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Brooke and I recently completed a month-long trip around the world. This post will be our central directory for all articles about that trip. Here, you can find out how we booked all of the flights for $130 per person, how we each packed for 30 days in only backpacks, and what tips we learned for each location along the way. Check back regularly, because we will update this post as we add new articles.
Table of Contents
How We Booked the Flights
How We Packed for 30 Days in Backpacks
Hawaii – Big Island
Seoul, South Korea
Koh Samui, Thailand
Western Rise Clothing
Astral Flip Flops
Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack
Learn how we used our miles and points to book the itinerary you see below. We were able to fly completely around the world, with stops in 12 destinations for only $130 each! This itinerary utilized 15 rewards programs and had 18 flight legs.
How We Packed for 30 Days in Backpacks
We absolutely HATE to check bags, especially when we have 18 flight legs! Also, lugging giant suitcases through cities and around islands is a real drag. We did a lot of research and found the best gear to travel light. Check out our packing lists:
Hawaii, Big Island – 4 days
Big Island Guide Part 1 – Views and Lava
The first day of our trip! We begin from the KOA airport and drive north, making a loop around the island. On this day, we visit the cowboy town of Waimea, the Waipio Lookout, Akaka Falls, and ride bikes to view the active lava flow. We even spent the night at a solar-powered AirBNB on the lava field.
Big Island Guide Part 2 – Volcanoes National Park
Spend the whole day exploring beautiful Volcanoes National Park. Points of interest include a lava tube, Devastation Trail, petroglyphs, the Holei Sea Arch, and the volcanic caldera at night.
Big Island Guide Part 3 – Manta Rays, South Point, Kona Coast, and more
The final two days of our visit to the Big Island include a drive along the southern coast, and then up the Kona Coast. Visit the southernmost bakery in the USA, and the absolute southern point of the USA. We jumped off cliffs, swam with giant manta rays, and tasted delicious coffee.
Seoul, South Korea – 19 hours
(coming soon) Seoul Layover Guide – [Long Layover Series]
Come with us as we spend 19 hours, including an overnight visit, in Seoul. Activities include the Banpo Bridge, Namsam Tower, and dinner in Myeongdong.
Hong Kong – 9 hours
(coming soon) Hong Kong Layover Guide – [Long Layover Series]
With an ultra-tight timeframe, we had to plan everything perfectly. We managed to cram in a surprising amount of stuff in nine short hours. Activities include exploring Central Station, the Victoria Peak tram, Victoria Peak lookout, exploring a local food market, and sampling the famous Hong Kong street food… curried fish balls anyone?
Bangkok, Thailand – 2 days
(coming soon) Historical Ayutthaya Tour with WithLocals
Our local tour guide, Chatchai showed us around the historical capital of Thailand – Ayutthaya. On this tour, we explored beautiful palaces and wats (temples), took a longboat ride, and sampled some local cuisine (and ice cream)! When we returned to Bangkok, we had a delicious dinner with Chatchai at a hot pot restaurant that he owns.
(coming soon) Bangkok Temples and Markets Tour with WithLocals
This was a short day, but we still wanted to see as much of Bangkok’s culture as possible. We hired Artty, another local tour guide to take us through some markets and temples around the city. He took us to see a 24k Buddha, Chinatown Market, the Flower Market, Chinese shrines, Wat Arun, and the famous reclining Buddha statue at Wat Pho. We wrapped up the day by taking a local commuter boat through the canals, and back to the sky train station.
Phuket, Thailand – 4 days
(coming soon) Secrets of Phang Nga Bay Tour with Phuket Sail Tours
Take a speedboat ride into the emerald-green waters of Phang Nga Bay. We kayaked through the limestone caves, swam in the bays, enjoyed lunch at a remote floating fishing village, and saw James Bond Island. I also managed to lose our Mavic Pro drone atop one of the limestone cliffs – read on for the story…
(coming soon) Exploring Rainy Phuket and the Big Buddha
Our tour to the Phi Phi islands was unfortunately canceled, due to high winds and rain. We spent one day relaxing at the resort. On our final day in Phuket, we decided to get massages (super cheap), and then visit the Big Buddha – a huge statue atop the tallest hill.
