Two Travelers Are Making Their Way Around The World … In A Tuk Tuk?




In possibly the slowest form of transportation known to man, backpackers Rich Sears and Nick Gough have recently set out on an interesting journey. Their goal is to break the world record for longest ride in a tuk tuk (shown above).

Beginning in France, they’re making their way to Rio de Janeiro. According to news.com.au, the men will be catching a ferry from Turkey to Egypt then traveling across India and Singapore, to the west coast of the United States. They’ll also be going through Central and South America.

The challenge isn’t so much the distance, but the speed. With a top velocity of 34 miles per hour going downhill with a breeze, they aren’t able to move very fast.

“It’s slow. Again something you think might be obvious but the average speed is a lot slower than the speedometer has been pumping our egos with,” it says on their blog. “Uphill and it starts to get embarrassing. The dizzy heights of 5-6 mph have been hit on some of the steeper hills.”

Other concerns are extreme noise, disease and weather conditions. We wish them luck, as the journey is raising money for The Tuk Tuk Educational Trust, a registered UK charity that aims to “promote and advance education worldwide.”

Sears and Gough hope to complete the journey by the end of next year. You can check out their website or follow them on Twitter to keep up with their travels or get involved.

VIDEO: Everyone says I love you in 15 languages


In case you decided to save your Valentine’s Day celebration for this weekend, you may want to show your Valentine how worldly and well-traveled you are and find a new way to say “I love you“. Traveler and photographer Kien Lam, who previously brought us the amazing Speeding Around the World in Under 5 Minutes, has made a special romantic video to capture the essence of love around the globe. Show Your Love shows us how similar love is, no matter the country, language, or medium, incorporating 15 different languages from Arabic to Braille to Swahili in love letters, music, texts, and other creative ways to express your feelings.

Show us your love and leave us a mushy comment in your native language!

Guerrilla’s Airporter Pack: A Backpacker All-in-One Bag

Man, do I see a lot of luggage. Roll-aboards. Day packs. Laptop/iPad/digital whatever storage solutions. And honestly, most of them don’t quite make the cut. Part of the reason I have so many of these things is that I continue to quest for The Perfect Bag. Light, versatile, the right pocket for that one thing that always gets loose and floats around inside my luggage.

I’m impressed when a bag designer really thinks about how a bag will get used. Attention to detail, that makes all the difference. (See also, this bag by Tom Bihn.) The folks behind the Airporter by Guerrilla Packs have given a great deal of thought to putting their bag together. They’ve made a well designed backpacker/round-the-world bag and if you’re in the market for such a thing, you should check it out.

The Airporter is one of those system packs with a clip on day pack. Gravity isn’t always your friend with these things, your balance gets out of whack because where the weight sits is just wrong. The day pack on the Airporter is small, so that helps. Pack smart and keep most of your gear in the big bag, just use the day pack for stuff you need to access frequently and you’ll be fine. Then, when you’re day tripping, use the bag for whatever you need — stowing your swimsuit for that snorkel boat day, shopping, whatever.

There’s a sleeve for your laptop in the back, a pull through for your headphones, some internal pockets and key loop. Plus, hey, that’s nice… picked up too much stuff while out shopping? The day pack expands, just open the wrap around zipper. Clever. What’s missing? A water bottle pocket. Sure you could stow your water bottle inside the pack, but that’s beside the point, no?

The main pack has a couple of external pockets — two smaller zip pockets on the top and water bottle/dirty hikers pockets on the side. There are lashing straps for your sleeping bag or raincoat or whatever, and a bunch of tie on loops along the top. In the bottom, there’s a rain cover that’s sewn on; you won’t lose it unless you cut it off.

Inside the body of the pack, there are two attached padded pockets — ideal for your pocket camera, and a clip in place padded laptop sleeve that you can use as a shoulder bag. The sleeve just fits in the day pack if you’ve got the day pack expanded. Another useful feature? The entire front panel of the pack zips away for loading. Those top-loader packs make me crazy, the thing you want is always at the bottom.

A removable lightweight plastic frame helps the pack hold its shape. A zippered back panel hides padding for your back and the padded shoulder and waist straps. That panel stows in the same place where the rain cover is hiding. It’s nice to be able to stow those straps when you’re checking your bag for a flight, or tossing it into an overhead bin on a plane or train. Grips on the top and side mean that you can handle this just like any other duffel — though there’s no additional shoulder strap. Oh, and yes, it’s the right size for a carry-on, because really, who wants to check a bag these days?

