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Ultimate Guide to The Best Time to Visit Iceland

Best Time to Visit Iceland Guide

Traveling to Iceland is a must if you’re like me and have a love for natural landscape adventures. It’s hard not to want to explore a place that is known for all of their natural beauty, still silence and purity. Iceland has similar seasons throughout its year (read: drizzly rain and just a bit of cold always), but some months are better than others depending on what you want to do and see there. Let’s dig into figuring out when the best time to visit Iceland is for any of your crazy activities or desires!

First thing’s first, if you’re looking to take to the beaches in your swimsuit, you’ve found the wrong post. Leave now and search “Cabo” on your next try.

The only swimsuit wearing you’ll be doing in Iceland is in the Blue Lagoon or other natural hot springs around this country that you stumble upon.

But enough about the warm weather chat, let’s get to it.

Best Time To Visit Iceland to Avoid Crowds

It’s no secret that Iceland has become a popular tourist destination.

In fact, some are saying that Iceland is beginning to be a bit over-touristed. However, there are times when the spring breakers and out-of-school crowds are fewer and less photo obsessed than typical. That’s when we recommend you visit if you intend to see all the classic Iceland sights like the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon.

Iceland Tourism Numbers by MonthCredit data to https://www.ferdamalastofa.is

If you’re like us, however, and love to stay away from the crowds. Going on your own trek is possible during most times out of the year. You will be just fine traveling to Iceland because sadly, few tourists venture out on their own to explore less popular or undiscovered areas.

Visiting for all the Iceland Tourist Spots?Visiting for Your Own Adventure?Are you a photographer?
Offseason (low season): November through February or MayAnytime during the year and stay away from the Golden Circle.Winter months: read our winter section below for exactly why.

Which Season is Best to Visit Iceland In?

So many variables go into when the perfect time to travel to Iceland is. Do you want to see the Northern Lights, go ice-caving, or maybe see a few whales in the North Atlantic ocean?  Are you going to be preparing for more snow in the cold or more rain in the warmer time? Seasons play an important role in what you can and can’t do in any given Icelandic season so keep reading.

Iceland Temperature Chart by MonthVisiting Iceland in the Winter is for Photographers (November – February)

Photographers get excited because winter in Iceland was made for you!

Winter months in Iceland is cold. Well, cold, if you’re from Florida or Texas that is. Are you from the Midwest? You’ll survive then!

The temperature ranges from a high of ~38ºF (~3.4ºC) to a low of ~26ºF (~-3ºC). Being the coldest season for Iceland, you can imagine that snow and winter weather conditions play a large factor in your time spent here here during this season. It is an island surrounded by cold Atlantic water and wind after all.

Daylight is scarce in the winter so be ready for partial or complete darkness. In it’s shortest month of December, there are times where the “day” is only four hours long. The sun will rise around 11 AM and set around 3-4PM.

But just because daylight is scarce doesn’t mean you should shy away from Iceland in the winter, especially if you’re a photographer.

With fewer tourists around, the black sand beaches and rocky shores are covered in ice and snow. Of course you also have the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights too. You’ll want to come here in the winter with your camera and tripod ready. Bundle up, invest in a few extra layers, and get some gloves.

Your Instagram feed will thank you later. 😉

Top Activities to Do in the Winter

  • See the Northern Lights: We get it, you want to see the northern lights. They’re pretty cool. The winter time, with so much darkness, affords you the most opportunities to luck out and see these natural beauties. Try to get away from Reykjavik because the city lights can make it hard to see this phenomenon.
  • Visit a hot spring or the Blue Lagoon: While hot springs and the Blue Lagoon can be accessed year-round, it makes sense that the winter months offer a sweat warm relief from the relentless cold. If you’re trying to trek to a less frequented hot spring like the Reykjadalur hot spring for example, I would caution you to save that for a warmer months. The hike can get a bit daunting (ie. very slippery) and with little sunlight, I would caution against hiking this in any chance of darkness. I may or may not have learned this from experience.
  • Iceland Airwaves Festival: If you’re obsessed with Icelandic artists like I am, this music festival could be perfect for you. Iceland Airwaves festival is held in November in Reykjavik and brings together emerging and well-recognized artists from around the country.

Visiting Iceland in the Spring (March-May)

Iceland’s spring season varies by who you ask. Typically spring falls anywhere from mid-March through late April or early May.

Icelanders actually consider it springtime when the European Golden Plover, a species of bird, makes its first appearance. The Icelandic media covers the first sighting of the plover bird I’d assume like how in the states we watch the shadow of the Punxsutawney Groundhog on Groundhogs Day. We’re all weird, aren’t we!? (shrug)

In spring, the temperature ranges from a high of ~49ºF (~9.4ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~28ºF (~-2ºC) in Iceland. If you’re asking me, this weather is pretty standard in Iceland in almost any season. It’s pretty safe to assume you’ll need to pack for all weather conditions regardless of the season. Just be prepared to bring coats and rain gear no matter what.

There will be plenty of daylight to keep you adventuring. Unlike winter, springtime in Iceland affords you anywhere from 10 hours in March to upwards of 17 plus hours of daylight in late April early May. You can adventure until you can’t adventure anymore. You have plenty of daylight to get lost for a while.

Springtime in Iceland is “shoulder season” which means that it’s not as overrun with tourists as in the summer which makes it great for doing just about anything.

Top Activities to Do in the Spring

  • Join a Life Nomading Group Trip: We’re big fans of visiting Iceland in the spring. So much so, that we actually launched our very own group trip that we host every year at the end of March in Iceland. It’s the perfect weather, perfect low-key vibes, and always a fun time. Visit our Iceland page for more details.
  • Aldrei Fór Ég Suður: If you’re feeling the music vibes and want to go to a music festival. the Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival may be right for you. Located in the Westfjords which is about a 4-5 drive northwest of Reykjavik, this festival will take you far away from any of the normal touristy vibes. I can only imagine what fun you’ll get into up there with three thousand others. They make this event free to all who want to make the trek up there in April.
  • Sónar Reykjavík: If you’re a fan of electronic music, than Sonar is worth looking into. This event is hosted in late April in Reykjavik. Tickets are on sale on their website for what looks to be about 17.990 ISK.

TIP: March is pretty much the last month where the weather is cold enough to visit ice caves in certain areas of Iceland. I highly recommend you do this, so if you are debating on a spring month to visit Iceland in, try to shoot for March or earlier if possible.

Visiting Iceland in the Summer (June-August)

While you won’t be sunbathing or meeting others during a day at the beach, Iceland does warm up a bit during its summer season between June-ish and August.

Since warmer weather is a popular time to travel in, that means Iceland’s popular spots can get much more crowded. Through the summer months, the tourism numbers get larger and larger making this the peak season for Iceland.

If you’re a serious photographer, a seasoned traveler looking for a less touristy vibe, or wanting a cheaper all around trip to Iceland, than we’d recommend avoiding this beautiful country in the summer. Instead, try out one of their shoulder seasons like Spring or Fall.

In the summer months, the climate ranges from a high of ~56ºF (~13.3ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~44ºF (~6.1ºC). If you haven’t learned by now, you must bring a coat. This weather isn’t bikini or swim trunks weather by any stretch. Get your winter weather raincoat shopping on.

You’ll have all the daylight all the time with barely any darkness. The summer season in Iceland is unique in that you can have days of almost complete daylight in June. It’s crazy! In the summer you will find you have anywhere from 17 hours to 21 hours or more of pure daylight.

I’ve personally experienced this time of the year and it’s very odd going to bed or staying out late and having the sun out like you are partying in the middle of the day.

Summer Tip: Bring a sleeping mask if you have a hard time sleeping with light leaking into your room. This will be critical because I kid you not, you’ll think it’s the afternoon all day long.

Sleep Mask - Create Total Darkness Price: $9.69 Sleep Mask - Create Total Darkness Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 03/30/2019

Top Activities to Do in the Summer

  • Whale Watching: Summer in Iceland is prime whale watching season. With the temperatures warming up, the various whale species (Harbour Porpoise, Fin Whale, Humpback Whale, Orca’s, Blue Whale, Minke Whale, and Sperm Whales) come out to play. You can depart for whale watching in various parts of Iceland. Departing the coast of Reykjavik for your whale watching adventure is fine, but for some of the best experiences travel to Northern Iceland to Akureyri where the more diverse species of whales are spotted.
  • Icelandic Horseback riding: Iceland is known for a special species of horse simply called an “Icelandic horse”. They’re most notable for their small pony-like size, however they are not to be confused, they are a full-fledged horse. Size shouldn’t matter! If you’re an equestrian lover you won’t want to miss your chance in riding one of these while here in the summer since they are the only breed of horse in thecountry.Icelandic horses
  • Secret Solstice Festival: Be warned, if you watch the video below you will book your ticket to Iceland and partake in this music festival. There’s something about the potential of cracking open a few cold ones while partying in the middle of a glacier that gets me excited. Am I the only one?

  • Iceland Ring Road Trip: With the weather being the warmest in this season it makes renting a camper van and exploring the entire country much more attainable. The Ring Road is an 800-mile long road covering the outskirts of Iceland. Convince your partner or best friend to come along, and rent a camper van to explore the country for a week or two. Every mile of Iceland is a whole new landscape and a road trip like this would leave you inspired, to say the least.

Ring Road Iceland MapVisiting Iceland in Autumn (September-October)

While September and October in Iceland is definitely shoulder season for the country it has great offerings from fair temperatures, decent daylight time, and somewhat smaller tourist numbers. You’ll get a little bit of the winter AND summer benefits all in the course of a two-month window.

During Autumn in Iceland, the climate ranges from a high of ~50ºF (~10.1ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~36ºF (~2.2ºC).

You’ll definitely have enough daylight in Autumn in Iceland for activities. In Autumn, Iceland experiences anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of daylight. While Autumn is certainly not the season with the most or the least hours in the day, this season will afford you plenty of time to take adventures without all of the summer tourists.

Top Activities to Do in Autumn

  • Round-Up Season (RÉTTIR): Round-up or Rettir season is when all the farmers in Iceland go to fetch their sheep and horses that have been roaming for the season. This is a part of the year where neighbors and fellow farmers gather to sort the thousands of livestock to take back to their farm. It’s a very Icelandic thing to do. We’d recommend you try to partake!
  • Northern Lights spotting: If you read, winter is a great time to watch the northern lights, but autumn is also an opportune time to take a rental car and get lost somewhere away from the city to watch the Northern Lights if you’re lucky. Monitor the Northern Lights Forecast to see where the best chance of visibility will be on your trip.
  • Reykjavik International Film Festival: We all love a good film festival. If you’re in the city around this time the Reykjavik Film festival may be worth checking out at the end of September and early October.

Cost of Visiting Iceland by Season

Traveling to Iceland is undoubtedly one of the more pricier countries to visit currently. In general, the diagram below is a good guide to see which seasons are more or less expensive taking into account: lodging, food, airfare, rental cars, activities, etc…

WinterSpringSummerAutumn
$$$$$$$$$$

 

Not-So-Scientific Seasonal Cost Analysis: Iceland

We decided to run our own little Iceland cost experiment to see what kind of pricing fluctuations happen for different seasons in Iceland. Prices below are meant to be as rough benchmarks for two people traveling together in the varying seasons for 6 days / 5 nights.

Airfare

x2

Airbnb

x2

Compact CarBlue Lagoon x2~Avg Total
Winter$957$1,098$372$192$2,613
Spring$891$1,098$258$192$2,439
Summer$890$1,086$642$192$2,810
Autumn$863$1,080$414$192$2,549

Chart based on data for 2019 & 2020 season data.
* Car rental using Compact size via Hertz
**Airfare found via Google Flights and using the cheapest, non airline specific. (WOW airlines is no more remember RIP)
***Airbnb metrics are the “average” price given from Airbnb for a given window.
****Blue lagoon price for two on peak time in the day.

