Indie Travel Challenge 2012 Travel Articles

Difficult Travel Moments: This Week on BootsnAll
Difficult Travel Moments: This Week on BootsnAll Travel is, most of us would likely agree, life-changing in the most positive ways. It’s about exceptional experiences we can’t have if we don’t get out of our familiar surroundings, people we would never meet if we stayed home, and memories we’ll treasure for the rest of our lives. But not everything about travel is easy. In fact, we believe most travelers would agree that often the most meaningful moments come from challenges we encounter along the way – even if we only realize that in retrospect. This week on BootsnAll, you’ll read about Eastern European mountains that even inexperienced hikers can climb, getting comfortable with Japanese culture, conquering a fear of the dark to see a whole other world, and letting a travel dream throw your life plans for a loop. Week 20 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is all about travel’s difficult moments. We can all point to difficult moments during our travels, things we weren’t prepared to see, smell, or taste – but real learning isn’t just about knowing you don’t like haggis because you inadvertently ate some in Scotland. We can learn valuable lessons from uncomfortable travel situations, lessons that will stick with us long after we’ve returned home. For week 20 of the Indie Travel Challenge, we’d like you to talk about something you saw […]
Road Trips: This Week on BootsnAll
Road Trips: This Week on BootsnAll What, we ask you, screams summer vacation more than a road trip? Now, we admit that we’re predisposed to think of road trips as American – but no matter where the concept of a road trip came from, it’s applicable to places all over the globe today. I’ve spent time scouring a map of northern Scotland for the smallest (and windiest) road between two points while exploring the whisky trail, staring out the bus window at the stunningly green landscape (and trying to – quite literally – count sheep) in New Zealand, and marveling at the incongruity of terrain that looked like Oregon (only with way more ostriches) en route from Cape Town to Wilderness in South Africa. The only requirements of a great road trip are roads, a car, and time. >> This week on BootsnAll you’ll read about how you can have foreign culture experiences without leaving the country, and how a road trip through the U.S. gets you to the heart of so many elements of indie travel. Week 19 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is all about road trips. While the United States may have some of the best excuses for long drives, we’re happy to go on a road trip anywhere that has a selection of bizarre roadside attractions to keep us intrigued and a […]
Family Travel: This Week on BootsnAll
Family Travel: This Week on BootsnAll As the founders and staff at BootsnAll have grown up over the years, so have our ideas about indie travel. Back in 1998, for instance, a young and single Sean Keener wasn’t thinking about how having kids someday might impact his travel plans. These days, he’s acutely aware of how many people think their traveling days are over once they reproduce – and he hasn’t let that stop him and his growing family from still hitting the road. In fact, they just got back from spending 4.5 months in New Zealand, and Sean’s son’s first trip was to New York at the ripe age of six weeks. We’ve recently featured a couple of stories (here and here) by kick-ass traveling families who are forcing people to re-think their assumptions about traveling with kids, and we’re expanding the theme a bit this week. You’ll read about why it’s important to raise kids with indie travel in mind. You’ll read excellent tips to make traveling with kids easier, which should leave you with pretty much no excuses not to get your family on the road. And in case you need more inspiration to not put off your trip any longer, you’ll also read about how to go from dreaming to traveling in just four weeks. Week 18 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 […]
New Zealand: This Week on BootsnAll
New Zealand: This Week on BootsnAll As we started the Indie Travel Take Down Tournament this year – our first attempt to wrangle the countries of the world into a kind of March Madness bracket of indie travel awesomeness – we were predicting which places would rank highly with travelers. New Zealand, as many of you can probably guess, was a deserved #1 seed and (we thought) a shoe-in for the top slot overall. And then Portugal came along to upset New Zealand in the finals. Tournaments like this are always going to have surprises, which is part of the fun, and of course the result doesn’t diminish New Zealand as a kick-ass indie travel destination at all. In fact, we love the country so much we’re highlighting it this week on BootsnAll. You’ll get to read about the ABCs of traveling in New Zealand (and since there are a few letters missing from this alphabet, we invite you to suggest appropriate candidates for U, X, Y, and Z), 7 things that make New Zealand so awesome for travelers, and a festival in New Zealand that celebrates local food (nevermind that it’s of the buggy variety). Week 17 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is all about New Zealand. Some of you have already blogged about New Zealand as part of the Indie Travel Challenge, and we […]
Giving Back: This Week on BootsnAll
Giving Back: This Week on BootsnAll At first blush, one might assume that hunters and fishermen would be on the opposite side of the environmental argument from organizations whose mission is preserve our natural world. In fact, hunters and fishermen are often some of the most staunch environmentalists, because their livelihood depends on a stable ecosystem. The same can be said for travelers, who – despite our penchant for hopping into gas-guzzling cars and planes to explore the far reaches of the earth – end up being environmentally aware simply because if we don’t do our part to preserve the planet, it won’t be here for us to explore. It’s a selfish line of reasoning, there’s no denying that, but if the outcome is good for the environment then I think that’s just fine. Where am I going with this? I’m getting to this week’s Indie Travel Challenge, which is a challenge – not just a blogging prompt – about giving back. >> And don’t miss this week’s travel transformation story, “Why You Should Forgo the American Dream and Let Travel Transform Your Life“ Week 16 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is about voluntourism. Many of us take trips that are relatively brief, and we’ve got them planned from morning ’til night, with hardly any room for rest, let alone volunteering. But volunteering while you travel […]
