E036 - Travel AAR: Ten Days, Three Countries, Two Backpacks

This time on Across The Peak, Rich, Ky, and I tell you how to say “f*ck suitcases” and travel light! We talk about what worked, what didn’t, and we intro a new segment during this show!

Intro Stuff

What Are You Drinking?

What Did You Do This Week?

  • Rich: IDPA match, BJJ, lifting

  • Justin: Brewed beer, made kombucha, vehicle PMCS, dry practice

  • Ky: Hit a dead lift PR, brewed beer, made kombucha, vehicle PMCS

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Part I: Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Boston. We arrived in Boston around 11:30 on Saturday. From there we…

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Day 2: Boston. On Sunday we woke up early and…

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Day 3: Iceland. We landed at Reykjavic, Iceland at 5:30 AM. From there we…

  • Purchased SIM cards, beer (for later), and a cup of coffee,

  • Rented a car and cleaned 6 inches of snow and ice off of it,

  • Hopped in the car and drove six hours to The Beer Spa.

  • At the beer spa we at lunch, chilled in the hot tub, then settled in to our beer bath!

  • After the beer spa we braved treacherous roads to drive to Akureyri to our Airbnb

  • We braved the weather again to go to dinner at “We Bloody Love Steak”

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Day 4: Iceland. On Day 2 of Iceland we slept in until 10, then got up and…

  • Got on the road to Reykjavic; weather ranged from clear and windy to complete white-out,

  • Arrived in Reykjavic and settled into our Airbnb

  • Went to a the Bryggjan Brugghus,

  • Grabbed dinner at a place called Salt, and

  • Had a beer at the IcelandAir hotel bar before calling it a night.

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Day 5: Iceland to Dublin to Belfast. On the morning of day five, we got up super early and flew out of Reykjavic for Dublin. We landed around 10 AM and got busy. While I took money out of the ATM, Ky bought bus tickets to get us to the train station. As soon as that was done we…

  • Purchased SIM cards,

  • Caught the bus to Connolly Station,

  • Got distracted and had a couple pints at J.J. Grainger, a pub right outside the station,

  • Got our shit together and got tickets to Belfast,

  • Arrived in Belfast and checked in to Airbnb,

  • Walked around Belfast, hit a few pubs, and had dinner at The Garrick. Turned in early for the night.

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Day 6: Belfast to Dublin.We woke up Thursday morning and hopped back on the train to Dublin. Our plan was to get there in time to wander around a bit, then do one of our only solid plans on the whole itinerary: go to the Guinness Storehouse. As soon as we landed in Dublin we…

  • Grabbed lunch at J.W. Sweetman (Justin had the Dublin Coddle and it was amazing!),

  • Checked in to our Airbnb,

  • Grabbed a couple more pints,

  • Headed over to Guinness. Did the tour, did the perfect pour, and had a great time!

  • Had dinner and headed back to our Airbnb where we fought with a washer/dryer for hours before going to bed.

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Day 7: Dublin to Cork. We woke up with a little time to kill in Dublin, so we…

  • Visited some monuments/memorials,

  • Had a lunch and a couple pints,

  • Then caught the train to Cork.

  • When we arrived in Cork we were hungry again so we went to the White Rabbit, an American-style bbq place with an AWESOME whiskey list,

  • Checked into our Airbnb,

  • Went to the Rob Roy (one of our favorites, and highly recommended!) for a pint,

  • Walked around a bit, before going back to the White Rabbit for a night cap.

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Day 8: Cork to Midelton to Dublin. We woke early in Cork and got moving.

  • We walked the mile or so back to the train station and caught a train to Midelton,

  • In Midleton we walked a mile or so to the Kindred Spirits Monument

  • We hustled back to the train station and caught a train to Heuston Station in Dublin.

  • Arrived in Dublin and met our friends at the Brazen Head,

  • Visited the Kilmainham Gaol Museum

  • Checked in to our Airbnb,

  • Walked around to several pubs, had drinks and dinner, and called it a night!

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Days 9 and 10: Return travel. That’s about it folks! We flew all the way back to Boston (with Ky testing the Icelandair air sickness bags), spent the night, then flew home the next day, getting in in the early afternoon.

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Part II: Lessons Learned

We learned some pretty big general lessons from this traveling the way we did, and all of them were positive.

  1. Everything, every day was different.

  2. It was very easy to stay in the moment and not count down the days. Never did we get down and think, “we only have x days left…” because were were constantly in motion. This made it impossible not to enjoy the here and now.

  3. This style of travel can get a bit tiring but it keeps things exciting.

  4. The next time we’ll book two night in one place near the middle of the trip so we have one day to sleep in/relax. Every day we had to get up, pack up, and move.

  5. This style of travel is a relationship MAKER OR BREAKER! We walked a ton, there was a lot of uncertainty to our plans, and we often found ourselves tired and/or hungry. This could have been a disaster; fortunately for us it worked out beautifully.

