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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

If you’re tired of trips that leave you feeling stressed and exhausted, these destinations for mindful travel in Europe are the answer. Read on if you want your travels to be truly transformational!

This is a guest post from blogger and translator Rebecca Brown of Rough Draft.

What’s in our guide to Mindful Travel in Europe?

Mindful travellers are not the same as tourists. We don’t visit places only to take pictures and post them on Instagram (though that can be fun, too). We are looking for experiences, adventures, and life-changing moments — and that is why we sometimes even forget to take out our cameras. 

Mindful travellers are interested in the soul of a place, in its people and their culture. We don’t only go to busy capitals, but also to hidden places that can enhance our extraordinary journey. 

If this sounds like you, or something you aspire to, keep reading to discover some of the best destinations for mindful travel in Europe.

Best Destinations for Mindful Travel in Europe Also don’t miss these posts:

11 most romantic cities in Europe
19 best places for Christmas in Europe
7 best destinations for yoga travel

Croatia

There are a few European countries that have something magical, and Croatia is one of them. Most travellers who set foot here end up dreaming about never leaving. Some fall in love with Croatia’s spectacular coastline, exquisite wine and mouth-watering food. Others are taken by the friendliness of the Croatian people. 

But most travellers are completely converted when they visit the country’s spectacular islands. 

The Dalmatian Islands are a mesmerising island group located just off the coast of bustling Split. With a great range of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking and surfing, this is heaven for active travellers. There are also many yoga retreat centres where you can unwind and forget all about the daily routine. 

Besides yoga, what relaxed me most during my vacation in Croatia, was snorkelling. The crystal-clear waters that surround the Dalmatian Islands are a paradise for anyone interested in the underwater world.

Activities in Croatia for Mindful Travellers

Sustainable Tours | Yoga Retreats

Portugal

With beautiful beaches, a multitude of historical towns and villages, delicious dishes, and amazing wines, Portugal is a great destination for mindful travellers. 

Whether you choose to explore charming medieval villages or you want to relax in one of the less touristy areas of the Algarve, your vacation will be restorative and very far from expensive. 

If you want a truly memorable trip, spend part of it exploring the streets of alluring small towns, and part of it surfing or relaxing in one of the many Algarve yoga retreats. 

I was fascinated by the landscapes of this area. My favourite spot was Boca do Rio, a charming little bay located on the western coast of Algarve, between the beaches of Burgau and Salema. 

Wherever you go, you will be welcomed by warm locals and have a chance to indulge in incredible foods. And if you are a real foodie, don’t miss tasting the famous Port wine and the sweet Pasteis de Nata.

Activities in Portugal for Mindful Travellers

Sustainable Tours | Yoga Retreats | Cooking Classes

Scotland

Are you a mindful traveller whose favourite colour is green? In this case, hiking in the Scottish Highlands should be on your must-explore list. This mountainous region attracts nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts from all over the world. 

If you are passionate about myths, you might want to know that right at the centre of the Scottish Highlands you will find Loch Ness, overlooked by the Urquhart Castle’s ruins. You will not see Nessie, of course, but you will love the view. To make sure you have the best weather, travel between May and September, but try to avoid the busy months of July and August.

Activities in Scotland for Mindful Travellers

Yoga Retreats

Iceland

If relaxing on a warm beach isn’t your cup of tea, consider exploring Iceland and its magnificent wilderness. Not only is this charming country filled with spectacular landscapes, but it also offers your choice of yoga retreats and hot springs.

What can be more life-affirming than walking on a glacier, doing yoga, and relaxing in a natural hot spring afterwards? And depending on when you plan your escape, besides geysers, glaciers and impressive waterfalls, you can also see the northern lights.

Activities in Iceland for Mindful Travellers

Sustainable Tours | Yoga Retreats

Spain

No matter which part of Spain you decide to visit, you will encounter the peace you are seeking. The country is known for its natural beauty, relaxed people, diverse food, and, of course, its great local celebrations. 

For a truly transformational trip, you might want to avoid Barcelona and Madrid and go to lesser-known places such as Cuenca, Ronda, or Vigo. And if you want to disconnect from your daily stress completely, travel to a Spanish island. 

La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, is a great option for hikers and yoga aficionados.

The Canaries offer the perfect weather during the whole year, lots of water sports and your chance to explore amazing natural spots. Plus, the locals are very friendly, the food is delicious, and everything is affordable. 

Activities in Spain for Mindful Travellers

Sustainable Tours | Yoga Retreats | Cooking Classes

Greece

With so many islands, Greece is heaven for mindful travellers who love spending time on the beach and in the water, but who are also passionate about history and culture. 

Greek people are famous all over the world for their love of life and for how warmly they treat their visitors. Go to one of the smaller islands such as Anafi or Ithaca to experience life like the locals. Expect spectacular views, clear waters, archaeological sites and, of course, top-notch food and wines.

Activities in Greece for Mindful Travellers

Sustainable Tours | Yoga Retreats | Cooking Classes

Romania

Though Romania is not so famous among mindful travellers, this European gem is filled with small towns and villages perfect for slowing down and restoring your balance. 

Visit Maramures, the Land of Wood if you want to explore old villages where centuries-old traditions are still kept. The wooden churches, captivating landscapes, and mythological richness will conquer your heart instantly, making you feel like you have travelled back in time. 

Winter is my favourite season in Maramures. People in this area remember their past, and during Christmastime, you can catch a glimpse of some of their most interesting traditions.

If you want travel to be transformational, try one of these European destinations, perfect for mindful travel. Whether you are interested in beach destinations, exploring villages, or spending time in the mountains, these destinations offer plenty of places and activities to feed your soul. Bon voyage!

Activities in Romania for Mindful Travellers

Sustainable Tours | Yoga Retreats

About the Author

Rebecca is a freelance translator passionate about her work, and grateful for the travels it has taken her on. When she is not travelling around the world, she is writing about it at RoughDraft. You can follow her on Twitter

♥  Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen

We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or..

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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

Read this guide before you travel to Thailand! Thailand is much more than just beaches and islands, so get ready for an incredibly diverse and exotic escape. This post covers all the vital Thailand travel advice you’ll need for an amazing trip!

What’s in our Thailand Travel Guide?

Our first time in Thailand, we cycled across the northern border with Laos, from Huay Xai to Chiang Khong. Then we explored Chiang Rai, The White Temple, Chiang Mai’s Elephant Nature Park and other northern Thai delights. Then, we rode through the less-touristed central Thailand and, after visiting Ayutthaya, we veered east to enter Cambodia.

We’ve seen Thailand from top to bottom, mostly from the seat of our bikes.

Later that year, we cycled back to Thailand’s southeast corner, into Mae Rut, past Trat, and along the little-visited south coast. Finally, we cycled to Bangkok and took an overnight train south, all the way to the Malaysia border.

A few years later, Jane returned to Thailand because she had caught malaria in Laos and wanted to go to the hospital in relatively developed Thailand. To erase that bad memory, we visited one more time to cycle Thailand’s southern peninsula and island hop our way back to Malaysia.

Phew, that’s a lot of time in Thailand! And we still haven’t seen half of what we’d like to see.

Thailand truly has activities to suit almost any traveller, whether you’re backpacking, looking for luxury, want tropical relaxation, or jungle adventures. We’re so excited for you to see it!

Read on to discover our best…

Thailand Travel Advice — Everything You Need to Know Before You Go
Also don’t miss these posts:

The best Thailand itinerary for 2 weeks →
Amazing Bangkok Itinerary for 2 days →
How to be a happy Vegan in Thailand

Best Places to Visit in Thailand
Thailand is undoubtedy an incredible place to travel.

Choosing the best places to visit in Thailand really depends on your travel style.

Do you like big cities or do you want a tranquil beach escape? Are you into trekking through jungles or would you rather meditate and practice yoga? Or perhaps you love to visit ancient temples and other historical sights.

Whatever you want, or if you want to taste a bit of everything, Thailand is right there with you.

City Life at its Most Vibrant

If you want to be truly knocked out by a city, Bangkok is unbeatable. It’s overwhelmingly huge, hot and crowded, with endless experiences on offer, from meditation courses to wild nightclubs and everything in between.

If you’re a city slicker, and love having the stories of millions of people happening all around you, Bangkok will set your heart pounding and your blood pumping.

(Don’t miss: Our 2-day itinerary for Bangkok) →

For those of us who prefer a laid-back city, head north to Chiang Mai instead. The city still retains an old-world charm, with narrow alleys and streets winding their way past glittering wats.

Chiang Mai is an expat hotspot, too, so expect lots of cool cafes, great breakfast joints, and other modern amenities around every corner.

Ancient Temples and Modern Wats

It seems like Thailand’s ancient temples are the country’s best-kept secret. Perhaps they get overshadowed by Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, or perhaps they are just ignored by the hordes of beach bums who flock south to Thailand’s islands.

Whatever the reason, if you can’t get enough of the mystique of ancient crumbling temples, Thailand is ideal. Don’t miss the spectacular grounds of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, just a few hours out of Bangkok.

