How We Started Travelling Together
We met whilst working at the same summer camp in the US, found a strong connection through our love of travel, and then journeyed across the USA together after finishing work that summer. This trip really cemented our bond and we knew we somehow had to make our relationship work as we returned to our home countries.
Since then we have explored many different parts of the world and experienced many different cultures together.
The bottom line: we have a blast whilst traveling together and our relationship is always strongest when we are doing so!
We Try To Travel Often
For the last 4 years, we have had to travel around for our jobs. This meant maybe two-week-long trips a year and a couple of long weekend city breaks.
Before that, when our time was a bit more flexible, we would travel for 4-6 weeks at a time, either after working for a few months at summer camp in the US or taking a trip around Europe in 2016.
Going into 2022 we have big plans to take a whole year off work to travel, live and possibly work in countries across Central and South America.
How We Choose Where To Travel Next
We have many dream places we’d like to visit on our endless bucket list. Whilst we try to plan our next destination based on our list, we often just search through the ‘everywhere’ option on Skyscanner and see where the cheapest place to travel to next is. Many times, we’ve ended up in places that weren’t even on our radar just like Madeira in Portugal or even Mallorca.
Once we’ve booked our next destination, we use social media – mainly Instagram – to get inspiration, read outdoor-related blog posts and of course, ask friends who’ve visited that place for recommendations.
Kitti always creates a map with Google Maps where we pin all the places we’d ideally love to see. Then we normally have to be realistic and narrow it down.
This is a great way to see what points are close to one another and what’s doable during the time frame we’ve booked.
How We Pack For Our Trips
If we are only going away for a week or two, we try to pack as light as possible! One carry-on luggage plus a backpack each is usually enough.
When we go on longer trips, we obviously need more stuff so usually take one hold luggage and a backpack each. We usually pack enough clothes for a week along with toiletries to last the first few weeks.
Now that we are filming a lot, we have a ton of tech equipment to pack as well. We have a dedicated backpack for all our tech which we secure as best we can against theft! These items are essential for our hobbies and livelihood so are some of the first things we pack!
The organization is key when packing all our stuff – be it clothes or tech gear. We try to compartmentalize our luggage using storage cubes which helps us to access our equipment or clothes more easily and prevents things from getting too messy.
We are both avid readers so, other than clothes and filming gear, one of the must-haves for us when traveling are our kindles!
We’ve Met So Many Friends On Our Travels
We have both done a fair amount of seasonal work in both America and Europe. Seasonal jobs are a fantastic way to meet like-minded people who can go on to become some of your best friends!
All of Kitti’s bridesmaids at our wedding were friends she had met through working abroad. By meeting people this way, it also opens the door to travel possibilities after you’ve finished working.
We’ve spent time in areas of the US we probably wouldn’t have visited if not for the friends we met who lived there – and these experiences turned out to be some of our favorite travel memories because they were shared with our friends.
We’ve also had great experiences exploring with locals most notably on our trip through the Caribbean.
On islands like St Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis, we spent entire days with local guides who showed us around their home and provided us with plenty of local knowledge and experiences we otherwise wouldn’t have got.
It is a great way to understand a culture more personally whilst also supporting the local people and economy.
Countries We’ve Visited Together
We have currently visited 35 countries (26 countries together) over 2 continents (Europe and North America).
Our favorite destination would have to be Oahu, Hawaii! We spontaneously booked tickets there in 2017 after our planned road trip down the Pacific Coast fell through. It was the best decision we’ve ever made! Oahu is a slice of perfection! It has everything you would want within a very short distance of one another: jungle treks, ridge hikes, mountain walks, incredible beaches, diverse wildlife, amazing weather, and more. We would absolutely love to go back to Hawaii and explore its other gorgeous islands.
We also loved the island of St Lucia in the Caribbean. Its landscapes are incredible and in one day we took a speedboat down the coast, bathed in the volcanic mud of a volcano, and washed it off under a gorgeous jungle waterfall! Not many places in the world can offer that sort of diversity!
No.1 on our bucket list is the South American continent which is the reason that is our first planned destination going into our year-long trip next year!
Our main hiking goals are to do the Inca trail up to Machu Picchu in Peru and to trek up to Everest Base Camp in Nepal!
Some Apps & Websites We Love
We use Google Maps a lot whether we are traveling by car to a location or need to find the best way of getting somewhere by public transport.
In order to find our hiking trails, we love AllTrails. It is a fantastic app that provides detailed information on hiking trails around the world and allows you to create your own customized trails and share them with other users!
We book all our accommodation through either Airbnb or Booking.com. Between these two sites, we always find what we are looking for – although we tend to lean toward Airbnb for the uniqueness you can find on there.
How We Think GAFFL Can Help Travelers
When entering a new country for the first time, the culture shock can be quite severe. It can be quite intimidating trying to find your way around, communicating with locals, and avoiding scams. It is always good to be prepared for these types of experiences and that’s one area where we think GAFFL is great!
You could search for people who have already been living in a country you want to travel to for a while and have experience of what that is like. They may be able to offer advice for when you arrive and what sort of things to look out for in order to stay safe.
Now that we are going to be living in foreign countries for longer, we want to start networking and meeting with people and couples like ourselves who are living in a similar way.
GAFFL offers a fantastic and very easy way of searching for other travellers who may be interested in meeting up and sharing experiences. This is great (especially if you are a solo traveller) as it can be very easy to feel isolated and alone when living in a foreign country especially if you don’t speak the language. We will definitely be using GAFFL when we are living abroad!
Why We Started Our Blog
It was always in the back of our minds to share our tips and tricks with others, but we never seemed to have the time to start.
