How to Meet People While Traveling as a Couple

By  on http://twenty-somethingtravel.com/

Meeting people from all over the world is one of the most rewarding parts of traveling, but it’s something that a lot of couple travelers miss out on. Most people seem to have no problem approaching solo travelers or even groups of friends, but often hesitate when it comes to couples — maybe worrying about becoming a third wheel or interrupting the couple’s private time together. Whatever the reason, the result is that it’s easy for couple travelers to become an isolated unit. Here are a few tips for preventing the couple bubble when you’re traveling with your SO.

Stay in Social Places

Staying in hostels is pretty much the top piece of advice for solo travelers interested in meeting people on the road, but it’s equally good advice for couples. Sometimes my husband and I stay in dorms and other times we opt for a private room, but in either case, we always take advantage of the opportunity to meet other travelers in the common areas and join in hostel social events.

Lately AirBnB has been replacing hostels as our go-to type of accommodation, so we typically choose private or shared rooms rather than renting an entire home/apartment. This gives us the opportunity to interact with the hosts, as well as other guests if the home has more than one room. When the dynamic is right, we’re able to form a little family with our hosts and the other guests for a few days, sharing stories and cooking meals together, and it can be a really wonderful experience.

Couchsurfing is another awesome option. Of course, it doesn’t really work for couples if the host has a literal couch (although if there are couples out there that can make that work, I’d love to know!), but tons of hosts have sofa beds or standard beds. The added perk is that there are regular Couchsurfing meet-ups in tons of cities around the world, which can be great opportunities to socialize with local hosts as well as other travelers. Even if you’re not Couchsurfing in a certain city, you can still attend an event there if you’re part of the network.

Be Outgoing

Other couples will occasionally strike up a conversation with us, but for the most part, we’re usually the ones to initiate conversations with other people. As I mentioned above, people often seem to assume that couples aren’t interested in socializing with others, which means you have to make the first move.

It’s not always easy. I know how nerve-racking it can be to simply say “hi” to a random stranger. I wish I could say I’m fearless about introducing myself to people whether I’m alone or with my husband, but frankly, I find it easier to be outgoing when we’re together. If the person doesn’t respond well or doesn’t seem interested in chatting, being able to simply go back to talking to one another kind of takes the edge off the rejection!

When it comes to connecting with locals, learning a few words of the local language is always helpful. I’m the first to admit that speaking a language you hardly know can be intimidating, but that’s exactly what makes it a perfect ice-breaker. Stumbling over words definitely makes you come across as more approachable, and the fact that you’re trying to have a conversation despite your less than stellar language skills demonstrates how eager you are to socialize.

Get Involved in Group Activities

Group activities are a fantastic way to mix-up the routine of doing everything as a pair. Tons of cities around the world offer free walking tours. I love them because in addition to socializing with other people on the walk, the tours usually provide a nice overview of the city and a sense of the areas we might want to explore in depth later.

If you’re visiting a place for a bit longer, language classes are one of my favorite options. Not only do you meet people in class, but learning the local language increases the number of people you’ll be able to communicate with in the future. If you don’t want to sign up for a formal class, you can usually find free language exchanges through hostels, Facebook groups, or Meetup.

Group activities that involve learning a new skill are always a safe bet. There’s something about a shared learning experience that naturally brings people together. Depending on the destination, you can take lessons cooking, diving, surfing, flower arranging — you get the idea.

Make the Effort

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but whenever my husband and I find that we’re not meeting people on the road, it’s because we’re just not trying to. It’s so much safer and easier to lazily retreat into the couple bubble instead of putting ourselves out there. Ultimately, the key to meeting people while traveling as couple is continuing to push outside your comfort zones. Keep reminding yourselves that it’s worth the effort, because travel takes on so many incredible new dimensions when it’s shared with new friends.

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How to live a life of travel even with a full time job

Post from : http://twenty-somethingtravel.com/

You see it everywhere online: “Quit your job and travel the world!” For those with a case of wanderlust, like myself, it’s the ultimate dream. Who wouldn’t want to be exploring a new culture and city every day? The adventure! The excitement! However, this can’t be reality for everyone and for some, may not even be what you want.

In North America, typically most jobs come with 10 days of vacation. 15 if you’re lucky. That’s not a lot of time to explore the world. However, if you’re really determined to see the world, you can. You just need to make some slight adjustments in your lifestyle and the way you travel and see the world.

