Category Archives: Travel Tips
We focused on the topic of Overland Travel this week at #rtwchat! Let me know if you are enjoying these and what topics you want to see in the future. Recap of the chat after the jump.
Recap of #rtwchat on Twitter – September 19, 2012
Do you dream about traveling around the world?
Do you want to get away from your daily routine?
Do you feel as though something might be missing from your life?
Are you ready to change your view of life?
Do you want to challenge yourself?
Join us for a small gathering hosted by Adam Seper, BootsnAll’s editor, with the goal of giving you the confidence to realize that a round the world trip is a realistic possibility and not just a far-fetched dream.
This webinar is being offered at two separate times and is first come, first serve with a limit of 5 people per session. The events will be hosted on:
- Tuesday, July 10 at 8 EST (7 CST and 5 PST), and
- Tuesday, July 17 at 8 EST (7 CST and 5 PST)
This event will be hosted on Google Hangouts using Google +
I look forward to helping everyone get over that hump and start planning that big trip. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As you ponder your next adventure, how to get there (and around once you’re there) is likely in the forefront of your mind. In this day and age, transportation has no doubt become an invaluable commodity to the common man. This applies particularly to those of us that have, and ultimately have given into, wanderlust. Modern advances in transportation have allowed world travelers to explore the vast reaches of the globe. The question is, which one, the train, the plane, or the automobile, does so with the most efficiency? The answer relies largely on personal preferences and limitations like budget and destination, as well as on smaller aspects like convenience and comfort level. In this article, I list the pros and cons of each mode of transportation and make recommendations for some common travel situations.
Believe it or not, train travel has become quite popular in recent years. As gas prices continue to rise, travelers have begun to consider alternate forms of transportation. Traveling by train certainly has its merits.
- Trains are fast, direct, and often connect a country’s major cities. Japan’s bullet train system, for example, is highly efficient and expands over several Japanese cities.
- Train travelers can be completely at ease. You don’t have to maneuver through streets, get directions, or suffer through traffic!
- Train travel is easy to plan and relatively inexpensive. For example, to travel between Rome and the nearby Perugia, you could simply check the train schedules online, head to the station, buy a ticket and wait.
- Most of all, train travel can be fun! You can admire the gorgeous countryside between cities and get the opportunity to meet locals and other fellow travelers!
There are however, a few things to consider when taking the train.
- Taking the train can occasionally be inconvenient. You have to adjust your itinerary around the train’s time tables. Additionally, if you wanted to travel to a city without a station downtown, you would have to plan further trip transportation accordingly.
- Trains can be particularly crowded, uncomfortable, and dirty, especially in cities where they are a common commodity.
- Though you have the opportunity to meet great people, you also may find yourself in close quarters with drunkards, weirdos, and pickpockets among a number of other unsavory characters. So you have to practice caution!
The plane has almost, if not completely, overtaken the boat as the primary mode of travel overseas. But when one considers travel between cities or countries on the same continent, how does it stack up against the train and the car? Plane travel certainly has a number of appealing qualities.
- Planes are the fastest mode of transportation in the world today. Naturally, cutting down on actual travel time can save you time for exploring your destination!
- Plane travel can also be relatively economical depending on where you are. For example, due to high competition between budget airlines in Western Europe, I was able to buy plane tickets for a better deal than if I were to buy train tickets.
- Like with train travel, traveling by plane also allows you to multitask. You can read, play games, etc. on the plane without worrying about where you’re going.
- Planes are also probably the safest way to travel, considering the much tighter forms of security on board. Your belongings will also remain safe from thieves!
Planes also have their downsides.
- This applies particularly to if you’re traveling in America, but the numerous pre-boarding procedures can be high stress. If you hadn’t already done so online, you would need to check-in, turn in any checked luggage (under a certain weight and now most likely paying for it), and get your boarding pass. Then you would need to pass through security, which in American airports is a special kind of hell involving stripping, throwing away perfectly good bottles of water, and having your private bits scoped by TSA officials.
- Being confined to those tiny chairs can be quite uncomfortable, especially during long flights.
- Although you don’t normally have to watch out for pickpockets on the plane, you may encounter smelly, loud, or obnoxious people on board!
- And naturally, as you are paying for speed, planes also tend to be the most expensive form of transportation.
Cars are arguably the most used and most useful mode of transportation; the average joe will use the car on an almost daily basis. But what does that mean to us as travelers? When is renting a car the most economical option? Let’s consider the pros.
