Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Where to Go: Timing
Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Timing plays a big part in deciding where to go.  Some factors to consider include weather, holidays & festivals, and the value of the dollar.

Weather:

What time of year are you traveling and what will the weather be like in your destination? Summer in the northern hemisphere means winter most points south of the equator. And some destinations don’t experience our traditional four seasons but rather two – wet and dry. But whatever time of year you travel, there are benefits to the different types of weather you may encounter.

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How to Avoid the Holiday Blues While Traveling
Monday, December 10th, 2012

Taking a career break and traveling long term is a gift – the ability to see and experience new cultures, to step away from your own rat race, and slow down. However, when you’ve been on the road for a while and the holidays roll around, it’s easy to get the blues. You’re away from your own culture and traditions, and you miss your family and friends, so it’s easy to get a bit homesick.

If your career break travel happens to fall during the holidays, then consider what you can do to avoid the holiday blues.

If you have family or friends who live overseas, consider planning your itinerary in order to pay them a visit during the holiday season. Seeing familiar faces and enjoying familiar traditions and customs may be just what you need. Plus, they might be able to introduce you to different holiday customs in the country where they reside – so even though you are spending the holidays with friends or family, you are still experiencing new things in new cultures!

Try to find other people from your country who are celebrating where you are. Try contacting your country’s consulate or embassy to see if they know of any expat gatherings or organizations. Try message boards or forums on sites like CouchSurfing, Lonely Planet or BootsnAll to try to connect with other travelers or stay at a hostel and reach out to other guests.

Use the opportunity to immerse yourself in local holiday traditions. Look online or in local publications for holiday events or festivals you can attend solo. Or, try CouchSurfing to reach out to locals who might be willing to include you in some of their celebrations. If you are staying at a hostel, find out if they have anything organized to introduce hostel guests to local traditions.

Finally, if you aren’t feeling in the holiday spirit, don’t push it. Just because you are on the road doesn’t mean you have to do something unique or interesting to celebrate. If you usually feel a bit harried around the holidays back home, perhaps enjoy the chance to relax instead. Schedule some time to connect with loved ones by Skype and then treat yourself, whether with a nice hotel room, a tasty dinner out or just buying yourself a holiday gift!

How have you dealt with the holiday blues while traveling?

 

Away for the Holidays
Monday, December 19th, 2011

Traveling long term is a gift; the ability to see and experience new cultures, to step away from your own rat race, and slow down. However, when you’ve been on the road for a while and the holidays roll around, it’s easy to get the blues. You’re away from your own culture and traditions, and you miss your family and friends, so it’s easy to get a bit homesick. I spent one Christmas Eve alone eating leftovers watching a movie; I was so lonely in Vietnam that I vowed to never be alone again during the Holidays.

If your career break travel happens to fall during the holidays, then consider what you can do to avoid the holiday blues.

Christmas in Singapore

Plan Ahead
When I first traveled around the world I actually planned out my itinerary with the holidays in mind. For me Christmas is all about family. Luckily I happened to have family living in Singapore so when I planned my itinerary, I planned to be in Singapore in December. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. The familiar food, customs, and humor of my family was just what I needed after 4 months on the road. Plus, they were able to introduce me to different Asian holiday customs in Singapore – so even though I had slowed down my career break travel to spend time with family, I was still experiencing new things in new cultures!

Utilize your Embassy
If you find yourself far away from family and friends when the holidays strike, then consider trying to find other people from your country that are celebrating. I found myself in Sydney, Australia once during American Thanksgiving. I didn’t want to sit around my hotel room watching TV and going to McDonalds for dinner, so I went to the American consulate to ask them if they knew of any American based Thanksgiving celebrations going on in Sydney.

They quickly gave me a paper with a list of the various Expat organizations observing the holiday with traditional dinners. Perfect! I contacted a few and soon found myself eating Turkey dinner surrounded by a bunch of Australians and Americans.

Thanksgiving in Australia

Phone Home
If there was ever a time to use Skype, it’s the holidays! It’s a cheap/free way for you to actually see your family and friends and connect during the season in video. Don’t miss the opportunity to see and the decorations at home. And be sure to share how the country you are in is celebrating the holiday as it will help your family and friends understand what you are going through. If you don’t know what Skype is – you can learn more here and download it for free – Skype – It’s essential for travel!

Embrace the Strangeness
Nothing is forever, so even though you may be in a very foreign culture for the holidays and they don’t have your same traditions, earn everything you can about how they celebrate and embrace the moment. I spent a Christmas in Ho Chi Minh City marveling at how they celebrated. There were remnants of Western culture Christmas, but there were many odd differences too! You can read about those differences in Christmasia! Experiencing Christmas in Vietnam. So, instead of sitting inside wallowing in your loneliness, get out and walk around and see the locals celebrate. You may even get invited to celebrate with them!

