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.
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!