Travel Guide, Travel Tips

The Ten Biggest Rules for Two-Person Traveling

Once upon a time, in a previous blog post, I quoted John Steinbeck:

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

For me, this is one of the most accurate descriptions of traveling. Traveling is a volatile activity. This statement becomes even more relevant when we decide to travel with a second person.

Traveling alone does offer great benefits but organizing a vacation with a friend or loved one can yield the rewards of shared memories that will last a lifetime and a resounding sense of teamwork.

Achieving this feeling with a second travel partner requires a lot of effort. A two-person adventure is one of the ultimate tests of the strength of the bond between those involved. In my opinion, one doesn’t truly know another person until they’ve each put on backpacks and stepped into the unknown together.

I’ve been fortunate enough to plan various two-person trips, the longest lasting four months, and have seen journeys go well and not so well. If you’re reading this now and want to embark on a future trip with a second person, then I have compiled a list of ten important rules to follow for people who are considering this sort of adventure.

This list does not guarantee a positive traveling experience, but I believe it will increase two people’s odds of coming back happy and more importantly together.

Here it is:

Know each person’s travel goals

My longest two-person journey was with my best friend Jack. This photo was taken at the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge in China in 2019.

This is perhaps the most time intensive step. If you can get on the same page with the other person then your trip will have a really good chance of being successful. What do you want to do on this trip? What does the other person want to do? Maybe one person just wants to party while the other wants to wake up early to visit museums. If you both know in advance what the other person hopes to accomplish then you can make an agreement to please both’s desires and necessities for the trip. Trips are most fun when both people either have very similar interests, or are flexible to let everyone do some of the things they want.

Respect the other person’s budget

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

We all have different financial limitations. Agreeing on a budget, or at least agreeing on which things to splurge on, will create a fluid system of planning. Knowing the spending habits of the person you’re with will also prepare you for what to expect while on the road. Being flexible and willing to meet someone in the middle will go a long way.

Establish a payment system

Unnecessary frustration can be avoided if both people are prompt in paying the other person back on random expenses. For example, if one person offers to put a dinner bill on their credit card then the other shouldn’t hesitate to either foot the next one or send a mobile payment via PayPal or Venmo. To keep finances equal then an expense calculating app such as Splitwise would be useful. The financial aspect of a trip can easily become a tangled mess if both parties aren’t keeping track of their split costs.

Decisions now involve “us”

When electing to take a vacation with a second person, all decisions must go through both individuals. Agreeing to share an experience away from home means that both travelers have formed a temporary bond similar to marriage. As both people are investing time and resources into the trip, then both are entitled to make decisions and be in the know of the other person’s ideas. Communication is paramount here and both people should be flexible. Everyone involved should be able to do at least some of what they really want.

Establish a clear sleep system

Photo by Alexander Possingham on Unsplash

Not every traveling duo will have the same sleep cycle or habits. One person might enjoy sleeping in while the other is an early bird. Before traveling they should agree on a system for staying out or sleeping in. This will avoid any potential resentment or frustration because their time-clocks aren’t in sync. The early bird might be ok with going to a coffee shop to let the other person sleep or the night owl won’t mind checking out a bar alone once in a while.

Establish general boundaries

Knowing what your level of comfort is before traveling is important. Will you be willing to eat a fried scorpion or go bungee-jumping? Will your travel companion have similar restrictions? Being aware of how far each person is prepared to go will be good for avoiding any potential miscommunication or conflict of interest. Having similar boundaries will allow both parties to travel with greater ease.

Keep it balanced

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It’s a good idea to give each person a responsibility during the trip. To avoid future resentment, it’s advisable to split tasks at different stages of the journey. For example, if one person did all of the reservations or research, then they might feel frustration towards their travel mate. Taking turns to book flights, bus tickets, or accommodation will help maintain harmony between both people.

Be empathetic

As I said before, we truly don’t know a person until we travel with them. It’s important to remain empathetic and free of judgement. This might be the first time you go on the road with that special person. Their morning ritual, funny little travel good luck charm, desire to call their mom, or random habit of cracking their knuckles before breakfast might not be something you’re used to. We are all weird people in our own special way and if we’ve said yes to traveling with someone then we’ve said yes to their uniqueness. On the flip side, we also must be aware of the fact that maybe our habits while alone aren’t proper for a two-person trip so we must be respectful of the other person. Remember: This trip is to have fun and not focus on the things you find off about the person you’re with.

