Solo Travel Tips: 15 Things You Need To Know

Traveling alone was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After over a year and a half of solo travel, here are my best tips:

Solo Feamale Travel Tips: What You Need To Know

1. Don’t Be A Stress Mess 

I will be completely honest here – I had a MASSIVE breakdown in San Francisco airport, while I was standing in line to go through security, immediately after my parents dropped me off for the first flight on my never-ending solo journey around the world. I had to resort to taking deep breaths in my hands. If only I could tell my SFO-breakdown-self what I know now – take it one day at a time! After that initial round of questioning why you would ever sign up for this, you’ll realize how amazing and rewarding solo travel really is.

2. Carry the Right Gear

As a solo traveler, you won’t have any strong man candy to lug around those extra large suitcases, so try packing light. I carry only a 44L backpack, and a day bag. By packing carry on only, you’ll be able to easily carry around your own luggage, plus you’ll save on checked baggage fees – ka-ching!

Tortuga Around the World Backpack 44L

3. Stay Where You’re Comfortable

When I was traveling through Europe, I did Couchsurfing, and loved it. In Central and South America, I tried out hostels. I was not too keen on the large dorm rooms full of anywhere from 8 to 16 people, but I was a fan of private rooms. I can be a light sleeper, so though it was more expensive to get a private room, I was able to sleep. I’m now a huge fan of Airbnb, as they have some excellent budget options (and some crazy cool villas, if you’re looking to splurge). Sign up to Airbnb here to get free travel credit when you book your first place!

4. Don’t be Afraid to Splurge

When I first started traveling, I was a bit freaked out to see so much money going out of my bank account and not much coming in. This sometimes made me want to stay home all day and inhale mass amounts of baguettes and red wine. But remember – you may never come back to this place. Carpe diem, seize the day, mi amor! Take advantage of where you are and do all the things you’ve always wanted to do – it’s been scientifically proven that we feel best when spending our hard earned money on experiences, so why not book that coffee tour in Colombia or go to the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai?!

Solo Female Travel Tips: What You Need To Know

5. You WILL Make Friends

I’ve met so many people while traveling the world. I’ve made far more friends in the past year than I have in any previous year of my life. If you are looking to make friends while traveling, check out my video on the subject. Also, consider couchsurfing (you’ll become automatic bff’s with your local host), and private or dorm rooms at hostels (check out reviews to make sure it’s a social hostel).

6. Learn to Take Your Own Travel Photos

The number one mistake I made when I started traveling was being shy about asking people to take my photo. I was even shy about taking selfies. I was happy to be immersed in the place I was visiting, but now I have no photos to look back on of myself in those places. Learn from my mistakes and take your own solo travel photos.

Take Your Own Solo Travel Pics

7. Research Before You Go

I felt fully prepared when I left for my trip, because I had done hundreds of hours of research on budget and solo travel. I scoured the internet for weeks to learn everything I could about travel hacking, solo travel on a budget, solo female travel, couchsurfing, and what you need to know as a solo female traveler. If you want to save some time, consider downloading a copy of my ebook, where I’ve compiled all the info into one easy resource.

8. Know And Prepare for What Makes You Unique

Everyone has their thing. For me, that thing is veganism. Though it’s been surprisingly easy to find vegan food around the world, I’ve made it even easier by using resources such as the Happy Cow app and searching for vegan friendly restaurants before I get to a destination. (See my favorite vegan restaurants in the most vegan friendly cities in the world).

Finding Vegan Food Around the World

9. Get Inspired

One of my favorite things to do in my free time is to read travel websites and blogs. Research the places that you are going, pick the restaurants you want to visit, and search on instagram to see some of the beautiful photos taken there of places you may want to visit.

10. Be Smart, Cautious, and Aware

I have quite a few tips on safety in my book, but the main point is to just be aware of your surroundings. Know which areas to avoid, don’t carry your phone in your back pocket, and if you’re in a busy place, keep an eye on your stuff.

