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Travel Abroad

The Independent Travel Guide

Independent Travel
Wandering through Tuscan hills.

Transitions Abroad combines the best ideas and info on ways to maximize the overseas experience by avoiding the superficial tourist routine. The most economical and rewarding way to travel and live abroad is to do it like a native. Whether for a short vacation or a longer stay, whether solo or with a travel companion, Transitions Abroad has long been known as the premier tool for intelligent independent travelers—where to go, who to see, what to do, and how to get off the bus tour and beyond the postcards. The featured articles below reflect this perspective on independent travel as a means of immersion in the host culture. —Founding Publisher and Editor Dr. Clay Hubbs

  Independent Travel Advisor
Solo Travel Myths and Realities Solo Travel: Myths and Realities by Lies Ouwerkerk, Independent Travel Editor
As if my sometimes off-limits travel destinations are not frowned upon enough already, my preference for solo travel seems even more reason to doubt my sanity. "You must often feel lonely" friends and colleagues use to say in pity, "don't you hate to eat alone all the time?" The truth is that when I travel on my own, I am hardly ever alone...
Travel itinerary Australia Outback How to Make a Great Travel Itinerary by Robert Reid , "How to Enjoy the World" Columnist
Some say a trip’s rewards come at an inverse relationship with anticipation. The less you think about it beforehand, the greater it will be. It’s awful advice, really. Planning a trip — and getting excited from all the planning — is half the fun of travel. And that’s the only way you can be sure you’re going to have a personalized trip you really want.
So here are some ways to do that.
How to be a Travel Show-Off How to Be a Travel Show-Off by Robert Reid
Robert Reid holds a mirror up to those with a compulsive love for bragging about about their travels, either overtly or through what some have called the "humblebrag," and offers some friendly suggestions.
Bulgaria How to Dislike a Destination by Robert Reid
Good travelers do not treat a destination like a restaurant, like impatient consumers, and offer peoples and cultures every chance with an open mind, even if initial experiences are not always equally overwhelming.
Travel in the flatlands How to Fall in Love with the Flatlands by Robert Reid
Mountains are nice to look at, but they tend to get in the way of a view...
The Ugly American Myth How to Be an Ugly American by Robert Reid
In his new column, prolific traveler and travel writer Robert Reid both brings to light the historical stereotype and debunks the myth of the 'Ugly American' traveler while exploring an image that no longer applies, even using worldwide surveys to support his observations.
Rolf Potts on Long-Term Travel: An Interview
Rolf Potts, often called the "Jack Kerouac of the Internet Age" and author of the inspiring immediate classic Vagabonding, tells Dr. Clay A. Hubbs what motivates his travel writing and ponders the self-imposed limitations which prevent many from independent travel abroad.
Solo Travel: Choosing Where to Go
Rob Sangster describes places to travel solo which will make your heart beat faster with a sense of adventure.
Travel Tips for Solo Travelers: Good Reasons to Travel Alone
Practical tips for those who choose to travel solo abroad while discussing the issues which solo travelers often confront.
Travel Without a Purpose: Simplifying Your Life on the Road
Beth Whitman suggests a way to approach independent travel which often leads to the most spontaneous and profound experiences.
Why Travel Alone? Lessons Learned from 40 Years of Solo Travel
Russell B. Sunshine describes the advantages of solo travel.
How to Find Paradise
Rob Sangster imparts three pearls of wisdom using the tropical paradise of Bangkok, Thailand, as an example.
Get Off the Beaten Path
Jeff Goldman offers one of a series of tips for independent travelers based upon his extensive travel experience covering almost every corner of the earth.
Author with his laptop computer in the Amazon Taking your Laptop Computer Overseas
For the past nine years I have had one faithful companion on many overseas trips: my laptop computer. While this companionship has not been without challenges, I have found my computer to be an indispensable tool on most of my travels, especially on long-term trips. As a travel writer and researcher, my laptop is a necessary tool to work on stories and meet research deadlines...
Protecting Your Laptop and Sensitive Information Abroad
Nora Dunn explores ways to increase security for the sensitive information you store on your laptop computer while traveling independently abroad, and interviews an expert.
Preparing for Travel Abroad: Gathering and Traveling with Official Documents
Nora Dunn discusses how to most safely travel abroad with all your legal documents in order and backed up in several ways.
Managing Finances Securely While Traveling Abroad
Nora Dunn offers her practical inside tips.
Insurance Tips for Independent Travelers
Volker Poelzl provides a practical guide on why you need travel insurance, with tips for covering health to flight to property
Seven Wonders: Lots to Wonder About
Rob Sangster reflects on the recent designations of the Seven Wonders of the World and suggests that we at first understand what they represented in times past, while realizing the many wonders which are less well-known or those which are important to our independent hearts and souls.
Work, Study, Travel: The Combination Allows You to Live Abroad as a Local
Jen Swanson's own story provides inside tips, inspiration and resources on how to extend your travel abroad.