- A car allows freedom to travel! With a car, you can leave when you like. You can get to your destination or not. You can take detours whenever you wish. You can go sightseeing with ease. Cars are optimal in that they encourage the true spirit of travel–spontaneity!
- Traveling by car also means privacy. You can go ahead and cuddle with a loved one, consume snacks like a pig, or put your bare feet up on the dash.
- By far, cars tend to also be the most comfortable mode of transportation. The weary car traveler can take a rest stop and switch driving responsibilities with a passenger.
You must also take note of the car’s negatives.
- Car travel can be particularly time consuming if one considers roadblocks, detours, traffic, and the like. In this sense, they cannot match the time efficiency afforded by the train, and more so, by the plane.
- Car travel is also notoriously expensive. On top of steadily rising gas prices, you would have to take into account rental fees and possible maintenance for potential problems.
- The freedom that comes with traveling by automobile is also accompanied by stress. The car becomes your responsibility, so you must be extremely careful driving it. Additionally, you might have to worry about parking wherever you go which can be a huge hassle.
- If you’re especially environmentally conscious, cars are also the worst for mother earth.
General travel tips
Take the train if you:
- would like to see the European countryside between major cities.
- want to travel between Tokyo and Nagano.
- want to meet similarly weary travelers.
- have a good amount of time to spend in your destination.
- want to hear the somehow nostalgic sound of the locomotive pulling into a station.
- are going between two rather close cities like Boston and Providence.
- want a relatively hassle-free travel experience.
Take the plane if you:
- are short on time.
- want to travel around western Europe efficiently.
- want to see a free in flight movie.
- are traveling between the west and east coasts of America.
- love airplane food.
- are going through rather unsafe territory in Africa.
- need to go overseas (obviously).
Take the automobile if you:
- would like to roadtrip across the United States.
- want to be in charge of your own travel adventure!
- get hungry constantly.
- want to be able to explore Manila to the best of your ability.
- have a ton of material belongings that you simply must take with you.
- are the type to take spontaneous detours.
Again, transportation choices depend largely on personal preferences. If you’re the planner type who’s on a relatively tight schedule, you should probably go by plane. If you like to take things slow and perhaps daydream about the wonders of landscape, the train’s for you. Or if you’re a free spirit who would love to take control of his or her own adventure, then I suggest the car. This article is nothing but a set of general guidelines to help you make your transportation decisions. The rest is really up to you!
Eunice Gopez is a former Go Overseas intern and graduating senior at UC Berkeley. She loves writing, travel, and naturally, writing about travel.
Packing can be a particularly stressful experience, considering the number of things you have to take into consideration: How long will your stay be? What kind of weather can you expect at your destination? What will you be doing when you get there? And you might wonder, with all this already on your plate, why should fashion of all things be any real consideration?
As a girl who prides herself on an up to date sense of style, I offer this question in return: Why do function and fashion have to be mutually exclusive? For example, a girl studying abroad in France clearly needs to consider both fashion and function!
In this quick guide, I offer tips on how to pack for both, so you can be prepared for the ups and downs of travel as well as the ins and outs of fashion trends!
1) Remember to pack lightly
As a number of other travel guides will tell you, arguably the most important tenet to packing well is packing lightly. Over packing weighs you down and is incredibly impractical. It’s a rather common misconception, but you don’t need to take along your entire wardrobe to look stylish abroad!
2) Bring a few of these suggested essentials
How long will you be staying? Over packing is always a mistake, but depending on the length of the trip you’ll need to adjust your quantity of clothing accordingly. For example, if you are planning a six month trip to volunteer in South Africa, I’d recommend bringing more than just one backpack. If you still have extra room, please take me with you! Here’s how I’d describe the necessity of my go to items:
- A pack of tank tops: These are perfect for layering under your shirts and blouses or for wearing by themselves in warm weather.
- A pack of white, v-neck t-shirts: The simplicity of these tops make them perfect for everyday.
- A white button up blouse: For a more put together look.
- A few pairs of comfortable, well-fitting jeans: A good pair of jeans is perfect in all kinds of weather and for all kinds of activities. Bootcut or skinny jeans would probably be the more fashion-forward options.
- A couple of different colored cardigans: Layering with cardigans adds both visual interest as well as color in your otherwise neutral outfit.