This year, even with a full time job, I’ve managed to travel to Toronto, various cities in Spain, a number of cities and towns within driving distance, Winnipeg and later this year, I’ll be heading to Indonesia. So yes, it very much is possible to travel the world even if you have a full time job. Here is how I make it happen:

Make travel a priority

If you want to see more of the world, make sure traveling is a priority. Look for opportunities where you can travel where you might not otherwise. If your job is sending you somewhere on business, see if you can stay a couple days after to explore the city. Or if you’re in a stage of your life, like I am, where friends are getting married in different destinations, since you’re going anyways, try to go early or stay a couple days after.

Get organized 

 

With so little time available, you need to be organized. Have a list of destinations in mind that you’d like the visit so if you spot a flight deal, you can snag it. Also keep in mind when you have long weekends available to you so you can maximize your time away (more about this later!).

Negotiate

When starting a new job, when negotiating your compensation package, try to negotiate for more vacation time than what is offered. Most people forget this aspect of the negotiations, but this is the best time to ask and you’re fully within your right to do so! Another good time to revisit this topic is when asking for a raise. If your company doesn’t seem receptive to the idea of paying you more, see if you can get more vacation time instead.

Be a tourist in your own city

Often, we’re so wrapped up in our day-to-day activities and schedules we often forget what is closest to us. See your hometown through the lens of a visitor. What are the top attractions in your city? Go visit them. Get up high and see your city from another point of view.

I generally don’t think of Vancouver as a destination for tourists. For me, it’s just home. And yet, in the summer months, our streets are filled with tourists from all around the world. I try to do something new every week or two or visit interesting festivals happening in the city. I enjoy trying new restaurants and cuisines, which can be like traveling.

Day trips and weekend getaways

 

 

No matter where in the world you call home, there is always something interesting to discover and explore nearby. Weekends are a good time to get in the car and drive. Try a new route or pick a city and town you haven’t explored fully. If going away for a weekend is too much of a commitment, try a day trip. These little trips give you something to look forward to while you wait for your longer and bigger trips in the year.

Take simple flights

If you do want to get on a plane to go somewhere further on a short trip, try to stay within the same time zone. This way you don’t have to deal with jet lag. It’s surprising what an hour or two difference can make you feel. You want all the energy you can get to get the most of your weekend away. Also, try to take direct flights even if it means paying a little bit more. They’re shorter allowing you to maximize your time in a new city.

Use your long weekends

 

 

Every year we get a number of long weekends through public holidays. Use them to your advantage and combine them with your vacation days. Along with the weekends on either end of the week, you can go somewhere for 9 days and only take 4 days of vacation. Using this technique I’ve gone as far as Spain and Japan. I try to find some place to go every long weekend I have whether it’s close by or somewhere further away.

Ask your manager

One technique I really like is just asking my manager if I could take some extra time either in combination with your vacation days, as unpaid leave or borrow time from vacation days I haven’t earned yet. I’ve done this in a couple different positions, and much to my surprise, no one has refused me. The places I have worked for and my managers all valued the skills that I have pick up from extensive travel (which also made good candidate for the position in the first place). And what’s the worst that can happen? They say no and you’re still in the same place as you are now and you know it’s time to find another gig that gives you that flexibility.

Once you’re there

With so few days to travel, as tempting as it may be to want to dash from place to place, don’t! I find I’m able to appreciate my experiences so much more when I’m able to slow down. Accept the fact that you can’t see it all in one trip no matter how hard you try (and I’ve tried hard!). Slowing down allows you to really feel like you’re in a new culture and gives you an opportunity to learn more about a place. These will be feelings that carry you until your next trip, which really helps when wanderlust strikes!

With a few adjustments in lifestyle and way of thinking, incorporating travel in your life can be done. What are some of your tips to living a life of travel?

 

Adelina Wong is a part-time traveler and marketing professional based in Vancouver, Canada. She is the gal behind Pack Me To where she writes about her travel experiences, delicious foods and tips on how to live a life of travel with a full time job. Follow along on her latest adventures on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Where Will You Travel in 2017?

By Steph on http://twenty-somethingtravel.com/

 

I haven’t slept much lately. Not for any glamorous reason, but because I have a four month old baby with serious FOMO. Girl is not a fan of sleep, which makes me sad because sleep is SO GREAT and I kind of miss doing it. Pray she sees the error of her ways soon.

As a result I have started writing two very good articles only to discover they already exist on this site! My brain is basically recycling itself because it’s too tired to come up with an original idea.

So, let’s talk travel plans instead!

I never get tired of hearing other people’s travel plans, whether it’s somewhere I’ve been and can give advice on, or somewhere I’m also longing to go. Travel planning is so exciting and optimistic, it’s just so fun.

