Lessons From World Travel with Charlotte from Charlotte Plans a Trip
Charlotte van de Sand and Ries Peeters, the creative minds behind the wanderlust-worthy blog ‘Charlotte Plans a Trip,’ have been avid lovers of travel since childhood, when their parents introduced them to the beauty of the world. After visiting 16 countries this year alone, it’s an understatement to say the duo is wildly passionate about exploring new cultures and meeting new people. Today, Charlotte is sharing a few tips and tricks about traveling the world and will have you eager to start planning a trip of your own.
What were you doing before you started traveling? And how long have you been traveling?
From childhood on we both had the luxury to travel with our parents. This way we visited many countries. I worked a while as a high fashion model in which I traveled a lot in Europe. Afterwards, while studying, we both lived in Madrid. Whenever we are abroad we start exploring the country as much as possible. Last year we took a sabbatical for four months. In these four months we just focused on travel and exploring the world. This is when we also started a travel blog, which has been growing fast ever since.
After four months we returned back to our ‘regular’ jobs. I work as a Marketer B2B at ABN AMRO Bank. However, since our return, we have been travelling and writing blogs about these trips a lot. In two weeks we will visit our 16th country this year. My job as a Marketer allows me to be flexible which makes it easy to combine it with travelling and making content about our trips.
My partner Ries is the photographer of the two of us. He loves to capture a moment and to show how beautiful the world is. For me writing was completely new, but I love doing it. After too many days without writing it starts to itch and I need to write again. With this blog we combine these passions and at the same time help our readers in planning a trip. Travelling now doesn’t only means making special memories, but also exploring places and collecting tips for our readers.
What inspired you to make the jump into traveling?
Travelling and exploring the world has always been a great pleasure for both of us. However, the more we travel the more we realize how many beautiful places planet earth has. So actually travelling itself inspired us to travel more. Therefore as soon as we heard we could take a sabbatical, we decided to go for it and just see how it would go.
At the moment we are vaguely making plans for a second (longer) trip around the world. Let’s see how that goes!
How do you pick where to go next? How do you start to plan?
Picking a new destination is something which happens organically. We always have a ‘bucket’ list of places we definitely want to go to. When planning a new trip, we read blogs from fellow travelers, search for beautiful pictures to see at which destination they have been taken. When it feels good and we find an affordable flight ticket, we decide within a day that we will go here next. We book our flights and go!
For the planning part: I am an Excel addict… therefore as soon as we booked train or flight tickets, I make a new Excel and start filling it with our schedule, travel times, must visits and possible accommodations. I can spend hours just perfecting my sheets ;-).
What’s your favorite part in living a life based on travel?
The constant stream of learning and new experiences. Learning new things about culture and the area. Starting to speak some words in a different language. And maybe most special, meeting new people and getting to know their way of living and views on the world. Especially this last thing I think is super valuable. Since, in ‘normal’ life, it is easy to just stay in your own bubble of people, beliefs and views, getting out of this bubble now and then is important to us.
Do you have a home base or are you purely a digital nomad now?
We definitely have a home base: Amsterdam. We love this beautiful city! Since we are Dutch ourselves, and most of my family and friends live in The Netherlands, I love to come back to Amsterdam. Travelling really makes me appreciate all the possibilities and things one normally takes for granted in my own country. However, as soon as it has been raining for more than one day (which happens a lot in Amsterdam), I start longing for a new trip again.
Do you have any traditions when you get to a new city?
First I thought we didn’t, however now, thinking about it, we do have a tradition. We both love working out and going for a run. Therefore whenever we are in a new city, on one of the first days we always go for a run to explore the area and experience the city in a different way.
What’s one of your most memorable destinations?
French Polynesia, it’s my favourite destination on the whole world! This country consists of hundreds of small islands, spread out over a wide area in the South Pacific ocean. Since it’s so far away from the rest of the world it’s super quiet and relaxing. People are very different from any country I have ever been to. Very nice, helpful and open minded.
The islands are all very different from each other but each is beautiful on its own. Either full with green volcano mountains, or really narrow atolls with nothing but pink sand and some coconut trees. I have never seen an ocean so blue, filled with beautiful fish, sharks and dolphins.
It really felt that we landed on desert islands, not discovered by modern society. Truly magical!
What’s your best advice for someone planning their own trip around the world?
Don’t listen to much to what other people think you should be doing, how you should travel of which places to visit. This is your journey and, for most people, a once in a lifetime experience. Therefore you definitely should do what you like, travel in your own pace, to the countries you want to visit!
Do you have a favorite Croissant space?
I recently visited the Tribes space at Amsterdam Zuidas. The design is beautiful as well as the cosiness. There are not extremely much work spaces over there, which I like. It keeps it a bit private. I look forward to using Croissant in other countries as well. One of the spaces which really looks nice is Merkspace, in Tel Aviv, one of my favourite cities.