15 Travel Tips That Might Make Life A Little Easier 

As I travel from city to city and country to country, I’ve come across many situations where I’ve learned something useful. 

Hopefully these give you some ideas and inspiration to make your life on the road just a tad bit easier…..

1. Using Google Maps around the city without using any data: I learned this as I was traveling throughout Europe. If you’re at your hostel/hotel/etc with wifi and you search your destination before you leave, you can still follow along with the route off wifi as you walk/take your bus/whatever. 

2. Talk to locals: This is one of the most important points. Talking to locals may mean stepping out of your comfort zone (which is a fantastic thing) and making you feel a little weird – BUT! Locals will show you the ropes. I’m tellin’ ya. This is how you find hidden waterfalls and the best restaurants in the city that you can’t find on TripAdvisor.


3. Don’t forget to treat yourself: Sure, traveling on a budget is phenomenal and saving money makes you feel on top of the world. But if you really want something or really want to experience something….do it. This may be your only chance. Take a gondola ride, get a Thai massage, or go paragliding in the Alps. It’ll be worth the money. Do you want to live with regrets?!

4. Purchase a sarong: I cannot tell you how much my sarongs mean to me during my travels. You can also get a large scarf or something similar, too. I bought my first sarong in Bali and I bought more because I use them so much. If you’re cold in the airports, bathing suit cover, as a towel on the beach, whatever you hope and dream for. I am always using them.

5. Breathe: Don’t panic and stress yourself out over situations you cannot change. Your flights may get delayed. Your hostel could have double booked. Maybe your moped gets a flat tire. Breathe and laugh it off. It’ll all be settled soon. 

6. Scan and photocopy your important documents: Scan your passport/social security card/license/etc. Life happens. People lose things. Things get stolen. Have a couple of copies with you in your bags. 

7. Learn bits of the language you’ll be surrounded by: No, you don’t need to be fluent in Portugese for your week in Brazil. But learning simple words and phrases can go a long way. It’s respectful and always looks good. Plus – if people speak broken English….knowing important phrases and words is GREAT. “Hello”, “Thank you”, “Please”, “You’re welcome”, “How much?”, “Toilet?” are all good starting points. 

8. Pack….and then take half of it away: Be honest with yourself. Do you need all of that? Do you need 4 pairs of wedges and 18 tops for your week in Florida? Make life easier. It’ll be less heavy and you’re less likely to get stopped at baggage claim transferring items to other bags and throwing things away.

9. Pack the crucial items in your carry-on: You’ll always have this bag on you. I’ve personally never had it happen to me yet, knock on wood – but bags do get lost and transferred on wrong flights. Make sure you have your medications, cameras and other electronics, and maybe even an extra outfit in your carry-on. This way if something does happen…..you have the necessary items with you on your back.

10. Carry face wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper with you: Sounds kind of weird – but some places you may not be able to shower…..many places don’t have soap…..and my god…..the toileeeettt paaapeeerrrr. 

11. Research the country you’re going to beforehand: Learn certain things that may be disrespectful – there are a lot of random things you would never think about. Check if the water is clean or not. Read up on weird rules and laws. This may be a life saver.


12. Compare currencies: It’s a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of the exchange rate between currencies. When you land and someone tells you it’s going to be 2,000 pesos to get to your hotel…..you’re going to want to have an idea if they’re scamming you or not.

13. Learn to haggle: Speaking of money. In many countries it’s acceptable and normal to haggle prices. Just understand when it’s okay to do it. It may only be a $3 difference for that dream catcher – but that $3 will catch you a Mango Juice in the morning. 😉 

14. Roll your clothes when you pack: This not only creates more space, but less wrinkles too. Hip-hip-hooray!

15. Appreciate: Traveling can become hectic and stressful situations do occur. But….it’s important to sit back, take everything in, realize where you are and the opportunities you have…..and appreciate them. It’s easy to get worked up over your phone dying as you’re booking your flight and it’s easy to swear and kick the dirt around when something isn’t going as planned. Just be thankful that you are traveling and surrounded by new and exciting things. 

I hope these simple 15 tips have helped you as you travel or before you embark on your next journey. Do you have any travel tips that you’d add to my list? Let’s hear ’em.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration almost daily – @waddupkim

• XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS 

15 Travel Tips That Might Make Life A Little Easier 

WHY SELF-FULFILLMENT IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT

passion

I figured one of my favorite quotes was a good starting point here. This quote has always stood out to me because not only is it absolutely true, but I witness people doing exactly this every single day of my life.

self-ful·fill·ment
ˈˌself fə(l)ˈfilmənt,ˈˌself(f)ə(l)ˈfilmənt/
noun
  1. the fulfillment of one’s hopes and ambitions. 