Travel Transformations: This Week on BootsnAll
Travel Transformations: This Week on BootsnAll At BootsnAll, one of the things we love about travel is that there are many brands of getting out and seeing the world. It’s not one size fits all, and everyone can travel in a way that suits their personality. We do, however, have preferences for certain kinds of travel – and traveling by checklist isn’t one of them. We may make life lists and have travel goals, but – as we highlighted in the Indie Travel Manifesto – we value possibilities over a static to-do list. That’s one of the reasons why we like hearing tales about how people’s lives have been changed by travel – it’s almost never checking an item off a to-do list that brings about profound change. It’s often the smaller moments, the ones you don’t plan for, that may have such an impact on you that you don’t even realize it until much later. So this week on BootsnAll, we’re focusing on the transformational power of travel. Jennifer Miller talks about her grandmother’s death spurring her on in her quest to travel long-term with her family, and some of the highs and lows they’ve experienced since setting out on their journey. The phrase “leap of faith” comes up often. And every person who has contributed to our “How I Travel” series has talked about […]
Latin America: This Week on BootsnAll
Latin America: This Week on BootsnAll If the journey is supposed to be the reward, someone forgot to tell the bus drivers in Bolivia. Latin America routinely ranks highly among indie travelers for being budget friendly and, for the most part, for having a decent tourist infrastructure. It’s also handy that much of the region speaks some form of Spanish – learn the basics of one language and you can get by for a good long while. Getting around Latin America, however, is far from a uniform experience. This week on BootsnAll we’re talking about Latin America, but not just the transportation. We’re kicking things off with an admonition to take your kids to Mexico despite what you’ve read in the news. Later in the week, you’ll read about some of the adrenaline-pumping activities you can enjoy in Chile, get tips for visiting the famous Salt Flats of Bolivia, and learn about planning an extended trip in South America. But we’d like you to talk to us about getting there. Week 14 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is all about transportation in Latin America. Transportation in Latin America runs the gamut from the plush buses in Argentina to the chicken buses of Central America to Bolivia’s notorious “most dangerous road in the world.” No doubt many a traveler has returned from a trip through Latin America […]
Eastern Europe: This Week on BootsnAll
Eastern Europe: This Week on BootsnAll Europe has long been a magnet for backpackers and others on extended trips. Nowadays, “the continent” has a well-deserved reputation for being an expensive place to visit – but hearken back, if you will, to the days when our forefathers and mothers hopped from one European hostel to the next with the help of a Eurail Pass and a few months of free time before high school and college. Or, we can go even further back, when “The Grand Tour” was synonymous with Europe’s great cities. Today’s budget travelers have to be a bit more creative if they want to still visit Europe but not spend several times what previous generations might have spent. In short, we’ve got to head east – which is what we’re about to do this week at BootsnAll, learning more about Eastern Europe. One of the articles coming up this week on BootsnAll is about places in Poland you’ve probably never heard of. Another will offer tips on planning an extended trip through Central Europe. And we’re kicking the week off with an article all about why you should go to Belarus, regardless of what you think you know about it. Week 13 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is all about Eastern Europe. For most of us, Western Europe is what comes to mind when […]
Train Travel: This Week on BootsnAll
Train Travel: This Week on BootsnAll Most of us can appreciate the wonder of walking around in a new city, of sampling new flavors in restaurants, and browsing through new shops. But, as the saying goes, it’s not all about the destination – sometimes it’s about the journey. Now, modern travel has its perks – speeding through time zones on a trans-Atlantic flight should make anyone feel awe-struck – but let’s face it, there’s nothing romantic or wistful about airports or airlines these days. Long lines, security checks, shoe removal, liquids in tiny containers, seats that hardly recline, extra fees for bad airline food… Combined, all this does a fine job of removing the fun from travel until you actually get where you’re going. Rail travel, on the other hand, retains much of its romantic appeal – which is why we’re focusing on it this week on BootsnAll. You’ll read about ways to make the most of long train journeys, and you’ll learn about some places in Eastern Europe where you can get off the beatean path while still sticking to the train lines. Week 12 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is all about train travel. We’ve all heard rail travel described as “romantic,” and that has nothing to do with getting busy with the hot girl from the next bunk on an overnight ride across […]
Travel Bracketology: This Week on BootsnAll
Travel Bracketology: This Week on BootsnAll Hey, sports fans! Not a day goes by where, somewhere in this world, there’s not some kind of sporting event going on. We have no actual confirmation of this, but we’re pretty sure it’s true. With a few sports nuts around the BootsnAll office, it was probably inevitable that we finally moved past the March Madness office pool and instead created our own tournament all about travel. Introducing – Travel Bracketology. Through the rest of March, we’re going to be tallying your votes to determine which country you think deserves the title of “best country for independent travel.” To begin, we’re asking you to go to our Facebook page and nominate or vote for countries in order to come up with an initial list of 64 – 16 countries from each of four regions of the world. From there, we’ll use our new Indie-o-Meter to judge each head-to-head country match-up. The four regional polls: THE AMERICAS: What’s the best country in North, Central, & South America for independent travel? EUROPE: What’s the best country in Europe for independent travel? ASIA & OCEANIA: What’s the best country in Asia & Oceania for independent travel? AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST: What’s the best country in Africa & Middle East for independent travel? Week 11 of the Indie Travel Challenge 2012 is all about Travel […]