Which type of traveller are you?

After having been and seen all of these types of tourists I’ve decided to put together a post on how I categorise my style of living while travelling based on budgets, luxuries and what we do.

Through my 4 months travelling South East Asia, i’d have to say Liam and I were Glam Packers
Backpacker

-Staying in dormitories

-Most meals are street food

-Pre-drinking before nights out, then beers at the bars

-Drinking every night because beer is cheaper than water

-Cheapest forms of travel (long and uncomfortable journeys)

-Walk everywhere

-Research different places you can go and get to them by yourself as its cheaper than tours
Glam packer

-Staying in private rooms or guesthouses

– Most meals are in relatively cheap restaurants. You still choose the countries cuisine because they’re the lowest prices (and you still look at the menu for prices before you enter)

– Drinking in places with happy hours and BOGOF deals, ordering vodka on the odd occasion. Not drinking every night

– Cheapest forms of travel with the odd upgrade here and there if its only  few extra pound

-Create you tours by yourself using research, but taking 1 or 2 company tours if they’re really cool

-Walk most of the time, with the odd tuk tuk here and there, but barter of course

Holiday maker

-Staying in hotels

-Meals in restaurants, eating what you want

-Drink to get drunk on any drink you choose. Maybe even a bottle? It’s only 30 quid.

-Taxis and tours all the way – who exercises on holiday?

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The long journey survival guide

We’ve officially done them all: Cramped up overnight buses, minimalistic sleeper trains, minivans, long coaches, jeepneys, trucks and taxis to name a few. So I’m here to share my 5 much needed gadgets and gizmos to help you survive your long travel trips.

  1. A very large media storage device. e.g iPod or iPhone.  

The more storage the better.

(I purchased a 32gb iPod before I came away and I have a 32gb iPhone)

Thank god for technology. I dread to think what people did before this?! Ok they probably read books, but how many of those can you actually fit in your restricted luggage?

– You can read.. iBooks: this app has hundreds of books completely free! Just choose a genre/author you like, or go wild and experiment with random titles, with iBooks taking up barely any space you have the freedom to download many different books to entertain yourselves 

– you can watch., YouTube offline movies: did you know you can now download movies from YouTube to watch offline?! 

hit the little arrow button on the app to download and save some films for the journey. Granted most of the movies are old but who’s to be picky? 

– You can listen to.. music: my personal life saver. For some reason on every travel bus in Aisia the driver feels the need to blare loud radio music all through the night. Not cool. My ‘sleep’ playlist helps to maintain my sanity and sends me snoozing on the over nighters 

NOTE: please don’t forget to download all this stuff BEFORE you travel, as they all require an Internet connection. 

With great power comes great..need to refuel.

  2. Rechargeable power bank

Yes we love technology but don’t you hate that it’s so unreliable? One film down and your on 18% battery but you still have 8 hours to go?! 

Grab yourself a power bank to ensure your gadgets don’t die on you. Get one that ensures at least 2-3 charges and make sure to plug it in the night before. Anker is a really good make and can be bought on Amazon. This will be the best investment you ever makes! 

3. Extra items of clothing

It may be 30 degrees outside but it’s cold up in here! 

jumper/cardigan

Never underestimate the power of air con and its ability to freeze every inch of your body. Keep a jumper handy for an extra layer of warmth. If you don’t end up needing it that’s fine, you could always double it up as a pillow instead!

  Travel socks

Remember what I said about the air con? Cold feet is just upsetting. If your feet are cold your whole body will be. Mosquitos love to bite feet too as they’re right next to the bone, so I suggest you keep those wigglies covered up. Also, to be frank, nobody wants to see your big toes dangling in front of them do they? 

Grab a pair to wear that go right up to your ankles for extra warmth and protection (of people’s eyes).

  Eye mask

You’ve probably read in many of my posts that bright lights are flickered on and off frequently for different reasons during travel. If your sleep is light sensitive, like mine, I assure you this will may be your cheapest and most worthy purchase.

5. Travel sickness tablets

Here’s something I’ve never needed before, but if you’ve ever experienced the roads of Asia you’ll know it’s a whole different ball game.

We got 3 packets of these from a Thai pharmacy and they’re well worth the few pounds. 

