10 of the most popular questions we’ve been asked as a travel couple. We have travelled to over 40 countries and set up home in three more.
How we met!
We’ve been travelling as a couple for the best part of 7 years. Together we have lived in Sydney, Whistler, Bay of Islands and Queenstown. We met at a bus stop in Sydney. He’s travelled quite a bit more than me (which I hate to admit). Paul’s lived in Cyprus, Tenerife and travelled across Southeast Asia before we met.
When did you start traveling as a couple and how did it go, at first?
Every journey has to start somewhere and ours started in April 2014 in Sydney. Paul’s Australian work visa was coming to an end and we decided to backpack across the world instead of extending our time in Australia. It took a bit of getting used to at first, as we both have very different travel styles. I’m very laid-back whereas Paul is much more regimented, but, we quickly got into our travel groove.
How do you choose the destinations you travel to?
It depends on where we are living at the time and where our final destination will be. For example, at the start of our journey in May 2014 we were living in Sydney and had to be in Malta by August for Paul’s brothers wedding. So, we planned a trip through Southeast Asia because it was on the way and wasn’t expensive to get to or travel through.
On a long journey we always stopover and for a couple of days at that. On our way back to New Zealand this past summer we stopped in Istanbul and Hong Kong for 5 days a piece. And on the way home from New Zealand we stopped in Sri Lanka for over two weeks.
When did you start your travel blog? And where did the name come from?
It’d been in the back of my mind for a very long time but I guess I was afraid to start out of fear of failure. I studied Journalism at University of Limerick and worked an internship for a local Newspaper back in Ireland. So, writing has always been a huge passion of mine. Thankfully I plucked up the courage to start Snap Happy Travel and now we have our own little slice of the internet. Where we can share our travel tips and photographs with friends, family and even a couple of strangers. As for the name – I wanted something short, sweet and original. So, after a few hours came up with Snap Happy Travel.
What are the best places you’ve visited so far and why?
Cinque Terre, Italy we love it so much we’re getting married there in August. Cinque Terre literally means “five villages”, and Italians often refer to it as the Italian Riviera. If you want to eat the freshest seafood in the world, take in postcard-perfect views and experience the warmth and friendliness of small town Italy then I massively recommend Cinque Terre. Be warned however that thanks to instagram the towns of the Cinque Terre tend to be over-run during the Summer months. Thankfully only between the hours of 11am-3pm. Not many tourists stay the night here, which makes it all the more magical in the evening.
Lake Bacalar, Mexico. Between Belize and Tulum, it’s known as the lake of seven colours to locals. It’s also a tiny town, Bacalar (as it’s also known) has little over 10 restaurants.
My all-time favourite country
When someone asks me where my favourite place in the world is my immediate thought is Cuba. Politically & historically there is so much wrong with Cuba. It’s a complicated place. But boy, is there so much right with it. You’ve probably heard it from others who’ve visited but it’s literally like stepping back in time to the 1950’s. It is without a doubt the first place my mind wanders to when I’m daydreaming.
What are the most budget-friendly places in the world?
In El Salvador, Cambodia and Guatemala you can easily live off $20 per day (including accomodation).
Do you always travel on a budget? What are your pieces advice to travel on a budget?
Not always, when we’re on a long trip budgeting is key. However, since we started ‘expatting’ or working & living in countries for a year or more we have a bit more spare change. While we lived in Canada we enjoyed a few luxurious weekends away to San Francisco, Banff, Lake Louise Jasper & Seattle. In New Zealand we try to get a luxurious couple of nights away every couple of months.
What is your best and worst travel memory so far?
Seeing elephants in the wild (including a month old baby) in Udawalawe, Sri Lanka.
Bungee jump in Cairns, Australia and Whistler, Canada. Amazing but terrifying at the same time.
Helicopter over the glaciers of Queenstown and the iconic Milford Sounds. The best part – this was a freebie from my job.
A tour of the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Caves in San Ignacio Belize. Our time in Belize was amazing! A 7km cave system that was used as a Mayan burial site, its filled with swimming pool deep water and is incredibly dark so you have to wear a headlamp at all times. There are different chambers inside with skulls and bones and old Mayan artifacts scattered everywhere.
And lastly, hiking for hours up an active volcano in Santa Ana, El Salvador.
And the worst travel experiences
Packed, sweaty and sticky bus journeys that took hours more than expected. Having to use squat toilets. And food poisoning. It’s inevitable.
What advice would you give to couples who want to travel together?
You are literally spending every hour of every day with this person, so make sure you actually get on well, like really well. We killed eachother at times, but the argument was usually over after a few minutes and we never went to sleep angry.
You have to learn to compromise – if one of you wants to have Italian for dinner and the other Mexican (this was the cause of most of our arguments FYI), go for one tonight and the other tomorrow.
If one of you (me) wants to lie on the beach all day and the other wants to explore the city nearby, maybe you can go your separate ways for a few hours. These are all just things that worked for us, but we’re no experts, although we did travel together for a year non-stop without splitting up. Take the time to find your ‘couple travel’ groove together!
What do you do as a living and where are you headed next?
I work for a luxury hotel here in Queenstown, it’s awesome as I get massive discounts on there properties all over the world. While we are both very impressed living here we are also busy planning our wedding in Italy in August and a potential move to Hawaii in early 2020.
P.S. you can read more about our ‘travel couple life’ – how to travel like us
Are you a travel couple? We’d love to hear about your story in the comment section!