For the last three winters, we have driven past, through really, the tiny town of El Triunfo nearly a dozen times. We have stopped exactly once and that was only to buy a bag of veggies from the ladies on the street corner and snap a quick photo of their church. We always said, “we’ll stop next time”. Well, next time finally happened as we headed there for our Photo Field Trip of the week.
Two years ago yesterday we drove away from Jim’s parent’s road to drive the Pan American Highway. Two years. Three Countries. Tens of thousands of miles. And yet we find ourselves back in Los Barrile on Baja understanding more than ever that the road of life is rarely certain and even less often a straight line.
As we headed south towards Baja we knew we wanted to do some campground research along the way. Although we have camped on five continents, it never hurts to view other campgrounds with open eyes when planning improvements for Camp Coeur D’Alene.
With this in mind, we specifically chose to stay at some vastly different types of campgrounds to experience each end of the spectrum, checking out bathroom facilities, camp stores, and pricing options. While we didn’t garner any huge new ideas from what we were already thinking it sure was fun!
Today marks three weeks here in Los Barriles. Although we are all set up with our “shade compound” and, in between working on camp business, have been actively joining the local scene of art shows, pickleball, and yoga, it also feels as though we just arrived and is a perfect indication of how elusive the concept of time can be. As ever, one of our very favorite parts of our crazy life is the fact that we get to meet so many interesting people every day. And, also as ever, everyone is capable of being a critic. But for any negative vibes we encounter we just sit back confidently knowing we are mastering the art of living.
Well, we have arrived at our home for the next three months. Three Weeks. Three Mechanics. Thirteen Campgrounds. Nearly 2500 miles.
Although our most recent reinvention has us less overlanders than the last couple of years, we are still firmly rootless on many levels. And these last few of weeks moving from our summer -home at Camp Coeur D’Alene, to our former state of Oregon, to our latest winter resting spot in Los Barriles have reminded us of the reality of a life lived, at least part-time, on the move.
Whether you are a nomadic traveler, living a life on the road commuting from state to state to visit the landmarks, monuments, and attractions of the US, or flying to a European destination for that holiday of a lifetime, the risk of theft of your valuables is very real. Wherever there are large numbers of people, from a crowded beach to a music concert, there will be those who want to relieve you of your prized possessions – and they’re very good at it. So how do you minimise the chance of becoming another statistic?
It’s surprising how many travelers, especially the younger set, don’t bother to buy any form of travel insurance, and live to regret it. Hopefully, everyone’s holiday will go smoothly without any mishap, medical emergency or criminal activity, but unfortunately, annual figures tell us otherwise. Travel insurance can be tailored to suit your requirements. If you have a number of expensive digital products, paying a little extra and buying insurance to cover replacement of same is well worth considering.
Hotel security has improved enormously in the hotspots and big cities of Europe. Most rooms will have a safe, but if they don’t, the hotel usually has a secure safe in the reception area. Nonetheless, don’t just walk into the reception with a handful of valuables and cash. Put it all in a bag, tape it up and put your name and room number on the package.
Don’t leave valuable items lying around in your hotel room. Even if you’re taking a shower, put mobile phone, tablet or cash in drawers or under cushions. Out of sight out of mind minimises the risk of opportunist theft by anyone who has the authority to enter the room.
Holiday Apartment Complexes:
If you’re staying in an apartment complex, security may not be as high as that in hotels, although apartment security is improving. Apartment theft makes up a large proportion of insurance claims, yet the majority of these could so easily be avoided. In most of Europe’s hotspots, with daytime temperatures often in the mid/the high 30s, and nighttime temperatures in the upper 20s, travelers walk into their rooms and throw open every window and door they can find.
Unfortunately, they often choose to leave patio doors and windows open to cool the apartment when they go to the pool or out for a meal. The fact your apartment is on the fifth floor is no guarantee you won’t get a visit from our light-fingered friends if you leave them an open invitation. The same applies when you retire for the night. Having enjoyed a gourmet meal with a few glasses of wine you’re sure of a good night’s sleep. Your unwanted visitors rely on that. As you sleep, they creep in through the open patio doors and tip-toe around the apartment relieving you of everything of value. Lock your apartment as you would lock up at home.
Round the Pool or on the Beach:
If you intend to spend a day around the pool or beach take with you the minimum you’ll need. Okay, so the mobile phone and Kindle are a must, and enough cash to get a baguette and drink. If you are holidaying with friends or family make sure someone stays with the valuables while the others go for a swim. Don’t heap everything together and throw a towel over them. Hidden eyes will be watching for you to do just that. By the time you come out of the water and manage to find your sunbeds, they will be minus your valuables. The same with bags and rucksacks; never leave them unattended.
Out and About:
Whether doing a little sightseeing, or out on a bar crawl, don’t wear the family jewels. Nothing attracts your friendly local bag snatcher than all that bling sparkling in the sunshine.
It’s difficult for the ladies to go out without a bag. If you can’t make do with a money belt or bumbag, choose a shoulder bag, and put the strap over the head. Never leave it unattended; anywhere. For men, leave the wallet and cards hidden in the apartment, they’re a pickpocket’s favorite item. Spread the cash about, fifty each in two or three pockets and maybe fifty in a sock.
It all sounds very melodramatic, but really it’s just common sense and being a little streetwise. A little forethought will ensure you’re not the ones spending precious holiday time arranging replacement funds to get home.
