The Most Unexpected And Astonishing Landscapes To See In 2019

The Most Unexpected And Astonishing Landscapes To See In 2019

Traveling the world and seeing its diverse landscapes with your own eyes is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. Our world is home to such natural splendor, some of which, unfortunately, will not last forever. 

People are often unaware of the unexpected and astonishing landscapes in their own back yard. Here are some of the must-see places you should add to your travel list for 2019.

malibu california

Malibu, California

Hearing the name “Malibu” often brings a specific image to mind: incredible mansions resting on cliff tops and Malibu villas overlooking scenic beaches. While the area has an aura of wealth and luxury, with many superstars making their homes in the area, it’s a place worth visiting to take in the many beaches along the coast and watch the sunset.

Explore the sea caves at El Matador State Beach, a secret gem that’s usually free of tourists. Lounge in the sun at Malibu Lagoon, where the turquoise water laps against the golden sand. Grab a bite at Paradise Cove, the restaurant that got its name from the beach on which it resides. This stretch of sand is surrounded by towering rocks and has been featured in a variety of movies, including Monster in Law, X-Men, and Lethal Weapon 4.

banff alberta

Banff, Alberta

Banff is located in Alberta, Canada at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Both the township and the national park in which it rests share the name. The Rockies overpower the horizon and bathe the area in their majesty. Towering trees make up the forested area, protecting the turquoise glacial lakes that are colored by the minerals in the runoff from the mountains. Lake Louise is particularly spectacular, with opaque turquoise water that is reminiscent of a tropical beach.

Banff is home to amazing wildlife, as well as hot springs for those who want to soothe their aching muscles under the stars after a long hike. There are various accommodation options, from camping in designated areas in the forest to staying at the luxurious Fairmont Banff Springs, an homage to Scottish castles of old.


Sognefjord, Norway

Sognefjord is just one of over a thousand fjords in Norway but is perhaps the most mesmerizing. As the longest fjord, many of the other incredible fjords in Norway are subsets of this 127-mile long waterway which is nearly a mile deep at some points. One of the smaller fjords encompassed by Sognefjord is Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO world heritage site. The best way to see these astonishing landscapes is from the water.

Sognefjord is accessible via train from Bergen, one of the popular Norwegian destinations for travelers. This coastal city has the vibe of an old fishing town, with colorful houses along the water. Choose your travels wisely: the fjords are easier to navigate in the warmer months, but the aurora borealis is more visible during the winter.

huacachina, peru

Huacachina, Peru

Peru is home to many astonishing landscapes. Machu Picchu is one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world, the Nazca lines are one of the planet’s greatest mysteries, and the Amazon rainforest to the north is one of the most incredible places on Earth. Not only does Peru have breathtaking sights to behold, but it also has a lot of unexpected gems, like Huacachina.

Huacachina is a desert oasis near the city of Ica. This lagoon is surrounded by small hostels and hotels, as well as a variety of clubs and eateries. The real attraction to Huacachina is the towering mountains of sand. Go with a guide on a dune buggy for the feeling of riding a roller coaster without tracks. Grab a surfboard and sled down the dunes for an unforgettable feeling of exhilaration and adrenaline. 


Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Serengeti in Tanzania, Africa, is at the top of most adventurer’s bucket lists. Browsing through pictures, it’s not hard to see why. This vast landscape is home to “The Big Five” which includes elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos. It’s also known for its enormous migration of wildebeest, zebras, antelopes, and gazelles. The Great Migration often includes over two million animals in total.

An African safari will change you. You will see astonishing sights that can never be truly captured in a photo. You will have a different experience than your predecessors, as everything that happens is up to the wild. This is an ecosystem that is changing rapidly due to poaching and the shifting environment; make 2019 your year to go.

There are places in the world where magic exists. It’s not party tricks or wand waving, but a deep, primal feeling that changes within you when you see them. 2019 and beyond promise to make for great travel. Why wait?

Thanks for the guest post, Wendy!

Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

September 15, 2019 0

Where to Go in Croatia: A Tour Guide’s Ultimate Croatia Travel Guide

Where to Go in Croatia: A Tour Guide’s Ultimate Croatia Travel Guide

And finally, the day has come for my completely comprehensive, totally decked-out, a-bit-too-extensive, tour guide’s guide to where to go in Croatia. After working as a tour guide here for 4 seasons, I’ve learned a quite lot about this country, if I do say so myself ;).

In this Croatia travel guide you will find all possible Croatia destinations, adventures, beaches, sailing + ferry info, language and pronunciation info, restaurants, all kinds of Croatia tours, islands, cities, sunset spots, and places to visit in Croatia.

So, you’re planning a trip to Croatia! That’s so incredibly exciting; you’re going to love one of the most beautiful countries in the world! 2018 was my fifth summer in a row coming to Croatia, and there’s no way I would’ve been back this many times if I didn’t think the absolute world of this country. I’m the luckiest to have been able to work out here! No matter how sleepless or full-on my tour guiding job has been, I could seriously discover new gems each and every week sailing the Adriatic.

This country guide to Croatia is broken down into lots of subsections, mostly based on different locations and important information.  I have a couple more in-depth city guides that I will link to below, a guide to festivals in Croatia, a guide to how to choose the best sailing tours in Croatia, a complete western Balkans Road Trip itinerary, and more. If you are planning a trip to Croatia, feel free to contact me – I am happy to answer any questions and help with Croatia consulting.

And now, the most ever-extensive, totally comprehensive, tour guide's guide to croatia. Including Croatian cities, history, adventures, alphabet, sailing, ferries, sunsets, and EVERYTHING!

Pssssst… This guide to where to go in Croatia and all of its satellite guides are over 10k words… why not Pin this image to Pinterest so you’ll be able to go back and read it whenever you want?


(If you don’t care, just skip to the next section! )

Croatia has LOTS of really incredible history – recent and ancient. History is one of the most interesting parts of Croatia and reasons to visit the Balkans in general! The area was inhabited by cavemen for tens of thousands of years, and artifacts from even 20,000 years ago can be found in various archaeological sites around the country. You can even find dinosaur footprints in a few places in this country! Fuuuun facts.

Ancient Greek sailors colonized Hvar island in 385BC – the same year Aristotle was born! Lots of Croatia became part of the Ancient Roman empire during the early AD years; namely, Split is the site of some of the most well-preserved ancient Roman ruins in the entire world (more on that later!). At that time it was two provinces, Pannonia (present day northern Croatia) and Dalmatae (modern day Dalmatia – the southern coast!)

The Slavic people came to present day Croatia in the 7th century, and the first King of Croatia, Tomislav, came to power from 925. Croatia became part of the Hungarian empire after a defeat in 1091, keeping its autonomy but being ruled by the Hungarian-Croatian King.

Medieval Period

From the late 1300’s to the late 1700’s, all of Croatia was basically constantly sought after by both the Venetian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, with many fortresses built, battles fought, and transfers of power during that time. This is when the current Dubrovnik and Korculan walls reached their present form, and when many fortresses you can visit today were constructed.

Dubrovnik, however (known as Ragusa at the time) was the only part of Croatia that was able to maintain its independence during that time (for 450 years) due to the intelligence and diplomacy of its people. They were constantly making deals with other empires and even sold some land to the Ottoman Turks to prevent a Venetian attack (which is why a tiny bit of Bosnian border reaches the coast north of Dubrovnik).

Napoleon and the French army came through and conquered the entire coastline in the early 1800’s (including Ragusa/Dubrovnik), until being defeated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire also in the early 1800’s. This is where Croatia remained until after WW1 when it united with many other Balkan countries to become the communist Yugoslavia.


Long story short, and attempted biases aside, Yugoslavia was a forced union of three very different groups of people – Croats/Slavs, Bosnians/Muslims, and Serbs. The country was kept together very well under leader Marshall Tito until he died in the early 80’s, leading the country into a downward spiral. The power was very imbalanced, with Serbians holding most of it (the capital was Belgrade – the current capital of Serbia).

Croats were sick of sending all their hard earned tourism money from the Dalmatian coast to Belgrade and not getting much back. Eventually it became too much for the very proud Croatians, who voted and declared independence in 1991 starting a multi-year civil war. Dubrovnik was one of the places hit the hardest in this war, and was under siege for 8 months in ’91 and ’92 although its old walls had been an UNESCO World Heritage protected site for over 11 years.

Present Day

Croatia gained its independence in 1992 – just a mere 27 years ago! There is lots of recent history in the whole country, especially Dubrovnik, which I have outlined in my guide below. There is still a lot of tension and even racism between the Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians, which is tough to this day. It’s been independent for 25 years and became part of the EU in 2013, and its tourism has been exponentially increasing each year (which has been pretty crazy for me to witness first hand!).

Sailing Croatia Wooden boat petrina tour guide's guide to croatia sailing tours ferries

I have lived in this boat for approximately 11 weeks of my life. No joke.


Here, they use the ‘kuna.’ General conversions would roughly be about 5 kuna to 1 AUD, 6.3 to 1 USD, 7.4 to 1 EUR, and the GBP keeps changing so would be somewhere mid-8 kuna to one (it was 10.4 when I first started – thanks Brexit!)

SO – if a meal costs 100 kuna… it would be about $20 AUD, $15USD, 13EUR, and 11.5GBP. This is a pretty good basis for conversion as 100kn is a fairly normal (slightly cheap) cost of a basic meal.

Kuna are broken down into 100 lipa, and all the bills are different colors to make it easy for you.


Croatia is very well connected by fast ferries – mainly the Jadrolinja line and the Krilo Star line. Timetables and tickets can very easily be found online, and you can purchase tickets in advance online also (recommended). Ferries are very affordable, too, and are the best way to get around the islands.

You can ask about these in any tourist office. The southern coast ferries mostly run in between Split and Dubrovnik, but there are ferries in the north, too. There are also overnight/10 hour ferries from Split and Dubrovnik to to Ancona and Bari, Italy.


If you can’t get there by ferry in Croatia, you can certainly get there by bus. Busses in Croatia are fairly reliable too and will connect you with all the mainland parts of the country. Wondering where to go in Croatia by bus? Busbud is a reliable website to use.


Yep, this is what I worked on! And no, I did not work for The Yacht Week. There are DOZENS of companies that do Croatia sailing! For three summers, I worked for a company called Topdeck Travel that does 7 day boat tours around the islands, for 18-39 year olds. Lucky for you, I actually wrote an ENTIRE GUIDE just to Croatia Sailing Tours, linked here or on the image below!

Croatia Sailing Tours: How to Choose the Best Island Sail Week in Croatia

If you want to sail Croatia but aren’t sure where to start, feel free to contact me. I can help you plan your trip if you need!

Tour Guide's Super Guide to Croatia - Dubrovnik alleyways and little streets, with laundry hanging overhead!

Dubrovnik alleyways and side streets! (@kimmconn)


Here’s just a wee lil’ lesson on Croatian letters and pronunciation!

J – pronounced exactly like a “y” in english. Someone named Daria or Mariana would be Darija or Marijana here.

You’ll see lots of ‘carrots’ above letters, like ‘ž’ ‘č’

Š is pronounced like ‘sh’

č is pronounced like ‘ch’

Ž is pronounced like ‘zh’

Р– like a ‘G’ so here “Georgia” looks like “Ðorđa”

C – pronounced here like ‘tz.’ So Someone whose name is Braco is pronounced like “Bratzo” and the rakija “Medica” is pronounced “Meditza.” So any name in English that would have a ‘c’ would have a ‘k’ here since it’s pronounced differently… like ‘Marco” would be “Marko.”

Let’s put a bunch of them together. In Croatia, a currency exchange is called a “Mjenjačnica.” So, using the rules above, you pronounce it “Myen-yach-neet-zah.”

So, while you’re there, just sound everything out with these rules above and you should be golden!


Here in this guide to where to go in Croatia I have outlined pretty much the entire country and all I know about each place.  I have specific guides to many of the places, so you will find  links to these as well!

First up is the most well-known part of Croatia: The Dalmatian Coast. “Dalmatia” covers the southern coast and some of the most famous Croatia destinations, which I have outlined below.


Dubrovnik, or as we lovingly call it, Dub City.

Where to Go in Croatia: DUBROVNIK

Days: 2-4+

Where to stay in Dubrovnik:

Hostel: Villa Angelina – for a view within old town

Hotel: Hotel Petka – affordable, in the port

Hilton Imperial –  great location (and pool!) next to Old Town

Rixos Libertas Hotel – fancier and more secluded resort

Airbnb: View Dubrovnik Airbnb’s here (make sure to book early!)

Getting here from Airport:

Shuttles from the Airport to the main Bus Station (which is in port Gruž where the boats dock) are 40 kuna. Taxis from the airport would be about 40 euro (300kn). They now have uber in Croatia which seems to be the cheapest non-bus option. You can also easily book a private transfer to your accommodation for cheapter than a taxi.

Busses: 1A, 1B, 1C, and 3 go between the main gate of old town (Pile – pronounced ‘pee-lay’) and the port/main bus station. Other busses can take you to the hospital and other places in town and maps at bus stations should tell you this.

Getting Here from Anywhere Else:

You can take a ferry to Dubrovnik from Mljet, Korcula, Split, and more. Book in advance on Bookaway.

Why Visit Dubrovnik:

Dubrovnik is a fairytale city manifest in real life. With red-roofed buildings sprawling between towering concrete walls, directly next to the sparkling blue adriatic sea… it’s easy to see why this city was named ‘the Pearl of the Adriatic.’ It can get extremely busy with cruise ships and tourists, but is worth visiting for the sheer beauty of such a well-preserved seaside walled town.


In the guide below: dozens of places to adventure & explore (beaches, museums, cable car, kayaking, GoT Tours, Buggy adventure), best places to watch the sunset, best places to eat, and a complete nightlife guide to Dubrovnik! 

Things to Do in Dubrovnik: A Tour Guide's Guide to Dubrovnik Travel


I mention these much more in my Dubrovnik Guide, but these islands are just off the coast of Dubrovnik and are stunning. If you have extra time in Dubrovnik I highly recommend checking out the caves, blue cave, and serene little towns of these islands.  Šipan also has a stunning fortress hike – the one in the feature photo of this post! The Elaphite islands are best visited as a day tour of boat rental from Dubrovnik.

Book a day tour from Dubrovnik visiting three amazing islands!


blue cave dubrovnik elaphite islands

The Blue Cave on Koločep, one of the Elaphite Islands!

Where to Go in Croatia: SPLIT

Days: 1-3 (Best as a base for day trips)

Where to Stay in Split:

Hostel: Booze & Snooze or Fiesta Siesta for a bit of a party (attached to the only backpacker bar in the city)

Hotel – Palace Judita Heritage Hotel 

Airbnb – Main Square Apartment (central/large)/Silver Luxury Apartment for smaller groups

Getting here from the Airport: 

There is an airport bus that takes you directly to the bus station (which is at the end of the port) for 33 kuna. A taxi would be a bit more pricey, around 2-300kn.

Getting Here from Anywhere Else:

You can take a ferry to Split from Hvar, Brac, and more. Book in advance here.

Why Visit Split:

Split is the second largest city in Croatia (after the Capital, Zagreb) and the largest on the coast. It’s home to Diocletian’s Palace – an Ancient Roman palace which forms the entire city center. Split may be large in size, but is mostly suburbs without thaaaat much to do, honestly! This is why I recommend Split is a hub for some amazing day trips in the area. It’s got fantastic food and nightlife, but other than that the best things to do would be having a swim at the beach or doing a ton of day trips I have a post on below.

As I’m sure you can imagine, I have so much to say about Split that I had to split (ha… get it) it off into it’s own guide.

Click here or on the image below for my Tour Guide’s Super Guide to Split, Croatia!

In this guide: All I have to say about the places to swim, look at views, learn about history, party, and mostly EAT amazing food in Split.

A Tour Guide's Split Travel Guide: Adventures, Food, + Nightlife (Croatia)


As you will see in the guide above, , Split is awesome but there is not as much to do as other Croatian cities. This is why I always say Split is a great home base for day trips in Croatia. There are some smaller islands and national parks that are all accessible as day trips from Split, often on an organized bus/minibus tour.

I think day tours are some of the easiest ways to access different points of interest from Split, so much so that – you guessed it – they deserve their own post! I have briefly listed some possible day trips from Split below, but is you want more in-depth descriptions, click the headline or image below.

Click Here or on the Image Below to Read About 12 Great Day Trips From Split.

12 Must-See Day Trips from Split, Croatia


plitvice lakes national park croatia waterfall park croatia





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If you want to hear a situation that describes my dumb competitive personality perfectly, continue reading. . . So we docked early in Omiš, the place we send passengers to Zipline. I had never actually explored the town and I knew there was a big hike to a fortress, but we only had an hour and a half. . . I decided I would walk into town, explore, and maybe locate the hiking path so I could try it another week. A few minutes into town I saw a sign with an arrow saying 'Fortica.' I decided I would suss out the path for next time, maybe walk up a bit because I like to hike. . . So I walked up for 5-10 minutes and found the marked trail. I then thought maybe I could walk 30 minutes up and then turn around, and get however high I could in that time so I could get an idea of how long the whole thing would take. . . After about 20 minutes I had made amazing distance, and that stupid competitive devil in my head wouldn't stop telling me I could totally go all the way. So I sped up. . . Huffing and puffing, I got to a sign that said the fortress was 15 minutes away. I decided I could make it in half that time at my speed. Lunch on the boat was in about an hour. All the way at the bottom. (See that tiny dock down there?!🔫) So I went for it. . . At this point I wouldn't let myself off without touching the actual fortress. So I did. I got there and ran around it with my @gopro and @sandmarc pole snapping quick shots all over the place before turning quickly around back down the mountain, overlooking Omiš and the mouth of the Cetina River. . . . And I was 15 minutes early for lunch.🙃 #competitivespirit #annoying #mylegsareshaking #thatVIEWthough . . . #gopro #sandmarc #goprogirl #omis #croatiafulloflife #croatia #goprotravel #competitive #view #water #peoplewhodofunstuff #inspiredbyyou #outdoorwomen #hiking_official #earthfocus #outside_project #theoutbound #earthdaily #dirtbarbieadventures #earthgirllifestyle #femmetravel #girlgetoutside #travelstoke #adventureculture #passionpassport

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Where to go in Croatia: OMIŠ

Days: Day Tours from Split or Makarska/ 1-2 Days

Getting There: Omiš is about 45 minutes from Split (and about the same from Makarska) if traffic cooperates, and you can get there by bus or with a transfer if you sign up for an adventure tour from Split. Many sailing tours also stop here for adventure activities.