What we found

Our research found that for a couple traveling to Iceland, your biggest cost changes depending on when you travel, is your rental car. In the summer months, a car rental can be more than double (2X) than in the Spring or Winter seasons.

That money adds up quick!

Luckily, airfare, Airbnb lodging, and activities seem to stay pretty competitively priced during most times of the year.

Cost Tip: One variable not mentioned in this experiment is the cost of fuel for your rental car. If you’re an American traveling to Iceland you will be sticker shocked by gasoline prices so prepare your budget accordingly. Most of your trip involves driving and burning that fuel.

When Should You Visit Iceland to Save Money?

Iceland’s spring season seems to be our winner when it comes to saving the most money while adventuring to this beautiful country.

While we think most of our numbers are pretty accurate, please don’t take our cost analysis as gold. Pricing varies depending on many factors. Do your research or let us handle all of that for you!

When’s Our Favorite Time to Travel to Iceland?

The springtime. Spring is affordable and gives you access to almost everything you can get in winter and the summer months (ice caving, Northern Lights, access to roads). We love the spring so much that we offer a yearly Life Nomading group adventure trip there in March were we take up to 12 travelers and have one heck of a time.

Woohoo, you’ve made it this far! Congrats, you’re now pretty frickin educated about when some of the best times to visit Iceland are. As you can see, Iceland is great in any season you visit, it just depends what your travel goals are. With a climate that stays pretty consistent and plenty of things to see and do you can’t go wrong any time of the year.

If you’re headed to Iceland, but would prefer to join a group of other millennial travelers this could be the perfect opportunity for you. You’ll save even more money, see and do things you wouldn’t think were possible, and get to meet others along the way. For more information about our trip be sure to visit our Iceland page.

Whether you’re a photographer looking to capture the still life and Northern Lights, or a college student with time to visit Iceland in the summer, we recommend to just take that leap, book your tickets now, and go.

New Zealand: The Best Way Up is Chocolate

Dirk Frey Life Nomading

Dirk Frey Life NomadingIn our first Travel Tale, we take a peek into our friend Dirk Frey’s stories on the road around New Zealand. Listen in as he shares some of the highlights from his stint exploring and living in New Zealand, a country with many interesting characters, endless Lord of the Rings references, and even a special folk music festival.

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Credits

Guest: Dirk Frey – Thanks Dirk for sharing your stories!

Hosted & Narrated by:

Editing: Laura Samulionyte

Show Transcript

Caroline Lloyd: We’re just going to be chatting over a beer

Dirk Frey: Well if it’s going to be over a beer then… let me get a beer.

Ian Hoyt: Hey there fellow nomads. This is Ian and Caroline and this is the Life Nomading podcast.

Ian Hoyt: Welcome back, fellow nomads. It’s Ian and Caroline and welcome to the first episode where we take a listen to some of your stories, stories about what makes traveling so special.

Caroline Lloyd: This week on the Life Nomading podcast. We sat down with an old friend, Dirk Frey.

Dirk Frey: I am currently a programmer for a CNC machine at a cabinetry company and I do woodwork there too.

Ian Hoyt: Now Dirk has an interesting connection with Life Nomading. That is Dirk and I grew up on the same block.

Dirk Frey: Ian and I we go way back then. We were in the same neighborhood. We were the neighborhood kids growing up. I Dunno, we are the same bicycle crew, I was thinking that I was hanging out with Dan and the culdesac and Ian was uh, playing with I think more like Halley and chase and Ricky and there was big gap and then I saw him again in Cincinnati and we reconnected.

Caroline Lloyd: But when Ian and Dirk reconnected years after their col-de-sac had days, they realized that they had grown to love a common interest, travel.

Ian Hoyt: And that’s not an uncommon shared passion in the normal world. But coming from a small town in the Midwest, it’s a bit rare to venture that far from home.

Dirk Frey: I thought it was impossible. I guess. I don’t know why people in like Findlay, Ohio were just raised like, I guess it was so expensive for our parents growing up and throughout the 80s and stuff to fly to like Europe. You had to like set aside like maybe 10 grand to do like a proper, Europe trip back then or something. And that’s in like 80s dollars and stuff. Think about flights for two grand each way, you know, France and, and stuff like that. So it was a lot more expensive. And prohibitive talking to people from Findlay. Sometimes it’s just like, so wait, so what is it like there? They don’t like Americans do they, or they’re like, or they might say something like, I don’t know if I could handle French language all around me or, or just people speaking Spanish.

Caroline Lloyd: So how did Dirk become this adventure seeker that he is today?

Dirk Frey: So I would, I wasn’t into travel or even I would say the outdoors and particular until into college, a couple of years basically I met some guys, I would say, uh, some rock climbers who I befriended and ended up becoming some of my best friends in college. And I joined the mountaineering club at UC. And so I got really into the outdoors and rock climbing and I go out in the nature with them. And then they were, one was the son of a air force pilot and so he was kind of an air force Brat and traveled around with his family from like state to state and out of the country a lot. And so he’s always talked about his grand travels and stuff and always wowed me. I was like, wow, you can get out of Ohio on. I was also amazed that you know like 19 years old or 20.

Ian Hoyt: One of the most dramatic changes in mindsets for Dirk was actually a road trip from coast to coast, casually seeing pretty much all of the US on just a couple of hundred dollars. Was it luxury? No, but the memories seem to be worth it.

Dirk Frey: It just showed me like, oh, on a shoe string budget and just like as long as you have good friends, even if you hate each other halfway through the trip because you know Joe is six foot eight, he’s taken up all the room to sleep. Having the friend and having that connection and by someone to share the glory and the misery altogether from the highs and the lows of the trip. And then also like it’s something when you’re a young person and like I think that’s one of the best things you can do in America is road trip because you get to go from like temperate forests to plains to a mountain desert to like the ocean, the other side of the ocean. So it was just like seeing all the sides of America stopping in, making goofy jokes with your friends and listening to music. Yeah.

Caroline Lloyd: And it’s all about those little moments. So we decided to ask Dirk about some of his favorite travel moments, things that stuck out in his mind, poignant memories, things that made the journey worth it.

Dirk Frey: There are times that I can think of a travel idea or a story in my brain and like my heart’s still kind of swells with, you know, the pride, a camaraderie that like I, I’m glad I was here in this time and space at this juncture with these people.

Ian Hoyt: And before we jump too far into Dirks incredible stories, we need to set the stage a little. He was on an extended excursion inspired by his childhood dream that started in the backyard of Findlay, Ohio. A little adventure movie called Lord of the Rings.

Dirk Frey: I quit my job for a bit and I traveled around the world for six months and four of those months were just on the island of New Zealand, South island in particular. And I decided I wanted to do a big bike trip and I was going to ride a bike and just bike around all of the South Island. And I went from Christ’s church and I went up into like near the mountain ranges. And that’s why I was saying that Lord of the rings would come in later because I specifically stopped at every location. That was super important to me. Having watched the extended cuts of the DVD releases, I was on a working holiday visa. So in New Zealand, Americans are allowed to work for one year you get a tax number. And so after the bike trip I uh, lived and worked in Christchurch doing various jobs. Like I worked in a kitchen, I was the stop go guy at the traffic.

Caroline Lloyd: So this particular tail started on a biking trip with the little sprinkle of local New Zealand serendipity. I should also mention that Kiwis are what New Zealanders are referred to in this story.

Dirk Frey: I was biking and uh, you know, after 60, 70 kilometers on the bike that the heavy gear and it’s like, okay, this is a good stop. And I’m on my way. I had to keep going uphill slightly because I’m going into the mountains to go to this certain mountain called Mount Sunday and I get to a bar and I decided to have like a beer and maybe I’ll get to know the locals a bit and it’s just all crusty old New Zealander Kiwis who are working on the sheep farms and it’s kind of the off season so there they’re drinking more than having to work with these times.

Ian Hoyt: And one of those crusty old Kiwis he starts talking to.

Dirk Frey: He wasn’t from New Zealand. He was from some place between Scotland and England and his accent was just as thick as you could possibly imagine that. But he was like, “Nah, you can’t do that on the bike, man.” I was like, Nah, I was just pedal real slow. I was like, no, no, you can’t do that in the bike.

Ian Hoyt: After finally convincing Dirk that biking up the incline was a terrible idea. They loaded up the bike in the man Subaru.

Dirk Frey: He invited me to his sheep station up in the mountains and we put it in the back end and we’re going over like potholes and shit and it’s dark out. I thought I was going to set up camp, but he’s just like, no, you’re going to come to my house and you’re going to sleep in this bunk bed. I’m like, okay, sure. Okay. And yeah, no. And I just, I went along with it cause I was really tired. I was like, I don’t have the pedal, any extra of this mountain and if I don’t really have to. And he was super nice and we, uh, shared a breakfast and it was really beautiful scenery. And once I, this dawn opened up and it was just mountains on either side and showed me his sheep dogs and stuff. He’s got no classic radio stations up there. So he has these tapes of singers from the 60s and it like use these cassette tapes that he puts into scar to place singers and stuff. And one of them is somebody who had the car before and it was a Maori track. And so they’re not aboriginals, they’re the people before any of the Europeans came over the Maori people. And so like there are traditional chants and the Haka call. So it’s cool. And it puts you in New Zealand when you’re going into everything.

Caroline Lloyd: And this was just one stop on his biking journey. Dirk continued on his trip to his final destination, which was actually determined by a run in earlier in his trip. He had met some people that had invited him to a festival. The Waihi Bush festival to be exact.

Dirk Frey: What I did was I got back onto couch surfing, which I hadn’t done in a while. I found a place to stay that was near the beach and Christ church and these guys were super, super nice and accommodating and they uh, put me up in a bunk bed. I would do my best to like be a good guest and I would even like try to introduce them to some American culture and customs. And so like, the best thing I could do is like, I can make really good Reuben’s but oh, they appreciated it. And like, I mean like I, I went all out to like make them dinner and stuff and like I even bought some things cause I was like staying for free and I wanted to give back to them and they were very gracious and say, well if you, uh, want to do some more volunteering over again, we had this thing called Waihi Bush festival and basically one of their dads owns a farm out in the rural parts of New Zealand and they hold a folk festival every year. And I was just like, Oh yeah sure. I mean like yeah, like it’s in February. I’m like, ah, that’s fine. That’d be a one month after my biking trip. And so like I did the whole biking trip and I could go into that for a lot more things, but I had to like haul ass to get to the festival, the tail end of the trip. But it was so worth it.

Ian Hoyt: Now you can only imagine something exciting would happen at an event called the Waihi bush festival. But trust me, this wasn’t anything you ever could have imagined.

Dirk Frey: There was a, there was a suicide that happened before and I don’t know if this is a British or New Zealand culture, but they made jokes about it to get over it. And it was something that like, you know, you just, just like what you do when you travel, you experience different cultures and way people process things are different. And so instead of letting the suicide, I mean people were down about it, but they didn’t let it hang over the whole festival. So they would make jokes about it and say, sang this song. It’s called when you’re feeling down the best way up, is chocolate. So the song goes, so when you’re feeling down the best way of this chocolate, it’ll help you get you through the day.

Dirk Frey: It felt like a movie almost playing out to me. Cause there’s these characters and there has these highs and lows and it was just like this whole story and dancing.