Besides the lack of a water bottle pocket on the day pack, I found little to criticize on the Airporter. Tougher hardware would be nice, but that would add more weight. There’s only one of those “keep your stuff in place” straps inside, but packing cubes would fix that. Truth be told, I look at this thing and kind of wish I was graduating from college all over again, with a Eurail pass and a boundless sense of optimism.

The Airporter retails for $129.00. It’s super versatile, has a lot of genuinely useful features, and designed for the urban backpacker who travels light. Check it out here.

10 travel excuses not to make in 2012

ghana, africa So, you’ve always wanted to travel, but you just haven’t done it yet. Why not? Do you think you can’t afford it? Or, that you don’t have the time? When it comes down to it, obstacles shouldn’t be getting in the way of you fulfilling your dreams. This year, stop making excuses and travel.

Excuse #1: I can’t afford it

This is one of the most common excuses people make for not traveling. Traveling doesn’t have to mean staying in 5-star hotels and eating at Michelin starred restaurants. In fact, using less-expensive accommodation options, like staying with locals for free through Couchsurfing, volunteering on organic farms in exchange for room and board with WWOOF, or doing a homestay can give you more insight into the local culture of the place you are visiting. Hostels, a simple yet social form of accommodation, can also help you meet fellow travelers while saving you money. And, eating at restaurants that don’t have a big “English Menu Available” sign are not only cheaper, but more authentic.

You can also help yourself before your trip begins by saving up some money. Stop spending money on little things that you don’t really need, like a $4 Starbucks coffee (make it at home) or a $10 sandwich from the eatery near your job (again, make it at home). Also, stop splurging on bigger things, like new clothes, makeup, sneakers, big nights out, etc… Obviously you don’t want to deprive yourself, but cut back a little and look for alternative and cheaper options that can also be satisfying.Excuse #2: I don’t have anyone to go with

You don’t need anyone to go with! I’ve gone on backpacking trips through Europe and South East Asia by myself and have never had a problem meeting people along the way. If you stay in hostels, you will easily meet other travelers. Money exchanges, airports, markets, and walking tours are other prime spots for making friends. If you’re more interested in meeting locals, try a homestay, volunteer, or just seek out the cafes and bars where locals hangout and strike up a conversation. The best thing about traveling alone is you never have to adhere to anyone else’s schedule. Instead, you can wake up when you want, see what you want, and do what you want without having to feel the need to coordinate with someone else.

Excuse #3: I’m too young/old

You are never too young or too old to travel. If you’re young, why not do something abroad to help build your resume, like volunteer, study, or intern abroad. If it’s a matter of your parents being worried and you want to appease them, join a tour group like Intrepid Travel or G Adventures so that you’ll be with an experienced guide as well as other young travelers.

If you think you’re too old, think again. There are plenty of older people out there, not just traveling, but backpacking and trekking their way around the world. In fact, just this past October, 84-year old Richard Byerley broke a new world record and became the oldest person to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. And before him, the oldest person to do this same feat was 82-year old George Solt in 2010. If you still feel skeptical, there are tour groups that cater to those in their retirement years, like Road Scholar and Grand Circle Foundation.

airplane Excuse #4: I’m afraid to fly

According to planecrashinfo.com, the chances of you being killed on a plane flown by one of the top 25 airlines is 1 in 9.2 million. And, even if you went with an airline that is deemed to have higher accident rates than the others, the chances are still slim at 1 in 843,744. If logic still doesn’t assuage your fears don’t get dismayed, you can still travel. Fill up your gas tank and take a road trip, pack a bag and travel by bus from city to city, or, for something a little more luxurious, opt for a relaxing cruise.

Excuse #5: My boyfriend/girlfriend/parents don’t want me to go

While it’s understandable that the people who love you will miss you, they should also try to be happy that you’re doing something that will make you feel fulfilled. There is so much technology available nowadays that keeping in touch is easy. Video chat on Skype, send e-mails, or keep a blog to let your loved ones follow your travels and know that you’re safe.

If it’s a significant other that’s keeping you from traveling, ask them to come along with you. And if they can’t, you still shouldn’t give up going on a trip that will enrich your life. As for your parents, it’s only because they are worried about you, so try to ease their minds as much as possible. Call regularly and send them photos, make it clear how responsible you plan on being, and show them blog posts and articles from other travelers who have been to the same cities. Despite the fact that I’ve backpacked myriad countries alone, my parents still worry, and that’s something that will never change. But, these trips have helped me have experiences I never would have otherwise and have helped shape me into the person I am now.