A lot of adventure tours from Split actually take place in Omiš – zip lining, rock climbing, and river rafting are the main ones. Omiš is where the Cetina river empties out in the the channel between the mainland and Brac island. Omiš was actually owned by a family of pirates in the 12 and 1300’s who were so powerful that the Venetian and Ottoman conquerors would pay them a ransom to pass by their territories. The pirates would attack any ship that sailed by and would actually retreat into the Cetina River to hide!

Today Omiš is an adorable little town at the base of this river and the massive rocky mountains behind it. You can find lots of souvenir shops, alleyway restaurants and cafe’s, homemade flavored rakijas and spirits, great hiking, and other adventures.


Ziplining in Omiš is a must for anyone visiting Croatia, honestly. I’ve done a fair bit of zip lining throughout my travels, and this is the best by far. I have had hundreds of my passengers do this optional activity on my tours and have not had a single one say it wasn’t worth it or didn’t love it.

Reserve a space on your own zipline tour today, it’s one of the best adventures in the country.

Rock Climbing

This is surely a great place to try – the sheer cliff faces around the river mouth are the perfect opportunity.

River Rafting

I haven’t done this personally but from what I hear it’s more of a nice little river paddle/float with mild  rapids and stunning views. The rapids are levels 2 and 3 and you go for 12 kilometers through amazing countryside. I would recommend the zipline over everything but if you have time, definitely try it all!

Book a river rafting experience here!


Omiš has one of my favorite hikes in Croatia for sure. The Omiš Fortica (Oh-meesh Four-teet-zah) it at the top of the rocky mountain overlooking the town. The hike is about an hour and the views are just incredible.

extensive guide to croatia travel

Have you pinned this guide to Croatia to Pinterest yet?!?

Where to Go in Croatia: MAKARSKA

Days: 1-4+

Where to Stay in Makarska:

Hostel: Hostel Makarska

Hotel: Hotel Maritimo

Airbnb: Studio by the beach + City Centre for small groups / Apartman Marina for views

Getting There:

Makarska shouldn’t be much more than an hour and fifteen minutes from Split, and is easily reachable by bus.

Why Visit Makarska:

People ask me very often what my favorite stop is on my sailing tours, and I honestly have different favorites for different reasons. But I would have to say in this guide to where to go in Croatia that Makarska is my overall favorite. I think this because overall it has everything: the sheer beauty, amount to do, number of adventures, beautiful scenery, and nightlife. It is situated at the base of the tallest mountain on the Croatian coast (Biokovo mountains – Sveti Jure peak is just over 1700m) and the mountain view honestly looks like a fake backdrop. Makarska surely has some of the best shopping, swimming, and scenery in the country.

The entire mountainous stretch of coastline just north and south of Makarska is called the Makarska Riviera, and it’s all simply beautiful! The mountains look like a painting and the colorful towns are wonderful to explore. I don’t have a specific guide to Makarska (yet), so read below for the best things to do.

Makarska Adventures:

Parasailing in Makarska

Parasailing here is a must. Choose the ‘extra high’ option and be blown away by being on the same level as the stunning rocky mountains, gazing down at the little white dot that is the boat you’re attached to!

Makarska Jet skiing

Jet skiing here is also awesome. Again, the backdrop sets it apart.


Makarska is the swimming capital of the coast, with too many amazing spots to count!

  • On one side of the port, you have Deep cave bar and an entire cliffy coast full of cliff jumps and mind-blowingly clear water. The jetty near Deep cave bar also has some lovely swim spots.
  • On the peninsula between the port and beach, you have similar cliff jumps and secluded swimming spots.
  • Beach – If you aren’t the cliff swimming type, you also have the option of a whole 2km of pebbly beach to swim and relax under the shade of the trees.

Wipeout course

There are two inflatable ‘wipeout courses’ along Makarska’s beach; you can’t miss them! For just about 50kn you can run along this floating obstacle course with your friends. Honestly, I have never laughed so hard in my life! You will slip and fall in the water every 2 seconds and it’s a hilarious time.

Cliff jumping in Makarska

You can find jumping spots all along the cliffs surrounding Makarska’s protected port. Just be careful and ensure it’s safe before jumping!


Makarska has some of the best markets in Croatia. There’s a big maze of markets just at the beginning of the beach where you can get lost shopping for basically anything you can think of. There are markets all along the rest of the 2km beach as well – the toughest choice will be deciding where to get your souvenirs! Many sailing trips also hold their pirate party here, and you can buy pirate gear in all the markets.

Makarska Cafes and restaurants

Crepes, snacks, bars – Essentially all of Makarska is lined with cafe’s, restaurants, and takeaway food. Along the riva (main beach boardwalk), you can find crepes, all kinds of snacks, restaurants selling all possible Croatian foods, gelato everywhere, and cocktail bars for days. Just take a stroll along the water and see what tickles your fancy!


Similar to the cliff jumping spots, there are hiking trails on either side of Makarska’s protected port. You can hike up through the trees and rocks to discover even more amazing views and swim spots!

Massages on the beach

Yep, that’s right! There are plenty of massage tents right on the main beach where you can enjoy any of about 6 different types of relaxing massages right on the water.

Buba Bar

This bar is a bit of a trek from the main port, but if you can make it its a rad beach bar with thatched umbrellas, great cocktails, and a view to-die-for.


makarska riviera croatia beautiful mountains beaches croatia adventure water sports


Makarska Restaurants


I have been here about 23 times and am still not tired of it! Riva is a lovely courtyard restaurant adorned in beautiful vines, and is a perfect setting for a secluded and delicious dinner. Riva prides itself on meat and seafood, and you can get a top-notch steak or select freshly caught seafood straight from a freezer display.


This restaurant is right on the beach and also has great meat and seafood, and also a fantastic burger!

Makarska Nightlife: Bars & Clubs

Smile Bar

This is an awesome little bar with great drink deals before you go out.

Marineta Bar

This bar has great cocktails and is right on the port.

Deep Cave Bar (Cave Rave)

This club has become pretty well known as the ‘cave rave’ on Croatia’s coast and has to be featured in any guide to Croatia. We all dress up like pirates for this night out, right on the water (and yes, it’s an actual cave!). It gets pretty crowded in peak summer season, however, and we usually head to Petar Pan around 12:30 when it gets too packed.

Petar Pan

This open-air club is only open in the peak months of summer, but has fun DJ’s and lots more space than Deep on a hot July evening.

mljet national park croatia island relax sunset lakes adventures

Where to Go in Croatia: MLJET

Days: 1-2

Where to Stay in Mljet:

Hostel: none!

Hotel: Hotel Odisej (proximity to National Park)

Airbnb: Charming Apartments (for seclusion/proximity to National Park) Double Room with Sea View for affordable/in town

Getting Here:

You can take a direct ferry to various ports on Mljet island from Dubrovnik. Book in advance here. You can also take a Day trip from Dubrovnik.

Why Visit Mljet:

Mljet is a super chilled out, GORGEOUS, wooded island just north of Dubrovnik. More than half the island is taken up by a national park characterized by two salt water lakes, the Malo Jezero (small lake) and the Veliko Jezero (big lake). Creative names, right?!

There’s a little island in the middle of the big lake, called Sveti (saint) Marija (maria) island, and on it is a benedictine monastery that was constructed in the 1190’s. These monks are the reason for the saltwater lakes, which is a rare phenomenon in this day and age. See, the lakes used to be fresh water, until these monks dug a channel between the big lake and the small lake to the ocean.

Why? To harness the power of the tide! Smart monks, they were! These lakes are connected to each other by a small bridge (mali most) and a little channel. Because they’re connected to the sea, the saltwater lakes are tidal. This means that you can float through the little channel with the tide when it’s moving in or out. Pretty cool! Just watch out for sea urchins 😛

The best things to do in Mljet are to hike around the lakes or rent a bike or kayak. You can rent bikes from Pomena or Polače (the main ports around the National Park) but I recommend walking into the park and renting them from Mali Most to avoid having to ride up big hills.



Kayak – kayak out into the big lake to get a view of Sveti Marija island – it’s stunning!

Bike – You can actually ride an entire loop around the big lake now; last year they constructed a beautiful round bridge (Veliki most) to connect each side at its thinnest point. However, if you can, ride past this bridge out as far as you can go toward the open ocean. On one side (my favorite side, the north side) you can find a hiking trail, and on the other a simply stunning view! Both sides are amazing for swimming and honestly one of my favorite places in this whole world.

Ferry – Your entrance fee to the national park comes with an optional ferry to Sveti Marija island if you would like to check out the monastery and little cafe yourself. But, I always say that the view is better from afar!

Odysseus Cave – if you can get your hands on a scooter or rent a car, you can check out the impressive Odysseus cave on the other side of the island. You can climb down a precarious rock trail to enter the cave from above, or you can jump in the water and swim into it where it connects to the sea! Either way, it’s an amazing cave with, again, some of the clearest water i have seen.

Other Rental Car/Scooter Adventures – If you can get your hands on a car, you can visit any of a few other amazing places on Mljet island. Sobra is a fairytale-like little town in the middle of the island, and if you make it all the way to the other side (I don’t even know if the town has a name!) you can find a very rare sandy beach!


hvar island croatia spanjola fortress view pakleni islands carpe diem club nightlife croatia


Where to Go in Croatia: HVAR

Days: Maybe 1-3 nights… however long you can party, really! Or, take a trip to other POI’s on the island like Stari Grad, which is stunning.

Getting there:

Hvar is about one hour’s catamaran ferry ride from Split and also about an hour ferry from Korcula. Book in advance. Some ferries are slower.

Where to Stay in Hvar

Hostel: White Rabbit Hostel

Hotel: Hotel Adriana or Hotel Amfora

Airbnb: Apartnan Olive Tree (for bigger groups) but I recommend this one for smaller groups/central.

Why Visit Hvar?

Hvar is a must when talking about where to go in Croatia- the sheer natural beauty, amazing swim spots, and most importantly -Nightlife. Hvar Town has a crazy nightlife and people come specifically for this. The rest of the island is more serene with wineries, lavender farms, hills, and coves. Some of Dalmatia’s best clubs and bars are in Hvar – and some great food, too!


In this guide you can learn about all sorts of adventures and places to see on Hvar island, the best places to watch the sunset, lots of suggestions for dinner & food, and a complete nightlife guide! 

A Tour Guide's Guide to Hvar Travel - All You Need to Know


Where to Go in Croatia: BRAČ ISLAND

Days: Day stopover/Day trip – 1 day

Getting here:

You can get a direct ferry from Split to different parts of Brač. Book in advance here. You can also take a Catamaran cruise from Split that takes you to Supetar, Bol, and some secluded bays all in one day.

Why Visit Brač:

Brač is the largest island in Dalmatia, located on the southern coast of Croatia. It is famous because white limestone is quarried here that is used in most Croatian old towns (you’ll notice the smooth light stone that pretty much EVERYTHING is made out of) and is also shipped all over the world.

Brač stone has been used in the houses of Parliament in Budapest and Vienna, the palace in Stockholm, and even the White House in the USA! Oh, I love fun facts. You can buy lots of souvenirs of white Brač stone – earrings, bracelets, other jewelry, and other home decor like clocks and candle holders.

My tours only stopped in Milna, a tiny little village. There’s a cute little place you can taste homemade olive oil, wine, prosek, and grapa, a few cafe’s, a pizzeria, and two bars. That’s it. They have live music sometimes but this isn’t the most fantastic place in Croatia.

Bol – This is a famous v-shaped beach that changes shape with the currents. It’s a very popular place for tourists and a lot of day tours from Split or Makarska will do trips to Bol.

Supetar – One of the biggest towns on Brač bordering the channel between Brač and Omis.


Vis Island Croatia Fort George War tours

The view from Fort George, Vis.


Where to Go in Croatia: VIS ISLAND

Time: 1-2 Days

Where to Stay in Vis

Hotel: Hotel San Giorgio (Vis Town) / Villa Kamenica (Komiza)

Getting There:

Vis is a stop for many ferries running from Split, Hvar, etc. It is also a stop on many boat tours. I recommend visiting Vis and the Blue Caves as a day tour from Split.

This tour with well-established Providenca Charters visits Komiža, Hvar, the Blue Caves, the Green Cave, and the incredible Stiniva Cove (Pictured below) in one day. Great value for people without much time!

Why Visit Vis:

Vis is the tenth largest Adriatic island, and is home to many peaceful getaways. The island was only opened to tourism in 1990 after being a military base for former Yugoslavia and a submarine base and hideaway for Marshall Tito during WW2!

Vis is great for quiet time and renting a scooter to explore old war areas. There are also some pretty big parties in amazing venues if you catch the right night! Vis is also known for gorgeous picturesque coves and its famous blue caves on an island just off the coast.

View my Super-Guide to Vis Island by clicking here or on the image below! Like many of these places, there is so much to do that it needs its own guide. 

Vis Croatia: A Tour Guide's Guide to Vis Island Beaches, Nightlife, & More

Where to Go in Croatia: KORČULA ISLAND

Time: 1-2 days

Where to Stay in Korčula:

Hostel – Hostel Korčula – most well-rated and central

Hotel – Hotel Korčula – central with a great view

Airbnb –  Apartmant Justina – central and large – make sure to book early!

Getting There:

Korčula is about the mid-way point on a ferry trip between Split and Dubrovnik. Book ferries in advance here. You can also visit the island as a day tour from Dubrovnik along with some other wine regions.

Why Visit Korčula:

Known as the ‘mini-Dubrovnik’ because of its smaller walled town, Korčula is just as gorgeous but more low-key. You’ll learn some fascinating history and have time to relax with amazing views + wine. Youo can watch a cultural sword dance called Moreska, eat tons of fresh seafood, take part in wind sports, and more. There’s also some enjoyable nightlife as well.

I wrote another Super Guide to Korčula, and you can view it by clicking here!

In this guide: The best places to explore, adventure sports, sunset spots, places to eat, and nightlife in Korčula. 

A Tour Guide's Travel Guide to Korčula Island, Croatia


Where to Go in Croatia: North  of Split/The North Coast

Although most sailing tours only touch on the places to go in Croatia I have mentioned ab0ve, the fun doesn’t stop there! There are tons of other gorgeous regions of Croatia it would be a shame to miss out on. In no particular order, here are some other must-see cities and National Parks that are important to note when  considering where to go in Croatia. Many are included in my Balkans Road Trip Itinerary as well.


Days: Day trip/road trip from Split/Zadar

Krka (pictured above) is one of two well-known waterfall parks in the country. This is the one you can swim in. Krka is a beautiful National park with different levels of waterfalls and forest trails to explore. Krka is the closest to Split so would be a good day trip from Split!

Day tours usually take you to the waterfalls and a few other viewpoints and points of interest, and will include an amazing included homemade lunch (depending on which company you use).

Visit Krka as a Day Trip from Split, or as a day trip from Zadar!  It’s about an equal distance from both.


Days: Day Trip/Road Trip Stop

My tours to Krka also stop in Šibenik for an hour or so. Šibenik is another scenic coastal town characterized by a quaint stone old town full of alleyways and cafes, along a port full of boats looking out to the Adriatic.


Days: Day Trip/Road Trip Stop

This is the other well-known waterfall park in Croatia, perhaps more well-known than Krka. You cannot swim in this one, but it is much larger than Krka and has pathways and trails that you could walk around all day! There are dozens upon dozens of beautiful waterfalls atop the clearest and most turquoise water you can imagine (are you seeing a theme in this country?!).

It’s very, very overrun with tourists, though, and is borderline unsafely crowded in high season. My pro guide to Croatia tip? Go before or after peak season, in May/June or September/October. Read more about visiting Plitvice Lakes in my Balkans road trip guide.

Plitvice is best visited as a day tour, and can be booked from Split, Zadar, or Zagreb.  It’s cheapest from Zadar and about equidistant between Zadar and Zagreb.

Balkans Road Trip: A Balkan Travel Itinerary with Coasts, Parks, & More


Days: 3-4 for a festival or road trip stopover

Tisno is not too far from Šibenik and plays host to many of Croatia’s sunny summer music festivals. Love International, Electric Elephant, Beats Beer and Boogaloo, and Suncebeat are all held here. View my festival guide below!

Festivals in Croatia: The 15 Best Croatia Music Festivals
zadar sea organ guide to croatia

Sunset at the Sea Organ

Where to go in Croatia: ZADAR

Days: 1-2

Where to Stay in Zadar

Hostel: Downtown Boutique Hostel 

Hotel: Bastion Heritage Hotel

Airbnb:  Apartment Blue Sun Aurora – central.

Getting There:

Zadar is under two hours from Split and is reachable by car or bus.

Why Visit Zadar

Zadar is a popular city to visit on the mid-coast of Croatia. Its town center is set on ancient ruins along the water – an Ottoman fortress with some ancient Roman ruins scattered around as well. Like fairly everywhere else, there are lots of cool bars, cafe’s, and shops in the alleys of old town, and some open-air clubs as well. Check out this Zadar Travel Guide for more info!

Zadar is perhaps most famous for its ‘sea organ.’ This is a little pier with holes drilled in at different widths and lengths so that when the waves crash up against it they play different notes. It’s quite amazing really, and a must-see in Croatia.

Adventure Guide to Zadar

Kayaking to Dugi Otok

Like every major Croatian city, Zadar offers some amazing kayaking tours. Zadar is enclosed by different islands off its coast, namely Dugi Otok. This kayaking tour will take you through beautiful sea caves and cliff jumps – an adventurer’s dream!

Book your kayaking and sea caves tour with Kayak & Bike Adventures 

Or try a sunset kayak tour if you’re a sunset lover like me! 

River Canoe Safari

Zadar is lucky enough to be close to the Zramanja River, home to some fun rapids, canyons, and swimming spots.

This top-rated tour takes you canoeing and adventuring right from Zadar.


Yep, you heard that correctly! You can skydive over Zadar and the beautiful, moon-like islands of Croatia’s north. If you are an adrenaline junkie, get on it! I know I will next time I am there.

Adventure lovers, try Skydiving Zadar! 

Explore Surrounding islands and Nature Parks

Zadar has its own archipelago off the coast, and is scattered with tiny and large islands alike. There’s even a National Park, Kornati, located on an island not too far away. You can also visit the gorgeous Telašćica Nature Park and swim in the secluded bays nearby.

Spend a day sailing and exploring the beautiful Telašćica Nature park and Dugo Otok (Dugi island)!

Day Tours to Krka and Plitvice

Like Split and Zagreb, you can take a day tour to both Plitvice and Krka National Parks from Zadar.

Here’s a tour to Krka and here’s one to Plitvice from Zadar. There’s a lot of options to visit these two parks!