11. Dress Like a Local

To avoid looking like a complete tourist, try dressing like the locals. This will help you blend in, and help prevent you from being a target of a mugging.

Tips for Solo Female Travel

12. Walk Everywhere

I always prefer walking over using public transport, because it’s usually a much more immersive experience. Don’t get me wrong, I still use public transport, but taking the long way has definitely resulted in finding more than a few hidden gems.

13. Try To Arrive During the Day

Believe me, this one will save you so much hassle. I’ve arrived at Kuala Lumpur airport at midnight, train system down for the night, with no way of getting to my airbnb. I ended up taking a very sketchy taxi. I would have felt much better arriving during the day when I would have had the chance to take the trains.

Tips For Solo Female Travel

14. Keep a Copy Of Your Passport and Important Documents

Maybe keep a few in a couple different places (suitcase, purse, money belt, etc). I also keep a photo of my passport on my phone and computer.

15. solo travel is Easier Than You Think

Most importantly, take that flight, explore, and have an amazing trip. Solo travel is insanely liberating and so powerful. Bring your positive attitude, embrace whatever comes, and explore to the best of your capabilities.

Ten years from now, make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it.

Check out my ebook full of tips and tricks for solo female travel!

How To Travel The World On A Budget

 




Bradley’s Head: Sydney Hiking

One of my favorite things about Sydney is the great hiking. One sunny Saturday, I took the trek along the harbor from Chowder Bay to Bradley’s Head. I started out at Clifton Gardens, the park inside of Chowder Bay.

Chowder Bay

Bradley's Head Hike SydneyBradley's Head Hike SydneyBradley's Head Hike Sydney

Here, I found the tiniest coffee shop I’ve ever seen. The coffee shop is inside an old military bunker, and the patio outside makes for great scenery to sip on a hot cup of coffee.

Bradley's Head Hike Sydney

After I was all fueled up on my {favorite aussie coffee} soy cappuccino, I headed up the trail toward Bradley’s Head.

The Trek

Bradley's Head Hike SydneyBradley's Head Hike SydneyBradley's Head Hike SydneyBradley's Head Hike Sydney

The path is meant to take about an hour; it’s 2.5 km long. It’s one of the most beautiful walking paths I’ve found in Sydney. Stroll through the dense vegetation with harbor views to your left – the views on this walk are breathtaking!

Bradley's Head Hike SydneyBradley's Head Hike Sydney

Bradley’s Head

At Bradley’s head, see a massive lighthouse, plus the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House!

Bradley's Head Hike SydneyBradley's Head Hike Sydney

Once you get to Bradley’s Head, sit and have a picnic on the grass (if you packed one); the park is very cute. Or walk a few more meters to the ferry terminal at Taronga Zoo and take the ferry to the city. The ferry is super fun and I highly recommend it; Sydney has very cute ferries and the scenery isn’t bad, either.

Bradley's Head Hike SydneyBradley's Head Hike Sydney

This is a great way to spend a sunny Sydney day – get your runners on, pack some water and snacks, and get outside! Just don’t forget your camera 🙂

Check out the hike I did the following weekend: the Coogee Beach to Bondi Beach coastal trek!

 

 

Getting To Machu Picchu: The Lost City of the Incas

Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world – and for good reason. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

I visited Machu Picchu in May 2016; it was the end of my first trip to South America. I started off by spending a few days in Cusco, the adorable little city that acts as the hub for tourists to acclimate to the elevation before going to Machu Picchu, which is located in Aguas Calientes.

