Traveler's Lifelines

We've made a lifestyle and career path out of adventure travel. This favorable outcome is built on a foundation of:

Screenshot taken from http://www.bdz.bg, a regional train website in Bulgaria

Poorly translated websites full of outdated info and broken links

At the time of writing, we're negotiating how to travel from the western Romanian province of Arad to the Bulgarian black sea resort city of Burgas. Bulgarian looks like this: "какво, по дяволите ?" and the regional transportation website does not feature an English translation option. To complicate matters further, it's often been our experience that the info on such websites does not sync up with protocol.

 

Costly misinterpretations

Not being able to accurately pronounce "Hvammstangavegur" correctly in Icelandic led to a bus driver in Reykjavik charging us $800 US for a trip to who knows where -- probably the North Pole -- instead of $40. We spent 10 minutes delaying the fully occupied bus trying to sort out the situation, and had already handed him all of the $200 we had on us before miraculously dialing in an internet connection and showing him where we needed to go.

Dodgy characters 

If a few people from an online community refer to a host as "eccentric", he may actually be a pedophile.

Price gouging conversion rates

Always make sure you know the current conversion rate between your standard currency and the easily destabilized unit of value traded throughout various pockets of the world. Otherwise you may pay 30% + exchange fees and $10 for basic items that should be pocket change. Merchants in tourist trap areas and border towns often prey on unsuspecting travelers who aren't accustomed to 'market rate' in local currency for goods in the area -- a friend of mine hopped in a cab at the airport in Riyadh and was met with all kinds of friendly chit chat before he was asked to pay $270 for a 15 minute ride.

Fight or flight moments 

There are some dangerously effective confidence tricksters out there who will have you singing their praises to everyone in town before you realize they've backed you into a corner. We've managed to minimize this element in our travels, only being ripped off rather than in physical danger. The fight or fight reflex has definitely kicked in a handful of times when situations turned sketchy. 

The good news is that for every obstacle listed above, there's a helping hand to provide you with safe passage throughout the inconvenient world of adventure travel. The resources listed below have been invaluable assets to us along our journey, and it's our pleasure to personally validate their effectiveness.

 We LOVE Seat61.com, and use it for practical and daydreaming purposes

We LOVE Seat61.com, and use it for practical and daydreaming purposes

The Man In Seat 61

This site is the leading authority on train travel throughout the world. It's intuitively laid out, easy to navigate, and shockingly up to date. Need some info about rail connections from London to Istanbul? No problem. How about something more obscure, say...Zimbabwe to Botswana? Done deal. We've found (and fact checked) info on Seat61 for trains from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, Bratislava to Budapest, and Arad to Gurahont -- just to name a few. 

HelpX.net

 HelpX is one of the biggest hacks we use on the road

HelpX is one of the biggest hacks we use on the road

Want to help on board a sail boat in Tahiti? How about dog sit at a beachfront house in the Seychelles, or assist a didgeridoo craftsman to make and sell his instruments in Australia? Once you're done with that you hop over to Bali and stay in a mud hut that you learned how to build. There are many more HelpX opportunities where these came from, all immediately available to you for free once you've paid the $25 fee for a 2 year membership.  We've benefited enormously from this organization -- the best part is, you get to forge family ties with locals!  

XE

Live Exchange Rates for every currency. Check it religiously when you're plotting the next move across borders

 Sleeping in Airports is not my favorite pastime, but it saves money and can be hugely practical

Sleeping in Airports is not my favorite pastime, but it saves money and can be hugely practical

Sleeping In Airports

We've decided to "grow up" and start paying the often exorbitant costs for a room nearby whichever airport we're flying out of in the morning, but we've definitely benefited from this website several times throughout our travels. It's a legitimate idea -- why pay $100 + for a hotel when you have to catch a 4 am flight? We've stayed overnight at airports in Fiji and New Zealand -- saving an estimated $300 along the way. 

 We LOVE booking.com, it is our go to for booking accommodation

We LOVE booking.com, it is our go to for booking accommodation

Booking.com

This is easily the most efficient platform for booking both hostels and hotels anywhere in the world. They have their own traveler's review section for the listed properties, and often come through with the most competitive pricing for whatever accommodation style you need. It's a good idea to cross reference the info you find here with Tripadvisor, and also the properties home website if they have one. Airbnb is great for longer term stays, but we personally use booking.com more often

Thanks to reliable resources like the ones listed above, far flung corners of the globe have become much more user friendly. A large part of our motivation for maintaining this website is to inspire others to embark on their own adventures -- this is the How, now it's up to you all to discover the Why the Where and the When for yourselves! 

 

**None of this was sponsored, we're just trying to help y'all out. Just to clarify for all you fools, all opinions are our own.

Last updated April 2016