You’ll also have the chance to visit your fill of modern wats, all glittering in the bright Thai sunshine. If you’re in the north, don’t miss the weird and wonderful White Temple, and in Bangkok, visitors should start their trip at Wat Pho.

Beaches & Islands You’ll Never Forget

It’s probably not news to you that Thailand is home to some of the world’s most spectacular beaches and incredible islands.

Most of these are clustered along the two coasts of the southern peninsula and offer something for everyone. You can take your pick of party islands, family friendly beaches, local favourites, or secluded bays where you’re the only person for miles around.

We loved our stay on sleepy Koh Lanta. But if you really want to get away from it all, head to Koh Kradan instead.

Awesome Animal Experiences

If you love animals, Thailand offers lots of tempting wildlife experiences. But please please please do your homework before you visit.

There are few legitimate animal sanctuaries in Thailand. Most animal attractions are tourist traps where caring for the animals is far less important than turning a big profit.

Avoid any animal activity where you ride an animal, cuddle with it, or have extended contact with the animal. Daily crowds of people feeding, bathing, and touching wild animals stresses them out, so think carefully about what you want to put an animal through for that one great Instagram shot.

Currently, our favourite animal experience in Thailand is at Elephant Valley Thailand, where they focus on hands-off visits where the elephants are treated like the wild animals they are. They are also pioneering efforts to help captive animals return to the wild.

Mindful Activities

There is no shortage of yoga, meditation, and wellness retreats in Thailand.

Many yoga retreats are clustered in and around Chiang Mai in the north and Koh Phangan, Krabi and Phuket in the south. For meditation retreats, also take a look at Pai, in a secluded area in the far north. No matter what style or length of retreat you want to do, you should be able to find something suitable in Thailand.

Recommended Thailand Tours We cycled to Khao Sok National Park on a Grasshopper Adventures self-guided cycle tour.

It’s easy to travel independently in Thailand, but tours can open doors to places and experiences that you might never get on your own.

If you’re thinking of visiting Thailand on a tour or taking a shorter tour while you’re there, we recommend going with one of these companies.

Intrepid Adventures in Thailand

Being an eco-friendly and socially responsible tour company, who run small group tours around the world, Intrepid Travel is one of our favourites. In Thailand, they offer a huge range of options, from family holidays to sailing adventures to weeks-long excursions taking you to the best sights Thailand has to offer.

Our top pick is their 8-day vegan food adventure!

See all Thailand Intrepid tours

Grasshopper Bike & Boat Adventures

There’s nothing like seeing Thailand from the seat of a bike!

If you’re a newer cyclist, you can join a Grasshopper 1-day tour in places like Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai, to see the cities the way most tourists never do.

If you want to spend multiple days on two wheels, Grasshopper also offers multi-day cycling adventures both in the north and the south. Or combine bikes, boats, and beaches for 8 fantastic days in Thailand.

Of course, if you want to do like we did, you can try a self-guided cycle tour on Thailand’s southern peninsula.

See all Thailand Grasshopper tours

Get Tickets, Transfers, and Day Tours on GetYourGuide

If you’re looking for an easy way to find the most popular experiences in each destination in Thailand, explore GetYourGuide. It helps you book everything from spa treatments, to airport transfers, to boat tours.

Find the most popular Thailand experiences on GetYourGuide

How Long Do You Need in Thailand? On our self-guided bike tour of Thailand, we saw views like this almost every day.

If you read the intro to this guide, you’ll know we’ve spent months and months in Thailand and have never run out of new things to see and do. It would take years to thoroughly explore everything Thailand has to offer.

But, you probably don’t have years, so here’s a more realistic idea of how long you need in Thailand.

One Week in Thailand?

With one week in Thailand, you will have to prioritize what experience you want to have. You can have some quality beach time, explore the city, or visit ancient temples, but combining these activities will feel rushed.

In one week, I’d suggest sticking to the south of Thailand — getting up to Chiang Mai is just going to waste your travel time.

Two Weeks in Thailand?

Two weeks in Thailand will give you time to see a little more. I’d still choose either visiting the north, south, or central Thailand, and leave the other regions for a different trip.

Lucky for you, we created a guide which offers three detailed options for a two-week Thailand itinerary.

Three or Four Weeks, or More?

With three or four weeks in Thailand, you can really cover a lot of ground, getting to island-hop one week and..

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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

This post will inspire you to visit Koh Kradan, a peaceful and remote island off Thailand’s Andaman Coast. Read on to find out what makes Koh Kradan so special and decide if it’s right for your Thailand trip.

This is a guest post from travel blogger Anca from One Day Itinerary.

What’s in our guide to Koh Kradan, Thailand?

Thailand is, without a doubt, a fascinating country for travel.

Its history, culture and beaches attract millions of tourists every year.

So, is there anywhere in Thailand for the tourist that wants to get away from it all (and to get away from all the other tourists)? Is there somewhere to go when Bangkok is too busy and you have no interest in yet another beach party?

This will be your view from the beach on Koh Kradan.
Photo byMark Fischer.

If I had to pick my favorite place in all of Thailand, I would always choose the island of Koh Kradan. My trip there was unforgettable for so many reasons — and I’ll share those highlights in this post.

Read on if you’re looking for a unique place to visit or want a place for a new adventure. Koh Kradan island is all that and so much more!

Why You Should Add Koh Kradan to Your Thailand Itinerary Also don’t miss these posts:

The best Thailand Itinerary for 2 weeks
14 things to do in Koh Lanta
15 tips for being vegan in Thailand

Koh Kradan Quick Facts

First though, let’s get some basic facts about this island out of the way.

Where is Koh Kradan?

Koh Kradan is at the very southern tip of Thailand and is pretty much uninhabited. The only thing resembling civilization there are the few resorts where you can book your accommodation. The island has no villages, no towns or anything like that — just incredible nature all around.

How do you get to Koh Kradan?

You can get to Koh Kradan by boat from Koh Lanta, the closest inhabited place. The boat ride takes about 1.5 hours.

When’s the best time to go to Koh Kradan?

If you’re planning on visiting, keep in mind that most resorts on the island are closed from May to October, during rainy season. Because of this, it’s wise to book a room quite some time in advance if you plan to stay the night.

You can also take a day trip from Koh Lanta and spend an unforgettable day enjoying this magnificent island.

Why go to Koh Kradan? Therapy in paradise

You know how the movies always depict deserted islands as tropical paradises with jungles, pristine sea and all that jazz? Well, when you come here, you’ll get the feeling that all of that is based on Koh Kradan.

The island is covered in lush jungle which gives way to spectacular beaches with fine white sand as you approach the sea. It is the complete opposite of the megalopolis that is Bangkok and a perfect place to get away from it all.

You can find plenty of quiet beach space on Koh Kradan.
Photo by Alessandro Caproni.

For me, it was just what the doctor ordered. After a pretty stressful year, I was able to completely rejuvenate myself, take a breather and take a good hard look at my life for a few days without any distractions.

Just sit on the beach for a while and watch the azure waves. Or lie in a hammock, close your eyes, and let the sounds of the jungle lull you into a state of utter relaxation. Very therapeutic.

The bottom line is that if you ever need a break from it all, you’ll find it on Koh Kradan.

Meet people… or not

You can meet tourists from all over the world on Koh Kradan because everybody gathers on Sunset Beach to watch the sunset, obviously. Mind you, there will be less than 100 of you at any given time on the island, so don’t expect big crowds.

Sunrise can also very romantic, if you can gather the willpower to get out of bed early. You can have the whole beach to yourself and enjoy the serenity.

Snorkel away!

This island is a fantastic place for snorkeling.

Before coming here I hadn’t snorkelled for years, so when the opportunity presented itself it was a bit of a throwback for me.

You can snorkel right off the beach in Koh Kradan.
Photo by Basil & Tracy Brooks.

You don’t have to go far from the shore to explore the local marine life and the beautiful coral reefs that house it. The spot where I snorkelled was actually right in front of the resort I was staying in, and I later found out that it is considered to be the best place on the island for this kind of activity. How lucky was that?

As soon as I dove in, I was amazed by the spectacular sights the surface of the sea hides. The clownfish is common in this part of the world, so you can quite literally go and find Nemo. However, some other fish weren’t particularly happy to see me and tried to ram me a few times. That was pretty much my cue to leave!

For me, this one dip was more than enough, but if you’re a snorkelling enthusiast, take advantage of the daily snorkelling tours, which include other islands in the vicinity.

Grab a kayak and explore

Kayaking is another don’t-miss activity when you’re on Koh Kadan, and not just because you can get kayaks for free from the place you’re staying!

Take a kayak to find a more secluded beach if the number of people on the main beaches is too much for you. With a little bit of luck and effort, you can find an empty beach on a tropical island paradise.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

I took off with my friends in search of such a spot one afternoon and we found it fairly easily. We enjoyed the rest of the day with the beach all to ourselves — and we still reminisce about that beach now.

