We’re Alex and Bell, an American and Australian couple of 17 years who originally met backpacking in a hostel in Brugge, Belgium in 2002. We’ve lived and traveled to every continent except Antarctica, and have firsthand experiences spanning visits to 57 countries. Welcome to a couples travel blog that began in 2012 as has been called “one of the most honest travel blogs I’ve read” by a university professor at Trinity College Dublin.
We want readers to have the most amazing trips and get the best value for your travel budget. So we also share lots of travel hacks in our articles and on our Resources Page that can save you thousands of dollars on flights and hotels each year!
We cover hidden gem destinations off the tourist trail, in addition to the world’s most popular places. Whether you’re new to traveling or a seasoned explorer, you will find useful information based on 6 years living in Europe and over 23 years experience traveling around the world!
Alex took his first solo overseas trip to Paris in 1998 at age 19. Bell took her first trip out of Australia to Europe at age 21 solo, on the trip we met on. When we first met in Bruges we had a day there, and happened to both be heading to Amsterdam for another overlapping day. Three of our favorite films are the Before trilogy – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Guess why? 🙂
These days, our travels tend to focus on mid-range to luxury, but we also believe travel should be accessible to as many people as possible. The fun hostel where we first met in Brugge only cost €10 per night to stay during our backpacker days. So we know firsthand that you can have a lot of fun on a shoe string budget! We encourage young people to see the world however they can. And we’re proud that our story has inspired so many – including others to launch their own couples travel blogs!
Wanderlust Marriage – A love of traveling the world with your partner in life.
Our 20 years of world travel have taken us to around 57 countries and counting. We’ve also lived in 7 cities spanning 3 continents during our 16-year marriage. Since 2017 we’ve been based in Washington, DC. Alex Kallimanis recently received an honorable mention in Landscape, Seascape Photography in the 29th Annual NATJA Awards Competition (North American Travel Journalists Association). Alex was also recently named NATJA’s featured journalist of the month for December 2020! Read my NATJA interview, where I share some of my most memorable trips along with some tips on travel journalism.
We launched Wanderlust Marriage in 2012, while living in Dublin, Ireland. The majority of our coverage focuses on Europe and the Americas, as we previously resided in Europe for 6 years and visit regularly. Our work has been featured and shared by leading publications, companies and tourism boards from Tasmania to Washington, DC. Subscribe to receive future updates and money saving tips!
Ways to Save Money on Travel
Credit card reward bonuses are a great way to save big on travel. We typically take several roundtrip international flights each year for little more than the taxes thanks to this. This saves us thousands of dollars on travel and we enjoy helping others save big money too. If you need tips on planning a trip or travel hacking, get in touch!
Another great way to save money on travel is to visit destinations during the offseason (and there’s always an off-season somewhere). It’s also a good idea to know where the emerging hotspots are. One example from our recent travels is the coffee region in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. Visiting emerging destinations is also a more sustainable and equitable way to travel, both for tourists and locals.
Alex Kallimanis enjoys helping travelers save money on their trips. He has also worked with companies to help them save money on business travel expenses. Bell is a PhD scientist currently working in cancer research. She assists in maintaining this website, along with helping with the Wanderlust Marriage Travel social media channels.
If you have questions on planning a trip, email me at [email protected]
We originally met 17 years ago at the Bauhaus hostel in Bruges, Belgium, while each backpacking through Europe solo. When we first met, we had both just graduated from college. Alex had just finished a bachelors degree in history from UCF in Orlando, Florida and Bell had completed a psychology degree from Swinburne in Melbourne, Australia. Living half a world away, our paths randomly crossed in the middle.
We were both heading to Amsterdam with just a day overlapping, each armed with nothing but a backpack and a tight budget. Little did we know that six years later we would end up living and working in Amsterdam, married to each other.
We’ve now been working around the world together for over 14 years. Asides from living in Amsterdam for 3 and 1/2 years, we’ve also resided in Melbourne, Australia; Orlando & Tampa, Florida; Dublin, Ireland, Boston and we currently live in Washington, D.C. We’ve grown from budget backpackers in our twenties to travelers who appreciate comfort in our thirties. So we understand a wide range of budgets, interests and needs.
Wanderlust Marriage receives upwards of 14,000 unique visits and 35,000 page views per month. We also have over 70,000 social media followers. We have over 31,000 Instagram followers between our Wanderlust Marriage and Travel Guide Alex accounts. Our Twitter account has a following of around 28,000, and we have over 2,185 Facebook followers. You can also find me on my personal Twitter, @AlexKallimanis
Alex Kallimanis has previously worked for academic institutions and has been published in mainstream newspapers, such as Ireland’s largest newspaper, the Irish Independent. In addition to content creation for Wanderlust Marriage and other outlets, I assist tourism boards and brands with marketing. I also assist travelers with their itineraries. I’m a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA).