Top Destinations for First Time Travelers

I stayed in Cusco for five days before heading to Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu. I didn’t think I had any problems acclimating to the elevation, until I took a flight of stairs to get to my hostel dorm. It was a bit tough to get up, but I’m not sure if that is from the elevation or the shape I am in 😉

I booked a tour from a local tour company to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu, which cost $200 USD and included the following:

  • Transport by van to the railway to get to Aguas Calientes (there is a 3 hour drive before a 30 mins train ride), and back to Cusco
  • Hotel room for one night (one room, two twin beds, shared with my brother)
  • Lunch, Dinner on day one; Breakfast on day 2
  • Tour guide for your exploration of Machu Picchu
  • Ticket entry to Machu Picchu

This tour did NOT include the following:

  • train service from Hidroelectrico to Aguas Calientes (a 30 min, $30 train ride, or about 3-4 hour hike)
  • the bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (a 10 min, $18 bus ride, or 1 hour hike)

We left on this tour early in the morning on Day 1. We met at the city center, hopped in a taxi van, and were driven about 3 hours out of Cusco to Hidroelectrico. We had a pit stop to use the restroom and grab a coffee/lunch/snack if we needed it. We drove a bit more and then had another stop off for lunch, at an open concept, local restaurant surrounded by mountains.

We arrived in Hidroelectrico (where the road ends) at about 2:30 PM. My brother and I were interested in a little hike, so we strapped our backpacks on and began the trek along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes with the rest of our group.

Getting To Machu Picchu

Getting To Machu Picchu

The hike had some beautiful views, and took us about 3 hours to get to Aguas Calientes. We trekked up the mountain into the city just as the sun was about to set. We were assigned a room at the hotel, had a briefing with the tour guide, and then went to sleep, as we had an early morning.

Getting To Machu Picchu

We woke up at 4 am the next day to head up to Machu Picchu. My brother and I had purchased round trip tickets for the bus to get up to Machu Picchu the night before. Another option is to hike up the mountain; it’s a very steep, 1 hour hike, which you’ll have to begin at 4 am. I’m not a morning person, so bus tickets were worth the $36 round trip to me. Pro Tip: if you are in decent shape before going to Machu Picchu, you can save a pretty penny on transport by hiking.

We got in to Machu Picchu early in the morning and walked through the ruins with a guide. It was so foggy, but the guide said it could clear up before we left.

Getting To Machu Picchu

Getting To Machu Picchu

After our guided tour, which was very informative, we had a couple hours to wander. The llamas were all over the place. I actually had to jump out of the way while walking up some stairs to avoid getting stampeded by a llama!

Getting To Machu Picchu

Getting To Machu Picchu

We walked up to the top of the mountain for the best view – but it was still a bit foggy.

Getting To Machu Picchu

Overall, it was a great trip. If you’d like to see Machu Picchu, I’d highly recommend going sooner rather than later. The tour guide mentioned that the tourism at Machu Picchu is causing some erosion of the mountain – meaning that it could be shut down to tourists as soon as two years from now!

Tips for Visiting Machu Picchu: 

  • Save money by hiking versus taking expensive transport
  • Bring food into Machu Picchu – there is one restaurant there and it’s very expensive
  • Don’t overpack – this will make it easier to hike and get around in general
  • I would recommend not booking a tour, or booking a 3+ day tour, to get the most amount of time at Machu Picchu (I was only at Machu Picchu for about 4 hours total; not very much time considering how long it took to get there)
  • Bring water
  • Wear layers, as it gets very cool and windy
  • Bring an umbrella and rain poncho even if you don’t go during the rainy season
  • If you have time, spend a couple days in Aguas Calientes. It’s a cute little town and full of natural beauty – take a soak in the hot springs or take a hike outside of the town to see waterfalls

Machu Picchu

 

 

 

 

Day Trips from Melbourne: Great Ocean Road & Twelve Apostles

On a cloudy Wednesday morning, I woke up, packed a lunch, made a to-go coffee, and hopped in the car. A friend and I were off to drive down the famous Great Ocean Road!