Caroline Lloyd: But ultimately what Dirk experience came from a collective experience. It’s an ideology that stems from people and how people and moments alter perspective. Oh and don’t forget chocolate.

Dirk Frey: It’s always better to make memories with friends I think. It’s really rewarding. I won’t say I won’t knock my solo trip or the amount of time I got to contemplate and just sit and stare at really beautiful scenery. But yeah, it’s the memories we make with others. It’s pretty great.

Ian Hoyt: So that’s it for this episode of the Life Nomading podcast. I hope you enjoyed the very first Travel Tale?

Caroline Lloyd: It’s that until someone writes in with a better title. So send in your input. And on that note, if you would like to be featured on this podcast, you have a great story to tell. Feel free to send us a message on Instagram @lifenomading.

Ian Hoyt: And if you get a second, we’d love to hear your thoughts about this new format of the Life Nomading podcast. And you can do that by going to iTunes and leaving a review. We would so appreciate it.

Caroline Lloyd: So that’s it for this week. I’m Caroline

Ian Hoyt: and I’m Ian and until next week go explore something. See yah.

It’s Your Turn

Life Nomading Podcast Artwork

Caroline and I have learned a lot while podcasting the last couple of months. What we realized is that our favorite part of travel is swapping stories with other travel friends and learning about other countries through the experiences others had outside the typical tourist traps. A community helping others explore.

We want those stories to be shared with everyone, from everyone. That is why, we are launching a new series on this show. We’re bringing in you! Share some of the most fun, adventurous, or perhaps sketchy moments during your trips around the world with our listeners.

All bets are off. From brief moments with locals that left an impact on your life, to near-death experiences, we’re not sure what kind of stories we will uncover, but we are excited to share them.

If you have a story that you think is worth sharing with our listeners, please don’t hesitate for a second to reach out to us we want to learn more about it.

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Credits

Hosted by:

Editing help by Laura Samulionyte

Show Transcript

Ian Hoyt: Hey there fellow nomads. This is Ian and Caroline and this is the Life Nomading podcast.

Ian Hoyt: Hey there fellow nomads. It’s Ian and Caroline and welcome back to the Life Nomading podcast.

Caroline Lloyd: We’re going to keep this short and sweet for right now. This is pretty much a public service announcement.

Ian Hoyt: A PSA, if you will. So I’m sure you’ve heard some of our episodes prior to this, right? And we talked about like what is home, we’ve talked about different travel tips, packing luggage, getting through the airport, stuff like that. We’ve been all over the place. I think that’s fair to say, right Caroline?

Caroline Lloyd: It is. But we kind of realized that that’s, we kind of want to go in a different direction.

Ian Hoyt: And it kind of gets back to what Life Nomading is all about. We’re all about community and the way you interact with travel

Caroline Lloyd: You don’t want to sit there and listen to us preach about how we travel all the time because quite honestly everyone travels differently.

Caroline Lloyd: So we kind of want to take that and turn this podcast towards you. So we’re going to start a little series

Ian Hoyt: By series She actually means it’s what we’re going to be focusing on here on out.

Caroline Lloyd: But we just want to hear your stories. We want to hear what travel is all about. And those are the experiences that you take away from a destination and continue to tell.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, absolutely. So what does this mean for the podcast? What does this mean for you guys? So we realize that everyone has, like you were saying, those stories those things that just need to be out in the universe. I know I have plenty, but I’m going to, I’m going to hold back my stories for later. And I know you have plenty as well. But what you can do if you’re listening and you have, oh, I got that story from the middle of Brazil, or I have that crazy story when I was adventuring in, I don’t know, Portugal.

Ian Hoyt: Who knows? You have that story you want to share with us. We would love to talk to you about it on this very podcast. So what you need to do is you need to go to www.LifeNomading.com/episodes and that’s going to take you to our podcast homepage. You will see clearly an application button where you can fill out and request us to reach out to you and talk to you about those awesome stories you have.

Caroline Lloyd: And if you don’t want to be interviewed, we still want to hear your stories. So if you just want to like shorten it and sweeten it and send them over, um, and kind of like describe what your experience was that you want to share. You don’t have to talk. We know that public speaking isn’t for everyone, but we would still love to hear it.

Ian Hoyt: So I don’t know Caroline, I don’t have a name for this yet, but you know, I think you suggested what? Travel Tails.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. Fondly recognizing Dragon Tails or The Ferry God Parents, or Airport Allegories it has to be, uh, uh, what is that? Alliteration.

Ian Hoyt: So our homework is when we launched these next week, yeah, we’ll have a better name for them. So we’re really excited. This feels more right to us and what we’re about at Life Nomading. We hope you guys will love listening to these awesome, crazy and sometimes risky tales from people’s travels around the world.

Caroline Lloyd: We have a couple up our sleeve, but if you guys have anything that you really want to share or say, don’t be scared. If it’s too boring or you know, not exciting enough, not exotic enough, we still want to hear them. So just go ahead and submit them.

Ian Hoyt: So that’s all we have for this episode. As always, if you’re excited for these upcoming episodes, be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Overcast, wherever you enjoy listening to our podcast most. Hit that subscribe button. Yeah, and we’ll see you back here next Monday for that first storytime travel tale allegory airport. Allegories. So until next time, I’m Ian and I’m Caroline and, uh, go explore something. See you soon.

How to Walk on Glaciers in Iceland

glacier walk iceland

There are endless, and I mean endless things you can spend your time doing when you decide to go on an adventure to the beautiful country of Iceland. But nothing quite beats taking an Icelandic glacier walk or ice caving adventure. Our Life Nomading Iceland trip admittedly does this on our five-day trip and it’s quite a hit. I mean who wouldn’t want to walk on glaciers, right?!

glacier walk iceland and ice cave

But as much fun as glacier walks can be, there are a few key things you should be prepared for when you are going to go on this type of adventure:

Wear the proper attire for a day trek on ice

Depending on when you travel to Iceland, attire will certainly change a bit.

You can count on having to wear a coat, but be sure to wear comfortable pants that allow you to walk and move like an agile cat on the ice.

Additionally, be sure to bring a small, lightweight backpack that you can put all your things in during the day.

Keeping your hands completely free while you walk on glaciers and around ice caves is essential so you can use your hands to anchor yourself on slippery moments or to catch your fall.

Trust me, I slipped once and scratched my camera lens because I had to use it to stop my fall. NO FUN! Learn from my mistakes, people!

TravelBackpack Price: $29.99 TravelBackpack Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 03/02/2019

Use the restroom beforehand

I know this sounds like common sense, but the last time we took a group ice caving we had a few that found that they needed to use the restroom pretty badly. We are far from the nearest restroom so try to do your best to make sure mother nature won’t call while you’re out adventuring.

Bring a snack

Walking on glaciers and ice can make for a tiring day.

Bring some cliff bars Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. or granola snacks to give you a boost of energy as you’re spending the day experiencing something pretty magical. The last thing you want is for your hanger to distract you from the moments of epicness currently happening around you.

Make sure to wear crampons and a helmet

ice caving in iceland

Crampons are spiked chain webbing you put on the bottom of your shoes to increase traction while walking on the ice. I’m not sure that there is any other way to do a glacier walk in Iceland without them so if for some reason your tour guide doesn’t give you these, be sure to ask why!

Additionally, it is so crucial to wear a helmet. Especially if you are doing ice caving you want to protect your noggin from any potential melting ice chunks or wipe outs. While not big, I have experienced little chunks that fall from time to time from the caves and I’m sure it would not feel good if you didn’t have a helmet on.

Find a trusted glacier walk operator

Obviously, we’d love if you joined one of our trips to experience this and many other moments in Iceland. But if the stars don’t align, regardless, we urge you to find a local glacier and ice caving guide with positive reviews and a great a safety record. Ice caving and glacier walks can have an element of liability with it being a slippery and sometimes unstable environment. Having someone lead the way that is an expert in Iceland glaciers and educate you on safety procedures is so vital!

I encourage you to try and make sure to find a tour group that includes ice caving or glacier walks in Iceland. It’s a great outdoor activity to do while you are there and it’s a ton of fun! Just remember to take your time when walking, watch where you’re going and try to take any safety precautions to prevent slipping or injury. You’ll do great, and have a ton of fun in the land of fire and ice. 🙂

The Truth Behind A Remote Working Lifestyle

remote working lifestyle

Goodbye offices, cubicles, and commutes! When it comes to working remotely from home, a co-working space, or perhaps a local coffee shop there is more than meets the eye. We share our thoughts on the pro’s and con’s of working on your own from wherever inspires you most.

Show Notes

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Credits

Hosted by:

Editing help by Laura Samulionyte

Crazy NYC Subway Stories

Crazy NYC Subway Stories


If you spend any amount of time in New York City you’re bound to take the MTA Subway a time or two. For those that live in the city, they can chew your ear off with all the crazy stories, people, and experiences they have had while underground on the subway. In this episode, we bring in our friends and colleagues to share some of their craziest subway encounters while living here.

Show Notes

Check out the Instagram account: @subwaycreatures

If you’re visiting the city be sure to check out our article about how to navigate the NYC transit system.

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Credits

Hosted by:

Special Guest Appearances:

Editing help by Laura Samulionyte

Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Price: $29 / per person Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 01/17/2019

Where to Store Luggage in New York City

luggage storage in nyc

About to visit New York City, or already here and need to quickly find a place to put your luggage? In this article, we’ll cover options for luggage storage in NYC so you won’t need to fuss with bags. Get ready to have the time of your life in the best city on earth.

We have this exact problem all the time when we travel the globe.

We get into a new city and want to go explore, but we can’t. We have an awkward amount of time where we’re left with our bags to lug around the city before check-in. Well lucky for the world, awesome companies have developed solutions that will help luggage storage in NYC be a breeze for you.

Luggage Storage Apps

Luggage storage has finally caught up with the times and now it’s easier than ever to shed yourself of your heavy burdens to explore a new place. Here are a few of our favorites and recommendations.

Bounce – Luggage Storage on the Go Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

luggage storage in nycMy favorite solution of all the storage apps would be Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . I just heard about this luggage storage app on one of my favorite podcast’s The Pitch. Their model is pretty cool and it’s super easy to use.

Just download their app and then find a local small business to drop your bags off at. It’s pretty simple and only $6/per bag/per day. Not bad if you think about all the lugging you’d have to carry alternatively.

They also offer a transfer service if you’d like to drop your luggage off at one location and have it delivered to another (say an airport or train station like Grand Central or Penn Station). This service is newer and really interesting if you’re like me and hate luggage lugging. Prices start at about $15 and go up from there for transfer. They have a $5,000 Bounce Guarantee so you can rest assured they are going to take care of your bags.

I’m a sucker for a nicely designed mobile app and website and of all the solutions on this page, Bounce wins the prize for this.

Because you rock, they’re offering 10% OFF to Life Nomading readers Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. so just click the link and it will automagically be discounted upon purchase.

Nanny Bag

Also available in New York City, this luggage storage app is competitively priced at $6/per day and extra days are charged at $4/ per day. No size or weight limits and free cancellations make it a very appealing solution as well.

Luggage Hero

Priced a bit differently but still offering a similar service is Luggage Hero. You can utilize them hourly for $1/hour or by the day for $10/day. This is great if you decide that you only need storage in New York City for a few hours as you will save a few bucks.

Be warned they do have a one time $2 handling fee and if you are using them for all day use I would recommend Bounce instead.

Vertoe

We’re just getting a little petty about the price at this point. Vertoe scrapes just under most of the others at $5.95 per item per day. If you’re trying to save every single penny for one more meal at Tortaria then I understand. Security seals, $5,000 in insurance coverage and all that is included with Vertoe luggage storage so you can rest easy that your bags are going to be OK.

