Category Archives: Travel

Want to be kept up to date with the latest travel trends? Whether it’s safety updates, destination recommendations, or ideas for seasonal travel, the following pages offer information and advice for the indie traveler.

Our Best Days Ever!

Travel isn’t always perfect. Your plane is delayed, you can’t speak the language, you get lost, it rains all day. A million little things can go wrong at any given time. But sometimes, everything is perfect. The cosmos seems to smile upon you and everything comes together just so. When that happens, all the minor inconveniences of travel are completely worth it. You can’t imagine being anywhere else in that moment, and no matter what else happened that day, it gets tucked into your memories as one of the Best. Days. Ever.

To celebrate those moments, we asked the BootsnAll writers to contribute a photo and a memory of one of their best travel days. Here’s what they shared.

This is the day I swam with wild dolphins off the coast of Rockingham in Western Australia.  When you start your morning off by boarding a boat in beautiful weather, and follow it up by hanging out with gorgeous dolphins in the wild, it just doesn’t get much better than that.

– Brooke Schoenman, WhyGo Australia

This was taken at a local beer festival. It was a beautiful day, free music, great drinks down by Lake Las Vegas. My husband, Cory, took the picture.

 JoAnna Haugen – WhyGo Las Vegas

The nest was about to empty. We headed in Tofino on the far West Coast of Canada to mark the last official summer vacation as a family. I have never been happier than on this particular afternoon, as I walked–mostly in silence–with my two children
along Long Beach, in Pacific Rim National Park.

Julie Ovenell-Carter – WhyGo Canada

About halfway into my RTW trip in 2008, I found myself in a tiny bungalow on Don Khon, a tiny island at the Southernmost tip of Laos. It was a welcome breather from the main backpacker trail, and I came to enjoy being forced to relax, recharge, and just get in touch with a slower pace of life. I spent my days reading, exploring the tiny island, and relaxing in this lovely hammock right outside my door. It was heaven on earth!

 Malia Yoshioka – WhyGo Hawaii

During a killer heat wave in Rome, my friends and I escaped and headed to the beach in Sperlonga. We played in the surf, made sand castles, tried synchronized swimming and ate softball-sized balls of mozzarella from a roadside stand. It was one of the most carefree days I’ve had since I was a kid. Bliss.

Christine Cantera – WhyGo France

One Saturday morning in Milan, some friends and I rented a car and drove into the Emilia-Romagna countryside in search of a prosciutto festival. We toured a prosciutto factory, watched artists render “still life with ham” from various angles, and lunched on the only thing around – platefuls of prosciutto, hunks of parmigiano-reggiano cheese, hard white rolls, and bunches of grapes (washed down with copious amounts of water and a chilled bottle of local wine). We returned the car back in Milan with two minutes to spare before being charged for an extra day, squeezing every last drop of road-trippy goodness out of it.

Jessica Spiegel  – WhyGo Italy

On our first day in Porto, Portugal, my husband and I stepped out of our amazing hotel overlooking the city to find that there  was a port house directly across the street. We toasted our arrival and tasted two types of port and then made our way to another port house, and another, and another, stopping in between tastes to share a light lunch of heavenly Portuguese custard tarts. By the time we made it down the hill to the rivefront, the sun was setting and we were quite tipsy and giggly. This photo was taken just after it rained as the sky turned a beautiful yellow-pink, and I was absolutely thrilled to be in Porto.

Katie Hammel – BootsnAll editor

After a quick “hike” to see the Iao needle, while visiting Maui this spring, we wandered along the river, and ended up hiking up an unofficial path near the river until we found this little spot to wade in. An hour later we were still hiking and found a natural infinity pool to swim in. Everyone jumped in, and it was perfect to be completely in the moment out exploring Maui and not thinking about what was next on our vacation agenda.

Olivia Raymer – BootsnAll marketing coordinator

What’s been one of your favorite “best day ever” moments?

Here’s what the Travel Blog Mob had to say about summer and memories:

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7 Things We Can All Learn from Business Travelers

Business travelers are a world apart from the rest of us, even from some of the most savvy travelers. When you travel for a living, day in and day and out, with your livelihood and productivity dependent on your ability to quickly get from place to place via plane, you pick up a trick or two.

This week, we’ve been exploring the world of business travel, sharing tips from business travelers on how you can travel better, no matter how often or infrequently you fly.

From packing and going through security to how to behave once you’re on the ground, here are a few more things all travelers can learn from those who do it for a living.

Pack light

The benefits of packing light have been extolled again and again. But when it comes down to it, business travelers can’t afford to show up for a meeting in a new country with no appropriate clothes to wear. And really, you can’t either. Sure you have more time to go shop for replacement clothes when you’re on a vacation, but for most of us, every minute counts. Don’t waste your precious vacation time trying to track down checked luggage or shopping for clothes to replace what was lost.