(coming soon) Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa – [Hotel Spotlight]
Explore the massive Hilton Resort in Phuket. We show you our room, sample the resort’s dining options, spend some time in the lounge, and check out the pools.
Koh Samui, Thailand – 3 days
(coming soon) Nine Tips for Your Visit to Koh Samui
Find out what you should know before visiting the small island on Thailand’s east coast. Where’s the best ice cream? What’s it like to drive there? Etc.
(coming soon) Conrad Koh Samui – [Hotel Spotlight]
We spent three nights at the incredible Conrad Koh Samui. This resort is the epitome of luxury, where every room has its own infinity pool overlooking the bay! Join us for cocktails, fine dining, a day tour, and a trip to the spa.
Singapore – 22 hours
(coming soon) Singapore Layover Guide – [Long Layover Series]
We arrived just after noon, and spent the afternoon and evening exploring this crazy city. Sights include the Long Bar (home of the Singapore Sling cocktail), the Merlion Statue, Maxwell Food Center, the rooftop at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, the Spectra laser show, the supertree grove in the Gardens by the Bay, and the fountain of wealth.
The Maldives – 6 days
(coming soon) Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa – [Hotel Spotlight]
We spent five wonderful nights at the beautiful Sheraton Maldives Resort in an overwater bungalow! This resort is one of the oldest in the Maldives, but it keeps things fun and fresh. With newly renovated rooms, a spa that sits on its own island, a lounge with its own pool, and the most wonderful resort staff, the Sheraton is definitely impressive. Join us for SCUBA lessons, a dolphin sunset cruise, fine seafood dining, cocktail hour with shark feeding, and much more!
Istanbul, Turkey – 13 hours
(coming soon) Istanbul Layover Guide – [Long Layover Series]
Come with us for the free tour of Istanbul, courtesy of Turkish Airlines. Learn how you can qualify for this fantastic perk offered by the airline. The half-day tour includes breakfast and lunch, and visits to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
Cairo, Egypt – 19 hours
(coming soon) Cairo Layover Guide – [Long Layover Series]
We booked airport pickup and a private tour of the Pyramids with a company called Emo Tours. Ibrahim picked us up from our hotel in the morning and provided an awesome tour of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, before returning us to the airport. We rode camels and also went inside the burial chamber within the Great Pyramid!
Athens, Greece – 1.5 days
(coming soon) 11 Things to Know About Athens – Taxis, Eats, Gelato, History, etc.
Athens is a very charming, historic city. During the day, you can visit temples and theater buildings where much of the Greek culture, art, and history began. By night, you can stroll down marble streets lined with shops, and past open-air cafes. The air is filled with delicious smells and lively music, and almost every place has a view of the Acropolis, bathed in lights.
Santorini, Greece – 5 days
(coming soon) 15 Tips for Your Visit to Santorini – Sunset Views, Booze Cruise, Wine Samples, Gyros, etc.
We spent our final 5 days/4 nights on the gorgeous island of Santorini. This volcanic caldera island is easily one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. The white buildings and blue roofs set up the perfect location for stunning sunsets. Let us show you some of the best things this little island has to offer!
You can find our packing lists for this trip toward the top of this page. Here, we delve deeper into the details of the items we carried, and even the bag that carried them.
(coming soon) Western Rise Clothing
Merino t-shirts; slim-fit travel pants; dual-purpose swim/dress shorts; and an ultra-light button down
100% merino shirts and underwear for men: t-shirt, tank top, Henley, boxers, and boxer-briefs.
(coming soon) Astral Philipe & Rosa Flip Flops
Transition between flip flops and sandals with the removal or addition of a single strap.
(coming soon) Tortuga Outbreaker Backpack – 35L
The ideal travel backpack. Organizational pockets, adjustable size, extra padding, waterproof design, and a waist belt. Tortuga also makes a set of packing cubes that perfectly fit this pack. They even have a wet-dry bag, which we found to be very useful.
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