Looking out from a viewpoint on Pag Island


Where to Go in Croatia: PAG ISLAND / ZRCE BEACH

Days: 2-4+ for a festival

Where to Stay on Pag:

Novalja is one of the main towns on Pag island (besides the actual town of Pag) and is the main base of all festivals and parties at Zrce beach. Festival boat parties will leave from here, there are many accommodation options, and it actually has some of the best shopping I have come across in Croatia.

Hostels: Moon Rocks Hostel for a bit more secluded with a pool // Hostel Zrce for central

Hotel: Villa Ani (central)

Why Visit Pag/Novalja/Zrce Beach

If the south wasn’t enough of a party, Zrće (pronounced zur-chay) takes care of the rest of Croatia’s party reputation. Many say the northern islands of Croatia look like the moon, in that they are white and hilly and mostly devoid of vegetation. Pag island is no exception, and one of its calm bays houses one of the best party venues in all of Europe – Zrće beach.

Zrće is like Vegas meets Ibiza on the coast of Croatia, and is absolute insanity. In summary, Zrće has 5 super-clubs right on the water, with all sorts of restaurants, convenience stores, bars, and activities all in one place. On normal nights you would need to purchase tickets to any one of the clubs, but when Zrće holds festivals, 3-5 of the clubs take part and a ticket will come with free movement between all involved clubs. Some festivals here to check out are Hideout, Black Sheep, and Sonus.

To read more about Zrće than this guide to where to go in Croatia can tell, check out my Review + Guide to Hideout Festival that takes place up there each June.

Hideout Festival Review + Guide: All You Need to Know for Croatia


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This is how the @beatstravellers do… exploring hidden gems by day and partying by night! This stunning beach is not too far away from where @Sonusestival was held on Zrce beach, but was totally secluded👌🏼 and like a lot of the northern islands, is totally devoid of vegetation and looks like the moon!🌕 . . Speaking of hidden gems, I have just touched down in Greece to help out hosting the first ever @sailbeats tour – a boutique music & sailing experience touring around the Greek islands. We have our own DJ's taking over exclusive day & night Sailbeats parties at amazing island venues the whole week! It will be a lot of work and planning but I can't wait to see how the week turns out. Stay tuned to my story for live updates on my Greek adventures!!🐬 #pag #beach #Croatia

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Pag Island – Other than Partying

There’s absolutely nothing else to do. Just kidding, there a couple things. Pag is actually well-known for its cheese of the same name, and you can take some food + wine tours that taste and appreciate Pag’s production. Pag is also home to one of the only naturally occurring olive tree groves in the world, which you can visit for a small fee.

Book a food + wine tour of Pag from Zadar, visiting vineyards, a dairy, and different sights on the island


Yes, really. In the off-season you can observe rare birds on the island migrating from Europe to Africa, and take a private tour to do so.


There are nice places to lay out all over the island, but Ručica Beach definitely takes the cake (pictured above). This may be one of my favorite beaches in the world! A white pebbly beach looks out over the moon-like landscape and clear blue water, and it’s like something out of a dream.

You guessed it – Kayaking.

Kayak around Pag’s ‘extraterrestrial’ environment by renting one at a beach or taking a tour. This tour by Adventure Driven Vacations (ADV) takes you kayaking, free-climbing, and snorkeling in some of the best spots.


Where to Go in Croatia: ZAGREB

Days: 2-3

Why Visit Zagreb

Zagreb is Croatia’s capital, and as I like to say, the ‘other half’ of Croatian culture. The coast is all about the sun, sea, and mediterranean vibes, but Zagreb is almost like another country! It’s important to visit Zagreb when considering where to go in Croatia because it’s entirely different than the rest of the country.

This lovely capital is far more similar to Eastern Europe than the rest of Croatia, and is fascinating to visit and wander the lovely little streets and massive cathedrals and churches. Take a free walking tour here, or try a bike tour of the city.

Around Zagreb there is a lot of wine country and small Croatian villages which are also lovely if you get the chance!

READ MORE ABOUT ZAGREB HERE IN MY ZAGREB POST! (not a guide, more like a story!)

Visiting Zagreb: Showcasing Croatia’s Lesser-Known Personality

What to Do in Zagreb

Plitvice Lakes Day Tour – as I said above, this is a main starting point for a tour of Plitvice.

Explore the Town – there are many museums and amazing monuments and buildings in Zagreb.

Food Tours – there are also many food tours in Zagreb that harness the culture of the Mediterranean-style south, the rich north coast, and the more Eastern-European inland. See if you can see the difference in the food!

Slovenia – You can take a day trip from Zagreb to Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia) and the stunning Lake Bled. I would recommend more time in Slovenia, but if you have a time constraint, a day trip from Zagreb could be the move.

motovun places where to go in croatia

Where to Go in Croatia: Istrian Peninsula

Istria is a hilly peninsula on Croatia’s northernmost coast, which is often compared to Tuscany. This is the ‘foodie’ region of Croatia, and is known for massive amounts of food, oil, wine, rakija, and truffles, too!

Similarly to what I said about Zagreb, Istria presents Croatia’s ‘third’ different ‘personality,’ with scenery differing completely from Dalmatia and also from the area surrounding the capital. Here are a few of the most notable places to visit in Istria, Croatia.


Days: 1-2

Where to Stay in Motovun

Hotel: Hotel Kastel (central)

Airbnb: Galerija Motovun for cheaper/smaller/central, House Valentino for a remote entire house, or Casa Adora for central + authentic (with a view)

Why Visit Motovun

Motovun is an incredible unique and iconic hilltop medieval walled town, and is also where the largest truffle ever found in history was located. Eat your bodyweight in truffle, cheese, oil, and wine, and gaze out at incredible views over rolling hills. Read my complete guide to Motovun below!

Things to do in Motovun Croatia: A Truffle-tastic Medieval Hilltop Town
pula arena - ancient roman colosseum in Pula, croatia where to go in croatia


Days: 1-2

Why Visit Pula

Istria is most notably home to Pula, a city characterized by an ancient Roman Colosseum where they hold events (Such as Outlook and Dimensions Festivals). You can fly into Pula and tour the amazing area and some serene fishing towns like Rijeka.

Some of the best olive oil in the world is produced here, and Pula is home to an Olive Oil museum. The historic town is bustling at night, with alleyway restaurants and eateries full to the brim with locals and travelers alike.

Things to Do in Pula

Food Tours- Taste olive oil, cheese, and wine in one tour by Pula’s Krug Travel.

Kayaking – explore the local coves by kayak

Visit the Pula Arena – this colosseum is one of the best preserved in the world, besides the main one in Rome of course! It’s a must-see place when considering where to go in Croatia.

Visit Brijuni National Park – This island chain is hone to archaeological sites, amazing views, and some of the best-preserved dinosaur footprints the the world (nope, not kidding).


These three coastal cities are also great to consider when planning out where to go in Croatia. They’re on all different sides of the Istrian peninsula, and all have something different to offer (well, they all offer fantastic coastal views, but what’s new there?!).



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I remember seeing photos of this place on a blog a few years back, and making a pact with myself to see it one day. It's called Blagaj (pronounced bla-guy) spring, the source of the Buna River in Southwest Bosnia & Herzegovina. They estimate that it's the deepest spring in Europe, and that 43,000 gallons come out of it per second. The surrounding restaurants just use the river water to keep their drinks cold!! The gorgeous white house next to it is the Dervish house – a branch of Islamic religion that is one with nature. I got the vibe that they were the Islamic hippies😝✌🏼️ More on this soon!! #blagaj #dervishes #dervishhouse #spring #bunariver #herzegovina #solotravel #mostar #birthday #nikon_photography_

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So, What Next? Where can you go from Croatia?

Depending on where you begin and end, many Eastern European and Balkan countries are easily accessible from Croatia. Here are some ideas, linked to blog posts I have written about them for more info.

Slovenia – beautiful nature, green cities, and lakes galore.

If you don’t have much time, you can see Slovenia’s highlights on a day tour from Zagreb.

Montenegro – stunning views, hikes, and nature. This is one of the most underrated countries if you ask me! Visit Montenegro from Dubrovnik; it’s only a few hours away! There are many Montenegro day tours leaving from Dubrovnik, as you will see in my guide to Dubrovnik day trips. Or, view my country guide below.

The Best Things to Do in Montenegro in a Montenegro Road Trip Itinerary

Hungary – Trains can go directly to Budapest from many places in Croatia. The overnight train between Budapest and Split is quite a doozy, though… make sure you bring plenty of food and water and quite possibly some sleeping pills.

Bosnia + Herzegovina – Visit the historic Sarajevo or any of lots of amazing natural wonders in and around Mostar. There are also many tours to Mostar, Pocitelj, Medigorje, Kravice waterfalls, and Blagaj Springs (pictured above) from Dubrovnik – all fantastic natural wonders of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Check my Dubrovnik Guide or an example tour here, or read all about Mostar in my guide below.

Things to Do in Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Mostar Travel Guide 

Serbia – Visit lots of historical sites and the former Yugoslav Capital, Belgrade, the current capital of Serbia! Belgrade has an amazing music scene, a stunning countryside, and an amazing neighboring town, Novi Sad.

Need Help Planning Your Trip to Croatia?

Contact me! I have spent over ten months here over four years. I’ve seen the tourism grow with my own eyes, written over 10k words in this massive and multi-faceted guide to Croatia, and know the in’s and out’s of most of the country. I would love to help plan private tours, sailing trips, or any general Croatia consulting! Pop me an email at and I’ll help you plan your perfect Croatian getaway!

A comprehensive guide to where to go in Croatia, including all different regions of the country and what makes each special. What to do, where to stay, how many days, how to get around in each destination with links to more in-depth guides.



REMEMBER to PIN this Guide to where to go in Croatia to your Pinterest Boards and share the knowledge!

July 14, 2019

How to Continue Working While Traveling in Europe

How to Continue Working While Traveling in Europe

The world is a big place with countless places to explore. That’s why so many people often add “big vacation” to the list of things they would do if they won the lottery, and for good reason.

You can spend years in one single country and not see everything. There’s always an untraveled path, hole in the wall restaurant, or cultural experience out there waiting for you.

Some people decide to make traveling their full-time gig by working throughout their adventures. With the power of the internet, just about anything is possible. If you’re looking to travel and work in order to support yourself, look below for some recommendations.

The Job Options

Traveling isn’t free, although you can definitely get by without spending a ton of money, but you’ll still need a way to support yourself somehow.

Teaching English

To see if you’re qualified to teach English, perform the following test. Make sure you’re a native English speaker by reading or writing in English or double checking where you parents came from. Can you check that off? Great.

Step two is much easier. Take your fingers, put them on your wrist or neck and make sure you have a pulse. Still good to go?

Congratulations, you are now qualified to be an English teacher in many parts of the world. Some places require you have a college degree or certification like TEFL or TOEFL, but that is not always the case.

You can work locally in an academy, school or university or take your English skills online and teach English to adults.

The Digital Nomad

Once again, we can thank the internet for giving us so many options for work. Many different places of employment are now moving their job force online, meaning you can hop on that too.

Writing, editing, data entry, IT, engineering, teaching, virtual assistant, customer support, marketing, and community management are just some of the many jobs you can find online that offer remote work. You might have to change around your hours and invest in a better laptop, but it’s a fantastic way to earn money from anywhere in the world.

working while traveling in Europe

Your Own Business

Being your own boss means that you can take your work anywhere you want with you. If you want to travel this could be your best option.

This option requires a bit more work when it comes to getting everything set up. Start with a unique domain, a mobile friendly website, and get a little help from Google for ads and SEO guidance.  It usually takes a few years for an online business to even turn a profit and you might have things going slower, especially if you’re traveling at the same time.

But fear not, there are plenty of people who have turned their online business or website into their full time job and are able to see the world while doing so.

The Red Tape

Before you hop on a plane to the next hot European destination, we need to go over bureaucracy of all this.

One of the more important things to know before going to Europe long-term (after understanding what to pack for the time of year) is knowing what the Schengen Area is. Established in 1995, the area is borderless travel for 26 countries which are all in Europe. What that means is if you’re going from Spain to Germany, you won’t have to pass through passport control.

Europe as a name gets tossed around all the time as a term that covers all countries on the continent. For travel purposes, this is fine. If you’re going to Europe for the summer, you can travel to Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Norway and the UK without any problems.

Let’s break it down further, however. Italy, Slovenia and the UK are all part of the European Union but the UK is not part of the Schengen Area. Norway and Switzerland are part of the Schengen Area but not part of the EU. Ireland uses the Euro and is part of the EU but is not part of the Schengen Area.

Confusing, right?

If you’re planning on staying in any country in Europe for longer than 90 days (except Albania), you will need a visa. The majority of countries will make you apply for a visa before coming over, like Spain and Italy. Some countries, like France will let you apply for a visa once you’re inside the country.

Check with your destination country’s visa and passport policy before traveling. Failing to meet the requirements could result in denial of entry.

Also, never overstay your visa or that 90 day period. Some countries don’t mind as much, but others like the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland are notorious for cracking down on people that overstay by even a day.

Travel Within Europe

European travel is incredibly easy. They have plenty of planes, buses, trains and car-sharing opportunities for you to get around the country in. As a non-EU citizen, however, you may be subjected to different requirements and regulations traveling within the continent.

Also, starting in 2021, all Americans will have to apply for an ETIAS, an electronic visa that allows you to travel to European countries.

The decision was a long time coming and is relatively quick and painless (it will be able to be completed in less than 10 minutes), but is still a new step for travelers that will be checked throughout all airports.


Thanks for the guest post, Clarissa Caouette!

Clarissa is an enthusiast for all things outdoors, although she doesn’t get out as much as she would like. By day, she is the proud owner of a residential cleaning company, keeping her indoors most of the time. Clarissa is hoping to head to the Land Down Under in the near future. When not working (which is rare), Clarissa can be found with her family in their home just outside of Nashville, TN.

June 18, 2019

3 Tips for Planning an Adventure with Your Other Half

3 Tips for Planning an Adventure with Your Other Half

When you’re working a busy nine-to-five, going on an adventure can seem pretty appealing. Booking an adventure with your other half is the perfect way of booking a vacation that you’ll not only look forward to but also deeply enjoy. Going away on an adventure with your partner allows your vacation to be romantic without the room for conflict and disorganization that can sometimes occur when arranging a getaway with friends.

You Don’t Have to Go Abroad

A getaway to Paris or a vacation exploring the sea caves of Croatia are both great, but you don’t necessarily have to shell out on a transatlantic flight to have a fun getaway. Choosing a different state (or even a new and exciting part of the state you currently live in) can be just as fun if you’re planning an adventure. If you’re looking to head to the charming south, for example, then looking for places to visit in Atlanta, via VacationRenter for instance, will help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

Choose Accommodation to Suit You

What constitutes an ‘adventure’ can differ from person to person. For outdoors enthusiasts, a fortnight under the stars would be the perfect outdoor romantic adventure. For others, the idea of spending two weeks in a tent is the complete opposite of romantic. If your adventures are taking place in the form of cliff-diving and hiking, then for the sake of compromise it might be worth booking a hotel in the name of romance – if it suits you of course.


Enjoy Your Surroundings

Wherever you decide to go, pick somewhere where you can comfortably enjoy your surroundings. If you’re planning an adventure vacation that’s packed full of action-packed activities, but don’t want to do it in cold weather, then pick somewhere that will be more than balmy during your period of travel. Whether you pick a Segway tour in Atlanta or a hiking adventure in California, choose something to match the climate and energy levels. If you’re looking for a ‘traditional’ adventure vacation, here are some activities to consider:

  • Zip-lining: Countries with rich jungle-life are increasingly introducing zip-lining into their tourism scene.
  • Surfing: Particularly if you’re going somewhere that’s infamous for its greenrooms.
  • Paddle-boarding: This one allows you to chat and have a laugh while enjoying the lake-side views.
  • Rock climbing: This one is a bit more niche, but now that bouldering and wall-climbing centers are becoming all the rage in local towns, you may already have some prior experience in this, which is strongly advised.
  • Cliff-diving: This one is the reigning champion of Instagram shots, but it can be dangerous if you don’t do your research. Talk to the local tourism board and ask where the safe spots are before you create an Avatar-worthy picture.

Whatever your definition of an adventure, pick a vacation that suits you and your partner – don’t just escape to the wilds of a jungle for the thrill, pick it because you’ll enjoy it. The adventure might just be the rare opportunity to spend some quality time away with your partner, away from everyday commitments. Whether you spend your adventure driving down the interstate or swinging from the treetops, stay safe and enjoy your quality time together.


Steve Conway

This is a guest post by Steve Conway, a techie by profession and a passionate traveler who loves to soak up the sun, swim in azure waters and explore far-off destinations that hold the promise of great adventure. Thanks, Steve!

May 7, 2019

Moving to Australia: An Expat Starter Guide, Tips, & Checklist

Moving to Australia: An Expat Starter Guide, Tips, & Checklist

Moving to Australia: something that a lot of people seem to do, but no one really tells you how to do. Well, my friends, I am here to fill that void for you. Before I made the big move to Australia I googled tons of things, made a checklist, checked requirements, talked to millions of people, and kind of felt like I was feeling around in the dark trying to figure out the right way to go about relocating myself down under. Maybe I should rephrase that – the right way to go about moving to Australia… In the most painless and easy way possible, using the best resources to find a place to live and get a job, and to find the place that I would fit in best. And now I will share everything I have learned and wish I knew before, with you! Find out what moving to and living in Australia is really like, whether you move for one year, two years, or completely emigrate!


When a rainbow forms over an already breathtaking view. Just to blow your mind to a million more pieces. 12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria – Photo: Me 🙂

1. Apply For Your Visa Before Moving to Australia (Obviously)

Step number one of moving to Australia: Visa!! Of course, what kind of visa you get depends on what you want to do when you move to Australia. If you are like most travelers (and me!) and getting your Working Holiday Visa, the process will be similar for all countries that are able to attain this visa. Check the requirements here: (  Some countries can do farm work to extend this visa and some can’t, but the initial process will be the same.

Then, make an ‘immi’ account here:,

Fill out all your passport and residency details, upload all relevant documents, submit it… and then you wait! Make sure you are out of the country when you apply for your visa, because you must have the visa before you enter.

The processing times for your first year moving to Australia are much shorter than your second year if you do one, but the visa bureau can get pretty backed up sometimes. My first year took about a month, and my second year (more on that later) took almost three. I recommend applying NICE and EARLY, because you have one year to enter the country from the date your visa is granted. There’s nothing worse than being stuck with no visa at the wrong time.