Koh Kradan Hotels & Resorts

There are only a handful of places to stay on the island, which means you should book your Koh Kradan accommodation early if you plan on staying a few nights. It also means that prices are a little higher than in some of the more touristy islands in Thailand.

There aren’t many places to stay on Koh Kradan but many, like the Reef Resort, have incredible views!

Also be aware that most of Kradan island closes down in rainy season, from May to October.

  • Budget: Paradise Lost Resort, fan-cooled bungalows in garden setting, rating 7.7/10, $25 double room, $31 bungalow
  • Mid-range: Kalume Garden Beach Bungalow, simple bungalows on the beach, rating 8.7/10, $60 bungalow
  • Mid-range: Coral Garden Resort, deluxe rooms & bungalows on the beach, rating 8.4/10, $57 double room
  • High-end: Reef Resort, comfortable seaview rooms, rating 8.7/10, $88 double room
  • High-end: Seven Seas Koh Kradan, rooms and villas on the beach, rating 7.8/10, $122 villa with sea view
The Perfect Escape from Your Escape

When visiting Thailand, if you like secluded islands, a trip to Koh Kradan should definitely be on your itinerary.

The island’s complete detachment from civilization makes it an absolutely perfect place to unwind and de-stress.

That’s why we recommend coming for more than just a day trip. Spend at least one night and enjoy what has to be the perfect example of a tropical paradise. Stroll the sandy beaches, explore the marine life and find a place all to yourself between the jungle and the sea.

We hope this post has inspired you to add Koh Kradan to your Thailand itinerary! You won’t regret a minute of it.

About the Author

Anca is the founder of One Day Itinerary, a travel blog dedicated to people who don’t have a lot of time but still love to travel. She has been all over the world in search of intriguing destinations and shares her experiences and many useful tips on her website.

Lead image and Pinterest image by Mark Fischer.

♥  Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen

We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J

Pin this for your Thailand trip.

The post Why You Should Add Koh Kradan to Your Thailand Itinerary appeared first on My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga..

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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

If you’ve been searching for the best men’s travel pants, you may have just found them! Read on to find out why Bluffworks pants have earned a permanent spot in my luggage.

What’s in our Bluffworks review?

When you travel full-time with just a carry-on suitcase, like I do, there’s no room in your luggage for second-rate clothing. Over the years, I have become very particular about what makes it into my carry-on!

Good men’s travel pants are especially hard to find. Because I only have space for one or two pairs, the best travel pants need to be multi-purpose. My travel trousers have to look presentable on the streets of Paris and Milan and also stand up to the rigours of jungle-trekking in Southeast Asia.

I hate combat pants and feel ridiculous wearing those high-tech grey zip-off trousers that the big outdoor gear companies make.

A few years ago, Bluffworks sent me a pair of their men’s travel pants to try out and since then, I’ve put them to the test, wearing them from Sri Lanka to India to Finland to Ireland to Vietnam and many points in between.

I’m happy to say they’ve earned a permanent spot in my luggage!

I’ve also added a few other items of Bluffworks wrinkle-free travel clothes to my suitcase and would add more, only my suitcase is already full.

So read on to find out…

Are Bluffworks the Best Men’s Travel Pants in the World? Also don’t miss these posts:

Guide to all the best men’s travel pants
Our minimalist travel gear guide
Find your perfect lightweight walking shoes

Obviously, I have not tried all the men’s travel pants in the world but I can absolutely say that Bluffworks are the best travel pants I’ve ever worn.

Versatile Style for Hot and Cold Weather

I’m pretty picky about clothes. Hey, I like to look good!

My Bluffworks Chinos are stylish enough that I don’t feel like a grub on the streets of Milan or Paris. I got the pale blue ones for a little extra flash, but they also come in your standard guy colours like grey and tan.

They are also casual enough that they don’t scream “rich tourist, please steal from me” like a lot of speciality travel clothes do.

It was hot & dusty in Malta, but the travel pants could handle it.

Magically, they seem to be warm enough on chilly days in wintry Berlin, but they don’t leave me too sweaty in sizzling Chennai, or humid Hong Kong.

When it gets really cold, I layer them over my yoga tights for added warmth.

So if you are looking for the best travel pants for Europe or the best travel pants for hot weather, check them out.

The Bluffworks Tailored Chinos work in the city and out of it.
Choose the Style that’s Right for You

There are four styles of Bluffworks travel pants.

  1. The Chinos are great for a skinny guy like me who prefers a more fitted style. Initially, I wanted them to be even a little more fitted, but once we were in India where it was 38ºC/100ºF, I appreciated the air flow the slightly relaxed fit provides.
  2. If you like your pants with a little more room, the Bluffworks Original travel trousers are probably better for you.
  3. For business trips or if you’re into high-class dining and hotels, Bluffworks men’s dress pants are perfect. Don’t worry, the dress pants are quick dry, wrinkle free, and come with zippered pockets, too.
  4. The newest member of the family are the Bluffworks travel jeans. They are soft, comfortable, lightweight, and are in my suitcase now!
Comfortable Travel Pants that are Wrinkle-Free

Bluffworks uses wrinkle-resitant and quick-dry fabrics for all of their clothes. That means that I can hand-wash them at night and wear them the next day, no problem.

Most importantly, my chinos are the most comfortable travel pants I’ve ever worn. They have a little bit of stretch and there is some extra room in the crotch, so I can even do full splits (Hanumanasana) in them without feeling any pinch.

“Great for street yoga” might not be a selling point for most male travellers, but it also means you can use them for active stuff like rock climbing, hiking, and cycling — and even more importantly, you’ll be comfortable wearing them on the plane for hours on end.

Bluffworks Adds Zipper Pockets and Hidden Pockets for Added Security

One of the features that places Bluffworks among the best men’s travel pants is the hidden zipper pockets.

We travel in so many places where we see “beware of pickpockets” signs. The hidden zipper pockets on my Bluffworks gives me a little extra piece of mind — I’m pretty confident that even Oliver would have a hard time pickpocketing me!

Check out the photo below to see how the pockets are made. When you’re wearing the pants, the zippers aren’t visible at all, so no one even knows that they’re there.

The hidden zipper pockets are perfect for passports or cash.

There is also a secret smartphone pocket (which is just below the back waistline). Sadly, the pocket is not big enough for my current phone (the iPhone 7+). I miss being able to safely hide my phone away in a super-accessible spot!

Hide that iPhone in your hidden phone pocket.

If you’re looking for men’s pants with zipper pockets I cannot recommend them enough.

(Related: Check out the tech specs of Bluffworks Travel Pants) →

A Mindful and Adventurous Company

Bluffworks is the brainchild of an adventurer just like us, Stefan Loble, who ditched his regular 9-to-5 to create a business out of his passion. Bluffworks travel clothing is designed and made in New York City, so you won’t be supporting poorly regulated sweatshop conditions when you buy them, either.

(Related: Check out some of Stefan’s amazing travel stories! This guy knows how to adventure) →

Oh yeah, and of course I love their slogan:

Built for life’s every adventure

During the past couple of years, my Bluffworks travel pants have held up to every adventure I can throw at them, including biking, hiking, city-slicking, and many sessions of street yoga!

Biking in the travel pants in Torino, Italy.

Even if you don’t plan to travel full-time, they’d also be pretty great for riding your bike to work, wearing to the office, and even doing a little no-mat yoga as you live your daily adventures.

Check out all the features of Bluffworks men’s travel pants and maybe you’ll want to grab a pair for yourself.

More Travel Clothes from Bluffworks

In addition to men’s lightweight travel pants, Bluffworks also makes shirts, jackets, and even a travel suit!

Men’s Travel T-Shirts

Want a soft, quick-dry, anti-stink, anti-wrinkle t-shirt that you’ll never want to take off? Bluffworks new travel t-shirts are the answer. I got one in Deep Orange and Jane got one in Hurricane Grey. We are both wearing them right now and don’t plan on taking them off all summer!

Men’s Travel Shirts

One of these men’s travel shirts is next on my shopping list from Bluffworks. They’re perfect for travel in Europe, but probably not what you want a pack if you’re roughing it around Southeast Asia.

Like their travel pants, Bluffworks shirts are wrinkle-free, quick-dry, and breathable, so you’ll be comfortable even in hot weather. They are anti-microbial too; according to Bluffworks you can wear them for 5 days with no smell. Let us know if you’ve tried it out!

See the specs for Bluffworks travel shirts

Travel Blazers for Men

If you really need to up your style game, pack one of Bluffworks wrinkle-free blazers. Yup, just like their other clothes, they have secure pockets, are quick-dry, and can be crumpled in your pack and come out looking great! For trips where business casual is required, this is your travel jacket.

Check the details for these

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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

Do you need vaccines for Vietnam travel? Yes, there are a few you should definitely have and few more to consider to avoid unexpected health calamities. This simple guide wil help you understand exactly which vaccines you need for Vietnam.

What’s in our guide to Vaccines for Vietnam?

We have travelled in Vietnam for nearly a year in total and have loved (almost) every minute of it.

