Posts Tagged ‘tour’

Overlanding with Intrepid
Monday, July 2nd, 2012

You wake up to the sound of a bird you have never heard before and the waves crashing on the shore. As your tent warms from the sun you crawl out to prepare breakfast from fresh ingredients you bought from the local market the day before. As the coffee percolates over the open fire you chat to your group leader about the day’s journey ahead. You put on your hiking shoes, prepare the camera, and get ready for today’s adventure-you have survived your first night as an overlander.

The travel style called Overlanding is not a new way to travel, but it is becoming a more popular way to see places that are considered a little more ‘off the map’ than most. Overlanding trips are truck based journeys that can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months. Accommodations are camping, transport is 4×4 trucks, and adventure is everywhere.

These trips tend to be a bit more physically demanding as the group cooks together, sets up and tears down camp, and there are usually some long driving days. However the perks far outweigh any challenges you might face physically. A great shared traveling experience with like minded people, seeing the everyday life of locals in the countryside, and visiting places accessible only by 4×4 trucks is what this kind of travel is all about.

Getting off the beaten path and getting involved in the adventure rather than just being a passenger is the true highlight of the overland style. It is also a great way to add some spice to an extended career break, or a jumping off point for the start of your travels. No matter what order you so it in, it will add to the richness of your time abroad.

Africa, Central Asia, South and Central America, and Southeast Asia are all classic Overland destinations. All these places have vast areas to explore, and offer a landscape best explored by driving. It is also a way to get the most bang for your buck. Since your transport, accommodation, and most meals are included, overlanding is a way to travel for an extended amount of time without blowing the budget.

Through August, Intrepid Travel is offering 20% off their new Overlanding trips.

Are you an overlander? There is only one way to find out, so get those hiking boots ready and prepare yourself for an adventure you will never forget.

We are proud to have Intrepid Travel as a National Meet, Plan, Go! sponsor.

Are You Intrepid?
Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Recently our friends at Intrepid Travel posed the question “Are You Intrepid?” and encouraged travelers far and wide to share their most intrepid experience. Through videos, photos, and even words, over 800 individuals shared their inspiring tales. And we’re sure that you will find inspiration in this video from the winner – Nicolas Bori.

We are fans of incorporating small group tours, like Intrepid’s, into your career break. Why? Because long-term traveling can be exhausting and sometimes it’s nice to take a break from your break and let someone else do the planning.

From enjoying weird and wonderful modes of transport, to visiting the world’s most eye-popping sights or sharing a smile with a local family over dinner – it’s these transcendent moments when you know you’re really alive that Intrepid prides themselves on. With Intrepid you can experience freedom, flexibility and unsurpassed local knowledge in some of the most magical, far-flung, breathtaking places known to man.

Start exploring Intrepid’s adventures now!

The Reality of ‘Eating Local’
Monday, March 12th, 2012

Food is one of the quintessential experiences on any trip, no matter what destination you might visit. Sampling local cuisine is a sure way to understand the native culture, mingle with locals, and tantalize your taste buds with new, fresh foods. However, eating while on the road can be a daunting experience, with food safety top of mind, as it should be. How do you know if street food is safe? What are the risk factors? What are the signs to look for? What are the top destinations to sample street food or local delicacies?

Let me start by reassuring you that there is delicious, clean food everywhere, no matter if you’re in the backstreets of Hanoi or a market in New Delhi. I’ve sampled many street eats in numerous countries with no severe issues (so far)! What’s the trick? When wandering a neighborhood or market, the #1 thing to remember is that heat kills almost all germs. Generally speaking, you have better chances of getting ill by eating that apple washed with local water in your hotel than the mystery meat kebab, fresh off the flame. Also, don’t avoid the crowds; in this situation, a busy street stall with tons of locals means the food is likely safe and also tastes great! Lastly, trust your gut (no pun intended). If a stall looks filthy and sketchy, it probably is. Believe me, there are always multiple options so don’t be afraid to move on if it doesn’t feel right.

If street food isn’t your thing, fair enough! That doesn’t mean though that you can’t still eat local (and cheap). One of the key reasons why we at Intrepid Travel frequent only local eating establishments is that this practice gives back to the local economy. Not to mention, food is almost always fresh and flavorful at local restaurants. If you’re looking for a great cafe for lunch, ask around – the shop keeper where you bought that souvenir likely has his favorites, as does your hotel doorman. I try to avoid concierges or hotel front desk staff, as they almost always receive commissions for recommendations.

Okay, so now that you know how to eat like a local, the question is where should you go for these experiences? Some of the top food destinations that Intrepid travels to are Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Italy, Spain, France, Morroco, Turkey, and Peru. Whew, that’s quite a list!