Boomerang Australia Outback Coober Pedy

Nothin’ more Aussie than painting a boomerang in the Outback. Coober Pedy, South Australia – Photo 🙂

2. Decide Where You Want To Move in Australia

Australia is a MASSIVE country. Like, huge. I traveled around it for a month before settling in my first year, and I was constantly amazed by how far apart things were. This is mostly because this ginormous country is full of a whole lot of nothin’ in between its big cities, and especially in the outback. To put things in perspective, Australia has just over 1/3 the population of England… yes England, that tiny little island! Don’t get me wrong, there is so incredibly much to see-  zillions of National Parks to check out, great cities, and world class scenery.

So, all in all, it will be tough to decide where to go when moving to Australia. Sydney is gorgeous, and has dozens of suburbs to choose from within it alone – you can get big city vibes, beachy towns, trendy neighborhoods, and much more. Melbourne is trendier, more inclusive, and more culturally lively but smaller, with lots of cool festivals and ‘doofs’ in Victoria. Perth is beautiful but the most remote city in the world. Cairns is a cute city with a completely tropical climate, and the Great Barrier Reef! There are tons of places in Queensland that are scenic- generally, you can look, but you can’t touch because of crocs, stingrays, and jellies! Adelaide is smaller but beautiful, with lots of WINE!

Byron Bay is a tiny town with great hippie vibes and surf. From what I have heard, there isn’t too much to see in Canberra (it’s the capital, but I feel like only Aussies actually know that! :P). Then you have another big city in Brisbane, more beach culture and partying on the Gold Coast…. the list goes on and on. Smaller towns dot the whole coastline if you are looking for something a bit more off the map. But now I am starting to ramble. Feel free to contact me directly to see if I can help you pick out a place that is perfect for you. I lived in Sydney for part of my first year, and Melbourne (which I prefer) for my second. You can also check out this Ultimate Aussie Guide, to help you decide. Or, travel around when you arrive to find the place that you feel most at home. Many people rent a camper van and drive around Australia to explore it properly.

The iconic Bondi Pools! Bondi Beach, Sydney, New South Wales Photo: Me 🙂

3. Get Your Australian Visa Granted

From what I have heard, getting your visa granted will take anything from 30 minutes to a few weeks. If you fill out all your paperwork correctly, everything should go smoothly. Mine took 3-4 weeks (which is actually surprisingly long… maybe it’s because I was using my British passport as a US resident) but came through nonetheless with a ‘Visa Grant Notification!” The visa comes through as an email, not in the mail or anything. Receiving this made me all giddy and excited – it’s a crazy feeling to actually get confirmation of your upcoming Australia expat adventure. The waiting game is tough, but I haven’t heard of a single person being denied (if you’re from the proper countries of course). Just make sure you apply early enough that you get the visa before moving to Australia.

Once you have received your Visa Grant in your email, there is nothing more you have to do to move to Australia. You will have a year to enter the country from when you receive the visa grant, and will have a year in Australia from the day you enter. Your visa will be attached to your passport, so when you enter Australia they will scan your passport and your visa info will come up.  Save your visa grant email so that you can forward the info to employers later on down the road.

A sea plane ride over the largest sand island in the world and an old shipwreck? Yes Please! 75 Mile Beach, Fraser Island, Queensland – Photo 🙂

4. Plan, Save, and Network Before Moving to Australia!

Now you have your visa and might know where you’re going (unless you want to travel first!). So now – time to plan! here are some main things to have in order before your Aussie adventure:

Flights to Australia

Australia is basically one huge glorified island. That means there is literally no possible way of driving there from any other country (weird, huh?) So this leads me to assume you will be flying there. Decide when you are going to go, set up alerts to buy cheap tickets, or secure your flight there in some way- step 1! I always use Skyscanner to compare cheap fares from over 30 providers. Scroll to find the blue search bar on the right side of this page and try it out for yourself!

Note: If flying domestically within Australia BEWARE of the baggage fees on TigerAir and Jetstar. They will royally screw you if given the chance, especially if you are moving to Australia and have tons of stuff. Don’t do what I did. Book Virgin or something.

Money/Prices in Australia

Australia is unfortunately quite expensive, so you’ll have to make sure you have saved up enough money to sustain yourself out there until you get a job/place. I think the government recommends to have a few thousand AUD in your account at least. You will find hostels to be anywhere from about $30AUD per night – give or take about $10-$15 depending on location and niceness of hostel.

Meals are expensive too – you’re looking at upwards or $20-$30 AUD for a standard meal, or even lunch. Grocery shopping is a great idea, but sometimes the food here is way too tempting! If you look you can definitely find $10 meals, but drinks will probably be about the same price too. Ouch. But if you’re moving to Australia you’ll get used to it.


If you have friends in Australia, tell them you’re coming! Network with others you may know, or friends of friends who are there, and see if they have any specific advice for a moe to Australia. Maybe you can crash on a friends’ couch for a few days when you arrive, or maybe someone knows of a good hostel in the area. This is a great idea also to make sure you have a support system when you arrive.

If you have no one specific – no sweat at all. That’s all part of the adventure or moving to Australia! See if you can preliminarily find any meet-up groups or Australia expat networks, if that is something you would be interested in. Internations is great, and there are tons of “X nationality in Sydney” type groups in different cities. A little bit of browsing won’t hurt – see what you can find!

Another thing I did when I moved to Australia was go alone to events that I liked. If you know me, you’ll know how much I love my house music and festival vibes, and I was able to meet tons of people by going to some shows in Melbourne with my kind of vibe.

Preliminary Job/Flat Hunt 

If you have time, it’s not a bad idea to start checking out some possible places to work and stay before moving to Australia. I would find myself constantly surfing job and flat sites before I left, just because I was way too excited! It’s possible to find these things from afar, but definitely easier when you arrive if you don’t mind staying in a backpackers/hotel for a bit.


Make sure you have somewhere to stay BEFORE you find a flat/apartment. Sort out to stay with friends, find a good backpackers or hotel in your city, etc. I always use Hostelworld to check out and book hostels that work best for me or HotelsCombined to compare hotel prices across different providers.

Bottomless champagne while watching the sunset over Uluru/Ayres Rock, one of the most iconic landmarks not only in Australia but the world! Uluru, Northern Territory – Photo

5. Pack for Your Big Move to Australia!

Now it’s really getting real! It’s hard to give packing advice because what you bring depends heavily on what time of year it is, where you are going, and how long you plan on staying. Just remember, if you’re from the Northern Hemisphere, the seasons are opposite down under! It’s quite hard to get used to… What do you mean it’s blazing hot in January and cold in July?! Does the toilet flush the other direction as well? That’s one myth I have yet to bust.

Anyway, if you’re moving to Australia in the north, its much more tropical than the south. Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and most other cities in Oz’s southern half definitely do have seasons, so prepare for cold in the winter (June, July, August) months. And by cold, I generally mean mid-teens Celsius and below – I am aware that may not mean cold for all of you, but I’m from California so give me a break (and commend me for being able to finally speak in celsius! 😛 ). Melbourne does get a bit colder, but it’s awesome so we will forgive it.

Other than clothes, some essentials for Moving to Australia (with Aussie lingo thrown in so you can start learning)

  • Mozzie Spray (mosquito spray) I recommend OFF!
  • Sunnies (sunglasses)
  • Boardies/togs/cozzie/swimmers/bathers (all words for bathing suit. no joke)
  • Sunscreen – the sun actually is stronger in Australia – no ozone layer. They even have special sunscreen for Australia.
  • Hats – again, the sun is very strong down here. I’m not kidding when I say I think this hat is basically mandatory for all Aussie females AND males to own (am I right or am I right?!).
  • Walking shoes
  • Clothes for warm weather
  • Camera (I got a DSLR before my trip and was glad I did.. I have this one)
  • Jacket (you actually will need it)
  • Your favorite stuffed animal?!
  • Other basic travel stuff. You get the gist. This isn’t particularly a total expat Australia packing list.
  • Other random ideas:
    • I traveled for a while before moving to Australia, and (partially because I am awful at throwing things away) I collected little bits of memories along the way – room keys, ticket stubs, boarding passes, postcards. When I finally got my own room and settled into Manly Beach, I made a little collage of all these things to put on my wall. I also bring a California flag everywhere I travel, it’s just one of those strange things I don’t leave without just in case a spontaneous festival happens or so I can have something simple to decorate my room. Tapestries or sarongs work wonderfully too – I hung a $3 sarong from Bali in my room in Melbourne! So if you are into that type of thing, don’t want to spend money on decorations, and want your room to feel a bit more homey as you settle in – bring a few things!
    • Home Supplies – If you think it will save you money and wouldn’t clog your bag, it might be an idea to bring some home supplies with you. Not like plates and cups – I mean towels, hooks for the wall, push pins, etc. Maybe even some laundry strips/detergent to get you going. It might not even hurt to bring some bedding if you plan on settling right in – this just means you’ll have to make sure the room you get comes with a specific size of bed, or buy one. All this would save you a fair amount of money on home stuff – the prices add up!

Found a little friend while snorkeling! Great Barrier Reed, Cairns, Queensland – Photo


YAY! It’s ACTUALLY time! Make sure you have all your essentials with you for moving to Australia, whatever you have chosen them to be.

Things to be Prepared for upon arrival:

  • Strange, plastic, colorful money – no, that is not a candy wrapper. That is Australian money. It’s waterproof.
  • Sexy Accents. Everywhere. – It starts the minute you get off the plane and hear the automated messages bellowing through the airport. And they never stop!
  • Kangaroos – the first one I saw in Australia was dead on the side of the road 10 minutes into arriving. It was a great welcome.
  • Iced coffee that has ice cream in it – I got here, ordered an iced coffee thinking it would just be coffee and ice as the name suggests, and got a massive creamy thing with a huge dollop of ice cream. This was not what I wanted. I don’t know where they find ‘iced cream’ within “iced’ and ‘coffee’ but there you go. Now you know.
  • Bottle Shops – These confused me so much when I first arrived. Not only do you have to go to specific stores to buy alcohol (like, you can’t get it in the supermarket or 7/11) but they have DRIVE-THRU BOTTLE SHOPS. So you can drive up, tell the guy what kind of beer you want, and pay without even getting out of your car. Damn, Australia really has it right.
  • Aussie Slang – It sometimes doesn’t even seem like these people are speaking English. Take any word, take off the last 2/3 of the letters, and add -ies, -z, or -o. to the end. For real. Anyone whose name is Caroline? Caz. Jarrad or Mariana? Jaz and Maz. A pair of Converse? Connies. A mosquito? A mozzie. Feeling Devastated? You’re Devo. Bottle Shops? Bottle-0. Service Station? Servo. I think you get the gist.
  • Animals/birds that make really weird sounds – I swear there’s a monkey that lived outside my window whenever I was sleeping in Sydney. Because there’s no WAY that sound was coming from a bird… I think.

A waterfall through a rock into a cave – Natural Bridge, Springbrook National Park, South Queensland –Photo

7. You’ve Completed Moving to Australia! Now Explore & Be a Tourist for a Bit

Now that you have finally arrived in your new home country (woohoo), it’s time to enjoy yourself a bit and explore your new city (Once the jet lag is over of course!). Before getting too caught up in flat and job hunts, take some time to enjoy yourself and get the feel of the place. Visit the landmarks, check out the beaches and views, try the food, walk through the city. Take it all in – you will soon be a local!

If You Want to Do a Tour Like Me After Moving to Australia

The best choice I made after moving to Australia was traveling nearly the whole country and getting a feel for it right off the bat. I did this by jumping ojn a 28 day coach tour of all territories besides WA and Tassie. And yes, I was an employee of the company I did the tour with, so I got a massive discount that enabled me to do it in the first place. But, if you have the resources, I HIGHLY recommed doing this tour to orient yourself with this amazing country. Just flying into Sydney or Melbourne ony gives you the tiniest glimpse into what Australia is really like, and a route like this would be VERY hard to do on your own.

Wanna see the tour I did? Click this link right here. Honestly, one of the best experiences of my travels thus far. You can even scroll wayyyyy back to my instagrams of early 2016 to see some of the stuff we did! Actually, wait, pretty much all the photos in this post are from that trip. Gave me a completely well-rounded view if Australia and all of its quirks and intricacies that make it what it is. Plus, it ends in Sydney/Melbourne if you go the other way, and then you can settle right in if you choose to live in one of those.

Somewhere along the highway that connects the top and bottom of Australia – Stuart Highway, South Australia or Northern Territory, not quite sure 😛 Photo: @kimmconn 🙂

8. Get a Phone Plan // Important Australian Broadband Info

Hands down the most shocking thing to me about moving to Australia was the sheer incompetence of the wifi/broadband. I came from traveling damn third world countries where I could find wifi pretty much anytime I needed it. Then, after moving to Australia, a first world country at the forefront of the modern world, they tried to make me pay $10 for three hours of shitty wifi.

Excuse me, what?!?!?!?

I unwillingly got used to this as I did my monthlong tour around Australia (linked just above), from Melbourne to Adelaide to Alice Springs and Uluru to Cairns and down the East Coast to Sydney. I paid $30 for 24 hours of wifi at a nicer hotel one time when I had an important Skype call, and it hardly even worked anyways. $10 was normal for a day of wifi in smaller destinations, although in bigger cities you could usually find a cafe. BUT STILL, come awwwwn Australia, get it together plz.

So, pretty much, prepare yourselves upon moving to Australia for this sad country of sub-par internet anywhere besides cities. They’re trying to roll out what they are calling something like a ‘national broadband’ at the moment, set to be finished in 2020. I also heard that, when this broadband is finished, it will be 17 years out of date. Just let that one sink in, will ya?

Cell Phone Plans and Service When Moving to Australia

Let me tell you a joke. “A silly American backpacker walked into a phone store in Australia, and asked for a plan with unlimited data.”

LOLOLOLOL. Unlimited data. In Australia, that is not. a. thing. And the guy honestly looked at me like I was a bit mentally unstable. I mean hey, it’s all I’ve ever known at home, really. Those American family plans have got it all. And I didn’t know I had it all until I tried to get a plan after moving to Australia. But anyway, I digress.

In Australia you must get Telstra or Optus. Everything else is basically not worth it or goes through the Telstra or Optus towers anyways, like Vodaphone I think. They now also have Aldi Mobile (yep, like the grocery store) but it goes through the Telstra towers at a lover speed.

Plans come with a certain amount of GB’s per month. You’ll be looking at maybe $30 per month for not that many gigs, and if you are a social media whore like myself you’ll be looking at about $60 per month.

Telstra is well known for being the only network you can actually get everywhere. You’ll get Optus service in cities, but as you travel out of them you can watch your bars slowly deteriorate until it’s SOS only or nothing at all. Telstra is the only service you’ll get out in the middle of the bush or outback, or in remote places really. So if you’re traveling a lot, Telstra might be a good investment.

But, each company does have their benefits. Optus, at my time of living in Sydney, had a deal where you paid $2 per day and got 500 megabytes of data each day. It doesn’t roll over, but if you add that up to a 30-day month that’s 15 gigs for 60 bucks, pay as you go. And because I was living in the city and didn’t need to go anywhere remote, Optus was just fine. I loved this plan!

However, when I did my farm work and asked about cell service, I was warned that Telstra was the only company that would reach us in this remote location. So, I went into a store and sweet talked the guy in there (not really ha but he was able to get me a good deal) to get 14 gigs a month for a wee discount for I think $60 or $70AUD a month. So go into your local store and see what is best for you!!

These days Optus, Vodaphone, and a few other companies have competed more and more and are giving out even better deals, so try not to jump on the first deal you see after moving to Australia and find the best price for the most gigabytes.

wave rock how to move to australia

This is Wave Rock, in the country of WA. Only Telstra reached out here, for sure. (Read more about my farm work experience living in a tiny town of ten people here and about Wave Rock here!)

9. Find a Place to Live after Moving to Australia

Steps 9 and 10 are interchangeable or can occur at the same time. It depends if you want to find a job in Australia depending on where you live, or if you want to find a place to live depending on where you get a job, if you know what I mean. Personally, I knew where I wanted to live – Manly Beach in Sydney. I found a job there first and found a flat later, actually after couchsurfing with friends and staying in the backpackers for a few weeks waiting for the right option to pop up for your expat Australia experience.

Check if there are hostels in your area that you can fall back on if you can’t find a flat right away.

Finding a place to live depends on a few things: whether you are looking for a place alone (to find a spare room in another flatshare, or to find likeminded flatmates to find a place with) with others (find a whole flat to rent), and the length of time to rent.

Another option that many people use when moving to Australia is renting and living in a camper van. A lot of travelers use camper vans to explore the country, but they shouldn’t be left out when considering a place to live. The best place to look is this page on Gumtree, where there are literally hundreds of camper vans on sale, both new and lovingly used by other travelers.

Some of the best resources to find a flat, flatmates, or help moving in Australia:

  • Gumtree – good for everything really! Gumtree is like Australia’s Craigslist but a little less sketchy. 😛 People use gumtree to advertise spare rooms to rent, to advertise entire flats/houses, to post individual advertisements looking for flatshares/flatmates, and more. You can respond to ads through the website as well. When I arrived in Sydney I posted my own advertisement looking for a spare room and received lots of messages.
  • – Great website to find spare rooms to rent or to find flatmates. You can make a profile and pay more or better memberships. This is probably one of the more popular and reliable sites to use.
  • – Another service to find a house/flat share or flatmates when you move to Australia. Also pretty useful.
  • Facebook Groups – Many cities have Facebook groups where people advertise their flats or rooms for rent. These are really helpful and great to be able to communicate directly with people when moving to Australia. Some in Sydney are: Northern Beaches Property to Rent, Inner Sydney Housemates, and Rooms Available/needed – Sydney. Search on Facebook and ask to join any of these groups, and I know there are similar ones for other cities too. For Melbourne, Fairy Floss Real Estate is the place to go.
  • Santa Fe Wridgways – If you are actually relocating to Australia as an expat, or permanently, it would be wise to consider hiring some global removalists to make that process as smooth as possible. When you have to deal with moving your actual life abroad, you might need a lil help from someone who knows what they’re doing. I was lucky I was just traveling, but if I had moved permanently I would have needed some assistance!
  • – Wonderful resource for finding entire flats to rent. Usually involving leases for longer term rents.
  • – Another great site to find properties for rent, to buy, to sell, or to share as well. They have great options on here, and lot of properties to look through for people looking alone or in groups. This would most likely be longer term options.
  • Airbnb – Good for shorter stays or somewhere to stay while you look for a place. If you are looking with other people, it might be a good idea to get an airbnb together and split the price. Some may also rent longer term.
  • Stayz – This is another site good for shorter term stays – from 2 nights to maybe a few months depending on the location and who is renting it. Will be more expensive though as it is mostly vacation rental, so only really useful if you are looking for a place to split price with others. If you will only be here a few months, it’s a great option to get a vacation rental for a longer term.
  • – same description as Stayz above – holiday rentals that could be good for longer term if you want, but more expensive.
  • Network – How did I finally find my place, you may ask? Well, after 2 days at my new job, I ran into all my managers at the bar after having a few too many… Slightly awkward, sure, but I got to talking to one of them about how I was living in the hostel, and he gave me his friend’s number who was renting a room. I moved in 4 days later!
Other notes on Renting in Australia

when moving to Australia, rent is generally a weekly price. Depending on your budget and location, rent prices can range a lot! I would say a general rule of thumb would be to look for private rooms in the $230-$285 AUD range. Prices can soar much, much higher than this for nicer rooms/locations, but it is definitely possible to find a private room for this price, or cheaper in less popular areas!