We’ve spent time in the busy cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, cycled across northern mountain ranges, sailed Ha Long Bay, motorbiked the coast, lazed away days on beautiful beaches, volunteered in rural villages, and so much more.

Vietnam is an incredible country which offers visitors a diverse set of travel experiences.

Vietnam is a diverse country with a huge range of experiences.

Of course, it also offers a diverse set of travel health risks. Getting your injections for Vietnam before you leave home is the first step to a healthy trip.

As always, when seeking health advice online, it is best to double-check with your doctor or travel vaccines expert before you make any final decisions.

With that said, read on to learn all about…

Vaccines for Vietnam – Which Ones Should You Get? Also don’t miss these posts:

Solo travel in Vietnam →
Vietnam travel advice
The best Vietnam itinerary

Vaccines you should definitely have for Vietnam

Make sure you are up to date on your routine jabs including:

  • MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Polio
  • Annual flu shot

You will also need to add at least these two vaccines:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid

Both of these diseases can be contracted through contaminated food or water in Vietnam.

All travellers should be vaccinated for Hepatitis A before going to Vietnam.

Travellers who plan on staying in home stays or with friends, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or eating street food or in small restaurants (so almost everyone), should also get the Typhoid vaccine.

Vaccines you might need for Vietnam

We can give you general advice about these vaccines but if you are unsure about what you need, please make an appointment with a travel vaccine specialist at least 2 months before your trip.

Japanese encephalitis

The Japanese encephalitis vaccine is very expensive but is generally recommended if you plan to stay in Vietnam for more than a month, or plan to spend a lot of time in rural areas or outside.

Full disclosure: We have never gotten the vaccine for Japanese encephalitis, even though all of those conditions apply to us. But just because we took the risk doesn’t mean you should — speak to your local travel vaccine specialist who will help you decide.

Hepatitis B

You’ll need this if you plan on have sex with strangers in Vietnam, or you’re going to get a tattoo, a piercing, use IV drugs, or have any medical procedures. Obviously, we recommend that you don’t engage in any of these activities on your Vietnam trip!

Malaria

It is rare for travellers to get malaria in Vietnam. You might consider taking anti-malarials if you’re going to be camping, or are planning to spend a lot of time in the outdoors in the central and southern areas bordering with Cambodia. For most travellers, liberal use of a deet-based mosquito repellent is sufficient for Vietnam.

If you’re going to wild regions of Cambodia and Laos as well, you should consider taking anti-malarials for that part of your trip. I got malaria in northern Cambodia / southern Laos last year and it was the most awful experience of my entire travel career!

Stray dogs, bats, and rats in Vietnam can all carry rabies. Probably not this cutie though. Rabies

You can get rabies from dogs, rats, bats, and other animals in Vietnam. Not fun! If you’re going to be outside a lot, have a penchant for caving or playing with street dogs, or are travelling with children, you might want to consider a rabies vaccine.

Yellow Fever

There is no yellow fever in Vietnam and you only need proof of the vaccine if you’re travelling there from other countries with yellow fever. This applies to many African and South American countries.

Zika

There is no vaccine for zika and it is present in Vietnam. Your best protection against zika is to avoid mosquito bites! Be diligent about wearing mosquito repellent and opt for long sleeves and long trousers. If you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant, travel to countries where zika is present is not advised.

When Should you Get Your Vietnam Travel Vaccinations?

Ideally, you should visit a travel vaccination specialist at least 2 months before you travel. Leaving lots of time has three major benefits:

  • It gives the vaccine some time to start protecting you
  • Some vaccines require multiple shots that are spaced out over time
  • If there are side effects, you get to suffer them before you leave home

Of course, if your trip is coming up in less than 2 months, that doesn’t mean you should skip your shots. Just get to a clinic as soon as possible!

How Much do Vaccinations for Vietnam Cost?

The cost of travel vaccines vary widely, depending on where you are getting the vaccines and what type you need. This is a rough estimate of the expenses you’ll face for your Vietnam travel shots:

  • $100 consultation fee with travel vaccine expert
  • $50–100 for each vaccine you need
  • $1–5 per day for anti-malarial pills

Budget $300–600 for vaccines and consultations for your trip. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t be tempted to skip your travel injections. If you get sick, not only will your trip be ruined, but you’ll have the additional medical fees to worry about.

Cautions About Mosquitos in Asia

Coming from a western country, we tend to think of mosquitos as highly annoying, yet mostly harmless, creatures. In Asia though, mosquitos are more than just pests. They carry sometimes-fatal and always awful diseases, like malaria, dengue fever, and Japanese encephalitis. They are currently spreading zika across the world, too.

This little guy can cause you lots of problems, so beware.

The best way to avoid these diseases is to avoid getting mosquito bites.

Which Kind of Mosquito Repellent Should you Use?

In the west, you might rely on “natural” repellants to keep you from getting bitten. In areas where mosquitos carry disease, this is not good enough. These repellents, though they smell nicer and are less full of disgusting chemicals, tend to be less effective against mosquitos — and their effectiveness varies depending on the breed of mosquito.

If you must use a natural repellent, those containing Lemon Eucalyptus Oil have been shown to be the most effective “natural” repellent. Be aware that you need to apply it more and more frequently than you would with DEET.

There are other options, such as insect repellent clothing, which might be useful if you’re going to spend a lot of time in rural areas.

Are Mosquitos the Same Everywhere You Go?

In Asia, mosquitos can be quite different than the ones you’re used to:

  • Some are so tiny you might not even notice them flying around or biting you
  • They are quieter, too, so you might not hear them buzzing
  • Some barely leave a bite mark and the itching can go away in a matter of hours, while others leave huge misshapen welts that itch like crazy
  • Certain breeds are active during the day, while others are more active in the morning and evening

Because of this, it’s important to wear repellent even when you don’t notice any mosquitos or notice them biting you. Don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need mosquito repellent!

Is It OK to Avoid Repellent if Mosquitos Don’t “Like” You?

One last caution. Mosquitos in the east can have different taste buds from mosquitos in the west.

In North America and Europe, Stephen is a mosquito magnet. He can’t go anywhere without getting a bite. I am the opposite; mosquitos barely notice me at home. In Asia, it’s the other way around. I get bites left and right, while Stephen gets by relatively unscathed.

Why is this important? Because Western travellers often tell me “Oh, mosquitos don’t like me so I don’t have to wear repellent”. Don’t assume that your experience with mosquitos in the west will be the same as with mosquitos in Asia.

Vietnam is very safe but accidents can happen anywhere. Do You Need Travel Insurance for Vietnam?

Of course you do!

Though Vietnam is a relatively easy place to travel, you should still make sure to have good travel insurance.

After five years of full-time travel, we have experienced first-hand how easily accidents or medical emergencies can happen. We have had malaria, dengue fever, near-fatal accidents, and more. These disasters are stressful enough without the added worry of how you’re going to pay for them.

Almost all the avid travellers we know use World Nomads insurance.

It is convenient, affordable, trustworthy, and easy to apply for.

Find out more about World Nomads

The Best Tools & Companies for Your Trip

These are our favourite tools and companies for planning and booking your travels in Asia. We have used all of them and recommend them for their dedication to providing you great travel experiences.

  1. Best travel gear: Minimalist Packing Guide
  2. Cheap flights: Kiwi.com
  3. Hotel savings: Booking.com
  4. Small group adventures: Intrepid Travel
  5. Incredible bike tours: Grasshopper Adventures
  6. Best cooking classes: Cookly
  7. Bus & train: 12go.asia
  8. Tours, tickets & transfers: Get Your Guide
  9. Mindful journeys: BookYogaRetreats & BookMeditationRetreats
  10. Convenient travel insurance: World Nomads

We hope this round-up of vaccinations for Vietnam helps you plan your trip. As always, we only provide health information as a starting point for your planning. Please consult your doctor or a travel medical expert before making any final decisions.

♥  Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen

We’re not going to lie, it takes a LOT of work to create travel guides like this. But it’s easy to help us out! If you book or buy something using one of our personal links in this post, we’ll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you. Of course, we would never recommend anything we didn’t 100% believe in! Huge thanks in advance! –S&J

Pin this for your Vietnam trip.

The post Vaccines for Vietnam – Which Ones Do You Need for Safe Travel? appeared first on My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga..

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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

Koh Lanta is an incredibly versatile island! In this post, we share the best things to do in Koh Lanta, including cultural experiences, volunteer work, best beaches and exploring the island. Read on for your complete guide to visiting Koh Lanta, Thailand.

This is a guest post from travel blogger and adventurer Mimi McFadden of The Atlas Heart. She lived on Koh Lanta for a while so she’s the perfect person to tell you all about the island!

What’s in our guide to things to do in Koh Lanta?

Koh Lanta, on the Andaman Coast not far from Phuket, is one of Thailand’s less-visited islands — I would still consider it an underrated spot in the country.

Koh Lanta represents the best of Thailand — you get gorgeous beaches and friendly, local culture without having to fight the crowds for space. Koh Lanta is as close to an island paradise as you can get in Thailand!

