indie travel Travel Articles

What is your “Ah-Ha” moment?
For Day 20 of the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge, we’re asking you:   Here to tell us her ‘ah-ha’ moment is Dani, our head of social media:   “I’ve had a many ‘ah-ha’ moments when it comes to learning things on my travels, but the one I come back to is what happened to me on my very first international trip. I got off the airplane in Zagreb and headed to the line of buses that take you to the city.  I stepped onto the bus, and asked a little old Swedish couple, sitting in front, “Do you speak English?” Yes they nodded. “Is this the bus to Zagreb city?” The older women couldn’t hold back any longer.  She started giggling, grabbed her husband’s arm and says “Oh honey look! She has such a cute accent!” It was then that reality smacked me in the face… I was the one with the accent now! It was such an ‘ah-ha’ moment because up until that time it never dawned that I’m now the foreigner. This is not my country. I’m the one that speaks English funny. It was such an eye-opener for me. And also a great conversation opener, as I guess my shock of realizing I’m the outsider was apparent and the husband and wife quickly sat me down and started […]
How Do You Fit into a Rich and Complex World?
Today’s Indie Travel Challenge is all about ‘Seeing Yourself as Part of a Rich and Complex World‘.  This is one of the values on our indie manifesto values and we challenged you today to photograph where you are, right now, and how you fit into the complexity of the place.     Our Social Media girl, Dani, who is traveling in Colombia, told us where she was and how she fits in.   “Today I am at Parque Floresta. It’s a cute little neighbourhood park, that is a central hanging-out spot in front of the church. Because in Colombia there is about 1 church for every 3 blocks and almost always a little centralized park in front of them. I like being here because it’s a quiet, regular neighbourhood (ie: it’s not one of the tourist districts of city). Because of this, I find people are more open to me here, more patient when I try to communicate (my Spanish is bad) and they are much more helpful at correcting my Spanish so I can learn. In the tourist areas I find people are annoyed and roll their eyes when you don’t speak perfect, but here I feel treated more equal, not like a tourist just passing through.  (But I don’t believe I’m treated like a true local.  The price […]
Pack Light & Simple
  Today on the Indie Travel Challenge the challenge is to pack for a six month trip and share what’s in your bag. I’ve taken lots of six months trips, and I love packing for them, but for this challenge, I’ve packed for a pretend one. Because every trip is different and what we pack varies by the region we visit and the type of trip we’re taking, there’s no one-size-fits-all packing list. That said, it’s safe to say that most people pack too much sh*t. For the purposes of this challenge, I’m packing as if I’m going to Europe for six months, over winter, just to make it fun. Winter packing makes people crazy. Their bags bulge. They don’t need to. I’m committed to traveling carry on only, and I plan to continue to work as I travel (which is my life, so that’s fair, right?) The Bag I’m taking my Tortuga Backpack. I’m in love with this bag. I purchased one for my husband about a year ago when we were living in Guatemala and he was facing business trips to New York on a frequent basis. It’s, hands down, the best all around bag produced, and it’s carry on sized on virtually every airline. The only time I’ve ever been forced to gate check it was on a […]
Practicing Caution without Becoming Paranoid.
When traveling it’s good be be cautious, but you don’t want to become so paranoid that it affects your journey.    Today’s answer comes from one of our awesome, personalized travel consultants Cristina: Caution (noun): care taken to avoid danger or mistakes. Paranoia (noun): unjustified suspicion and mistrust of other people.   “I attribute my skill of walking the fine line between caution and paranoia , both at home and when I travel, to my moving on my own at the (tender) age of 21. I have traveled independently prior to that move already and the “sprouts” of knowing how to keep myself and my belongings safe have been planted by my late grandma since I started going to school. Over the years, I’ve set myself some “rules” which I follow (by now out of instinct) to ensure my safety.   I  take responsibility for my actions when I travel I lock the door behind me, the second I get into the hotel / hostel room / rental apartment I check the emergency evacuation plan (that should be in a visible place in the hotel / hostel room). I always keep a small handbag (usually tucked into my backpack) with the necessary documents I have to grab in case I need to evacuate (passport, driving license, ID card, copy of insurance, marriage […]
RTW Travel Planning – Where Will You Go?
