Travelers: Sara and Alex
Type: International and domestic
Budget: ALL-OUT! ($10,000+)
Where did you go? We both LOVE to travel. Over the course of our relationship we’ve gone on a number of international hosteling/backpacking trips together. When we got engaged the first thing we started talking about about was the honeymoon.
We’d been joking about going around the world, but when we found out that Alex would be getting laid off the same week that Sara would finish grad school it seemed like the perfect opportunity to actually do it!
We started 2011 with a month-long trip to South America. We went to Peru and visited friends in Chile, and we went all the way down to Patagonia and hiked in Torres del Paine.
We then came back to the US for a few weeks, had a kick-ass wedding, moved everything we owned into a storage unit, and took off again. We went to San Francisco, spent a few days driving down the coast to Los Angeles, and then flew to Hawaii.
From Hawaii, we went to Hong Kong for a few days then down into South East Asia. We traveled around Thailand for two weeks, then we flew to Hanoi and spent two weeks traveling down the coast of Vietnam.
We went to Cambodia and rented bikes to explore Ankor Wat, and then we went to Bali to hang out on the beach.
From there we flew to Istanbul. We spent time in the city, then took an overnight train out to Cappadocia and hiked around for a few days. We went down to the coast and spent a few days in a treehouse by the beach.
From the Turkish coast we crossed over into the Greek islands, and spent time island hopping on ferries.
We went to Athens, and then travelled up into the Balkans: Bosnia, Croatia, and Montenegro. From Croatia we took a ferry over to Italy and visited Rome, Florence, Venice, and Verona. We travelled by train to Avignon and Paris, and then up into Belgium.
From Belgium we crossed into Germany and rented a car. We spent a week camping out in the Black Forest and outside of smaller cities.
We went to Dresden, and then spent a week in Berlin. From Berlin we flew to Amsterdam and ended our trip just relaxing and hanging out in bars and coffee shops for a few days.
- We hiked to a glacier in Patagonia.
- We camped out in Big Sur.
- We kayaked through Lan Ha Bay.
- We biked through Angkor Wat.
- We spent a week in a bamboo hut on the beach in Thailand.
- We rode ATV’s all over the Greek islands.
- We swam in a waterfall in Bosnia.
- We went to an open air opera in a roman arena.
- We went to the full moon party in Koh Phangan, Thailand.
- We took an overnight train through a jungle.
- We accidentally took our rental car off-roading in the Black Forest.
- We went for a gondola ride in Venice.
- We rode elephants in Thailand.
- We went on a booze cruise in a junk ship in Victoria Harbor.
- We ate a lot of street food.
- We got “pedicures” by dipping our feet into tanks of fish that ate the dead skin.
- We defended a picnic from skunks.
- We stuck our toes in the Strait of Magellan.
- We drank beer in the basement of a mansion.
- We got our fortune told by a rabbit in Istanbul.
What would you have done differently? We would have given ourselves more time in Southeast Asia.
We pre-booked our flights around the region, which turned out to have been unnecessary and locked us into a schedule. There was so much to see and do in Cambodia and Vietnam that we didn’t get to. It looks like we’ll just have to go back.
What’s your best travel advice for other offbeat travelers? Stretch it out as long as you can! A long trip doesn’t have to be expensive. For the cost of a chocolate fountain you could spend a week in Vietnam.
Also, I know it’s not something everyone can do, but we were able to go without a return ticket. We booked airfare up to Istanbul, and decided to wing it from there. The feeling of freedom that came from leaving the trip open-ended is something I can’t even describe!
Comments on Take a virtual trip around the world with this open-ended, world-traveling honeymoon
…also Happy for you!! Congrats on an awesome trip!
sounds fabulous. What a trip!
How wonderful! I would love to take off with my husband-man around the world. Traveling is so much fun when you’re hanging out with your partner 🙂
It’s awesome you’re on the same page for travelling 🙂 My husband likes travelling while I LOVE it. So much that I travel abroad on my own once or twice a year when he doesn’t feel like it.
Next month I’ll even set out for a 2-month trip around Europe on my own. He doesn’t feel the need to travel for a long time, while I really had the urge to experiment long-time travel at least once in my life (though I don’t plan to stop after that: my aim is do eventually do a round-the-world trip before I’m 35, but I wanted to test myself first). Good on you for living this experience together 🙂
My husband and I have a similar relationship with travel, except I’m the one who likes it, and he has some severe Wanderlust.