Though it’s a little off-the-beaten-path, it has just as much to explore as Thailand’s more popular islands: lively rainforests, luxurious white sand beaches, countless waterfalls, friendly locals, and gorgeous views.

I never thought of myself as someone who would embrace “island life” with open arms, but Koh Lanta is one of the most beautiful places I’ve lived.

Koh Lanta is a great place to rent a scooter and zip around to empty beaches.

It also has a great balance between the peace and quiet you want from a tropical island, mixed with outdoor adventures and a few busier areas to satisfy those who might get bored with laidback island paradise.

(Don’t miss: Looking for more island inspiration? Make sure to check out Mimi’s travel guide to Koh Chang)→

I got plenty of QBT (Quality Beach Time) on Koh Lanta but also left with some fantastic adventure stories. There’s such a variety of things to do in Koh Lanta that I never felt bored.

I made some incredible memories during my time living on the island and I’m sure you will too, no matter how much time you have there.

Keep reading to discover some of the island’s best kept secrets and a few not-so-secret things you should strongly consider checking out.

14 Things to do in Koh Lanta Also don’t miss these posts:

Your itinerary for 2 days in Bangkok
How to be vegan in Thailand
Guide to visiting the Ayutthaya Temples

1. Enjoy the best beaches on Koh Lanta

Since you’re visiting an island, you have to check out at least a few of the beaches!

The beaches on Koh Lanta are some of my favorite in all of Thailand. They’re usually very quiet, don’t have huge waves (so swimming isn’t too daunting), and most have some kind of a restaurant or bar to enjoy a beverage or bite to eat while you watch the sunset.

Even the popular beaches in Koh Lanta are quiet compared to other islands in Thailand.

One of the best beaches on the island is Klong Prao. The water is calm and clear and the beach is virtually untouched by people, making it feel like your own private beach. Even so, it still has a cozy beach-side restaurant to enjoy while you watch the sun dip into the water.

A close second favorite is Kai Bae Beach. It has a similar vibe to Klong Prao — tranquil, quiet, calm water, with not too many people.

If you’re in the mood for something a little more lively, head to Lonely Beach. The name doesn’t do it justice! Lonely Beach is actually one of the best party beaches on the island. It’s a great place to hang out if you’re in the mood to meet other travelers.

Last but not least, Bailan Beach is a small stretch of coast with more rocky shores than white sand beaches (in case you were getting bored of that). This is definitely more of an “activity” beach: the surrounding area is absolutely incredible but you probably don’t want to try and swim here.

In your research you might come across White Sand Beach — the largest and most touristy beach on the island. I’d recommended skipping it unless you’re into the touristy vibe.

You won’t get a quiet beach day here as there are a ton of vendors. However, if you’re staying at one of the swanky hotels on the island, this is probably your closest beach.

2. Learn how to ride a scooter

One skill you’ll certainly want to acquire when travelling internationally (especially in Asia) is knowing how to drive a scooter — Koh Lanta is an excellent place to learn! The roads here are quieter than most you’ll find elsewhere in Asia so not as intimidating for beginners.

The ability to successfully drive and navigate while on a scooter opens your travels up to a whole new world of possibilities. You’ll be able to go places on your own (i.e., not having to rely on a taxi or bus) and you visit areas that public transport might not offer.

Start off by renting a scooter for a few hours one day and see where it takes you. Just ask a local or another traveler who knows how to ride (there are plenty in Thailand) for a quick lesson and get used to the feeling of balancing on two wheels.

Learning to ride a scooter is one of the most useful things to do in Koh Lanta and will make a huge difference to how you experience the island.

3. Watch the Sunset on the Beach

A must when you’re staying on any Thai island is to take in a gorgeous sunset while you sip a cocktail beachside. Koh Lanta is no exception.

The sunset really does look like this in Koh Lanta!

I experienced some of the most incredible sunsets during my time in Koh Lanta. Especially on Long Beach and Klong Khong, it seems like the whole island comes out to watch the sun go down and the sky light up in a kaleidoscope of colors.

4. Yoga at Oasis Yoga

The best way to fully embrace the tranquility and relaxation of island life? Take a yoga class.

Oasis Yoga offers several different kinds of yoga, including Yin, Vinyasa, and free morning meditation classes. It has a supportive and welcoming environment, even for beginners.

The classes here are all open-air, and thus provide an organic hot yoga of sorts because of the natural humidity on the island. The studio is also right by the beach which makes the whole experience that much more relaxing.

5. Cooking class at Time for Lime

I’ve always believed that the best way to immerse yourself in a new culture is through local food. The cooking classes at Time for Limeare island-renowned on Koh Lanta. It’s by far the most popular place to learn how to cook Thai specialties on the island.

Thai food is delicious and if you learn to cook it, then you can take it home with you!

The traditional Thai food you’ll make here has flavors that are out of this world and the cocktails are known to be some of the best on Koh Lanta. Don’t miss trying the lime cocktail which is the house speciality!

6. Volunteer at Lanta Animal Welfare Center

Volunteering at the Lanta Animal Welfare Center is a rewarding and memorable experience which takes you beyond the usual touristy options.

The welfare center was started in 2015 by a Norwegian woman named Junie Kovacs, who has lived in Thailand since 2002. In Thailand, you’ll see a lot of animals in distress and this shelter takes on the difficult job of helping animals in need.

You can commit for a whole day, a week, or longer-term volunteer opportunities, or just visit for an afternoon to walk a dog or two.

However much time you can volunteer, the welfare center appreciates all the help it can get. Plus, you get to hang out with cute animals all day. It’s a win-win!

7. Go hiking at Koh Lanta National Park

Imagine having an endless expanse of turquoise water and silky beaches all to yourself. If that’s your dream, Mu Koh Lanta National Park will make it a reality. Entry is 200 THB (6 USD) per person and it’s 20 THB (less than 1 USD) to rent a motorbike, which makes it easy to zip along the length of the park.

If you want to explore the park by foot, there’s a small hiking trail that takes a little less than an hour to complete. Steps are steep and uneven in the beginning, but they eventually level out until you reach the top. A lighthouse will greet you at the top.

Planning an all-day trip in the National Park? Make sure to bring plenty of food and water! But be careful with your bags — the monkeys are notorious for trying to dig through backpacks for yummy treats.

8. Scuba diving or snorkeling Koh Lanta

Take advantage of the crystalline waters off Koh Lanta by arranging a scuba diving or snorkeling trip!

There are plenty of great diving spots in Koh Lanta, such as Koh Rok Nok or Kaw Kaweng. Trips take 3–4 hours, most often with a speedboat that will take you far out enough into the waters so you can dive comfortably amidst the coral and colorful fishes.

If you’re staying at a hotel, ask the concierge to help you book a trip. You can also go to online tour sites (like The Four Islands or Opal Travel Koh Lanta) to book a trip in advance.

9. Party on the beach

Did you even live it up on your island vacation if you didn’t go to at least one beach party?

Walking along the beach in Koh Lanta at night is a great way to people watch.

While the nightlife vibes of Koh Lanta are markedly different from Bangkok, there is no shortage of hip bars (Funky Monkey, Majestic Bar, Why Not Bar, Mushroom Bar, etc.) and half moon beach parties that will have you partying all night on white sand beaches with a Leo in hand.

Revel in the fact that you have pretty much unlimited access to a dizzying array of cocktails, live music, and fellow travelers who are also looking to have a great time!

10. Swim at Khlong Chak Waterfall

In south Koh Lanta, Khlong Chak Waterfall is best accessed by riding your scooter to the trailhead.

You will then have to hike through the jungle, but it’s a relatively easy and beautiful hike. Not only do you come across a dam filled with emerald-hued water, but you get to make your way through the lush foliage to the sound of bird song.

Once you arrive at the waterfall, you’ll be struck by the contrast between the blue water of the falls and the red sand. You can also check out the nearby Khlong Chak Cave, miraculously held together by massive tree roots.

11. Enjoy the island landscape from a sea kayak

One of the best ways to enjoy Koh Lanta’s stunning rock formations and caves is to get up close — by sea kayak!

Since this is an all-day trip, book a sea kayaking tour to take care of transportation, equipment, and food. All you have to do is show up in your swimsuit and athletic shoes.

Koh Talabeng and Koh Phee are popular kayaking spots because of the relatively still currents, stalagmites and stalactites, and cool stories associated with them. For example, did you know that Koh Talabeng was a secret hideout spot for ancient pirates?

You’ll hear that and many more tales on a Koh Lanta kayaking tour.

12. Explore the streets of Koh Lanta Old Town

Koh Lanta is home to two main towns. Saladan is the up-and-comer while Old Town is a charmingly preserved relic of Koh Lanta’s past.

The Thai-traditional Old Town is on the central east coast of the island and used to be its commercial and administration center. Now, it’s home to sleepy wooden row houses, Chinese-influenced architecture, and small shops and restaurants by the sea.

