Jan and Marty Bloggers at Budget Travel Talk

Jan (Blogger) and Marty (Photographer) – We’ve been a couple for 36 years.

Breaking News!

We have retired from paid employment, which gives us more time to travel.

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I have spent thousands of hours, hundreds of days and five years scouring travel blogs, gleaning information for our recent travels (the internet didn’t exist during the earlier ones). This information fed the dream and grew the vision of our next trip. Sometimes those visions were spot on, others not so much, but…

We enjoy the surprise element of travel.

To know everything before arrival would spoil the fun.

After a particularly interesting learning curve during a month spent in Vietnam in 2011, I realised it was time to start giving back to the blogging and travel community, by sharing information in a blog of our own.

We reach out to people for help when planning trips and believe in Paying-It-Forward.



For 36 years we have been independent travellers and our blog posts reflect that.


Information to plan your own trips, create your Itinerary, book individual components like accommodation, transport and day tours.

We enjoy the freedom independent travel gives us, although in another 15 years our style might change.

When you travel independently you can mould travel to fit your needs.


Jan (that’s me) handles research, itineraries, writing, editing photos, deciphering expenditure, social media and back-up photography – What a gal!

Marty is our logistics person – he gets us where we need to be on time – he drives in foreign countries and when towing the van. He is our photographer – the majority of photos on the blog are from his Pentax K200. It is a heavy beast so I’m happy he carries it.  (I use my iPhone 6+ and Sony Cyber-Shot and all of our food shots are taken by me!)


Hostel dormitories belong to our youth but I still miss the comraderie and information sharing they provided.  You may still find us in a hostel but it will be in a private room.  In general we find self-contained accommodation is as, or more, affordable than paying for two people in a hostel.


In Europe we use Airbnb almost exclusively and are happy to be their self-appointed ambassadors. Not only does Airbnb save us dollars, but we gain so much more. I’m talking about the experience of sharing a host’s home, meals, conversations and understanding a country through their eyes and lives.

Budget to Medium Priced Hotels.

In Asia restaurants are very affordable and eating out is an amazing experience, so we stay in budget to medium priced hotels. Friendly family run establishments are our style and we source them from reading blogs and reviews. Bookings are made via Agoda or Bookings.com.


We have had the pleasure of house and pet sitting several times in the last few years and hope to concentrate more on house-sitting into the future. Some of our house-sits are arranged privately but we are paid up members of the Trusted Housesitters Site and recommend their service – It’s easy to use and is growing rapidly. Growth in this instance means more house-sitting opportunities and as the site owners are proactive the expansion has been painless.


Recently we purchased a self-contained caravan and have started travelling in it within Queensland. Wow – it has opened more budget travel doors for us and shown us a side of Australia we’ve not previously explored.

“Caravanning and free camping

made us fall in love with Australia all over again”.

This 18ft Coromal (she’s kind of our baby) is not our first caravan, but will be our last. Eventually she’ll take us around Australia and we are excited about the direction in which that will take Budget Travel Talk.

In the near future the blog will be exploding with Caravan information.


We’re North Queenslanders, colloquially known as Banana Benders – and are passionate about promoting Townsville and Queensland in general.  You will find a multitude of Queensland Posts on the blog – they can be found under Australia.


Twenty-four years ago we purchased a second hand aluminium runabout boat to enable family snorkelling/fishing trips and we still own that same boat today.

Our boat is like us – no longer young – but always up for an adventure.

We both have an affinity with the ocean but Marty particularly so, as he worked for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in Townsville for over thirty years.

I’ve worked a variety of Office Administration jobs, since I was 15 years old (we started young back then) and was with the same employer for fifteen years prior to retiring.

Why don’t you tell us something about yourself in the Comments. Pretend we’re at some exotic destination sharing stories over a coffee or a beer!

We’re so happy to see you here.

Jan and Marty


PS I’ve added a wrap up of our travelling story below.


We’re Aussies from North Queensland.  At age 20 I explored Indonesia, U.K. and Europe.  In 1979 (as a new couple) we spent nine months off-shore. There was that romantic three week romp through Europe, beginning in France Ooh La La; then wintering on a farm in Devon capped off with a Spring trip around the U.K. in a ridiculously small Campervan.  The roof popped up on a rakish angle and the back expanded down concertina-like.  Picture a car doing a cartwheel and you’re half-way there.

We left the U.K. in 1980 and soaked up the sun and culture in Bali for a month.  Body surfing and lazing around at Kuta Beach with no agenda, day tripping to Ubud, making new friends by day, exploring the restaurants by night.  When the party ended we arrived in Perth, Western Australia.

In Perth we worked and hatched a plan to buy a campervan.  After two years of exploring everywhere within a week-end’s radius, we said goodbye to our Sandgroper lifestyle and headed north to Darwin via the cultural melting pot of Broome and home across “The Top”. It broke our hearts to leave Perth, but Bill Bryson got it right when he cited Perth as being “one of the most remote cities on earth”.  It made sense to live where our family was, freeing up our travel time for other destinations.

With our kids we’ve camped, water-skied, snorkelled over fringing reefs, explored tropical islands and hung out innumerable times on the Sunshine Coast.  And there was that one time when we snow skied in the Snowy Mountains of Australia…

We’ve campervanned in New Zealand, dodged bullets in Bangkok, the volcanic ash cloud in Italy and an aborted bombing attempt in Times Square.

We’ve chilled in Canada for a couple of months – It has the most amazing wildlife and scenery to die for and the people are so friendly.  Kind of like Aussies …

We’ve bartered in Saigon, hung out in Hanoi and trekked in Sapa Vietnam – the Ultimate Budget Experience.

I fell in love with Luang Prabang well before we visited and even though expectations were huge, I was not disappointed.

We’ve house-sat in a tiny hilltop village near Granada in Spain.  There were mountain trails to discover with “Lulu” – how I loved that dog – well I still do if the truth be known – and she’s not the last.  Another house-sit was on the Sunshine Coast with an Aussie dog “Mazzy” – her eyes had the ability to dissolve a heart at 30 paces. We’re currently hoping for the perfect house-sitting assignment for 2016. It could be in the French Pyrennes, or on a Greek Island or housesitting for you … I’m looking at you Mr. Universe.