Be present

This rule can be true for solo travel as well. If we agree to travel with someone, then it’s ideal to focus on the experience with that person rather than other people we meet or our devices. An optimal travel experience should involve less screen time and more focus on the surroundings. We miss opportunities when pegged to our smart phones and chances for meaningful conversations. Two people will have a truly memorable trip if they can remember to adhere to this system.

When one person uses the toilet, everyone uses the toilet

The last and most crucial rule for traveling with someone else is to reduce the number of bathroom breaks as much as possible. Let’s say you both find yourselves in a remote village or hidden beach and suddenly discover a chance restroom. In many areas of the world restrooms are a dime a dozen so it’s best practice to take advantage of this rare opportunity. If your partner has an urge to go but you don’t, you should still do it. Bathroom breaks equate to slowing down and stopping for a moment. Sometimes, if you’re in a busy place, there will be a line so why not have everyone have a go at it? The goal while traveling is to wander and enjoy rather than wait in line for a toilet so it’s paradigm to be efficient with these respites.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and can use these rules in your future wanderings. Right now the state of the world doesn’t allow us to fully enjoy traveling but we are getting closer to that moment.

Hang tight, stay safe, and take care of yourself.

Also, what are your rules for traveling? Do you agree with me in this article? I’d love your feedback!

Travel Tips

Smart Overseas Travel Hacks (Part 1)

John Steinbeck once wrote that “a journey is like marriage, a sure way to be wrong is to think that you control it.” 

No matter how much we prepare, each trip is volatile and its experiences are unique. That’s part of the reason why so many of us prioritize traveling over other investments.

In spite of not being able to control the outcome, we can absolutely set ourselves up to have a truly fantastic time.

If you’re about to embark on a journey overseas, here’s a guide for acing your future adventure.

Talking about prepping for an amazing trip can’t be done in just one blog post. I’ve decided to divide the content into two entries. Also, I can’t promise that the content of this post will give you a memorable trip or keep you safe – Everything is based on my previous experiences and has served me well.

Furthermore, maybe nothing here will be useful to you but hopefully something will resonate and be helpful.

Alright, lets get started.

In Bagan, after doing lots of proper trip planning 😉

General preparations:

Let’s assume you’ve already decided on where to go.

Will you need a visa before entering this country? What’s the weather going to be like during your intended dates? Will your passport be expiring within six months? Do you need any immunizations? What do you plan on doing? Once you answer these questions then you’ll be able to successfully pack proper belongings. 

My favorite sites for booking flights are Skyscanner and Momondo. Forking over a little extra for travel protection is a wise decision because serious changes in your life and the world can happen.

Do you plan on renting a motor vehicle? Applying for international driver’s permit through AAA or AATA is the only option for US citizens.

Before traveling I also make copies of my passport information, credit cards, and visas (if applicable) and also upload photos of them in cloud storage. A stashed way pen drive with these documents can be handy as an additional precaution. Notifying your bank and all credit card companies are necessary steps. A cheap Travel insurance plan is good for peace of mind. A simple first-aid kit with bandaids, Neosporin, Ibuprofen and hand sanitizer will be a savior. A local SIM card and portable power bank will also be necessary. SIM’s can be purchased at kiosks at your destination’s airport.  

How to maximize safety:

Before booking flights to a different country, first one should be aware of the political climate and actual climate before finalizing a purchase. For example, if the destination has a monsoon season or there’s a nationwide protest taking place then it’s best practice to choose someplace less turbulent.

When I first started traveling my mom made me register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a complimentary service from the Department of State and I’ve sworn by this ever since. Unless you plan on snuggling contraband, letting the government know of your travel plans is a great idea. In case of emergency, the government knows where you are and also sends you alerts in regard to potential risks in the area(s) you plan to visit. It’s a small piece of mind but goes a long way. 

If you plan on booking tours or excursions while in the country, it’s advisable to organize trustworthy sites like Viator, Expedia or Airbnb. Google searching local tour operators is a great option as well. Soliciting information on the street can have greater risks but if you trust your instinct then it’s possible to find some fantastic deals.

Street smarts while abroad:

I’ve mentioned before that money belts are awesome and I still stick by those words. In developing countries, a major goal should be to not stand out too much from regular folks on the street. In order to do this, expensive cameras, jewelry, designer-label clothing should be left at home or used with heavy caution. I always like to wear old old sneakers or clothes you wouldn’t mind throwing away or leaving behind. Small locks for your bags are useful as well.