While Old Town doesn’t get many visitors, it has enjoyed some of the side effects of Koh Lanta’s tourism boom. You’ll find coffee and fruit shake stalls with English menus, plus you can take boating day tours to the islands south of Koh Lanta from Old Town’s pier.

13. Grab a bite at Saladan Market

If want to experiment with Thai food, Saladan Night Market is an essential destination while you’re in Koh Lanta.

For starters, the vendors sell more skewered food than you can imagine. We’re talking about BBQ chicken, fish, dessert, and meat cuts you might have never heard of before. And the best part is is that these skewers are often made to order, so you can enjoy them sizzling hot!

Cotton candy, clothing, and cheap souvenirs are also readily available at this night market, so even vegetarians will have plenty to check out on a balmy evening.

14. Get a massage on the beach

Is there anything that sounds more relaxing than getting your muscles kneaded and knots worked out while enjoying the sound of gentle waves?

Lucky for you, you can easily spot a selection of masseuses along the coast. Most of them will either offer a Thai massage (much more energetic, great for working out the kinks in your back) and oil massage (better suited for relieving tension and stress from your muscles and tissues).

While massages in Thailand are easily found for an affordable price, the off-season prices — sometimes as much as 50% off — make the prospect of visiting Koh Lanta during that time even more appealing.

Getting to Koh Lanta

Koh..

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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

Do you want to travel without destroying the planet? Being a green tourist is not easy but it is possible! In this post we share our best advice to make sure your next trip is greener. Read on to reduce your footprint and make sure your next trip is as eco-friendly as possible.

What’s in our guide to being a green tourist?

As our beloved Kermit the Frog has been saying for years, “It’s not easy being green.”

It’s especially tough if you want to travel!

Green tourism is a relatively new concept in the tourism industry and the powers that be — airlines, international hotel chains, big tour operators — are almost all set up to profit from mass tourism, not mindful tourism.

If Venice is sinking, it might be because of mass tourism. Photo by Peter K Burian.

Unfortunately, the environmental impacts of tourism can be devastating when profit takes precedence.

So far, the responsibility for minimizing our travel footprints and being a green tourist rests solely on the individual’s shoulders. The good news is, individual travellers can (and do) use their purchasing power and their voices to make real change in how the travel industry operates.

Green tourism is all about making conscious, deliberate choices that reduce the harm — and increase the positive impact — of travel.

Read on for our guide to greening up your next trip.

11 Tips for Being a Green Tourist Also don’t miss these posts:

15 reasons to travel slowly
Benefits of eco travel
How to help elephants when you travel →

1. Plan an Eco-Friendly Itinerary

Being a green tourist starts before you even leave home.

Too many people plan trips that involve flying from place to place every few days. Not only does this type of travel have the worst environmental impact, it’s also the least fulfilling.

Plan your itinerary to thoroughly explore a small area, rather than flying all over the place.

When you hop on a plane from Amsterdam to Paris to Rome, you add enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses to the environment. You also waste a huge chunk of your holiday time in airports!

Worse still, this type of fast travel means you miss all of the amazing places in between.

Tips for creating an eco-friendly itinerary:

  • Travel overland by public transport whenever possible. Busses and trains beat planes every time!
  • Minimize your number of stopovers when you do fly. Direct flights use less fuel.
  • Visit a small geographical area and explore it thoroughly rather than hopping between major destinations.
  • Buy carbon offsets or give to environmental or local charities when you travel.

Planning an eco-friendly itinerary is good for the planet and great for your trip. It allows you to become more involved in the culture and local life and spend less time hauling your heavy suitcase on and off of airplanes, taxis, and trains.

2. Choose Time & Place Carefully

Mass tourism makes a massive impact on the most popular tourist destinations around the world. Especially during high season, in a place like, for example, Dubrovnik, the influx of summer tourists puts unusually high pressure on the environment. (It also creates huge problems for the people who live there.)

Dubrovnik in off season can still be quiet and empty.

If you want to visit an extremely popular destination, go in off season or shoulder season when hotels stand empty and attractions are less full. Off-season travellers help bring balance to the environment and the economy of these popular destinations.

Another way to spread out your impact is to travel to less popular countries or less popular regions of the same country. So, don’t just pop in to visit Dubrovnik. Head north to see the rest of Croatia or go south and visit Montenegro and Albania.

3. Make Smart Accommodation Choices

It’s not always easy to find hotels that are committed to sustainable tourism practices. Eco hotels are on the rise but they’re still the tiny minority and some that claim to be green businesses aren’t legit. They just say all the right things in order to cash in on the trend for ecotourism.

Here are some tips to find real eco-friendly hotels:

  • Search for eco-conscious hotels at your destination and then check their website or contact them to find out what makes them eco-friendly. Do they have a green tourism award or accreditation like LEED, Green Key or Green Check?
  • Use green-focussed sites like Green Pearls or EcoBnb to find your accommodation.
  • Stay in small, independent hotels, guesthouses, or home stays — large multinational conglomerates are less likely to care about their impact on the local community.
  • Only stay in Airbnbs where the owner still lives. These are arguably the most eco-friendly accommodations because you join a household and share resources with the owner.
  • Stay in hostels. Packing multiple people into one room is more eco-friendly than giving everyone their own space!
Pitching a tent is a great way to go green when you travel.

If you really want to be at one with nature, you can always camp or go glamping. Non-permanent structures generally have less impact on the environment than permanent ones.

4. Think Before You Book

Here are some questions to consider before you book any tour or activity:

  • Does the activity involve animals, like elephant riding, dolphin shows, or tiger temples? Many people fool themselves into believing that the animals love these activities. But it doesn’t take much thinking before you realize their true nature. Where do the animals come from? Would they choose to live in captivity? How are they benefitting from your tourism?
  • Does the tour visit sensitive ecosystems? What are they doing to reduce their environmental impact there?
  • Is there a more eco-friendly alternative? For example, you could take a jeep tour to a local waterfall or you could choose a bicycle tour. You could do a speedboat tour of local waterways or you could choose to kayak.
  • How does the tour operator give back to local communities? Do they employ local people? Do they take you to locally-owned businesses? Do they run a foundation or support non-profits?
Choose tours & activities that have less impact on the environment.

It doesn’t take long before asking questions like these becomes second nature. You’ll develop a sixth sense that separates the eco warriors from the fakers.

5. Drink Responsibly

Plastic is a problem everywhere in the world. Whether it is thrown in the ocean, or on the street, or in a garbage dump you never see, the mountains of waste plastic on Earth are ever-increasing.

No matter where you travel, bring your refillable water bottle and always think before you grab a disposable plastic bottle of water, juice, or any other drink. We don’t want you to get dehydrated, but it’s good to keep in mind that the trash from your 5 minutes of thirst-quenching will remain on Earth for millions of years.

If you’re in a country where the water is unsafe to drink, try to find an alternative to small plastic bottles. Buy the biggest bottles of water you can find and then fill your reusable bottle from those. Ask at restaurants and your hotel if you can fill your water from the huge 20-litre containers they usually have for staff.

You probably won’t be able to eliminate 100% of your plastic use while you travel, but you can definitely eliminate a lot.

6. Eat Green

It is harder to practice eco-friendly eating while travelling than it is at home. Restaurants are huge contributors to food waste and often create excessive carbon emissions.

Ordering local foods when you’re travelling can help reduce your travel footprint. This Indonesian tempeh is made in Indonesia with local soy beans.

Here are a few things you can do to reduce your impact:

  • Always eat at the restaurant. Take-out containers create more garbage and waste.
  • Avoid eating at fast food places or anywhere where they serve food in disposable containers.
  • Don’t order too much food. If you’re not sure how much you need, order a small amount first and then order more if you’re still hungry. We see so many tourists leaving behind plates full of perfectly good food — don’t be one of them.
  • Eat vegetarian, local, and organic food where possible. This supports the local economy while reducing the impact the production and transportation your food has on the environment.
  • Carry your own set of reusable cutlery so you don’t have to use plastic knives and forks while you’re on the go.

Of course, all of these tips for eating green apply equally when you’re at home!

7. Buy Locally Made Souvenirs

If you’re planning on shopping during your trip, look for keepsakes, clothing, and other souvenirs that have been made locally.

In many countries, you can find handicrafts — anything from silk scarves to obscene bottle openers to kids’ toys — made by underserved members of the community.

If you’re travelling in wealthier countries, it can be tempting to buy a fridge magnet or I Heart City t-shirt. Instead, seek boutiques run by local independent designers or stores that offer products made locally.

Not only will your shopping have better impact on the local community but your souvenirs will be more meaningful and your gifts more thoughtful than if you buy mass-produced items.

8. Speak Up

When you see a tourism professional — tour guide, hotel owner, restaurant owner — doing something that doesn’t seem eco-friendly to you, speak up. It doesn’t have to be confrontational or obnoxious. Just point out that, as a traveller who likes to engage in responsible tourism, you would prefer that things were done a different way.

Successful tourism businesses listen to your feedback and make changes accordingly.

