A day out at Daisy Hill Conservation Park – Queensland

Traveling local is something we’ve always loved but never found so necessary as it is during this weird time in history. So we travelled locally to Daisy Hill Conservation Park. Located at the end of Daisy Hill Rd, Daisy Hill QLD, south-east of the CBD, it’s covered in native trees, has an incredible picnic spot, a Koala centre and a great walk to the Old Quarry. There’s something for everyone!

We’ve been to Daisy Hill before when we did the Old Quarry hike. It’s approximately 3km hike down an unpaved road. It’s popular with couples and families (although with the hills I felt sorry for little one’s legs!). It’s a beautiful hike surrounded by native gums, so keep a lookout for wildlife! The Old Quarry also makes for a great swim/picnic spot at the end of your hike.

A picnic by the Old Quarry

This time we bought some breakfast and made our way to the large picnic area outside the Koala centre. It was a stunning open area with many picnic tables, some undercover areas and fire BBQs. This place was popular with large groups and families. We enjoyed our picnic to the sound of Kookaburras and kids playing. The picnic spot was a central point for a few board walks and other hikes so we wandered through one of the newly refurbished boardwalks.

Just a note to remember to take your rubbish home with you.

We did go to have a peek at the Koalas but the centre had been closed to those without a booking (should have done our research). This is a new measure due to Covid, but we were happy they were taking precautions and very happy to keep wandering around the paths among the gumtrees.

We would definitely recommend visiting Daisy Hill Conservation Park!

While we were there we did an Italian language challenge. You can check this out in our youtube video below!

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

5 Ways not to kill Each Other While Traveling as a Couple!

haha! Travel is definitely all fun and games until it’s not. Anyone else know what I’m talking about? Isaiah and I are best friends so traveling is *mostly* so enjoyable, but when stress and jetlag start taking effect it can make a romantic getaway seem like the last place on earth you want to be. We’ve done our fair share of long haul and short haul trips to know the friction can show up at any unexpected moment, so here are our top 5 tips to NOT kill each other while traveling. (PS These are tips we employ in everyday life as well).

Tip 1 | Agree to Have Personal Time

Okay so when you’re travelling it quickly becomes apparent that you are joined at the hip with your travel partner… sometimes almost literally. I mean you book seats next to each other for that 5 hour flight, then you share a ride to your joint accommodation. Besides that’s what you wanted right!? To share these memories with that special person. But honestly, setting aside personal time and openly communicating about it is SO important! Whether it’s early in the morning so one of you can sleep in while the other goes for a solo walk around the area – or even just spending time in separate rooms (I’ll often commandeer the bed to read while Isaiah will take a couch to play games on his phone). Whatever the activity is it’s super important to be doing things to refresh yourselves so that when you come back together you’re both excited and ready to go.

Tip 2 | Openly Communicate About Finances

Okay so all of these tips include communication (we’ve found over the years that all our fights could have been avoided or deescalated quicker with clear communication). One other thing we’ve realised is that often finances can be a source of contention amongst couples. So open communication about your personal finances while traveling is important. We like starting this early with the budget, this leaves plenty of room to come to agreement about how much you’re going to be spending on things like food and activities and even accommodation!

Tip 3 | Talk Through Expectations of your Holiday

Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! I can’t say it enough… this one is more personal though and sometimes harder to articulate what you’re actually expecting out of your holiday – if one of you was hoping for a lay-by-the-pool, get room service and massages type of break while the other was expecting a activity loaded, local cuisine, full to the brim type holiday it can definitely be cause for contention. Made even worse if you’ve just assumed that your partner is on the same page as you. Talk about it! We do this multiple times during the planning stages of the holiday and also each morning we’ll talk about our goal for the day (is it catch up on rest or getting to the next location or going exploring?). This way there is plenty of room for negotiation and you both know the other persons expectations.

Tip 4 | Continue Planned Dates

This one is more for longer trips we’ve found even when you are constantly together there’s something about having a specific date and time set to spend time just reconnecting with the other person. we find that when we’re travelling we are so focused on family or friends we are visiting, or seeing the next thing or getting to the next location that we don’t actually spend quality time together. So this is why we, even after 4 years of marriage will go on date nights. Typically this is one night set aside in the week where we plan on a nice evening (out or in). This is connected to the “talking about finances” as this evening will often be a night at a nice restaurant where we order some extras (drinks and dessert), we know to put these dates in the budget. This time spent specifically to reconnect is so beneficial in keeping a healthy relationship and is also a great night to (you guessed it!) communicate!

Tip 5 | Leave Room for Spontaneity/the Unexpected

We have found it best for the both of us when there is room for a change of plans during our trip. Rather than plan a full week we will usually plan half of it, leaving the other half open to what we feel like doing on the day. This helps so much! There have definitely been days where Isaiah or myself will wake up and just feel like staying where we are and resting, this is hard when you’ve got something on that you’ve paid for. You might not enjoy it as much if you’re tired. On the flip side, there have been days where I will discover a new place that I really want to explore and have the time to do so because we planned time in our trip for spontaneity.