Keeping track of your belongings at all times, not going down dark ally’s alone, and remaining aware of your surroundings at all times will help you get by without any problems.

Be wary of anyone who seems overly interested in where you’re from or what you’re doing in their city/country. Don’t accept gifts of any kind from strangers.

Food smarts while abroad:

Very exotic and delicous…but be there are always risks.

For eating, tread with caution while ordering street food, raw vegetables or fruit & local water. If you do proper research about your destination you’ll know what is good or risky to eat. Certain countries are known for their street food (Thailand, Vietnam) but even this can be a risk. As a general rule of thumb, if you see a vendor with lots of patrons (especially foreigners) then there’s a very good chance that the food is safe.

It’s best practice to order drinks cans or bottles. Food should be well cooked.

Getting around:

If you don’t feel safe using public transportation or hailing a local taxi, then read up on your destination’s rideshare services beforehand. Many countries around the world have Uber or a service that’s similar. Taxi’s come with their own risks, so if possible always have your accommodation call one in advance or have a local you trust to arrange a journey for you.

Some awesome applications to help get you from A to B while overseas are Rome2Rio, CityMaps2Go and of course Google Maps.


Keeping loved ones frequently updated about where you’re about to visit is very important. Any easy trick would be to blog about your trip, create a Facebook/Whatsapp group, or send daily messages to the ones you care about.


Thank you for reading! Hopefully this information will be helpful to anyone about to plan a vacation overseas. Part two of this blog post will be arriving sometime soon, but until then I’d love to hear your thoughts…

What do you do to stay safe abroad?

How do you like to prepare for an overseas trip?

Take care,


Asia, DACKasia2019, Travel, Travel Guide, Vietnam

Bahts, Wats, and Feeling Krabi

Hey, is that you? 

Welcome back to my blog! 

It’s been a while, so please take a seat and relax! Now that you’re here again, where does this post begin? 

It might suffice to mention how it’s 6pm in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam right now. It perhaps is also appropriate to add that Jack and I have been here for exactly fifteen minutes. 

Kho Pha Ngan, the land of Massaman Curry

We just said farewell to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, in what was a quick two-day stop over after exploring Siem Reap in the northern part of the same country. 

I’d like to shed more light on what we’re doing here and what exactly are the plans we have in store during our wanders through Vietnam, but there exists a large time lapse of information between right now and the previous blog post.  

Ten days ago, my good buddies Jack, Eric, and I were in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand.  We capped off our five days there with partaking in a Full Moon Party, which in the end gave the sensation of attending a massive frat party along a widespread beach. Haad Rin is a town along the southern edge of Koh Pha Ngan and serves as the entry point to a beach that dons the same title. It was here where countless makeshift bars were constructed along the shore, with DJ’s spinning various genres of music, and gangs of fire-dancers drawing in swaths of people like moths to a vibrant lamp. It was similar to a music festival with no headlining acts blended with a county fair. Overall, it was an interesting experience and we enjoyed the evening, but it felt nice knowing that we’d be moving on to a new destination soon. 

The next morning was a farewell to the island and also to our friend Eric. He took a ferry to Surat Thani and flew back to the capital, while we boarded a vessel to the mainland then bussed to Phuket. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, located southwest of the mainland. It took us about nine hours via a ferry, a bus, then finally a shuttle van before we reached our AirBnB. During the next five days, Jack and I split our time between Patong (Phuket’s most active city), Phi Phi Island, and various beaches in Krabi.  

Malin Plaza, Patong

Patong is a seaside city that doesn’t have very much to offer besides sweltering heat, bustling night markets, and many opportunities to lose money. At first glance it’s a tourist hub, with lots of Russians, English, French, and Thai tourists on vacation. Its allure is the weather, the affordability, and also nearby Patong Beach. Patong could be Las Vegas, except the hotels aren’t as tall and there’s no ferris wheel. The traffic is heavy with racing motorbikes and, contrary to Koh Pha Ngan, internal stress from so many accelerating gears brought back memories of Bangkok. We primarily just relaxed, ate at some delicious street food at Malin Plaza, and looked for a quality kebab after checking out the energetic nightlife along Bangla Street. We turned down offers for massages and bouquets of roses but got suckered into a few games of Connect 4 with the bartenders and a “working lady” of one only slightly-seedy establishment. 