The best place to start in most of these countries are the local markets, such as Ben Thanh in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Here, you’ll find literally hundreds of stalls serving up steamy, spicy bowls of pho. Or take a walk around the medina in Marrakesh, Morocco to sample a local Tajine, a slow-cooked stew. In Cuzco, Peru, you can find a bit more exotic fare, including cuy – more commonly known as guinea pig. Europe is a classic destination for more traditional, but equally delicious foods, such as paella in Spain and braised rabbit in France. A little farther afield, exprience the fiery flavors of India, including classic curries and kormas in the Rajasthan region.

Wherever your career break or extended travels take you, don’t be afraid to dive into the local cuisine. A little bit of common sense and food safety goes a long way to enjoying what may end up as a highlight of your trip!

Hungry yet? For a limited time through March 31st, Intrepid Travel is offering a 15% discount off select ‘Delicious Discoveries’ to these destinations and more! For more info visit Intrepid online.

We are proud to have Intrepid Travel as a National Meet, Plan, Go! sponsor.

Career Breaking With Intrepid Travel
Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

So you’ve decided to take some time off and travel. Congrats! Taking this first leap was probably not easy. Or maybe you’ve had this idea for a while and were just waiting for the right moment to set it free. Either way, we hope your travels are eye-opening and inspiring and the team at Intrepid Travel is here to help with the logistics of planning a career break trip.

Intrepid Travel - Vietnam (During Michaela Potter's career break)

For 21 years, we’ve operated small group adventures, getting travelers like you off the beaten path to really experience a destination like a local. Maybe you have a dream destination or perhaps the world is your proverbial oyster. Either way, it is likely Intrepid has a trip for you, with over 1,000 trips in 100 countries.

Spend a month exploring temples and beaches in Southeast Asia, then jump across to India to experience the fiery flavors and enchanting history of this eclectic region. Or maybe start off in Europe, checking out the Mediterranean flavors of Italy and Spain before hopping across to Morocco for a bit of Middle Eastern culture and desert adventure. From there, the vastness of Africa opens up, with gorilla treks in Uganda, safaris in Kenya, and treks in Tanzania. If you’ve always had your heart set on Africa, consider our epic 4-month long Cairo to Capetown overland journey, venturing through no fewer than 12 countries and seeing some of the world’s most amazing landscapes.

Why consider a group trip with Intrepid?

Journaling in Angkor Wat

Intrepid Cambodia: Journaling in Angkor Wat

– Hassle-free:You have enough planning to do for your career break. Traveling with Intrepid takes the hassle out of planning local transportation, sight seeing, and accommodations.

– Free time to explore on your own: You’re free to do as you choose; pursue your own interests one day and take part in activities we’ve arranged for you the next.

– Local access: Traveling with Intrepid is like visiting a friend and having them show you around their city. Our group leaders are locals and know all of the best restaurants, shops, and nightlife spots not accessible to most tourists.

– Something for everyone: Intrepid travels to over 100 countries on all 7 continents and have trips to fit every budget.

– Safety: Traveling in a group tends to be safer than solo travel and our group leaders provide tips on how to explore your destination safely.

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to traveling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. We recently became a carbon-neutral company, offsetting our carbon emissions on the majority of our trips. We are also members of the United Nations Global Compact, an initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

Click here for more info on Intrepid or to book your small group adventure today!

Win An Intrepid Trip!

We are proud to have Intrepid Travel as an Exclusive National Sponsor for our 2011 Event. Intrepid will be giving away One (1) Grand Prize* consisting of a 10-day/9-night trip for 1 on their Classic Canada excursion. Register today for your chance to win.

Intrepid will also be offering all attendees of Meet, Plan, Go! events discounts of up to 20% off their tours. Well worth the ticket price alone!

* Click here for terms & conditions

What to Do: Small Group Tours
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Recently, Sherry Ott and I gave a presentation on the “Benefits of Small Group Tours for the Solo Traveler” at the GAP Adventure Concept Store in New York City. Both Sherry and I have incorporated small group tours into our various travels and for various reasons. Here are highlights from our presentation. Maybe you’ll be inspired to incorporate small group tours into your travels as well!