Pot holes, uneven roads, sharp bends and crazy drivers are all enough to make your stomach do somersaults.

Do yourself a favour and pop one of these before every journey. After all, most forms of transport don’t have built in toilets or openable windows so where is there to be sick??

Thank you for reading.

We are now prepared for take off. 

Please fasten your seat belts.

Sit back, relax and survive the ride. 

LwL X 

My Full Thailand Itinerary

Hi guys,

I’ve had a lot of emails/messages lately from bloggers/travellers asking how long I think they would need to travel different places in Asia. This was one of my main questions too when trying to work out how to fit it all in in under 4 months.

So im going to post my itinerary of each country in the hope that it helps some of you.

Here is the first 45days of my travels in Thailand and my opinions/feedback.  

 1-4th December: 3 nights in Bangkok (way too long. I weren’t a fan of Bangkok. 1 night here is enough, 2 at max as you’ll be returning here to travel North) 

4-7th: 3 nights in Kanchanaburi (we did a tour here that included elephants trekking, Tigers and other activities so the timing was perfect)

7-8th: overnight train to Phuket

8-12th: 4 nights in Phuket (This town reminded me a bit of Ibiza. It’s very touristy and there’s a really long bar strip. 3 nights here would’ve been enough for me)

12-15th: 3 nights in Koh Phi Phi (my favourite place. Beautiful beach and the Sunset day tour was epic: even know I was eaten alive by mosquitos)

15th – 18th 3 nights in Ko Lanta (super chill days. The only thing to do here is relax and spend a day island hopping) 

18th – 21st 3 nights in Krabi (you can get a day trip to Railay and many other islands and the bar strip is long)

21st-24th 3 nights in Koh samui (unfortunately it rained here for us so there weren’t much to do)

24th-27th 3 nights in Ko Panghan (only the left part of the island is utilised. Make sure you attend a full moon party!)

27th- 4th: 8 nights in Koh Tao (we spent extra long here because we did our scuba diving course over New Years so we were delayed. The ferry was also fully booked on the day we wanted to leave! I think 5-6 nights here would be perfect)

4-5th: overnight bus to Bangkok from Chumphon; after a 2 hour boat from Koh Tao

5th-6th: 1 night in Bangkok (the overnight bus arrive at 5am so we needed this night to sleep before heading to Chaing Mai by train)

6th-9th 3 nights in Chiang Mai (perfect amount of time: ethical, elephant sanctuary, ethical tiger sanctuary, night bazaar)

9th – 13th 4 nights in Pai (too long but I got food poisoning. 2 nights would be perfect)

13th-14th: Chiang Mai (had to come back here while we waited for our Visa Approval letter for Vietnam then flew to Bangkok 

14th-15th stayed overnight in Bangkok airport and departed for Vietnam at 6.30am

This is all of course, based on my opinion of each place. Taking away all the extra nights I spent in places that I don’t feel is necessary, i personally think you could do the whole of Thailand properly in 35 nights.

I will also be posting my budget and spendings in each country in future posts when I get a bit of spare time. 

If you would like further advice on your travels, where to miss/where is best for certain things, feel free to drop me a comment and I’ll be happy to help!

LwL x 

Basic Vietnamese Lingo

Hi Guys Just thought I’d share a few Vietnamese words/phrases to help you get around. Most of Vietnam can speak basic English but it’s nice and respectful to learn some of the lingo.

   
If you’re heading to Phong Nha you’ll definitely need to know some of this. It’s a new tourist area so no one speaks English there. Well, apart from Western ran hostels (I think there is 2) and some tour guides. 

We learnt this when heading to a pharmacy to try and explain that we needed painkillers for Liam’s ribs. An entertaining challenge in itself, especially when trying to ask how and when his tablets should be taken. This for me involved multiple trips to and from the pharmacy and a cafe to use their wifi and get on Google Translate.

I’ve added a dummie pronunciation guide next to each translation in case, like myself, you have a Michael Caine, incapable of putting on any sort of accent sort of voice; or if you are just incapable of interpreting dialect correctly. 

Hope it helps! 