Excuse #6: Traveling is dangerous

While I hear this one a lot, it’s always amazing to me that people can put such a blanket statement on traveling. Isn’t life in general dangerous? I’ve also heard that driving, smoking cigarettes, playing contact sports, drinking alcohol, and eating fatty foods is dangerous, but I’d say majority of the people I know do most of those things. You need to take risks in order to live a full life. Of course, you should take precautions. Walking back to your accommodation alone and drunk at 3AM in a foreign city (or even your hometown) probably isn’t the best idea. But if you use your brain, you should be more than fine.

One thing I always find, too, is that people perceive other cities as being more dangerous than they often are. On a recent trip to Ghana, Africa, my friends were extremely worried for my safety. On a hike in the Volta Region I asked a local who I had befriended if he would ever come to New York to visit me. His reply? “Isn’t New York one of the most dangerous cities in the world?”

Excuse #7: It’ll ruin my career

Most jobs give you time off (and if they don’t, maybe you should try looking for a new job), so use it. If you get two weeks take two weeks vacation, and try to plan it around holidays and weekends so you can add extra days into your trip. If you’re looking to go for longer, don’t look at it as the end of your employability. Traveling can help build and enhance your skills and also shows how adaptable you are as a person. You may also discover things about yourself along the way that can lead you into a job you didn’t even know you wanted, like teaching abroad, travel journalism, being a tour guide, or working for a nonprofit or travel company.

Excuse #8: I have a family

Take them with you! Just ask Meg Nesterov who writes Gadling’s Knocked Up Abroad, chronicling her travels with a baby. There will be challenges to traveling with a family, but with the right attitude and some planning it isn’t impossible. If your kids are a little older, they will be introduced to unique cultural experiences at a young age, and you can seek out destinations that have opportunities for learning. There are also tons of hotels out there that cater to families, and many homestays and volunteer programs that will accept families with children, as well.

Excuse #9: I’m scared of being culture shocked

Even the most well-traveled individuals can experience culture shock, and it’s completely normal. However, you shouldn’t let the possibility of some discomfort abroad stop you from seeing a foreign land. If it’s your first time traveling, start with a country or countries that are more Westernized and speak English. Once you get more comfortable with being away from home, you can start to branch out little by little. If you get to a place where you really feel uncomfortable, don’t run away but instead face the obstacle head on. Realize the unique experience you’re having and try new things that you never imagined you would. You can always sneak back to your hotel room and write your thoughts in a journal when you need a break.

Excuse #10: I don’t know a foreign language

Obviously, you can solve this problem by traveling to destinations where they do speak your language. However, by only sticking to primarily English-speaking countries you can miss out on a lot of great cities. You’d actually be surprised how many people in non-English speaking countries can, in fact, speak at least some English. And when they can’t, using hand gestures, pointing, and carrying a pen and paper to write down the names of landmarks or draw pictures can be very helpful. And just to be safe, a pocket dictionary never hurts.

Round the world trips for every budget

Round the world tripFor many people, booking a round the world trip is a distant fantasy, up there with “win a Grammy” and “marry Ryan Gosling“. But as most seasoned travelers know, there isn’t just one way to travel, and global adventures can be had at multiple budgets.

Our friends over at BootsnAll recently profiled 11 travel bloggers to uncover the real costs of round the world trips, getting them to spill the beans on itineraries, expenses, and travel tips.

On the low end of the per diem spectrum were Warren and Betsy, a married couple in their 40s who spent $34 per person per day on their round the world trip. They traveled through 11 countries in South America, Western Europe, and Thailand for 396 days, spending a grand total of $28,826. The couple stretched their dollar by using frequent flier miles to book tickets, and by taking a boat from South America to England. Their budgeting advice? “Take 2-3 minutes each day to track your expenses for the day. It will help you to know how much you are spending, but more importantly what you have left.”

Justin Troupe and his wife were a little less cautious about their spending, burning through $116 per person per day on their round the world trip through Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean. The 150-day, 24-country adventure cost a total of $35,000. Their speed of travel was admittedly one reason for the high cost. Justin advises, “Slow the pace down, my trip was quite expensive because we did 26 countries in 4 months. It was expensive if you look at the cost per day, but not it you look at it from a per country point of view. $30,000 divided by 26 countries works out to $1250 per country, which is not bad.”

He continues: “The craziest part of Round the World Travel is that so many people think it is out of reach for them. Yet people waste money constantly on things that don’t make them happy. In life, you can buy things or you can buy experiences. I have found that experiences make me much happier. For the cost of a used car, you can actually go see the world. All it takes is the courage to dream big and then set goals and make it happen.”

With a little bit of planning, there’s no reason you can’t embark on your own round the world trip. You’re on your own with the Grammy and Ryan.

[via BootsnAll; flickr image via Steve Cadman]