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

The drive was estimated at 4 hours, so we planned to be at the Twelve Apostles by 3 PM, after leaving at 11 AM. We had snacks, we had water, I had a large supply of black coffee. We were set.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

We took the long way, driving to Torquay, along the ocean. The cliffs and beaches reminded me a bit of home in California, but the color of the ocean here is so much lighter.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, AustraliaGreat Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

It’s fall in Melbourne right now, and as typical of Melbourne weather, we had a bit of wind, a bit of rain, and a bit of sun. Luckily, we were able to get some sun at all of the places I had wanted to stop off.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

We drove past Torquay, through Anglesea, and along the jagged cliffs of the ocean. The road was beautiful, though it could be a bit rough if you are prone to car sickness. Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia

We stopped to take photos at a few places, and ended up cutting our time pretty close. The sun sets at 5:30 PM in Melbourne during the fall. Luckily, after a bit of stress, a bit of car dancing, and a lot of snacks, we made it to the Twelve Apostles at 4:45 PM – just in time for the sunset! Twelve Apostles, Australia

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Australia 5

It was freezing cold and super windy, but the view of the cerulean ocean and the steep, jagged cliffs made the long drive completely worth it. I was blown away by the natural beauty of this magical place.

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Day Trip from Melbourne

We took the shortest way possible home, singing in the car, dancing, and eating potato chips all the way back to Melbourne. It was a wonderful ending to an unforgettable day.

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Day Trip from Melbourne

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Day Trip from Melbourne

Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Day Trip from Melbourne

Let Me Know!

  • Have you ever driven the Great Ocean Road?
  • Would you add it to your list?

 

 

 

 

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you are considering a trip to Thailand, you can’t leave out a visit to play with elephants outside of Chiang Mai. I’ve been to Chiang Mai twice, visiting the elephants both times, and each time that was the highlight of my trip. Elephants are the sweetest and most playful creatures, and spending a day with them is guaranteed to become a memory you’ll never forget.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

The sad truth about elephants in Thailand is that so many places will torture and abuse the elephants to make it possible for the elephants to be ridden. An elephant’s spine is not naturally strong enough to carry a little hut for humans to ride in, and they have to go through so much pain and abuse to be able to carry those.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

If you’d like to visit and play with elephants without contributing to their abuse, I would highly recommend visiting a sanctuary! I’ve visited two elephant sanctuaries, my favorite being Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai Thailand

When you book a trip with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, you’ll have the opportunity to play with elephants in a loving and caring environment. You’ll have the chance to feed them bananas and sugarcane (their favorite!), pet them, bathe them, and take loads of photos with them. These elephants have been rescued from the abusive environments of parks, and now have a loving home.

You get the option of many different tour packages with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, the most common being a half day or full day. You can even stay multiple days if you have the time! I opted for the half day, but that quickly became a regret, as I only was with the elephants for a few hours (the park is about an hour and a half drive outside of Chiang Mai). I would recommend splurging on the full day tour (still only about $70 USD). The tours usually include a ride to and from the park, and a meal, plus a couple bottles of water per person.

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

The elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary are well taken care of and happy – you can see it on their faces. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, I highly recommend booking a tour with the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary!

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, Chiang Mai Thailand

For more info on Chiang Mai (and to see why I made it my home for three months!), check out my Ultimate Guide to Chiang Mai.

Top 10 Destinations for First Time Travelers

Are you considering taking a trip? After traveling to almost 30 countries solo, I’ve compiled a list of the top places to visit for first time travelers. These destinations have been chosen based on safety, ease of public transportation, and the ability to make friends and meet new people. Let’s get into it!

10. Cusco, Peru

Peru is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. Cusco is an adorable little city, full of history and culture. Plus, it’s the main hub for transport to Aguas Calientes, where you can see Machu Picchu.

Top Destinations for First Time Travelers

9. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

This little beach town is full of hidden gems – from secret beaches that you can find via hired bicycle, to healthy cafes featuring amazing pancakes, to great little places to meet new people over coffee or cocktails. One of my favorite memories in Puerto Viejo is accidentally stumbling upon the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen – and I found it completely deserted. It was all mine for a few hours, where I just sat in the water and listened to music.

puerto viejo costa rica beautiful beaches

8. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is an excellent place to go if you are looking for a culture shock. The signs are in Chinese, the culture is very different than Western culture, but it’s still a relatively safe place for tourists and pretty easy to get around. Visit Victoria’s Peak for an epic view of the city, take a boat ride, or wander around and eat your way through the city.