Hello – chào bạn (chow ban)

Please – làm ơn (la moon) 

Thank you -cảm ơn bạn (Camoon ban)

How much? – bao nhiêu (bal nyo)

Do you have? làm bạn có (lam ban cor) 

where is? Say the place, then o dau? (O dow) – thank you for this Thuy Luna! 

Tomato sauce – nước sốt cà chua (nyok sot cah dua) 

Pharmacy -tiệm thuốc tây (tyook Tay) 

Sore stomach -đau dạ dày (Jowl ja jay) 

Painkillers – thuốc giảm đau (tyook jam dal) 

I figured there’s no point adding numbers and yes or no as we all have fingers and a head to shake or nod.

I’ve left this just the right size so that you can print screen to use offline. 

Please let me know if you think I should add any other useful words and phrases. 

LwL x 

Travel packing: carry on luggage

Ok so here’s a post I wrote a few days back, and thought I posted when I was on the way to the airport, however it was left in my drafts. My bad. So here it is a few days late but hopefully it’ll help some of my fellow travellers out.

So you’ve all seen what I attempted to squeeze into my big backpack from my packing tests. In the end I decided to ditch another packing cube and go for 2 vacuum bags as it seemed easier. 

Now here is my carry on luggage for the airport:   

    
 
Here’s what was inside for my 11 hour flight:

    
Super important stuff 

1. Orange folder of V.I.P documents including hotel and flight confirmation, extra passport photos, vaccination, insurance and medication records, 2x photocopies of my passport.

2. Secret travel pouch containing Thai baht, dollars, my passport and 3 debit/credit cards

3. Card reader: for easy moving of money between accounts. (Nationwide has free foreign transaction so I would highly recommend them) 

4. All important medication that you can’t afford to lose if your luggage goes missing 

Health & Hygiene

1. Face wipes: because planes are full of disease and makes me feel dirty, so these are to freshen up upon landing 

2. Throat lozenges: to immunise me from all the coughing and spluttering on the plane and to also suck on when my ears hurt so much that I feel like my head will explode because of the pressure 

3. Neurofen: headaches are not enjoyable

4. Toothbrush: after hours of travel, plane food and ‘morningbreath, this is a must. You won’t make any friends on your travels if your breath smells.

5. Collapsible bottle: fill this up when you’re through customs so you don’t have to wait for someone to come around with a trolley to stay hydrated. You also save on paying extortionate prices for a basic necessity

6. Bronzer: because I don’t want to scare people when I get off the plane, and I don’t have a tan yet

7. Hairbrush: to tame the wild mane 

Toiletries

The famous ‘under 100ml plastic airport bag’ liquids 

Left to right: Perfume, mosquito spray with 50% DEET, anti-bac hand gel, mascara, concealer, paw-paw ointment (aka magic cream), factor 30 (to apply when wait for my case), chap stick, toothpaste, roll on deodorant 

Entertainment and/or valuables

1. Selfie stick: aeroplane & airport selfies obvs 

2. Sunglasses & normal glasses

3. Underwater camera and memory cards in case

4. iPod and headphones: music and films yay

5. Rechargeable battery: because Apple batteries are shite 

6. Cables to charge them

So here’s my carry on – what are your carry on necessities? 

LwL x 

6 ways I saved for my Dream Trip

Its very rare that I come across someone who doesn’t wish they could leave their reality for a while and go travelling across the globe. Its also rare that I come across someone in the older generation who doesn’t regret not going when they were ‘younger’.

I have came across the ‘couldn’t leave my job to..’ ‘not brave enough to..’ ‘didn’t have the money to..’ ‘was never the right time to..’

Now I cant turn back time and I am yet to obtain the miracle of making anyone younger, I also cant force anyone that isn’t brave enough to take the leap, but I can help when it comes to the money side with a few tips and tricks that I learnt while saving for my dream  trip across South East Asia (leaving on Monday!).

First things first, I have been saving since November 2014. In that time I have been on 5 holidays abroad, 2 festivals and 2 UK based holiday weekends amongst many other enjoyable nights out.

I think its fair to say I haven’t scrimped and scraped and I haven’t missed out on anything I didn’t want to. But if you are not me and you do not share my love to socialise as much, I assure you, you will be able to save a lot more.