I have seen a lot of share houses in popular areas in Sydney (Manly, Bondi, Central City) that cram tons of backpackers into one house, sharing rooms with 2-3 people for $170-$200/wk. It’s cheaper generally in Melbourne, with an average rent about $200 – $250/wk for any normally located room. It depends on your budget and your need for personal space! I pay $250/wk for a great location and room, which is a really fair price, but it took me a while to find it!

One of the most beautiful and iconic beaches in the world! Whitehaven beach, Whitsundays, Queensland – Photo

10. Get a Job After Moving to Australia

Now there are millions of ways to go about finding a job in Australia when/before/after you move to Australia, and a lot of differences depending on what kind of job you are looking for. Australia’s economy thrives off of travelers, and most places are very familiar with people here on their working holiday visas, which limit you to 6 months in any specific workplace.

If you aren’t sure what kind of work you want, here are some ideas of working holiday jobs:

  • Hostels – many hostels will offer a work-for-rent type deal if you will be traveling.
  • Hotels – A great option if you want to live somewhere more remote
  • Hospitality – Loads of travelers opt for hospo (more aussie slang for ya) jobs when they get here. Cafe’s, bars, restaurants, hotels – you name it, there will be jobs in it who will likely hire travelers.
  • Tour Guides – There are so many tours around different parts of Australia because tourism is a massively booming industry in this country!
  • Fruit Picking/Manual Labor – this is something Australia is known for! Most people with eligible passports do these fruit picking jobs to extend their visas to two years, and others do it to make some extra money. I haven’t had to deal with a farm working job yet, but when I do (and plan to this year( I will be sure to write a post! There are a lot of manual labor jobs for men (laying cement, moving furniture, digging pools, felling trees, etc.) that pay cash also.
  • Corporate – Many travelers would rather work a ‘real’ job when here, which would give them a much better chance of being ‘sponsored’ to stay here on a working visa, which a lot of people want. There are lots of job sites to check out which I will list below.

Before you start: Make sure your CV (curriculum vitae – what they use in most countries besides the US) is up to date, focusing on the type of job you are looking into getting. Print a few out!

Getting the actual job:

In person:

  •  It is always a great idea to march right into places, ask to see the manager, and hand your CV to them in person. If you are looking for a hospitality job I would recommend this! Scope out some places you would like to work and do this, so the manager can meet you in person and see what you’re like. Better chances this way!
  • Network – meet people, ask friends, put yourself out there. Maybe your friend knows a manager of a place in the area or a friend of a friend knows someone hiring. This will help get your foot in the door of anything!


  • Gumtree Again – Gumtree is great for everything when you move to Australia. I would say it’s honestly one of the top websites people use to get jobs. Its very unofficial in that anyone can post anything on gumtree, but as long as you’re careful it can be a great resource. Search in your area, toggle the +/- kilometer to choose how far of a radius to search in, and type a keyword for the type of job you are looking for.
  • Indeed– A great job site
  • Seek – Australia’s largest job site with a lot of categories to find what you are looking for
  • Career One – Also another great site with good search options
  • GOOGLE – research your specific job needs in your area!

Other Notes:

Wages in Australia

The wages are much higher here in Australia, and it’s awesome. But, these higher wages come at the expense of tips. I wouldn’t say no one tips here, but you would be lucky to get an extra $10-$20 bucks off of waiting a table. It would be standard to make about $20 an hour, and it is also standard to make a higher wage on Sundays in hospitality. Sweet, right?

Cash in Hand Jobs

Australia is pretty well known for having traveler jobs pay cash in hand, under the table. You can find jobs at little cafe’s, juiceries, smaller bars, promotional jobs, and a lot of labor jobs through hostels or other job sites that will pay cash. This is of course not technically legal, and if you have your visa you shouldn’t have to be doing cash in hand jobs, but it is pretty prevalent here.

Australia Tax & Forms: Do’s and Dont’s

TAX – on a visa, you should be paying about 11% tax. In Australia, you will get a percentage of your paycheck taken out each time for your superannuation, which is basically an Aussie retirement fund. However, since you are on a visa, you will get all of this back when you leave! So that is definitely something to look forward to.

TAX FORMS: DO NOT check the non-resident box. Even if you are on a visa,  you can legally be a resident for tax purposes. The technicalities get pretty unclear here in that you are supposed to be a resident if working a job up to 6 months and non-resident if you are traveling around and working less time in each place, but it honestly doesn’t really matter – on your tax form, check that you are a resident for tax purposes. Otherwise, they will tax the sh** out of you and leave you with only like 66% of your paycheck. (You can get all of it back eventually, but I don’t think it’s worth it!)

Surfer’s Paradise, Gold Coast, Queensland – Photo)

11. Enjoy Your Move to Australia!

Now it’s time to kick back and enjoy this beautiful country. Have tons of adventures, explore your new home, work hard, make friends, experience the scenery, visit some national parks, go to some festivals (they have amazing transformational festivals in Australia, to which I wrote an entire post!), enjoy the good weather (most of the time) and relish in the beautiful Aussie accents  😉

getting your tax back in australia

12. Getting your Tax Back when After Moving to Australia

One more thing. Depending on where you end up living in Aus, there are lots of little backpacker places that you can go in and have someone help you get your taxes back. It’s pretty good really, you pay a flat fee and they do all the work for you. The fee might be a tiny bit steep (maybe $100-150 for everything) but they just take it out of your tax refund so you don’t pay money up front and you still get loads back. It’s like, pay pay $100 and get over $800-thousands (depending on how long and how much you worked), or don’t get any back at all. The answer is clear.

Because I was doing my farm work during tax time, I applied for my refund online with I heard mixed reviews about this site and was honestly a bit sketched out at first, but they were incredibly fast, professional, and effective. I just filled out a form online, had a quick phone call with one of their representatives, sent in some payment forms from my previous employers (that were easily searchable in my email among my payslips) and that was that. Two weeks later they asked for my bank details and within days the money was back in my account, just in time for Christmas!

 It’s important to note that you can’t get your taxes back if you have been in the country less than 6 months, because in that circumstance you are classified as a ‘non-resident’ and should have been paying more taxes. So if you move to Australia and apply to get your taxes back and they find out that you have been there less than 6 months and had claimed ‘resident’ on your tax forms, you would actually owe money. And no one wants that. So pretty much just stay over 6 months… why wouldn’t you, anyway?! Stick it out!

And there you have it – everything I wish I had known before moving to Australia before I came here. Hope this has helped!

Remember, book your hostels in advance on Hostelworld!

PIN IT if it has helped you!!

September 25, 2018

Driving in Uruguay: 10 Things to Know When Renting a Car

Driving in Uruguay: 10 Things to Know When Renting a Car

If you are considering driving in Uruguay, which I truly recommend as one of the best ways to see the country, there are a few things you must first know. Renting a car in Uruguay is relatively easy, with a few big companies like Hertz and Budget in each big city.

I did a coastal road trip in Uruguay, from Montevideo to Punta del Este to Punta del Diablo (post coming soon!). The coast of Uruguay is absolutely breathtaking, with miles of pristine sandy beaches, surf schools, beach parties, and more. But on the inside of the country, you can find beautiful small towns, miles and miles of farmland, and green rolling knolls covered in sheep and cows. Whatever route you choose to drive in Uruguay, it’s sure to exceed your expectations… it sure did mine!

Although rental car companies may brief you, there are a few things about driving in Uruguay that I found out myself and thought might be useful to future travelers. So before your big Uruguay road trip, check out these tips for driving in Uruguay.

But first, make sure you check out my other Uruguay posts:

driving in uruguay colonia del sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento streets. Check my Uruguay Itinerary to learn more about this town!

Driving in Uruguay: You Must Keep Your Headlights On at All Times

It’s the law that your headlights must be on at all times, night or day. Not sure why, but it is what it is.

Driving in Uruguay: 4-Way Intersections + No Stop Signs

In cities, especially Montevideo, there will be lots of four-way intersections between grid-style streets… but no stop signs (or any sign for that matter). The rule is that the car to the right has the right of way.

This will be a mess at first, but eventually, after some sketchy moments, you’ll get used to going if you see a car on your left and stopping if you see a car on your right. If you aren’t sure, just make sure to yield at intersections like this.

Driving in Uruguay: Highway Tolls

Carry cash on you when driving in Uruguay, because there are toll stops along some main highways that only accept cash. This would have been good for me to know, and would have prevented me from getting lost for an hour looking for ATM’s in the Uruguayan country after making a U-turn on a crowded highway. Tolls are about 96 pesos (about $3) and there’s usually no way to circumnavigate them.

palmtree forest different sights while driving in Uruguay

things to know before driving in uruguay - dirt roads

Driving in Uruguay: Gas Is Expensive

Oh dear lord, did the gas prices give me an anxiety attack. I was stoked to have a huge adventure driving around Uruguay (which I did and I honestly regret nothing) but the gas prices will burn a hole in your pocket… or more realistically, set your entire pants on fire.

It’s about 50 pesos/L, and cost me $50 to fill up the tank…. twice in 3 days. Driving in Uruguay is worth it to stop at tons of awesome places you wouldn’t even come close to seeing on a bus, but try to split the cost with others if you’re on a budget.

Driving in Uruguay: Manual Transmissions

Most people in Uruguay drive a manual transmission, and it’s easier to rent a car if you can drive one. That being said, automatic cars are available, but there aren’t as many as manual ones. Being a forlorn American who never learned how to drive a manual, I was able to find an automatic… but I was lucky!

Driving in Uruguay: One-Way Streets are EVERYWHERE

Uruguay is the king of one-way streets. They’re in every city and basically every metropolitan area imaginable. And, sometimes Google Maps doesn’t know that they are one-way. Just make sure to think twice before turning and make sure that if it’s a one way street, it’s the right way.

Driving in Uruguay: Dirt/Sand Roads, Potholes, and Cows

If you find yourself out in the country or near the beaches, many roads will turn to dirt or sand. These kinds of roads might also have lots of deep potholes to watch out for. Any car should be able to handle it, but it’s something that is good to know!

Also, in that Uruguay literally has 4 cows to each person (12 million cows, and 3 million+ people) you will definitely encounter some of these animals while driving in Uruguay. Most main roads at least go inland through the farmland/countryside for a little while, and chances are there will be cows going places as well. Keep an eye out!


Driving in Uruguay: Parking Attendants

The country is full of parking attendants wearing little vests who apparently are there to keep watch of your car while you are at the market, beach, viewpoint, or literally anywhere you might be going. These parking attendants will attempt to direct you in and out of a parking spot (even if you are completely capable of parking on your own) and will ask for money after they do so.

I really don’t know the legitimacy of these people, and how expected it is to give them a few pesos. I found it a bit annoying when they tried to help me back out of my parking spots and quite frankly just got in the way, and I gave one guy 50 pesos (just under $2) after he helped me turn off the alarm on my rental car and struck up a conversation. Maybe their more important function is to keep watch of your car while you;re gone, but I don’t know. The other times I just said I had no cash. Maybe their more important function is to keep watch of your car while you’re gone, but I don’t know. I have a hard time giving people money who I don’t feel have actually helped me in any way…. sorry.

Driving in Uruguay: Lanes

Lanes seem to be optional a lot of the time when driving in Uruguay. I couldn’t really figure this one out. Sometimes cars would all squeeze in anywhere at a red light, while other times using a turn signal was necessary to change lanes on a highway. I guess try to respect lanes if you can even tell where they should be!

Also, the right lane is often used for parking and stopping of cars, trucks, and busses. You won’t always be able to drive on the right for this reason.

Driving in Uruguay: Where to Rent

Now that you’re ready, it’s time to rent! I rented my car from Hertz Uruguay, but there are a few companies in the area. To find what’s best for you, check out these companies below:

Hertz UruguayOffices in all the main cities and automatic’s available
Budget Rental CarsOffices in Colonia, Montevideo, and Punte del Este – Compares rates of all rental companies and see which is best for you
10 things to know before renting a car or driving in Uruguay - which is definitely the best way to explore this beautiful country! #uruguay #southamerica #travel #adventuretravel

Found these tips for Driving in Uruguay helpful? Pin this to Pinterest! 


July 17, 2018

San Blas Sailing Panama to Colombia: Speedboat or Sailboat Trip?

San Blas Sailing Panama to Colombia: Speedboat or Sailboat Trip?

 So, you’ve made the decision to take care of your border crossing by sailing Panama to Colombia. Good choice! As a border you can only cross by sea or air, it can be tough to decide how you want to travel from Colombia and Panama. But, if you consider that paying a bit more will allow you to have the experience of a lifetime and be able to see the most picturesque little islands the world has to offer, it’s honestly a no-brainer. People pay hundreds to do San Blas Sailing tours without a border crossing being involved, so this really is just killing two birds with one stone.

I recently sailed Panama to Colombia with San Blas Adventures, and it was one of my favorite adventures to date. This trip is not like many other Sailing Panama to Colombia tours, because the trip operates via speedboat. When I was weighing my options between taking a speedboat tour and a sailboat tour, I had a lot to consider!

 So, you've made the decision to take care of your border crossing by sailing Panama to Colombia. Good choice! As a border you can only cross by sea or air, it can be tough to decide how you want to travel between Colombia and Panama. But, if you consider that paying a bit more will allow you to have the experience of a lifetime and be able to see the most picturesque little islands the world has to offer, it's honestly a no-brainer. People pay hundreds to do San Blas Sailing tours without a border crossing being involved, so this really is just killing two birds with one stone.

Pin this guide to Pinterest to help others decide whether they want to take a speedboat or sailboat while Sailing Panama to Colombia!

panama backpacking guide


After doing much research on the different ways of sailing Panama to Colombia, and personally deciding on a speedboat tour, I thought that I would contrast the options for you here to help you in your decision as well. It’s a choice many backpackers must make, so hopefully this makes it a bit easier! Just make sure you do the San Blas sailing rather than flying. Trust me, this is a place you’ll want to see, and making a 4 day all-inclusive trip out of it is truly the way to go. I haven’t met a single person who thought otherwise!

Before you go to Colombia, make sure to brush up on your Colombian slang so you’re fully prepared – there are quite a few differences between Panamanian and Colombian Spanish!

Check out my other Panama content while you’re here (they open in a new tab!):

Sailing Panama to Colombia: Speedboat or Sailboat Trip?

san blas sailing panama to colombia: speedboat trip

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Boat Time + Seasickness


With a speedboat tour sailing between Panama and Colombia, you are on the boat for 1-3 hours per day, and a total of 8 hours in the 4 days. The boat time here is for a transfer – you may (probably will) get wet depending on weather, that is the price you pay for getting the transport time over with quickly.After the 1-2hrs, you are then are back on the islands with freedom to roam, swim, and relax.

Seasickness is not common due to this less boat time, and also because of the speed of the boat. Rather than slowly wave and bob around with the sea on a sailboat (which is what causes most seasickness), speedboats cut through the water much quicker. It can be VERY bumpy but the motion is much different and usually not as nauseating.


On a sailing boat between Panama and Colombia, you live and stay on the boat. The boats will dock up near islands for the day/night which you can make trips to, but you always return to the boat to eat and sleep. On sailboats you of course also have a two day open ocean crossing between the San Blas islands and Cartagena, where you don’t leave the boat at all.

This may be a problem for people who get seasick – many people opt out of sailing Panama to Colombia via sailboat because the 2 day ocean crossing can get very rough. There is also a 7-8 hour crossing from the dock to the first San Blas islands, taking up a large chunk of the first day. So basically, you spend 2.5 days in the northern San Blas Islands.

sunset san blas sailing islands sailing panama to colombia

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Amount of San Blas Islands Seen


On a San Blas Adventures speedboat tour, you get to boat through all 365 San Blas islands from the northernmost to southernmost. You remain very close to the Panamanian coast the entire time. Through your speedboat journey and different island visits, you get to see all the beautiful little tiny islands and how the landscape actually changes a bit from north to south.

The north has all beautiful flat pancake islands, and as you get towards the south they are a bit larger and more hilly with more mangrove forests. These tours are also the only ones who actually get to see the more untouched and authentic southern San Blas islands. All the San Blas sailing tours from Panama City see the north islands, but when you get down south you will see villages and islands that are much more unaffected by tourism, making the experience that much more special in my opinion.


Sailboat San Blas sailing tours spend their first three nights in the northern section of the San Blas islands, going between islands in the first section (of three). The San Blas Islands are all located next to Panama, so once you leave this area there are no more islands to be seen.

Because this is the most direct place to sail to Cartagena from, these trips sail from Panama to Colombia directly from the northernmost part of the San Blas area.

They spend more time relaxing around the northern and most touristic area, but do not see all the islands or the more authentic southern part of San Blas.

sailing panama to colombia catamarans san blas islands

Distant Sailboats mooring up near northern islands for the night.

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Island Time


With a speedboat tour, you will spend all of each day on the islands besides 1-3 hours of boat transfer. You eat, sleep, live, and do everything on the islands and always have freedom of movement. There aren’t many times in life you have tons of time to explore and relax on picture-perfect little islands that you can see from end to end – the photo opportunities are truly endless and you will never be able to believe it’s real life!


When sailing Panama to Colombia via sailboat, you take day trips from the boat to islands but must return to the boats to sleep and eat. You spend quite a lot of time on the islands during the 2-3 initial days, and have most of the days to explore around them and relax. But, all of your belongings and all the eating and sleeping are on the water.

speedboat or sailing panama to colombia san blas sailing volleyball game sunset

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Boat, Food, and Tour Quality:


When you book a speedboat tour, all the tours offer the same exact product. So this way, there’s no uncertainty between dates or boats. All tours will go to the same or similar islands, serve fantastic food, see the authentic and untouched village, sleep in the comfy colorful dorms/hammocks, and use similar speedboats with set timings.

