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Successful travel is often learned by many trials and errors. It encompasses research and lots of planning. Having the tools to get there is the first step to launching your next exciting adventure.

Planning your trip is often overwhelming to many people. We will try to eliminate that for you. A large part of what scares people away from organizing their adventures is the lack of the tools and resources to do so. We are going to provide you with that!

Our goal is to give you all the Tips and Resources we use to plan our trips. We are saving you many of those hard-learned lessons we experienced. As a result, your trip will be the huge success you deserve. This is all in the hope that on your flight home, you are already planning your next adventure.

We will also talk about the what-ifs of travel and how to be ready for them. Life happens even when we travel, so be prepared mentally and with the right tools to get you through is vital.

Camera and map reflects independent  planning. The maps is part of the tools needed.

Independent travel

While researching and planning your trip, you will discover unique places you never considered visiting. Maybe just a little bit off the beaten path, but they can transform this adventure into an authentic and unforgettable experience. This trip is your dream; by planning it yourself, you make it your own. That is an essential part of your journey, and honestly, without it, we think much less fun.

With our Tips and Resources, we will help you plan an incredible trip. We will encourage you to squeeze every moment out of your adventure. To map out full days but always leaving room for spontaneity.

That is essential, letting those moments in and embracing them.

What is a trip without a cold local brew at the local pub in Ireland? A conversation with a kind elderly gentleman sharing what his life is like in Siena, Italy? Simply people-watching while sitting at a Paris corner bistro? Take that gorgeous boat ride up a river you had no idea was even there?

Combining independent elements into group travel

We believe that independent travel is always the best way to go if possible. What you experience when it is just you vs. a large group can be very different. If you chose the group route, there could always be days before, and after that, we can guide you through the planning. When traveling on cruises or tours, somebody else will set most of the schedule for you, but you can still handle many elements. Even in organized travel, you can have ownership of many aspects. Why use an intermediary or travel agent when you can deal with the company directly?

We fully recognize it is not an option or even safe to travel without a tour or guide in some parts of the world. Though we admire those who travel places that few would go, we are not risk-takers by nature. There are independent adventures, and then there are those risks that outweigh the benefit in our view, at least for us.

Traveling on a Budget

Our Tips and Resources will guide you on keeping costs down without compromising on accommodations or experience. We will teach ways to get the perks you only thought were only given to a business or frequent traveler.

Full disclosure upfront, we are not backpackers or people who like roughing it (though we admire those who do). We stay in hotels, B&B’s, or Airbnb’s. Our dining is kept pretty simple, preferring local eateries, but we treat ourselves to a nice meal once in a while. We seek places where we get complimentary breakfast or even free dinners or executive lounges with an evening light meal. We save costs everywhere we can.

The more saved, the more experiences we can have with the dollars we have.

Cost for us, as for most of you, is a significant component of how often we can travel.

That said, let us be upfront; life is unpredictable. While we are in a position to travel, we should. We can’t keep saying, well, one day when I have a lot more money, or I have more vacation, or when I retire……… for many those days may never come. Joelle can speak well to that after her years in Oncology. If you want to travel, do it. Stop putting it off.

Travel does not have to break the bank and leave you stressed for months after. You do not need to settle for unsafe or cheap accommodations. Peanut butter and crackers will not need to be your primary source of nutrition. Tips and Resources are here to guide your next adventure.

Ryan in Dublin
Ryan Navigating Dublin

The Cost of Tours and Guides

Many people feel safer about taking tours, and that is understandable. We are not touring people but know many people who enjoy them. When sharing more detail, they often speak of the cost, the amount of time spent waiting, the lack of time for self adventure, or being stuck with people who drive you crazy for ten days. Others rave about it. They adore the group dynamics, the friends they make, which becomes the highlight of the trip. It is your experience, your memories, do what makes you the happiest.

The cost, though, can be relatively high. That cost could equal three times what an independent trip would cost. If you can get three adventures instead of one, when a significant part of your time is the group’s movement and waiting, it seems not much bang for the buck.

Most tours do have independent days, or you can arrive early or stay later. That is the case before and after cruises as well. Our country pages are full of facts and other important info that is an excellent resource to have no matter how you travel. Click here to go to our Destinations page.

Resources and guides for all

Our travel style is independent travel, but there is info at Wanderers Compass for everyone. Our overall message is to travel! Travel well and travel often. We want to inspire you to get out there and experience this incredible world. To become a global citizen and absorb all the beautiful places you will visit and the people you will meet. Absorb the history and culture of all the beautiful places you will visit. You will be changed in ways you never imagined.

Travel perks and tips Knowing where to go

Part of the success of travel is knowing your travel options and perks available to you. Which hotels, airlines, rental car companies to use. What are ways to join loyalty programs without frequent stays? Ever wish you could have access to use that airport lounge that has a free open bar, incredible food, and even a shower? How about a gorgeous suite with a balcony overlooking the walled city of Dubrovnik and not pay a dime? You will learn how we use all that and more.

We will share our favorite travel companies and why we use them. We will explain how we travel in style and comfort while keeping our costs low. Some call these travel hacks. We have never liked that wording, as it sounds like you are cheating or getting around someone else to get these perks. You aren’t; they are there for the taking if you know how to get there. Trust us, in the end, and they benefit you as well the business.

We will work hard in the early stages of the blog to build this part of the portfolio. If we do not give the Tips and Resources to plan the trip, the destination info only goes so far. We plan to do videos of how to plan your trips, daily routes and keep that all in order.