 Featured Independent Travel Reports
Monks in China China’s Ethnic and Cultural Diversity: Along Yunnan’s Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road by Lies Ouwerkerk, Independent Travel Columnist
A beautifully-illustrated voyage deep into the diverse Yunnan tea and horse caravan road in China leads to a plethora of interesting rituals and experiences with the many local subcultures.
The Paro Festival in Bhutan Bhutan’s Paro Tshechu Festival
An Expression of Gross National Happiness in the Land of the Thunder Dragon
by Lies Ouwerkerk
Lies takes you inside a sacred festival in the “world’s last Shangri-la," as Bhutan often has been dubbed, and provides an in-depth and illustrated explanation of the colorful dances and rituals.
The Nomads of Mongolia Venturing Along With the Nomads of Mongolia’s Wild West by Lies Ouwerkerk
Lies wanders with a Mongolian tribe and immerses herself, to the extent possible, in a ritualized life which is at once simple yet full of symbolism, purity, and beauty. She is taken into the yurt she helps build, and is fed, told stories while witnessing events held by her very hosts, and generally treated with a hospitality that is hard to imagine living in such rough lands.
Travel in Laos Traveling Through Laos, At Last by Sheila Signer
...There is plenty to learn...about in Laos, but plenty also to enjoy. Now, with a government softening toward the foreign visitors, its people are finally getting their piece of the tourism pie. Go now, while most of the country retains its pastoral pace!
An altar to San Simon in Guatemala A Drinking, Smoking, Womanizing Saint by Ted Campbell
Ted Campbell describes a paradoxical saint worshipped in Guatemala, San Simon, or Maximon—the same guy with two names. San Simon is the unrecognized Spanish saint, and Maximon is the Mayan shaman. He is the primary saint in Guatemala and you can see effigies to him everywhere, some in special shrines which change houses every year, and some in less likely places like bars or worse. He always looks somewhat the same—with a mustache, cowboy hat, cigarette hanging from his mouth, and surrounded by any number of colorful and odd decorations...
An altar to San Simon in Guatemala Tales of Trains: Where the Journey is the Destination by Nora Dunn
An excerpt from Nora Dunn's new ebook where she offers fascinating travel immersion stories of train trips and routes worldwide, short and long, famous and lesser known.
Solo Travel in Japan Solo Travel in Japan by Lies Ouwerkerk
When my plane touches down on Tokyo's Narita airport, I sense a split-second of panic: will I be able to survive in this totally unknown territory without one word of Japanese or the ability to decipher Japanese characters?...
Campervan in Australia Planning a Campervan Trip in Australia by Nora Dunn
"Seeing Australia by way of a campervan is a classic road trip. Many areas of this vast country are remote enough that in order to enjoy the quiet splendor of the Australian landscape you need to be relatively self-sufficient. And Australian campervan holidays are not only a popular option for those visiting from overseas, but native Australians are also renowned for loving the campervan and caravan circuit."
Travel in the Arctic Call of the Arctic: Voyage by Icebreaker Ship Along the Edge of the World by Lies Ouwerkerk
Traveling on an icebreaker had been on my wish list for quite a long time. Polar expeditions do not come cheap, however, as icebreakers are extremely expensive to run, due to high fuel costs and crew/staff—passenger ratio. But when an extra work contract fell unexpectedly into my lap this year, I jumped on the sudden opportunity to make my dream come true.
Journey Botswana
Rob Sangster, describes his safari (Swahili for "journey") experience in Botswana and discovers a new emphasis on ecology.
Inca Trails: Journey Through the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes
Martin Li takes us on a fascinating cultural and historical journey retracing the ancient Inca Trails through the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes.
In the Land of the Gods: Exploring India's Buddhist Heritage
Volker Poelzl travels through the beautiful Spiti valley of Northern India, where he discovers a rich yet isolated culture steeped in Buddhism.
Latin America Travel Planner
Ron Mader hosts www.planeta.com and has long contributed his work to Transitions Abroad as editor of both Latin American and global Ecotourism and Responsible Travel and offers tips and web resources for some of the best Latin America has to offer.
Trekking the Himalayas