This also leaves room for any unexpected occurrences such as a delayed flight or lost handbag or a change in weather. Just having a slightly more relaxed plan for your trip helps reduce the stress of being at different places at specific times, which improves your relationship.

Don’t forget to have fun! This is an exciting time for you! Just remember; communication is key to maintaining a great relationship while traveling.

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

Savings Forecast | How to & explanation

Welcome to The Drake Conversation! Having trouble saving as much money as you hope? Keep scrolling to find out why you should have a Savings Forecast one and how you can make one!

First up | What is a Savings Forecast?

A Savings Forecast is your EASY WAY to plan and have vision for how much money you will have saved at different points in the future. It’s just super great because at any point in time it can work out how much you will have saved by a certain date (this is especially helpful for planning for a specific event).

I created my own Savings Forecast in Microsoft Excel and am excited to share this with you all! It’s helped me take a deeper look at how I use money and how it benefits Kristy and I.

We’ve made it easy for you and included this sheet that you can download for FREE at the end of this post!

Secondly | Why is a Savings Forecast important?

The answer is simple. Your savings forecast will bring you clarity, vision, and opportunity.

Clarity | The Savings Forecast is based off of the data you put in it, so not only is it accurate to your specific circumstances, but you will also gain insight as to how your money is working for you.

Vision | It is LITERALLY giving you a glimpse into your financial future. Having VISION can really help you with your financial practices now! Seeing where you’ll be (financially) in 6 months, a year, two years time is really insightful. I know for me, it makes me wonder how the values change if I increase or decrease how much money I am saving. Which also brings motivation for you to keep saving – no matter how hard it can seem. I don’t know about you but if I know that sacrificing a single coffee each week means that I’ll have $260 to spend at the end of one year, it keeps me motivated!

Opportunity | Having a Savings Forecast will help you PLAN which in turn opens up a whole world of opportunities! Whether it’s to travel (like us), home renovations, a new car, or whatever! a Savings Forecast will open up not only to possibility to reach your goals but will help you actually achieve those goals! It also creates opportunity for you to GROW and STRETCH with your savings.

For example… YOUR GOAL is to save $1000 for a week away. The Savings Forecast indicates to you that at your current saving rate ($39 a week) you will have saved $1000 in 6 months. After seeing this you decide to CUT OUT one takeaway meal (approx. $15 per week and put that money into your savings. Once your reflect this change in the Savings Forecast you now see that you will have saved your $1000 2 months earlier! This means you don’t have to wait 6 months to get that much needed time away!

And the best part is that this process is totally adaptable for what YOU can and want to do!

Thirdly | How to make a Savings Forecast?

I’ll be super quick here, as I am GIVING YOU FOR FREE my Savings Forecast Excel sheet at the end of the post.

Using Excel you will be creating a sheet that includes how much you are saving every month (or week). This data is then displayed across future dates. This means that you could go to (on your sheet) December 2022 and you will be able to see how much you will have saved by then based on your saving trends.

Finally | Some encouragement for you!

You CAN succeed and you WILL succeed! You just need to have a goal, make a plan and act on it! Start your Savings Forecast and see the opportunities open up in front of you. Like I said, this one is FREE to download so help yourself! Please get in contact with us if you have any questions – we’d love to help!

We would love to hear your success stories about reaching your savings goals and being able to save more than you thought. Share them with us BELOW!

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

10 Things To Do On Your Next Long Haul Trip

Some product links are affiliate links which mean if you buy something we’ll receive a small commission.

Whether your trip is on a plane, train, bus, or boat, they inherently take up A LOT of your time. So here are our top 10 things to do to during your long trip!

1 | Read

If you’re anything like me, nothing quite compares to reading a good book! Getting lost in the story and characters is such a good way to pass the time. I have a decent sized library at home so have quite a selection to choose from when its travel time! My favourite genres are mystery and romance.

In the past I have packed multiple books into my bag, which while is possible is slightly impractical. They take up a lot of space and can increase your bag’s weight! Isaiah bought me an iPad mini last year, one of the reasons he got it for me was so that I could read books on it! Whether it is your iPad, tablet, or Kindle, having multiple books on one device is a massive save on space and a very effective way to have multiple uses out of one item.

Kindle Paperwhite – Waterproof, battery lasts weeks, access to over 5 million titles (8GB)

2 | Journal

I love journals! Next time you’re travelling I recommend taking a journal! It is a great way to record all you’ve been up to and process things you have seen. Better still, you can go back to journals from previous trips and read through your previous adventures.

I am so excited to start entries in my journal for our trip to Europe, its ready and waiting and I am sure it will be filled by the time we return!

Bordeaux Journal (Diary, Notebook) Hardcover
Flanders Black Leather Journal (Diary, Notebook) Leather Bound

3 | Watch TV shows or movies

You probably already know this, watching television shows and movies is a common activity to zone out during a flight or commute. I had to include it here!

Besides the on-board entertainment on flights, you could also have movies or TV shows ready on your tablet or mobile device. I regularly download movies and TV shows just in case I’m not interested in the mid-air options.