Top Destinations for First Time Travelers Hong Kong

7. San Francisco, California

Of course one of my favorite places on Earth, San Francisco is full of life, character, and happiness. Take a picnic and hang out in Dolores Park for the day, watching kids blow bubbles and groups of friends cheers over champagne. Visit the Academy of Science for a fun and educational day, or head to the Marin Headlands for epic views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Top Destinations for First Time Travelers

6. Prague, Czech Republic

This city is stunningly beautiful. The architecture is incredible, the people are friendly, and the language is enchanting. Prague is still one of my favorite cities to date.

prague czech republic destinations for first time travelers

5. Singapore

This city is an incredible blend of nature and metropolitan. Interspersed between massive buildings, you’ll find the Supertree Grove, which will make you feel like you’ve fallen into the movie Avatar. I highly recommend checking out the free botanic gardens and take the trip out to Veganburg for an epic vegan feast.

Top Destinations for First Time Travelers

4. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen will always hold a special place in my heart as it was my first stop on my never-ending around the world trip. Copenhagen made me fall in love with it’s old buildings, super friendly locals, and uber safe atmosphere. It’s also one of the highest rated cities for equality between men and women.

copenhagen denmark nyhavn destinations for first time travelers

3. Bali, Indonesia

Not that you need another reason to visit Bali, but I cannot recommend it enough for first time travelers. Bali is safe, fun, and tropical. I love Bali because there is something for everyone here – you can go out and party if you like that, or you can eat healthy food and go to yoga classes every day. If you’re visiting Bali, I’d highly recommend checking out a yoga retreat.

bali indonesia destinations for first time travelers

2. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is one of the raddest places on the planet. It’s been rated the world’s most liveable city for SIX YEARS IN A ROW. I love it so much that I made it my home for six months. Melbourne is full of friendly people, easy to use public transportation, and loads of eateries, dance clubs, markets, and festivals. There is always something going on in this city!

melbourne australia destinations for first time travelers

  1. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai is a magical place. Though it can be overlooked by the standard tourist visiting Thailand (the Thai islands usually get all the attention), Chiang Mai is a destination not to be missed. Chiang Mai has an excellent expat scene, but the locals are friendly and engaging as well. Grab a beer on the roof of Maya mall, overlooking Nimmanheiman Road, or take a tuk tuk up to the temple at Doi Suthep. Chiang Mai is an excellent place to take a day trip to visit an elephant sanctuary, or check out Doi Inthanon. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Chiang Mai if you’d like to know what to do there.

Top Destinations for First Time Travelers Chiang Mai

A Yoga Retreat in Bali: Shanti Toya Ashram

After a very busy couple of months at the beginning of this year, I already needed a break. I decided to gift myself with a calming yoga retreat in Ubud, Bali. I found a room on Airbnb at an yoga ashram, and booked myself in for the week.

rice paddy terrace ubud bali

ubud rice paddies bali yoga retreat

When I got to the ashram, I was very pleasantly surprised. It was in the middle of the jungle and it was incredibly natural and stunningly beautiful. The little plot of land had stone walkways, a little collection of buildings housing the rooms, an adorable communal dining hall, and an outside yoga studio. I scored the budget room at the yoga retreat, coming in at $10 a night, which included two yoga classes a day, 2-3 activities a day, and breakfast (with balinese coffee!!) in the morning. The room was simple with a detached bathroom, and was an incredible value for what I paid.

bali yoga retreat

rice paddies ubud bali ashram

relaxing bali ubud retreat

I spent my days eating breakfast with the other retreaters, getting to know each other. We would sit at the dining tables and chat for hours over coffee, fruit, and oatmeal. After breakfast, I would try to fit in some pool time if I could. How could I resist this?!

