When asked what BootsnAll does, I often describe the company as the perfect marriage of your favorite guidebook series and the best travel agent – one-stop shopping with everything you need for every stage of travel planning. One of our main strengths is in providing the gritty details for the part of travel planning when you’re beyond inspiration and you just need to know how to do something or get somewhere.
The truth is, we love a good “how to” travel article. It’s far more than just a numbered list of step-by-step directions – it’s a delightful mix of practical information and colorful detail, so that while you’re getting genuine tips you’re also sort of getting inspired, too.
BootsnAll featured such a variety of great “how to” articles in 2010 that we wanted to highlight some of them. There were so many to choose from that I grouped them into categories. Enjoy this walk back through the best “how to” articles from 2010!
How To: Travel Deals
Who doesn’t love a travel deal? We all do – but we don’t always know where to find them.
First off, get geared up for less before you leave with Amiee Maxwell’s “8 Ways to Score Tremendous Deals on Outdoor Travel Gear.” Amiee’s the force behind BootsnAll’s own Travel Gear Blog, she’s a badass traveler, and she hates paying too much for anything. So she knows of what she speaks here.
This past spring we put our heads together at BootsnAll HQ and produced “How to Make the Most of Your Summer Travel Budget” – it’s full of ideas for stretching your travel budget at a time when everything’s a bit more expensive, but they’re tips that will help you save money whenever you travel.
Of course, even if you love going camping and hiking that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate a spa day or infinity pool, too. Thankfully, Melanie Waldman put together this fantastic list of “Five Ways to Score Luxury Travel Deals” to help you get more for way, way less.
How To: Travel Planning
Some people will contend that planning a trip is too difficult, or too complicated. Personally, I think it’s part of the fun of travel. Sure, it can get overwhelming at times, but that’s when a few targeted planning tips come in handy.
Denise Pulis offers resources that don’t include guidebooks in her article “Ditch the Guidebook: 8 Alternative Trip Planning Resources.” There are several online resources, but I love the ones that are on-the-ground tips – like checking with the local tourist office and looking for event posters.
Most of us only get to take short vacations, but not all of us like to travel in the same way. This is why Adam Seper’s article “How to Maximize Limited Time on an International Trip” is so helpful. He imagines the three basic scenarios of how you’d spend a short trip abroad, and provides ideas for how to make the most of your limited vacation time.
Independent travelers may see the word “tour” and break out in hives, but there are some excellent day tours or guided tours of specific sites that can be worked into any trip without you losing your indie travel cred. But as Mary Richardson points out in her article “How to Negotiate With A Tour Guide To Get The Experience You Really Want,” it’s worth your time (and easy enough) to tailor a tour to suit your style and interests whenever possible.
How To: Solo Travel
Going solo is much preferred by a huge number of loyal BootsnAll readers, but that doesn’t mean solo travel doesn’t have its own set of questions.
Traveling on your own should be cheaper than traveling with a group, right? So what’s up with all those “single supplement” surchages? You may not be able to talk a tour company out of adding it to their fees, but I found out there are at least “8 Ways to Avoid the Single Supplement as a Solo Traveler.”
Even experienced solo travelers sometimes get lonely, and that’s an even bigger potential problem if you’re more accustomed to traveling with family or friends. Denise Esser’s article “12 Ways to Combat the Solo Traveler Blues” has some great ideas in it (my personal favorite is “take a class”).
One of the ways to combat loneliness is to go out and socialize in the evenings, but what if you’re not into the bar or nightclub scene? Denise Pulis has some great options in her article “Beyond Drinking and Dancing: 8 Alternative Evening Activities” – including star-gazing, taking advantage of museums with evening hours, doing a night tour, or shopping in night markets.
And if you’re a solo traveler who’d rather not stay a solo traveler, then Lucy Corne has some ideas for “How to Impress Guys from Around the World.” This one’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek, y’all. Fair warning. Oh, and it’s more detailed than the suggestions of several male friends who said, “It’s not that tough – show up naked and bring beer. The end.”
How To: Bavaria
For some reason, we had a couple of great articles about traveling in Bavaria come in this year, from totally different people. Nicely done, Bavarian tourism board.