4 | People Watch

This can be such fun to do with your partner or traveling companions! Also can be slightly creepy so keep it casual. We all come from different backgrounds, wear different clothes, travel with different people, talk different languages and it’s interesting to see how people act.

5 | Mind puzzles

This one is one of Isaiah’s favourite pass times – the Rubik’s cube and all the other types of mind puzzles. These are great for young and old. Great to get your brain working in those mundane hours of traveling. My personal favourite mind puzzle is Sudoku, which you can find in a book or app.

Dreampark Speed Cube Bundle [5 Pack]
Travel Sudoku: 100 Easy to Hard Sudoku with Travel Pocket Size Book Paperback

6 | Sleep

Can I get an AMEN?! Haha! But who knows in order to get some great z’s you need a couple things…

  1. A neck pillow. There are so many kinds, styles and colours! You’ll need to do your research for the particular type you’re looking for. There are a couple of features I’d recommend you look for – the first is that it’s deflatable. This makes it easy to store when you’re not having a doze. The second is that it should be orthopaedic – this makes sure they offer better support. You can also get ones with extras like this one with a hood!
  2. Warmth. I’m talking thick socks, beanie, a blanket or scarf, or even a towel! There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep in the freezing aircon!
  3. Sensory blocking. I.e. darkness and silence. I know this can be hard to achieve in close quarters. I recommend noise cancelling headphones like these… you can play some soothing music or just have them on without sound playing. A cheaper option, that can also be effective are some foam earplugs (you know, the orange kind you can find at your local hardware store?). I also recommend eye masks. You can get total blackout ones for those of you who waken at the slightest light. The ones that I use are amazing lavender scented heating ones like these!
Chillensio Deluxe Travel Kit- Orthopedic Travel Pillow, Polar Fleece Travel Blanket, Eye Mask, Ear Plugs & Carrying Bag
FINDANOR Inflatable Travel Pillow
Pillow – Memory Foam
Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise Cancelling – Black
Manta Sleep Mask – 100% Blackout
Juve Naturals Premium Self-Heating Steam Eye Mask (Lavender Aromatherapy)
16 Packs Steam Eye Mask (Lavender)

7 | Card games

A pack of cards has so many different potential games – great entertainment contained in one pack! Our favourites are Speed, and Warlords and Scumbags. There are also plenty of card games you can buy in airports or on your travels like Phase 10, Skip-Bo and 5 Crowns.

Phase 10 Card Game
Skip-Bo Card Game
Five Crowns Card Game

8 | Talk to your traveling companions

WOAH! I know, right?! Haha but honestly if you’re stuck sitting next to someone for hours it’s the best time to have great conversations! If you’re not sure how to get the conversation going we recommend the question game (something we started when we were dating and still do sometimes when we’re out and about!). All you do it start asking this or that questions that both of you have to answer. These can be as light-hearted or as intimate as you want! You might be surprised at what you learn.

9 | Talk to strangers

This is something I’m not so great at (hello all the introverts!) but luckily for me Isaiah is great at talking to people he doesn’t know! It’s honestly something I’m working on as I know the best way to increase what I know about the world we live in is by talking to all the kinds of people who live in it! We’re looking forward to doing this throughout Europe too!

10 | Be creative

This is for anyone! And doesn’t require a full set of colour pencils or paint and brushes. My favourite is simple pencil drawings with black pen layered on top for detail. And you can do whatever you’d like with this! Life drawings with whatever is in front of you, cartoons, something from a photo that you’ve taken…. the options are endless. I love book cases like these that can hold all your pencils, erasers and other art tools in the one place!

Folio Cover for Rocketbook Everlast, fits A5 Size Notebook Blue

There are so many ways to be creative these days. Including using technology. Procreate is one of my most used apps on my iPad, it’s so versatile (I’m not sponsored by Procreate, I just genuinely love it!).

Hope you found this useful! Let us know what you love to do on long haul trips!

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

4 Money saving tips for couples! | Easiest strategies

When it comes to saving money, we know it can seem daunting and confusing. You know that you want to save money but just can’t seem to make it happen regularly. Please note that in this post we do not go into detail on debt and getting out of debt. I encourage you to read through this post regardless as you may obtain some ideas that WILL help you save money.

We are so glad you are here! We have been where you are now and want to help you start your journey of saving! What you will find in this post are 4 practical steps that help begin and sustain your savings journey. Stick with us as we guide you through some fundamentals that will set up your future. Be encouraged! Starting is always the hardest part, so start now! You will need to put time and a little bit of effort to make this work, but it will be well worth it!

Tip 1 | Cut down on non-essentials

You will be surprised where your money is spent on things you determine isn’t really necessary. So cut down on this non-essential spending. Some examples that we use ALL THE TIME are:
– Dining out
– Drinking out
– Ordering takeaway food
– Buying snack foods i.e. Chocolate, lollies, ice cream. (Keep your grocery list slim as well as your waist!)
– Attending some recreational and social events
So have a look at your bank statement (or credit card statement) and start marking which of your purchases are non-essential (this is definitely a personal preference so YOU get to decide what makes the cut). Once you have done this you should have a good idea of how much money you could realistically save per month if you were not to spend it on non-essentials.