Can we talk about this for a second? Self-fulfillment. This shit is important. Being able to find your passion and being able to find your deepest desires and come to a realization with who you are and who you were meant to be….amazing. Figuring out what makes you happy and pursuing that shit? Yeah. That’s what life is all about.

 

They say that every human being has a purpose. Everyone has a reason on why they’re here. Some people are meant to go through the social norms of life, graduating and going to college, achieving degrees and building their dream house with a golden retriever named Buddy. Woof! Then there’s those crazy ass people that go after some crazy ass goals because they think societal norms aren’t for them…..yeah, that’s me.

 

I refuse to live a routine life and I refuse to ignore what sets my soul on fire. I refuse to do this even if people don’t agree or support me with this lifestyle….even if it’s my own family.

We have to remember that our lives are just that – our lives. This means nobody else has the right to tell you if you are living “right” or “wrong”. This means that nobody has the right to tell you how you should be living and nobody should be able to impact your happiness or ability to achieve your goals. Whether you are going to college to get your degrees, you’re pursuing your dream to be a rapper, or you’re living out of a van and touring the 50 states …..make it your choice, and nobody else’s. Don’t let ANYONE or ANYTHING get in the way of living the life you’ve always dreamed of.

As cheesy and corny as it is – we only get this one life, ya know? I don’t think people take that into consideration too often. On average, we live for around 78 years….if we’re lucky. But sometimes – that 78 years gets cut short. People die unexpectedly constantly…..and my goodness, we never ever can guess what tomorrow will bring.

So why not do what makes you the happiest fucking person alive?

Never forget that everything happens for a reason and everything will end up exactly how it’s supposed to be at some point in time. Never forget that this life is yours – and it can be lived however you’d like it to.

I refuse to be unhappy. I refuse to work a 9-5. I refuse to wake up everyday and think about how miserable I am with the life I am living. I refuse to wonder “what if”.

BECAUSE THAT IS NOT ME.

So yeah, my goals are quite vast and thought of how extensive my dreams are is absolutely terrifying…..but Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said it best….

12L_dedb6adc-4f88-4974-903d-768f75d03a10.jpg

So, please, chase after your intimidating goals and prove to yourself and everyone else that you can do whatever the hell you set your mind to. Do what you feel you were meant to do. Don’t live a life full of regret and don’t live a life that you aren’t happy with. 78 years is a long time to be thinking “what if”. Live for yourself. And be fucking proud of it. 

SELF-FULFILLMENT IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT, DON’T LET THAT SLIDE.

LIVE WITH INTENTION. BE BOLD IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY. LIVE THE LIFE YOU WERE DESTINED FOR.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration – @waddupkim

Contact me if you’re interested in working with me in any way by e-mail as well.

XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.

WHY SELF-FULFILLMENT IS SO DAMN IMPORTANT

What’s in my backpack?!

I receive the “What do you pack?” “How do you prevent yourself from overpacking?” questions quite often, but it’s hard for me to answer because everyone is different and has their own preferences and necessities.

Depending on where I am going and the length of my trip, I carry all of my items in two bags. Yes, two. Read on…

Okay, so this is my very first backpack I bought years ago when I headed to Europe for the very first time. I bought it at MountainWarehouse for super cheap and I’ve used it for the last couple of years.
bagFor the most part – it works really well for what I paid for it. I didn’t expect myself to get addicted to travel I guess, so I just spent like $50 during a huge sale at Mountain Warehouse and called it good. It’s a 65L bag, it carries quite a bit. It opens from the top and also has a bottom storage area. There’s two large pockets on the side that I find useful and I like the pockets on the top portion (there’s one on the inside and the outside).

I’ve used this backpack for backpacking Europe for a few months, for traveling to Indonesia for about a month, for my trip around the US, etc…etc…..

I’ve also used it for longer hikes: A hike in the desert to Havasupai for a few days (didn’t like my bag for this hike), the Trolltunga hike in Norway in lots of snow for one day, etc etc.

I see people using their $200-$400 bags, and they’re nice, but I’m cheap and this one works fine for me. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it 😉

WHAT’S IN THE BAG, KIM?

Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, what weather you’ll be dealing with, what you’re going to be doing, and how long you’ll be gone……is how you’re going to pack your backpack full of fun.

For my lower half:

  • ALWAYS a black pair of leggings. I usually travel in these because they’re comfortable and I get really cold on airplanes. Leggings are also just usable pretty much anywhere, so, yeah.
  • A pair of jeans. If I’m going somewhere tropical, none. If I’m going somewhere cooler, usually two pairs. But if I’m dealing with different temperatures, like when backpacking Europe, one pair will do.
  • Shorts. If it’s somewhere tropical, again, this is pretty much all I’ll bring. I’ll pack maybe 2 or 3 pairs.
  • A pair of athletic pants. These are important if you do any type of hiking, running, etc.
  • A pair of athletic shorts. Once again, used for my hiking/running. And if I’m just having a lazy night in maybe I’ll hang out in them.
  • Socks and hiking socks. I like to bring two pairs of ankle socks, and one pair of regular length socks. I also bring a pair of hiking socks. I wash these throughout my travels, so I don’t need many. ESPECIALLY if I’m going somewhere tropical, maybe I’ll only bring one pair of ankle socks and my hiking socks.
  • A pair of sandals. I always pack a pair of cheap flip-flops with me. Even if I’m going to Antarctica. Why? I use them in hostel showers. And if I go somewhere warm, I’ll bring a nicer pair of sandals, too. (And by nice, I mean a pair of Target sandals that were on clearance, probably).
  • A pair of casual shoes. (ex: Converse)
  • Hiking boots or shoes. Of course, if you don’t intend on hiking, these aren’t necessary.
  • Underwear (# depends on length of trip) Once again, I wash my items as I travel so I don’t overpack these, either.

Upper half: 

  • Tank tops. I like to bring one white tanktop and one black tanktop.
  • Bras. I take one tan bra, and one black bra. Simple.
  • Sports bra. Because I like to exercise, run, and hike during my travels.
  • A couple of shirts. I like to bring quarter sleeve shirts because I can wear them practically anywhere I go, but this also depends on the weather. If it’s tropical I’ll bring 5 or 6 tank tops and short sleeves. If it’s cooler, I’ll bring 5 longer sleeved shirts. Either way, usually around 5 shirts will do for my trips.
  • A dress. Nothing fancy. Something easily rollable. For the nights I go out, whether I’m going dancing or out to dinner with someone. A simple dress from Marshalls is all a girl needs, I’m tellin’ ya.
  • A sweatshirt. I like to bring one crew-neck or zip-up with me.
  • Jacket. I tend to always bring a light-weight jacket that is waterproof. I can use it outside and during my hikes.

Now, for my miscellaneous items, I pretty much buy anything travel sized.

I carry a small bag for toiletries including:

  • Travel size shampoo/conditioner
  • Travel size soap/body wash
  • Travel size face wash 
  • My medications 
  • Travel size first aid kit
  • Travel size tooth brush and paste
  • Travel size hair brush
  • And usually a small makeup bag

Other random items that come with me:

I always travel with: My GoPro camera, my Canon camera, my GoPro mounts, a bathing suit, my license, my SSC, my passport, emergency information sheet, and other necessary travel documents.

On the right side pocket of my backpack you will find: Ziplock bags, plastic bags, a small travel umbrella. Super weird: But I promise, they will come in handy and I will forever carry them with me. Ziplock bags come in handy for food items and work well if you hike. Plastic bags for dirty or wet clothes. Umbrella…..well…..rain.

On the left side pocket of my backpack you will find: I do a lot of hiking and sometimes camping overnight – so I will carry reusable plastic silverware, a whistle, a flashlight, matches, and a compass.

 

And if you need anything on your trip – just buy it there. Easy peasy. If there’s something you might forget…..you can probably buy it wherever you’re going. Don’t worry. 

 

My second bag is my beloved daypack.

I have a couple different daypacks that I bring with me throughout my travels. Basically, this is my carry-on bag with my folder (I usually have a travel folder with all my papers), my cameras, and other random things that don’t fit in my backpack or some items I’d like to have with me on the plane. When I get where I’m going to – I use this bag for my day trips and my hiking. So, I always make sure my daypacks have good holders on the side for my water bottle and/or a bag that allows me to use my Camelbak Hydration Pack. (Meaning there’s a little hole towards the top of the bag where I can run the water tube through).