Don’t forget important toiletries

Sure, it’s easy to toiletries in most any country, or simply ask for them at the hotel front desk. But if you’re partial to certain brands of shampoo or soap, it can be disappointing to be caught without it for a week. The same holds for makeup, which is expensive to replace. Rather than worry about packing everything you need each time you on a trip, one FlyerTalk forum member recommends you put together a travel toiletry kit that stays in your suitcase when you are home. That way you’ll always have it ready when it’s time to go.

Get through security quickly

Business travelers don’t like to waste time in the security lines. They seem to have the act of undressing for the TSA down to a science. Know the rules of what you can and can’t bring on a plane and start getting ready before you step up to the security area. If you are traveling with a laptop, invest in a laptop case that allows you to leave your laptop in it when it goes through the xray. You’ll save time and reduce the risk that your computer will get banged up. And keep an eye on your stuff while you go through security; you don’t want to leave anything behind of find that someone else has walked away with it.

Loyal (and nice!) customers get rewarded

You may not travel enough to earn elite status on your favorite airline or score a few free nights of lodging at your preferred hotel chain, but every point adds up, so sign up for every reward or loyalty program you can, even if you don’t think you’ll travel enough to make it worth it. Signing up doesn’t take much time and could equal some perks or upgrades down the line. If you can, try to stay at the same chain or fly the same airline as often as possible. Over the course of a year, the points could make a difference. And while the old tale of dressing nicely and being rewarded with a first class upgrade is now nothing more than legend, being nice to travel professionals can make your trip more pleasant. If slip a little gift to the crew on your next flight, you may find yourself in a better seat or the recipient of a complementary glass of wine. And on a long flight, every little perk helps.

Get ahead of the crowds if something goes wrong

By know it’s common knowledge that should something go wrong with your flight (for example, if its canceled), you should quickly call customer service rather than waiting in the long line at the airport. Having the customer service numbers stored in your phone will help you get just a little further ahead of the crowd. Before you leave for your trip, make sure you have the customer service numbers for your airlines and hotels store in your phone.

Pick the right seat

Where you sit on the airplane shouldn’t be a lottery, especially as the wrong location can make a pleasant flight into a nightmare, so check SeatGuru to find the best seat on your flight. Checking in as close as possible to the 24-hours-in-advance mark will get you the best chance of an upgrade if you are a frequent flyer. If not, you can always ask for a better seat once you arrive at the gate. On long flights, head to the back of the plane to scope for empty seats. Often you can score a seat in a totally empty row, which means you can stretch out and sleep the whole flight.

Be professional at all times

Business travelers know that their ability to avoid a cultural faux pas can make or break a deal so they take the time to learn local customs before heading to a meeting in a foreign place. Though millions of dollars may not be riding on your ability to be respectful, it’s still wise to do the same.

Read more on business travel:

Photo by juicyrai

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7 Beach Destinations of the Lesser-Known Mediterranean

Picture the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea and you likely think of a few different scenes: the white-washed buildings of Santorini with a backdrop of brilliant blue, the towering cliffs of Italy’s Amalfi Coast, or striped umbrellas dotting the sands along the French Riviera.

But there’s so much more to the Mediterranean than these hotspots of Italy, Greece and France. Here are seven great beach destinations in the Mediterranean region.

  • We’ve already espoused the joys of travel in Albania, and the area known as the Albanian Riviera holds the same appeals – fresh seafood, uncrowded beaches, and low, low prices. Gjipe Beach looks particularly impressive, a secluded stretch of white sand tucked between two cliffs.
  • Far from the bustling streets of Istanbul, Turkey‘s Mediterranean beaches entice with turquoise water and soft sand. Check out Patara beach, 11 miles of beach sandwiched between sand dunes and the Mediterranean, considered one of the best in Turkey.  Or head to secluded Kaputas beach, popular with locals.
  • Slovenia doesn’t stand out as a beach destination for most people, yet the country does have several great beach towns, including the resort town of Portoroz, which is dotted with 4 and 5 star hotels available at a bargain price.
  • With dozens of sandy beaches lining the coast of Croatia, the country is quickly becoming a tourist hotspot, yet still it remains far less-touristed than its Mediterranean neighbors, especially as you head away from Dubrovnik. With party beaches, nude beaches, and blissfully empty beaches, there’s a Croatian beach for just about any style.
  • The tiny country of Malta is as rich with history as it is with beautiful places to swim and sunbathe. Visit a beach on the main island of Malta, or head to smaller Gozo, considered by many to be Calypso’s island in Homer’s Odyssey.
  • Though Italy‘s most famous beach areas and seaside towns – like the Amalfi coast and Cinque Terre – are often overrun with tourists, there are still some areas waiting to be discovered by mass tourism. The country’s east coast and “heel” for example, are dotted with towns and beaches that remain crowd-free. You can also leave the mainland for the less-visited islands of Italy.
  • Many of Greece‘s islands, such as Santorini, Crete and Mykonos, are equally popular. But with over 1000 islands to choose from, it only takes a bit more travel time to find an area all to yourself. Check out the secret Greek islands of Evia or Kea, or explore the black sand beach of Gerontas on Milos.