  Today our former editor and now travel guru Adam Seeper, joins us to tell you about how he planned his RTW trip and what he would do differently after a year travel: “Here was our route from a flight perspective. We flew into Lima, traveled overland through Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina over to Buenos Aires. Had an apartment there for a month before flying down to Patagonia. We traveled around Patagonia and the Lake District in both Argentina and Chile before flying from Santiago to Bogota. We traveled around Colombia for a month (~6 months in South America total) before flying to New Zealand via LA.” “We spent 5 weeks traveling New Zealand in a camper van before flying to Bangkok, where we traveled around Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia for about 3.5 months. We then flew to Delhi, where we traveled around India for 6 weeks before flying home from Mumbai.”     “Knowing what I know now, I would have done several things differently.   Stay longer in more places and just slow down in general. We rented an apartment in Buenos Aires for a month, which was one of the major highlights of our trip, partly because we were able to unpack our bags, slow down, become part of a community, and have a place to […]
Why I co-created the Indie Travel Manifesto
Today, our CEO Sean, takes you on a look behind our own Indie Travel Manifesto, why he created it, and what his top 3 values on it are:   “In February of 2012, my colleagues, Rolf Potts, and I shared the Indie Travel Manifesto for the 1st time. I pushed for doing this for a many reasons. If you’ve read my 16 lessons from running an internet travel start-up for 15 years piece, why will make even more sense. I had co-founded BootsnAll with several awesome travelers and friends about 13 years before we wrote the manifesto and had tried so many topics in travel. One topic, long-term travel, we were experts having done it, and coached and encouraged people for years. As a team, we had just identified the words that were already our core values as a company in the Fall of 2011. Writing a list of core values for Indie Travelers felt like the right thing to do to help clarify what Indie Travel, Vagabonding, or RTW travel was/is. And working with Rolf, perhaps the father of the modern independent travel movement birthed with his still resonating book from 2002, Vagabonding (read this if you haven’t yet – it may change your life) – seemed like the best way, to come up with a set of values that […]
Why Local Information is the Best!
  We are firm believer in “Local Information over Received Information“.  One of the best ways to discover a new place is to talk with someone who has been there. Our social media manager, Dani tells us about her affinity for local information: “I’m pretty extroverted so I have no problem asking strangers questions. I also like to go places where I’m likely the only foreigner. When I was in Colombia for my first time, I really wanted to spend my last night in Bogota at a local rock show. As I asked the hostel reception if they knew someplace, 3 travelers walked in and told me about a free, 3 day music festival happening in Medellin – and the first 2 days are rock music.  I was on a bus that night and at the concert the next morning. I spent all 3 days at Altavoz and ended up meeting a ton of locals who gave me more local information. Because of this one question about where to see a rock show, I ended up being a zombie in a commercial in Medellin, photographing a band in the studio in Ecuador, and meeting tons of awesome people who I’m still friends with today. But the best part – I met my now husband at this concert. So yea, I’m […]
Options Over Possessions
For day 2 of the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we’re asking you:   Options Over Possessions is one of the values we list on our Indie Manifesto.   We fully believe that options & experiences will teach you, be with you, and fulfill you much longer than ‘stuff’.   Dave Campbell, our Marketing Manager perfectly sums up why options and experiences are more valuable than possessions: “I believe a memory is invaluable and fulfilling while something you can purchase is not and can never be.  Show me two people who were given $2000 – one spent it travelling and one spent it on anything else- and I guarantee I can tell the difference.  A new television or car will not change your perspective on your life, nor will it give you an understanding or appreciation of the world around you.  When I think back on my life, it won’t be about the over-expensive suit I bought for a wedding in Mexico, but the amazing empanadas I ate on the beach or the snorkeling I did during my trip.  I wore the suit, but it is what I experienced while wearing the suit that made me more fulfilled.” Have you ever bought something, later to wish you had spent that money on DOING something instead?  Tell us about the best time […]
Why Do You Travel?
Welcome to day one of the 2015 Indie Travel Manifesto Challenge.   All this month we’ll not just be asking you to answer questions and challenges, we’ll be taking part as a company on our blog too! So let’s kick this off: Question 1:   There are many reasons why people start traveling, and many reasons why people continue traveling.  Our Marketing Manager, Dave Campbell tells us his: “I first started traveling because of family – my parents were constantly on the road and instilled this into my siblings since we were born.  Perhaps they considered it a right of passage, a life lesson, or simply a way to get us out of the house.  I can’t recall a time where I didn’t have two or three trips in the coming months planned, whether they be weekend getaways, a trip to the cabin, or a journey overseas.  It’s almost a tradition that we travel (and even today we trip together in one way or another consistently), and it’s certainly something we are instilling in our next generation.   I continue to travel because there is a small but fulfilling world out there that needs to be explored.  Life to me is simply a smattering of moments and memories, and while I have many in the place I call home the majority […]
Planning a Solo Road Trip Without Burning Yourself Out
Road trips are one of the great ways to see a country.  You can go where you want, when you want, and can get into places that public transportation doesn’t go.  You can get into the backcountry landscapes, interact with locals in small towns, and really get to know a place.   But you can also try to do way too much and get burned out.