round the world Travel Articles

The Art of Slowing Down
Slow down and enjoy an experience is one of our Indie Travel Manifesto values.   It is there because, until you learn to slow down, you miss out on life around you.  You need to stop, stop thinking about what you were just doing, what you need to do next, what you need to do now because you have stuff to do next week, etc.  Which is why today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked you:      You may fool yourself into saying, “I’m sitting in a cafe. I’ve slowed down!”, but how many tabs do you have open on your laptop and how many conversations do you have going in your phone?  You haven’t slowed down, you’ve sat down.  Big difference. Not everyone knows how to slow down.  I had no idea how to slow down until my first trip to Zagreb.  I would pass the same man, sitting on the same benches in the park, at least 3 times each morning.  He would be there for a few hours each day but I never saw him DO anything.  My curiosity finally got the best of me, so I woke up early one morning to go to the park and see what it is he is doing. Turns out – nothing. He was doing nothing.  He was a master […]
Learning The Hard Way
Sometimes you learn by doing something the hard way.  With travel this often becomes the case.  No matter how many tips you read before hand, inevitably something will go awry or you end up in a situation where the only way to learn is to do it yourself. So today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked:     Dani tell us one of the things she had to learn the hard way – How to use a squat toilet: “When I was in Croatia, on my first international and first solo trip, I was traveling down the coastline with three people I met in the hostel.  I was the only inexperienced traveler and somehow we came upon the topic of squat toilets. Now I had seen photos of them, and read about them, but I thought they were confined to the Middle East and China (the only 2 places I had ever read had them).  My new friends thought this hilarious and proceeded to school me on the widespread use of squat toilets outside of the USA, and started competing in a “Let’s scare the noob with squat toilet horror stories”. I learned they were used in modern places like France. I learned how easy it is to pee on yourself using them, I heard about fecal-painted walls and that liquid and […]
What is something you’ve learned from traveling?
Today for the 2015 Indie Travel Challenge we asked a bunch of seasoned travelers to tell us 1 thing they have learned from traveling.   From silly to serious here is what fellow travelers have learned from traveling:     “I learned the hard way that, if you are prone to getting carsick yet sometimes travel via chicken bus, sit in the front.” – Jen Miner, The Vacation Gals “Skip your Lonely Planet—talk to bartenders and taxi drivers. Your guidebooks don’t know the best places to go. Bartenders and taxi drivers have their ear to the ground and always know what’s happening around town. Talk to them about where to go or what to see, and you can trust that you’re being given good advice.”   – Jeremy Scott Foster, travelFREAK “Travel has thought me that people are much quicker to open up to you if you show that you’re open to connecting with them. Just smiling at someone can ignite a conversation or turn the most grumpy salesman in a friendly chap.” – Sofie Couwenbergh,  Wonderful Wanderings  “I’ve learned that the level of customer service varies from country to country and city to city. What one is accustomed to back home can be very different (both good and bad) from what you experience when travelling so you just have to […]
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 enjoy the simple moments and details when you travel?
Traveling around the world is exciting, its new, its a rush, but like any other drug, you might find yourself one day just ‘chasing the next high’.   Sometimes you get so caught up on finding that next big adventure, that next big adrenaline rush, that you become jaded to the small nuances that make the world beautiful.   Dani tells us what she does to step back and appreciate the small things: “I stop and sit.  I pick a park or somewhere relaxing and just sit and watch everything around me – the people, animals, the trees and the clouds.  What I don’t do is pull out my phone or camera.  I leave technology and distractions behind and just sit for at least an hour. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s downright frustrating just sitting and not doing something. I feel awkward. I want some kind of distraction – but that defeats the purpose of appreciating the small things.   When you force yourself to stop and sit, you start to actually SEE everything around you.  And you’ll realize there are a lot of little details that you’ve been missing out on with your ‘go go go’ mentality. “   This is such a great and simple exercise to practice. How do you seek pleasure in the simple moments and […]
How Can You be a Responsible Traveler?
