Should You Learn a Language to Travel?

World travel exposes individuals to new countries, new cultures, and new languages.  It’s all very exciting, but it can also be mildly terrifying – especially if you’re facing a language barrier.  So we’re analyzing whether it’s actually necessary to learn the language of the country you’re about to visit.

We have been traveling now for more than five months, and we have been exposed to over 10 different languages on this trip, alone… across multiple situations and with various levels of fluency.

So is another language required for your trip?  Let’s take a look.

I love you wall in multiple languages

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Traveling with Servas International

A big happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers (and even if you aren’t :))!  We are very fortunate to be sharing this day of gratitude with a local Couchsurfer, and it has us reflecting on our other generous hosts.

Throughout our travels, we have employed many ways to find low-cost lodging. Some of these are less interactive like house-sitting, where we watch someone’s pets while they are traveling. Other lodging types are more of a cultural exchange like Couchsurfing, and Servas is another option. It is much more focused on the fostering of world peace and values more sustainable travel practices and humanity. When we have the opportunity, this program is a perfect way to gain a better understanding of cultures around the world by living with hosts for a couple of days.

Small Canal in Netherlands

Have you ever heard of Servas? Most people have not as it is relatively small as compared with other similar sites. In this post, we’ll talk about what Servas is and how it started. We’ll also share some of our experiences over the past five months of travel that have made us well-versed in the program. Read on to learn everything you need to know to get started! Continue reading “Traveling with Servas International”

How to Get Free (or Mostly Free) Lodging Around the World

We want to share with you our favorite types of lodging for long-term travel – particularly the free and nearly-free types that let us keep traveling longer (because that’s the end goal, right?).  When you’re on the road for as long as we’ve been (and will be), you’ll quickly find that accommodation is one of the most expensive buckets of your budget.

Finding a place to sleep shouldn’t cost your entire life’s savings.  Fortunately, in only four months, our food expense has surpassed our lodging.  And this isn’t because we absolutely love food (though we do).  Rather, it’s because we aren’t spending the money on hotels.  Hey, we can’t always afford to stay at a resort!

Read on to discover our favorite programs, what they’re all about, what to watch out for, and how much you can save compared to hotels.

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Norway on a Budget!

Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Food, lodging and transportation costs can really add up. Despite these high costs, we were able to do this trip on a budget without sacrificing experiences. We even got by without handling any Norwegian cash until we found some while cleaning out the rental car. Here are our actual expenses from our trip to Norway.

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Driving Norway

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5 Things to Not Do in Portland

Planning a trip to Portland? Be sure to check out these 5 things you should not do before you visit. | BIGtinyWorld Travel | #portland #pdx #travelportland #pacificnorthwest

So you’ve got your bags all packed and you’ve set your sights on Portland.  You can’t wait to visit – and why not?  It’s a great city!  You have some awesome activities picked out, you know the best restaurants to hit, and you might have even timed your trip for one of Portland’s summertime festivals.

But there are still a few things you should know before you arrive in the Rose City – things others are unlikely to mention when trying to entice you to visit.  To ensure you have the best time possible, here are five things you should not do.
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Portland: Our Favorite Restaurants

You’ve gotten the preliminary tour.

You’ve seen the local highlights.

Now, let’s talk about food.

Portland is known as a big foodie town.  We love our food.  And living here as long as we have, we have found our favorite spots.  So when we have guests, here’s where we take them.
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Portland: Highlights from a Local

We get visitors all the time to our humble city – and who can blame them?  It’s a popular destination.  There are certain spots to which all the guides will point tourists, and those are nice… but there’s so much more to offer.  After we’ve given our guests the preliminary tour, we hit up a few of our favorite spots.  Here are some things we like to do – as locals – when visitors come to town.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

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Know the Common Scams in Each Country

One thing that can take your trip from epic awesomeness to complete misery is getting scammed. It can happen to anyone, but it is good to know what the common scams are in the country you plan to visit. This can help you take precautions to avoid these potential traps and better enjoy your stay. Here are some examples from the simple search of “Scams in [country of your choice].”
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Portland: Our Personal Tour

Sure, we love traveling, but we realized that others like to travel to Portland as well.  So we thought we’d throw in a mini series on our beautiful home city.

We get visitors all the time, and we love playing tour guide and showing off this gorgeous area.  There are many places we love to take guests, but we typically start with a sampling of our city.  This is what that looks like.

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