Wow!!! That looked amazing!! I would love to do that kind of travel one day. I’ve done a bit of solo travel but my boyfriend has never been outside of Canada or the US!
I want this to be my life!! My wanderlust came on FULL FORCE while reading this. Congratulations to both of you!
Oh yeah. My wanderlust gland was spazzing out while editing this. 😉
First, this looks AMAZING. I hope to take a similar trip someday. Second, I noticed that you said you put all of your stuff in storage. We are going to have to do this for work and school reasons very soon and I’m wondering if/how you dealt with insurance for the storage unit. I learned that it is usually only covered if you have a homeowners or rental policy (which we won’t have since we won’t have a permanent residence). Does anyone know how to insure your stuff in storage, is this addressed anywhere on Offbeat Home? I’d love any input…
I’m decidedly a home-body (I half-jokingly told my husband at Christmas, “there are three things I don’t like about travelling: preparing, getting there, and being there”), but I love travelling vicariously though other people! Thanks for sharing your story and your pictures — it’s nice to mentally escape to somewhere warm when it’s dreadfully cold outside (-19ºC, feels like -31ºC out there right now…). Your pictures are beautiful!
This looks amazing! How does it all work logistically? Like, did you wait until you showed up somewhere to buy a guidebook? By not buying plane tickets ahead of time, were they extra expensive? Were you worried about language barriers or safety issues in various countries, and how did you prepare for/deal with this? I LOVE this idea, but I get intimidated by it. What tips and tricks helped you to wing it?
I agree- we definitely need a “how to” followup post!
Airfare on budget airlines in Asia is pretty cheap no matter when you get it, we got a domestic flight in Vietnam with less that a day’s notice for about $30. Getting home from Europe though we just got really, really lucky and found a flight from London to Boston for $350 with about 4 weeks notice, we definitely could have gotten screwed on money there. As for not planning too much it’s easier on a long trip than a short one. We just figured that since we were traveling for most of the year that some things wouldn’t work, and some days would suck, but that we’d figure it out and the good things would outnumber the bad.
People working on the hospitality industry will always speak at least a little English, so language barriers aren’t usually that much of an issue. I try to be careful about staying out to late when I’m traveling alone, but traveling as a couple we never really felt unsafe, and hostel owners will usually tip you off about the local scams when you check in.
Yeeeesssss, awesome. Also, kittens! At a campground! : D
Thank you for sharing your travels! Before I went back to school my husband and I would travel in a somewhat similar vein, working in the summer and spending the winter months diving in tropical locations. And I agree with you, it is much more affordable than people think! Also, I really miss Singha but not fish pedicures. They tickle.
Hi! I completely missed that this had posted – we submitted it a while back and the email address associated with it is one I don’t check often. Thanks for the positive comments! As for how to’s: I think we used my parents house as our residential address while we were away for things like insurance. With airfare we kept the cost down by being flexible on where we were going, we focused on just getting from continent to continent and improvising with local transport and budget airlines once we got there. I spent months trying different ticket combinations on Kayak, and we flew on some seriously crap airlines at horrible hours of the day, but we were able to get completely around the world for under 3K each. We took the Lonely Planet guidebook for Southeast Asia, but besides that we just used our laptop to look things up as we went. We mostly stayed in hostels, so we got good advice from other travelers about what to see along the way.
If anyone just heard a thud, that was me falling over at the awesomeness. I wish I had taken more than a couple weeks off between grad school and starting work to do something like this! But before I started working I couldn’t afford a huge trip…I’ll just have to figure out something else!
I’m curious, did you have any trouble acclimating to all the different elevations/foods/environments? Getting sick abroad would be a concern of mine, so I’d love advice on how you might have handled that if you’re willing.
By the way, your photos are absolutely stunning.
Awesome honeymoon!!! But … Indonesia is so much more than Bali! And SE Asia is so much more than Vietnam/Thailand/Cambodia. Come back! You need a second honeymoon with Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and the rest of Indonesia on the itinerary. I’ve got your free room ‘n’ board in Jakarta waiting. 🙂