As the co-founder of the travel blog We Are Travel Girls, Becky van Dijk is not only a lover of travel, she is also an entrepreneur, blogger and online educator. Becky recently answered some of our questions and shared some of her tips and tricks to travel blogging!
What experience first sparked your passion for travelling?
I can’t really pinpoint an experience, because I feel travel has been in my blood since the day I was born and was just a natural thing to go on a backpacking trip as soon as I was old enough to do it! So I would probably say that first backpacking adventure through Europe when I was 18!
When did you start capturing your travels in a more stylized way?
I have always had a strong interest in photography and carried a DSLR for as long as I can remember. I always took photos of scenes, people, landscapes wherever I travelled. But a shift came as Instagram really took off as a place to showcase your adventures, I started to shift to showing my best travel photos in 2015 – but over time the trend became to be in those photos yourself.
Whilst this is something I have done, it’s not something I have ever felt particularly comfortable with so I am excited to see a new trend emerge on Instagram and hopefully a shift back to the photos being more natural, in the moment and not having to have me in them!
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Have you visited Füssen, Germany? This little town is the gateway to the famous fairytale Neuschwanstein castle 🏰 But the town is a fairytale itself, filled with pretty pastel coloured buildings, cobbled streets and plenty of chocolate shops – we simply enjoyed getting lost around the town. Weird thing is, there were hundreds of people at the castle, but by 8pm the town was completely deserted with nothing open at all 🤷♀️ We bounced from one well rated restaurant on Trip Advisor to the next with everything closed and eventually found a pizza place that was probably the only place open in town, has anyone else been to Füssen – did you have the same experience? ⠀ ::::::⠀ #wearetravelgirls #neushwanstein #fussen #germany #visitgermany #iggermany #theprettycities #passionpassport #beautifulmatters #beautifuldestinations #travel #guardiantravelsnaps #travelgirls #igeurope #germanytourism #europetravel #germanygirl #germanytravel #getlost #travelwomen #destination_earth #prettylittlecities #travelgirlsgo #travelgirlscollective
Do you have any tips or tricks for capturing a captivating landscape photo?
Don’t take it in the middle of the day! Of course, sometimes this will be unavoidable but capturing a photo at sunrise / early in the morning, before the sun is at its highest point will yield better results in terms of the lighting and shadows created in a landscape image. If early mornings are not for you, apply the same rule and take your photos late afternoon in that last hour before the sunsets.
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Arriving in paradise by seaplane! @bawahreserve ⠀ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧⠀ And when I say paradise, I really mean it. Bawah Reserve was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and it's hiding in Indonesia waiting for you to go and discover it. Going there made me wonder how many amazing tropical islands are out there that we don't see all over social media yet. Tell me some tropical places that you have discovered and in coming posts I will be telling you why you need to go to Bawah!⠀ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧⠀ #wearetravelgirls #bawahisland #bawahreserve
What is one of the most memorable places that you’ve been to?
Of the recent places that I have been, I would say Sri Lanka was a favourite! I loved the diversity of the country, from the beautiful beaches and world heritage towns to the rolling tea estates in the center of the country. One of my favourite experiences in Sri Lanka was visiting Yala National Park and going on leopard spotting safaris – nothing can prepare you for how amazing it feels when a big cat steps out of the undergrowth in front of your vehicle!
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Guys, I need your help! I am planning to upgrade all my camera equipment from Nikon and move to either Canon or Sony. Since this is going to be a big investment I wondered what brand you prefer and why? ⠀ ⠀ Also, I couldn’t resist posting another shot of this trouble maker! To clarify the handbag and $1,000 I mentioned that he ate in my previous post wasn’t mine! My complete guide to visiting Yala National Park is now up on WeAreTravelGirls.com if you want some advice on planning your visit go check it out! ⠀ ✧✧✧✧✧⠀ ⠀ #wearetravelgirls #travelgirlsgetways #leopardtrails #wildlifephotography #yala #yalanationalpark #srilanka #srilankainstyle #safari #safarigoals #beautifuldestinations #beautifulmatters
How do you decide where to go, eat etc. when you get to a new destination?
I usually travel with my husband and we have our travel responsibilities or I would say the things each of us are good at! He plans the trip, booking all our travel and hotels (after extensive research!), then I will use Pinterest and blogs to start mapping out the activities for each of the days of the trip.
We enjoy walking and creating our own tours, so I will research beforehand and then drop pins on a Google map to plan our route for the day. Then my husband steps back in with his research skills to pick our restaurants. He relies on Trip Advisor largely to look at reviews, and we always try to stay away from the obvious tourist restaurants and wander off the beaten path. Usually, the best places are found at least a few streets away from the main tourist attractions!
