These Fashion & Travel Obsessed Sisters Left Their Family & Friends in Japan To Adventure Around The World
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

GAFFL
6th Dec | 8 min read

Table of Contents

    Candy and Crystal, two sisters who are passionate about travel and fashion, started The Travel Pockets as a travel and lifestyle blog. They believe everyone needs a break from their routine no matter how busy their lives are.

    Candy didn't get the chance to leave Japan much while she was younger, so soon after she finished college, she started traveling.  She had the chance to live in places like Norway, Singapore, Hong Kong, and now Los Angeles thanks to her job. Candy honestly couldn't choose a favorite among the cities because each one is so different, and she particularly loved watching the distinctive attire in each location.

    Crystal always wanted to work as a video editor ever since taking a video arts class in high school. She is really passionate about sharing her travel experiences and encouraging people to embark on their own adventures and learn about various cultures. Crystal and her dog Kuma the corgi, have a special bond. She really believes she is half-human since she is one of the brightest dogs she has ever had. She is both her dearest friend and her tiny baby. She wishes she could bring her everywhere she went, but they can only go on road trips together.

    To learn more about Candy and Crystal's adventures be sure to check out their YouTube and Instagram. You can also connect with Candy and Crystal on GAFFL

    Amsterdam-Pancake-Cafe

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    What Inspired Us To Start Traveling Together

    Starting Travel Pockets together has been a great experience for both of us. We were already traveling and sharing our travel tips and photos with friends and family, so the blog really helped put our shared content into one place.

    Traveling together has actually brought us closer together and now we see and communicate with each other on a regular basis. We live on opposite coasts (Crystal lives in Florida and Candy lives in California), so in the past we only really saw each other once a year during the holidays. Now we see each other at least every 2-3 months.

    Narita-Japan-Tomisato

    We continue to do it because we have fun and really enjoy doing what we do. We also get along great and have the same work ethic, which makes it a breeze to work and travel together. We have the same passion for photography and videography so capturing content excites us rather than it feeling like a stressful task. We hear a lot of people get burnt out from blogging and our advice is that if you aren’t having fun blogging, then ask yourself why you are doing it. Why start a journey that is stressing you out?

    How We Decide On Our Next Destination

    We just choose places randomly that we are interested in. There is no rhyme or reason to our selections. Crystal usually picks a spot and asks Candy if she wants to go there. If she says, yes, then we start planning.

    Hole-in-the-Rock-Arizona

    Duration Of Our Trips

    We don’t have a set length for our trips. Sometimes it’s a long weekend and other times it can be two weeks. Crystal has a full-time job as a video editor, so whenever she can take time off work is how we decide the length of our trips.

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    Our Must-Haves That We Pack For Our Trips

    We look like twins sometimes when we are traveling because we pretty much have the same must-have items we carry with us on our trips. These two accessories, in particular, have been with us around the world for several years now:

    ● Pacsafe Citysafe CX Anti-Theft Backpack

    We take this bag everywhere with us because of its anti-theft features, versatility, and durability. There’s also a padded sleeve for your laptop or iPad. Our favorite features are the two pockets on the exterior for your water bottle and the luggage sleeve to place the bag on top of your suitcase for easy transport.

    ● Bandolier iPhone Case/Strap

    It's hard to imagine that we used to live without this nifty cell phone accessory. At first glance, it looks like this case only holds your phone, but the back has a pouch so that you can store an ID and a few credit cards as well. People have asked us if we have ever accidentally slammed the phone against something and shattered the screen or if anyone has ever tried to snatch the phone off of us. We have traveled everywhere with our Bandolier from Japan to Cuba and have never experienced any of this.

    Our Favorite Memories Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Locals

    Crystal goes on solo trips at least once a year and this is usually when she meets locals and new friends. Two of her most memorable trips were to Bali and Prague.