Just a note; this is not to say we don’t ever eat out, get takeaways or buy snacks! It’s just that we limit how much we spend on these things. We’ve thought about it and are intentional about it. The best way to think about it is put it in comparison to what you are saving for… “Would I prefer dinner out tonight or dinner out on the Amalfi Coast in 6 months time?” It’s all about your perspective. Immediate gratification versus long term goal kicking.

Tip 2 | Research affordable alternatives for essentials

So now that you have cut out the non-essentials, the next step is find affordable alternatives to your essential purchases, or in other words finding the cheaper options!

Start with your bank or credit card statement and mark out which payments are your essentials. For us these include:
– Rental/mortgage payments
– Groceries; which grocery store are you buying from?
– Insurance; shop around and compare
– Mobile phone plans; don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal
– Electricity, water and city council rates
Remember our list might not match yours, but you will know what payments are essential for you.

Once you have your list of essential payments start researching each essential to find what options are available. It is quite common to find some competitive rates for mobiles phone plans, electricity and gas providers and insurance.

In relation to rental/mortgage payments, it’s at this stage depending on where you are financially that you may need to think about the importance of having a lower payment. You could start looking at cheaper rental properties, or for mortgage repayments have a conversation with your bank or financial advisor to consider all your options.

Tip 3 | Open a savings account (or multiple accounts)

Alright! if you’ve made it this far you are well on your way to your savings goals!

Note: I have split this step into two halves, one is if you do not have a mortgage and the other is if you do. but of course read through both parts to gain a fuller understanding!

I don’t have a mortgage

If you have not already, it is time to open a savings account with your bank (or multiple savings accounts). If you don’t know, a savings account is an account that you can put your money into that will earn you a small amount of interest every month.

Based on the information you researched in steps one and two you should now have a good idea of how much money you could be saving. This money should be placed into a savings account. This does a couple of things for you that are super helpful!
1. You will have a visual and tangible sense of your savings increasing over time! Seeing the amount increase regularly is exciting as it shows your efforts are working!
2. You will be earning a small amount of money as interest within your savings account (Don’t get too excited here it’s not much but it is still a positive)

Having more than 1 savings account can be great as you can more easily allocate your money for different things. E.g. One account could be for travel savings, another could be for car savings, another could be your grocery money allocations. It can help to have that visibility of where all of your money is allocated.

I have a mortgage

When your mortgage was set up you probably got an “offset” account, also sometimes called a redraw account. An offset account is where the money in that account will offset the interest you pay on your mortgage. E.g. if you owe $1000 and you have $100 in your offset account, you only pay interest on $900 rather than the full $1000. Which is definitely something we suggest utilising!

Most banks will allow you to have multiple offset accounts that will all work together in offsetting the interest on your mortgage. The benefit of having multiple offset accounts is that you can use them like savings accounts for different things.

For us we have more than 8 offset accounts! We have accounts for: travel saving, emergency funds, groceries, date night funds, and even an account for gifts.

Definitely speak with your bank about opening up additional offset accounts (in my opinion open as many as you can!) This will skyrocket you into saving well in your future!

Step 4 | Set up automatic bank transfers

Amazing! You made it to the last step, this step flows on from the others so make sure you’ve put those steps in place.

So you know how much you can save, you know what accounts your savings will go into. Now we suggest setting up automatic transfers into these accounts. This makes it EASY on you to save!

We set up these automatic payments to occur the day after we get paid. Once you’ve set these up you won’t have to think about transferring your money across. So just sit back and enjoy seeing all of your hard work, WORK FOR YOU. In no time you will be reaching your goals and growing your financial future. These payments can also be adjusted as you go so if you realise you want to be putting aside more into a specific account you can just alter this with your bank. We use our banking app to make this super simple!

BONUS TIP | Have a weekly spending limit

I hope you’re feeling encouraged and are excited to start saving! Here is a quick tip that Kristy and I use weekly that assist us in keeping costs lower and savings higher.

Have a weekly spending limit for yourself, and if you have a partner they should also have a spending limit. So take the time discuss what this would look like. Kristy and I started out very loose and had a rather high weekly spending amount but over time we were able to reduce it significantly based on what we actually spend during the week.

A weekly spending limit is great because you can do what you want with it! You could shout yourself a lunch out, you could head out bowling with the lads or if you’re like Kristy you could buy yourself a book. Another reason it is great is that it helps you prioritise where you will be spending that money. If you have an event on Saturday you want to attend with friends or family, you might consider missing out on the Friday night drinks.You could even not spend it one week and purchase that BIGGER thing the next week. Importantly you can use a savings account(s) or offset account(s) for your personal spending to have that visual reminder of how much money you have.

Have a fantastic day and week ahead! We would love to hear about your saving success stories so let us know below!

If you have any questions you can contact us below as well.

