mandarin isn't so great either!
I ate the pineapple cookie first. It was like a soft shortbread cookie with sweet pineapple filling. If a soft Girl Scout shortbread cookie had a baby with a MUCH better tasting fig newton, you'd have this Chinese treat. haha It's the only way to describe it. I will definitely buy this in bulk when I get to China and/or the nearest Chinatown!
Did You Hear Something?
When you're traveling light as a musician, you start to miss things like physical musical instruments. A satin eye mask, calming magnesium pill, surgical mask, lavender oil, and classical music via some noise cancelling headphones keeps you sleeping like a sweet ninja baby on overnight flights. You'll really wonder if there was even a baby on your flight. There's always a baby on my flights. They communicate like little barking puppies too. It's really funny after you've traveled all your life. It's like a scene from 101 Dalmatians. haha Just offer the new moms and babies some lavender oil. ;)
There are times when you're actually awake on a flight though. That is when you need a different type of stimulation. Virtualpiano.net is my go to for keeping me musically stimulated on and off flights. It's fun to learn new songs with the ease of your keyboard (try the Xfiles theme). It's also fun to compose your own songs. This is what I found myself craving today.
Enjoy it for yourself as well. :)
Island Zen Escapes
Aloha! A trip to Honolulu Hawaii is different for everyone. It's honestly just one bucket list check off before settling down in Asian countries for a bit. If you're looking for a quiet escape from the tourist attractions of Waikiki, the University of Hawaii at Monoa's Japanese Garden is a great one! Even a stroll around the University can be a nice bit of exercise in the morning.
In general it's best to do your garden strolls and hikes in the morning during the Summer months. Hawaii is close to the equator. That means that even the permanent tan crowd can get sunburnt. Cloudy days after a rainy day are also great due to the cloud cover! The island is So Fresh and So Clean Clean after a rainy day! It's quite lovely to see the plant life after a little rain. Rub on some peppermint oil mosquito repellent, put on some loose pastel clothes that cover your skin, grab some water, an umbrella, and enjoy your little stroll. :)
On your way to the Japanese Garden, you'll pass by the Center for Korean Studies. It's a beautiful building where you can go inside for some air conditioning, restrooms, and/or some water fountains.
You may even pass this little black cat on the bridge. I love black cats! They are actually good luck in many Asian countries. All cats are psychic, independent, and protective totems. It's quite understandable to why they continue to be worshipped today by many loving owners.
You can relax near the stream on the other side of the Japanese Teahouse. It's a lovely place to sit down for a little meditation time. The "Jurassic Park" mosquitos around this area may even leave you alone for some zen time as well. haha One looked right at me. I was like "Not today Satan!" Hawaii is Pele (Hawaii's Goddess Spirit) country anyway. ;) Thank Pele for the cloud cover and nature afterwards as you head to your next destination. :)
I spoke of this above after my Honolulu/Manoa stroll. Everyone is sensitive to the sun. Some just prefer being in it more than others. A nice hotel accommodation view with a medium size window, blinds, and blackout curtains are always the compromise though.
Kudos if there's room service and a gym!
Ideally you will want to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. This is when the sun can damage your skin, eyes, etc the most, esp in locations that are closer to the equator. Put sunscreen (atleast SPF 30) on atleast 20 minutes beforehand as well.
Accuweather.com is a great site for those who want to test the hour to hour and day to day weather patterns at their travel locations. I think I found my ideal when I was looking at JeJu Island recently. It's South Korea's Hawaii for those who aren't really feeling Hawaii's closeness to the equator, distant location from major cities, prices, and/or Waikiki's "Island Vegas" vibe. I heard someone really call it that. haha I heard all of these comments from talking to locals actually. It's a mixed bag when people settle on islands. Three weeks was enough for me. The Universe vibrates to 3s remember. ;) The Big Island may suit those who want more nature, slightly cooler temperatures, and less tourists though. :)
Spirit workers need that extra cloud cover and rain every now and then. Those are the best days and nights for greater intuition, spiritual hikes, and premonition dreams. :) The closer you get to older and/or spiritualist countries, the more your intuitive senses naturally increase as well!
Healthy Jet Lag "Midnight" Snacks
I've finally adjusted to balancing out the Asian time zones with U.S. time zones. I keep track of both for work purposes. Convenience stores in Asia are a great way to get your nom noms on at any hour. Here are some recent picks that I came across today in Korea....
* Korean Raison Tea - It's good for the liver and digestion. I had a mini Choya plum wine (my fav brand) the other day mixed with some iced sprite...delicious! Now it's time to detox for awhile with some Korean Raison Tea. I chose this drink from memory. I remember seeing an ASTRO member recommend it on their social media feed. I do take food suggestions from groups that I like. The taste was like watered down coffee. That's the best way to describe it. I'll enjoy the hydration and health benefits though! ;)
* Coconut Curry Rice - It was a nice little meal. I didn't even finish it all. Rice is filling! The sauce was quite nice, tasty, and well balanced. None of the products were salty. That was refreshing.
* Shrimp Crackers - This was a surprise! I just went with my gut on this one. It was also well balanced. It was a great snack! I made sure to save some for later. :)