There aren’t many things that are as exciting as a road trip, packing your car and hitting the open road. You may deliberate on what to take with you when packing, but the chances are your mobile phone will definitely be in there so here are some tips to ensure you don’t come home to a nasty big phone bill.
Avoid Roaming Charges
If you intend flying overseas to do a road trip there, you want to avoid all those exorbitant roaming charges. Check your phone and make sure that it will work overseas. Verify with the provider to ensure that your phone is operable overseas.
Look at your phone plan to see how much is it going to cost to make phone calls or download some e-mails while traveling abroad. You may want to consider buying an international data or calling package. An international plan is a good investment and you simply need to call your provider and request a temporary plan that will work in your destination of choice.
Some Data Saving Tips
- You may want to have a break from your mobile device while on a road trip where you basically just one to text one or two people to let them know you’re safe. You may buy a text package before leaving. There are service providers who will provide you with a global messaging package that starts at as little as $10 a month for 50 messages sent from any country.
- When you pack for your road trip, make sure that your chargers and adapters are packed in your close-at-hand bag so that if your suitcase gets damaged or stolen you have these devices with you so you don’t have to resort to buying these accessories at the next stop you make where the costs to purchase them will be double your original price.
- Did you know that you can save data in Google Maps? You don’t have to go into Google Maps each time you’re looking for navigation information. You may just download the area you need to visit in Google Maps and you will be saving so much data when navigating. This will save you a lot of data and it improves the experience if you’re traveling through a low reception area. To save a map to use offline, simply open Google Maps and find the place you want to save. Hit the bottom info bar and Download. Select the region’s size you want to save and name it.
- Download your entertainment. Before you take off on your trip, download entertainment before you leave. One of the best ways to do this is to make use of free wi-fi hotspots wherever you can to save data. Download movies or your favorite music when you’re in a wi-fi area and set yourself up with some good entertainment for your road-trip. Also, all the best audio streaming apps offer ways to listen to music without having to stream them using your data. Spotify, for instance, allows you to download your playlist and with Google Play Music, as an example, you can download everything – playlists and radio.
Android phone users, for instance, can have some control over their data consumption because, with Opera Max, a compression app, you can actually save data surfing on the Internet. In the app, you’ll be shown which apps on your phone have the greatest data savings potential.
Know your Data Usage
A road trip is so exciting, but not if your Android or iPhone keeps running out of cellular data before your new data comes in each month. Before you can manage your phone’s data usage, understand how much data you have used by going to your Settings and looking at your Mobile Data Usage. By following these data saving tips you can ensure that you don’t run out of data while on a lonely road.
Ensure that you’ve got all the entertainment you want and the ability to still make contact with those at home about where you are and that you’re also safe.
Packing up and jetting off somewhere can seem like a seriously unrealistic dream, but more and more people are managing to make it a reality. A lot of people may be fooled into thinking that you need to be rich to be able to take some time off to travel, but this really isn’t the case. Nearly anywhere you go in the world has wifi now and there are plenty of ways to earn money for traveling on the internet. So as long as you have a laptop and an idea of what projects you could undertake to earn enough cash to keep you traveling for as long as possible.
Learn how to trade online
Learning to trade online can seem like an incredibly daunting task for someone who has no previous experience with the stock market – but it really doesn’t have to be. There are many online trading websites like CMC markets that will allow you to get started more or less straight away. Once you have signed up you will be able to trade in instruments like stocks and shares, forex, CFD’s and spreadbetting. Before you travel it may be worth opening up a practice account with an online stockbroker so that you can get used to the markets before you actually invest any cash. You can register online for trading accounts without having to make an initial deposit. Many of the online trading websites actually have mobile apps as well. This is vital for you to keep track of investments when you are unable to get to a laptop. Before you leave for your travels it is also worth learning how to set up stop losses and automatic buy orders. This will help you minimise losses if you are going to go off of the beaten track for a few days and you won’t be able keep checking on your investments.
Pick up some paid writing work
A lot of people don’t know this – but you don’t actually have to be an English graduate to pick up freelance writing work. If you are competent in English and able to write well thought out articles then you can easily pick up some writing work online. The two main broker websites that allow you to do this are Textbroker and Greatcontent. The way it works is that you register with them and you are then given a sample article to write. Once you have done this you will be given a rating. Each piece of work you write is rated, but it is common for you to keep the rating you were given at your initial assessment. You will then be able to log on and select any of the articles within your rating range. Once you have completed the article the client will either accept, reject or send back for revisions. You can easily build up relationships through the website with different clients who may give you private work – which can earn you a little bit extra.
Sell photos online
Chances are you looked up a few websites on your destination before you traveled there and the big secret to these websites is that the photos probably were not taken by the person who owns the website. Stock photos can be big business for some people and if you are traveling and snapping away any way you might as well make some money from your pictures. Websites like Shutterstock and Fotalia allow users to register and sell their pictures online to people looking to use them for their websites and blogs. Once you establish yourself and sell a few pictures you could even sell them privately by making a social media page or a quick website. As long as you take quality, clear pictures there will always be a market for them. You will need to remember that if you are going to sell your pictures onto a third party you will not be able to use them yourself. Along with the picture you are also selling the rights to use the picture so if you also share it on any of your social media channels you may be challenged to take it down.