Our day to day lives on the road are surprisingly dull.
We wake up. I’d love to say we’re the kind of travellers who are up with the birds, sipping on whatever local delicacy is appropriate as we gaze wistfully at the sunrise. We are not. Barring a specific activity that requires an early morning, we wake up when we wake up. Usually, I am up earlier than Zev. I’ll catch up on social media and read until I lose patience, and wake Zev up.
We tend to spend the morning ticking off the things we’ve decided we want to do or see that day, before heading back to our accommodation in the afternoon to escape the heat, and do some life admin. This might be catching up with family and friends at home, working on the website, making a plan for the following day, and planning for our next destination.
As I talked about in our planning post, we leave home with a rough itinerary. This is just a list of places we want to go, in an order that makes geographical sense. So our plans for place B really begin when we’re in place A.
Generally speaking, I’ll tell Zev where we’re off to next. This does often change from our original itinerary – things get added, things get removed… Sometimes, we’ll hear about something and decide to take a detour to go see it. Sometimes, we’ll hear that something isn’t worth the trip, so we cross it off. Sometimes, local conditions change, so we need to make a new plan. The joy of not having a fixed itinerary is that we can change things at the drop of a hat with no worries.
Our first step is to do some googling. We check out blogs (see our planning post for a list of our favourites), TripAdvisor, and guidebooks to get an idea of what there is to do in the next destination. Based on that, we take a stab at how long we want to stay. Usually, we try to lowball it. The risk you run if you choose to book accommodation in advance is that if you don’t like a place, you lose money if you leave. On the other hand you can always stay longer if you like it.
Now that we have our estimated time of stay, Zev does his thing. He is the accommodation booking maestro, and has a level of patience that I just do not have. He hits up TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Hostelworld, Agoda, and any other website he can find to get us some sweet accommodation at a reasonable price. On our last trip, we stayed in a wide variety of accommodation. From 5 star hotels to yurts, bamboo huts to cruise ships, homestays to filthy hostels, we stayed in some pretty incredible accommodation on our trip, and Zev booked it all.
There are plenty of others who will tell you that booking accommodation in advance is a waste of time – you can always find somewhere to stay when you arrive, often for cheaper than anything you can book online. If that works for you, more power to you! As much as we’d love to be able to be that flexible, we’re just not. We know that, so this is how we manage it. When we get off a 5 hour bus ride, I want to know exactly where our accommodation is, and how we’re getting there. I’m not interested in spending an hour walking around trying to find somewhere to stay.
The next step is to let our fingers do the walking again, trying to figure out how to get from place A to place B. This can be difficult and time consuming in some places, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Between the internet and local advice, you can usually sort something out.
Back to our day. As I said, we spend the afternoon hiding from the heat, catching up on admin and TV shows, and yes, I’ll admit it, napping (Slug Life all the way). Once the heat of the day has worn off, we sneak back out for dinner. We’re early (and often) eaters, so quite a bit of our afternoon research also focuses on where our next meal is coming from. For the record, we eat a variety of food, from fancy restaurants, to street food, to greasy burgers from western restaurants – so not all of our meals require hours on TripAdvisor.
And that’s basically our day to day lives on the road. Zev and I have a pretty good divide and conquer approach to things, and it works well for us.
Plenty of people are way WAY more flexible with their on the road plans. The idea of booking accommodation in advance would horrify them. Similarly, many would balk at spending the afternoon being lazy and hanging out in their room. Why would you waste a precious second of your time watching movies? We’re in no rush when we travel. We like watching movies and TV, and lying around reading. There are so many ways to travel, and this is what works for us.
Tell us about your life on the road! How do you spend your days, and plan for your next destination (or not)?