The most popular reason people visit Bavaria is the famous Oktoberfest party. But as is the case with any big festival, prices on things like accommodation and food are usually not in the budget-friendly category – which is why Tim Gregg’s article on “How to Enjoy Oktoberfest on a Beer Budget” is one to bookmark before you head off to Munich. Or before you head to Nuremburg, Erlangen, or Regensburg – since Tim’s top tip is to avoid staying in Munich itself.
If even Tim’s tips aren’t enough to make Oktoberfest within your budget, then consider Claire Hart’s article on “How to Travel Like a Local in Bavaria.” She’s got tips on everything from what to wear to how to spend your time, and yes – there’s information about how to find the local beer halls, too.
How To: Exercising While Traveling
Travel means indulgence for many of us, and while some people (*cough* me *cough*) don’t consciously work exercise into our trips, others look at vacations as an opportunity to give their workouts a change of scenery.
Laura Walker ran marathons as she did her around the world trip, so her article “Running While Traveling: Why You Should and How to Go About It” is as much a personal story as it is a “how-to” guide.
You don’t have to be a marathon runner to incorporate a little exercise into your travel routine, though. As Abbie Mood demonstrates in her article “The First-Time Guide to Renting a Bike in Amsterdam,” sometimes doing the exact same thing all the locals are doing is enough of a workout to justify an extra helping of dessert.
How To: Miscellaneous Fabulousness
Forgive me, but some of the great articles I wanted to include in this round-up defy categorization, so they’re collected here. This shouldn’t make you think they’re any less useful, however – I mean, just look at them…
- The First-Timer’s Guide to Avoiding Embarrassment at a Turkish Bath – Having not yet been to a Turkish bath house but having heard the words “lots of public nudity” bandied about often when they’re discussed, boy howdy, do I need Emily Starbuck Gerson’s advice.
- Have Car, Will Travel: Eight New Ideas For Summer Road Trips – Who doesn’t love a good road trip? They’re so old school that it’s time for a few new ideas to get thrown in, just in case you were getting bored. Jennifer Miller’s suggestions are fun. Just see if you don’t want to plan a road trip by the end of the article.
- How To Prevent Hawkers and Touts From Spoiling Your Travels – I’m hopeless when it comes to bargaining for anything, and the sight of an incoming tout strikes fear in my heart. I’m taking Tom Shuttleworth’s tips with me next time.
- How to Have Custom Clothes Made in Hoi An – “Custom” anything sounds so overly expensive that it’s a pleasant surprise to find out just how cheaply you can have a whole wardrobe made in Hoi An. Thanks to this article from Jill Nawrocki, backpackers stand a far better chance of being well-dressed.
- 6 Online Tools to Help Enrich Your Offline Travel Experiences – Whether you’re a Twitter addict like I am or not, there are some online tools that will help make your travels richer.
- The First-Timer’s Guide to Planning a U.S. National Parks Vacation – Not everyone spent summers at National Parks with their parents, and even if you did JoAnna Haugen’s handy guide to planning the perfect National Parks vacation is a good reference for your next trip.
- How to Get Started with Voluntourism – If traveling isn’t enough for you and you want to give back as you go, then Abbie Mood’s article should spark your interest.
- 10 Ways to Take Better Travel Photographs – You don’t need a giant SLR camera to take better-than-average travel pictures, you just need some advice. Denise Pulis’ 10 tips are easy enough that everyone should be able to master them.
- 7 Steps to Planning (and Surviving) Multigenerational Travel – As Claudia Laroye explains in this article, traveling with the parents, kids, grandparents (or any combination thereof) is rewarding enough that it’s worth the extra planning.
- Everything You Need to Know About Agritourism – Great travel moments come from connecting with the people who put food on your table each day, as JoAnna Haugen discovered.
And what’s in store for 2011?
What great “how to” travel articles will BootsnAll feature in 2011? That’s entirely up to you. Do you have an idea for a “how to” article that you haven’t seen on the site before? Do you have expertise in a specific topic that you can outline in detail for fellow travelers? We want to hear from you! Find out more about submitting article ideas to BootsnAll in our writers section.