My Travel Plans

Are kind of vague at the moment. Mike and I are very excited to show Marcella the world, but we’re still figuring out the logistics of how to do that. We’re also deep in money-saving mode, with the hopes of doing something really splashy in 2018 (still figuring out what that will be… but I know it will be good). Nonetheless there will be travel, and exciting travel at that!

Definitely In the Books:

Colombia– Mike’s sister Joanna is getting married on two continents this summer, and we will go to both weddings. One in Atlantic City, New Jersey and one in Medellin. Colombia is still one of my favorite countries I’ve been to and I think it will be a really fun place to visit with a baby.

San Francisco– Not sure when but I know we have to hop down to visit my brother and sister in law in my favorite city by the bay. We’ll also be working with the Italian consulate there to finalize Marcella and my Italian citizenship (since Mike already has his).

Pacific Northwest Exploration– We’ve lived here for two and a half years now and there is so much of the Pacific Northwest we haven’t yet seen. This spring and summer we hope to do some more weekend trips and drives that really take advantage of this beautiful region of the world. Plus we can take Leo along which is a major plus.

Potentially Happening:

Europe – I probably shouldn’t even list this here since it’s basically just me inviting myself along on a work trip that Mike hasn’t even committed to yet, but I’m crossing my fingers that Marcella and I might make it to France this Spring.

Mexico– We originally hoped to take Marcella to Sayulita this winter but the timing isn’t quite working out between our two jobs and life events. I’m already lobbying for Christmas 2017 in Mexico…. but we’ll see what happens.

Who even knows what else. We will see what work possibilities come my way, what Mike manages to magic with his air mile wizardry and what other opportunities pop up…

So where are you planning (or at least hoping) to travel in 2017?

Travel with Caution, Not Fear

.Post from : http://twenty-somethingtravel.com/

In the wake of concerns over travel safety for women following several high profile attacks in Thailand, Brazil, India and Turkey, the wisdom of choosing to travel is being called into question.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve spent close to three years altogether traveling solo in India, Canada, Ireland, Bhutan and Costa Rica. In India alone, I’ve spent more than two years.

Here’s what I’ve learned. People are mostly good. On long train rides across the plains of India, families have shared their food with me. In remote villages, people have welcomed me with curiosity and kindness. Whenever I needed help, people have been there to make a phone call for me, or find me a taxi, or walk me to the shop I’m looking for, or whatever.

Travelling solo has given me more confidence than I ever thought possible. I have learned to trust myself, my gut instincts and also my ability to take care of myself in pressing situations, aggravated by the culture and communication issues of a foreign country. I’ve also learned to trust others, and the world in general. And this, as the credit card commercials say, is priceless.

However, even though I’m confident and adventurous when it comes to solo travel, I’m not stupid. Like virtually all women everywhere, I was brought up to be cautious, to not walk down dark alleys at night, to be careful with strangers, especially of the male variety, and to always be on guard and vigilant, aware that I am being watched.

Traveling solo successfully means taking those caution skills and exercising them with an almost deliberate discipline. It means researching your destination and finding out about social etiquette, behavioral norms, gender relations and expectations with regards to dress and decorum.

In India, for example, it means dressing modestly and understanding the genders relate very differently, especially among the generally uneducated service workers. It also means taking extra precautions such as avoiding arriving at train stations and airports in the middle of the night and carrying a mobile phone with a local SIM.

Traveling confidently means traveling with a cautious attitude, not a fearful one. Fear is a negative emotion, and it clouds judgment and decision-making. It also makes women targets. Studies have shown that men attack women who appear to be vulnerable — and they avoid women who walk with confidence and boldness.

But even you if make every mistake while traveling as a solo woman, you are still safer than being married. According to United Nations Women, “One in three women will experience physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner.”

In spite of media fear-mongering and official travel alerts, travel is not a dangerous occupation, not even for female solo travellers. The truth is, women are safer traveling the globe alone than being in an intimate relationship.

The U.S. State Department travel alert has drawn a lot of ridicule for its vagueness. It basically says that terrible things can happen at any time, anywhere, and travelers should be vigilant.

But this is the true of life. Bad things can happen any time, anywhere. A surprising number of people die in their own bathrooms. But it doesn’t mean we stop living, and it doesn’t mean we stop traveling.

In fact, in some ways travel is like falling in love. It’s a bit crazy, a bit irrational, and it can lead to the some of the highest highs, and lowest lows, in your life. As the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, “Tis better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.” Likewise it is better to have travelled and become lost — and found — than never to have travelled at all.

Mariellen Ward is a professional travel writer who divides her time between Toronto and Delhi. To follow her travels in India, Canada and beyond, please visit her award-winning blog Breathedreamgo.com.