One place we’ve seen travellers feedback make a huge impact is in northern Cambodia. Elephant rides are almost gone there as all of the sanctuaries shift to a more hands-off approach in response to tourist feedback.

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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

Is ecotravel just a buzzword or the way we’ll all be travelling in the near future? In this post we share the many benefits of ecotravel, to you and the places you go, plus we take a look at some of the negative impacts of ecotourism. Read on if you want your travel to be greener.

What’s in our guide to the benefits of ecotravel?

The My Five Acres team loves to travel — so much so that we’ve made a life out of it, travelling full-time with no home base.

We also love nature, from the humblest insects to the majestic elephants, from tiny flowering weeds to magnificent oaks, from burbling creeks to raging rivers… we can’t get enough.

We’re painfully aware of the contradiction between our travel addiction and our love of nature. Just going out your front door is, on some level, damaging to the environment — and international travel can be catastrophic.

Is there really such a thing as ecotravel?

Can tourists avoid harming, and even improve, the environment while still enjoying the privilege of travelling the globe? Isn’t the world better off if everyone just stays home?

Read on for answers to these questions and so many more…

The Benefits of Ecotravel Also don’t miss these posts:

Our guide to slow travel and how to do it →
World’s best eco retreats
Best Game of Thrones destinations

Does ecotravel really have a positive impact?

Though ecotravel has grown in popularity during that last decade or so, it is still often just a marketing buzzword.

Ecotourism and ecotravel are the best friends of concepts like responsible travel, sustainable travel, nature travel, mindful travel, and slow travel — though I would argue that these all have slightly different meanings.

Let’s start off by defining what we mean by ecotourism (or ecotravel) versus how the world at large understands it.

What is Ecotourism? What the average person means by ecotourism

When used in casual conversation, the word ecotourism often just refers to any travel that is nature-focussed and not too harmful to the environment.

There really is more to it than that.

The industry definition of ecotourism

The standard definition of ecotourism goes something like this:

“Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.”

The International EcoTourism Society

Let’s break that definition down into its four key elements.

Ecotourism:

  • is responsible travel to natural areas.
  • conserves the environment.
  • sustains the well-being of local people.
  • involves interpretation and education.

Ecotourism, in industry terms, is not just about leaving no footprints but rather creating a positive change and learning more about the places you visit.

What is my goal as an ecotraveller?

I’d like to expand that ecotourism definition a little further.

To me, ecotourism should not be restricted to natural areas. Instead, ecotourism should apply to all travel, whether you’re partying in the heart of Bangkok or trekking the Sahara.

All travel can create a positive impact on the places you visit and the people who live there.

Ecotourism doesn’t have to just take place in nature.

My goal as an ecotourist, and as a human being, is to minimize my negative impact on the environment, while finding ways to increase my positive impact.

What is the Importance of Ecotourism?

The answer to this should be pretty obvious. But here are a couple of things you might not know.

Global tourism has been on a steady increase since, well, forever. In the 1980s, there were almost 300 million “international tourist arrivals” per year. In 2018, there were more than 1.4 billion!

With that many people travelling each year, ecotourism isn’t important — it’s essential.

Tourism can be incredibly damaging to the places you travel and to the planet as a whole. But, it can also be incredibly beneficial.

Imagine the difference between 1.4 billion people causing harm vs 1.4 billion people making incremental improvements. As the tourism industry continues to grow, ecotourism needs to grow more quickly, to slow down the damage mass tourism is causing around the world.

What are the Benefits of Ecotourism? How Ecotravel Benefits You Saves you money

While some ecotravel experiences can be more expensive than their environmentally damaging counterparts, on the whole, one of the main personal advantages of ecotravel is that it can save you money.

For example, we encourage people to take public overland transport, rather than flying from place to place. This simple change reduces the carbon emissions of your trip, increases your cultural immersion, and costs so much less!

We use overland travel by public transport whenever we can.

We also advocate for small, independent hotels, instead of large multi-national conglomerates. Almost always, these privately owned hotels are more conservative in their resource use and have smaller carbon footprints. They are also much more likely to listen to guests’ suggestions for eco-improvement.

And, bonus, they almost always cost much less!

Travel with less guilt

Seeing your travel money have a positive impact is a great way to alleviate “traveller’s guilt” which we all suffer from time to time. Especially when we visit countries with a lower standard of living than our own, it can be easy to feel awful about our staggering wealth and privilege, as compared to the people we are visiting.

By focussing on eco and responsible travel, more of your travel budget helps raise the standard of living for the people most in need.

We also encourage you to commit part of your travel budget to funding local charities when you travel!

Improve your health and happiness

Being in nature can have “significant and wide-ranging health benefits” according to one recent study.

According to a BBC article:

There is already research evidence that exposure to nature can reduce hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure), respiratory tract and cardiovascular illnesses; improve vitality and mood; benefit issues of mental wellbeing such as anxiety; and restore attention capacity and mental fatigue. But more than that, feeling a part of nature has been shown to significantly correlate with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness, and lower cognitive anxiety.

How nature is good for our health and our happiness, BBC.com

Other studies have concluded the same thing — being in nature increases our feelings of health, well-being, and happiness. Isn’t that really why we want to travel in the first place?

Makes you more eco-aware back home

It’s a natural tendency for humans to notice problems in other countries, states, or regions while ignoring similar problems at home.

For example, Westerners constantly complain about how dirty and polluted it is in Asia.

What they don’t think about is that their own lifestyle — big air-conditioned house, two cars, unlimited international travel — is more damaging to the environment than the lifestyle of most people living in Asia. Not to mention the fact that we outsource a lot of our pollution to the very countries we criticize for being polluted.

The truth is, there are environmental problems everywhere — it’s just that some countries are better at hiding them than others.

Eco travel can motivate you to reduce your carbon footprint once you’re back home. You might look differently at the plastic water bottles you use each day, realize you don’t need to blast the AC quite so high, or start to wonder if driving to work is the best way to get there.

Ecotourism helps open our eyes to the damage we all do to nature on a daily basis and motivates us to consider ways that we can reduce our impact.

Disconnects you from the world of stress

Some eco travel can take you so far from your day-to-day life that you are completely disconnected — in a very good way. If you are dealing with mounds of stress, and the very sight of your email inbox causes your heart to stop, choose an adventure where you won’t be reachable by any mechanism for a while.

Ecotravel can take you far away from the stresses of everyday life.

There are still lots of places where WiFi doesn’t reach (though these are disappearing rapidly). Choose one of those for your escape, or just go CRAZY and leave your device at home.

Some of us still remember a time when going away meant that nobody could contact you unless there was a major emergency. We survived quite nicely then and a digital holiday can be absolutely rejuvenating.

Reconnects you to your most primal self

While you’re spending time wired into nature — and far away from instant news notifications, social media, and WhatsApp messages — something amazing happens.

You start to hear your own thoughts again.

You might even tap into a part of you that has been drowned out for years.

Yup, we’re talking about your most primal self, the thing that makes you you. This part of your heart becomes buried over time with societal expectations, post-trauma armour, and other layers of self-protection.

Ecotourism can be the catalyst that reconnects you to your True Self.

It might sound dramatic (it is!), it might sound cheesy, or even ridiculous — but it’s also true. We can personally vouch for that!

How Ecotravel Benefits Local Communities Preserves the natural environment for local use

Unchecked tourism can (and has) led to the destruction of natural environments all over the world, as developers and tour providers abuse the landscape to make a profit.

With ecotourism, the focus is on preserving, or even reviving, nature. This is essential, especially in places where locals rely on natural resources, like fish or jungle habitats, to provide for their families.

Helps communities create a sustainable income

In many communities, there is little opportunity for work or income.

Ecotourism can provide a sustainable source of income for locals who were unable to earn a living before. Even if a small percentage of people are employed in the tourism industry, this financial benefit spreads to other people in the community, as those with new tourism-based jobs spend their money locally.

In the Chi Phat eco-village, local kids learned about litter and conservation.

We loved our experience in Chi Phat, Cambodia, where locals who used to earn a living poaching wildlife and illegally logging are now able to thrive with ecotourism.

Funds social programs

The best ecotourism providers use some of their income to support local communities and fund social programs. Many providers, both large and small, run schools, provide medical care for locals, educate small business owners, and work for human rights and gender equality.

For example, one of our favourite travel companies, Intrepid Travel, puts resources into social and environmental programs through the Intrepid Foundation.

Benefits of Ecotourism for the Environment Educates people about nature and tourism

As children, many of us are taught to respect nature and the environment, and to take care of it whenever we can. But many people around the world don’t learn about the fragility or importance of the environment.

Even those of us who are deeply concerned about the environment often don’t know what impact we are having. Most of us have no idea of the problems faced in places where we travel.

Ecotourism projects educate tourists and locals about the particular issues in a specific place, which in turn can make us more conscious about the issues at home.

More importantly, great eco travel projects help educate people about the wonders of nature. They make us fall in love with it. It’s only then that we become motivated to protect it.