Be Social
Get in contact with the local Tripping group and maybe you’ll find a local that you can spend the holidays with! These types of crowdsourcing groups are great for solo travelers as they will get you connected with locals who have a love of travel.

Are you traveling for the holidays? How have you dealt with the holiday blues while traveling?

Help Build Libraries in Zambia
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

This is the time of year where you are making lists, checking them twice, fighting the shopping crowds, and accumulating big credit card bills. This is also the time of year where websites, like ours, try to convince you to shop more; we tell you about all of the travel items you need to have to make your career break great.

However this year we are skipping the Career Break travel holiday shopping list. Because truth be told, it doesn’t matter what you carry with you on your break, it will still be great; don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Instead of a shopping list on where you can spend your money, we are focusing this year on philanthropic ways to give back; and our sole focus is Passports with Purpose.

Before I tell you about Passports with Purpose and why you should consider a donation; I want to remind you that you are travelers. As travelers who move from place to place in an epic journey, you will see many beautiful and many disturbing things. You will most likely realize how lucky you are for being born where you were with certain rights and possessions already provided you. As a female traveler, I think about how lucky I am to have been born in America, a country with many rights and opportunities for women compared to many other countries I’ve traveled through. I feel that as travelers we have a responsibility to give back to this world in which we explore. You have been given a gift of travel, freedom, education and I encourage you to celebrate that gift you’ve been given by working with the overall travel community in giving back.

Passports with Purpose

Passports with Purpose is an annual Travel Bloggers’ fundraiser. In 2010 they raised $64,128 to build a village in Southern India providing homes for 25 families. In 2009, travel bloggers raised almost $30,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia (complete with a school nurse). In 2011, they have set their sights even higher. With your help, they will raise $80,000 to build two libraries for children in Zambia through Room To Read.

Give and Receiving
It’s not just about you giving, it’s about what YOU can receive in return. This is a TRAVEL fundraiser; therefore your donation will not only help you feel warm in fuzzy inside, but it will help you travel.

Here’s how it works:

For a mere $10, you can enter to win a number of amazing travel prizes ranging from travel gadgets, gift certificates, gear, accommodation, and tours. For each $10 you donate, you choose what you’d like to enter. Donate $50 and enter 5 times for the same prize, or 5 different prizes.

There are many great prizes to win for career break travelers such as:
• 15-day 1st class Eurail pass worth $1160
• A private Florence Italy Market Tour for 4 worth $665
Kindle Fire worth $200
• 1 year Boingo Internet global account worth $708

Oh Barcelona

However there is one that I’m very excited about because it is one that I have secured through my travel blog, Ottsworld. I think it’s perfect for career breakers as it is a way to really ‘get local’ when you travel. Oh Barcelona has donated a $500 voucher for an apartment stay in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence, or Berlin in 2012! The voucher will provide you with an approximate 3-night stay for 2 people in one of these historical cities.

So – that’s $500 worth 3 nights of lodging for $10. Even Wal-Mart can’t beat that!

Oh Barcelona is not just any company – it’s a company I used when I traveled in Europe this year. I have met the people there, I love how they do business, and I believe in the many benefits of staying in apartments when traveling. Namely it’s a way to travel slow and integrate into local neighborhoods equaling a more rewarding travel experience.

As you do your holiday spending this coming month, take a moment to think about your future career break travels and consider helping the future of kids in Zambia.

See all of the prizes and donate now!

If you won the Oh Barcelona $500 prize, which city would you visit to use your voucher? Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence, or Berlin? Share in the comments!

Career Break Gift Guide
Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Do you know someone who is planning their escape from the cubicle, or is that someone you? We’ll take you step-by-step through some great holiday gift ideas to help them (or you) on their way.

Negotiating Your SabbaticalSTEP 1: Plot Your Escape

A perfect start to a career break or sabbatical is to successfully negotiate one with your company. Impossible you say?

Well Barbara and Elizabeth Pagano are here to help with their eBook: “Negotiating Your Sabbatical: The Ultimate Toolkit for Writing and Presenting a Killer Sabbatical Proposal Your Boss Can’t Refuse”.

Womens TSTEP 2: Announce it to the World

Now that you’ve decided to go (and not afraid to keep it a secret any longer) say it loud and wear it proud with our very own Briefcase to Backpack-inspired t-shirt. “I Prefer Real Views to Screensavers” – a statement that every career breaker can embrace.