    In Bali, she joined a yoga retreat and instantly bonded with some of the girls and the locals there. She was going through a rough patch in her life and needed something different to snap out of the funk. This was exactly what she needed and has created lifetime memories like climbing a volcano in the dark, meeting a spiritual healer, and making an impromptu trip to Thailand with her new friends.

    Havana-Cuba

    Prague was another city where she met some great locals and became instant friends with a couple of girls who were also on a solo trip. They got along so well that they traveled to Turkey together the next year.

    Our Inspiration To Start Blogging

    We started Travel Pockets because we both enjoy traveling, creating content, and sharing our experiences. We understand that planning and finding unique travel spots can be challenging and a lot of us don’t have the time or extra funds to spend on tour guides or a travel agent. So we help guide you on your next trip and share our itineraries and experiences.

    Horseshoe-Bend-Sunrise

    Countries We Have Been So Far

    We don’t believe we’ve actually ever counted the number of countries we’ve been together. We’re pretty sure it’s seven countries: Singapore, England, Cuba, Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada, and Japan.

    But Japan might not count since that is where we were born and is where our family resides, so we visit there often together.

    Crystal has Galapagos Islands, Peru, Jordan, and Antarctica on her bucket list. Candy’s bucket list is to visit all the National Parks in the US.

    Grand-Canyon-NP

    Major Challenges That We Face 

    It’s really getting time off work and getting our schedules to align. Of course, right now COVID has put some major challenges to our travel plans. We haven’t been able to see our family in Japan for over two years now and hope the restrictions loosen up soon so we can visit our parents and siblings.

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    A Cool Experience That We Can Share

    Crystal visited Chernobyl on another solo trip of hers. She has always been fascinated with the history of Chernobyl and the ghost town that it has become. It was a very powerful site to see and learn about the history of the event and what life is like there now.

    How We Manage Costs

    We set aside travel funds on a monthly basis and also use credit card points to book hotels and flights.

    Cliff-Dwellers-Scenery

    GAFFL In Our Words & Other Travel Apps We Love

    We haven’t yet had a chance to use GAFFL, but we think it’s a great app to find travel companions especially if you are traveling solo.

    Recently, we’ve been taking a lot of cross-country road trips in the US and the app that really comes in handy for us is iExit. This app lets you know which exits are coming up on the interstate and also gives you additional information on restrooms, gas stations, food, and more. It takes the guesswork out of which exit to take.

    How We Manage Work & Travel

    We always start our travel days bright and early because we can get a lot more done with fewer people around. We try to get as much work done in the morning and typically relax in the afternoon for a couple of hours.

    Then we go back out a couple of hours before sunset to get the best light when shooting photos or video. At night, we’re pretty exhausted, but we make sure to transfer all of our camera files to the computer. We try to go to bed as early as we can as well to reset for the next day.

    Asakusa-Japan

    Things We Wish We’d Known When We First Started Traveling

    Some lessons we have learned through traveling are:

    - Always check your seats before you book them on SeatGuru. Sometimes the seats can be in an awful location or the seats won’t lean back. SeatGuru gives you all this information.

    - Make sure to carry extra clothes and toiletries with you on your carry-on luggage if you have to check-in your main luggage; especially if you are traveling internationally. Crystal’s luggage got lost in Prague for nearly 3 days and she didn’t have extra clothes, so she had to do some extra shopping while she was there.

    - Invest in travel insurance. It doesn’t cost that much extra and you’ll get protection on lost luggage, delayed luggage, stolen luggage, and more. Crystal was glad she purchased travel insurance for Prague because she was reimbursed for all those extra clothes she had to buy.

    - If traveling to a foreign country, learn some basics of their language. Duolingo is a great app to help you do this. It’s good to know some basics if you’re in a rural area where English is less spoken and the locals always appreciate some effort. We wished we would have learned more Spanish before traveling to Cuba because the locals only spoke Spanish and very minimal English if it all.


    Other cool travel stories you might enjoy!

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