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

6 Essential Travel Bags & How To Use Them!

Some product links are affiliate links which mean if you buy something we’ll receive a small commission.

So something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the specific details of travel. One thing we’ve come to realise is that the bags you take are IMPORTANT! They can make or break a trip… have you had your luggage break half way through a trip? Or realise that your super cute handbag was not actually the best choice for wandering the beaches of Italy? So here are our thoughts on the matter… 6 essential bags you should have for travelling. Guys, don’t tune out because while this topic might not be your favourite it applies to you too!

Bag 1 | Luggage bag

The specific kind of luggage you choose is very dependant on the type of travel you are planning on doing, but for us planning our 6 month Europe trip we’ve gone with 90L backpacks with wheels. They are so big I’m sure I could fit in one. But 6 months worth of things just ain’t going to fit in our regular 60L wheelie luggage. Also chatting to many people who have been over there, mentioned that the roads are cobbled or brick so wheelie bags break very quickly trying to get from A to B. This is why the hybrid of wheels and backpacks is so great! Wheels for around airports and inside and then it transforms into a backpack for those tricky streets. Perfect!

High Sierra Wheeled Backpack
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Wheeled Duffel 110l Gear Bag

Kathmandu Terrane Adapt Pack Trolley Bag Wheels Hybrid Travel Backpack 70LTR

Bag 2 | Carry-on backpack

Carry on luggage definitely seems like a statement of each person’s personality these days (sporty guy has the Adidas backpack, chic gal has the oversized handbag, minimal guy has just a wallet and big pockets!) So this is our suggestion purely based on practicality – go with a backpack! You can definitely personalise this (I’m going with a cute leather look one). The great thing about choosing a backpack is that this doubles as a day bag for day trips exploring whatever city you’re heading too. The more things you can use one bag for the more space you have for all those souvenirs you’re going to buy!

Beschoi Convertible Backpack Laptop Shoulder Bag

Bag 3 | Belt bag or Cross body bag

The purpose of the belt bag or cross body bag is for that extra bit of security. Not so easy for thieves to steal if it’s securely strapped to your body. Our personal personal preferences are the cross body bags. Isaiah’s even going to be getting one for our trip as pickpockets are definitely a thing in Europe. You can get even more secure ones that are super slim and fit under your clothes. Here are some great options for ladies!

Travelon Anti-Theft Travel Bag
OSOCE Anti-Theft Waterproof Shoulder Backpack 
Travelon Anti-Theft Heritage Crossbody Bag

Something else to think about when picking out your secure bag is the opening – zippers are more secure than buttons and if it has a zippered inner pocket even better! The great tip for if you’re worried about theft in a specific location you are going to, is that you can even padlock the zips together for an extra layer of security. See the link below for some secure mini padlocks like those we’ll be using on our luggage and cross body bags.

TSA Approved Luggage Locks, Fosmon (3 Pack)  

There are so many options for men as well… waterproof! RFID blocker! Small and simple! Canvas or leather! Branded or minimal! Here are some great examples for men.

SPAHER Oxford Men Shoulder Bag
nuoku Small Cross Body Bag for Men with RFID

BJLFS Travel Wallet Neck Pouch RFID Blocking

Bag 4 | Laundry bags

This is another bag with multiple uses. The main thing I use it for it actually for separating dirty laundry from clean in my bag. When you’re traveling you usually can’t and won’t do a load every day which means you will have dirty laundry in your luggage at any given time. The best thing about these laundry bags is that you just load in all your laundry as you go and then when you’re ready to do a wash, you can just put in the whole bag. Simple and clean.

6 Pack Laundry Bag

Bag 5 | Toiletries bag

This is another one where personal preference comes into play. On a causal weekend trip I’ll take a large toiletry bag plus 2 smaller makeup bags and still have to put the bigger bottles in separately… which is frustrating! So I’ve discovered these toiletry bags which are amazing! Another tip to think about is travel toiletries (and I don’t just mean those insie bitsie, completely impractical, travel bottles… think shampoo and conditioner bars and shaving soap bars – anything to reduce the bottle size without compromising on use). But these bags are so great because they fit everything in one! I mean basic cosmetics AND toiletries! I love that they unfold with separate pockets for best access.

Gonex Hanging Toiletry Bag
BAGSMART Hanging Toiletry Bag

Bag 6 | Ziplock bag

Okay… I know this is a weird one! But seriously these are so great to have a stash of! Easy phone and wallet sand and water-proofing! Easy lunch bags! Easy liquid proofing your carry-ons! And a myriad of other uses! So lightweight, small and USEFUL! You can even get some great sustainable reusable ones like these…

Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags [4 Pack]

Hope you found this useful! Let us know what bags you love!

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

How to budget for your holiday (with your FREE spreadsheet)

Some product links are affiliate links which mean if you buy something we’ll receive a small commission.