Free New York Luggage Storage Solutions

Early Check-In

If you’re staying at an Airbnb or a hotel there is a chance you could just give them a call or message and ask if you could get an early check-in. If your host isn’t able to do so, perhaps ask them if you could at least drop your bags off. Most times, if it’s a shared space with a live-in host, they will be more than happy to accommodate. It’s worth a try if getting to your lodging arrangements is just as easy as a bag drop-off location.

Hotel Bag Checks

This is terrible, but if you’re really on a budget and need to find storage for your luggage then hotel bag checks could be an easy solution for you. Even if I’m not staying at a hotel, often times I will just act like I am in a rush and ask if they could hold my bag for me. They will give you a tag and then when you come back, thank them graciously and woohoo you just saved money on luggage storage.

I do however advise that if you have some dollars to spare, tip the hotel staff.

If you’re anxious or worried they’ll call your bluff than this tactic isn’t for you. Instead, use an app storage solution like Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . Confidence is key.

Drop luggage off at a friend’s place

Think reaaaaaaaallllyyy hard. You must have at least one friend in the city that never sleeps. If so, give them a text and if you haven’t seen them in a while first inquire about their lives (eye roll). Then make the ask if you could drop your bag off for a bit while you explore the city. Who knows, maybe they’ll even show you around the city. If they don’t, no biggy, we have a tour for that! 😉

It’s no secret that with a city this big, you have plenty of luggage storage in NYC options at your fingertips. Don’t stress too much, you’re not alone and you’ll be okay. If I were you, I would suggest using an app service like Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. or the hotel bag check hack, but at the end of the day be sure to choose an option that gives you more time exploring and less time stressing.

Have a great time in the city that never sleeps and best of luck getting rid of those heavy bags.

What is Home?

Ian's Home

When we’re traveling, it can be easy to get a feeling of homesickness. But the bigger question is, what really do we consider a home? Is it the places we live, the people we spend time with, or the experiences we have? We dive into the topic of home and share some of our thoughts and personal stories as we try to begin to work towards how we define and view what “home” means to both Caroline and me.

What does home mean to you? (please send us a DM on Instagram or leave a comment below, we’d love to hear.)

Show Notes

 

If you’re curious what a smaller more high pitched Ian looked like referencing the audio of me as a kid. ^^

Seriously, we do have a pooping while traveling article. Read it here: The Shitty Side of Traveling

Interested in the Bulgaria trip we discussed? Visit: www.www.lifenomading.com/bulgaria

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Credits

Hosted by:

Caroline Lloyd: @caromanifesto
Ian Hoyt: @IanHoyt

Editing help by:

Laura Samulionyte

 

Show Transcript

Caroline Lloyd: Now that we know Ian loves going, we’re sponsored by a laxative, a sponsor.

Ian Hoyt: We do have a pooping article that will link to since we did mention that you should read it. It’s about pooping while traveling.

Caroline Lloyd: Anyway, that’s why I’m a home body. I don’t know.

Ian Hoyt: Where you can stay regular

Ian Hoyt: Hey there, fellow nomads. This is Ian

Caroline Lloyd: And Caroline

Ian Hoyt: And this is the Life Nomading podcast.

Ian Hoyt: Hey there, fellow nomads. It’s Ian and Caroline and welcome back to another episode of the Life Nomding podcast. Caroline is making fun of me because I use my hands when I talk into the mic.

Caroline Lloyd: Conducting a choir over here when he’s talking.

Ian Hoyt: I’m conducting the podcast, dedication to the creative process. It’s episode number six, six weeks. I’m very impressed by us. I’m proud that we’re cranking out episodes and I feel like we’re getting better. I don’t know. Please let us know how we’re doing in a review on iTunes. Shameless plug.

Caroline Lloyd: Today we are really deep diving into a new kind of topic for us. Um, you know, typically we’re talking about traveling and all things related, but we’re dialing it back a little bit this week and we’re talking about home.

Ian Hoyt: They probably knew that by the title already.

Caroline Lloyd: You clicked on it.

Ian Hoyt: But yeah, we’re going to talk a little bit about what home means to us and what it means to travel.

Caroline Lloyd: So just I think to start off we should orient ourselves and say what home means to us because I think by this point in life we both realize that home isn’t a physical house, but much more than that. So Ian, what does home mean to you?

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, I think home is definitely not necessarily about the location as much as the people or as much as the combination of the two. You know, when I was growing up, I lived in three different houses, which I think is fairly normal for the average human in America. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know.

Caroline Lloyd: I lived in the same house for my entire life. My parents still live in the house that I was brought home from the hospital to, which I think is odd for most people living in the U.S today.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, and you know, it’s actually really kind of funny is I lived in three different houses, had maybe a little bit of a different upbringing just because I lived with my mom and my sister. My Dad had passed away when I was younger, so it was a little bit different. But what’s really interesting is every time we would move or think about moving, I remember distinctly that my mom would always be really concerned that my sister and I would be really sad to leave the house that we lived in and I always innately just thought that was crazy. I was like, mom, it’s, it’s a house. Like it’s whatever. Like sure you get used to the house you’re living in, in, in your room and things like that. But the things I remember are the intangible things, the things that didn’t revolve around the doors and the rooms, but the things that I did there,

Ian’s Mom: Wave to the camera. Say Happy New Year!

Ian Hoyt: From, you know, recording youtube videos in the backyard with Robbie, Robbie. Shout out one of my best friends.

Ian Hoyt: Robert’s potato eating contest in Alabama we are EXSCN and we’re going to be covering the Browns training camp first.

Caroline Lloyd: So those videos are still on YouTube. So please go look for them. They’re the best.

Ian Hoyt: I will give you extra Brownie points if you can find them on the Internet. So, um, but yeah, like recording videos in the back yard or playing in the snow in it was a different house than that one. So like the memories are what stick with me. It’s not about the walls. And so maybe that’s why I thought it was always crazy when my mom would ask that question. She still does today.

Ian’s Mom: Okay. Do you like your new house? Look over here buddy. Ian, look right here. Do you like your new house?

Ian Hoyt: If they were to move. We don’t live there anymore, but like she, she always brings that up. It’s like, no, I really don’t care about that. It’s about the memories and the things I did there that involved people. And activities and so I think that’s kind of interesting because I bow that with really how I view home in general now and it’s not so much about the location but the experiences that culminate in a similar area. So that’s kind of what I think. What do you think Caroline? What does home mean to you?

Caroline Lloyd: Well, I said that I lived in the same house growing up from when I was born until, I mean now my parents still live there.

Ian Hoyt: My question is, were you a baby in the room that you stayed at your whole life? Or did you change rooms at all?

Caroline Lloyd: Yes. Not my current bedroom, but like now it’s still. I have my things in the room. My bedroom was my baby room. It’s gone through several iterations. It was teddy bears and then it was Minnie Mouse and then it was very brightly colored and high school and now my parents have painted it a new neutral colors.

Caroline Lloyd: So when guests go in there they aren’t blinded. It used to be yellow. I don’t know why I chose yellow for my room.

Ian Hoyt: I could see that.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. But, you know, home is, I think, boils down to people and the feeling that people give you when you are around them and you care for them a lot. And also I think memories slash rituals or routines. I mean, I know that every time I go home I kind of get into the same routine, even like down to what I eat when I’m at home, when I fixed in the kitchen because my mom always buys the same groceries. I know what certain things I can make in the kitchen. Um, and you know, going to a certain coffee shops where I had a lot of memories growing up in high school or restaurants in the area. And you know, one thing that I really love is home videos because I think that totally encapsulates what home is. And all of your experiences and memories are recorded in a very timeless way, uh, to reflect back on.

Ian Hoyt: By timeless you mean super pixelated?

Caroline Lloyd: The date printed on the bottom right hand corner

Ian Hoyt: and a button that you can press on the recorder that does like the Auto Fade from one clip.

Caroline Lloyd: Oh my gosh. Yes. I have so many like home films like that to the point where it’s like ridiculous. My family, I feel like my parents basically just handed me and my sister’s a video camera when we first got it and it was a novel technology and we got really creative. My oldest sister Emily was like bossy creative director and would make these really embarrassing short films of me and my sister. Um, but I’m so thankful for that because they’re really fun to watch now.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. I’m so thankful too because we get to watch them together.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. Every time I go home my mom has just transferred them all to dvds and we sit and we watch them. But don’t tell me you don’t enjoy those.

Ian Hoyt: They are very enjoyable, especially the pageant ones, but we don’t need to talk about that.

Caroline Lloyd: It is a scholarship program.

Ian Hoyt: Whatever you wanna call ’em.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. But for me, I think home is people memories and uh, routines.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. I feel like we’re, we’ve got some similarities there then, so we’re not crazy. All right. So that’s kind of what home means to us. So with that being said, I guess another aspect of this is feeling homesick and where and when. So like Caroline and when have you felt most homesick, was there, is there a specific time in your life or a moment or a place that you can recall?

Caroline Lloyd: I think like the first inkling of being homesick happen when I was a kid at camp, you know, when you’re like, I don’t know, in a bratty stage of life or like people start making clicks and you’re like in a new environment and you just feel very out of place. Uh, you don’t have your normal group of friends and it’s a stressful time when you’re like nine years old and then, and that’s kind of like your first taste of it and then maybe you go away for like a longer period of time. I mean I spent like four weeks in an arts camp when I was in high school and while that was a long time to be away from home, even when I was like 15 or 16 years old. That is a long time. And I dunno, I think it’s like your first step towards really changing your life and I’m so thankful that I had those experiences at a young age because I feel like it enabled me to go on and, you know, not be afraid of going to college six states away from my home base and leaving to make entirely new friends.

Caroline Lloyd: I didn’t know anyone when I moved out to Texas. I didn’t know anyone when I moved to New York. Like I think it gives you the confidence to really change your life and start building something on your own.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, I could see that a lot. That’s interesting. I feel like for me, I would have to say probably the first inklings that I really think I felt homesick because, you know, quite honestly I’m kind of weird. I feel really comfortable when I’m on the move and we can talk about that more later. But like college was definitely a moment when I felt homesick but not because I necessarily missed home because I loved the whole independence thing. I can do my own thing and like, you know, whatever. But I think it was just not being in an environment that I wanted to be in or that I thought I would be in. So I think there’s a complex there.

Caroline Lloyd: No, I think what you’re saying of being in an uncomfortable situation and pushing that towards more homesick than not because I do believe that there are places and people that you meet, that you spend time with that you immediately feel at home. And I think it’s the uncomfortableness of certain situations that propels you into feeling homesick.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. And that’s probably why I felt that in college also. I just wasn’t my speed college. It wasn’t my thing. And so it made everything kinda weird. But ironically, like when I moved to New York, I didn’t feel homesick at all. I was super excited to be here. And although for the first few months it was just me kind of like navigating the world in a way. I still didn’t feel homesick. I don’t know how homesickness happens necessarily. Kind of weird.

Caroline Lloyd: I think we can boil it down to like homesickness is really craving a level of comfort that you are not in in that moment. I think there were definitely times when I had first moved to New York where I was sick or like things weren’t panning out exactly the way that I had thought and I was in a level of comfort that was a little bit too low in that leads to homesickness.

Ian Hoyt: On the inverse though, I feel travel sick a lot and I know that sounds funny, but I feel the opposite in a way. You know, like I have this sickness to get away and so I don’t know what you, the listener feel, but you’re not alone if you have that feeling. Now I’m not trying to sound cliche, but I really do have that feeling of like I always need to be moving and when I’m home too long and I’m not doing something, I’m not going to go see something. I get that travel sickness and that’s the only way I can name it because I don’t know what you’d call that. Travel sickness I guess.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. I think that’s a real thing.

Caroline Lloyd: So if we’re homesick, what are we homesick for and where do you feel most at home?

Ian Hoyt: Going back to what I was just mentioning, this is not a non answer. I feel most at home, typically when I’m going somewhere.

Caroline Lloyd: When you’re excited.

Ian Hoyt: No, not even the excited part. It’s the actual physical going, I love going to airports and I love going. I just love going and so like anytime that I can get, don’t get me wrong, I’m a walking contradiction because I’m a homebody in a lot of ways, but there is no better feeling to me then leaving my apartment and getting in an uber or getting in a car or get on the subway and going journeying to somewhere else. Doesn’t matter where, but the act of going is where I feel where I feel most in control. I don’t know why. I have no clue why, but it’s weird and that’s where I feel most at home if we’re being honest.

Caroline Lloyd: You know? That’s a really deep. That’s a complicated question, especially for me because growing up I recognize this about myself in a very early age. Like we’re talking like fifth grade here. I have a hard time.

Ian Hoyt: What kind of fifth grader or were you?

Caroline Lloyd: Well, I’m about to tell you I skipped fifth grade actually.

Ian Hoyt: Let’s all take a collective second to roll our eyes one. Alright, let’s go.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah, but I think that plays into it. I recognize that at a young age that I didn’t attach myself to things or people really. I skipped fifth grade and change school districts even though I didn’t move, I left all my friends behind. Did the same thing in eighth grade when I went to high school, I graduated from high school and I chose a college to go to that was, you know, a thousand miles away in a different state where I didn’t know anyone.

Caroline Lloyd: And then when I graduated from there I came to New York and basically started over. So they’re jumping off points in my life when I pretty much picked up everything and just moved. So for me, I felt like I spent a lot of those years creating new homes for myself and I’m thankful for that now because I have pockets of friends scattered all over the country internationally as well and when I visit all those places again, I definitely get a sense of home because I invested a certain amount of years of my life in those places and those people. So that’s a very long winded answer. But I feel most at home when I can reconnect with a place that I invested time in and just for that brief moment of revisiting that place, it’s a nice overwhelming feeling of this is a home for me.

Caroline Lloyd: So this is a more complicated question I guess for you Ian, but have you ever encountered a place that was new that you immediately felt at home at?

Ian Hoyt: Not Complicated at all. New York.

Caroline Lloyd: That’s Different. I feel like a lot of people say that.

Ian Hoyt: It’s not a cop out. The answer is going to sound like a cop out, but I think it boils down to being a person that I just admitted that I love to go. I said it like a thousand times. I think New York is like one of the few places you can manifest that feeling every single day you’re here, whether it’s getting on the subway or just trying to fricken get from one block to another. I get that sense. I get that feeling anytime I’m here and that’s why I knew I needed to be here in my heart of hearts. So New York so happens to be where I live and it so happens to be you where I felt most at home, away from home and so now it is my home and that’s the best answer I can give.

Caroline Lloyd: I think I have to jump in here and say that I am the wise one in this conversation. No, I think that once you’ve lived here longer than what you have, it’s a little bit different and obviously New York wears and tears on people differently, but there have been several moments in my four or five years living here when I thought I was done because New York kind of burns you at both ends. I’m saying all of this to caveat with I think it’s important to leave where you are and get away to then return and have a new found appreciation for wherever you live.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, definitely. I think the, going back to whole, the whole homesickness thing, I think getting away from your home base or where you spend most of your time is good to reimagine and to miss it. There’s an aspect of missing things that plays into this conversation.

Caroline Lloyd: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Do you ever like travel and not pack a certain article of clothing and then when you get home and you open up your drawer, you find it and you’re like, Oh, I’ve missed this so much.

Ian Hoyt: Oh, absolutely.

Caroline Lloyd: I love that feeling. And then you try on that dress or those shoes and you’re like, Oh, I missed wearing these shoes so much.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, I subletted for like a year and a half and when we finally moved all my stuff from home home, I was like, oh, I forgot about that. And I was like, Oh yes, like yeah, that’s where that t shirt was.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. As much as we talk about home being like a in tangible philosophical thing, like there is something really rewarding about like digging through your closet in your childhood home and finding like pictures that you drew in second grade and like old school notebooks with notes that you wrote to your friends.

Ian Hoyt: All my love letters that back and forth to my childhood girlfriends.

Caroline Lloyd: I need to dig through your drawers.

Ian Hoyt: They’re Probably like really ridiculous.

Caroline Lloyd: I love doing that and it’s contradictory to me as a person because I love going through things and like throwing things out.

Ian Hoyt: She, um, she’s the purger.

Caroline Lloyd: I know, but I’m also like, I’m such a sucker and a pack rat for all those stupid little notes and fun little things that you can go back and reminisce on

Ian Hoyt: For sure. But Caroline, what about yourself? Is there a place that’s away from your home that made you instantly kind of feel like, oh, that’s where I feel most at home?

Caroline Lloyd: I think there’s two versions of this answer and one is when you’re actually looking for a home and you get that feeling, that’s a very different thing than visiting a place and thinking, I feel at home here, so I mean obviously when you’re like looking for a new apartment or house shopping, you want to get that feeling of home right when you walk in and I’ve definitely had several examples of that. I mean when I was touring college campuses for example, you want to have that feeling when you walk onto a certain campus and you say, I feel at home here, this feels right. I think that’s the kind of like gut instinct, but to kind of divert from your answer, I think the more important question at hand is where have you visited that feels like home? And for me, I think that was, you know, just from like all of our travels, I would have chosen Vienna.

Caroline Lloyd: I think that I can talk about Vienna forever, but it’s just a lovely city and it feels the right tempo. I think there’s definitely a tempo aspect and I can get into that philosophy a lot deeper.

Ian Hoyt: Which is weird because it’s different than. It’s way different than New York.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah, but it’s just like good speed with all the right aspects. I felt like, I mean I’m not going to like build a life there, but I felt in some alternative dimension I could. Yeah, but even that is relative because you know, maybe if I would have visited Vienna 20 years later in life, I wouldn’t have gotten that feeling. I think it’s just depends on who you are in that moment.

Ian Hoyt: And you’re gonna throw your arms up because it really is. It’s all relative to your life stage, what you’re trying to accomplish, your goals like home is who you’re with and visiting with, where you are in your life at that point. It’s going to change. I had a home with six other dudes in Columbus and now I have a home with a lovely lady and a roommate and the cat.

Caroline Lloyd: So that’s a little bit of a break from your normal travel information, but I think it is just as important to recognize a home base and an anchor when you’re traveling as it is to plan all the fun details. So that’s it for this week. We will see you here again next Monday and we know that this episode is a little bit different than your normal broadcast of travel…

Ian Hoyt: But let us know what you think. We’re always trying to push the bounds of what we can talk about on this travel podcast. We want to make it more intriguing to you instead of just lists of things you should definitely do. So, uh, let us know in the reviews on iTunes, you can subscribe to us on overcast, spotify, apple, itunes, any other podcast platform that you can find us on we’d love if you subscribed. And, um, we’re here every Monday.

Caroline Lloyd: So if you have thoughts or comments or questions, feel free to send us a DM on Instagram @ lifenomading. So until next week I’m Caroline

Ian Hoyt: And I’m Ian and go explore something. See yah!

What We Learned at New York Times Travel Show

New York Times Travel Show

New York Times Travel Show 2019-2Caroline and I had our first glimpse into what the travel industry is like when you pile everyone into a travel show and begin to see how one riverboat cruise can look just like the other across the aisle. While we learned a lot about what not to do in travel while at the show, we learned a lot of incredibly valuable bits from various speakers and panels about what we should do. We share that and more in this podcast episode.

Show Notes

  • New York Times Travel Show – this is hosted every year in New York City so we figured it made a ton of sense to make a weekend out of it.
  • Seth Kugel – a former Frugal Traveler for the New York Times. He shared a ton of valuable and interesting insights into this world of travel.

Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious Price: $17.41 Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 02/19/2019

Interested in the Bulgaria trip we discussed? Visit: www.www.lifenomading.com/bulgaria

Caroline Lloyd: @caromanifesto
Ian Hoyt: @IanHoyt

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Show Transcript

Ian Hoyt: You should see the visual I see right now of you like, huddling under the blanket because it’s so cold in our apartment and we’re on the floor in our room, and she’s holding the book under the blanket.

Caroline Lloyd: This is not “on a shoe string travel” it’s “on a shoe string lifestyle.”

Ian Hoyt: Hey there, fellow nomads. This is Ian.

Caroline Lloyd: And Caroline.

Ian Hoyt: And this is the Life Nomading podcast.

Ian Hoyt: Welcome back, fellow nomads. It’s Ian again.

Caroline Lloyd: And Caroline.

Ian Hoyt: And it’s another episode. I’m pretty pumped that we are able to keep this going.

Caroline Lloyd: Every Monday, we’re here.

Ian Hoyt: Every single Monday. And in this episode we’re going to recap a little bit about our previous weekend at the New York Times travel show. Now, I don’t know about you, Caroline, but it’s the first time I’ve ever been to a travel show or a travel conference. So we had a lot of interesting things we took away from that and I just want the listener to know, right off the bat, this is kind of an open forum. A fireside chat, if you will, recapping some of the stuff we learned. We realize that we’ve been in the travel world for the last few years, but we’ve never really known any of these industry terms or the people in the industry or the companies and in a lot of ways (and we’ll get to it more later) I think that’s actually a good thing, but we’ll get more into that later. So initially I kind of want to start the conversation with you, Caroline. What were some of the things, or at least two takeaways, or just how do you feel going into the travel show?

Caroline Lloyd: Well I didn’t really have any expectations, you know, just as a consumer basically the travel industry seems, you know, just as an open playing field, but as soon as you walked in to that big hall with lots of vendors lined up, you started to step back and realize, okay, this is pretty much an industry just like any other that capitalizes on these consumers.

Ian Hoyt: Which is so weird. It’s so weird to me because I’ve always envisioned travel as being this like open road, free playground to like craft whatever like thing or idea you have.

Caroline Lloyd: Honestly, just the fact that there is an industry around travel seems very odd like yes, travel should exist in modes of transportation, but now I was just looking down these rows of countries being represented by tourism boards and, quite honestly, a lot of businesses that I would talk to the people and walk away and still not understand what they did.

Ian Hoyt: For context, I mean, if anyone listening has been in a sales role or just in business in general. You know how when you go to a conference, you see the inner workings of how an industry works. I.E. Just how, for lack of a better word, kind of incestuous it can get, You know, this person is subbing out this with this person and that person is subbing it out for this person, and so on paper a consumer is taking some type of trip, but in reality, who knows who is actually operating it.

Caroline Lloyd: Those nice little ads that you get on instagram for trips; There’s a lot more business going into that then what you think.

Ian Hoyt: And then there’s this other silo, of like – I don’t want to say adventure travel, but I want to say the solo traveler or the person that is looking for the opportunity for coincidence and for the unknown and for what travel, typically, in my brain, affords you. And it’s not about money, it’s about what it affords you when you’re there, and your time, and your ability to kind of just be.

Caroline Lloyd: So overall, I think some things that we noticed were that the world is pretty cool. I learned about some places that I didn’t know existed. The world is also pretty small. I felt like there was a good representation of a lot of places, geographically speaking. I think we also learned that, like you said, everyone is kind of intermingled with each other in business practices. And I also really want to emphasize this, that there are many different ways that people travel.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. And from that standpoint of, you know, a lot of people travel in a lot of different ways and in a lot of different spectrums. On the extreme side, the side that we’re definitely not familiar with is kind of a super luxury travel. Whether you’re with a group or not, this is just Bougie for Bougie sake and it’s not so much about experiencing maybe the local culture or really digging deep into like how a local lives or just like what it’s like to live in the place you’re going. I think the super luxury really kind of taps into the like, okay, we’re going to do this awesome thing. We’re going to stay at these awesome places and that’s where it ends.

Caroline Lloyd: We’re gonna eat and drink a lot and not really interact with anything that’s going on in the geographical area. So then there’s like medium luxury. So this is not just throwing money at the wall for an all inclusive resort, but a little bit more budget friendly. And this is kind of where I think group trips start coming into play. There were definitely some luxury group travel arrangements that were available to people, but it was still somewhat removed from the people and the place that you’re traveling to. And then from there we get into traveling pretty much on your own, not with a group. And from there, you know, there’s a medium tier and then there’s literally the shoestring budget which gets into backpacking and hostels and things like that. And that really was not represented at the show, which makes a lot of sense, right? Because it’s travel industry and the travel industry doesn’t want to talk about the thing called Airbnb or doesn’t want to talk about hostels as much as they do about hotels.

Caroline Lloyd: It was like a weird thing. I felt like no one wanted to say the word Airbnb. They were talking about Tripadvisor and like all of these other tools, but I felt a little bit of hostility towards Airbnb, actually.

Ian Hoyt: You know, I’ve seen this in different industries that I’ve worked in as well. And the same thing is true. I don’t want this to be an outcry for the industry, but I’m just saying they have this, known naivety like shield in front of their eyes.

Caroline Lloyd: I don’t think they were naive to it. I think they literally chose to ignore it. Moral of the story is things are changing and we’re going to see a big alteration in the travel industry as we know it. It already is changing, I feel like.

Ian Hoyt: People want choice. People want to explore on their own. They want the opportunity to discover, and I’m not trying to put words in every single person’s mouth because everyone has a different scenario, but when we walked in there, I definitely felt like we were kind of outsiders and I felt okay with it. I felt like, okay, I don’t know some of these industry terms. I don’t know these people. And while it’s great to meet all of them and know what exists, I’m really excited about kind of where we have positioned what we offer because it’s not knowing any of that. I like being naive to that.

Caroline Lloyd: I think we should also point out that of the people that were in attendance of this conference, a lot of the people were over the age of 45.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Right? So there’s so many different levels of travel and I think the biggest takeaway that we got was actually going to talks and panels at the conference themselves, because then we were able to see some other opinions and learn more from people. And what I learned was there are no right ways to travel. You can have your opinions on what are wrong ways to travel, but everyone in different age groups with different missions in mind, they deserve to do what they want to do. And so just to hit home that fact, the 60 year old that wants to go on a river cruise is going to be much different than someone like ourselves that are, you know, mid twenties that want to maybe have a grittier, more exploratory mission in mind. And that’s okay.

Caroline Lloyd: Let me ask you something, because I don’t know your opinion on this. Do you think it has always been this way? Like do you think there are certain trends towards age eras in a person’s life? So like when we turn 60, yeah, a riverboat cruise sounds pretty nice. Is there a reason that everyone at that show is over the age of 45 because that’s what was represented in the vendors and that is what you naturally want when you reach that age?

Ian Hoyt: That’s a good question. I don’t even know. I mean, I know that historically I feel like we get a lot of stories and a lot of people that are in their twenties that want to do this quote-unquote backpacking or all that stuff.

Caroline Lloyd: That’s a new concept.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. It’s not a new concept. Like you said, when you’re a much older you don’t hear about people backpacking through Europe.

Caroline Lloyd: Well, I mean, I hope that I will still be doing that when I’m that age. We met a couple when they were in Vienna from Australia, I think, and they were on a cycling tour. They literally had cycled some stupid amount of miles on their own just traveling the world and they were like 70, 60 years old? Awesome people that we met.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. So I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is. I feel like definitely like physical capabilities change. You know, if, if you have the quote-unquote travel bug, you’re always probably going to want to travel. And so I think just finding the mode of travel that allows you to do so.

Caroline Lloyd: But like at a certain point we’ll tap out of hostels.

Ian Hoyt: I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s fair for us to make that opinion because I think we’re also maybe a little skewed outside of the normal traveler.

Caroline Lloyd: We’re also naive because we were still in our twenties, so who knows? Anyone else outside of that age range, please comment, tell us young ones how it’s going to be.

Ian Hoyt: And then we’ll say it probably isn’t going to be that way.

Caroline Lloyd: So walking up and down the aisles of this show, we picked up a lot of brochures, a lot of stickers, a lot of business cards. So much paper. It’s very sad, but when you open up all these brochures, they pretty much say the same thing. I mean reading the copy from booth to booth, it was just… You are so flooded with the words just rearranged in different ways. So a couple of these examples, we have a lot of brochures over here to look through: “Go beyond. Experience, authentic, unscripted and unforgettable moments that will resonate for a lifetime.”

Ian Hoyt: “Making the world a better place.”

Caroline Lloyd: “A once in a lifetime experience.”

Ian Hoyt: “Have an authentic experience.” “Explore culture.” These are all things that we read booth to booth. And while some of that could be true, it was just frustrating because we knew, for the most part, these companies were just using it from a marketing standpoint and that’s okay.

Caroline Lloyd: But it also, at one point in time, came from an honest sentence. And we don’t disagree with that.

Ian Hoyt: We don’t disagree with the premise. And I think the big takeaway that we’re trying to say is we checked ourselves at the door there. We realize that, you know, if we’re going to use some of this copy, some of the things that they say. You know, we use some of the words in our Life Nomading advertising, but we’ve got to really believe it and we’ve got to really own it and make sure that it’s a part of every trip. Every person that were to come on a group trip of ours and anything that we do, we just were like, whoa. Like we can’t take these words lightly. These other people are using them and you see right through it. So if we’re going to use these words, if we’re going to use these statements, we have to make sure they’re genuine always.

Caroline Lloyd: So we went to a couple of talks during the show and some of them were really great. And one that we happened upon was the New York Times Frugal Traveler panel. And for reference, this is a column by the New York Times where they give a columnist a budget that’s fairly low for that region and they go and have to write about their travels while only staying on this budget.

Ian Hoyt: For example, I think the one they mentioned while on the talk was like, what $100 in Oslo for a weekend or something?

Caroline Lloyd: And the comment that was said on the panel was, that’s the price of a beer there. So they have to be kind of creative, but quite honestly that’s how a lot of people our age, students, backpackers are seeing the world. And I think there are a lot of benefits to traveling that way. You get into a lot of situations that you wouldn’t normally get yourself into. But kind of comparing that back to, you know, this kind of travel industry shtick that people were revolving around right now,. One of the panelists was Seth Kugel who we ended up buying his new book that just came out called “Rediscovering Travel.” And pretty early on, honestly, I’m not through the book yet. I am enjoying it slowly.

Ian Hoyt: We’re both very, very slow readers.

Caroline Lloyd: I just really want to take it all in and sit on it for a little bit, because it’s a new philosophical way of traveling that I think is true to our core, but when you say it out loud, it makes you take an outside perspective. But one of the really poignant moments in the first portion of his book is talking about how expectations are pretty high and after reading all of the copy on these advertisements for group trips and travel industry people, obviously, with those words, the expectations are set at a very, very high level. You’re going in wanting to have a life changing moment, and he says, “Anything short of a life changing epiphany would have been a disappointment and it’s pretty hard to have a life changing epiphany while surrounded by crowds, pretending to have life changing epiphanies.” And this goes really deep into instagram culture and like Tripadvisor reviews and how we set the bar so high on travel and how it’s contradictory in and of itself.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, it was pretty powerful. He had his own talk after that talk, which we ended up going to because we just really appreciated what he had to say. And he really hit home a lot of the points he made in the book and we will definitely link to the book in the show notes if you’re interested. But anyway, going back to the point that you just made about that, I think that was really the biggest takeaway from his talk was a similar theme.

Caroline Lloyd: So basically the conclusion that we came to was travel started as this life changing capable experience and then the travel brand took hold of that and regurgitated it everywhere. And now people’s expectations are so high that either they’re pretending to have life changing epiphanies everywhere that they go or are just disappointed.

Ian Hoyt: And to that point, another aside would be Sarah, one of our members at Life Nomading. She actually had a conversation and there’s an article coming out that she wrote about that very topic when she was in Bali, and all these expectations that people put around Bali and how her and Mitko were just so kind of like disappointed, kind of stressed out, and just the expectations were so high. But the realizations were so low like there was such a gap.

Caroline Lloyd: And we could get so far into this, you know, and that that goes into reading articles before you visit a place, and visiting that place because other people have gone and you know, trying to plan out your trip and all of this stuff that goes into what you expect travel to be. And quite honestly, we’ve talked about this before, the best memories of travel are the serendipitous moments that sometimes in a moment feel miserable and then end up being the story that you tell all your friends when you return.

Ian Hoyt: In a very contradictory way, I really like to approach travel by setting the bar really low. Not having expectations, not having a bar of, oh, I need to see this, oh, I need to feel this way, and when you shed yourself of that. For example, we have a group trip to Bulgaria, no one knows about Bulgaria. We don’t set any expectations for you, but if you can go into it with an open mind with low expectations, I guarantee you’re going to be more open to experiencing whatever it is. We can’t control what you’re going to experience. We can’t control your feelings, but you can’t have those feelings or those opportunities to do things if you’re so focused on the stuff that you’ve got to see, the things you’ve got to go to, and the vibes you get, and the instagrams. You really have to set a low bar for travel, and that’s the only way you’re going to find a way to experience.

Caroline Lloyd: I mean, just a way to look at this: If you talk to anyone who has traveled within the past year and you ask them about their trip, sure, they’ll list off all the things that they saw, but the story that they will tell, and you kind of have to listen with an analytical ear, I guess, but the stories that they tell are normally the things that weren’t on their itinerary to begin with.

Ian Hoyt: I mean, for example, when I was in Quito, Ecuador, and we were doing a back country motorcycle, two day trip to Mindo. My friend and I were trying to find this waterfall. This waterfall that was on the map, on the guided map for the motorcycle thing. And we couldn’t find it and all sudden we just stopped with our motorcycles on the side of a road. At this gate we thought it was the waterfall, right? But instead it was this very old and very kind lady that did not speak a single word of English. And we just tried to ask her where the waterfall was. Right?

Ian Hoyt: And she was very confused and we pulled up Google translator and we tried to communicate and through very, very broken Spanish, we were able to gain entry into her property. And we thought we were going to this waterfall that was on the map, and instead we under the impression that we only had about 30 minutes to follow her down the side of this mountain to this, what we thought was the waterfall, right? We’re walking down and finally we get down this really steep side of a mountain. She’s running down it. She’s like 70. And we can’t keep pace because you’re at like 9,000 feet or whatever. Long Story Short, we get to that waterfall. And while it isn’t the waterfall that we thought we were going to the journey and meeting that person that was a local there in Ecuador that we would have never met and we would have never been able to see if we weren’t open to those opportunities. And that has been one of the highlight stories of my life. And we met her. We got to look at this waterfall, we thought we were under pressure and so we had to run back up the mountain because she left us down there and then when we got back she was like, oh yeah, you got like a couple of hours. And so long story short, what I mean by that is exactly that, like you have to be open to seeing and doing things outside of the plan.

Caroline Lloyd: So yeah, I like to think that real travel happens when your travel plans go wrong. To sum it up.

Ian Hoyt: And not to get so weird but like wrong is relative, right? Because wrong, is assuming you have a plan.

Ian Hoyt: So going off of that, I think the biggest takeaway is we really appreciate our time at the New York Times travel show. We were enlightened, we met some awesome people and we took a lot of information away from that on how we can make what we’re offering in trips better.

Caroline Lloyd: I think we should also just say we really did meet some really wonderful people, but mission driven organizations and really great places of the world that I hope that we can visit one day. And I think there’s a lot of good things happening in the travel industry right now, but the main takeaway is what we just talked about.

Ian Hoyt: And with that being said, now, we have put a lot of these things in place before we even approached thIS show for our trips.

Caroline Lloyd: On a personal level. We kind of travel with this mindset already.

Ian Hoyt: And we just realized that although we’re offering these trips and we’ve done trips in the past with small groups, we really want to take away a lot of the things we mentioned that we really believe in and integrate those into our trips even more. I.E. really hunker down and focus on the ability to have experiences on your own, and have more freedom and ability to be open to the culture and the world around you when you’re in a new place.

Caroline Lloyd: So whether that means you know, a lot of free or just allowing people accessibility into places so they aren’t traveling alone, because not everyone feels safe or comfortable traveling by themselves. We’re offering a group of like-minded people that are wanting to experience it as if it’s the first time they’re together.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. So for example, we have an upcoming trip to Bulgaria that is available and it’s 10 days. And initially, quite honestly, we were going to include everything we thought you should do, but we’re going to actually pull that back.

Caroline Lloyd: Because why is it our decision to choose what you do while you’re in a new destination?

Ian Hoyt: And while, although we’ve always said, you know, if you want to stray away from the pack, go for it, you should do that. We’re integrating that even more into our quote-unquote non itinerary. So while though it’s a 10 day trip, we cover your lodging and your transportation. Everything else is kind of ad hoc. You do what you want. We’re going to be around there. We’re going to be doing our thing. Come along for the ride and experience what we experience, but maybe you want to go off the beaten path and that’s okay. We’re here to help facilitate, but mainly we’re here to cover some of those really basic details. Get you in a new place, give you some other people that maybe connect with or maybe not and let’s take it from there. We have a lot of different things and ideas planned and we’re going to do them ourselves and you have the option to participate or not at your choice.

Caroline Lloyd: Group travel for the single traveler.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. Or the couple.

Caroline Lloyd: I really think, and we learned this from our trip last summer, we had so much fun with a group when we went with Mitko and Sarah, and honestly, wanted to share that experience and this is how we’re doing it.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. And so if you want more details on that, you can obviously check out our website. You can find the Bulgaria trip more specifically at LifeNomading.com/Bulgaria. And you’ll see what we’re talking about there. We’ve dramatically cut the price to just cover the lodging and the transportation and some, a couple of dinners here and there for like the opening night and stuff, but dramatically cut the price so anyone can really get involved. And we’re only taking like eight people. So we’re going to keep it small and we’re going to have just a fun, fun time.

Caroline Lloyd: Super great shout out to everyone that we met at the travel show. Shout out to Seth for this awesome book. You should definitely read it if you’re into traveling or just, honestly, exploring anywhere in the world that you currently are. I think it gives a great view on how to be a constant explorer.

Ian Hoyt: Quite honestly, he’s an inspiration to both of us. I mean we learned so much in that you know one or two hours of just listening to him and reading the book and we’re excited to dig deeper into some of his philosophies.

Caroline Lloyd: If you could subscribe, we are on Itunes, Overcast, and Spotify. Leave us a review on itunes. That would mean a lot to us.

Ian Hoyt: And we love connecting with everyone. So please, if you’re listening to this, send us a DM on instagram @LifeNomading and we can kind of learn what your deal is with travel.

Caroline Lloyd: So that’s it. Until next time, we will see you here again. I’m Caroline.

Ian Hoyt: And I’m Ian. And go explore something.

How to Get Through the Airport Quicker

Life Nomading Podcast Artwork

When it comes to getting through the airport, it can certainly be a headache. But why is that, and does it really have to be that way? The answer is, absolutely not. Getting through the airport isn’t rocket science and in this episode, Caroline and I lay out some of our tips on making sure you’re taking advantage of any opportunity to speed through the crowds and get to your airplane with ease.

Show Notes

Vlog of me being stranded at the Washington Dulles airport:

Check out some of our favorite bags for international travel.

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If you’re looking to cut the TSA line and you haven’t quite reached loyalty on an airline, then TSA Pre-check may be a good option to look into.

Caroline Lloyd: @caromanifesto
Ian Hoyt: @IanHoyt

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Show Transcript

Caroline Lloyd: I ran really fast between gates and people thought I was crazy, but I had a little, a movie moment, but I had a movie moment when the wind was blowing through my hair my heart was racing and we weren’t gonna make our flight and our whole international trip was just going to be debunked. Right. Them in there.

Ian Hoyt: Waiting for number to appear on the board. Anxieties killing us. We made it to Budapest.

Ian Hoyt: Hey there, fellow nomads. This is Ian

Caroline Lloyd: and Caroline

Ian Hoyt: and this is the Life Nomading podcast

Ian Hoyt: The first week in Bulgaria. Today we’re going to go wakeboarding.

Ian Hoyt: Hey there, fellow nomads. It’s Ian and Caroline and welcome back to another episode of the Life Nomading podcast.

Caroline Lloyd: Today we’re going to be talking about a real hassle to all travelers, whether domestically or internationally, and that is how to get through the airport quicker.

Ian Hoyt: Oh yeah. We all would like to get through the airport a little bit quicker and we got some tips

Caroline Lloyd: Ian, what’s your favorite airport moment?

Ian Hoyt: Oh, my favorite airport moment is the time that I spent the night in the airport. We were dating yet, but gone to Florida for a trade show air show event and I was on my way back and I was in DC. I was connecting through DC and the airplane had some type of issue, mechanical issue and long story short after the course of like boarding twice and getting de-planed and them saying it was different things every single time. Um, they eventually just couldn’t get it off the ground and we were stuck in DC for overnight.

Ian Hoyt: So it is now 2:30 AM… I’m in Washington, DC, still waiting on the airplane.

Ian Hoyt: So I spent the night in the airport. I’ll actually link to the video vlog that I made in the airport. I was one of the only ones in Washington Dulles and it was kinda fun. Exhausting.

Caroline Lloyd: Couldn’t you have stayed with your sister?

Ian Hoyt: Well, it was so late by the time that they finally just said no to when the first flight out was that it wasn’t enough time. A 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM or something like that. And there wasn’t, enough time and she lives in the city or you know, far away from DC is not very close proximity to Dulles. So yeah, that was a, that was my airport experience. Good Times. How about you Caroline? What was your favorite airport experience? I’m sure you have one.

Caroline Lloyd: You know, at the moment it wasn’t my favorite, but as I look back on it with rose colored glasses, it was pretty fun. We were in Istanbul and he’s laughing because it was actually one of the most miserable moments of my life at this point we had been awake for 23 hours.

Ian Hoyt: We’re stranded. We still have four hours until we depart, but they gave us water. This is your real, your first real like long flight layover.

Caroline Lloyd: You know, I could’ve gone my entire life with that, but now that I look back on it, it was a learning moment and kind of a fun little memory. But we had been awake for like 23 hours. This was our third stop on the journey.

Ian Hoyt: For reference we were using my award miles to get to Europe last year and we didn’t want to pay for the flight.

Caroline Lloyd: Not the best itinerary

Ian Hoyt: Wasn’t the best itinerary but we paid like $15 each.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah, worth it and worth the memories. But I was exhausted. Severely dehydrated after being in the air for that long, you know, it was like the first moment where you’re like, your digestive system is kind of adjusting to traveling. You’re in a new place, a new time zone, exhausted. And I think we were taking turns napping in the Istanbul airport, which they don’t tell you which gate you’re at until again that 20, 30 minutes before your flight. So we’re just wandering the halls of this foreign airport

Ian Hoyt: And it was a massive airport. Huge. And I believe they opened that new one that’s even bigger. But that’s besides the point, there were huge international flights flying in and out every minute.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. Really big planes with like airline brands that I had never recognized rolling past the windows and we found like a empty gate in front of a big window so Ian could watch the planes and I, we took turns napping.

Ian Hoyt: And you napped, stayed awake.

Caroline Lloyd: He knows how to keep me happy. So after napping for a little bit, we decided to, you know, let’s get up and walk around and just try to make ourselves feel a little bit more human. And we went to get this Turkish ice cream.

Ian Hoyt: Alright. We are in Turkey, We just got sticky ice cream.

Caroline Lloyd: And it was like this very gooey chocolate ice cream and the guys serves it with like a flair and he has like a long scooper thing. Iron stake. Yeah. And he does like a little show for you. It’s just like tiny little booth in the airport and sticky, sticky ice cream.

Ian Hoyt: And it reminds me of the fudge sickle inside.

Caroline Lloyd: Yes. That’s what it, that’s all you can soft serve form. And we got the ice cream and they were like no tables around. So we literally went to like the duty free zone and sat down on the floor with all of our stuff exhausted and we ate this ice cream.

Ian Hoyt: That was like a quintessential moment. I don’t know if it, if it was for you, but especially a starting this trip that we had planned and this was, you know, a big part of us in our relationship as well and it was like, okay, like we’re eating the sticky ice cream in Istanbul and it was like, all right, like this is happening, this trip is going on and like we’re in the middle of Turkey right now and we’re doing this together.

Caroline Lloyd: Yeah. And I had like moments before we got the ice cream I was, we were both really tired and grumpy and it was the first moment when I had thought like, oh my gosh, what did I get myself into? And everyone’s going to have that moment when you’re traveling. And a lot of the times it’s going to be in the airport. So especially for someone who like, you know, I do get anxious in airports. That was like a really nervous moment for me, but some of those terrible quote unquote terrible moments turn into some of the best memories of traveling.

Caroline Lloyd: So before we start, I have to say that I am an anxious traveler and going on very large international trips was a struggle for me at first because I am the type of person that likes to get to the airport three, four hours in advance.

Caroline Lloyd: Some of my best memories in airports are when we have to run from gate to gate and things get really hectic and I have to push down my airport anxiety and just go with it because it’s pretty fun.

Ian Hoyt: Yes. We’ve had our fair share of running.

Caroline Lloyd: Literally running full speed from gate to gate we one time for d planed before we actually took off and then they ended up switching gates and I left our boarding passes our printed boarding passes on the plane and they wouldn’t let us get on the new flight because I didn’t have the boarding passes and I was very thankful that I was wearing tennis shoes because I ran really fast between gates and people thought I was crazy but I had a little. A movie moment are crazy, but they had a movie moment when the wind was blowing through my hair by heart was racing and we weren’t going to make our flight and our whole international trip was just going to be debunked right then in there

Ian Hoyt: more so like just delayed today

Caroline Lloyd: and we probably would have had less layovers struggle because of that. But you know, it was a great story. Great moment in the airport.

Ian Hoyt: I used to be the same way as well. I used to get. Well for context, if you’re listening and you don’t know I’m a pilot as well, so I have a little.

Caroline Lloyd: Had to throw that little detail in there.

Ian Hoyt: I have an affinity for being at airports, so I used to get to the airport around, you know, the recommended like two plus an hour just to watch airplanes. But as of the last few years I’ve become a frequent flyer status on United. And so airports are now a whole different ballgame for me. It’s all about getting through the airport quick.

Caroline Lloyd: For any lowly peasant budget traveler though who does not have status. Getting through the airport is a miserable, miserable struggle.

Ian Hoyt: And just for context, I am still a budget traveler, but if your budget travel enough in one year you get to level up a little bit. You get an extra leg room.

Ian Hoyt: So what we’re gonna do is we’re going to talk about some hacks you can do if you don’t fly very often in a year, let’s say you know a handful of times and also some additional notes if you are creeping into the whole status world, how to optimize it. Now it’s going to be different for different airlines, but we’ll just talk from our experience.

Caroline Lloyd: So how fast you’re moving through an airport can widely depend on what else you’re carrying with you in that airport. My whole entire life changed when I got my first suitcase with four wheels and that was a huge step for me because one, I was traveling more often where I didn’t need to actually check luggage and I could just take a backpack and a carry on, so luggage makes a really big difference and if you’re carrying more than just one rolling suitcase, I would suggest checking that luggage because the last thing that you want in the world is to be rolling. Two rolling suitcases through the airport at once. That’s just really gonna slow you down. Now. I never really checked luggage before because a lot of the times when I first started flying frequently it was to college and back and that was an expensive little trip to be made. I didn’t have a car, but there is this lovely little website called skiplagged and that allows you to book flights from one origin point to a that you’re not going to, but you would get off at the layover city. So that meant that I couldn’t check luggage. Now if you do have status or if you’re flying southwest and you get to the airport and the line to check your luggage at the front isn’t too long, you might as well check your bag because then you don’t have to worry about it along your route.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, and for the paranoid traveler I can see how they would love to hold onto their bag, but sometimes it’s better to just get rid of it and board and you don’t have to worry about it. I, I get more anxiety trying to figure out if I can fit my bag in the overhead than I do whether I’m going to lose it or not.

Caroline Lloyd: It’s also just one more thing to go through Tsa,

Ian Hoyt: But I will say those lines to check bags can get extremely long and in that case, yeah, the whole carry on scenario makes a lot of sense. A lot of airlines will let you gate check by default so you can pretty much always get away with it because they’re always over sold and so they will definitely gate check your bags for you. So long story short, check your bags if the lines are short, when you enter the airport, if not, go straight to tsa and take your carry on.

Caroline Lloyd: So I want to talk about luggage brands. We have a whole lot of suitcases and our closet right now, mainly because both of us moved to New York, not with a car or a moving van, but with luggage.

Ian Hoyt: I had two suitcases when I moved here

Caroline Lloyd: I had two plus a carry on. Yeah.

Ian Hoyt: Now they’re all in our closet

Caroline Lloyd: and we never touched them.

Ian Hoyt: Barely ever. So my go to’s are two different depending on the scenario. My hard shell choice is a Chester bag, which it’s a new brand to come into the world. It’s awesome. Highly recommend it. Really high quality. And then my other bag which has been tried and true for years. You can’t go wrong with travel pros, they’ll last you a long time, but it just depends kind of if you want a hard shell or just a regular bag.

Caroline Lloyd: I would say that luggage is one place not to skimp. You want quality luggage. That’s gonna last you forever. I fell into the traps of buying crappy suitcases when I was 18 years old and they weren’t that much less expensive than a nice brand and they were on the side of the road within two years because they just couldn’t withstand that type of wear and tear.

Ian Hoyt: Absolutely. So we’ll link to all the different bags. We actually have a dedicated article about that in the show notes on this episode. If you want to check out what we recommend.

Caroline Lloyd: Speaking of TSA Lines, there’s a nice little line where people run right in front of me and it’s really annoying. I don’t know about that life, but it’s called precheck.

Ian Hoyt: We’re talking about TSA Precheck. Now people can sign up. I believe they may have already closed some of their precheck opportunities because so many people were signing up, but essentially you pay a fixed fee for five plus years to have a dedicated line where you don’t have to take your shoes off. You can just walk through a metal detector and you get to cut the long lines in the security lines at the airport. Now there’s so many people that have signed up that sometimes precheck is just as long as the regular line, uh, but it is definitely an opportunity to get through the airport quicker. Added again, if you have any type of credit card with an airline or if you fly enough where you’re starting to get that status. There will also be a preferred member line where you can actually not be a precheck member like myself. But I do have a preferred line that isn’t the regular line in most airports and that will get you through at least to the entrance of the security detectors quicker.

Caroline Lloyd: Every time I go home to visit my parents, my mom will not let me get on the plane unless I have a bag full of homemade baked goods and treats. And for context, I live in Atlanta, which is a very busy airport. And the security lines there get so freaking long. So I was going through the TSA line and they pull me out to search my baked goods bag. And because my mom makes homemade hot cocoa mix and apparently they didn’t like all the powder that in residue that was on it. And so I ended up missing my flight because they pulled me in, wiped my hands down, had to wait for that wipe to like pass some sort of exam or something. And because of that I missed my flight. It was the worst day in my life. It was terrible. It was terrible. But that happens all the time in Atlanta. And I think that’s why I’m so anxious all the time about missing my flight.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, I don’t know what it is, but when we fly through Atlanta on there some extra security going on there. And I think it’s probably just because it’s the busiest airport. All right, so I’m excited to talk about this little hack. So conventional wisdom tells you to arrive at your airport two hours in advance for a domestic flight and international three hours. Now that’s the conventional wisdom that they’re telling every single person that is boarding your airplane to arrive in. So what does that mean? Basic Laws of economics, supply demand. If everyone’s going to go in there at that time, you’re going to have crowded lines trying to get to their flight, so what should you do? Well, we maybe suggests that you arrive maybe let’s say 30 minutes after that recommendation when everyone’s already there and the lines are already moving. You won’t have any of that downtime that you have typically at your gate when you’re waiting because you got there too early

Caroline Lloyd: and take this with a grain of sale. Because I will never arrive that late for a flight. I am an anxious bunny

Ian Hoyt: Oh really? I don’t think they could tell three or four episodes.

Caroline Lloyd: I like to get to the airport, grab a little Latte, read my book, maybe just sit on my computer for a little bit and have some real relaxation time because if I am in the security line 10 minutes before I’m supposed to board, I will have a meltdown.

Ian Hoyt: You’ll be fine. You’ll get to your airplane. Now I’m a punctual person and even I recommend that two to three hours is a little excessive to be there. Now if you’re at a busy airport like let’s say Atlanta, okay, sure. Maybe that makes sense, but if you’re at another airport, typically you’re fine coming 30 minutes later than that suggestion.

Caroline Lloyd: Maybe I don’t like getting there later than the recommended time because kind of an old fashioned traveler. I like to have a printed boarding pass. All of that. Very organized in my suitcase, but not everyone likes to travel that way. I have recently made the very large technological jump to mobile boarding passes.

Ian Hoyt: I’m rolling my eyes as we talk. You fly with me now. So

Caroline Lloyd: You know, I think it started as I like to have little mementos of my trips, little tickets, but then I started traveling so much that they were getting thrown away and useless and just sitting in my suitcases that are now sitting in my closet. So mobile boarding allows you to check in on your phone, use your phone for the boarding pass. Everything is right there. You scan it, you don’t have to think twice on, oh my gosh, where did I put my ticket? Is it on the coffee counter? Is it at the seat at the gate and I used to also lose that a lot.

Ian Hoyt: 2019 people. Mobile boarding is adopted everywhere, so use it

Caroline Lloyd: Except internationally. It’s not always the case for international airlines.

Ian Hoyt: That is true international as much different, but like she said, definitely adopt mobile boarding if you’re trying to get through the airport quicker because what can you do? You can check it online and go straight to the TSA if you are not checking your bag. Another piece of advice, if you’re trying to get from point a to point B as quickly as possible in the airport is kind of common sense. Research the airport, now I don’t think a lot of people do this. I’ve kind of noticed that I’m one of the few. I think that actually pulls up the map and kind of studies it a bit, but it can help a ton. Now. A lot of the airline apps actually have the airport’s map integrated into the APP, so you’re able to just pull it up when you land and that’s what I do.

Ian Hoyt: I pull up the map whenever I land and when I’m taxing from landing to the gate, I’ll kind of study, okay, I’m coming in at this gate, this is my connection gate or this is where I need to go and just have kind of a mental picture. So when I get out of the gate, because let’s be realistic. If you’re connecting, you’re probably on a very, very heavy time crunch, so you’re going to want to know, do I make a left or do I make her right when I get out of that gate? So study the maps

Caroline Lloyd: or follow the signs.

Ian Hoyt: I think it’s worth mentioning that when you’re getting in the TSA line that the biggest thing that can save you time is being prepared to go through security. I feel like I have this system down. It reminds me of Ryan Bingham in “Up in the Air” when he’s going through line and they choose which line to go and he just slips off his shoes and throws stuff in the bin and is going and that’s how I feel when I get there and everyone around me is shuffling through their backpacks

Caroline Lloyd: AKA me. I am shuffling through my backpack.

Ian Hoyt: And taking their belts off and they’re a hot mess. They don’t know what to do and it takes them excessive amounts of time to get through security because they’re just taking forever, so stay organized. If you can take all your watches, your belts, anything in your pockets, put it in your backpack or whatever carry on bag you have. Just throw it all in there and that way you don’t have to worry about taking it out, putting it in the bin, maybe losing it. I do that all before I even enter the TSA line, so really when I get to the front of the line where you put it through the scanner, all I’m doing is pulling my shoes off, putting my backpack down and I typically have my laptop already out and I throw that in a separate bin and we go through and I’m done.

Caroline Lloyd: And then he gets pulled aside because he has so much camera gear in his backpack that they always search his bag.

Ian Hoyt: That is true. Very true.

Caroline Lloyd: One thing that we learned traveling extensively through Europe is that they have very different Tsa. Well, it’s not Tsa. They have different security standards.

Ian Hoyt: Ie… Yep. You’re good.

Caroline Lloyd: It’s brilliant. The security and a lot of international airports is at the gate and this goes back to arrival time being different. The best time to arrive for an international flight in an international airport. Obviously researched this before taking my word on it because every airport is different, but most people don’t actually show up until 45 minutes before the flight because they don’t let you in and then as soon as your lead in your checking in for the flight and you go directly into security, that spits you out on basically on the plane. They don’t make you take your shoes off, you don’t have to take your belt off. You literally put your things on a bench tray thing and then you walk through and that’s it. It’s amazing.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah, so international rules do not apply to domestic here in the state.

Ian Hoyt: So that’s it guys. Those are some tips that we have for getting through the airport quicker. If you have some tips of your own, which I’m sure you do, be sure to send us a DM on instagram @lifemomading and we’ll definitely share that with our team. As always, you can find us on any major podcast platform from Spotify, which is one of my favorites. Overcast, iTunes, any of those we should be there.

Caroline Lloyd: On iTunes if you could leave us a review, that would mean so much to us.

Ian Hoyt: Oh, and while we’re here, we should mention something that’s going down.

Caroline Lloyd: We’re going to Bulgaria.

Ian Hoyt: Yeah. If you haven’t noticed in any of our blog articles or posts or things we talked about in previous podcasts, we’re going to have a little place called Bulgaria.

Caroline Lloyd: And we want you to come with us. We’re hosting a 10 day 9 night trip for a limited amount of people and we would love for you to be one of them.

Ian Hoyt: So if one of your goals is to travel more and maybe see a new part of the world, Eastern Europe and Bulgaria, it’s perfect for you. Again, we’re traveling in the summer and we want you to join. If you want more details, go to https://www.lifenomading.com/bulgaria. That’s where you can find more information about the trip itself and also see the different prices and payment options. So until next time I’m Ian

Caroline Lloyd: and I’m Caroline

Ian Hoyt: and go explore something new.

Caroline Lloyd: We’ll see you next week.