You don’t need to be uncertain of any quality on a Panama-Colombia speedboat tour because you can expect a high quality every time.


With sailboat trips, the quality is much different on each boat. Because the sailing Panama to Colombia tour companies are simply agencies for different boats and captains, one tour can be a fancy catamaran while the next is a sketchy little boat where water splashes in as you sleep (I actually heard of this happening once!!). With each captain/boat comes a total different tour, food, and experience, so it’s sometimes like playing roulette.

You can research what boat to take beforehand and try to time your schedule with a good one if you want, but it is sometimes (depending on the company you go through) not as easy to access information and reviews on each captain and boat to make sure your experience is a good one.

kuna people caledonia sailing panama to colombia

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Indigenous Interaction


On a speedboat San Blas sailing trip, you get more culture and immersion with the indigenous people throughout all islands. There are families or owners on most of the islands you visit, with whom you get to interact and learn. On one of the nights in the southern San Blas, you even spend a night in dorms in a Kuna village. On this night you play with the kids, meet the locals, listen to an elder speak about the people, eat Kuna food, and even see a performance if you are lucky! This really helps you understand the fascinating culture and how they live their day to day lives. Read more about my experience with the Kuna people in my San Blas Adventures review.


Depending on the captain and boat, you may have more or less indigenous interaction. There will be families and locals on certain islands where you stop for a day trip and they may be selling some crafts, but it’s not as immersive.

Sailing Panama to Colombia Tours won’t stay in an actual Kuna Village or see the more untouched areas of the archipelago. Indigenous interaction also depends heavily on the captain of the boat you get and if he/she has any ties with specific Kuna people or islands.

speedboat or sailing panama to colombia san blas sailing islands

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Tour Ending Point


Speedboat adventures end in a tiny Colombian village called Capurgana, which is right over the Panamanian border and use past the end of the San Blas Islands/Kuna Yala territory. This village is beautiful and remote and has no cars – only horse-drawn carts! You will need to purchase your onward travel from Capurgana, which is about $60 to Medellin or Cartagena.

However, you will have seen one of the most untouched places in Colombia that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen because it’s only accessible via air or sea. The speedboat company should be able to help you with booking accommodation, onward travel, and recommendations for the area too! Chances also are that you will continue traveling with new friends from your trip – my group traveled together afterwards for weeks.

Read my guide to Capurgana here to see what it’s like! 


Sailing boats between Panama and Colombia end in Cartagena, a big city on Colombia’s coast which is on most people’s travel routes. This is a major convenience factor, and it nice to be able to end in a bigger city without having to worry about traveling there.

Ending in Cartagena however does cost you a 2 day ocean crossing, and missing out on most of San Blas and a true Colombian highlight. It’s always a give and a take!

sailing panama to colombia or speedboat compare contrast

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Group Size


Speedboat groups can reach up to 25 people in size, and are generally between 15-25. Of course sometimes bookings are lower than others and there can be smaller groups, but groups will always be on the island together and sail in 1-2 speed boats for transit time. Passengers are generally from all over the world and offer a great environment to meet new friends.


Group size depends fully on the boat- usually around 6-16 people and up to 25. Each boat will be an independent tour by themselves, and the group you’re with on the boat will be with you the whole way. Passengers are also usually from a wide variety of countries offering a very social and immersive situation.

speedboat or sailing boat san blas islands panama to colombia

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Social Aspect


Because you spend most of your time on the islands, you are able to choose how social you want to be when on a speedboat tour. You can go and read under a palm tree alone, or you can hang out with people whenever you please.


You spend most of your time on the boat so you generally are around your group at all times without too much of a possibility to go off on your own if you feel you want some alone time – besides when you’re on the islands!


Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Giving Back to the Community


San Blas Adventures in known for its responsible tourism and gives back to the community through various different initiatives and working directly with the Kuna People. One of the owners is Kuna, enabling the company to forge close and mutually beneficial relationships with many different families and communities.

Most of passenger fares stay directly within the local communities. Fares go toward using Kuna accommodations, Kuna boats, Kuna fusion food, Kuna guides, Kuna construction workers, and more, and committees are formed to help communities with changes they would like to see made. San Blas Adventures also has initiatives to help with recycling, teach permaculture farming, and bring water filtration systems, and they are working towards a zero waste goal as well. I was super impressed by this repertoire of responsible tourism, and thought you might be too!


Most sailing Panama to Colombia tours via sailboat will visit a few communities, but don’t have much to do with them other than that. Some tours may give back quite a lot while others have little to do with the communities. Again, it depends fully on the boat captain and anything they personally do to help out the indigenous or personal relationships they may have.

Sailboat tours will use their own food and of course accommodation, and the fares will usually stay with the captain, agency, and possibly inhabitants of an island or two just for daytime use.

hammocks san blas sailing accommodation adventures sailing panama to colombia

Speedboat or Sailing Panama to Colombia: Accommodation


Speedboat sail Panama to Colombia tours will be accommodated in either hammocks or dorm beds. These will be in huts that are open to the warm island air with space to move around if you need but will be close to one another. Personally, I felt a bit worried about sleeping in hammocks but I got so used to them that I missed them when I got to the dorm!


The boat is where you stay for the 4 nights while sailing from Panama to Colombia. It’s important to note that rooms will not necessarily be private and sometimes there will be bunks in the ‘saloon’ of the ship. Depending on what boat you get, space may be very limited – enabling you to really get to know those around you! However, some boats may have private double rooms – again, it depends on what boat you get.

Anyway, I hope this comparison has helped you decide whether you want to take a speedboat or a sailboat in your voyage sailing Panama to Colombia! I’m sure you will enjoy your trip either way – wishing you an amazing trip with lots of adventures & sunsets! 🙂

 So, you've made the decision to take care of your border crossing by sailing Panama to Colombia. Good choice! As a border you can only cross by sea or air, it can be tough to decide how you want to travel between Colombia and Panama. But, if you consider that paying a bit more will allow you to have the experience of a lifetime and be able to see the most picturesque little islands the world has to offer, it's honestly a no-brainer. People pay hundreds to do San Blas Sailing tours without a border crossing being involved, so this really is just killing two birds with one stone.

Remember to Pin this!

panama backpacking guide

Don’t miss my Complete Panama Backpacking Guide if you’re traveling around the area!

Thanks to San Blas Adventures for hosting me on a speedboat trip. Of course, all words are my own and I couldn’t have loved my trip more.

May 7, 2018

12 Must-See Day Trips from Split, Croatia

12 Must-See Day Trips from Split, Croatia

Note: These Day Trips from Split are part of my Tour Guide’s Super-Guide to Croatia. Click to see the rest, and for some preliminary Croatia info that would be useful for this guide!

Split is the second largest city in Croatia and the capital of the Dalmatian Coast. It contains one of the busiest harbors in Europe and is a hub to the rest of Croatia. Split is centered around an incredible Ancient Roman Palace, but the rest of the city is mostly suburbs, leaving the city with not as much to do as one would expect from such a well-known Croatian coastal city.

However, as I always say, Split is perfect for basing oneself for many different day trips around the southern Croatian coast. There are dozens of amazing islands, national parks, and surrounding cities that make perfect day trips from Split. I have listed the best ones below, along with my recommended tour providers, too!

must-see day trips from Split Croatia - krka national park, plitvice lakes, hvar, vis, blue caves, zip lining, omis, makarska, canyoning, brac, and more!

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 There are many smaller islands and national parks that are best accessible as day trips from Split, often on an organized bus/minibus tour. I think day tours are some of the easiest ways to access different points of interest from a central Croatian city so be sure to check out these Split day trip ideas.

But first, check out some of my other Croatia Content! I worked as a tour guide for four years sailing the southern seas, so I know the place like the back of my hand. Here are some of my other detailed guides and posts about Croatia:

Vis Blue Caves Day Trip from Split

Many travel agencies will sell you day trips to the Blue Cave on Biševo island, just off of Vis Island. The cave is blue because there is a section of an almost entirely enclosed cave where the rock dips just a few feet below sea level, and the sunlight shines right through the crystal clear water and illuminates the whole cave in a blue glow.

It was discovered a few hundred years ago by an explorer who crawled through a small crack in the cave wall, and they have since blown a bigger (but still very tiny and only accessible via tiny boat) entrance to take tourists inside.

The cave is absolutely stunning and serene, but just know that you will take a little boat inside and be in there for about 5 minutes to take photos and it could be a long wait. I would say it’s worth seeing, though!

This tour here takes you from Split to the Blue cave, Vis island, the amazing Stiniva cove, the Green Cave, and Hvar island in one day!

Vis Day Trip from Split

Some blue cave trips (like the one above) will also stop at Vis island, which is gorgeous. Check my Guide to Vis to learn more about what there is to see on Vis, including two amazing little towns, beautiful swimming spots, fortresses, good food, Stiniva Bay, and even military tours that show you the fascinating military history of the island (including miles of tunnels).

It’s popular to rent scooters on Vis and zoom between little towns, mountains, and secluded coves. It’s great for a day trip from Split, or maybe one night if you are in time to catch some nightlife.

This 5 islands tour also stops on a few points of interest on Vis, as well as Hvar and the Blue Caves.

Krka National Park Day Trips from Split

This is one of the two famous ‘waterfall parks’ in Croatia, and this one is closer to Split. Krka is a stunning national park with cascades of waterfalls and an area that you can swim in! After swimming in the refreshing, cool water, (and making sure to take loads of photos!), there are some trails to walk around, a few restaurants and gift shops, and many places to lay out and get some sun.

Many day trips from Split to Krka will take you to other scenic areas and viewpoints in the park as stops on the tour, like the lovely town of Šibenik (below!).

I did a Krka trip from Split like this one here and recommend it as the best way to see Krka.

Šibenik Day Trips from Split

Šibenik is a lovely coastal town a few hours north of Split and very close to Krka National Park. There’s a beautiful old town, great little restaurants, and a cathedral to explore. It’s got a beautiful old town made of white stone much like other old Croatian towns, and has a similar unique charm.

Šibenik can be done as its own day trip, or can be conveniently combined with a day trip to Krka National Park like the tour linked above.


This day trip to Krka (same as above) also stops in Šibenik, as many day trips from Split to Krka do.
You can also organize a private sightseeing tour of Šibenik to spend more time getting to know this quaint town.
Or, you can spend the day kayaking and cliff-jumping in Šibenik‘s nearby Grebastica Bay. 
plitvice lakes national park croatia waterfall park croatia day trips from Split croatia


Plitvice Lakes National Park Day Trips from Split

Perhaps the most well-known (and most overrun by tourists) of Croatia’s national parks, Plitvice (plit-veet-zay) is the massive waterfall park with acres of beautiful blue water and waterfalls all over the place. This is probably the one you’ve seen on Pinterest and in guidebooks – it’s one of those earthly places that seems like it’s out of a fairytale! The only problem is that the tourists know it, too.

You could spend all day walking from one end of this park to the other and discover hundreds of beautiful waterfalls. It is massive and has loads of areas to explore and boardwalks to peruse across the turquoise waters. Unfortunately, you can’t swim here, but you’ll be too busy trying to cover all the ground covered by the park!

Omiš Day Trips from Split

Omiš is less than an hour south of Split, and is the adventure capital of Croatia’s south coast. It is here that the majestic Cetina river winds through its final stone mountain peaks and emerges into the Adriatic Sea. The mountains are very high here, and mountains + the river = some amazing adventures.

The best adventure day trip from Split in Omiš in my opinion is Zip Lining. I have been zip lining all over the world and this is by far the best I have done! You can also rock climb, go river rafting, try canyoning, and hike up to a fortress with a magical view. Check my super guide to Croatia for more info on Omiš!

Book a Zip Lining adventure in Omiš here, or check out my blog post about why this adventure is awesome.  

Book an Omiš canyoning adventure here!

Book a Cetina River rafting experience here!

Or, for the true adventurers – do all three! 😛 

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I remember seeing photos of this place on a blog a few years back, and making a pact with myself to see it one day. It's called Blagaj (pronounced bla-guy) spring, the source of the Buna River in Southwest Bosnia & Herzegovina. They estimate that it's the deepest spring in Europe, and that 43,000 gallons come out of it per second. The surrounding restaurants just use the river water to keep their drinks cold!! The gorgeous white house next to it is the Dervish house – a branch of Islamic religion that is one with nature. I got the vibe that they were the Islamic hippies😝✌🏼️ More on this soon!! #blagaj #dervishes #dervishhouse #spring #bunariver #herzegovina #solotravel #mostar #birthday #nikon_photography_

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Mostar and Medugorje, Bosnia & Herzegovina Day Trips from Split

Bosnia & Herzegovina is an absolutely beautiful country right next door to Croatia, and can also be visited as a (long) day trip from Split. Bosnia+ Herzegovina is a Muslim country, and is much more similar to Turkey than Mediterranean-esque Croatia.

This makes it especially fascinating to discover the many differences between Bosnia and Croatia, all the while also being completely gorgeous to visit. Mostar is home to the beautiful ‘old bridge,’ and Medugorje is a fascinating religious.

There are many other points of interest to visit as well, such as Počitelj castle, Kravice Falls, and Blagaj springs (pictured above). These can be done in the day tours below, or done in a few days at your own leisure!

This Day Trip from Split visits Mostar, Pocitelj castle, and Blagaj springs – some of the most scenic places I have seen in my travels (my top pick!)
This Day Trip from Split to Mostar and Medigorje leaves from Split or Trogir and visits two of the most cultural places in Bosnia… well, technically they are both in the ‘Herzegovina’ side!
Hotel Adriana View Hvar day trips from split guide to hvar

Hvar Island Day Trips from Split

Hvar might be the place on here I most strongly recommend as more than a single day trip from Split, but in that it’s only a 1.5 hour catamaran from Split, it’s very doable as one. Hvar island has a main town (Hvar Town) and a few other tiny little charming towns along the coast as well.

Most tours to Hvar leave from Hvar itself, but I have linked a few multi-island tours below that stop in Hvar. Or, jump on the catamaran and plan your day as you please!

If you only have one day, check out Hvar town and some of the stunning surrounding islands. Hvar is famous for its nightlife, and has lovely seaside cocktail bars and even a club on an island! To see all my recommendations of what to do in Hvar as one of many day trips from Split, read my guide to Hvar here.

A Tour Guide's Guide to Hvar Travel - All You Need to Know
This Hvar Hidden Gems tour takes you driving around some more secluded parts of the island, and ends with a classic Dalmatian meal. It’s a half day, so gives you time to explore the town as well. 

This Private Hvar Tour takes you from Split to Brac and Hvar, and has everything organized for you.

The 5 Islands Tour takes you to Hvar, Vis, the Blue Caves, and More. 

Or, just grab a ferry from Split and explore Hvar yourself, using my guide for recommendations!

Brač Island Day Trip from Split

Brač is one of the largest Adriatic Islands and the closest to Split – it’s the big island you can see from everywhere in Split! Brač is the most well known for the white stone quarried there and used not only all over Croatia but all over the world. Every old town you will explore in Croatia is made from Brač stone, and there are white stone souvenirs all over the country!

If you are to visit one place in Brač, go to the famous triangular beach called Bol, and the biggest town, Supetar. There are many secluded coves, vineyards, and tiny towns all over!

This catamaran tour visits some great points of interest on the island, including Bol!
Or, you can also jump on the ferry from Split to Brač and explore yourself. 

Šolta Island Day Trip from Split

Šolta is a smaller island almost connected to Brač, that is most known for its olive oil. It’s very secluded and seemingly remote while only a short ferry ride from Split.

Discover Šolta tour agency offers olive oil tours of the island, which are a great idea for a foodie.
                                1. must-see day trips from split croatia

A Day at Sea: Diving in Split

Although it’s not the most popular activity in Croatia, diving is actually amazing in this country due to the incredibly clear water. I bet you won’t meet many people who have been diving in Croatia, but the activity is growing in popularity each year.

Split Walking Tour organizes half-day dives off Split’s coast for those who want to explore the underwater world as well.

Makarska Day Trip from Split

Makarska is another half hour past Omiš, and is actually one of my favorite places in the whole country. It’s a little city at the base of the tallest mountains on the Croatian coast, and has all sorts of water sports, swimming spots, cliff jumping, and great food and nightlife.

There are many regular busses from Split to Makarska; most busses heading for Dubrovnik will stop there. Check my Croatia Super-Guide for more info on Makarska!

Trogir Day Trip from Split

Trogir is just north of Split – perhaps closer to the airport than Split itself – and it yet another gorgeous coastal old town to explore. There are many tours of Trogir, and many of the above tours will actually leave interchangeably from Split or Trogir! Find out what works best for you to book and plan accordingly.

This Day trip to Trogir from Split has everything you need for a great day in Trogir.

Dubrovnik Day Trip from Split

Okay, now I really would NOT recommend only doing Dubrovnik as a day trip from Split, because it’s worth so much more! But, in that it is possible, I am still listing it here for you! If you only have one day in Dubrovnik, it’s possible as a day trip from Split.

There’s loads to do in Dubrovnik (as you’ll see in my guide), and it’s really better to spend a few nights there. But if you are pressed for time, you absolutely should not miss out on seeing this amazing city!

Things to Do in Dubrovnik: A Tour Guide's Guide to Dubrovnik Travel
If after reading all this you have deemed that day trips from Split aren’t enough for you to see everything, there are many ways to get around the Balkans.
For those on a tighter budget, taking the bus will be the best way for you to get place to place. Each main city has a bus terminal and it’s quite easy for you to book a bus ticket from there to many surrounding places, or you can check online on Busbud, Flixbus, or GoEuro (my recommended bus booking platform for Europe).
For those who want a little bit more freedom, it’s a great idea to rent a car and drive from place to place. There are many companies who’ll allow use in multiple countries. I rented a car from Sixt in Croatia and drove it through Slovenia, Bosnia, and Montenegro without issue on my massive Balkans Road Trip. Compare all rates on; just make sure if you want to cross borders that the company can rent cars ok to drive to different countries.
Balkans Road Trip: A Balkan Travel Itinerary with Coasts, Parks, & More

Extra Notes on Split

If you’re still planning your journey to Split, here are my top recommendations for places to stay in Split. I have stayed in each (at very different stages in my tour guiding journey, ha) and recommend them!

