BootsnAll’s Best “How To” Travel Articles from 2011

BootsnAll has a long history of providing not just travel inspiration but actual tips that help people travel. These articles most often take the form of “how to” pieces, and the topics covered run the gamut of stuff you might expect to travel guides you didn’t even know you needed until you read the article.

At the end of each year, we like to round up the best of the best of those how to articles – it gives us a chance to show them off again and, frankly, to remind ourselves how great they are. What makes them even more meaningful this year is that, during BootsnAll’s annual planning retreat, we enthusiastically declared that one of our core values is “LOVE LEARNING.” When it comes to travel, we love learning – and we think you do, too.

Here are our favorite how-to articles from 2011 – and check out the best how-to travel articles from 2010, in case you missed them last year!

Do you have an awesome idea for a how to article? We want to know about it.

How To: Indie Travel

It wasn’t until November that BootsnAll launched the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project, but articles promoting the theme of “indie travel” are what we’re all about. Here are some of our favorites from 2011 that offered not just inspiration, but also practical guidance for being an indie traveler.

  • How to Travel Like James Bond – Who epitomizes the “prepare for anything without being anal about it” attitude better than James Bond? You may not have the budget to outfit your suitcase with the kinds of high-tech gadgetry 007 always seems to have at hand, but any traveler can learn something from Bond.
  • How to Pack for Two Different Trips in One Bag – We’ve all read tips on packing light, and those articles almost never provide any new information that isn’t found in other similar articles. What this article does so well is address the very real challenge of packing one carry-on bag (the indie traveler preference) when you’re going to two very different destinations in the same trip. Maybe you’re combining a business trip with a leisure stop, or visiting one cold and one warm destination – whatever your situation, there are genuinely useful tips in this article for you.
  • How to Approach Clothing Optional Hot Springs Around the World – We love this piece for its frank handling of (let’s face it) a potentially challenging topic, while still passing on useful information. Indie travelers are willing to try new things, but that doesn’t mean you have to go in with no warning.

How To: Travel More and/or Travel for Less

Traveling more, or (at the very least) getting more travel bang for your budget – isn’t that the goal of every traveler? It must be, because there were several great how to articles on BootsnAll this year that fall into this category (including some of the most popular articles of the year). Here’s how we showed you how to get more for less in 2011.

  • How to Travel More Without Quitting Your Job: 10 Tips for the Restless Desk-Jockey – If you’re not ready to go RTW (or you don’t really want to), you can still travel more than the average person. This article offers 12 suggestions for seeing more of the world without giving up your steady job and income.
  • Travel Sooner: 5 Secrets to Funding Your Journey Faster – Saving up to travel, whether it’s for a week or a year, is a common theme travelers discuss. This article suggests five ways to expand your bank account sooner – or, perhaps even more interestingly, to get on the road sooner without needing to save up as much money.
  • Five of the World’s Most Expensive Countries and How to Visit Them on the Cheap – BootsnAll readers are notorious for zeroing in on the cheaper destinations where their travel budget can be stretched much further, but what if your travel wish list includes places that are expensive for visitors? This article highlights five such places and features money-saving tips for each so you can plan your dream trip without a trust fund.
  • Exotic Destinations on a Budget: How to Experience the Trip of a Lifetime for Less – On a similar theme, this article featured five trips that are often described as “bucket list” trips – Antarctica and an African safari among them. Bucket list trips sound like they’re going to be budget-busters, but this article lists tips for each kind of trip to help you save money without giving up on your travel dream.
  • The Stopover Secret: How to Get More From Any Trip – Another way to tackle the expensive destinations? Don’t stay very long, and don’t pay for airfare. Wait, what? As this article points out, some of the most expensive places also happen to be good options for stopovers en route somewhere else, which gives you two vacations in one. Sort of.

How To: RTW

At BootsnAll, we’ve come to think of long-term travel as something of a pilgrimage for indie travelers – the kind of thing that not every indie traveler will be able to do, but to which just about every indie traveler aspires. Toward that end, we regularly have articles on the site that speak to one element or another of the RTW travel topic. Here are some of our favorites from 2011.

  • Should You Go on a RTW Trip? How to Know if Long-Term Travel is Right for You – A round-the-world trip isn’t right for everyone, we know that. We want to see people out in the world and enjoying it, so before you book that RTW ticket, have a serious heart-to-heart with yourself over the questions in this article to see if a RTW trip is really what you want.
  • How to Travel Around the World for $40 Per Day – How many times have you heard a would-be traveler say that they couldn’t possibly go on a RTW trip because that’s the kind of thing only rich people do? It’s one thing to say traveling RTW is inexpensive, but it’s another to lay out costs for nine countries that allow you to travel easily for $40/day.
  • Round the World Travel Budgets Revealed: The Real Costs of 11 Real Trips – In this detail-filled article, you’ll find real-life budget examples from 11 RTW trips. These breakdowns are manna from heaven for any numbers junkie.
  • 8 Ways to Travel for Free on Your RTW – There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but the barter system is alive in well in much of the travel world, and RTW travelers are in an ideal position to take advantage of that. Working on a farm in exchange for room and board or house-sitting instead of paying for accommodation is a win-win situation for both parties.
  • How to Deal with the Downsides of Long Term Travel – Travel is awesome. We believe that, or we wouldn’t be in this business. It is not, however, without its drawbacks. Knowing those going in means you stand a better chance of getting past them gracefully.
  • How to Decide Where to Go on a RTW Trip – After budget questions, itinerary questions are the most common ones asked of RTW travelers. This article provides some steps for prioritizing your travel wish list, but our favorite part is the opening realization: “You can’t go everywhere.” Sometimes that’s the most important piece of information a RTW planner can internalize!

How To: Random Acts of Awesome

Some of the how to articles we’ve run defy categorization, other than being filed generally in the category of “fabulous.” We present these, then, with a slow clap and a standing ovation.

  • Traditional Markets in Latin America: A Guide for First Time Shoppers – Oh, how we indie travelers love market shopping (and eating) around the world. Markets are sensory overload, and indie travelers are like kids in a proverbial candy store when we find a market – especially if it’s outdoors, if we’re photographers, and if we’re hungry. Articles like this are helpful for those of us who don’t know where to start and would otherwise risk dissolving into overwhelmed fits of giddiness. Not that we know anything about that. Nosiree.
  • 8 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling – Swapping tales of how sick we’ve gotten on the road may be the stock and trade of some indie travelers, but for those of us who are hoping to sit those conversations out (or are sadly prone to health issues even at home) this article has suggestions for avoiding the typical traveler illnesses.
  • The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Global Road Tripping – At BootsnAll, we’re fond of road trips in general, but throw the word “extreme” in there and you’ve really got our attention. This article is full of great advice for any road trip, but especially those in far-off places where (as the author say) you can’t underestimate the value of a hammer.
  • Eight Ways to Go Downhill in New Zealand – We have just one word about why we love this article: ZORBING.

photos by Fadza Ishak, A Photography, Images_of_Money, Horia Varlan, MasterMan

Filed under: Best Of, featured