OVERPACKING TIPS:

Get together what you think you’ll need and you can probably take away half of it. It’s hard to pack, really. But just think about how this backpack is going to be on your back for numerous hours some days – and truly decide on what is a NEED and what is a WANT. You don’t need to bring 5 dresses unless you plan on going out every night to a nice dinner. You don’t need to bring a bunch of shoes. Needs. Needs. Needs.

This was a more difficult blog to write out because EVERYONE and EVERY TRIP is different, but on average, this is a list that I tend to follow along with. A lot of people have been asking me what I pack – so hopefully this helped the slightest. Happy traveling!

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration – @waddupkim

Contact me if you’re interested in working with me in any way by e-mail as well.

  • XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.
What’s in my backpack?!

How I Afford Traveling the World By Myself at 21

I don’t travel through any type of program. My parents do not give me money to travel. I don’t have a sugar daddy. There are no travel agents or booking companies that are on standby. I just travel by myself. 🙂

 (Edit: any way of travel is good travel).

Ahhhhh, yes. The question I receive numerous times on the daily.

“How do you do all of this?”

First and foremost, I have learned and still continue to learn “how to travel” every time I step foot somewhere rather than my home state Michigan.

  • $$$: So basically….I work at a restaurant. Aaaaaaand I work there a lot. I save my money. This is the most important thing I can tell you, folks. Spending your money on NEEDS not WANTS. You won’t see me in the Starbucks drive-thru every morning waiting on a Java Chip Frappe to wake me up. You won’t catch me at Applebees for half-off appetizers every Friday night. I don’t go shopping all of the time. I. Am. Cheap. As. Hell. Don’t get me wrong – I go out and have fun sometimes. Just do it wisely. If I do that – I’ll probably pick up an extra shift that week or next. Learning to be a minimalist and learning how to save money is the first step to traveling. Because if you don’t have money… you can’t buy that first plane ticket.

—– How my mind works: “$32 for a cute shirt? Do I need that? No. $32 is a week of accommodation in Thailand. I’m fine.” Self-control….holla!

  • Flights: Speaking of plane tickets…..those can be expensive. My secret weapon for flights is using Skyscanner. There CAN be some tricks to booking your flight – which I have found to be true quite often. Booking your ticket on a Tuesday afternoon around 7 weeks before your trip can typically give you the best price. Of course this isn’t always the case….but it does work a lot. Sign up for e-mail alerts and check your flights daily. Sometimes you’ll find the prices drop dramatically one day – juuuuuuust book it. I’m someone who does a lot of things last minute and I never really have issues with it, either. Meh.
  • Accomodation: This. This. This. This is my #1 money saver, okay? How do I afford traveling? I never stay in a hotel. You heard it here first. I either…

1. Couchsurf, which is free and life-changing. I love staying with locals because they are always INCREDIBLE people/families and I LOVE being able to live day-to-day like a local. There’s nothing quite like it. I still talk to all of my Couchsurfing hosts except like…..one. Good people, good people.

2. Stay in a hostel , which is so disgustingly cheap in so many countries. I typically lean towards using HostelWorld for booking my hostels because it’s easy to use, has all the information you need, and it’s safe/reliable. Example: The photo below is a hostel that I stayed at in Indonesia for almost $6 a night. Yeah…..SIX DOLLARS. I usually stay in the largest mixed room because it’s cheapest. They have female/male only dorms, mixed dorms, or you can rent out your own room. The more people in the room – the cheaper. I’ve stayed in hostel rooms with 20+ people but most tend to have 6-10 beds on average.

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Puji Hostel in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
3.  Volunteering is another super awesome way to travel. The two websites I use are WWOOF or typically I like to use WorkAway. In most cases, you will work for ___ hours a week doing some odd job wherever you find yourself – and instead of getting paid, you receive free accommodation and SOMETIMES free meals. You can do some really cool jobs and learn how to live a more sustainable lifestyle doing this. Highly recommend.

4. AirBnB is an option that I sometimes use if I want to be alone or have a “luxurious” night somewhere. I rarely use AirBnB because I’d rather stay with people – and I’ll never book a room that is more than like $25-$30 a night. That’s too much for a night, haha.