Airbnb – Main Square Apartment (we stayed here)/Silver Luxury Apartment for smaller groups

Hostel – Booze & Snooze (for central + party)
Hotel – Palace Judita Heritage Hotel 

What to do in Split – check out my article below!

A Tour Guide's Split Travel Guide: Adventures, Food, + Nightlife (Croatia)

Have any questions about your trip to Croatia? Feel free to contact me for any trip-planning help! Remember to Pin this post to Pinterest!

must-see day trips from Split Croatia - krka national park, plitvice lakes, hvar, vis, blue caves, zip lining, omis, makarska, canyoning, brac, and more!
day trips from Split croatia omis hike canyoning zip lining river rafting

December 29, 2017

101 Gift Ideas for Wanderlust Souls

101 Gift Ideas for Wanderlust Souls

Know someone who suffers from a bad case of wanderlust? These holiday gift ideas for wanderlusters and adventurers should give you plenty of ideas to satisfy their travel cravings right under the tree!

From home decor to wearable wanderlust, and from awesome photography toys to the best packs on the market, here are some great gift ideas for people with insatiable wanderlust. Just as a note, the prices written down were accurate at the time of writing this but of course may have changed!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. That means that, if you purchase something through this post, I can get a small commission of the sale at NO extra cost to you. Help me stay on the road by buying through this post! 🙂

Gift Ideas for Wanderlusters: Jewelry and Apparel (Click Images To Shop)

Adorable Wanderlust Bracelet by Alex & Ani- $38

Travel Is To Live Hat – $3.16

Wanderlust Comfy Tee – $24.99

Favorite Place Necklaces (Click Images to Shop)

State Necklaces – $12.99

Get them a cute necklace in the shape of their US state, if they are from/love a certain one! This example is California, but there are lots.

Country-Shaped Necklace – $10.50

The same goes for countries! Get a necklace shaped like a favorite country/continent so they can take it with you wherever they go.

Wearable Wanderlust (Click Images to Shop)

‘Let’s Just Go’ Pullover Sweatshirt by LookHuman – $26.99

Let’s Get Lost Together T-Shirt – $14.99

World Map Galazy Unisex T-Shiirt – $7.89

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Airplane Gold/Silver Airplane Lariat Necklace – $37.00 – Click here to Shop on Etsy

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Work, Save, Travel, Repeat Tee – $19.99 – Click Here to Shop on Etsy

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World Map Necklace – $27.90 – Click Here to shop on Etsy

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“Sorry About Our President” Multiple Language Travel Tee – $16.99 – Click Here to Shop on Etsy 😛

Not Enough Ideas? See More Gift Ideas for Travelers Under Every Budget

Gift Ideas for Wanderlusters: Photos of their Favorite/Dream Destinations on Print or Other Fun Stuff

Did you know what I recently started selling my photography? I organized photos I have taken through my travels in 50+ countries into 25+ categories, and they are now available for sale. You can buy paper prints, canvas prints, wood prints, and metal prints, or you can get your favorite photos printed on cards, desk organizers, puzzles, iphone/android cases, coffee mugs, luggage tags, AND MORE!

Follow the link below to see if you can find a nice beach, mountain, sunset, wildlife, water, road (etc) shot to match the vibe in your wanderluster’s living space, or maybe their very favorite country or place to remind them of their love of travel!

Click Here to View My Galleries!

Gift Ideas for Wanderlusters: On The Road

Keeping Charged: External Battery Packs (Click Images to Shop)

Great for the traveler, commuter, adventurer, and everyone in between, external battery packs are essential to keep your electronics charged when you may not be somewhere you can plug them in. Here are some great ideas to charge phones and even laptops on-the-go.

Anker PowerCore+ High Capacity Portable Charger – $65.99

This bad boy is heavy duty enough to charge your laptop on the road. Pretty nifty, hey?

LUMINA Compact Portable Charger – $29.99

This guy is great of your phone, and has TWO USB ports so you can charge your phone and camera, headphones and speakers, phone and… you get the idea.

ANKER PowerCore+ Mini – $15.99

Saying this is “one of the most compact external batteries” couldn’t be more true. This thing can fit in any purse, backpack, or even wallet, and can give you the extra charge you need on the road.

Music On-the-Go: Portable Speakers (Click Images to Shop)

Whether you are out hiking, stocking files at work, sailing the high seas, or starting a hostel party, there are SO many amazing portable speakers the bring the party with you wherever you go. Here are a few brands I have tried before and recommend.

DOSS Portable Bluetooth HD Sound Speakers – $29.99

This speaker is both affordable, compact, and high quality and you really can’t go wrong with DOSS.

UE Boom Brainfreeze Waterproof + Shockproof Bluetooth portable speaker – $123.99

That’s right, WATERPROOF. I think it’s mostly just water resistant, but I can’t be the only one imagining sweet tunes on a pool floatie in the middle of the sea right?! Whether this one or not, UE Boom is a great company with high end portable bluetooth speakers.

NUBWO Portable Bluetooth Speakers – $15.99

This speaker is just a little one, very compact and won’t have the same quality as the other speakers but it’s very affordable and listenable anywhere.

Personal Music – for commutes, planes, trains, busses, and workouts.

E-Candy Bluetooth Headphones – $16.99

I have had these headphones for a few years now and they are the best I have had. The sound quality and bass is phenomenal and I actualyl can’t belive they’re so cheap.

Beats wireless in-ear headphones – $109.00

If you want top-of-the line, lasting, new age headphones, Beats are the way to go for sure. These are pretty hard to beat, and would make a pretty thoughtful gift because who doesn’t need headphones?!

Packing in an Organized and Neat Fashion

Amazon Basics Packing Cubes – $21.99

I have these and love them. They come in a pack of four – I personally use three and they fit like a glove in m backpack and keep my clothes organized.

Compact Hanging Toiletry Organizer – $21.99

I LOVE my toiletry organizer because it keeps all my toiletries seperated, but in one convenient place. I don’t have this specific one, but see what works best for your traveler!

Hostel Survival Items for Every Backpacker (Click Images to Shop)

Inflatable plush neck pillow – $19.95

On the road, my inflatable neck pillow is life. It folds up small but is there when you need it- although people definitely sometimes give you strage looks when you blow it up in an enclosed space 😛 Worth it!

Hearos Noice Cancelling Ear Plugs – $4.88

It’s important in ny hostel to have a pair of earplugs to wear at night in case people sharing your dorm come home loud or late!

Adjustable Silk Sleep Mask – $8.95

Sleep masks are also saviors in hostels when dorm-mates are so rude as to come back and turn the lights on… or for when you want to sleep in!

Master Lock Set-Your-Own Combination Padlock – $10.32

A Padlock is necessary to keep your vanuables safe inside hostels!

Worldwide Travel Adaptor with USB Ports – $13.99

This adaptor can be used in more than 150 countries with its universally adaptable plugs – great for any trip!

Gift Ideas for Wanderlusters: When You Can’t ACtually Travel, Plan & Your Next Trip with Travel Books!

If you know travel, you know Lonely Planet. Their guidebooks are the industry standard and are widely considered as law when it comes to travel – they know their stuff. So when they write a guidebook or recommend places for 2018, you should listen!

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The Travel Book – perfect for coffee table wanderlust.

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Lonely Planet’s Guide to the World – yep, every country in one big book!

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Epic Drives of the World – for the road trippers out there!



Gift Ideas for Wanderlusters: Accessories Galore!


Adorable Passport Covers In Many Different Designs (Click Images to Shop)

Map-Themed Passport Covers (Over 30 Designs) 15.99

“And So The Adventure Begins” Passport Covers (4 Colors) $20.99

Amazing Travel Keychain Ideas (Click Images to Shop)

Map Keychain $4.99

Fly Safe Keychain $14.99

Globe Keychain $3.65

A Few Beautiful Little Travel Journals to Record All the Best Adventures! (Click Images to Shop)

Old World Journal $11.60

Wanderlust Map Journal $6.59  

You Are Here Mindful Travel Journal $13.37

A Mini Essential Oils Carrying Case – On a Keychain! ($19.99 – Click Image to Shop)

Digital Hanging Luggage Scale – $12.99

best gifts for travellers and wanderlusters

World Map Money Jar Travel Fund – $23.95 – Click here to Shop on Etsy

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Globe Ornaments – $10.00 – Click Here to Shop on Etsy 

Gift Guide for Wanderlusters: Adventures Themselves!

How can you give an actual adventure as a gift, you may ask? Well, there are lots of ways, whether they can actually travel or just want to get outside the box in their own backyard.

Adventures in Your Own Backyard: GetYourGuide Tours

As I always say, one of the best ways to cure wanderlust while at home is to be a tourist in your own hometown. I bet you have steered clear of all the touristy places around the place you’re from, and probably not left yourself open to new experiences and places in your own city.

This amazing company Get Your Guide offers over 30,000 tours in dozens of cities worldwide, ranging from big tour companies to super local mom & pop tour companies running small-scale tours. They offer a lot of skip-the-line advance tickets to large monuments, also. Check out what they have on offer in your area and see if there’s something you may have never done before! Or you can plan a trip around a new adventure. It just might ease that wanderlust!

Here are some of their top cities and activities, but this list is not exhaustive whatsoever!



Ok, yeah, sure, this might be a bit aggressive, but we all know all wanderlusters really want is a ticket somewhere new, right?

I use Skyscanner, Momondo, or Edreams to find the cheapest flights for any route! See what you can find for your wanderlust soul!

Or, Let Them Unwrap A Hotel/Hostel Reservation – for a Staycation OR a Vacation!

There’s nothing like unwrapping a reservation for amazing accommodation to pique someone’s wanderlust!

For the backpacker, try finding some of the world’s bet hostels on Hostelworld.

For the hotelier, try or Agoda to find the best hotel and resort prices.

The the most unique apartments and living spaces, Airbnb is the way to go – to book both spaces and unique experiences!

Gift Guide for Wanderlusters: A Photographers’s Dream! All Kinds of Ways To Document Adventures

Go Pro: The Adventurer’s Camera (Click Images to Shop)

Newest – Go Pro 6 – $498.50

Hero 5 Session – $299

Hero 5 Black – $399

If you want the newest, fanciest Go Pro, the 6 is for you. It just came out this year and has better and newer capabilities than its predecessors. However, its predecessors still work just fine (I am still using my 3+, lol)! The Hero 5 Black won’t set you back as much and is still a great compact camera with a screen, and the Hero 5 Session is just a lil’ guy without a screen but is extra compact and adventure-ready. Click Images to Shop!

Go Pro Accessories

I have used Sandmarc Gear for years with my Go Pro so I recommend it to you as well! Check out some of these cool items; you can also bundle multiple together in their shop.

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Ultimate Go Pro Accessory Bag – it keeps all your gear safe, rolls up, and slings right over your shoulder! (Click Here to Shop)

Go Pro Aqua Filters – Fine Tune Your Underwater Photography! (Click Image to Shop)

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I’ve had this Go Pro Pole (Sandmarc Black Edition) for 3 Years & Couldnt Recommend it More Highly! You’ll See it in Many of My Travel Photos. (Click Here to Shop)

Pro Charge – Two Batteries + The Remote At the Same Time! (Click Here to Shop)

DSLR’S for the More Professional Photographer

The amount of DSLR’s (Digital Single Lens Reflex) Cameras on the market today is crazy high, with many companies to choose from and cameras for all abilities. I won’t go too much into it, but I’ll give a good idea of some entry level cameras and also some more advanced ones, plus bundle and accessory deals.

Entry Level DSLR’s

Nikon D3400 Complete Kit – $589.99

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Complete Kit – $469.00

Here are two of the most popular entry level DSLR Camera Kits – coming with extra lenses, memory cards, tripods, cleaning kits, etc. I use Nikon, but Canon is great too. Click the images to shop; you can also get just the camera and not the complete kit for cheaper.

Or, If You Want to Level Up a Bit…

Canon EOS 7D Mark II – High Level Canon DSLR Body with Wifi Adaptor – $1549.00

Nikon D750 – High Level Full Frame Camera Body – $1496.00

Sony A7Rii High Level Full Frame Mirrorless Camera Body (42.4MP/4K video) – $2398.00

Here are some of the best cameras on the maket today, if you are buying for a photography fiend! All three of these cameras would make any photo-obsessed adventurer drool (as I am as I write this), especially the Sony. The ones I listed are body-only (no lens) but if you click the images you can chooce from all sorts of lens and kit packages.

Camera Accessories

Any photography lover will need a memory card to store all those amazing moments! If you get an SD card to go along with a camera, make sure you know whether they need a micro-sd card or a normal one (pictured). Most cameras will take a normal SD card and Go Pro’s only have space for a micro. Not to worry, though, many micro-sd’s come with a larger adaptor to fit in a normal sized slot. – $18.99

Camera Filters – Any photographer needs a UV filter to protect their lens, and this kit includes a few other fun filters as well for managing reflections and shooting long exposures in high light situations. Make sure you get the right pack for their lens size! – $14.99

S-Zone Vintage camera bag – this bag, while looking cute as hell, is also extremely convenient for holding all your camera gear and even lenses too! -$25.99


Here are two tripods, one on the cheaper end, and fun and portable one, and one a little more high-end. Tripods are necessary for anyone who travels solo, likes to shoot at night, do long exposures, or have more flexibility shooting!

Amazon Basics 50 inch tripod with bag – $12.96

JOBY Gorilla-Pod for SLR. These can handle up to 3kg and can be bent every which way to not miss ANY kind of shot! – $40.00

Rangers Lightweight + compact aliminum tripod – $69.99

The Future is Flight: Drones!

Now I am not the Drone Pro, but a friend of mine over at How Dare She definitely is. DJI drones are the most popular for travelers and adventurers, more affordable than military grade drones (of course), take fantastic footage, and have different levels of pricing depending on what you want. Here are three of their best-selling drones, from the cheapest starter to a more advanced one with all the bits and bobs.

DJI Spark – Smaller beginning drone – $381.58 (Click Image to Shop!)

DJI Mavic Pro Platinum – $1099 (Click Image to Shop!)

DJI Phantom 4 Pro – more advanced drone- $1499 (Click Image to Shop!)

Going Old School: Polaroids

The old days are definitely coming back, and there’s just something about a rustic old polaroid photo that slowly seeps to life that makes you feel nostalgic yet warm and fuzzy inside. A polaroid camera could be an amazing gift, and maybe a little line with pegs so you can hang them up in a room.

Polaroid Instant Film Camera – $69.75

This is the OG polaroid, still as good as it ever was with a modern twist. There are multiple colors available!

2 Pack of Polaroid Instant Film – $19.99

You have to get them sme extra film for all the extra memories!

Interior Decorating Mini-Colored Clothes Pegs and Line – $8.99

Now, to put it all together! Your giftee can take al the polaroids their little heart desires, and hang them up along a wall in their room to save the memories forever. Now, how cute is that?!

iPhotography is the New Thing
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Sandmarc also has lots of options for iPhone photography, including three different amazing lenses for different types of iPhones. Click Here to see all the options they offer.


Gift Guide for Wanderlusters:  Decor + Other Cute Things

For the Wall (Click Images to Shop!)

An amazing golden world map canvas $9.00

Scratch the World Map Scratch Poster – $28.49

Amazing Wanderlust Wall Decal – $9.99

In the Shower (Click Images to Shop)

A Wanderlust SHOWER CURTAIN. Seriously, What Could Be More Creative? – 29.95

Quick-Drying Microfiber Towel – Perfect for people on-the-go! – $14.97

Map Tapestries – Perfect to decorate a room! (Click Images to Shop)

Wanderlust Map Tapestry – $37.00

Ancient World Map Tapestry – $27.00

Extra Large Tie Dye World Map Tapestry – $74.70

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Push Pin World Travel Map – $27.99 – Click Here to Shop on Etsy 

Miscellaneous Outdoors (Click Images to Shop)

Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool – $33.95

You never know what could happen on the road or while outdoors, and a multi-tool is always good to have just in case – of emergency, of outside cooking, of macguyvering, or arts and crafts! 🙂

The Cutest Camping Mug EVER -$15.87

Gift Guide for Wanderlusters:  Backpacks

Now there are millions of different backpacks out there these days, for many different purposes. Smaller bags may be worn for shorter trips, hikes, to school, to work, around the big city, and anything in between. But, if you are actually going on a long backpacking trip, you’ll want something much different. Here are a few suggestions of backpacks for different kinds of wanderlusters going different kinds of places, including anti-theft, stylish, and practical choices.

Backpacks: For Adventures (Click Images to Shop)

Loaged Anti-theft water resistant backpack with USB post and many compartments – $27.99

Kaukko Laptop outdoor adventure backpack (10+ Colors, stylish, durable, multiple pockets) – $39.99

For something a bit more trendy, surf brands like Roxy offer cute + colorful patterns in all types of backpacks like this one. – $46.15

Backpacks: For Actual Backpacking (Click Images to Shop)

I am in the market for a new backpack right now actually, and I think I am going to go with Osprey. For some reason they clarify between Men’s and Women’s backpacks, so I have included a few of varying sizes below, along with another company that makes good products. The size of the backpack definitely depends on the amount of time traveling and the weather, but as a frame of reference, I usually carried a 65L backpack on my long (6+ months) trips, and took a 35L backpack backpacking for 3 weeks.

Osprey Women’s Aura 65 Backpack – $189.13

Osprey Men’s Atmos AG 50 Backpack – $129.98 + depending on type

Deuter ACT Lite Trekking Backpack – $132.95

Pin this to share it with friends!

No, I am not kidding when I say here are 101 GIFT IDEAS for adventurers, wanderlusters, and travellers! See if you can find something you wouldn't have thought of before.

December 11, 2017

Traveling to Afrikaburn: A Guide for the Traveler or First-Timer 

Traveling to Afrikaburn: A Guide for the Traveler or First-Timer 

Traveling to Afrikaburn is quite different than traveling to any other festival, because you can’t quite just buy a ticket and ‘go’ on your own, and experience it like any other festival. In that burns are completely put on by their participants, have no money or stores at all, and don’t have workers there to set everything up for you, it’s much more of meticulous process to get to.

Traveling to Afrikaburn requires a careful amount of planning, networking, and teamwork, and a lot of resources that are not readily available to (and expensive for) your everyday backpacker or traveler.

When I set my sights on this incredible event last year, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road… but I was prepared to fight for an experience that I knew could change my life.

I was traveling solo through Africa. I planned the dates of a 6 week camping tour I did around the dates of Afrikaburn, and simply hoped to find a way to join a camp and make it out there into the dusty Tankwa Karoo desert.

I’ll let you in on a little secret now – I made it to the burn. I participated in an absolutely amazing camp full of people who are now my good friends, and felt safe and free and had plenty of resources and got the most out of my burn.

