Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith of To Travel Too feature in this travel blogger interview. A couple travelling the world on $65 a day.
What is your name?
Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith from To Travel Too
Which country do you come from/call home?
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Income from rental and savings. We have, during our downsize experience from a five bedroom house to an “Osprey Carry On” luggage, become experts in traveling on a budget which is US$65/day for both of us.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Jane – first overseas trip was to Bali in 1976 at the age of 19
Duncan – to Hong Kong in 1967 at the age of 11, it was such a contrast from the UK.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Jane – Laos! What was supposed to be a three-day trip for a visa run from Thailand turned out to be 2 weeks – we just kept on extending and we only visited Vientiane and Vang Vieng. There is so much more to see of this amazing country. The food, the people, and the scenery – we need to return and spend at least 3 months traveling the whole of the country.
Duncan – Turkey! We had intended to visit Istanbul for a week only and eventually decided to spend a month travelling parts of the country. The contrast of the cultures the blend between Asian, European and the cultural differences within one country is eclectic, vibrant and alerts all of the senses. We will return and spend more time over the years.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Jane – a travel blogger 101 that you never do – arrive into a bus station at 2am in the morning and not organize a taxi to your hotel. After a long bus ride from Santiago in Chile we arrived into Mendoza Bus station at 2am in the morning. The hostel we booked was only a 5-minute walk away. Easy! Wrong! We had no directions, the bus station was huge, it was dark, deserted and suddenly we were set upon by a pack of dogs. I was brought up on a farm in Australia, and my excellent handle on the best Aussie swear words managed to send the pack back to where they came from. Eventually we found the taxi rank with the help of two backpackers and got to our hostel a 2-minute drive away.
Duncan – looking into our day packs when we arrived to our hostel in Otavalo, Ecuador and not able to find our passports and currency, credit cards. It was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences. It took us three months exactly to have our Australian passports replaced and credit, currency cards replaced and our claim tour travel Insurance processed. We learnt a lot from the experience and now have a safety strategy that we constantly go through during the day of travel.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Yep, sure do! We were in Puerto Escondido shopping for beer and groceries. Indio Beer was our ‘beer’ here and we popped two cases into our shopping trolley. After paying for the beer and groceries we headed out the door only to be stopped by two burly security guards who asked to see the receipt. Well, we were definitely not under age, probably more over age to them. They returned with two more cases – there was a special by one get one free. Now, problem! Instead of 48 bottles of beer we had 96 bottles of beer and had 4 days to drink them before we headed across the border to Guatemala. We managed to give some away, drink some as ‘happy hour’ on the bus to the border and worried the cleaner at the hostel in Panajachel Guatemala who thought we were alcoholics!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Since 2013 we have been on the road and there has not been a ‘worst’ place till September this year (2016) – Budva in Montenegro. We had just spent a glorious week in Kotor and headed 30 minutes down the road to a completely opposite experience. Ugly high rises, packed beaches and rubbish everywhere has turned Budva into a nightmare, such a shame as the Old Town was or is beautiful but outside of it……ummm!
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Jane – This is one tough question that we are always asked. We have a few but if I had to return to one right now it would be in Oia, Santorini we have a studio that overlooks the Caldera that we stay in when we visit.
Duncan – As Jane said this is a hard one. That being said I agree with Oia and would add that Myanmar is a vibrant, less touristy travel destination that like Cuba will change very quickly as the country changes.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
The bucket list is still growing. At the moment the top five are:
- Sri Lanka
Can you imagine life without travel?
Jane – no, I get itchy feet if I am in one place more than 3 months
Duncan – ditto. It is likely that as we get older we will travel more closely to Australia and we therefore are leaving SE Asia and Australia and New Zealand until we are in our late 60’s early 70’s
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Jane – laying on a beach in Thailand reading
Duncan – blank can’t imagine
What is the name of your travel blog and the URL?
To Travel Too www.totraveltoo.com
When did you begin your website?
Our website went live in March 2015 but we had our Facebook page www.facebook.com/totraveltoo up and running when we started our travels back in February 2013.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
Actually all four! And add Inspire
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Our market is the Baby Boomer traveller – our motto “age is no barrier when it comes to travel” and ‘chase time not money’, we want to inspire other Baby Boomers that you can get off the couch, travel longer and slower.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
We have a travel planning service, creating specialized itineraries for travellers.
We have just introduced a new service – Fare Checker, where we will search for a cheaper fare alternative to the one that you have found.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
As part of TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) we travelled to the Sormland Region as part of a Post Fam trip. It was an amazing experience, such a beautiful part of Sweden. We visited Manor Houses and Castles, stayed in an old coaching Inn and the Sunlight Soap factory now turned into an amazing hotel. We were wine and dined with amazing food. A great destination for anyone to travel too!
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
This year 2016 we hit the road with only a carry on and a daypack.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Jane – Bus
Duncan – Bus
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Be fearless, have a budget, consider your travel style i.e. Solo, Couple etc., Go with the flow with your travel plans. Ensure that you know where your travel documents are at all times and always take out travel insurance. Finally create a bucket list and enjoy ticking them off and creating more travel items to put in the bucket.
What has travel taught you?
Jane – Patience!
Duncan – Chase time not money !
Why did you create To Travel Too?
We created To Travel Too on the back of our eldest son who took a belated Gap Year around the world, we stalked him on Facebook and we realized that there was so much that we had not seen or experienced. So we sold our five-bedroom house, downsized to a rental property and went traveling for a year, it was amazing and when we returned we wanted to share our experiences and provide information on how to travel on a budget with fellow Baby Boomers. The focus is on destinations, how to travel on a budget, travel planning and working with partners.
How do you manage to travel for less than it cost for you to live in Australia?
We found that living in Australia we need about AU$165/day if you include the cost of rental. When we took this budget initially we found we were able to travel to 16 Countries and travel comfortably in hostels and apartments and have amazing location experiences like Hot Air Ballooning in Bagan, Myanmar. Now we travel on the equivalent of the Australian Aged Pension AU$65/day and this is by traveling more slowly, low cost countries and House Sitting.
What would you like to share about your travel experiences to inspire fellow baby boomers?
Be fearless, create a bucket list, set a budget, create your initial itinerary, check your passports and travel cards and get going. To Travel Too has destination information across the world to help the traveler and in particular the Baby Boomer to assist in ideas, inspiration and we provide a travel planning service to assist with ideas and how to achieve short or long term travel.
Quick fire questions:-
Jane – Singapore Airlines
Duncan – ditto
Jane – Croatia
Duncan – Spain
Jane – Barcelona
Duncan – Ditto
Jane – Shelly Beach, Manly Australia
Duncan – Northern Beaches , Sydney
Jane – Indian Curries
Duncan – ditto
Jane – French
Duncan – Spanish
Please provide the following: –
Website Url? www.totraveltoo.com
Twitter handle? www.twitter.com/totraveltoo
Facebook page? www.facebook.com/totraveltoo
Google+ profile/page? totraveltoo