Budgeting can be hard and confusing. Believe me, I know! Luckily for me Isaiah is great at it! So here’s our guide for how to budget for your next trip, so that you don’t need to get a loan, increase your debt or run out of money half way through your trip! You CAN do this! Here’s how…

1 | Break it down into categories and start a spreadsheet

Start with breaking your trip down into your main spending type. This is so that when you get to researching you can do it systematically and don’t miss anything major! Here are the areas we suggest, but add other major spending areas if you’ve got a more specific trip planned (for example, gifts for family and friends).

  • Travel
  • Accommodation
  • Food and Drinks
  • Activities
  • Visas and Licensing
  • Extra Gear and Clothing
  • Spending Money

Get a spreadsheet started. This will help keep track of costs, it’s easy to look at from your phone if needed in an emergency and will calculate total expected costs for you. Here is a great free one that we created especially to help you! It’s already all formatted so you can just move right onto the next step! And we’ve even added in a section which will help you save for your trip.

2 | Break it down further with specifics

Now have a think through each area on the spreadsheet and put in specifics. The more specific you can be in your budgeting the better outcome you’ll have.

  • Travel. What mode of transportation are you aiming for, for each leg of your journey? This will greatly impact your budget (i.e. flights are usually more expensive than buses, but are also quicker – so you decide). What type of transportation are you willing to travel in? Is it a bus or hire car? Train or flight? Make sure you’re going through each major leg of the journey and adding it to your budget.
  • Accommodation. Think realistically about what type of accommodation you’re looking to stay in… 5 star hotels for a month is going to be expensive whereas hostels mean you’re sharing facilities and space. So what works for you? If you’re going for any length of time, you could consider WWOOFing where you get accommodation and sometimes food in exchange for a couple of hours work each day. On our upcoming 6 month Europe trip, we’re definitely planning to do this. There is a great cost benefit but we are also excited to get to know the locals!
  • Food and Drinks. Hint: to keep costs down don’t expect to eat out every day for every meal (this gets expensive even in more affordable countries). Rather you could budget for one meal out a week… make it a date night or something fun. We suggest talking about this with your partner, make sure you’re both on board and it will mean you both have the same expectations for the trip (happy couple = happy travel!). Go to the local markets for fresh produce or the grocery store and stock up for each leg in your trip! This is especially cost effective when you’re travelling as a pair. Don’t forget to add tips based on the country you’re travelling too.
  • Activities. Whether it’s zip lining in New Zealand, getting a massage in Bali or seeing the Colosseum in Rome it’s going to cost something. Put the major activities in the budget.
  • Visas, insurance and Licenses. Are you going to be hiring a car or scooter? If so, you need to make sure your licence is valid and get a country-specific one if it isn’t.. Also check with the country’s consulate or official website for what visas you need and when or where you can get this. Having the right visa for your trip can depend on the passport you are travelling on, the length of time you intend on staying in a country, and the main reason for your trip. Travel insurance is also very important!
  • Extra Gear and Clothing. Are you going somewhere wet or cold? You’re going to need some great boots and a jacket, which aren’t cheap! Think through where you’re going, what you’re doing and what items of gear or clothing you’re going to need to buy or hire. Put these in the budget!
  • Spending Money

3 | Research approximate costs

Once you’ve set out your specific cost areas in groups and listed the major things in each area you’ll need to research average costs of each of these things. Remember this is just to give you a realistic cost prediction for how much you need to have to go on your dream trip! You can absolutely readjust these as you go. Put these amount in the spreadsheet as you go. We also suggest adding 10% to your budget for surprise expenses and emergencies.

4 | Start saving!

At the bottom of the spreadsheet there are spaces to input how much you can realistically save per week and it will use all the information you’ve inputted and calculate how many weeks it will take you to save for your trip! You’ll be on your way to your dream holiday in no time!

We hope you find this helpful! Let us know where you’re planning to have your next vacation!

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

Healthy Apple Crumble Breakfast

Enjoy this (mostly!) healthy apple crumble for breakfast or dessert. It’s so easy and full of nutrients. I love making a full dish and keeping it in the fridge. I heat up a serving for a breakfast and have it with a cup of tea! Perfect for cold mornings.

Ingredients

Servings: 6 meals

  • Apples (approx. 4 medium sized)
  • Peaches (1 tin, drained)
  • Unsalted butter (40g softened) (this can be replaced by coconut oil if you wish)
  • Pecans (1/2 cup chopped)
  • Almonds (1.2 cup chopped)
  • Chia seeds (1/4 cup)
  • Shredded dried coconut (1/4 cup)
  • Almond meal (1/3 cup)
  • Cinnamon (3 teaspoons)
  • Maple syrup (1 Tablespoon) (the purer the better)

Recipe

1| Dice softened butter and spread 10g along a baking dish.

2| Slice apples and peaches, removing the cores. Place along the dish onto the butter.

3} In a bowl, mix together the chopped nuts, seeds, coconut and almond meal with the remaining butter, cinnamon and maple syrup.

4| Sprinkle mixture on top of the fruit. Bake in fan forced oven at 200C for 20mins.

Enjoy!

