This week’s around-the-world traveler interview is with Jade with one of our favorite travel bloggers, Jade from Our Oyster.
1. How much does your luggage typically weigh when you?re doing a multi-country trip?
It really depends on what countries I am going to and what season it is. Obviously if I am going somewhere during a colder season, my luggage will weigh more. I usually try to keep my big backpack to 15 kilos or under at the start of the trip, and it usually works its way up to 20 kilos by the end as I accumulate souvenirs. I always travel with a day bag as well which has my computer and camera equipment.
My computer and camera stuff is definitely the heaviest stuff I travel with. Although I also like to travel with my sleeping bag (comes in handy on cold planes and busses) which although it not very heavy, it is pretty bulky.
Now that my husband and I are expecting a baby, I expect the amount of luggage we travel with is going to skyrocket!
2. Where was the warmest, clearest, calmest ocean you?ve ever swum in?
This would have to be Samoa. Samoa has two main islands, but I spent most of my time on Savai?i, and it was also there that I had the best weather. Most areas of the island is protected by a coral reef, so the water is always really still and calm.
3. What has been your all-time favorite place to stay (accommodation)?
My favourite accommodation was also very budget and it was also on the island of Samoa. There is a small family run fale resort called Joelan?s near Lano beach on Savai?i. You rent your own little bungalow fale right on the water, and all your meals are provided by the family. All this runs at about 20 USD a night. Also there were only a couple other people staying there when I was there, so it was also really calm and quiet as well.
4. What?s the best afternoon you?ve had while traveling?
Oh god this is much too hard! I think one of my best afternoon?s while travelling was when I went on a tour of the plain of jars in Laos near the town of Phonsavahn. These massive stone jars have been scattered about this field for hundreds of years and no one knows what their purpose was or who made them ? they are an archaeological mystery. Also there was the thrill of just walking through the field, which is also a hot spot for unexploded ordinance and land mines. Our guides knew the safe places to walk though, and it gave me such an appreciation for the hardship the local people have to deal with.
5. What one money saving tip do you most wish you?d known much earlier? What was the last time you used this tip (describe)?
When booking accommodation check several sources. I have found that the price can vary up to 10 ? 15 dollars a night for a dorm room by checking a couple different booking sites, and then comparing against the hostels walk in rate. Usually the walk in rate is NOT the cheapest, so it is best to do your research and book ahead if you can. The last time this tip really paid off for me was in Queenstown New Zealand. The walk in rate was 28$ for a dorm, and the internet rate on the hostels own website was 18$ – so we just whipped out our laptops and booked our room online while actually standing in the hostel lobby!
6. What?s the best travel advice you ever got?
When packing your bag, pack what you think you will need, then go walk around your neighbourhood with the bag for 20 minutes. Guaranteed it will inspire you to unpack some things you probably don?t really need.
7. What common travel advice do you disagree with?
That you need to take loads of malaria pills if travelling to SE Asia/ Latin America, etc. Yes for some of these places you should take them, but in many places you don?t need to. And the pills can be quite expensive and also cause side effects like nightmares or sensitivity to the sun, so why take them if malaria isn?t a problem in the area you are going to?
8. What do you wish you hadn?t packed?
I probably take too many clothes.
9. What splurge was worth the money?
I bought a steri pen a few years ago which is worth it?s weight in gold. It cost me $100 and I have to carry around a battery recharger to charge up the batteries, but it is worth it. Basically it uses UV light to sterilize water and kill bacteria. I have used it all over the world, and never gotten sick from drinking the tap water.
10. Which places have you found disappointing?
Vietnam ? I found it was just not friendly at all when compared to other countries in the region (Cambodia and Laos specifically), and it seemed like any interaction with a local was them trying to scam us. It was also at the end of my trip, so perhaps I was just exhausted as well, but I found I had to be on my guard constantly when I was in Vietnam.
11. What destination (that you?re yet to go to) is absolute top of your travel bucket list (if it?s a big country, please mention a specific city/island).
For me it has always been Mongolia. I find the whole nomadic lifestyle on the steppes to be an incredibly romantic notion. I would love to visit before the nomadic lifestyle gets taken over my life in the city. I would love to spend a month or two there just hiking and riding horseback and just taking in the natural beauty.
Would you like to be interviewed for the around-the-world travel series?
If yes, contact Kathryn (at) rtw-travel-guide.com.