Part III: EDC Bag Travel Stuff

We also learned some stuff about EDC bag travel.

Pre-Travel Mods

  • Cut weight

    • Laptops/laptop chargers (not having a laptop also contributed to staying in the moment)

    • Remove Before Flight bags

    • Contraband sweep (JC)

    • Took out small things like extra hat/gloves, bandanas, tampon bag, etc

  • Additions to our EDC Bags

    • Added some clothing

    • Added our woobies

    • Added…umm…toys

  • Most importantly, we switched from a mindset of the EDC bag providing extra stuff to one of “living out of bag with nothing extra”

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Things we liked: This list is a long one. We LOVED traveling with nothing but a backpack.

  • Knowing exactly where everything is both in the bag and the bag as a whole. This makes it real easy to pull out one thing without fully unpacking.

  • Speeds passage through customs, on/off trains, security, etc

  • Not carrying anything more than necessary

  • Critical items (passport, phone, wallet, cash) removed and on person so if the bag gets stolen, trip continues.

  • Couples can double up on non-critical items like toothpaste, deodorant, nail clippers

    • However you absolutely should not cut corners on things like SIM cards, voltage adapters

  • Luggage drops ALL OVER Ireland...though we didn't use one they seem to be a good option

  • Awesome sense of freedom to change/adapt/cancel plans without regard for luggage

  • Not so heavy/cumbersome that we couldn’t walk a few miles…plus we are regularly walking with our bags at home.

  • We had no worries at all about being redirected, cancelled flights, etc - we have everything we need including some food and water. This provided an awesome sense of security when driving through extremely austere/unpopulated Iceland.

  • No big load of laundry to do afterward

Things we didn’t like: This is a very short list.

  • Very limited room for souvenirs. This probably saved us money in the long run, and it forced us to focus on incidental souvenirs like train tickets and other mementos.

  • Having woobies on the bottom of our packs. This made us make some difficult choices about where to set our bags down

Part IV: Phones and Money

A few major points about phones:

  • Get a plan for everyone in your party with a phone.

  • Get a big data plan and use the apps we will mention in the next section. SIMs with 10 GB of data were only $25-30 each

  • It is super easy to swap SIM cards, but bring a paper clip to remove your SIM card tray. Instructions too remove your iPhone SIM card can be found HERE.

  • Bring a travel adapter for EACH PERSON that is traveling. We failed to do this, but for something so critical we believe it is important to have a backup. We really liked THIS ADAPTER.

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We found our phones critical for:

  • Keeping in touch with each other if separated,

  • Looking up train routes and schedules

  • Navigation (in the car and on foot)

  • Looking up attractions, open/close times, buying tickets, etc.

Some Apps That We Found Helpful:

  • Private Internet Access (PIA): Private Internet Access is a Virtual Private Network service with iOS and Android apps. Ky and I both use this 100% of the time and would have felt very insecure without it while traveling. For more information check out our episode on Virtual Private Networks, and check out Private Internet Access.

  • Wire Secure Messenger: This was our primary mode of communication, with each other and with friends back home. If you’re unfamiliar with it I recommend you check it out as it does secure messaging, voice calling, and video calling and you can use it over your data plan or Wi-Fi.

  • Sudo. Sudo is an app that allows you to have a number of virtual telephone numbers. These Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone numbers allow you to send and receive calls and texts. I use this exclusively for calls and texts, so during the entire time we were traveling I got all my normal calls and texts. I did find that I had to connect to a US-based VPN server for this to work.

  • OsmAnd: This mapping application allows you to download OpenStreetMap maps to your device. Even if you don’t have service your phone’s GPS will still work, and in combination with these maps, you can still navigate.

  • Banking app: We feel that when you travel you should have access to your bank in case you need to move money or have some other financial situation.

  • Standard Notes: This is the free and very simple note-taking application that Ky and I use to bullet journal. We loved having this app available to us to record the trip day-by-day. Remember, when you travel you are building memories. Make sure you remember them!

Money. Money isn’t everything, but it will buy everything and keep you safe and comfortable. A few thoughts on money…

  • Give your bank a travel notification! This is very important; you don’t want to find your credit or ATM cards shut down on when you are overseas. Let the bank know you will be traveling. Most banks have a simple online form that will let you submit a travel notification.

  • Make sure you have some cash! Ky and I both had $1,000 on our person…just in case.

  • Have backups of your ATM card.

  • Get local currency. Rich talked about this in our “Travel Like a Boss” episode. You will need local currency to purchase things. It is also fun to get to use another country’s money.

Book of the Week

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathanial Philbrick

Civility Rule of the Week

1st - Every Action done in Company, Ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

From George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company & Conversation

Affiliate Disclosure: Across The Peak uses Amazon Associates to earn a small commission when you click Amazon links on our site. We are also affiliates with Private Internet Access, and receive a small commission when you subscribe. This helps to support the blog and the show.

Justin Carroll