But let’s now step back a little… having all these essential things is not easy to come by as a backpacker traveling through South Africa. But I’m going to let you know how I did it, and give all the possible advice for anyone else wishing to have the same experience traveling solo to Afrikaburn.


afrikaburn outfits art installations radical self expression


Traveling to Afrikaburn: First, Know What You Are In For. What Is a Burn?

Afrikaburn is not a bucket list tick you can come and experience at the last minute, to witness all the crazy people and extravagant art and go home with a cool instagram photo. If that’s what you’re in it for… maybe rethink your travels. I mean sure, I got lots of cool photos (some of the best of my life), but the point is that AB is a fully immersive experience contingent upon the Ten Principles of Burning Man.

Luckily, I wrote a whole post on that right here (What is a Burn, and What Can We Learn?), so go ahead and check it out to see if it’s right for you!

Afrikaburn also puts out a survival guide each year as well – see 2017’s survival guide here (click the english one). This goes over ALL logistics you could need to know.

I think the main thing to understand is that Afrikaburn (any any burn) is totally, 100% participatory. You don’t attend the event, you co-create it. You don’t go and watch what is going on, you help make it happen. You do this by gifting, giving anything you possibly can to the community to help make it a better, more beautiful, and more inclusive place. Each and every person do their small part to make the festival into the complete, perfect, spiritual, creative, mecca of music, art, and radical expression that it is. Whether you are helping to put on a massive music stage, giving compliments, helping bathe people, painting bodies, building infrastructure, or serving champagne or coffee, you are doing YOUR part to make it a better place.

Possibly more important is to know that you are 100% self reliant. The only thing you can buy is ice. You must come with EVERYTHING you need for the entire week, or be prepared to somehow find it. This is one of the most incredible things, I think, having no money at all and relying on selflessness. But really though, you’ll need LOTS of water.

Non-commodization  is also KEY. As a blogger (and if any fellow bloggers are reading this) don’t even THINK about trying to pull the blogger (or any kind of media) card here. They don’t want you or your followers, and even more so want to see this event as least tainted by the media as humanly possible. What they do want is to spread the unique and beautiful culture, so if you are doing that, there’s hope.

Expression is important too – Radical Self-Expression (did you read my post yet? 😛 ). I had someone say to me that they don’t particularly like dressing up, and asked if that was okay for Afrikaburn. I mean, technically, YES. Anything is okay here. But I think they missed the point. AB is all about letting your wild side fly, being free to wear something a little out of the ordinary, and really getting to feel comfortable out of your comfort zone. So letting those freak flags fly, I would argue, is pretty important too.

Last one I will talk about here – LEAVE NO TRACE. At AB, there is something called MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) that is not welcome, well, anywhere. You must be super-conscious of anything you leave behind – no dropping cigarette butts, glitter, etc, and you must bring all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Woah woah woah, let’s back up here. We’re already talking about bringing gallons of water, picking up cigarettes, and letting freak flags fly when I haven’t even gotten my ticket?! Sorry, guys, I got carried away. Let’s go back to the beginning. We’ll get back to the ten principles later 😉


Traveling to Afrikaburn: Getting into tankwa karoo and getting tickets

Getting Tickets to Afrikaburn

First, sign up for the Afrikaburn newsletter. They will send out a hilariously written ‘Baardskeerder’ every so often with updates on the Tankwa Karoo (the desert/national park where AB is held, or “Tankwa Town”) and how the preparations are going. They will include fundraisers certain theme camps are having, info on the status of each year’s artworks, art and mutant vehicle applications and grants, maps, programs, and volunteer searches, and sometimes camps who need extra help.

Before you get a ticket, you will need to make yourself a ‘Burner Bio.” These are just a little profile on the Afrikaburn page that lets them know who you are. They’re super easy so get that done first so it will be ready when tickets go on sale.

They have an early-bird sale in Nov/Dec and general sales in February, generally. You can also get Direct Distribution Tickets (DDT’s) from theme camps with a registered number of tickets. I actually tried in the first sale and failed to get a ticket before it sold out, so I got mine in the second sale quite easily. The ticket price (and ticket itself) will really be the least of your worries when attending Afrikaburn… trust me. Coming in hot at a price of hardly $100 USD, you’ll have to worry much more about costs of getting there, food, drinks, and camp/living supplies. But alas, the ticket is still quite essential 😛


Afrikaburn ferris wheel burn travelling to afrikaburn as a forigner or first-timer afrikaburn travellers


Traveling to Afrikaburn: What is a Theme Camp? What Are the Other Options?

If this is your first burn, (other than reading my post, trust me) you’ll want to know about camping at Afrikaburn. Again, in that you cannot buy anything there, you will have to make sure that you arrive with EVERYTHING you need for the whole week. Some people choose to do this just with another few people and a van, but most people band together into big groups, maybe 15-50 (depending on the camp).

Theme Camps are, well, themed camps (surprise, surprise) that register with Afrikaburn each year with a certain name and focus. Theme camps are plotted centrally along the main strip at Afrikaburn (called ‘the Binnekring’) and are interactive and open to everyone. They are usually the camps that organize activities, food, shows, music, food/drink, or art for the public to take part in. Remember, nothing is already organized at a burn, so everything originates from these Theme Camps and participants who cocreate the entire event.

How to Find a Theme Camp to Join at Afrikaburn

Theme Camps, in that they put on most of the organized events of a burn, often need help to do so. So, if you’re traveling, the best way to get in with a camp at Afrikaburn is to join a theme camp and sign up for shifts to work and help out. You could help out washing people at the bath camp, serving coffee at coffee house camps, painting people at art camps, serving champagne, decorating, building infrastructure, giving out water, etc, depending on the camp you join. If you dream it, you can probably do it at Afrikaburn – with a theme camp or not!

Nearing the event, many Theme Camps put up little bios and requests on the Afrikaburn website, detailing what they’re about and what kinds of people they may need. They will list their email addresses, and if you need to join a camp, reach out to some that sound god to you! Tell them about yourself, about your travels, through Africa, how you can contribute, and about what the burn means to you and why you are going. Just make sure you’re aware that this is a fully participatory event and they will want people who are keen to muck in, help out, and contribute!

This link may help you get involved with the community!


afrikaburn theme camps


Non-Theme Camps, and How to Find Them

I had a friend tell me that the best way to enjoy and appreciate Afrikaburn is to not join a them camp but go with a smaller camp of friends and be able to fully immerse in your first burn rather than working tons of shifts. This, of course, depends, and is different for everyone. Sometime’s it’s fun to work, meet people, and really contribute, but some people want to take it easy their first time. So, if you want to find a group of friends to join, the best way is to reach out into the community as much as possible. How can you do this?

Anyone You Or Your Friends Know

Try contacting anyone you know who has been to AB, or friends who know people who have been. Any lead is a lead, and maybe this person can help you in the right direction or put you in contact with someone who is running a camp.

Facebook Groups and Pages

There are Facebook Groups such as “Afrikaburn International,”  “Afrikaburn Resource Community,” Afrikaburn (Group),” “Tankwa Ride & Share” (which is more for finding rides to/from the burn… link below) and a few more niche ones.

There is the main Facebook page for the event “Afrikaburn” that you can post on, and also some smaller pages for volunteering, specific theme camps, finding people, etc.

I must have posted in a million groups, messaged tons of friends (and friends of friends), and sent a million emails out to theme camps, opening up quite a few possibilities for my first AB. But the way I found my camp seemed to be a mix of a really strange story, absolutely perfect timing, and maybe some fate.

See, one of my posts was in the main Afrikaburn group about the fact that I was traveling solo and was looking for a camp to join. I mentioned my desire to help out as much as I could from the time I would arrive in Cape Town, a few contributions I could make right off the bat (ex. my camera- have you seen my Afrikaburn Photos? body paint, cooking skillz, mixology, coffee serving, building help, camp decoration, good vibes, funny stories… you get the idea), and a bit about myself, hoping that maybe someone would respond.

And, they did.

It turns out, the friend of a guy I literally met in an elevator in Miami in 2014 (like… what?!?!), saw my post, and saw that he had a mutual friend with me. So, the friend of a South African guy I had had a few drinks with before Ultra Miami, contacted me. He said that his camp of friends takes on some foreigners each year, to help out with the camp, make new friends, diversify the camp, and contribute to the experience.

To me, this was absolutely insanely perfect (But everyone is different!). I said I was happy to join. I met the group at a bar when I arrived in Cape Town, and the rest was history.

Afrikaburn portrait how to go to afrikaburn as a traveller


Plug & Play Camps + Camp Costs

Another important thing to note is to stay away from what they call “Plug & Play” Camps. I almost fell into one of these traps, when I responded to a post on one of the Afrikaburn pages. Someone invited me to stay with their camp (and I was so desperate and happy to receive an invite that I obliged) in which they would have people serving the food and setting up tents, etc. I didn’t know much about it at first, and when I saw the camp cost of over 2000, I thought it was in the local currency – Rand. But after I transferred the money, I discovered it was supposed to be in USD!!!

Don’t take part in a plug & play camp as it basically goes against everything a burn stands for – does anyone remember, ‘radical self-reliance?!’ Your camp is radically self-reliant if you help make it happen. You will of course have to pay for general camp supplies which a few people usually organize, and each camp decides on the cost of their dues (for things like a stretch tent, generator, cooking supplies/BBQ, drink, common area seating etc, tents, food…). It varies but I would say the normal cost for a camp would be about R2000, give or take maybe 500-1000.

afrikaburn preparation what to bring to afrikaburn survival guide

Now You Have a Ticket and a Camp… What’s Next, Afrikaburn Travelers?

Getting your camp ready: Depending on when you are arriving to South Africa, see if the people organizing your camp need any help with infrastructure, packing, shopping, or planning. As a traveler, you probably already missed out on the vast majority of the planning (which starts months in advance!), so it’s a nice gesture to try and do what you can when you arrive to help make your camp from an idea to reality. Pick up extra supplies they may need, help load vehicles, help decorate mutant vehicles, help shopping… whatever you can do!

Getting yourself ready:

Afrikaburn Weather

When packing, you’ll definitely need to consider the weather. The year I went, it was very hot – so we didn’t even need jackets at night. But, my friends said that they couldn’t even leave their camp the year before without gloves and massive coats. So make sure you know the weather and what you need to be comfortable.

Food/Drink to Bring to Afrikaburn

You will need, of course, to make sure you have all the food and drink/water supplies you need for the week. My camp worked in a way that 2-3 people were responsible for one lunch or dinner during the week, so a new friend and I were responsible for cooking one lunch for 29 people, and that’s all. Not all camps work this way so make sure you have enough food for the amount of days you’re going for. Make sure you know the food storage situations too – will there be a fridge/freezer at your camp, how much space can you take up, what is the cooking situation, etc. It’s always better to have more food, though, than to be begging at the end of the week!

Drinks are entirely on a case by case basis. My camp dues included lots of different kinds of beverages that we could help ourselves to, which was awesome, but again, each is different! Grab some beers, wine, and hard drinks (try Amarula too, I lived off it 😛 )

How much WATER to bring to Afrikaburn

To be safe, bring at least 5L/day plus extra. They sell the massive 5l bottles at most stores, and I brought 10 for the 7 days (50L total). Remember, you will have to shower with this water also, if your camp has one! We almost ran out of ours!

Afrikaburn camping supplies what you need to travel to afrikaburn travelling to afrikaburn


Non-Food Necessities:


I borrowed one from a friend, but it’s also possible to rent tents for a pretty hefty price. See if anyone in your camp has extra, or if the camp you join already has tents.

Air Mattress

I actually picked up a pool lilo (floatie) from a shop, and slept on it quite comfortably the whole week. Most people get air mattresses, though, and they’re available around Cape Town (and probably JoBurg).


It can get hot, and the desert sun is relentless!

Comfortable Shoes

A lot of people wear boots or tennis shoes, in that the ground is dirty and rocky. And yes, it can get very rocky, so thick soles are good.


Good to protect from the sun!


Same idea. Important.

Baby Wipes

Sometimes you just don’t want to go through the trouble of showering, or walking all the way to the shower camp (where dozens of people naked shower together and are washed by the workers. No joke). So baby wipes are a great idea, for when you’re all dusty and for when the nasty porta-potties run out of paper. Make-up wipes are also a good move.

Toilet Paper

Also good to have.

Water bottle

Good to carry around to stay hydrated, especially if you have a backpack or a string to hang it over your shoulders.

Reusable Plates & Cups

Remember that AB is all about minimizing waste and leaving no trace, so it’s a good idea to bring a set of your own reusable plates, cups, and silverware to wash and reuse for your meals. If you are helping plan a camp, bring a few basins to wash up and a drying rack too, and some extra water for this (even if it’s non-drinking water from a hose).

Cooking Supplies

Chances are that if you are traveling to Afrikaburn as a foreigner, you won’t be responsible for the braai (BBQ), stove, utensils, refrigerator, freezer, tables pots, pans, and all of the things you need to cook an actual meal. But, if you decide to rent a van and go it alone, these are all things you will want to think about.


Again, Afribaburn travelers joining a camp probably won’t be thinking about this, but it is important to think about. Battery-powered everything is good, also!

Other Stuffs

Being prepared is key! Things like scissors, a first aid kit, duct tape, foldable chairs/pillows/mattresses to sit on, band-aids, locks for your tent, smaller speakers, bum bag/fanny pack, and a hand fan are all things you may want to think about.

Fun Stuff to Bring Traveling to Afrikaburn

Lights of Every Kind

It’s very dark out there, so it’s not only fun but a great idea to have something to light yourself up! There are battery-powered light strings, glow sticks (as long as they don’t fall off… MOOP), glowing hula hoops & hats, etc! Rig your own special outfit with a string of lights!

Paint Pens/Body Paint

Not a necessity for everyone, but my paint pens made my week. I loved painting people each day and everyone likes to get a lil funky at the burn.


Good for getting pretty before going out in the Binnekring.


Traveling to Afrikaburn: how to get there as a foreigner or first timer


Radical Self Expression – Outfits!

It’s definitely hard to have extravagant burn outfits when you are traveling, but luckily Cape Town/South Africa is cheap to shop, and a lot of daytime outfits are small to pack. Creativity is key – I made an awesome cape (above) from safety-pinning a sarong I got in Zambia for $2 to my necklace, a skirt from cutting up an R10 scarf, and repurposed lots of things for crazy outfits.


There are a few markets in Central CT where you can pick up some fun jewelry and clothing – lots of classic African designs also.

The R5 Store

This is where it’s at. There are a few of these in Sea Point (Cape Town) and scattered around SA, and they’re where you can get ALL the fun stuff- wigs, masks, tattoos, wands, long socks, tights, jewelry, wings, all sorts of scarves and material you can use to make other things. Put on your creative cap and go – there’s no limit to what you can discover and put together from stuff here.

Case study: I made the skirt-thing I am wearing in the first photo in this post from a belt I got for R30 and a R10 green scarf I cut up and tied all around. The wings, headband, and wand were also a set from here for R35. The socks in the photo above? R20. Less than $2. The ‘cape’ and flower chain in the photo below were also less than R50 from the R5 store. (Convertion is about R13.5 to 1$USD)

Afrikaburn Market

One of the hostels I stayed at, 91 Loop, had a Pre-Burn market a few days before the burn. It was incredible, but also quite expensive (and rightfully so, in that artists and designers themselves were selling their handmade products!). I bought a fur jacket and some goggles here, in preparation for the dust and the ‘cold’ nights.

Zaful/Cheap Online stores

I ordered a really cool green high-waisted velour set (pictured above also) for like $13 from a website called Zaful before coming, and kept it in my backpack. I alternated parts of this with different bralettes, tights, and jewelry the whole week.

afrikaburn outfit desert sunset tankwa karoo national park travelers at afrikaburn tankwa town radical self expression kimmie conner traveling to afrikaburn

And now, you’re ready! How do you GET to Afrikaburn?

Afrikaburn Transfers + Rideshares

If your camp isn’t organizing a transfer, you can find a rideshare online! I would look to pay around 800-1000 Rand each direction – it’s not close, and as you will see, the dirt road you take to get there is basically straight out of hell.

Tankwa Ride & Share Facebook Group – check in this group, which is specifically made for rideshares to Afrikaburn. This helpful community will have some ideas!

Rent a Car

If you are not going with a transfer or a camp, you can rent a car to take out to the desert! Just make sure you know the parking areas and have everything you need.


Yep, that’s right, Tankwa town has an AIRPORT! And flights can be as low as the cost of a transfer from Cape Town. Check the website for flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town – I bet the view would be unforgettable.

traveling to afrikaburn afrikaburn internationals


The Actual Act of Traveling to Afrikaburn

You may be traveling to Afrikaburn from Cape Town or JoBurg, but one thing that’s for sure is that the ride isn’t a piece of cake. It will take a lot of loading cargo, some junk food stops, and a LOT of dusty road! But if you have a good playlist going, you should be sweet.

Once you wait in the line to enter Tankwa Town and get your wristbands and survival guides, IT’S GO TIME! Find where to set up your camp or where it is already set up, and get going…

Go play! Just kidding. It’s time to help set up the event that you are an integral part of creating. Whether you are helping setup with your own camp or volunteering for shifts at the main tent through the week, it’s important to remember to participate rather than just observing.

Afrikaburn Pro Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Burn

  • Stay Hydrated
  • Pitch your tent under another (bigger/stretch) tent so it doesn’t get super hot 
  • Decorate and design a great common area for you and your campmates to chill
  • Eat well
  • Contribute & co-create always
  • Keep an open mind
  • Jump head-first out of your comfort zone
  • Say yes
  • Explore all the camps
  • Sign up to volunteer
  • Appreciate all the art
  • Make your own art (of any kind!)
  • Watch a burn
  • Write something on an art piece that will burn down, so you can let it go
  • Talk to strangers
  • Follow the ten principles
  • Meet new people
  • Radically express yourself
  • Don’t leave MOOP
  • Pick up MOOP you see 
  • Try new things
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Dance under the moon
  • Find new music
  • Ride a mutant vehicle
  • Give things away
  • Look at the stars 
  • Leave Tankwa Town better than you found it, and as a better person than when you arrived 🙂

Pin this guide if you found it useful!

If you are traveling to afrikaburn as a first-timer or an international, I made this guide to ease the process. Because Afrikaburn isn't a normal festival, it;s much harder to find a camp and a group to go with and share the planning process. so here's my experience getting to afrikaburn as a solo traveler.


Staying in Africa a while? Check out more of my posts from the area!

November 9, 2017