bali yoga retreat

yoga bali indonesia

yoga retreat bali ashram ubud

After working on my tan, I’d head back up to the dining hall for lunch. All meals were made at the ashram by some adorable local women, and I could choose to eat breakfast and lunch there for 50,000 rupiah per meal, which is about $5 USD. All the food was vegetarian, and about 95% of it was vegan. After lunch, I would either work a bit or head off to one of the activities. Over the week, I learned how to dance Balinese style, I did my first Satya (like a group therapy truth circle situation), I took an intro to massage class. I watched sunsets over rice paddies, took a trip to a waterfall and an incredible temple (separate post coming), and got to know people from different countries and cultures. I learned how to say thank you in Balinese, and I heard truly inspiring stories of how the people there came to be at the ashram.

sunset bali indonesia

shanti toya ashram group photo bali

jungle bali indonesia retreat ubud

The yoga classes were so much fun, and I got to learn and work on poses that I’d never tried before. I had never been to a yoga class where I’ve laughed so hard, where I’ve fallen on my neck, and where I’ve mastered poses that I didn’t know I could do.

yoga in ubud, bali shanti toya ashram

Shanti Toya Ashram is about 30 mins by motorbike outside of Ubud, Bali. It’s possible to rent a motorbike from the ashram and head into Ubud if you’d like to explore, but I chose to stay at the ashram mainly and spend a few days in Ubud following the retreat. If you’d like to do the all-inclusive version of the yoga retreat (including all meals and one free coconut a day, plus an upgraded room), the cost is between $30-$40 USD per night (or you can book the Airbnb that I stayed in here).

motorcycle scooter rentals ubud bali

bali coconut indonesia rice paddies

It was so amazing to feel connected to nature again and let my inner hippy come out a bit. I walked around barefoot, lived in my bathing suit, and lived off fruit, coffee, rice, tempeh, and vegetables for the week. Living in such a simple way can truly help reset the mind and did wonders for my mental state. I highly recommend checking out a yoga ashram while in Bali!

rice paddy ubud bali

buddha shanti toya ashram bali

yoga retreat ubud bali

[This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. I paid for my stay at the retreat and was not asked to provide a review, the owners had no idea that I was a travel blogger 😉 #incognito]

 

 

Where To Stay and What to Eat In Bali: Sanur

Wondering where to stay in Bali? I recently spent a week in the adorable little town of Sanur, where I booked an adorable airbnb. Sanur is a great spot for digital nomads, vacationers, or anyone looking for a place to spend some time relaxing in Bali.

If you know me, you know that I LOVE driving motorbikes. This little place that I booked was remote enough to warrant a necessary motorbike rental for the week. I rented one from my airbnb host for 50,000 Indonesian rupiah per day, which is $5 AUD or $3.50 USD per day.

I spent the week driving the motorbike and discovering new restaurants.

My favorite vegan-friendly restaurants in Sanur are:

Malaika Secret Moksha

I ate here nearly every day. The owner is an incredible gourmet chef. They have a vegan menu, which is only one page out of the maybe 10-page menu, but everything I tried on the veg menu was amazing. Definitely go for breakfast and get the coconut granola, and also you must try the Balinese coffee.

Nalu Bowls

I am not sure if this one counts, since I actually drove about half an hour away (all the way to Seminyak) to try this place out. I’ve been following them on Instagram for a year now and was so excited to have my very own Nalu bowl, I went there the first day I was in Bali. It cost about $7 USD; totally worth it. All of their bowls look absolutely incredible, and it’s a really cute place to hang out. They have locations all over Bali and I highly recommend trying them out at least once!

Bali Buddha

Good for smoothies and raw foods, also THEY HAVE COLD BREW COFFEE. Heads up, they don’t have wifi at their Sanur location. They are a chain and have other locations throughout Bali.

Genius Cafe

Great for beach vibes. Located right along the beach, this is a fab place to watch the sunset with a coconut or a raw dessert. They have loads of vegan options but also cater to omnivores. It’s not cheap, but the quality is good.

Tasty Vegan

This place was hidden along the main road. This is where I found vegan versions of local Balinese food, and tried the national dish, nasi goreng. It was good, but a little oily for my taste 🙂

If you are in Sanur and looking to get your Facetime on, the best wifi I found was located at this adorable little coffee shop that was hidden down a little alley – it was called Dusk Blue.