  • Food: This depends on where I am, I suppose. But basically – I don’t go out to restaurants for every meal. I tend to lean towards accommodation that offers a free breakfast. That’s always nice. If I’m not receiving meals, depending on my location, I still tend to eat for super cheap. If I’m in Europe, for example, I’ll stop into a grocery store and pick up bread/meat/cheese/fruit/veggies for cheap and that’ll hold me over for a couple days. Cook your own food. Always look for hostels with kitchens! If I’m in Asia, it’s harder for me to find grocery stores and places to cook. What isn’t hard to find, however, is street food. And this isn’t nasty, unhealthy, street food. This is authentic rice, meat, and veggies that I can become full off of for less than $5. I also tend to eat a lot of fruit when I travel because fruit is primarily cheap everywhere and I could consume fruit for the rest of my life. I do go out to a restaurant every now and then, especially in cheap countries. I like to go out with people I meet in hostels and my couchsurfing hosts. Just be smart about it.
  • Shopping? Souvenirs? Yes, of course I do some shopping when I travel. Nothing extreme. I’ll pick up souvenirs for my parents and my closest friends. I don’t have a lot of room in my backpack and I don’t buy anything heavy because I have to carry that thing on my back for hours at a time sometimes….so not havin’ that. But clothes that I can fold up and little knick-knacks are always good options.
  • Activities: This is what I spend the most money on when traveling – but it’s always worth it. Things like skydiving, scuba diving, paragliding, riding on a gondola in Venice, swimming with sharks, etc….etc….etc….I have ideas on activities that I want to do in certain cities/countries and I always try to allow myself to do them. If that means I have to pick up extra shifts at work or maybe I don’t eat dinner for two days…..so be it. LOL.
15803573_315309225530160_4402667986108809216_n
Scuba diving in Hawaii
  • Misc: TREAT YOSELF……wisely. I’ll buy a dessert and I’ll go out and have drinks with people I meet along the way. If I go to Madrid, Spain….you KNOW I’m going to invest in some amazing churros and if I’m in Paris you KNOW I’m going to indulge on some Nutella/Strawberry crepes. And yeah, I’m going to throw back a couple 75¢ beers in Asia with people I meet at my hostel. Also: in some countries you can get full body massages for like $20 soooooooo. Whateva. Life’s too short. TREAT YOSELF. Just don’t be stupid.

Hopefully this blog post helped answer your questions – and hopefully it inspires you and made you realize that traveling the world is SO possible. If you want it – go get it.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration almost daily – @waddupkim

  • XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS.

 

How I Afford Traveling the World By Myself at 21

When it comes to traveling: Stop wishing, start doing. 

Don’t retweet a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night with a caption that reads “I want to go here so bad”. Do it. 

Now listen, I know it seems crazy….but it isn’t impossible. If you want to travel – you need to take the first step to do so. 

And that first step is the step out of your comfort zone. And a step away from excuses.

  
“I don’t have money”. – Simple. Pick up more shifts at work. Learn how to budget. Don’t spend your money on wants – only needs. If you’re crafty – make stuff and sell it. Sell things you don’t need that are just wasting away at home. Save. Save. Save. 

“Nobody will go with me”. – Cool. Then go alone! Traveling alone is soooo good for you. You learn about yourself and gain a whole ton of confidence. You’re running on your OWN schedule – and that is the bomb diggity. 

“I don’t know how to plan.” – It’s not as difficult as you think. Planning trips can be quite easy if you’re not picky. Pick your city – find a way to get there and a place to stay. Getting around and seeing your “must haves” is easy…..just worry about the arrival and your sleeping grounds. Let the rest come to ya.

“Hotels are expensive in ____”. – But you know what ISN’T expensive? Hostels. Couchsurfing. And tentin’ it. You heard me right. They’re way better routes than silly hotels, anyways. 😉

“_____ is dangerous.” So is the city you’re in right now. Everywhere in the world is pretty much dangerous, hate to break it to you. But you can’t let silly stories and scary movies push you away from traveling. The movie “Hostel” isn’t what all the hostels are like – it scares people away and it’s dumb. The movie “Taken” is definitely possible – just don’t be stupid and do what they did. If you’re smart and aware of your surroundings you’ll be fffiiiiinnnneeeee.

There’s so many excuses and reasons that everyone can come up with when it comes to booking that first trip. But come on, people. Instead of seeing photos of some incredible place over 1,000 times on Instagram…go see it in person! Traveling is a life-altering experience. It changes you forever if you do it right.

Stop wishing, start doing.

It’s a new year. Make it a good one.

Don’t let your dreams and goals just be dreams and goals. Rather, work towards them.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Happy Late New Year – and travel on! 👍🏼

  
XOXO, AS KIM TRAVELS • KIM CHARTERS 

When it comes to traveling: Stop wishing, start doing.