However, during the lockdown in England, when we were both furloughed and couldn’t travel, we suddenly had a lot of time on our hands. So, starting a blog and reliving those precious travel moments helped us get through those uncertain times.
Our YouTube Channel started soon after when we realized that we would love to record our travel moments as well and share them with our friends and families.
Since our blog Kitti Around The World and YouTube community are slowly growing, we want to make sure that our posts and videos are helpful and provide people with a lot of tips, fun facts, and historical information.
We spend a lot of our time hiking, so provide our viewers and readers with links to the routes that we do, parking options, and information on the conditions and facilities in the area.
We love spending time in the outdoors and admiring the natural beauty of places so try our best to promote environmentally friendly behavior by making people aware of best practices such as the Leave No Trace initiative.
How We Manage Our Travel Costs
We hardly ever splurge when we’re travelling! When using sites like Booking.com we try to find accommodation where breakfast is included and filter the search from the lowest price to highest.
More recently we have been booking a lot through Airbnb and we try to ensure that the accommodation we book has kitchen facilities, or at least a microwave, so that we can even cook for ourselves. This saves us a ton of money on eating out every day!
We try to use public transport (or walk!) whenever possible to avoid spending too much on taxis or airfare.
For longer trips, we always like to keep a detailed spreadsheet of what we are spending. We’ll have a budget for each day and will do our best to keep to that budget as best we can.
One Of Our Craziest Travel Experiences
In 2017, after working at an American summer camp for the final time, we spent the remainder of the summer exploring the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii before setting sail on a cruise ship around the Caribbean. What we didn’t know until after we set off on the cruise ship was that the powerful category 5 Hurricane Irma was building in the Atlantic and was making its way towards the Caribbean and Florida.
During our excursions on the Caribbean islands, we saw many locals hastily preparing flood defenses and shuttering up their businesses. It was difficult to imagine these beautiful islands being hit with such a ferocious force of nature whilst we were there as everything was so pristine, and the feeling was still very tropical.
When we arrived back in Miami, it began to become clear that our flight out of Miami back to New York was going to leave after the hurricane was due to hit. We waited it out for a few days but sure enough, a couple of days before our flight was due to leave it was cancelled. This left us with a problem! We had our return flights to the UK from New York in 2 days’ time but no way of getting there.
We hastily rushed to the airport and managed to hire a car which we could drive up to New York. But we were going to have to drive almost continuously in order to make it for our flight in time! As we left Miami, we were stuck in standstill traffic as everyone else evacuated from the city as well, whilst on the other side of the freeway, the only vehicles we saw were army and National Guard ones.
Fuel was scarce and many businesses were shuttered up – it honestly felt like we were in an apocalyptic movie. We managed to make it to New York with hours to spare for our flight back to the UK, but when we witnessed the devastation that Hurricane Irma had caused in the beautiful places we had literally just been, our thoughts of thanks for managing to escape turned to thoughts of sorrow and sadness for the millions of people whose lives had been terribly affected by the storm.
It was heart-breaking to see these destinations almost completely destroyed and to know that the locals, who had been so warm and kind to us during our stay, were now suffering beyond imagination. It is a travel experience we will remember with mixed emotions and serves as a stark reminder of how fragile our livelihoods on this planet can be.
Some Things That Prevent Us From Travelling More
Kitti currently works a 9 to 5 job from Monday to Friday meaning she only has weekends, bank holidays, and an extra 25 days of annual leave. Jon is self-employed and can take as many days off per year as he likes. However, if he takes time off from work, he doesn’t get paid which makes it a tough balancing act!
Kitti is always free on the weekends but being a tennis coach Jon’s busier times are evenings and weekends. Since we’ve settled down into these jobs it has been hard to find the best time to explore, but since travelling is our main hobby and priority, we’ve still managed to travel to some amazing destinations.
However, these trips have always felt rushed as we’ve been trying to pack in so much in such a short period of time. This means we usually come back from our travels more tired than when we left!
This is the main reason we decided to take a break from our jobs: so we could travel at a more relaxed pace and have the time to really explore and learn about the culture of the places we travel to, rather than just zipping through it as fast as we can!
Lessons We’ve Learned From Traveling
Whilst working full time we have had to be savvy with our travel plans. We always try to book our trips outside of school holidays and, when possible, we try to book the trip around a week with one or two Bank Holidays in it. This limits the cost of accommodation and flights and ensures that Kitti takes the fewest annual leave days possible, which can then be saved for our next trip!
During the period of our lives when we were doing seasonal jobs on a regular basis we would try to save up as much as we could by spending as little as possible during the actual working part of the trip. Once our contract was over, we then had the most money possible for the travel part of the trip. Seasonal work is a great way to start traveling as you meet so many amazing, like-minded people who understand your way of thinking. You usually get accommodation and food included with your job so you really can save as much as you want to for traveling!
The main thing we wished we had known when we started traveling was just how great it is! Jon has travelled quite a lot throughout his entire life but Kitti didn’t board her first flight until she was 21! She has made up for lost time since then, but certainly wishes she had started sooner! Once you start the travel bug is addictive and it’s hard to stop!
It’s said a lot but travel honestly does broaden your mind and shapes you as a person. When Jon left to go to work in the US for the first time, he was pretty introverted and didn’t have a lot of confidence. He now works face to face with many clients every day as a tennis coach. Kitti could hardly speak English when she left for the UK for the first time and therefore struggled with confidence also. She now speaks fluent English and can now work and live in a different country with ease.
Travel has really helped both of us to discover who we are, and it brought us together in the first place. If we’ve learned anything from our travels over the years, it’s that there really isn’t much of a downside!
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