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This section contains all the tools we use to plan our trip and our budget.
|Lonely_Planet||In our opinion - there is no better source of information about your destination than Lonely Planet Guides. The website also gives you excellent at a glance information for any country which can help plan your budget and the activities you might want to do. In recent years we have used the digital downloads and find the ability to download one chapter a really convenient and cheap option.|
|Skyscanner||We use Skyscanner to see what the cheapest flights are for a specific destination. It also tells you cheaper days before or after your dates. When you find a flight you want the site will re-direct you to a booking site that actually owns that fair. All the big ones (Expedia, Travelocity, etc..) are included as are specific airlines. If you are feeling particularly adventurous enter "anywhere" in the destination.|
|Google_Matrix||This website is not pretty but it is another great resource for finding flight information and determining how much you should pay for a flight. You can't book directly with them but we always check here first before booking anywhere else to make sure we aren't paying too much.|
|Couchsurfing||This is a great website that lets you stay at someone's house for FREE. You create a profile and people leave reviews. We have surfed in Puerto Rico, Egypt, United States, Hungary and Canada and each time had an incredible experience. We have also hosted some wonderful people in our own home - many we are still in touch with.|
|Airbnb||Airbnb is just like couchsurfing except you pay to stay. We have been hosting for over a year and have also used it while travelling. Sometimes you share a space with someone and sometimes you get the place to yourself. You can adjust the settings for whichever you prefer. Be sure to have a way to communicate on the road so you can sort out logistics (where to get the key etc..). We have not been disappointed with any Airbnb experience we have had.
|Hostelworld||When you need to plan ahead and make a booking at a hostel this is the site we use most often.|
|Booking.com||Sometimes you need an old fashioned hotel room and when you do I recommend booking.com. I like their cancellation policies and they usually have a really good inventory of places to stay in a wide variety of price ranges. The reviews are fairly accurate as well.|
This is some of the stuff we take when we travel. We have ONLY included those items that we use and believe are worthwhile enough to recommend which explains why there aren’t any shoe recommendations for Heather.
This is the bag Matt used for our 10 months of travel. I liked it so much, I bought it in green so we wouldn't be all matchy matchy. This is our travel bag of choice for a few reasons:
1. You don't have to take everything out to find what you are looking for like you do in a top loading bag
2. It is the perfect size- small enough to carry on and large enough to fit everything you need in it
This little daypack is perfect for carrying the camera, a warm sweater (Heather is ALWAYS cold) and whatever else you might need during the day. The hydration sleeve on the inside fits an ipad or a good book perfectly.
Matt's_Daypack I bought this for Matt for Christmas about a million years ago and it is still going strong. It goes everywhere with us because it is super lightweight and ultra durable. When we were on the Camino Matt carried his raingear, waterbottle, extra clothes and whatever else he forgot to take out of it. While it needs a wash I don't see this little gem ever falling apart on us.
Stuff you put on your body
Heather doesn't have any one brand or style that works. MEC or REI have a lot of excellent outdoor and travel clothes (and gear) to choose from. We always always always look for plastic (synthetic) and low cotton % (dries quicker). Matt has an easier time buying clothes online and has just recently discovered Rail Riders. These clothes are designed to be super lightweight and they are supposed to be ultra durable. We will update after we put them through their paces on a backcountry trip this summer.
Matt's_Hiking_Shoes Good sturdy low hiking shoes. Excellent traction and relatively light. He always adds in a pair of Superfeet because factory insoles are never good enough.
Matt's_Spare_Shoes It is uncommon for Matt to wear real shoes (he's worried about his delicate toes) but when he does Crocs are his extra footwear of choice. He would likely be still wearing his original pair he bought in 2007 except it is somewhere in the mud or an alligators stomach in the Florida Everglades.
Heather's_Sandals Excellent hiking sandals for everyday wear. This style is slightly lighter than some of the other versions so it makes packing them a little easier. I prefer the no toe thingy so that I can wear socks (I know I know) when needed. These sandals are almost impossible to wear out and they don't get as stinky as Teva's or Birkenstocks.
Diva_Cup Ladies - if there is any piece of advice I can offer it is this: don't leave home without one of these things. The liberation of using a Diva Cup is similar to paying someone to clean your house or outsourcing your laundry.
Lush_Shampoo Avoid those liquid shampoos that may gush all over your luggage. This solid shampoo bar solves a major problem and there are many different smells and colours to choose from. Pick up a hard case to carry it in as well.
Packtowel Not all hostels are created equal and sometimes you need to bring your own towel. These are light, dry quickly and a great way to dry your face when you get out of the shower
Scrubba_Laundry When you only travel with a few pair of underwear it is necessary to do a little laundry on the road. This handy bag is perfect for a few items AND it also doubles as a dry bag to carry your electronics when you need to make sure they are dry!
These are a great way to get more stuff into your bag. You will also find you are rummaging through all of your worldly possessions less if you use different cubes for different items of your wardrobe.There are tonnes of sizes and styles to choose from.
Wash_Bag I like the hook because you hang it from your bunk bed or in the bathroom and always know where your toothbrush is.
If there is anything that drives me crazy it is a snake pit of cords. These organizers do double duty: keep your cords from mating and by colour coding each cord I can do a quick visiual check for what I need first.
I don't carry a wallet with me when I am out and about but this is a great way to stash cash in your luggage. It looks like a folded map but keeps your money in a safe place. Hide it with your dirty underwear and you are as secure as the best hotel safe!
These are some of the key tools that we use to keep our blog running and some extra money flowing into our bank accounts.
|Blue Host||This is our hosting provider. We had no issues setting up the blog and maintaining it and our page loads relatively fast (you would tell us if it didn't right? )|
|MailChimp||When we send out fancy email "campaigns" the monkey behind the scenes powering that is Mail Chimp. Easy to use and the FREE account seems to do what we need (for now anyway).|
|Buffer||This is a social media scheduling tool we use so we can stay front and centre without staying online all the time.|
|Travel Blog Success||This is a great course that we are currently using to learn how this blogging game works. The best part is the community of fellow bloggers that provide great advice and tips/tricks.|
|Hotjar||This is a tool that helps you know how people are using the site. It is also what powers the little question pop up on the bottom of the page.|
|Smugmug||This is where we store our photos. We chose Smugmug because it allows us to store AND sell photos in one spot. You can see them here.|
This list will continue to be updated as we discover new “must haves” so check back often. If there is something you use that you don’t see here please tell us about it! Maybe you have a question about a piece of equipment that you are thinking of buying or are looking for a solution to a problem – if so, tell us about it in the comments below. You can always drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com