Read more about travel in the Mediterranean:

Photo by: Brother O’ Mara

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Family Travel Roundup: Indispensable Ideas, Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Kids

That first trip as a family can be nerve-wracking. Figuring out what to pack so that you have what you need but aren’t laden down with stuff, worrying about how the kids will react to a new environment and a disruption in their routine, and trying to please everyone can almost take the fun out of the vacation.

But with a bit of advance planning and a few simple measures, you can ensure a great trip for everyone.

  • Traveling with an infant for the first time can be a scary proposition, but traveling with very young kids can actually be easier than traveling with toddlers as most of the time they’ll be sleeping, in a stroller, or carried by mom or dad. Having the right gear for traveling with kids can make all the difference. When choosing hotels, look for those that offer family services like daycare and kids clubs.
  • If you don’t think you’re quite ready to handle the kids on your own in an unfamiliar place, enlist help and invite the grandparents. Multi-generational travel can strengthen the family bonds and allow mom and dad some time away from the kids. Just choose a trip that works for all age ranges; small-ship cruises are great because they offer a range of activities during the day but keep everyone together when the ship is at sea.
  • If you have a special needs child, you can still see the world with him or her by your side. There are lots of resources for traveling with special needs children, including tips for flying with special needs children and advice on the most wheel-chair friendly cities.

Ease your family into travel

A weekend away in nearby city is one of the easiest (and often least expensive) ways to travel with your family. Camping is also a good way to spend time away from home for the first time. Once you’re ready to branch out, start planning longer trips further away. Any city in the US can be family friendly if you plan ahead, pick your hotel carefully and choose the right activities.

Make your summer vacation one they’ll never forget

If you’ve got more time and are ready to take a bigger adventure with your kids, consider an overseas trip. While it may be more daunting to travel to certain areas with your kids, it’s really possible to take your family just about anywhere so long as you do a bit of research before you go to ensure you pick the place that’s right for your situation.

  • For example, taking Australia’s Indian Pacific Railway with kids, particularly toddlers and young children who won’t want to be cooped up for days on end, may not be the best idea. But families with older kids will find plenty to do in Sydney, including visiting the aquarium, zoo, beaches, and famous Sydney Opera house.
  • Despite its chaos, Italy can be quite family friendly.  Renting a villa can keep the costs down for a family, allowing you to cook some of your meals and save money on the price of food. Whether you are traveling with kids or teenagers in Italy, you can find family friendly hotels as well as attractions and activities that won’t feel like a boring history lesson.
  • You don’t even have to go that far to open your kids up to a whole new world. If you’re on the west coast of the US and don’t want to deal with the jetlag of going to Europe, consider British Columbia, Canada, the Pacific Coast of Mexico, or Hawaii. Though you might think of Hawaii as a romantic destination, it can also be great for kids too, with activities like surf lessons, snorkeling, luaus and learning about volcanoes.  On the east coast, check out Nova Scotia, Canada, Mexico’s Riviera Maya, or the Caribbean.

Take your family on an epic adventure

If 2-week vacations and weekend trips just aren’t satisfying your wanderlust, consider taking your travels to a grander scale and joining the thousands of families who have left home to travel the world together. Plan on going for 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, or even longer, making the world your child’s classroom.

Some of our favorite sites for family travel:

Photos by el.jefe, sixintheworld

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What’s your BHAG?

About a week ago, most of the BootsnAll team headed to Vancouver, BC for the TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference. One of our car discussions, enroute from Portland, was about BootsnAll’s BHAG — Big Hairy Audacious Goal. While we are working on refining our goals and dreams this year, this is the BHAG we are currently tossing around: 10 stamps on every passport in every world citizen’s back pocket.

While at the TBEX conference, we handed out postcards asking bloggers to share their dreams – one life goal, one travel goal, and one blogging/connecting goal. Since we’ve gotten a few requests post-conference, we thought we’d just share the postcard with the rest of the BootsnAll community. So feel free to share your goals in the comments or download a pdf of the postcard if you want to keep it to yourself.

Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing some of the goals and BHAGs that TBEX bloggers and travelers from the BootsnAll community have shared with us. So if you haven’t shared your BHAG with us, we’d love to hear it!

What’s your BHAG?

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