Comes in Mens and Womens sizes.

STEP 3: Find Travel Inspiration

The next step in your career break planning is deciding where to go and what to do! And Career Break Secrets video travel guides are the perfect inspiration source. The Season One pass features episodes in Spain, New Zealand, Patagonia, and Colombia, plus a bonus from South Africa.

MatadorUSTEP 4: Learn Photography & Writing Skills

Now that you are inspired where to go, you’ll want to make sure you capture your memories in the best possible way.

Why not a MatadorU Travel Photography Course or MatadorU Travel Writing Course?

Travel Blog SuccessSTEP 5: Blog About Your Travels

If you feel that budding travel writer coming to life, you may consider blogging about your travels.

Travel Blog Success will help you build a better travel blog!

Career Break Boot CampSTEP 6: Realize Your Travel Dreams

Finally, if you are truly inspired to make your extended travel and career break dreams come true, Career Break Boot Camp can help you get there. Designed by certified travel coach Tara Russell and career break travel gurus Michaela Potter and Sherry Ott, the course will provide you with inspiration, structure, community, resources, tools and motivation.

Registration for the January course opens on December 8. So make this your resolution for 2011!

Want even more ideas? Visit BootsnAll for their 13 Gift Ideas for Career Break Travelers.

Favorite Gear: Stocking Stuffers
Thursday, December 17th, 2009

When traveling for long periods of time, it’s essential to pack as light as possible. Here is some of our favorite travel gear that we feel is essential to add to your packing list. And as a bonus, they take up little space and make great stocking stuffers for the holidays!

And by purchasing these items for you or your favorite traveler, you will be spreading glad tidings of income for us here at Briefcase to Backpack.

[singlepic=1607,100,,,left]Knirps X1 Compact Umbrella – heavy duty, but tiny for travel. Comes with hard case that’s the size of an eyeglass case!

[singlepic=1605,100,,,left]Humangear GoToob Travel Bottle – the soft squeezable tubes for bathroom products.

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Life on the Road: Away for the Holidays
Monday, December 14th, 2009

[singlepic=1601,250,,,right]Traveling long term is a gift; the ability to see and experience new cultures, to step away from your own rat race, and slow down. However, when you’ve been on the road for a while and the holidays roll around, it’s easy to get the blues. You’re away from your own culture and traditions, and you miss your family and friends, so it’s easy to get a bit homesick. I spent my last Christmas Eve alone eating leftovers watching a movie; I was so lonely in Vietnam that I vowed to never be alone again during the Holidays.

If your career break travel happens to fall during the holidays, then consider what you can do to avoid the holiday blues.

When I first traveled around the world I actually planned out my itinerary with the holidays in mind. For me Christmas is all about family. Luckily I happened to have family living in Singapore so when I planned my itinerary, I planned to be in Singapore in December. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. The familiar food, customs, and humor of my family was just what I needed. Plus, they were able to introduce me to different Asian holiday customs in Singapore – so even though I had slowed down my travel to spend time with family, I was still experiencing new things in new cultures!

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Singapore
Monday, February 16th, 2009

We’re in the process of writing entries for Singapore. In the meantime, check out Sherry’s posts from Otts World:

[singlepic=1291,200,,,right]Family Ties – Singapore
I landed in Singapore ready to see something familiar – my family! I was ready to empty out and fumigate my suitcase, sleep in the same bed for multiple nights in a row and get in the Christmas spirit. However, after a few hours in Singapore getting the tour of my sister’s home, sitting down to a family dinner, helping nieces with their homework – I quickly realized – this is probably the most foreign place I’ve visited so far. Read More

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Thailand: Koh Ngai
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Michael and I traveled to Thailand as part of our 2007 career break. The following is an excerpt from our travel blog.

[singlepic=634,175,,,right]We barely got to Thailand and already we were off and running. Our next stop – Trang in the south. This is where CCS’s other Thailand program is based and I was excited to see the staff again and have Michael meet them. It’s a short flight to Trang so we arrived in time for an early lunch with the staff. All of the volunteers had already left for the weekend, so we had them all to ourselves.

Over a delicious spicy meal the staff deliberated on what Michael’s Thai nickname should be (everyone in Thailand has a nickname). When I was last here, they bestowed “Chabaa” upon me, which translates into hibiscus flower (or crazy woman, depending on the tone. And that’s how I probably pronounce it as I always get laughs after I introduce myself). So they decided Michael should be “Nahm” which means water. Because, as they say, Chabaa needs Nahm. Awwwww.

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Career Break Guide Table of Contents

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