So excited! Chantell Collins is a great adventurer and travel blogger, and although we haven’t met in person YET, we feel a strong connection and great respect! Let’s get to know her a little bit better!
Australian born horse rider and hula hooper, Chantell Collins is the founder and writer of budget travel website Adoration 4 Adventure. A late starter, Chantell went on her first plane at 21 and first international trip at 24. Since then she has traveled to over 40 countries as well as lived in the United States, Brazil and Canada.
Find her on Adoration 4 Adventure
Website – www.adoration4adventure.com
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/adoration4adventure/
Work, Travel and Adventure in Central America By Chantell Collins
How do you decide to go on an extended trip? For most, it would be well-planned in advance. Perhaps they would need to ask for vacation time from work or even quit their job. For me, it was a spontaneous decision to head to Central America with just over a months’ notice and barely any planning.
At the time I had been living in Vancouver, Canada on a one year working holiday visa but things just weren’t working out. I was struggling with the wet, cold winter and not liking my job at all. After quitting my job then spending a few weeks in Seattle as a tourist, I decided to run off to Central America.
Why Central America?
My biggest incentive for heading south was financial. Being in the position of not having a steady income, it made more sense to be based in a country with a lower living cost. Basically I wanted to make my Australian dollars go further.
Central America wasn’t the only region I could have gone to – it is also very cheap to travel and live within parts of South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. I chose Central America because I could get cheap flights from the US. Also I had visited Nicaragua and Costa Rica briefly the year before and was looking forward to seeing more.
Work and Travel
Being the travel enthusiast that I am, I had created my own travel website back in August 2015 – “Adoration 4 Adventure”. What started out as a way to share my travel and budget knowledge with friends and family, became something much more.
As readership grew, I started working with local tourism companies. The companies would provide complimentary or discounted tickets, in exchange for a review on my website. These reviews were always 100% honest, unbiased and disclosed. Just weeks before I embarked on my Central America trip, I secured my first hotel review in Napa Valley.
It was a very exciting time, being able to work with companies in the tourism industry. Before deciding to work with a partner, I would research the business and consider if it was the right fit for the A4A readership. The most important factor for me was being able to provide recommendations that my readers could trust.
Writing reviews sounds much more glamorous than it really is (although I am not complaining!). When you are on a sponsored tour or staying at a hotel – you are actually working. For me, it takes at least 15 hours to write and publish a review. This includes research, photo editing, writing, proofing and promoting on social media.
Now that I was going to be backpacking Central America, I decided to use this time to focus on the website. In order to do that, I would just need to make sure that I (almost) always had access to Wi-Fi and allowed extra days in my schedule to catch up on emails and articles.
How to on a budget
All together I traveled for 9 weeks in Central America, visiting each of the 7 countries. Traveling with a partner, the average daily spending was just $27 USD per person. This cost varies depending on which country you are traveling in, so for more information check out my detailed guide on how much it costs to backpack Central America.
I traveled on a backpacking budget, e.g. hostels, budget hotels, street food and local transportation. I also traveled during the rainy season which meant off peak prices, particularly for accommodation. Although I wasn’t as strict as I could have been – splurging on ice creams, beers and the occasion shuttle bus.
The fact that I was working with tourism companies definitely meant that I was able to do more on a strict budget, but didn’t necessarily save me money. For example, some hotels I stayed at were in remote locations which meant that I would have to spend more money on food than if I had of stayed at a budget hostel in the middle of town. The value of working with partners, was more professional rather than financial.
If you are thinking about doing your own Central America backpacking trip, it would be very reasonable to budget using this figure (or less). To keep your costs low consider traveling at a slower pace, accommodation sharing (e.g. Couchsurfing) and even working for food and accommodation (e.g. WWOOFing).
What’s next for me?
As of 1 September 2016, I will be European resident! As an Australian citizen, I have been able to get a 1 year working holiday visa for Germany. I am looking forward to continuing my travels and travel writing on a new continent.
For the moment Chantell Collins is in Spain. We are really hoping that maybe she will find a good plane ticket to travel a little bit in Romania also. We are so close since we also made a short detour home from our travels.
So follow her around the world because she is an amazing travel blogger and person!