I definitely recommend Sanur for part of your stay in Bali, but there are so many great places to stay in Bali that I’d recommend going to a few if you can!

how cute are the local kids?! 

sunsets outside of Genius Cafe

 

 

A Complete Guide to Visiting Rottnest Island

If you’ve looked into visiting Western Australia, I’m sure Rottnest Island is close to numero uno on your list of places to check out. Rottnest Island (or Rotto, as the Aussies call it) is a small island off the coast of Perth. It is one of the most beautiful and scenic snorkeling spots in Australia. It’s also home to the adorable little colony of quokkas – a tiny little animal that looks like a cross between a kangaroo and a mouse – and they live exclusively on the island. As if these two selling points weren’t enough, Rottnest is incredibly beautiful, AND it is only a half hour ferry ride from Perth. It can easily be done as a day trip from the city, but if you want to stay a little longer, there are also places to stay overnight on the island. Accommodation runs from camping to hotels. If you are planning to check out Rottnest Island, read on for a complete guide of a perfect day of visiting good ol Rotto.

When visiting Rottnest, you can take the ferry from a few places in Perth. The earliest ferry leaves at 7:15 AM. Rottnest is an easy day trip from the city, though it can be quite expensive. The ferry will set you back $79 AUD. The fare is usually less expensive on Tuesdays, but keep in mind that rule does not apply during holidays. I would recommend booking as far in advance as possible. The earliest ferry there and the latest ferry back will give you optimum time for completely tiring yourself out. 🙂

When you get to the island, there is a little bike shop where you can rent a bike and snorkel kit combo for a grand total of $45 AUD. Keep in mind that the shop doesn’t open until 8:30AM, so you can grab a cup of coffee from Dome (just a few doors down) beforehand. Pro tip: if you are  traveling with someone, have them stand in line at the bike shop while you get coffee, so you can be in and out quickly. The bike rental line gets long.

If you would prefer to bring your own bike, you can do so, you’ll just need to pay $15 AUD to take it on the boat. You can also rent from the ferry company, which will cost $30 AUD, but you will have to wait to get the bike settled on the ferry each way. I prefer just renting the bike on the island, but if you want to get snorkeling as quickly as possible, it would make sense to rent from the ferry company. I’d recommend booking this ASAP as well, because they book out quickly.

While you are waiting for the bike shop to open, you may spot your first quokka. Make sure your camera battery is fully charged for this trip, you’ll need it!

quokka selfie = check!

Quokkas are commonly referred to as the friendliest animals on earth – they have no fear of humans, and will happily come up to you. They are super adorable and always look like they are smiling. They are incredibly sweet and I would definitely not mind taking care of one 😉 (fun fact: a couple days after I left Rottnest, a quokka escaped the island via a trash bin on the ferry. I swear I had nothing to do with it.)

how can you resist this face?!
I will give him anything he wants

After your quokka photoshoot, it’s time to head out on your bike! I recommend the mid-length route, which is about 10 kilometers (roughly 6 miles). This route takes you over scenic hills (it can definitely be a workout), past lots of photogenic lookouts, and to great snorkeling spots. My favorite snorkeling spot was called Salmon Point. It’s a great little cove with beautiful bright pink coral, colorful fish, and a cozy little beach. You’ll most likely stop for photos at a few places before this, but I’d recommend stopping here for a picnic lunch. Bringing your own lunch is ideal for Rottnest, because once you get away from the settlement, you’ve left civilization. Also bring lots of water.

my first snorkeling attempt

After you’ve snorkeled, lunched, sunbathed, and caught your tan, hop back on your bike and continue the ride. Ride along the road along the coast, over hilly terrain. You’ll want to stop quite a bit for photo opportunities.

If you’re lucky, you may run into a tiny little pink lake. It’s along the path, but may not always have enough water to show it’s color. It’s a little salt lake. If you’d like some exfoliation that even the most expensive pedicure couldn’t buy you, walk in the lake up to your ankles.