[singlepic=1813,195,,,right]STEPPING STONE

  • Good for the novice traveler
  • Group leader to translate and answer questions
  • Experience all the new things within the ‘safety’ of a group
  • Used it as a ‘test run’ for extended travel


  • Comfort level varies for different countries
  • Unsure of safety as a woman traveling alone
  • Language barriers also vary country to country
  • Transportation issues

[singlepic=1812,185,,,right]BREAK UP EXTENDED TRAVEL

  • Variety – solo, travel with friends & group tours
  • Travel is work!
  • Nice break from booking transportation & lodging
  • Offered a ‘vacation’ type experience
  • Also offers a level of independence
  • May provide future travel partners

[singlepic=1810,175,,,right]CULTURAL EXPERIENCE

  • Access to cultural activities you may not have on your own
  • Experience life like the locals, including transportation and staying with families
  • If you want to understand a country and it’s people, ride with them
  • You aren’t on the outside looking in
  • Times when you have to have a guide (ie, Galapagos)

[singlepic=1814,175,,,right]NO TRAVEL PARTNERS

  • Some experiences you don’t want to do on your own
  • Even if you don’t have a travel partner doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the experience
  • Make new friends
  • Have cultural experiences within your own group


  • When booking, think about what you want to get out of the experience
  • Comfort level/Age range
  • If you are solo, try to arrange an airport transfer when possible
  • While on trip, be patient with new cultures
  • Also be patient with your group members

Some of the destinations we’ve used small group tours include
Peru | Galapagos Islands
| Morocco | Brazil | Cambodia | Vietnam | Egypt

Recommended Tour Operator

Travel Solo But Never Alone

In The News: Spring Cleaning
Thursday, May 13th, 2010

[singlepic=1775,175,,,right]The past couple of weeks we’ve been spending some time doing maintenance on the site – or as we like to call it, “Spring Cleaning”. But we have also been busy preparing some great content as well as working on Meet, Plan, Go! events. So we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.

Here are some upcoming posts you can look forward to:

  • Tips on purchasing round-the-world tickets
  • Hear from a couple using their career break as an extended honeymoon
  • Travel truths revealed – frustrations every long-term traveler encounters but rarely talks about
  • A career breaker who has now traded in his backpack for a briefcase again

We also have several new locations for our Meet, Plan, Go! events, including Philadelphia, Washington DC, Austin, and Seattle. Look for announcements on these and future locations soon.

And if you find yourself in New York City on May 20, stop by the GAP Adventures Concept Store as we present:

Small Group Tours for the Solo Traveler
The benefits of traveling with small group tours when you don’t want to go-it alone!
Presented by Michaela Potter & Sherry Ott

[singlepic=1773,200,,,right]Michaela Potter and Sherry Ott are co-founders of Briefcase to Backpack, a source for travel advice & inspiration for Americans planning a career break or sabbatical. They have both traveled extensively around the globe on both short & long-haul journeys, as well as lived abroad. They have also incorporated small group tours throughout their travels and can offer advice and tips on when it is best to join one.

Michaela & Sherry are also organizing Meet, Plan, Go! – a nationwide event in September to bring together experienced travelers with those who have only dreamed of traveling. The goal is to inspire people and help fulfill their travel dreams.


Monday, February 16th, 2009

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

[singlepic=1274,200,,,right]A Father, A Daughter, and Some Chinese Food – Beijing
When I was about 12 years old, I was treated to my first memory of international cuisine…Chinese food. I will never forget going to a Chinese restaurant in Peoria for the first time. It was darkly lit, with big round tables and little cups for tea. I was fascinated with these cups because they didn’t have handles – pretty unconventional for the Midwest! Read More


Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

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

[singlepic=1248,200,,,right]It’s a Dry Heat and a Dry Country – Morocco
For the last week in addition to my 50 lbs of luggage, I’ve been toting around eye drops, lip balm, and alcohol – welcome to Morocco. It’s dry here…the orange ground begging for water, the sun burning brightly every day. My eyes are thirsting for liquid as are my lips and my skin. The sun beats down on us every day as it climbs into the high 90’s F. You have a constant, unquenchable thirst…for something cold…very cold. I honestly haven’t seen a single cloud in the sky since I arrived here. Read More


Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

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

WARNING: Just a friendly warning before you start reading this post…if you have any issues regarding reading about bodily functions…I suggest you look at the pictures and don’t read this post! The mountain was CHALLENGING…and your body is taxed in many different ways! As most of you know – I’m not shy about telling it how it is…so you do get a little glance into my gastro-intestinal organs and some of my inappropriate humor! Read More


South Africa
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

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

[singlepic=1240,200,,,right]Cape Town
Arriving in South Africa was stunning – I felt like I had been ship wrecked for a month and all of a sudden I was dropped back into modern society. The 3rd world to 1st world switch was abrupt and I felt a sense of relief to see normal roads, ATM’s, fast food places and malls – but at the same time I felt sad to be leaving the ’simple’ life. Every day in Eastern Africa put my brain synapses in overdrive – I was redlining with thoughts on what I was seeing every day. On the other hand – the thought of a country with uninterrupted electricity was sounding pretty good to me! Read More 


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