- A classic jacket: I personally love a well-tailored blazer, but a leather jacket or military jacket will do just as well. The point is that, as your choice piece of outerwear, it should be relatively warm. A classic cut and neutral color would be much easier to style.
- A dress or two: I suggest at least two dresses: one for casual, everyday wear and another for evening wear. For the former, pick a dress with a fun pattern or classy cut, keeping in mind the season. And as for the the latter, you can’t go wrong with your favorite little black dress!
3) The key is in the accessories
Layering and accessorizing not only adds interest to an outfit, but packing a few beautiful scarves is much more practical than forcing 5 other dresses into your suitcase. You can mix and match outer layers with inner layers, – scarves with necklaces to create new, simple, and classy ensembles for every day of your visit. Equally important, remember to work in elements which reflect local fashion trends. For example, a friend of mine recently decided to volunteer in Peru. She came back with some amazing pieces purchased from small vendors in Peru. This is also a great way to support the local economy. Here are a few suggested accessories:
- Patterned scarves: I cannot stress these items enough! Scarves are not only colorful and come in a number ofdifferent materials and textures, you can wear them in so many different ways.
- A few classic pieces of jewelry: Jewelry is light and so easy to pack. Pick a few fun pieces that represent your sense of style.
- A stylish, neutral colored purse: This is a must have for every woman on the go. My default bag of choice is a leather shoulder bag that I picked up at an Italian flea market, but you can have some fun with this. Pick a tote, asatchel, or your classic handbag.
4) A word on shoes
All you need in the shoe department really, are two pairs:
- Walking shoes: I would recommend flat, comfortable shoes for walking. I always bring a pair of black oxfords because of their chic look, but sneakers, slip ons, and loafers would do just as well.
- Classy shoes: These are your pair for a night out. I’d suggest a pair of flats, or if you can handle it, even a pair of pumps.
5) What about the weather?
You can also pack additional accessories if you’ll be traveling in a specific climate.
For warm weather, take along:
- A pair of face-flattering sunglasses
- A bathing suit
- A pair of sandals or flipflops
And to beat the cold, pack:
- A beanie
- A warm, knit scarf
- Thermal underwear
- A thick, hooded jacket
Follow this guide and you’ll not only be ready to take on the world, but also look good doing it!
Eunice Gopez is a former Go Overseas intern and graduating senior at UC Berkeley. She loves writing, travel, and naturally, writing about travel.
Photo credits: we-make-money-not-art, Al Jazeera English
Happy New Year! We hope your 2011 was full of meaningful connections, working and playing with passion, embracing change and learning about yourself and the world. And we hope the coming year bring you even more amazing indie travel experiences.
This week, we’re kicking off the new year with a week dedicated to planning. We’ll suggest some great travel resolutions to inspire you to get out and go, and help you cope when you’re in between planning trips.
We’re also kicking off a new weekly event, called the Indie Travel Challenge, that will last for all of 2012! If you enjoyed participating in or reading the responses to our 30 Days of Indie Travel project, you’ll love what we have in store for you this year.
Rather than doing a prompt every day, we’ll post a prompt, question, or challenge (are you up for it?) every week for all of 2012! Similarly to the 30 Days of Indie Travel, we’ll ask you to respond to the prompt on your own blog, and link back to BootsnAll so we can find and highlight the best submissions.
For the very first week, we’re talking resolutions!
Many of us use the New Year as a time to make resolutions that we think will improve our lives. We plan to eat better, spend less, call our parents regularly, travel more. But rarely do we achieve these goals, because they’re too vague. We don’t have a plan on how to achieve them and so we forget about them by February.
This year, let’s not just resolve to “travel more” let’s resolve to have amazing indie travel experiences. Resolve to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Resolve to walk on a glacier in Patagonia. Resolve to eat your weight in cheese in Provence. Resolve to dance the tango in Buenos Aires. Resolve to seek out experiences that immerse you into a new culture, challenge your beliefs, push your comfort zone, delight your senses, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
So we’re issuing a challenge: share with us your indie travel list – part resolutions, part bucket list, the list should help you focus your travel plans so you can take concrete steps to achieve your travel goals this year (and beyond). Put together your list of experiences you want to have this year and link it back to our list of travel resolutions to keep (you can also add a link here, or share it on twitter with the hashtag #indie2012 so we can share it with the community). At the end of the month, we’ll use your ideas in a mega-list of amazing experiences to inspire travelers from around the world!
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