What does it take to be a frugal traveler?

A urinal in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma). Photo: Marcus Sortijas

Travel writers have it easy. They get to see the world, express their creativity through storytelling, have adventures–and their company pays for it all! How sweet is that?

Seth Kugel, the current writer of The New York Times “Frugal Traveler” column, bursts that bubble in his article, How to be a frugal traveler.  He answers the most … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | February 25, 2011
Category: Backpacking, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Writing

Serendipitous discovery

Over-organizing travel plans—where you’re in a different place each day due to a long checklist of things to see—can actually result in seeing less. Sure, you may get to all the monuments or museums you want, but while the checklist blinders are on, you could be missing out on a lot of local culture.

Recently, I was in … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | February 24, 2011
Category: Languages and Culture, Lifestyle Design, North America

Rice Wine

Rice wine is a fairly popular staple of Asia. Its popularity, over history, has spread its way West and become a common enough spirit there. Rice wine doesn’t share the same fermentation process as fruit based wines, but rather undergoes a brewing method quite similar to beer. As with the brewing of beers, first the starch from the rice is processed into sugar, and then the … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (2)  | February 23, 2011
Category: Asia, Food and Drink

Rules for romance: single female travelers becoming pairs?

There’s a lot of you-go-grrl-empowerment articles on the web and in travel magazines about women traveling on their own, toting their own backpacks and having exciting adventures.  The general themes of these articles usually has to do with being brave and feeling safe walking the streets at night, making friends with locals, avoiding singles supplements or suspicious glances … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | February 22, 2011
Category: Expat Life, Female Travelers, Languages and Culture, Sex and Travel, Solo Travel, Vagabonding Advice

Eric Weiner on the limitations of luxury hotels

“Like embassies, five-star hotels go to great lengths to isolate, and insulate, themselves from the host country. It is possible to spend many days at a five-star hotel engaged in all sorts of productive activities — holding meetings, eating meals, exercising, getting married, watching movies — without ever stepping foot in the actual country where you allegedly find yourself. This is no accident, of course. The hotel owners want you to stay put and spend … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | February 21, 2011
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

Planning an Itinerary Around a Budget

We’ve mentioned several times before how common budget questions are when talking about long-term travel. Unless you’ve got a means for making money as you travel – whether through a web-based business or by taking odd jobs along the way – you’ll need to save up whatever you plan to live off of before you leave home. It’s not surprising this is a challenge for many people.

If you’re among the budget-challenged, then, does this … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | February 19, 2011
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

“Road-test” a relationship by traveling together?

“I have found out there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” Tom Sawyer Abroad, by Mark Twain

Naturally, we put up a front when we’re dating someone. We hide our flaws and try to present our best selves. But what happens if both of you are outside of your comfortable environment?

In this New York Times article, the CEO of Lonely … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (7)  | February 18, 2011
Category: Backpacking, Expat Life, Notes from the collective travel mind

Watching the whales of Magdalena Bay

I just returned from a trip to Baja California Sur, Mexico, and the highlight of my trip was an hour-long boat trip to see the California gray whales in Magdalena Bay. Aside from a kayak experience when my little boat and I were just a few inches from a humpback whale, this was the closest I’ve been to a whale in the wild.

Magdalena Bay itself … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | February 17, 2011
Category: Adventure Travel, North America