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

Travel and Covid-19 | 5 things you CAN do

With the COVID19 pandemic causing most countries to close their borders, travelling plans have been thrown out the window for many many people. Kristy and I had plans to visit New Zealand earlier this year, in fact Kristy was going to be going to New Zealand TWICE in April. Similarly to other people our flights were cancelled, accomodation cancelled, transport cancelled; and just like that our trip we were looking forward to had gone out the window.

BUT, we’ve discovered that while travel was limited there are things we can do! In this post we will give you 5 ideas of what you can still do while COVID19 restrictions remain in place. We can still enjoy this time and spend it making memories (can I hear an ‘AMEN’?).

1 | Local travel

Something you CAN do, depending on where you are in the world, is local travel. Now is a great time to discover or rediscover amazing places that are closer to home. Think picnics in the park, or hike that local mountain at dawn (you won’t find Kristy getting up that early, but how stunning are those views!).

Have a search online for “Things to do in *your location*” or something similar. You will likely find a list of places you could go and see. Remember to keep within any government restrictions when you make a plan to go visit these places. You never know what hidden gems you may find. Here’s a view we found locally – hike and picnic = perfection (quality time with the wife). Additionally depending on how far you can travel from home, you could widen your “Things to do…” search to include other areas which will increase your list of places to visit. A trip to the beach, an overnight trip in the mountains.

2 | Plan your next trip

If you have found you have extra time in your day (I know I have), whether it is from not having to drive to work, or working less hours, or whatever it is, make the most of your time! Start thinking about and planning out what your next travel plan is. Is it to France, Germany, New York, Queenstown? Whereever it is, start your plan.

Kristy wrote a great post on planning your next trip so definitely check that out here – LINK. But here is a quick summary:

  • Dream big!
  • Map it out
  • Budget and Research
  • Start saving!
  • Put it in the calendar

3 | Save Money

If you have been fortunate enough to have work during this time you may have noticed that you are spending less and saving money. Use this season to save some extra cash to go towards your next trip, whether it is an overseas trip or domestic. Now you can do this organically, however we would recommend (as always) have a plan and put that plan to action. Be conscious of how you’re spending in order to save money in the best way possible.

Regardless of your working situation, I am confident these tips below will assist you.

Identify

Take some time to look into your finances and identify what areas you are spending less on. For Kristy and I, we have noticed that we are not spending anywhere near as much money on eating out or recreational activities (due to the enforced restrictions). So make a list and write down the where you are spending less money and include how much money you are saving in each area per week.

Plan

Now that you have identified how much money you are saving and where it is coming from, you can plan where to allocate these funds. You could allocate these to anywhere you’d like or need to, but if you’re here (like us) you are likely going to allocate these funds to a holiday you are planning for when boarders open again (who’s excited?!).

Act

Make sure you ACT on the plan you have made! The way we do it is by setting up an automatic bank transfer between our accounts, this way you don’t have to think about saving every week. Either way, ensure you are moving the funds you identified into your savings account or keeping a record of how much of your money is being allocated to travel.

Review

This is important and it won’t take long! After a few weeks of acting on your plan ask yourself, “Is it working?” Are there areas that you thought you’d be saving more in. Or have you acquired more savings than you thought possible (we’re proud of you, if you have!). I am confident that if you have kept to your plan you will definitely see a difference, but it is important to identify if there are other things that may be inhibiting your plan from succeeding.

Here is a golden opportunity… When this season is over, can you keep your plan in motion? If you are able to continue to save additional funds after this season is over, you should! You won’t regret travelling on your next holiday SOONER by saving more money now.

4 | Purchase gear/clothing for your next trip

Something else you can be doing during this season is purchasing gear for your next trip. As a lot of stores have stopped or slowed there have been some great SALES (all the ladies say ‘hallelujah!’). If you have been looking for specific items or know you should be, now could be the time to do your research and get your gear at significantly reduced costs!

We are planning our extended Europe trip, and something we need was… TRAVEL BACKPACKS.
Last weekend we decided to go shopping (QLD restrictions have lessened so we can). We’ve been looking for some great backpacks and found them cheaper than we had found online which is usually the cheapest place to find gear. We saved $60 which can now be reallocated. We’ve done the same with winter boots (hello Europe winter!) and saved $270 on these!

5 | Vacation at home

“Stay home? But Isaiah, you just said before I should look at places to travel locally.” Kristy and I are WITH YOU. We enjoy going out and travelling places. And travelling to those local places is really good for you and your partner. To have a change from the usual environment and to actually go and DO something. However, it is also important to rest, to stay safe and to stay home. We 100% want you to ensure you are following any Government restrictions on travelling and movement and staying home definitely has been repeated over and over. But this doesn’t have to be mind-blowingly boring.

So… here are some tips for “vacationing” at home. Pull out the board and card games from the cupboard. Dust them off and get some competitions going. Learn something new. You could start learning the language for your next travel destination (we use DuoLingo). Learn an instrument. During this season I am learning how to play guitar. Have an indoor picnic or date night. Spread out a rug in the living room, get a cheese board going, grab a drink and get cosy. Movie night in? Think movie snacks, PJs and cosy blankets. Iso bake something. Kristy’s been working on an breakfast Apple Crumble which is so yummy!

