Besties, Ashley & Carolyn of The Lazy Travelers share their stories and travel tips.
Ashley & Carolyn at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
Ever dreamed of traveling the world with your bestie? Of course you have, as have we. Ashley and Carolyn of The Lazy Travelers have made this dream a total reality. These two gypsets conquer the globe one glass of red at a time, and have had their fair share of adventures (downed pints in the Irish countryside, got locked in an Austrian dungeon in the middle of night, etc.). As you can see, these two travel gurus live an unaverage yet incredibly fascinating life. Ashley and Carolyn have taken the time to share with us their story, their traveling tips and much more.
Ashley & Carolyn in Budapest
How did you two meet/become best friends?
On the seventh grade school bus! Once we found out we had every single class together that year, we were pretty much inseparable.
How did you guys get the idea to start a blog? Was it something you always dreamed about?
Not at all. We were both working for the same company, and the work/life balance was… lacking. After a lot of post-work wine one night, we brilliantly decided we would run off to Dublin and open a pizza shop. We created a full presentation for Ashley’s husband, who immediately talked us off the ledge. Apparently he didn’t agree that there is a major hole in the Irish pizza market.
A blog seemed like less work, so we bought the domain and just started writing!
Ashley & Carolyn in Nob Hill, San Francisco (via Flytographer)
What do you do when you’re not roaming the world?
We also enjoy drinking wine whilst wearing comfy clothes and gchatting/whatsapping/snapchatting each other excessively. Standard bestie protocol.
Ashley & Carolyn at the Brooklyn Bridge
What is a typical day like for the two of you when you’re traveling together?
We’re big proponents of getting to know a place by aimlessly wandering, which means we don’t really have a typical day. If we’re in a city, we’ll get up, grab breakfast, and then pick a neighborhood to explore on foot. We also find ourselves renting a car for at least one day on most of our trips, and going on a bit of a roadtrip. Recently, we were in San Francisco for four days, but went out to Napa for a night so we could get a taste of the wine region.
Whatever we do, almost all our travel days include a few hours spent in a local bar, pub or cafe, people watching and taking it all in. Oh, and instagramming, mildly obsessively.
How many places have you traveled together?
Our first real adventure together was a week long pre-college program in NYC when we were sophomores in high school. Not sure how we convinced our parents of that one, but they fell for it.
Since then, we’ve been up and down the US East Coast together, all over Europe… it’s hard to keep track! Most recently, we were in South Africa for a week, which was incredible.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
What is your absolute favorite place you have ever traveled? What is one thing people NEED to do while there?
We can’t pick a favorite!! BUT our recent trip to South Africa was one of our best experiences to date.
There are so many things worth doing–wine country, safari, Cape Town–it’s an insanely beautiful country. The thing that made our time so memorable was two days spent with a local charity called Newkidz on the Block. They help establish loving homes for orphaned, vulnerable and destitute children, and the co-founders, Hilda and Michael, are such incredible people. We raised funds in the weeks leading up to our trip (and still are!), and it was so uplifting to meet the kids and caretakers who benefited from everyone’s donations.
It also made us realize that giving back when you travel doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. It’s not all or nothing–you don’t have to dedicate your entire vacation or honeymoon. It’s wonderful if you can, but even just donating one or two days really makes a huge difference.
Ashley and Carolyn painting murals in a daycare with Newkidz on the Block!
Which destinations are on your bucket list?
It’s way too long to list! Our recent reunion in San Francisco made us realize just how much of the US we haven’t seen. We also have our sights on South America. Chilean wine country, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos? We’d settle for any of those! We also definitely want to go back to Africa sooner rather than later, ideally to Botswana, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya…
Seriously, the list is just too long.
What is your favorite part about traveling the world? What is the biggest challenge in traveling?
It sounds cliche, but we genuinely love experiencing new cultures, trying new food and meeting new people. We can get a little cranky about the actual act of traveling, and usually just want that part to be over.
Our husbands would probably argue that we get a LOT cranky, especially on the return journey, but whatever. Who likes to leave vacation?!
Sunset in South Africa
What is the last best thing you ate/drank?
Kevin Arnold Shiraz paired with spicy dark chocolate at the Waterford Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa! And not that Kevin Arnold, we asked. We were met with blank stares.
What are your 5 tips for traveling internationally?
– Don’t put pressure on yourself to see everything! Instead, narrow your personal must-sees to 2 or 3 things that you can’t miss, and check out more if you have the time. Chances are high your favorite moments won’t be zipping through a museum or snapping photos of a building you heard was important.
– Try to learn key phrases in the local language, but don’t let it stress you out if you panic and forget everything as soon as you land! When all else fails, hand signals and an apologetic smile work wonders.
– If you’re unfamiliar with the local cuisine, scout out the regional fare in advance and mentally list a few dishes you know you have to try. This also helps if you’re a fan of ignoring recommendations and just picking a restaurant that looks cute. Even if you can’t read the full menu, you’ll at least have a vague idea of what to order!
– Check out the local public transport situation, as well as how much a cab should cost from the airport. There is nothing worse than wondering if you’re getting scammed the second you step off the plane.
– Pack light, especially if you have more than one stop on your itinerary. We speak from experience when we tell you that there’s nothing worse than unpacking and repacking piles of unnecessary clothes every three days.
Ashley & Carolyn in Cape Town, South Africa
What are your favorite travel essentials?
Chapstick and a big scarf! We can’t board a plane without either one. Also, on the subject of packing light, packing cubes are a godsend. They make organizing your suitcase so, SO much easier, and are a major space saver.
If you could choose one of our Wanderable Experiences (we have over 2,800!), which one would it be and why?
…Do you guys do best friend registries?
Not yet, but stay tuned!