Next, head back to the settlement and stop at the general store for some afternoon refreshment. The store is massive and sells anything you could want. I like to pick up rice crackers, hummus, coconut water, and a big bottle of cold water. There is also a little liquor store attached where you can buy alcohol, but keep in mind that you are not allowed to drink in public (unless you’re sneaky ;)). The store is close to the beach, so if you’d like, you can head over and chill out in the sand for a bit. There are also restaurants on the island if you’d like something a bit more filling.

After you feel refueled and alive again, trek up the short little path up to Bathhurst Lighthouse. From here, you can get a great view of the cute little beach called the Basin, which is also great for snorkeling if you feel up to it. If you don’t feel like snorkeling, the Basin is a great spot for a refreshing ocean swim.

The quokkas colonize close to the end of the path by the lighthouse. If you haven’t gotten the perfect quokka selfie yet, head back toward the settlement and find those quokkas. Pro tip: they like to be in the shade under the trees. The trees that they like to gather under are actually what they eat. Pick some leaves from these trees, and the quokkas will eat right out of your hand. Bonus points if you can lure it onto your lap.

 

 

 

If you rented bikes from the shop on the island, you’ll have to return it before 5 PM. I’d recommend heading over there by 4:30 PM at the latest, as everyone starts coming around to drop off their bikes later in the day. After you release your bike and snorkeling kit, head to Aristos Waterfront restaurant for a refreshing (and very well-earned) glass of wine or beer while you watch the horizon for your ferry to come in.

 

I cannot recommend Rottnest Island highly enough. If you make it to Western Australia you MUST go to Rotto. Show me your quokka selfies by tagging me on Instagram, or use #amandaroundtheglobe.

SCROLL FOREVER FOR MORE QUOKKA PHOTOS

 

 

 

THE BOOK IS HERE

Happy New Year! It’s 2017 and I hope that everyone is looking forward to the New Year. I love the energy that a new year brings. Fresh beginnings, a clean start, all of the opportunity that we can create this year – let’s do it!

I can’t wait to see how this year unfolds. I have loads of personal and professional goals lined up, along with a LOT of travel goals! Speaking of which…. Remember a few months ago I mentioned that I was working on an ebook?? Well, it’s finished, and IT’S HERE.

I’ve been working on an ultimate guide to traveling the world – this baby contains all of the answers to the questions I get asked so often, plus lots of tips and tricks for traveling. I’ll give you a sneak peak – here is the table of contents.

  1. Why I Chose Long Term Travel over the American Dream
  1. Preparing for your trip: What to do immediately
  • Bank accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Savings Plan
  • Travel Insurance
  • Planning Your Trip
  1. How to Pack Only the Necessities & the Gear You’ll Need to Do It  
  1. How to Find the Cheapest Flight & Are ‘Around The World’ Tickets Worth It?
  1. Booking Accommodation
  • Which type of accommodation are you looking for?
  • Long Term Accommodation: How to Find The Best Apartment
  • How to Keep Your Stuff Safe While Travelling
  1. How to Get Around
  • Figuring out Local Transportation
  • Safety on the Road
  1. Saving Money on the Road
  • How to Get Free Tours
  1. So You Want to Travel Long Term
  • Work Visas vs Tourist Visas
  • Making Money Online
  • Getting Your Stuff Together at Home – Opportunities

9. Sample budgets from Thailand, South America, Europe and Australia

 

As you can see, I’ve covered a LOT of information. This book is 40+ pages full of insight on how to save money to travel, how I used travel hacking to get free flights (and how you can too!) and even tips on keeping your stuff safe while traveling. It’s pretty jam packed!

I know you guys will love the book. I created this because my mission is to help people travel more. Travel has changed my life in the best ways possible and has helped me grow into a better person. I hope that I can help you achieve your travel goals in 2017! Click here to get your copy – I can’t wait to hear what you think about it!

xoxoxx

Amanda