About us

Picture of the Smart Travel Family. We are travelling like locals - 4 on a scooter - in Bali, Indonesia
Smart Travel Family travelling like locals in Bali, Indonesia

We are the Smart Travel Family, and we recently finished a ‘slow travel’ year in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Our past living and longer travel experiences cover Thailand, Vietnam, Bali in Indonesia, Cambodia, Australia, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Luxembourg, and France. We are from Latvia, a European Union country.

Three of us are celiac, hence, we also cover the gluten-free travel niche.

What is ‘Smart Travel’?

When travelling, we follow several principles that characterize the ‘smart travel’ philosophy.

We are cost-conscious travelers, but it’s not about spending as little as possible when traveling. Instead, when given the choice, we will always choose experiences over fancier accommodation.

Smart Travel Family in Teide Natural Park, literally, walking above the clouds
Smart Travel Family on a walk around Teide volcano in Tenerife

We prefer slow travel to other kinds of voyages. From our experience, it’s so much more rewarding to stay for longer in one place and truly experience what it and its people are like. On a number of occasions, we have taken slow travel to extremes by finding work in other countries, like the recent stint in Tenerife for a year.

Visiting the Giraween National Park in Australia by relocating camper vans

We like to be clever travelers and do a bit of travel hacking. Most people immediately think about credit cards and airline loyalty points, but there is so much more to making your dollars or euros go further. Or – not spending any money on key expense positions at all.

Our first Workaway stay was with a puppy breeder. Yes, there was poop collection duty every morning. But there was also socializing the puppies so they would be friendly with strangers who might turn out to be their future owners.

For example, we managed to spend 1600 euros per month in Australia instead of at least 6000 euros if we would travel regularly. How? By doing ‘Workaway‘ and relocating camper vans to move towards our next location on the continent.

Children beside the pool, staying in the family compound during Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, to avoid evil spirits roaming around the island on this day
Staying in the family compound during Nyepi, the Balinese New Year, to avoid evil spirits roaming around the island on this day

‘Travel’ rather ‘tourism’. This is a distinction our son came up with while observing the behavior of an organized bus-tour in Thailand and comparing it to the way our family travelled. There is nothing wrong with being a ‘tourist’. However, we try to encourage people we cross paths with to choose self-led exploring over an organized tour and see if they like it. Other examples:

  • Choose a homestay instead of a global hotel chain to better experience local culture;
  • Go to places recommended by locals instead of the airline journal;
  • Be curious and don’t be afraid to stray off your itinerary.

Rather than being a tourist, be a traveler and see how much more you’ll discover!

If you have a message for us, it’s best to leave a comment under a relevant article. You can, of course, also get in touch with us directly.

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