  1. Monitor what you spend

spreadsheets-finances-personalOk not the most fun thing to do, but I’ve put it first as I believe it’s the most important.

This trick made it very clear to me that I had an impulsive shopping habit and that I spend way too much money when I’m drunk.  This is probably relatable to most people.

I was spending 1/3 of my wages per month on going out and shopping! (enter the ‘you need to go to AA meetings’ comment.) I never  realised until the figures were put in front of me.

When you monitor what you spend you become aware of your habits. Being aware means that you can fix it, and save it.

Heres some budgeting spreadsheet to help you out

2 . Ditch the Gym membership

I don’t know about you but I could never bring myself to pay £60-70 per month for a gym membership. Its crazy how much fitness costs these days!

The only way I can warrant that money is if you go to the gym everyday, for hours on end and I’m way too lazy and too tight for that.

Ditch the membership and get yourself outdoors. Go for a run or ride a bike. If its too cold get yourself on Youtube and go through some home workouts in your living room, technology is the answer.

8-Minute-Abs-Floor-Exercise-Routine-Ab-Home-Workout-Fitness-.jpg

For all you fitness crazed loons who must be a gym member (or those that feel thinner just for being a gym member aka me), at least try a cheaper one, I signed up to Fit4Less. At £25-30 per month and no contract, that’s saved me £360 for the year.

3. Bring your own lunch to work

packed-lunches--z.jpg

Its probably the most obvious one I can think of, but laziness with this got the better of me until recently.

Working in the city means an average of £6 spent on lunch everyday. That’s £30 over a 5 day week! Get creative and prep your meals the night before, or at the start of the week if you want to.

Prepping = eating healthier = thinner human = no need to exercise as much = no need for a gym membership – see how it all fits together!

4. Sign up for the discount cards

The Unlimited Cineworld card  is one for the movie buffs, or for those who hate staying in. One trip to the cinema for an adult these days is £11 in London! £16.50 per month gets you unlimited films as often as you like. You do the math.

Taste card is one for the foodies. You can buy a card for a £1 and you have access to 2 for 1 and % off at just under 7000 restaurants!

This way you can avoid being a hermit at a much lower cost. Try and get all your friends involved as it isn’t as fun to go cinema or dine by yourself.

Best of all, although you enter into a contract, you can cancel it early if you can prove that you have a one way ticket out of the country for a while, just as I did. (you didn’t hear that from me)

5. Find the deals!

Ok so you want to go on a night out? Yes you are allowed, saving does not mean putting your life on hold! You just have to be a bit clever.

These days thanks to the internet there are deals galore. For literally everything. Spa deals, 2 for 1 cocktails, theatre tickets, comedy nights, zorbing, food deals and the list goes on.

GoGroopie, Amazon Local, Opentable, Groupon and Wowcher are all great options. If there is an activity you really want to do, always check on these places first before booking anywhere else. Trust me you’ll save hundreds!

6 . Sell you unwanted/unused goods

Now this is something I’m taking true advantage of, thanks to my impulsive spending habits. Most of the time when I buy things, I change my mind an hour later. I either don’t like them anymore or don’t want to after I’ve worn them once (thanks to social media). I am also just a hauler of absolute crap.

Wallapop and Depop are great places to sell clothes and accessories. Ebay is a great all rounder to sell pretty much anything! (vice versa I have bought most of my travelling stuff on here and saved loads of money). You can put fixed prices or starting bids on anything so you never have to worry about underselling your valuables. (Does anyone want to buy my Finepix Underwater camera by the way? I found my old one that i lost yay!)

$_57.JPG

Raid your house and room and look for those unwanted goodies. Get out that Karaoke kit you haven’t touched since you was 14 or those  DVDs you haven’t watched since Netflix was invented and get posting.

One mans trash is another mans treasure..

I could go on all day to tell you how I have managed to save pennies and pounds here are there. The truth is, every person is different.

It all boils down to your expenses vs. profit. To save more, spend less – simple!

I hope this helps. Do you have any useful money saving tips?

LwL x

Travel Packing: Test 2

At this exact point in 7 days time I’ll be ready to board with my one way ticket to South East Asia!

Remember my last post on travel packing? It didn’t really go as planned..