I hope you have found these ideas helpful. We would love to hear from you what things you are doing during this season. Let us know below!

Have a fantastic day!

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!

5 Steps to Planning your Next Overseas Trip

Some product links are affiliate links which mean if you buy something we’ll receive a small commission.

Do you ever get stuck on how to plan a trip? I know starting out all the information and things to do can make it super confusing and overwhelming. So here are our 5 steps for how to plan your next overseas trip! We believe that you can dream big and as long as you have a plan and act on that plan you can travel anywhere!

Watch our Youtube video on these 5 steps

Step 1 | Dream Big!

This is the fun step! Dream BIG! Have fun scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram looking at all the gorgeous photos. I know I started an overseas Pinterest board when I was in middle school… (I’ve been dreaming for a long time!) Try to have some focus (i.e. don’t aim for Bali, London and Canada all in the same trip), and start collecting these dreams and creating a list. This can be specific or general… “The Leaning Tower of Pisa” or “Rome”. Just have fun! 

Step 2 | Map it out

Now you’ve got a list of things you’re wanting to see and do, get out a map and start mapping it out. For this you can sketch the country out on some blank paper or print out a map. Alternatively you could just buy a wall map such as these ones.

National Geographic World Map
National Geographic Europe Map
National Geographic Australia Map

Add the major cities on it and put in on a pin board (this is great for looking back and admiring your work later on!). Then start putting your Dream List items on the map with pins. Once you’ve put pins in, think through the order that you would go to each of these places and mark the order out using ribbon. TIP: start with the major city in the country as that is most likely where you’re going to be flying in to0. The ribbon is great because it gives you a real visual idea of where you’re going! It also helps with the next step.

Step 3 | Budget and Research

Once you’ve got a rough idea where you’re going, what cities you’re stopping in at and what activities you’re hoping to do… start budgeting! I know it’s not nearly as exciting… but it is so necessary! This is the foundation for your trip! The more detailed and specific you can be here, the better your trip will be. 

Start with breaking it down into 6 main spending areas and then research average costs for what you’re hoping for. Remember this is just to give you a realistic cost prediction for how much you need to have to go on your dream trip! You can absolutely readjust these as you go. 

  • TRAVEL. Think through and research what mode of transportation is best. What type of transportation are you willing to travel in? Is it a bus or hire car? Train or flight? Use the ribbon lines on the map for your major trips between cities.
  • ACCOMODATION. Think realistically about what type of accommodation you’re wanting… 5 star hotels for a month is going to be expensive whereas hostels mean you’re sharing facilities and space… what works for you?? If you’re going for any length of time, you could consider WWOOFing. 
  • FOOD & DRINKS. 
  • ACTIVITIES. 
  • VISAS & LICENSING. Are you going to be hiring a car or scooter? If so, you need to make sure your licence is valid. Also check with the country’s consulate or official website for what visa you need and when/where you can get this.
  • GEAR & CLOTHING. Are you going somewhere wet or cold? You’re going to need some great boots and a jacket, which aren’t cheap! Put these things in the budget!
  • SPENDING MONEY.

Step 4 | Start Saving! 

Again… not so exciting. But remember this step means you get to go on your dream trip while not acquiring debt or spending beyond your means! You can do this!!!

Start with the total amount you already have saved and the total amount your trip is going to cost (add 10% extra to the total you calculated in Step 3). This leaves you with how much you still need to save for your trip! 

[Total cost of trip] – [amount already saved] = [how much you need to save for]

With this amount break it down into how much you can realistically save each week and then calculate how long it will take you to save the total amount. 

[how much you need to save for] / [how much you can save in a week] = [how many weeks it will take to save for your dream trip]

Have a look at our youtube video for some great tips to increase your weekly saving! It’s not as hard as you think! 

Hot savings tip: make yourself a coffee at home instead of buying them out

Step 5 | Put it in the Calendar

Now that you know when you will have the money for your dream holiday you can start putting it in the calendar! Have a quick research for best months to travel to the country you are looking at, or at least what the weather is like during the time you’re able to go… you may want to put it off a couple of months in order to get snow or sunshine depending on what YOU want. 

Also, now is the time to apply for leave. Once that’s approved you have your dates! Put in the beginning and end dates for when you’ll be flying in and out. Then start thinking about how long you want to be in each city. Don’t forget to take into consideration how long travel takes between places you want to visit. Is it a two hour drive or an eight hour train ride… you might need to leave a day just for travel. Here are some great calendars that would be great to plot your next holiday in.

Hadley Designs Rustic Calendar 2020 2021

Bonus Tip | Chat to people 

Chat to people you know who have been to where you are dreaming of going. People who have actually been there are the best source of information about that country! They can tell you about things that were overrated and any scams or things to avoid. They can also give you hot tips, any things they did or places they visited that were amazing but not necessarily easily found on your google searches. 

Don’t forget to have fun! This is an exciting time for you! After applying these steps you’ll be on your way soon!

Subscribe for our emails so that you don’t miss out on our latest tips!