Phi Phi Island is a haven for visitors in search of sunburns, scuba certifications, snorkeling, and anything related to playing in turquoise water. With endless postcard-worthy sights such as Maya Bay (famous thanks to the film The Beach), Monkey Beach, and Long Beach, guests of the island have plenty of distractions. We snorkeled for a day, relaxed at our hostel, then hopped a ferry the next morning across Phang Nga Bay to Ao Nammao Pier. On this day we checked into the Reset Hostel (it soon became our favorite of the trip), which is located in Klong Muang. At the last minute, we made an agreement with a longboat taxi to take us to Kong Island. With limestone rock formations, mirror-like water, and temperatures reaching the high 80’s, we found a gem. The longboat taxi didn’t try to swindle us, making us feel certain that Krabi was our favorite part of Thailand. We also wandered along the rock-climbing mecca of Railay Beach, which is located along an opposite shore of Krabi. We opted to rent kayaks instead of climb and ferried back to Patong. This was on Friday, and early on Saturday we reserved two seats on a plane destined to Siem Reap, Cambodia. 

Koh Hong, Krabi

Writing this post, Thailand feels like a lifetime ago. It’s been a whirlwind of ten days, and I’d like to keep going but it’s probably best to wrap this post up. Now that Jack and I have migrated east, through Cambodia, and now to Vietnam, it’s easier to reflect on Thailand. 

Thailand has many good’s and bad’s. It’s fantastic for spice and an endless selection of mouth-watering dishes. It’s wonderful if you want to start your day with strong coffee or with a blended fruit shake. If you want to ride a cheap motorbike or stay up until sunrise on a beach then you’ve found the place. It’s not good if you don’t like humidity, mosquitos, or people constantly soliciting you for a massage, tuk-tuk ride, or something else. If you need a 7-11 then you’re in luck, but if you want to throw away your garbage there aren’t many places to toss your rubbish. Due to the overly developed tourism industry, the interactions with locals in Thailand felt more transactional than personable. The language barrier didn’t help, and very rarely did we meet a Thai who could speak conversational English. Overall, Thailand is affordable and scenic. It makes sense why so many people come out there and I’m glad we started our trip there. 

Well, it’s time to go. Thanks for reading, you look great! Have a wonderful day, the next post will be about our stay in Cambodia and a visit we paid to Angkor Wat. Take care. 

Travel, Travel Guide, Travel Tips, Uncategorized

Essential Tools for Solo Travelers


It could take the form of diving face first into an ocean of a far off place, or even plunging into the next paragraph of a really interesting book.

Whichever way and whatever the medium, traveling gives us all something: a sensation of freedom, creativity, curiosity, and ultimately enjoyment. It’s a joy of life that generally brings people together, no matter their background, race, or political views.

In recent years I’ve given chase to that feeling that traveling emanates. I feel safe to say that traveling and me go together like cheese on pizza. With so many toppings to choose from, creating the perfect traveling pie depends purely on personal preferences and comfort levels. One example is traveling with friends, another is with family, and a less popular option for many people is traveling alone. I feel fortunate to say that I’ve tried all three, and all three leave me in a food coma of happiness.

This being said, one of my personal favorite recipes for traveling is booking a flight somewhere and going by myself. I love traveling with friends and family, but going alone has a distinct allure, mainly because I used to feel that it was an unfathomable act. There was a time in the past when the concept of going to a new place without another person sounded crazy, awkward, and completely horrifying.

Over the course of many trials and some errors, I learned that there exist tons of resources to help you actually not be solo while you’re traveling. There are tools to connect with other travelers and locals.

Here is a list of essential resources for solo travelers to help them not feel like they’re alone. What’s even better about this list is that most of what’s mentioned isn’t exclusive to those who are solo; it can be applied by groups of any size. I hope you find them useful for your next wandering in some far-off or not-so-far destination.   


I’m going to start with perhaps the best resource in the world (in my opinion) that exists for connecting with travelers, locals, and just overall minds with a passion for wandering. It’s pretty easy. You create a profile like Facebook, then afterward you can find other travelers or people who are from a place that you’re about to or currently visiting. I’ve used Couchsurfing for many language exchanges, to grab a coffee or beer, to crash in someone’s living room, and ultimately to make some amazing friendships. You can find group events as well. You can use this anywhere in the world, even in your hometown. Couchsurfing is my go-to whenever I’m checking out a different town or city and don’t already have friends there.