Larry Morgan provides inside tips on trekking in the Himalayas and supplements his report with excellent resources and some breathtaking photos from his own journey in Nepal.
Air Travel in South America
Volker Poelzl provides advice, inside tips, and essential resources for planning air travel in South America.
Overland Travel in South America
Volker Poelzl provides inside tips and essential resources for planning independent overland travel in South America via bus, train, car, and even hitchhiking.
Overland Travel in Europe
Volker Poelzl describes the options for overland travel in Europe - where the many great independent travel choices include trains, buses, and cars.
Boat Travel in South America
Volker Poelzl provides inside tips for planning independent passenger boat travel in South America.
Safey Tips for Independent Travel in South America
Volker Poelzl offers essential safety tips for those traveling to South America.
Favorite Train Trips Around the World
Rob Sangster takes us on his favorite train trips worldwide, and provides a plethora of web links to demonstrate how you can do the same.
Go Inside Buenos Aires 
Daniel Gabriel offer inside tips on how and where to meet the locals in a fascinating yet affordable city perfect for independent and budget travel — a "New World Europe.
Travel to Dalat: Gem of Vietnam's Highlands 
John Lander conveys in words and pictures his impressions of what is often called the "Petit Paris."
The Other Middle East: Perception Is Not Reality in Oman
Alison Gardner finds that Oman does not conform to the stereotypical views of a Middle-Eastern country, and was overwhelmed by the hospitality and the culture.
Bolivia's Cordillera Apolobamba: An Inca Trail Less Traveled
Martin Li describes his explorations on an Incan trail.
Independent Travel in Bolivia: Bumping Along the Jesuit Missions Circuit
Amy Stix Miller describes a bus ride along the Jesuit Missions Circuit in Bolivia, so very rich in religious art.
A Day in Montenegro
Rob Sangster immerses himself in the life and politics of an ancient land which is working to become a cultural travel destination.
Letter from Ethiopia: Visitors to Africa's "Best-Kept Secret" Receive Rich Rewards
Clay Hubbs reports from the land of Ethiopia where the tourists are few yet the land and people are transcendently beautiful.
Paris Stays: Ways to Stretch Them to the Maximum
Mark J. Schechinger, provides tips on visiting Paris for as long as possible to soak up that remarkable city and "laissez le bons temps rouler"..
Travel in Asia: An Overview for First-Timers
Amelie de Mahy provides the inside tips for Independent Travelers.
Come to Central Asia
Roger Norum on the largely undiscovered and tourist-free wonders of Central Asia where he was immersed in fascinating cultural traditions from Tajikistan to Kazakhstan to Urzbekistan.
Walking with Gorillas: Tracking Mountain Gorillas in Southwest Uganda
Thor Hanson reports his experience tracking mountain gorillas in southwest Uganda.
Beauty and Hospitality in the Ancient Land of Turkey
Alex Elgar describes the magical charms of Southeastern Turkey along the Tigris - a land imbued with many strata of cultures and history.
Malta Off-Season: Take a Trip through History
Barbara Bode was so entranced by the multi-layered history and the charms of the island of Malta, she moved there. She has painted for us a fascinating tease in vivid colors.
Horseback Trekking in Iceland: Experiencing Europe's Westernmost Country Viking Style
Hope Cristo travels to Iceland and describes the poetry of living where the myth of the ancient Vikings permeates the land.
African Healers: Adventurous Travelers Watch Traditional Doctors at Work
James Hall reports on his remarkable travel adventure amongst the traditional doctors and warriors in Swaziland.
A Visit to Soweto
Lucy Corne describes her experience in a historically rich township in South Africa as an independent traveler, where she was both overwhelmed by the hospitality of the natives and learned that many of her preconceptions were not based in reality.
The English Bed and Breakfast
Martee Fansher writes that after a stay at English B&B's, you will feel you’re saying goodbye to friends.
Small-Town Bolivia
Sarah Bush on exploring Macchu Picchu without feeling like a tourist while experiencing time slowed down to echo the rich cultural history.
Travel for Peace
Char Simons reports that the only difficult part of her memorable trip through the unpublicized hospitality which was her experience of the Middle East was the reaction of her friends and family before she embarked.
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