I'm going to Asia for 19 days in exactly one week. I'm only slightly freaking out. I haven't been gone from my dogs for this long since… ever. I know they'll be in good hands, so now it's time to start thinking about my trip. I love traveling to experience the culture, food, people, and so much more. I love it even more when I pack light.I've been overseas almost a dozen times, many times staying for 6 weeks or more. So here are my top 10 must haves when traveling abroad.

1. Travel guide
I go to the library (or Amazon) and buy a guide for whichever place I'm going to. I love it for the maps, recommendations, and transportation information. I remember a couple years ago, strolling around Paris, book open, reading aloud to Michael and my friend about the things we were passing. it's such a wealth of information at your fingertips.

2. Comfortable Walking Shoes
Sure, I might bring along a pair of cute booties, but in reality I'm wearing my tennis shoes the entire time. I call my vacations “go-cations” since we walk miles upon miles exploring the city. So comfortable shoes are a must. I've been wearing these Asics for the past 2 years and they are perfect to roam in.

3. A scarf
Different cultures have different customs. You might need to cover your head in a church or cover your arms in a temple, so having a scarf is necessary. This one is my fave since It's versatile, lightweight, and I can wear it multiple ways. And under $6.

4. My Phone Charger/Phone/Adapters
You never know when you might end up lost in an unknown place so it's nice to have a phone and your charger as a backup. I also like to have travel adapter that will work no mater where I go. But I like to carry the mobile battery charger with in case I need it, or in case I'm snapping 1 million photos and my battery gets low.

5. Nalgene
When I travel I get thirsty. Most european countries charge for water, so I like to have my Nalgene with me so I don't have to pay extra. Plus it's nice to have if you're in the wilderness. This water bottle sticks up to anything, I've had mine for years!

6. Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo might be the single greatest product there ever was. I've tried many many different products but Batiste Blonde (they have other shades for other hair color) is the best. And it's also cheap. I've talked about it on this blog before, but dry shampoo is my bae. Yep, just said that.

7. Wet Wipes
Keeping on with the subject of hygiene…You never know when something might arise and you just don't have time to shower. For instance, when we decided to stay up all night in Belgium and catch our flight the next day after spending the night dancing at a night club. I'm sure I didn't smell great. Wet wipes to the rescue.

8. Polarized Sunglasses
I'm getting more and more worried about taking care of my eyes. So I now wear polarized sunglasses to protect my eyes and prevent glare. I must have owned 1,000 pairs in my lifetime and I find it hard to pick a pair that's useful and still stylish, but I love RayBans. (P.S. these are on sale for 25% off).

9. Sturdy, Zipper Purse
I require a purse that has a zipper because pick pockets seem to be everywhere. I ditch the big back for a small, cross body bag that's sturdy enough for the trip. When I go to a music festival, I like to be able to put my camera, cell phone, wallet and anything else I might need in there. I carry this one every. single. day.

10. Leggings
You really have to bring a pair of leggings (or two) when you travel. I have literally 5 different pairs of these Old Navy sport leggings because they are super comfortable, breathable, and not see-through. Whether you go hiking, walking, or just exploring leggings are very easy to get around in. Be prepared to see a lot of pictures of me in my leggings on instagram (@heleneinbetween).

What's on your must-have list for traveling abroad?

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Now to introduce you to one of my favorite travelers around, Silvia of Heart my Backpack. Silvia has been everywhere (seriously) and she has one of those blogs that you find yourself reading for hours on end. The other day I got lost in her posts on travel tips and her thoughts on traveling. She's honest and real, and you need to add her to your blog reader. She's just that good. (This post will change your life).

I got to interview the lovely blonde today!

High Tatras, Slovakia

Tell us how you afford travel?
It's a long story, but the short version is I saved $44,000 while teaching English on a remote island in Japan from 2010-2012, and since then I've lived super frugally and made those savings last. And you can read the long version here!

Tell me one thing that travel has taught you?

Travel has taught me that the world really isn't a scary place, and in fact people are all pretty much the same when it comes down to it. It sounds like duh, but is also whoa at the same time, if you know what I mean.

I once went to a market on a strip of land between Tajikistan and Afghanistan and my friend and I weren't sure if we should tell people we're American. But it turned out the Afghans were just as shy slash eager to get to know us, and we ended up bonding over our mutual love-hate feelings towards Justin Bieber.

What's one of your favorite posts you've written?

Photography Lessons from Boracay, mostly because the “research” for the post was one of the most hilarious, awkward, and fun times I've had.


What's the biggest risk you've ever taken – was it worth it?

I'm not sure if it was risky per se, but flying into Tehran to backpack alone through Iran was pretty freaking scary. I used my Norwegian passport and had my American passport hidden in a sock in my luggage because Americans can only visit the country as part of a tour, but I was sure they would be able to tell I'm not a real European.

But it was totally worth it, not only because it was a really fun trip, but also because the response my blog posts about it got from Iranians made me fall in love with blogging! I still get emails thanking me for writing positive things about Iran, which make me overjoyed that I can somehow make total strangers happy with my blog, but also really sad that someone saying something nice about their country is considered a big deal. Like, is it time for world peace yet?
If you could have dinner with any blogger gal who would it be?

Taylor of The Daily Tay because she'd fill all the awkward silences with funny stories about her dog. And then the next day she'd post a witty, self-deprecating rant about how she really needs to stop accepting money to go to dinner with strangers (because obviously I'd have paid her to hang out with me), and I'd smile like I was in on the joke while secretly wondering if that meant she didn't want to be BFFs.

On second thought, Helene, can we skip dinner and drink a bunch of wine and do a real review of all the Christmas lights? Yes? Yeah? (I'm free on Wednesdays.)

Check out Silvia's blog, here!

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