Enjoying champagne and dinner at a British Airways lounge. Our tips can guide you to have this experience.

Champagne and dinner before a long flight?

Open bar, unlimited food and snacks, bottled water for flight, lovely surroundings, showers, entertainment areas, workspaces, and even places to sleep. All free, one of the many perks that could be yours.

The what-ifs? Preparation is 90% of the game

With all travel, we must plan contingencies. Our trips could be fraught with emergencies, health issues, injuries (as an example note on our About Us page, I am in a medical boot), cancellations, weather, theft, lost documents, and, as we learned in 2020, Pandemics. All of these can turn our travel upside down.

Being prepared is an essential element. Believing nothing will happen is both stupid and dangerous. Young people often don’t get travel insurance because they think I am not old and won’t get sick. They are the ones, though more likely to get injured on a trip or get robbed. If they get stranded someplace due to canceled flights, hotel closing, all their belongings are stolen, or a host of other problems, they are often the ones with little financial means to get out of the situation. We will talk about preparing for that and where you can keep costs down doing so.

Sharing our experiences to make your next trip the best

Travel is an adventure. Therefore, always make the most of it you can. If you use the Tips and Resources we share, your next journey will be even more incredible and life-changing. Let us guide and teach you what we have learned with our decades of travel experience. We can’t wait for you to share your travel success stories with us and what tips you gained along the way.

Wander in Wonder!!

Squaremouth.com

Our favorite travel insurance site!

If you are booking a trip, don’t forget to get travel insurance within 14 days of your first booking. We could not be stronger advocates of being well insured. Not for the little stuff but the big stuff like medical emergencies. We never leave home without it. Over the years we have used many sites but have now found our go-to site. Squaremouth.com does a fantastic job; it has a user-friendly interface, they use top-rated and reputable insurance carriers, and most policies cover Covid medical issues and cancellations. They also mediate on your behalf if you have issues with your policy.

Expedia.com 

Hotels, home rentals, BNB’s, flights, and other transportation & tours 

Expedia is a U.S based site whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Whether planning a family vacation, booking for business, or organizing the trip of a lifetime, they are the go-to resource. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you would need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, cruises to things to do, can be booked on Expedia.  

Booking.com

Hotels, Home rentals, BNB’s, Flights, and other Transportation & Tours 

Booking.com connects millions of travelers to memorable experiences, various transportation options, and incredible places to stay – from homes to hotels and much more. It is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes.

We always start with Expedia to check prices, but it sometimes says it is sold out. We then try Booking.com we find it lists plenty of rooms. Try both moving on to different accommodations.

Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)

Traveling with a family or having an extended stay at your destination?

With over 2 million bookable vacation rentals, Vrbo connects homeowners with families and vacationers looking for something more than a hotel for their trip. The Vrbo community offers families various rental property types such as condos, cabins, lake rentals, beach houses, and more. Discover properties in destinations that everyone dreams of visiting.

VRBO is under the Expedia group ownership now, which many were worried about but hasn’t panned out to be a concern. It is a massive network that also has access to all forms of lodging should issues arise. Joelle has used VRBO for many years with her family travel will no issues to date.

Rail Europe

Discover Europe by Train

Rail Europe sells train and bus tickets for travel across Europe. They cover 24 countries, 105 rail operations, and 20,000 stations. They are the official agents for rail and bus operations in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Rail Europe continues to add coverage all the time.

It is a fast, easy and economical way to purchase train and bus tickets for Europe. Eurail passes are also available to purchase through their site.

iVisa

Travel documentation made more accessible

iVisa.com is dedicated to providing customers with a simple, fast, and reliable way to get travel documentation for their journey. Their online application process makes getting visas, health declarations, or passport photos a breeze, and all from the comfort of your home. As a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry, they take pride in making global travel more accessible for everyone. In the end, it is a simple and affordable shortcut travel resource to get the necessary entry documents complete for your international travel.

Amazon.com

An excellent source for travel essentials and guides

Amazon is one of the most extensive shopping online sources in the world. Teams worldwide invent on behalf of their customers every day to provide lower prices, better selection, and rapid delivery. They offer a vast inventory, and it is their 1.7 million small and medium businesses worldwide selling on Amazon.com provide more options for customers.

Most of our travel books, accessories, luggage we buy from Amazon. We have ordered up to two days before travel and got what we needed.

MedjetAssist

Medical transport back home from anywhere in the world

They are the premier global air medical transport. One caveat to travel insurance is that medical evacuation usually gets you to the closest facility to care for you. Medjet gets you back to the U.S. to the hospital of your choice once you are stable enough to fly. They cover Covid related transports as well.

Medjet carries its own policies. The policy is only for transport and no other aspects of travel insurance. They have individual trip policies starting at $99 and annual policies for $295. Most of their policies limit the age to 74 and younger. Prices are not based on age below that.

Travelpro Luggage

Thoughtfully Designed | Meticulously Constructed | Quality Guaranteed.

This is the luggage we have used for years, left briefly to try others, and landed up running back to Travelpro. Travelpro luggage is carried by crews from over 90 airlines worldwide.

They take the time to learn what travel pros want and need, and then they build it. The key factor for us is it much be lightweight upfront but also very resistant to rough handling. This luggage is the best and we could not recommend it enough. It is our go-to luggage.

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