What started off as a year-long honeymoon trip for Mike and Anne Howard is now in its tenth year and they are showing people how to spend less and travel more.
The honeymoon period is considered to be one of the most enjoyable and memorable phases of a relationship. While some lament the loss of this blissful period over time, many come up with unique ways to keep it going for years. Mike and Anne Howard are one such couple who've cracked the code on a lengthy honeymoon phase. The pair has been setting an example for travel enthusiasts across the globe by embarking on a honeymoon trip that's now in its tenth year. According to PEOPLE, when the Howards started planning their ultimate trip a decade ago, they had no idea it would last so long.
"We had a map with Post-it notes on it and it was pretty much just a yellow wall of three weeks here, three weeks there, and it was crazy. You couldn't see the map," Mike told the outlet. "It wasn't going to add up to a two-week vacation, that's for sure," quipped Anne. The duo, who document their adventures online under the moniker of HoneyTrek, set out on their honeymoon on January 22, 2012. They've been traveling full-time ever since and appear to show no signs of stopping. After touring 63 countries across seven continents over the last 3,652 days, the couple has also visited all 50 states of America in their RV and stayed at over 200 luxury hotels and much more.
As they mark a decade of this adventure and their marriage, the Howards are sharing their tried and tested hacks for saving money and traveling for cheap. They revealed that when they tied the knot, they'd asked their loved ones to ditch the usual gifts and instead contribute towards their grand adventure.
"It was great because our family and friends were really supportive. We brought them into the process," Anne recalled. "They were kind of sending us out into the world. We did all our thank you notes as postcards. We tried to fulfill the dreams of the people that we love and we will always have those shared places, even if they weren't actually with us. We had their blessing to get out there."
They started their journey from Manaus, located in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest. "You get out into the world and you see so many more examples and models that you never thought of. I think it's taught us a lot of humility and compassion for other cultures," Anne continued. "You never know what's coming your way. So it's a general attitude that you're going to have bumps in the road and you need to know how to turn it into an adventure and laugh and roll with it because everything will go awry at some point. That stopped stressing us out."
They also shed some light on the frequently asked question: How do they manage to travel so much on a budget? "You're both more invested in the trip when you find something that you're passionate about," explained Anne. The main portion of the planning process is budgeting. "It's not a vacation anymore, it's a new way to live," they shared. The pair make their income on the road through their blog, working on more books such as their bestseller "Ultimate Journeys for Two: Extraordinary Destinations on Every Continent" and coaching others to take trips like themselves.
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It leads them to maintain a strict budget of $50 per day as they prioritize experiences during their trips rather than buying memorabilia. "There are so many wonderful things that are for free anyway," Anne revealed. "Just walking a local market, or striking up a conversation with someone at the park and just learning and observing. A lot of fun, we realized, didn't have to be expensive. Once we get to a continent, we stay for a while." Mike added that they prefer taking public transport like buses, trains and cabs within a country rather than boarding a flight. They also purify their own water while traveling and never pay for water.
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"We're looking to do 10 honeymoons to celebrate," Anne shared. "We want to sort of see how far we can push honeymooning toward sustainability. To have luxury does not have to be this wasteful, indulgent thing. You could actually help communities and support different environments. We're going to really push that as far as we can because we know it's possible. The honeymoon is not ending at 10 years—it's just another year of adventures." You can follow the Howards on their epic adventures through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.