Articles by Guest Blogger

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This week we are pleased to present a guest post by Joe Baur, a travel author and podcaster who’s constantly looking to get off the tourist trek in search of new stories. He enjoys few things more than a hoppy beer and chorizo in good company. Give him these things and he will be your friend for life. Visit his website to get to know Joe better.

I’m on day four or five of my hike along the historic Nakasendo Way with Walk Japan when we take a bit of a detour off the main trail and get dropped off by shuttle at Karasawa Falls. The thundering waterfall is as picturesque as any I’d seen before, surrounded in a valley of dense forest.

The fall season came late to Japan — concerning to climate scientists, but selfishly idyllic for those of us in hiking boots. The array of browns, oranges, and reds sneaking through the dense fog were as stunning as I had come to expect from the Japanese countryside. I could sense my lungs thanking me for the literal breath of cool, fresh air.

Had I been two weeks later, I might have been bent over to warm my hands against my body and missing the sights. Two months earlier and I’d have been sprawled out on the ground, sweating through my clothes in exhaustion.

Of course this is just one side of Japan. There’s the chaotic side borne out of Tokyo’s technocratic utopia where millions of people trek through the city like lemmings, eyes glued firmly to their mobile devices, when their attention isn’t grabbed by the absurd number of flashing lights shooting out of establishments ranging from hotels and restaurants to pachinko parlors and robot cabaret shows. It all depends on what part of town you’re in.

What you pack for Japan depends entirely on which Japan you’re going to see. Then, you need to consider the season you’re traveling in since the land of the rising sun, indeed, sees winter, spring, summer, and fall. Here are the essentials broken down by urban and rural Japan packing list.

Comfortable Shoes

Japan is a pedestrian country, first and foremost. People here walk. They walk to the store, walk to the train, walk to their bikes, and they walk for sport. Japan’s infrastructure is arguably the best equipped in the world for pedestrians, so that means you need to prepare your feet with some comfortable walking shoes. Whether it’s on a hiking trail or over urban sidewalks, your feet are going to be racking up the kilometers unlike any other destination on the planet.

A pair of Chacos’ Outcross 2 hiking shoes were a perfect match for Japan. They’re easy to jam into your luggage and are much more forgiving to bag space than heavy-duty hiking boots, which are more than likely unnecessary unless you’re Bear Grylls-ing it. Click to continue…

This week we’re excited to welcome veteran digital nomad and Tortuga traveler, Ben Granas. A traveler, entrepreneur, and co-founder of TripHappy, a new, data driven online travel guide and trip planner. Ben is happy to answer any and all questions about traveling or starting a business on the road, and you can get in touch with him through the links at the bottom of this piece.

Twelve months ago, I decided to leave my job and start my own travel startup. Having lived and worked in New York City for almost seven years I wanted to break out of the corporate mold and create something new. After countless hours of research, planning, and preparation, I took the leap.

Following years of living in the same city, being as mobile and flexible as possible was appealing, and that’s how the idea for TripHappy was born. Traveling on my own terms and getting off the beaten path wherever possible are important to me. Building that ethos into the company, I wanted a site that could help others to plan their own unique trips and also support my own digital nomad lifestyle. With that philosophy in mind, I said goodbye to my comfortable life in NYC to travel the world and build a business.

If you’re toying with the idea of digital nomad life, or contemplating a long term trip, this article is for you. I’m sharing what I’ve learned from a year of living and working on the road in hopes that it will help you as you start preparing for your own trip. Click to continue…

bethaney1Today’s piece on finding great flight deals is written by Bethaney Davies, a Kiwi travel blogger who runs Flashpacker Family. She travels around the world with her two small children and blogs about travel with little kids. Bethaney is a pro when it comes to squeezing the most from every travel dollar she spends and shares lots of smart travel tips on her blog.

Flights account for a large portion of most travelers’ budgets. Learning a few tricks to save money on flights can really help stretch your travel dollar further, allowing you to travel more frequently or stay away longer. More travel? That’s not a bad thing, is it?

Everyone’s heard the tales of travelers who hack air mile point schemes and travel around the world, perpetually, in business class. That’s not me. I’m not interested in signing up for dozens of credit cards, or spending time manufacturing spending on them. Living outside of the US, it’s just not doable anyway.

After 10+ years of travel I have a few creative ways of cutting the costs of flights. No credit card hacking required. Just some good old fashioned internet travel detective work.

Here are my 10 best tips to finding cheap flights:
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