Bell is an award-winning PhD scientist working in cancer research. She did her PhD at the University of Amsterdam and her postdoctoral research at Trinity College Dublin. She previously worked for over 4 years in cancer research at the Food and Drug Administration. She know works at a non-profit, Lungevity, focusing on lung patient advocacy. Lungevity has a lot of free resources for people affected by lung cancer. So if you or someone you know is affected, please check out their website and feel free to get in touch. Bell assists with photography and is sometimes available to accompany me on press trips and for speaking engagements.
For all inquiries contact [email protected]
Some of Our Favorite Destinations
Travel Savings and Expat Advice
Travel Blogging Tips
Read our detailed post on How to Make Money off a Travel Blog. We give tips on partnering with tourism boards and brands. We also cover ways to make money off social media accounts.
The Rest of our Wanderlust Marriage Story
After spending a day together in Bruges and then meeting up in Amsterdam two days later, I caught a flight to Barcelona. My plan after college was to live in Spain for awhile and learn Spanish. While in Amsterdam, Bell asked me if I’d like to meet up again in Rome before she flew back to Australia. After spending a few days alone in Barcelona, I booked a ticket to Rome to see her again. We loved each others company, but she had a flight back to Australia to catch. And eventually, we both returned to work and enrolled in graduate school, across the globe from each other.
As time went on, the time we spent together became a distant memory. But we remained in touch with weekly emails. Living on the other side of the planet with limited resources and returning to college posed big logistical problems to reuniting. And even if we did, what then? Two years passed before we finally decided to meet up again by booking tickets to reunite in Bangkok, Thailand six months down the road.
As the days counted down to our long awaited reunion, we started talking more on the phone and our conservations would run for hours. We then got scared because we both realized we couldn’t imagine saying goodbye again in Thailand. So Bell proposed that I come to live with her down under for a year while she finished her master’s degree in statistics. It was both exciting and nerve-wracking because I’d never visited Australia, barely spent any real time with her and I was working on a master’s degree of my own. But I knew I was in love with her and I was able to organize a one-year working holiday visa so we could be together (which I highly recommend for people under 30).
Long days slowly ticked away and after 2 and ½ years and months of intense anticipation, we finally reunited at Bangkok airport, which was surreal. We couldn’t believe we were together again, and this time we couldn’t imagine letting go. We toured frenetic Bangkok on tuk-tuks, rode elephants (which we now realize isn’t so humane), enjoyed each others company on gorgeous beaches, overindulged in delicious exotic food and stayed up all night at the full moon party. And after spending less than ten days with each other, I dropped down on one knee and asked her to marry me at a Thai beach bar with a DJ performing in the cliff above. Fortunately, she said yes!
The next day Bell insisted we rent a motorbike so I could drive us around the island of Ko Phangang. We ended up getting stuck on a hill and I nearly drove us off a cliff. We nearly got killed, and nobody would have ever known that we got engaged the night before. Luckily we made it, enjoyed more of the island cautiously, and we’ve never been back on a motorbike together since.
With my one-year working holiday visa for Australia, I took whatever temporary jobs I could find. I bussed tables at TGI Friday’s and worked at the Interflora (Flowers to Your Door) call center, which sells flowers through local florists. Months passed, and as my Australian visa was running out, we needed to figure out the next plan. So we organized a small last minute wedding that was shared with mostly Australian family and friends (a year later we threw a party for American friends and family to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary). After a lot of paperwork and hassle, we found ourselves explaining our relationship to a US immigration officer in Sydney who then issued Bell a spousal visa for the US. We celebrated by drinking a glass of champagne next to the Sydney Opera House!
After an extended stopover in Vietnam along the way, we eventually found ourselves in Los Angeles for a few days. It was the first time Bell had ever set foot in the United States, and the country was now her home. A few days later she met my father in Orlando, Florida for the first time. She found a statistics job at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and we settled there for 2 and ½ years so we could be close by to my family for monthly visits. But we were always drawn to the idea of returning to Europe again, after not having visited in several years. Bell was eventually offered a PhD position at the University of Amsterdam, and we decided to move to the Netherlands.
We sold some things, gave a lot away, and drove some belongings to my dad’s house before flying to Amsterdam for the first time in six years, with nothing more than four suitcases. We went from having an apartment filled with modest things to finding ourselves in a far tougher housing market, with less income in Amsterdam. There were serious challenges along the way because our move occurred just before the economic crash in 2008 and English speaking jobs in Amsterdam dried up, but it was also amazing to spend several years in such a beautiful and unique city. If we could do it all over again, we absolutely would!
We visited Dublin for our six year wedding anniversary and fell in love with the warmth and wit of the Irish. Coincidentally, a few months later, Bell found a post-doctoral position at Trinity College in Dublin and was hired to work on the largest ageing study ever conducted on the Emerald Island. We jumped at the opportunity and lived in Dublin for over 2 years. During that time, I also did some work for Trinity College and wrote for Ireland’s largest newspaper, the Irish Independent.
We’ve now lived in 7 cities on 3 continents during our 14-year marriage. Each city has offered an opportunity to explore the region in depth. It’s been a wild ride and after all this time, we still can’t kick our addiction to traveling. Follow us for travel tips and please feel free to share yours in the comments!
Contact [email protected] for all inquiries. Happy travels!