Our different kind of travel types
During the years we traveled in various formats. Below we grouped them in a few categories and give positive and negative experiences about them. We hope it helps you to make a decision if you are doubting to try out one of them.
RV - Mobilhome
RV stands for Recreational Vehicle but in Europe (or at least in Belgium) we rather know them as Mobilhome.
We explored Iceland back in 2015 with an RV. After reading about the weather on the Island we decided that camping would not be something we wanted. Also the camping are described as the most basic ones of Europe and there are almost no amenities.
We had a 2 persons RV with a kitchen, eating area, shower and toilet. Not that big, but certainly not small. In the evening we had to bring down our 2 persons bed which was above the front seats and the seating area. The bed was quite comfortable. Heating and warm water was via gas bottles.
The advantage of Iceland is that you can camp anywhere except within an area of 2 kilometers around an official camping. With this in mind we spend the night in a few isolated locations to have an early start to some famous natural gems. And as bonus we saw some beautiful northern light (Aurora Borealis). With this early start we were alone at some nice places early in the morning.
Another advantage is that you can safe on food by eating in the RV. Certainly in Iceland this can make a big difference. And with the small kitchen we were able to cook simple meals or make coffee in the morning.
Conclusion is that we enjoyed it big time and we’re pretty sure we’ll ever travel again with an RV.
Tip:The CDW (collision damage waiver) can be higher for a RV compared to a regular car. However, you might want to check your Visa or MasterCard as some types cover the CDW up to 2500 euro. For us that was perfect to cover the 2350 CDW amount without having to pay extra to the rental company.
Camping is according to us all about the weather. We had 4 camping related trips so far: Slovenia (2009), Canada (2017), Kyrgyzstan (2018) & Machu Picchu (2019) and luckily we had each time good weather. We cherish a lot of moments in Canada where in the evening we were sitting at the camp fire while drinking a glass of wine and enjoy some food. However, we try to have a backup solution when possible if the weather is bad. Off course, it’s not always possible, but as said, we were lucky in the past 🙂
Camping is not our favorite way of travelling, and we only do it if it has an added value to the travel; for example when we did a 6 day trekking in Kyrgyzstan in desolate area, it strengthens the feeling of being off the world. The same feeling we had in Canada where we camped a few times alone on campings outside the peak season. We really enjoy when you are out there in the nature. However, camping on a busy camping with lots of people is not something which attracts us.
There is a variety of quality of campings and here it also depends on the environment. In Canada all campings had very decent sanitary blocks. On the other hand, when trekking in Kyrgyzstan, you are limited to wash yourself in the river.
A lot of people are negative about group travels, but to our experiences the most negative comments come from people who never joined a group travel. We did 4 group travels so far: Sri Lanka (2012), Nepal (2014), Kyrgyzstan (2018) and Peru (2019) with 3 different organizations: Shoestring, Joker & Djoser. All have their own way of working, with pros and cons, but in the end all was fine each time.
People that join a group travel are open to the idea and are flexible. We as well, are more flexible when travelling in a group. We like to meet new people and the fact that the people make the same trip than you, makes they are looking for the same things and have most likely the same interest. Till date we still meet with some of the people of Nepal and Kyrgyzstan. They became friends and each time we see them it feels like it was only yesterday we have met them before. As you share experiences it shapes a band for a long time. For example with the group in Nepal we were hit by extreme weather where even people not far from us died. “Surviving” that together makes you feel united.
Sometimes we were the only couple on a travel and sometimes there were other couples in the group. We don’t “hang to each other”, so other group members don’t have a problem with that at all.
Off course, there are people in the group who you like more than the other, but overall, we never had problems, also because people are more flexible when starting such a journey.
Hotel & Motel
We mostly see hotels & motels as something functional and try to spend as less time as possible in them. Mostly we check-in late, sleep and check-out early. Mostly we don’t stay longer than 1 day on 1 place as we love road trips.
As our time in the hotel is very limited, we pay less and less attention to the amenities and services a hotel offers. An outdoor swimming pool looks nice on the pictures but when you only arrive at 20:00 in the hotel, and leave at 08:00, you don’t have the time to use it. Same goes for many other services. Off course, when you stay 2 or more days in the same hotel, you can plan a couple of hours to enjoy the services. But if you see the price you pay for the luxury service which you nearly use, we avoid it and try to find alternatives. Like in Iceland we went to the local outdoor swimming pool to experience the same.
The breakfast is another hard decision. Although it is very convenient to have a nice breakfast, and we can really enjoy it on a lazy Sunday, but when road-tripping it’s not something we spend much time at. Often the breakfast is also very expensive. In a decent hotel you pay easily between 9 and 17 euro per person for a breakfast buffet. It’s nice for once in a while, but mostly we end up eating to much anyway. Depending of the area where you are, you can find a lot of local alternatives which are way cheaper. Go to a local bakery where they have a small corner to serve coffee and you’ll have a nice breakfast for 3 to 5 euro.
Hotels also don’t have a soul and most hotels look similar, that’s why we like it less than Airbnb. However, when we came back from a 10 day trekking in the Himalaya, we really enjoyed our 3 days luxury stay in the best hotel of Kuala Lumpur. The soft bed, big rain shower and the insane big breakfast buffet was well appreciated. So once in a while it really makes sense, but not constantly.
We only experiences once an all-in but we quickly learned it’s nothing for us. It was back in 2006 when we went to a beach hotel in Tunisia that had bars and restaurants. The hotel also had some pools, a tennis court and had direct access to the beach where there was a beach bar. It was all nice, and the food was fine, but it’s just nothing for us. We prefer to eat in a local restaurant, drink a beer in a bar where local people are drinking something after their work.
It will work out for other people and we can imagine it’s heavenly when you have kids and don’t have to count the money if they want a drink, ice cream or snack, but nope, we’re clear. Chances we ever end up in an all-in again, is very small.
We have put a cruise on our to do list. Nothing concrete so far but we have been thinking to either do it in the Caribbean or potentially in Norway. A cruise trip seems to be rated badly by a lot of people, but mainly people who have not yet done a cruise. Most people that have done a cruise are positive about it. As we want to experience things ourselves, someday we’ll try a cruise for sure.
The Caribbean one sounds interesting as you can visit a new island every day, and mostly they are not that big so you can easily explore them on a day, or enjoy one of their beaches.