We want a Triptrotter to win Urban Adventures’ London Gold

By: Triptrotting Team

We know all of you Triptrotters are believers in local travel. So when our friends at Urban Adventures started an exciting challenge, we couldn’t wait to share it with our community. Brace yourself, it’s a big announcement, an incredible opportunity, and we want a Triptrotter to win!

Urban Adventures is giving away their London business for the rest of 2012, and not only will the lucky winner have the experience of a lifetime, they’ll keep the profits along the way. Yes, you heard us right. London is one of Urban Adventures’ most successful destinations, and they’re looking for someone to take the helm of operations for a year.

To enter, simply upload a video or a photo that showcases your signature London tour on Urban Adventures’ Facebook page under #LondonGold. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen amazing photos and videos that you guys shared on Triptrotting’s Facebook page! If you see London like Urban Adventures and Triptrotting see London, you’ll have no problem creating a unique, local perspective of one of the world’s greatest cities.

Facebook voting will determine two finalists, and an Urban Adventures judging panel will determine three finalists. The five finalists will then be interviewed by the General Manager of Urban Adventures, with one winner striking #LondonGold just in time for one of the busiest tourism summers London has ever seen!

If you win, not only will you get to lead your signature tour for the rest of 2012 (yeah, that’s right, people will be paying to see your London), you’ll also get to manage the rest of the London Urban Adventures operations, which includes a portfolio of seven other unique, popular tours and a group of awesome local guides.

The winner will be in charge of London Urban Adventures from 1 May to 31 December 2012, and at the end of it all, any profits made are yours to keep. Income is virtually uncapped, when you consider the massive influx of tourists into London this summer. If you can tap into some good local sales and marketing strategies, you’ll be set. Urban Adventures supports all their destinations with global sales and marketing, so you’ll be covered from all ends.

See why we want a Triptrotter to win? Have a look at the video and head to http://www.urbanadventures.com/london for more the details and the almighty terms & conditions (basically, you have to be over 18, fluent in written and spoken English, be legally entitled to work in the UK, and you’ve gotta know London like a local).

Enter on Facebook at facebook.com/UrbanAdventures, and click on the #LondonGold tab on the left.
Don’t forget to share your entry via Facebook and Twitter – you’re going to want your friends to cast their vote for you!
Contest closes 29 February 2012 – what are you waiting for?!

Questions? Contact london@urbanadventures.com


It’s time for Buenos Aires to TRIPup!

By: Triptrotting Team

It’s time for our travelers and hosts alike in Buenos Aires to show how hard they can TRIPup! On Friday, February 10th, Triptrotting invites you to Godoy Disco Bar to meet fellow Triptrotters and dance the week’s stress away with new friends!

Free admission is limited to Triptrotting members only, so make sure to sign up on Triptrotting.com to get a code and enjoy this party for free: We mean free entrance, free food reception, and 2 for 1 drinks!

Once you get the code, also make sure to RSVP here so we can count you in. The event limits 1 ticket per person, so spread the love and invite your friends!

If you’re not in Buenos Aires on the 10th but will be there soon after, stay tuned because we have another exciting event planned…

BAIS Argentina
BAIS Argentina is the first organization of international students in Buenos Aires. Their objectives are the social and cultural integration of foreigners in the city of Buenos Aires, through the experience of different activities. BAIS provides support to the foreigner, by developing cultural activities, sport outings, as well as many others, so that they get to know the city, its culture and its people.

Spanglish Exchange
Spanglish Exchange is a language exchange that pairs native Spanish speakers with native English speakers in a series of 10-minute conversations (five in English and five in Spanish). Participants get to practice one-to-one with at least five different native speakers. Recommended by the NY Post, La Nación, and the BA Herald, as well as leading travel guides such as Lonely Planet and Time Out, