Best Road Trips – New Zealand, Scotland, India

In the more recent years of our adulthood, we have done quite a few road trips. But if we were to choose the most epic ones so far, there are three that come to mind. What’s amazing to realize is that the three were in three different parts of the world and completely different from one another! Here they are …

1. Road Tripping across New Zealand, South Island

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Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

New Zealand felt like Scotland on steroids mainly because of the sunny weather. It’s the most picturesque place on earth we’ve been to, ever! It’s true when people say you really have to concentrate to stay focused on the road because the landscapes are so breathtaking.

We covered multiple destinations, stayed in all types of accommodation ranging from hostels, airbnbs to a camping site in the middle of nowhere, cooked our own meals, gorged at restaurants and ate at food carts.

See our NZ road trip itinerary – click here and you can watch our vlog here.

2. Road trip from Leeds to the Scottish Highlands (Fort William, Isle of Skye)

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Somewhere in the Scottish Highlands

The highlands felt like a dream, the clouds and mist around adding to the surrealism. The English countryside along the way, sheep farms, lochs and snow covered peaks so close to the beautiful road was a first for us.

The best part was staying in a camping pod at this campsite called Bunroy park at Fort William. Sleeping snug and warm in sleeping bags, trudging to the common bathroom in the cold and making breakfast at the camp turned out to be an amazing adventure. Whisky Distillery tour at Dalwhinnie, stop over at the Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier for the most amazing mug of hot chocolate and stop over at the lookout at Laggan Dam were other highlights.

Read our post on the road trip, click here and see time-lapses captured from our action cam here.

3. Road trip from Mumbai to Agra via Udaipur & Ranthambore National Park, India

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Jeep Safari at Ranthambore National Park

There was so much diversity to our experiences on this one. We started from Mumbai and first stop was Udaipur, a lovely lake city in the state of Rajasthan. Next was open jeep safaris chasing Bengal tigers at Ranthambore and final stop was Agra, a historic town and the world renowned Taj Mahal.

Read more about this trip at these posts – Part 1 and Part 2.

Day trips from Cape Town

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Beautiful day in Stellenbosch, South Africa

In the previous post, we shared things to do in Cape Town. While researching for our own trip, we realized there are quite a few things you could do around the city as well.

Here are some of the things we chose to do.

1.Wine Tour in Stellenbosch – this region has scores of vineyards from large commercial ones to family owned boutique ones. We booked a tour with Wine Flies tours and it turned out to be a really enjoyable experience. The tour guide will pick you up in the morning, then drive you up to the wine region. You will visit five vineyards, see bottling in progress, walk around wine casks, stop at a lovely farm for lunch and end the tour at an organic farm where you can buy eggs 🙂 And you get to cuddle dogs!

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Wine casks from one stop over with Wine Flies

2. Cape Point – we took the Cape Explorer tour with CitySightseeing. Cape Point is supposed to offer amazing ocean views however, the day we visited was overcast. You can also hike to the Cape of Good Hope with your guide, which we did despite the rain and although it wasn’t the best day the weather turned the hike into a bit of an adventure

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Hike to the Cape of Good Hope aka Cape of Storms

3. African Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach – Cape Explorer will also stop at Boulders Beach where you can get up close and see penguins in their natural habitat. Over the years the penguin colonies in South Africa have deteriorated but efforts are being made to restore the habitats. We really enjoyed it and the penguins are so cute!

 

Watch our vlog below on our day trips from Cape Town. Hope this was useful and thanks for stopping by 🙂

10 things to do in Cape Town

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Citysightseeing, Cape Town

South Africa was splendid! We didn’t expect our vacay to be so superlative but it just was.

Cape Town is a city you can easily fall in love with. It’s the right size, not too large and not too small. It has everything you can hope for, with mountain peaks you can trek to, to beautiful beaches you can relax at.

Here are 10 things to note when planning your vacay in Cape Town, South Africa:

1. Hop-on-hop-off bus tour – Really good tours here which provide an excellent overview of the city and the audio commentary is informative and fun. We went with Citysightseeing on a 24 hours pass

2. Table Mountain – If a trek is not for you, then take a cable car up there. For the more adventurous, you can also trek to Lion’s Head

3. V&A Food Market – Plenty of food vendors with several vegetarian options. Coffee, juices, desserts, organic nuts, snack bars … you name it

4. V&A Waterfront – Hang out at the waterfront, soak in capetonian vibes, grab a drink or a bite, visit the shopping mall and take a picture at the giant yellow photo frame 😀

5. The Watershed – for great local souvenirs, this is the place to go to

6. Boat ride at V&A Waterfront – Extend your hop-on-hop-off experience by taking a boat ride, soak in the views, ships at the harbor, hear the gulls and spot some sea lions if you are lucky

7. Free Walking Tours – Experience Cape Town, up close and personal on one or more walking tours with a local guide. Tours start at Green Market Square. The square is also good to shop for local souvenirs (be ready to bargain here)

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Chasing squirrels at The Company’s Garden, Cape Town

8. Company’s Garden – Yes the garden built by the Dutch East India Company back in the 1650s and is now a heritage site. Take a walk amongst numerous pigeons and squirrels with Table Mountain in the backdrop. Also meet the city’s oldest citizen here. Breakfast at the restaurant here or stop by at the museums

9. The Neighbourgoods Market at The Old Biscuit Mill – Happens every Saturday. You need to go and discover it for yourself

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Chasing the sunset at Camps Bay, Cape Town

10. Sunsets at Camps Bay – The best way to spend your evenings. Choose a sea facing cafe/restaurant/bar, order in the drinks and tapas and you are set for a few hours of bliss. All the while, you have the Twelve Apostles watching over you

Our Vlog below, brings everything above to life

Bonus to-dos:

Robben Island – We heard it gets really crowded. So choose the time wisely or take a private tour

Stop by for a color riot at Bo-Kaap (worthy instagrammable photo opportunity here) 😀

Getting around? Just Uber

Ha Long Bay with Orchid Cruise

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Orchid Cruise, Ha Long Bay

When we made our plan to visit Vietnam earlier this May, Ha Long Bay had to be in the itinerary. After watching some vlogs and talking to friends who had been there, we decided that a cruise was the best way to enjoy this natural wonder.

We shortlisted Orchid Cruise for 3D2N Ha Long Bay Cruise. Though the prices are on the higher side, everything is included when you choose this option. And by this we mean the stay, all meals and even the activities.

The stay on it was superb and the hospitality from the crew simply amazing. The rooms were quite spacious with a comfortable bed, a private balcony and even a bathtub. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was included and a couple of dinners were quite impressive 5 course meals.

In terms of activities, here is what was included:

  1. Kayaking and swimming on two days
  2. Cycling and village tour at Cat ba island
  3. Cave tour on bamboo boats
  4. Tai chi every morning
  5. Spring roll making on two evenings
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Local selling drinks and snacks to cruises

Below is what you can additionally purchase:

  1. Drinks and snacks. Happy hour every evening!
  2. Massages. There is a spa!

Another advantage of taking this cruise was that the drive from Hanoi to the port was only 1.5 hours as they have a special permit. For all other cruises the drive is 4 hours from Hanoi.

We really enjoyed the tour with amazing views from the windows and the sun deck, even from the dining room. It was surreal to wake up to views in the bay and goto bed with the moonlight shining in the middle of nowhere. Even though a short one, it was one of our best luxurious relaxed vacay.

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Goodnight from Ha Long Bay

Here is our vlog from Ha Long Bay. Enjoy the views! 😀

One thing really saddened us though. While most of the bay was clean, we did see junk floating about at places. Especially in areas where cruises anchored. We never saw anyone litter at least from our cruise but here’s a shout out to everyone. Let’s be responsible and not litter. If we see anyone litter we must stop them. Let’s do our bit and keep the bay clean and beautiful for everyone to enjoy.

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Littering in Ha Long Bay 😦

How to scoot around the world despite full time jobs

Travel Keede above the clouds

Looking at our travel updates, several people have quizzed us on how we manage it. Some of their questions/comments go as follows:

How do you get so many leaves? What about your budget? Are you not saving anything? Isn’t it expensive? I’m so jealous! You are so lucky 😀

Sounds familiar? Well let us put you out of your misery and tell you how it’s done!

If you have enough time and money to travel, this post is not for you. But if you are like most of us with full time jobs, family obligations, limited days of leave and limited means, read on. If we can do it, so can you.

1.Make that resolve

Do you really want to travel often? Think about it. It’s okay to not want to travel and instead relax at home or pursue your hobby on your off days. No one is judging you if you don’t post updates on social media from your recent mind blowing vacay. Travel for the love for travel, not for the airs.

But if you do want to, right there you’ve made your decision. Do not just dream about travelling, resolve to make it happen. So that life just doesn’t pass by and you are left wallowing in regret.

2.Lifestyle changes

Once you’ve made the decision, you can start fine tuning your lifestyle so you are not spending unnecessarily. Think before you eat at that that pricey restaurant, buy that new shirt or party every weekend. Instead choose to cook at home more often, opt for house parties, shop less.

Reduce commuting costs by taking public transport as much as possible. Also be on the lookout for deals on taxi services (the likes of Uber, Ola, Grab) and you’ll be surprised to know you can cut down taxi fare by 40-50%.

One of the biggest expense for urbanites is the house rent. This needs to be managed to make a significant reduction in your monthly expenses. For example, we stay in an area which has close access to two metro stations and 4 bus stops greatly helping in reducing commute costs. However, we have compromised on the house in exchange for lower rent. We chose functionality over luxury.

Think about if you really need that gym membership. Why not jog in the park and exercise at the office gym?

3. Plan your leaves

Now that you are saving more moolah, it’s time start thinking about when you want to go for that vacation. We generally do two 10-11-day holidays and three 2-4-day holidays in a year. We plan based on public holidays and optimize it by including the weekends. So for a 10 day break with one public holiday in between, you need 5-6 days of leave. Leave on Thur eve/night, come back on Sun night/Mon morning.