Today we are super-excited to have Diana Edelman, author of DTravelsRound, co-founder of the Responsible Tourism and Travel Collective (RTTC), former full-time volunteer at the Save Elephant Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and all around ecotravel and responsible tourism expert guest post today on the Indie Travel Challenge.  Diana gives us her advice on:   “After working in the responsible tourism industry for a few years, I am always conscious of my travels and how they are — or could be — more responsible. I’ve seen the first-hand effects of what traveling irresponsibly does to animals, as well as cultures, and know how imperative it is that myself, and others, try to become more responsible in our adventures. Ecotourism is a vague term that encompasses a lot. By definition, it involves traveling to areas which are natural and minimizing the impact of those who visit. It affords travelers an opportunity to see nature, wildlife and more without causing harm. It is absolutely important to me. As places around the world become desecrated because of people visiting, species become extinct and importance is placed on “see it before it’s gone” is the new buzz term, it is incredibly important to me that preservation efforts are made. There are many ways people can travel more responsibly. Little things like shopping and eating locally, staying […]
Giving Back to the Local Economy on Your RTW Trip
Today on the Indie Travel Challenge we asked you:   Cristina loves buying local and tells us about how she helps give back when she travels: “Over the years, I’ve got into the habit of visiting my local farmers’ market every chance I got. I may go as often as 3 times a week during the summer season. And with the increase in hand-made businesses and fairs, they also become part of my life where I live.     When I travel, I choose to give back by: staying in locally owned guesthouses or hostels buying food from the farmers’ markets visiting artisan fairs, including Christmas Markets The only thing I find to be challenging in the non-English speaking countries is the language barrier. The local businesses aren’t created for tourists so if you are not fluent in the native language, it may get a bit awkward. For the past 4 years, I’ve been visiting the Christmas Markets in Budapest every winter (or shall I say every December around my birthday?). Every single time I come back with: hand-made soap, hand-made something-to-wear or hand-made Christmas decorations. And every single time my husband does the talking because I speak a limited number of words in Hungarian. For our wedding anniversary this year, we chose Eger, the city well known for its […]
Favourite Travel Photos
Today on the Indie Travel Challenge we are asking you to share your 5 favourite travel photos that you’ve taken, or that inspire you.  So we decided to ask our co-workers to share their favourite travel photos with you.     Cristina – Traveler Consultant for Indie and Airtreks.         From our General Manager Riel:       From Marin, our Corporate Account Flight Specialist / Granter of Travel Wishes       Kristina, our Traveler Support Specialist and Airtreks & Indie shared these photos:       Our Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Andreea, shared these beautiful images from her travels:       From Anthy, one of our awesome Travel Consultants:       Grace, one of our Travel Ambassadors shared these photos from her trip to Nepal:   .   Sara, our Director of Sales, Support, and Operations for Airtreks shows off her photos: Lychees for sale on the street in Bangkok. Ready to go back any time!       Jenn, long-time BootsnAll contributor and now our editor sent these photos to share:       Lastly, Dani, who runs our Social Media sent us this photo from her trip last year to Kenya:   We hope these help inspire you and give you a look into the wonderful people who work to help you make your dream around-the-world trip […]
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 […]
Traveler of the Week – Grant Cansler
Traveler of the Week – Grant Cansler If you haven’t had a chance to check out our new traveler profiles, then this is the perfect time to do it. Part of what makes indie travel great is all the meaningful connections one makes with both locals and other travelers.  So what we wanted to do was to give indie travelers a place to get together and share their adventures with other like-minded people.  These traveler profiles are short and sweet and offer a variety of information about each person’s round the world trip (or for those who have not yet gone – their dream round the world trip). Each Tuesday, though, we are going to highlight one traveler from our profiles and offer up a little more information about them.  Learn more about traveler of the week Grant below! 1. When do you leave for your trip and where is your first destination? I left September 5th and the first destination is New Zealand to do a South Island road trip with my sister. 2. What is your biggest concern at this point of the planning process? Only concern is being a little under planned for a month in China. I know the major stops I would like to hit such as Chengdu, Xian, Shanghai & Beijing but have not planned anything in-between. It is about time to hit the […]