Big Travel Nut is 4 years old today! It seems like only yesterday that I was learning how to use WordPress, browsing through themes, and writing the blog’s original content!

I haven’t planned anything stupendous to celebrate, as the total solar eclipse about to occur across North America (where 60% of my readers are located) will no doubt steal my thunder anyway. What I’m going to do instead, is answer a whole bunch of questions that people asked through my most recent reader survey. By the way, if you haven’t seen them, the survey results are here.

I have already written many articles that answer some of the questions and points raised in the survey. However, since the blog now counts 268 posts, those can be hard to find. The goal of todays’ article is to gather all those resources and answers in one place!

What keeps readers from travelling more

Question 9 was an open-ended question that asked readers what kept them from travelling more. The responses clustered within a few different categories:

Lack of money

Not too surprisingly, this was the most often cited reason for not travelling more

I have a whole series of posts about saving money (also available from the top menu bar).  Here are a few specific posts to get you started:

Lack of time

Most often because of a job or business, people lack the time to travel. It’s a common dilemma: when you earn more money, you typically have less time to spend it!

A few years ago, I wrote a post on this very topic, with a few ideas for the time-strapped: Time or money: what do you need more?

Home-related issues

Several people have pets or gardens that need care. I know it’s not for everybody, but my answer is: get a house-sitter! Several websites exist to match homeowners with sitters. The one I’ve been using for four years (albeit as a sitter, not a homeowner) is Trusted Housesitters.

I already wrote several articles on the topic. They’re from the point of view of the sitter, but they should still give you a good idea of how the service works and what you’re getting into.

Here is a summary of my first five assignments as a house-sitter: House-sitting: 5 assignments on 3 continents

And here is a detailed primer on what’s involved in becoming a house-sitter with Trusted Housesitters (which may help reassure homeowners): Become a house-sitter and get free accommodation

become a house-sitter for free accommodation

Concerns over solo travel

Several people are worried about safety and loneliness issues.

Solo travel is one of the main topics on this blog, so I have a whole series of articles that include solo travel tips. But don’t just take it from me. The following two posts contain stories and insights from other solo travellers, both male and female:

You may want to join this Google group (of which I’m an administrator) where solo travellers can post requests for travel companions. Most people in this group tend to be older.

I may write a post about other resources for finding travel companions later on.

Other reasons

The remaining reasons that keep readers from travelling more concern health (including disabilities) and family issues. One person mentioned carrying her gear! 🙂

Those of us who are healthy and mobile and can travel everywhere without much care should take a moment to consider our good fortune. We often take our health for granted until we lose it. A few travellers who answered my survey are not so lucky.

However, I know that there are people with limited mobility (even in wheelchairs) who are travelling abroad, and I’m considering interviewing some of them (once I find them!) for a future post.

As for carrying gear, I wrote this post last year about the secrets to packing light, which even includes a video!

Specific topics that people want to read about on the blog

Question 8 was an open-ended question to find out what else you want me to write about. Here are some of the things that were mentioned. I’ve already written about some of these topics, but in other cases I’ll defer to fellow bloggers for now. I am keeping all of those suggestions in mind for future content though.

Nuts and bolts of planning a trip

I have a whole section on planning tips (also accessible from the top menu). You can start with:

Has your passport expired?

 Extended budget travel (1-2 months)

Many of my posts were written during multi-month trips. Check out the posts from Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico for example (under Destinations in the top menu bar). But I guess I don’t yet have one specifically about the challenges of long-term travel. This may change soon as I’m thinking of writing a post about the differences between short and extended trips, and things to consider when planning the latter.

This post is about staying in one place for an extended period of time: How to feel at home anywhere in the world.

What to do when things go wrong

I didn’t realize I had written so much about this topic already!

And here is a story of a day when everything seemed to go wrong: Having a bad travel day?

How and where to meet people/make friends when travelling solo long term

Do the opposite of what this post says: 10 ways to stay alone on a solo trip (tongue-in-cheek).

This is more about what happens to the friends you made on the road, after you return home: Making friends on the road.

With friends Amy and Lonnie

Best and cheapest ways to get around in different countries

The following are general posts about inter and intra-city transportation all over the world.

Women travelling solo

There are several blogs out there about female solo travel. I’ve chosen to write my blog for both genders, but since I happen to be a woman, several of my posts have a female slant. The following post is probably my most comprehensive about solo travel. It combines the story of how I started travelling solo, the advantages and disadvantages of solo travel, as well as some tips for the first-time solo traveller: Why I like solo travel and how you can too.

The following posts are about woman solo travel in various countries. I plan to add more of these over time.

Unusual things about a destination that you don’t see in guidebooks

The reader asking this question was thinking in terms of possibly unflattering (or even “politically incorrect”) information about a place.

I never shy away from telling things as they are, and try to steer my readers away from bad experiences. Of course, travel impressions are often subjective, and things change over time, so not everybody will agree with my choices (or rather “anti-choices”). You can check out:

Inexpensive destinations (due to low value of CAD$)

I may write a comprehensive post about this soon. In the meantime, the following regions are all cheap or affordable, even for Canadian-dollar bearers:

  • Southeast Asia (with the exception of Singapore and Brunei)
  • Mexico
  • Central America
  • South America (especially Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia)
  • Eastern Europe (Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria)

(This list is not exhaustive.)

How to find local guides/day tours

The quickest way to find day tours is to check out the Viator website. They basically act as an easy-to-use and reliable platform to book handpicked and vetted tours from a variety of companies and destinations.

As for local guides, the JourneyWoman website, one of the oldest resources for solo female travel has this list of recommended tour guides around the world. (Make sure to browse through all six pages from the tiny links at the bottom.)

Volcan del Cuervo (walking on Lanzarote)

Day trip on Lanzarote (Canary Islands) which I found through Viator.

Single supplements on cruise, hotel rooms, tours

I’m almost ashamed not to have my own post on this topic already, but since I travel mostly independently, I rarely have to deal with single supplements. Whether on cruises, tours, or hotels, single supplements always have to do with rooms. Most rooms are set up and priced to accommodate two people. If only one person stays in the room, the hotel/cruise line still expects to get the same amount. On packaged tours and cruises, this shows up as a “single supplement”. You’re essentially paying the room share of a non-existent person. I know, it’s completely unfair.

However, if you travel independently, you can find single rooms in guesthouses, small hotels, and through platforms like AirBnB. (By the way, if you sign up through this link, you’ll get a US$40 credit.)

If you really want to go on a tour, look for companies that offer “guaranteed share”. This means they’ll match you with a traveller of the same gender in a twin room, and you won’t pay a supplement.  Intrepid Travel and G Adventures are two companies that offer this, but there are others.

Here’s an article from the excellent Women on the Road site on ways to avoid paying the single supplement. And here is one for cruises.

Destinations in Africa

Yes, I know! I need to travel to Africa more. For now, check out these inspiring articles from other sites:

Recommend books by other travellers

I’m glad to see that my readers are, well… readers! I’ve just reviewed these two books, which I liked:

JourneyWoman and Women on the Road both have tons of book recommendations.

If anybody reading this has favourite books they would like to recommend, please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

That’s it for now everyone. I know this is a lot of stuff to browse through, but I hope you found the answers to some of your travel questions and issues. As for me, I’m taking the rest of the afternoon off. It’s Big Travel Nut’s birthday after all! 🙂


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