Similarly for a shorter break, you can manage by taking 1-2 days off.

It does get tiring with the long flights and reporting back for work the very next day, but we are willing to make this sacrifice.

4.Budget your travel

You can be smart about your travel so you don’t over spend. For flights try options in incognito mode on the browser and see what works out best. We have often taken a flight with a layover as that works out cheaper.

Our stays are mostly with Airbnb which are comparatively cheaper and give us the option of preparing our own light meals which again saves us from spending too much on food. Besides, Airbnbs are a lot more personal and give you the experience of living in a place rather than just visiting.

In big cities like Paris, Barcelona, London you can easily get around using public transport saving quite a few bucks. Also, walk as often as you can.

5. Choose your destinations

Finally, time to pack your bags! It’s alright if you are a not able to go to your dream destination right away. Starting small might just work in your favor to get you accustomed to planning and budgeting trips. If you are in a big country such as Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, travel domestic as there is loads to do. Do road trips, take train rides, whatever works.

Travel Keede ready for a train journey in Venice

If you are based in Europe or South East Asia, travelling to nearby countries which are only a couple of hours away, is what you can try first.

Gradually, plan for destinations further away and slowly yet steadily you will land in places you’ve always wanted to be at and places where you never imagined you would one day visit. The possibilities are endless.

We travelled within India earlier when we were based in Bangalore. After moving to Singapore we first covered some south east asian destinations before venturing further to Australia, NZ and Europe.

That’s it, 5 simple steps 🙂

We hope this helped. So jet set go! The world is waiting 😀

Travel Keede in New Zealand

Sydney! FTW \m/

Ugh! Our luck! The day we flew out of Melbourne, it turned out to be bright and sunny. While we were waiting at the airport, we could see the bright blue day outside. That day should have been the day we drove up to the Great Ocean Road or the Yarra Valley.

Sydney

Sydney

Anyhow, Sydney pretty much made up for it! 😀 And it felt great to be back!

The day we landed was bright and warm and we didn’t need any jackets and mufflers. It was so mood uplifting and liberating, really. It was one of the very few times, I’ve experienced how much of an affect weather can have on your mood.

This time we were staying at an Airbnb very close to the city center and that made things easy. The house itself was awesssome :). After an amazing lunch in the neighborhood, we ventured out on foot. We headed to Circular Quay, for the Opera House guided tour we had booked in advance. This was my second time in Sydney – I loved it then and and I loved it now!

Circular Quay was lovely as always, with the hive of activity and the views of the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. If you cannot catch a show at the opera house, I would really recommend the guided tour. You need to see how grand the main theater is and I can only imagine how spectacular the performances there would be. Goose bump raising kinds!

Once the tour was done, we hung around and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. In that moment I was counting my lucky stars, taking in mental pictures and living my dopamine releasing future memories 😀

Sunset at Circular Quay

Sunset at Circular Quay

Sunset and the Opera House, Sydney

Sunset and the Opera House, Sydney

Harbour Bridge, Sydney

Harbour Bridge, Sydney

On our way back, we stopped for some delicious butter and jam croissants and coffee and this cafe called Portobello which overlooks the harbour. Just what we needed in that weather!

Next day started with a visit to Queen Victoria Mall aka QVB. It’s the prettiest shopping mall I’ve ever been to! You have to go there even if just for a stroll. I can assure you, you will feel like you’re living in the 18th century. Of course no one is stopping you from enjoying a leisurely meal at one of the many casual dining options or picking up some chocolates from Haigh’s.

Inside QVB, Sydney

Inside QVB, Sydney

From there we headed to Bondi by bus. Since, it was still chilly we didn’t plan any beach activities. Instead we enjoyed a really great lunch at one of the alfresco cafes and then headed to burn all that up on the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. I had enjoyed it so much before that I wanted my friends to do this. I for one did not mind revisiting for one simple reason – breathtaking views ❤

Bondi to Coogee, Syndey

Bondi to Coogee, Syndey

Bondi to Coogee, Sydney

Bondi to Coogee, Sydney

Sydney had been great so far and we had so much planned for the next couple of days!

Ending this post with the thought below and I’ll be back tomorrow peeps 😉

“Don’t worry about the world ending today,

It’s already tomorrow in Australia” – Charles M. Schulz

Timelapses from the Scottish Highlands

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Blue skies in Scotland

We just received the timelapse videos from our road trip in Scotland earlier this year!!! You see, our cousin had purchased a new action camera and the trip became his testing ground.

The videos are awesome and we just had to share them here. It really helps you witness how picturesque the highlands are!

We’ve combined some of them into one video. It starts with the day we were driving in to Fort William, moves onto the second day when we went exploring on an overcast day, proceeds to our last day there when we were driving out on a brighter day and the last bit is when we stopped at Dalwhinnie Distillery on the way to Edinburgh.

Check em out! 😀