Last time I challenged myself to lose a packing cube, which I have managed yay me! 

So here is the final outcome – bar a last few bits I’m yet to buy (shampoo & conditioner, 2 X long sleeve tops and few other small toiletries)

My backpack weight: 13kg.

Then I have the detachable rucksack for flights/day time etc 

  Ok so what’s the contents? 

I feel like I need to warn you as I’ve packed quite a lot, even though I’ve read everywhere to take 3-4 tops, 2 pairs of trousers etc. I just can’t do it. I’ve decided once I’m there to throw/donate things bit by bit instead. 

First packing cube   

This contains 3x vest tops, 3x tshirts, 2 nice tops and 1x printed pants. (I will be added 2x long sleeve tops to this for dusk/dawn to avoid mosquito bites). I also packed a white pashmina for colder nights/journeys and it also doubles as a sarong for the beach.

I tried each of these on to make sure they match most of/all of below so that I have lots of transferrable outfits. 

The bottoms   

2 X 3/4s – tan and black

2 X cargo shorts, tan and white

1x high waisted khaki shorts

1x long skirt (for temples where you need to cover up)

I’ve also packed 3x different style dresses  

1x print tshirt dress, 1x black maxi and 1x multiway dress that wraps 10 different ways- I’d highly recommended one of these if you like a bit of variety.

All of this was folded and put into a  vacuum bag. 

The second packing cube  

6x bikinis, 1x kaftan 

It also contains all my underwear which I’m sure you don’t need to see 😊

I have packed 1x multiway bra, 2x nude sports bra, 2x white sports bra and 7 pairs of cotton knickers. (Lots of underwear is essential as I have heard it’s very hard to come by in Asia)

All together the next 4 months of fashion for me looks like this…

  

Health/Toiletries   

  This category takes up so much space it’s crazy!

I won’t list everything here as you can see the pic but some items I have reasoning for:

– 3/4 of a toilet roll, taken off the reel to save space. – a secret pouch full of tampons (I’ve read that both of these items aren’t always readily ‘available’ so I’m playing it safe) – hair serum: to tame my wild mane – miscellaneous water & cotton pads: I have problem skin & this is much better than wipes – piriton: I get bad prickly heat 

I still need to get a number of things including talcum powder (doubles as dry shampoo) and bicarbonate of soda; can be used as a face wash, shampoo and deodorant so may be able to replace the big can. 

Gadgets/accessories   

So this all makes up the next 4 months of my life!

If you would like a full list of what’s inside, let me know and I’ll be happy to send you a checklist 😊

Is there anything vital that you think I’m missing that you don’t see?

In a couple of days I will post my hand luggage necessities and what out of this post needs to be in your rucksack for travelling throughout long journeys

LwL x 

Out with the old…

Welcome to my new travel blog: Lauren with Luggage

(originally Living with Lauren)1st blog layout

Can you believe its only 10 days until I leave to travel South East Asia?!

I remember starting this blog back in July, thinking that I still have forever to wait until I leave. Its flown by so quick, and today is my last day of work for 4- 5 months!

 

Today I have revamped and redesigned everything. The new layout is more funky and colourful, more representative of my personality I like to think!

This means I still have 10 days to fix/edit/tweak the new one before I leave to get it super easy to post while travelling.

What do you think of the new layout??

LwL x

Travel Prep: Insurance & anti-malarias

‘Travelling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer’ I bloody hope so. My travelling trip has cost me nearly £1000 so far and I haven’t even arrived yet!
I’ve done a bit of research over the past week Insurance & malaria prevention tablets. Here are two of the cheapest things I’ve found and decided to go with in the market (if you have found something cheaper feel very free to correct me).

Continue reading “Travel Prep: Insurance & anti-malarias”

Travel Packing: Test 1

18 days to go and I’m starting to get nervous! It’s coming around so quick.

It’s so funny how you read articles time after time on taking less of everything in your rucksack to do yourself a favour. Yet you try to beat the odds.. and fail.

I have a 65L backpack, with a detachable rucksack that you can zip off of the front. I am still yet to work out whether the 65L’s includes the day rucksack or just the main backpack?

Here’s a picture of Test 1. Continue reading “Travel Packing: Test 1”