Michael Prewett

Next the Couchsurfing, Meetup is also a crucial tool to find groups of people who share a similar interest as yourself. I like to open up Meetup’s app or webpage to browse in cities where I’ll be visiting to see if any fun group gatherings are happening. Major swaths of cities around the globe have at least a handful of different events taking place through Meetup. As you read this post, individuals who enjoy languages, drinking beer, running and then drinking beer, dancing, hiking, reading, (you name it) are creating a Meetup that revolves around these hobbies. Looking for tea drinkers in Toulouse, coders in Chattanooga, or snake charmers in Slovakia? I’m sure there’s a Meetup for it. It can be a safer way of connecting with locals or travelers because the focus is on activities with larger quantities of people, rather than one-on-one.


The Flying Pig Hostel in Amsterdam…
The first hostel I ever stayed in back in 2009.
photo courtesy of

Are you looking for a place to stay that isn’t super expensive (hotels) and isn’t potentially a person’s couch or futon (Couchsurfing)? Are you visiting a new city and have zero contacts? Hostelworld is a prime way to stay somewhere with a budget, while also connecting with other travelers. Hostels have a bad reputation from movies (Hostel) but some of my best friends in this world were people I met in hostels. The most important thing is to think about what kind of environment you’re into and to of course do some research. is a search engine for hostels. All you need to do is type a city, the date of arrival, and how many people who are traveling. It’s pretty simple and depending on the city, you’ll likely be presented with a slew of choices for a place to crash. As stated before: do some research; some are indeed sketchy or of subpar quality. This being said, the majority do an excellent job. On this site, people can leave reviews about cleanliness, safety, location, etc.


Airbnb is starting to make a power grab against Meetup and Couchsurfing because this site now offers “experiences” for travelers to try interesting activities while they’re on holiday in a new place. I find this to be interesting, however I haven’t partaken in any such events. Unlike Meetup which is either free or cheap, or Couchsurfing which is free, the experiences with Airbnb can sometimes be overpriced. Taking this into consideration, it’s still a fun opportunity to meet fellow travelers. On occasion, one can strike gold and stay in a house or apartment building with a really cool host and or their family/roommates.


Volunteering for IVHQ with some great folks in Bogotá, circa August 2012.

Why not go abroad, help others in need, and also make some lifelong friends? Volunteering can be the just the ticket if you’re looking for a way to experience a foreign place but don’t feel comfortable going there alone. There exist options in the form of work exchange, where you trade in a few hours a day working in order to receive meals and accommodation. Websites such as HelpXWorkaway, and Wwoofing are useful, however, one must do their research in order to find a fitting host. I like these sites because the work opportunities span all across the spectrum from teaching English, hostel reception, childcare, social media management, etc. Instead of “trading time” one can also do a paid volunteer project with various NGO’s or non-profits around the world. Deciding on a platform to do this can be a tedious task, but one organization that I’ve tried and have confided in is International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ).

Runner-Up: Facebook Groups

In my opinion, Facebook has a lot of pros and cons nowadays. One major benefit that it offers is the opportunity to join groups based on your location and interests (just like Meetup). One thing I like to do is type in a search for one of my hobbies or some tag word and connect it to a city or country that I’ll potentially be visiting. For example: “Expats in San Francisco” yields a handful of groups that usually post invitations to events, happy hours, or random get-togethers between members. It’s like having access to countless digital bulletin boards. I’ve listed this as a runner-up because out of personal preference I enjoy using the previous tools mentioned above even though I can’t deny Facebook’s validity as a resource.

Second Runner-Up: Tinder

Wiktor Karkocha

Back a couple of hours ago when I started writing this post, I never expected to mention Tinder.

Boy, did things escalate…

Tinder doesn’t always have to be about hooking up or dating right? If there’s no one to meet up with on Couchsurfing, or a Meetup, or a hostel, then potentially Tinder could be a way to make friends in a new city or country.

This option is kind of meant to be a joke; I just felt like throwing it out there. In fact, the more I think about it, there probably exists options of way higher regard than Tinder, but this just proves that my mind is in the gutter…sorry Mom & Dad.

The key here, like every other tool I’ve mentioned, is to know yourself and what exactly you’re looking for.  It’s also necessary to be honest with yourself and whoever you end up meeting. Finally, be smart and never put your safety at risk.


Thank you for reading this blog! Sorry for the massive delay between posts, sometimes life gets in the way or we put off doing things we enjoy 🙂