Provides funds to protect animals and nature

Many environmental projects rely on tourists for funding. Whether they’re

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My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. My Five Acres. Travel. Adventure. Yoga. - Travel. Adventure. Yoga.

Looking for eco-conscious clothes? In this post, we review Threads 4 Thought, an affordable ethical clothing brand that’s doing their part to clean up the clothing industry. Read on to find out more.

What’s in our review of Threads 4 Thought?

This post was created in partnership with Threads 4 Thought.

Living out of a carry-on suitcase makes shopping for new clothes a major chore.

It’s problematic on several fronts:

  • First, since I don’t live anywhere, I can’t just pop into my favourite local store when I need something. It’s pretty hard to find eco friendly clothing in some random shopping mall in a strange country!
  • Second, the tiny size of my suitcase means my wardrobe is also tiny. I have a one-in one-out policy and I only carry items that are highly versatile in any number of unexpected situations.
  • Third, we try to travel in as eco-friendly and sustainable manner as possible. Most clothing runs counter to this — it is often produced from environment-damaging materials by poorly treated workers. It sure puts a damper on buying a cute new top when you have all that hanging over your head.
We don’t want our clothes ruining this kind of beauty!

I’m not the only one who thinks this way, thank goodness!

There is a whole ethical clothing movement on the rise and one of the early adopters is Threads 4 Thought. They’ve been creating ethical clothes since way back in 2006.

They recently sent me a few things so I could try out their sustainable fashion line and let you know if they’re the real deal!

Read on for my review and learn a little more about ethical fashion.

Threads 4 Thought — Affordable Ethical Clothing for Travel Also don’t miss these posts:

Find the best lightweight walking shoes
Choose your minimalist travel backpack
Why and how to travel slowly

Why Threads 4 Thought are Great for Travel

The same features that make clothes great for travel also make clothes pretty great for every day wear. Here are a few of the things that I absolutely require from my clothes.

Travel Clothes Must Be Comfortable

Travel clothes need to be the ultimate in comfort.

They need to be the kind of thing you want to live in 24 hours a day. Finding clothes that you can wear on long flights, long hikes, bike tours, boat tours, food tours, and then happily wear them again the next day is not easy.

These cargo pants are as comfy as sweats, with a little more style.

If your travel clothes aren’t comfortable, you risk ruining your whole trip. They should be made of fabric so cozy that you want to wear it all day — and keep it on when you crawl into bed!

I chose the Rowana Tank and the Montana Cargo pant because they are both made from sustainable wood fibres, which, with the help of some technological magic, are turned into super soft and breathable fabric.

I’ve already put them to the test on a few long hikes and some marathon blog-writing sessions.

So far, so comfy!

Travel Clothes Must be Easy Care

I learned a long time ago that clothes with any kind of special care instructions do not belong in a traveller’s wardrobe!

Silk? Too high maintenance! Wool? Too delicate! Linen? Too wrinkly!

Travel clothes need to be tough enough to get thrown into any kind of washing machine (you should see the ancient industrial washing machines at the laundry services in Bali!). They also need to be resilient enough to come out looking fabulous, no matter what the treatment.

Almost all of Threads 4 Thought’s clothes are machine wash– and dry–able, wrinkle resistant, and quick dry. That’s exactly what I need out of my clothes — I can’t be hitting up the dry-cleaner every five minutes.

Travel Clothes Must Have Versatile Style

The Threads 4 Thought line is casual — they make comfy, sporty clothes including tees, tanks, yoga pants and bra tops. For any adventurous traveller, who wants to get out there and dive into all the world has to offer, these are the kind of clothes that work in almost any situation.

I chose the Rowana Tank because it walks a fine line between:

  • Covering enough to be modest in places where a spaghetti tank might not be appropriate.
  • Cool enough to wear in hot situations.
  • Cute enough to wear out in the evening.

The Monica Leggings are going to be:

  • Perfect for my daily yoga sessions.
  • Ideal to wear under my travel dress when more coverage is needed.
  • An extra warm layer under my travel trousers on cold days.

Finally, the Montana Cargo Pants are ideal for:

  • Planes, trains, busses, and other long travel days.
  • Active days when biking, hiking, kayaking or other adventures are involved.
  • Casual evenings in the city.

I like that T4T offers a little something extra in most of their designs, taking comfy tees and pants and making them unique and more stylish than the norm.

They make men’s clothes, too! Pin this for your sustainable travels. Affordable Sustainable Clothing

A lot of speciality travel clothes are eye-wateringly expensive. Lots of sustainable fashion brands also charge a premium for their clothes.

Threads 4 Thought makes affordable ethical clothing, so once you’re done shopping you’ll have a little cash left over to spend on travel fun.

It’s not the cheapest of the cheap, which is a good thing. Cheap clothes are generally made with Earth-damaging materials and using dirty manufacturing processes. They also fall apart quickly, increasing waste and costing you more in the long run.

If you’re really short on cash, Threads 4 Thought even offers an instalment payment plan, so you can spread out the cost if you need to.

How Threads 4 Thought Makes Fashion Ethical

In the 21st century, when we’re facing so many environmental and human rights crises around the world, there’s just no excuse for buying unethical products! Especially when there are companies out there working hard to limit the negative impact — and maximize the positive impact — their products have on the world.

Here’s why I feel good about supporting Threads 4 Thought.

Sustainable Fashion from Sustainable Materials

All of Threads 4 Thought’s clothing is made from sustainable fabrics, including:

Organic cotton

Cotton is the world’s most profitable non-food crop, but normal cotton production is highly damaging to the environment and environmentally unsustainable. Organic cotton production reduces negative impact by rotating crops, using insects and trap crops instead of pesticides, and growing from untreated non-GMO seeds.

Recycled plastics

Using recycled plastics to make polyester helps reduce the amount of waste in the world! Hurrah. But it’s also more energy efficient and produces less carbon emissions than standard polyester production.

Sustainable wood fibres

What if clothing could grow on trees?

Thanks to innovation and technology, it kind of does, at least when Tencel and Lenzing fabrics are involved. These fabrics are created from wood pulp — the clothes were once eucalyptus, beech, spruce, or birch trees. But the commitment to sustainability goes much further than that.

Their pulp comes from certified sustainable forests, almost all in Europe. According to the Lenzing website, they “do not procure wood or pulp derived from primeval forests in Canada or Russia, from the Amazon region or from the endangered rainforests in Indonesia or West Africa”.

Sustainable wood fibre makes super-soft, biodegradable fabric. That’s pretty cool.

The fabrics are manufactured with an eye to sustainability all along the chain — from plants to pants. Plus, because they’re made from wood fibre, they are biodegradable at the end of their lifecycle.

It’s a fascinating subject and I could write a few thousand words about it. I didn’t though, so go check out the Lenzing website to find out more about their commitment to eco-conscious fashion.

Ethically Made Clothing

Threads 4 Thought clothes are manufactured only in factories that hold “the highest certifications in the industry, ensuring the best working conditions, and the highest level of sustainable production processes”. That means that the people who are responsible for creating the things you wear get safe working conditions and fair pay.

Profits Used for Good

The company has an ongoing partnership with the International Rescue Committee, who work to help people whose lives have been disrupted by humanitarian crises like wars, conflicts, and natural disasters.

Our Picks from Threads 4 Thought.com Ethical Yoga Clothing

I love their selection of bright colours and eye-catching prints. The Gaia Printed Legging in Geranium are super cute and consciously made from Recycled Polyester and Spandex (perfect for practicing eco-warrior pose).

Threads 4 Thought sent me the Monica Leggings, also made from Recyled Polyester. They are the softest yoga pants I’ve ever owned and the first pair of leggings that don’t make me feel constricted and itchy after an hour. I’m so glad to have them in my suitcase.

Gaia Printed Legging $98 →
Coralie Printed Sports Bra $68 →
Monica Leggings $58 →

Outstanding Tanks, Tees & Tops

If you’re looking for casual tops, T4T offers plenty of choice. I picked the Rowana Tank Henley because it’s comfy and casual, but it also has enough style to dress it up for an evening out. It’s made from wood fibre Lenzing Modal and Recycled Polyester.

I don’t like a lot of fuss in my clothing but I don’t want to look like a total grub either, so I love the range of T4T tops that offer a little extra flair in a completely comfy package. The Mae Open-Back Top is an ideal cover-up for showing off your cute yoga top. The Marin Cold Shoulder Hoodie is good for girls who want to flash a little flesh without seeming too saucy.

Rowana Tank Henley $58 →
Mae Open-Back Top $78 →
Marin Cold Shoulder Hoodie $88 →

Cute Cargos

Ever since I got them, I have practically lived in my Montana Cargo Pants. They are cool enough to see me through a hilly hike in Italy (where I am right now) and comfy enough for a long day at the laptop (like today).

Made from breathable, stretchy fabric, they also work for my evening yoga practice. Plus, the fabric is soft enough that I can totally picture wearing them to bed. They’re made from Lenzing Tencel, Organic Cotton, and a little Spandex.

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