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Yesterday we hiked up one volcano to look at another active volcano 🌋 You begin the hike up Mount Batur around 3.30am and for some it takes an hour, but most (me!) around 2 hours. The hike was tough, I have had multiple surgeries on both my feet and they are full of pins, but I can tell you it was worth every step to experience the sunrise with my favourite person in the world in such a magical spot! ✨ And getting engaged here made it even more memorable ☺️ Huge thank you to everyone who commented on our photos, sent us messages and congratulations – we are beyond grateful to each and every one of you for all the love you sent our way 💕 Whilst we got some great pictures of this moment (thanks to our hiking guide!), the only disappointment was not capturing on video when a monkey stole our glass of hot chocolate, took one taste and then poured the whole cup of it over his face! 😂🐒 ______ #bali #wearetravelgirls #volcano #mountbatur #mtbatur #mountagung #proposal #hiking
What’s the most off the beaten path spot you’ve been to?
Probably Phonsavan in Laos. I went 18 years ago, and I have only once seen someone else visit this town since! The town is in the northeast close to the Vietnam border ad it was a journey to get there, the town itself is not much to write home about, but the history is hugely interesting.
Laos was one of the most bombed countries during the Vietnam war, so there is a huge amount of leftover paraphernalia from the war, bombshells, unexploded bombs, napalm, shells etc. To make use of some of this, the locals build their houses using the bombshells as stilts and as troughs for feeding farmyard animals.
How did you discover it?
My friend and I read about the Plain of Jars, which is a field filled with huge stone jars in Phonsavan. There are various theories about what these were for, but no one knew for sure. My friend really wanted to see them – so we travelled several hours to get there. (I think now they run flights!)
What’s a valuable lesson you’ve learned through your travels?
Be careful who you travel with! Make sure you are on the same page with the way you like to travel, what you like to see when you are visiting a destination, down to what time you want to get up in the morning. Your best friend at home may not be your best friend when you travel!
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Stay salty! 😜⠀ ✧✧✧✧✧⠀ Hanging with my Dead Sea buddy Alex @alexinwanderland ✧✧✧✧✧⠀ Alex and I met on this trip and bonded pretty quickly. So during our first swim in the Dead Sea we covered ourselves in the black mud, sat in a quiet spot and started a pretty girly conversation. What we thought was a private chat turned out to be anything but that, when our friend Rob @king_roberto (who was really quite far away from us) shouted over “girls, I can hear everything you are saying – you might want to stop sharing!”. Cue Alex and I laughing hysterically and @oktlv capturing this genuine moment between us! Note to you all, if you visit the Dead Sea remember sound carries! ⠀ ✧✧✧✧✧⠀ Have you met someone awesome through Instagram? Tell me who and where you met in the comments! ⠀ ✧✧✧✧✧⠀ #wearetravelgirls #vibetravel #thedeadsea #deasea #israel
What places are on your bucket list?
So many, but the next places I would like to go are Jordan, Uzbekistan, Norway and Antarctica.
What culture have you experienced that’s left a lasting impression on you?
Probably the Balinese culture since I lived there for a couple of years. Their religion is unique, and the people are truly kind. They have an annual celebration called Nyepi, where for 24hrs no one can speak, be on the streets, have lights on or make any noise. The locals use this time to reflect on the past year and think about what they want to do better in the next year. It doesn’t matter if you are visiting during this time you must obey the ceremony too, stay indoors, keep lights off, talk very quietly, and cannot go into the street as local police are patrolling. It’s the only place in the world where the international airport shuts down for 24hrs!
Location-Specific Travel Tips:
What’s your favourite spot that you travelled to last year? Montenegro
If someone had 24- hours there, what would you recommend they do?
What area would you stay in?
Kotor, stay in the old city.
Where would you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Make breakfast at your Air BNB or hotel, and its breakfast and lunch at Gastro Pub 702 and dinner at Konobo Scala Santa. Make sure to book a table though, it’s the best place to eat in the city and is always full!
What’s a must-see off-the-beaten-path spot?
Venture away from Kotor and head up North to Durmitor. There is a stunning lake called the Black Lake – it’s not totally off the beaten path, but it is an absolute must when you visit Montenegro. Plus, you can walk around the lake and find areas you can have all to yourself!
What’s the best place to grab a drink?
Head down to the water
What’s the best place to have a coffee?
There are tons of small gelato and coffee spots around the city, so you can really stop at any one of these and get a good coffee!
What activity would you choose to do for fun?
Go on a boat cruise to the blue cave with Montenegro 360. This is such a fun day out sailing, complete with prosecco and a bar!
Where’s the coolest photo to take a photo?
Walk the city walls at sunrise and take a photo halfway up or at the top looking back over the city.
What museum or art gallery would you go to?
Kotor is filled with cats, so you would probably have to go to The Cat Museum.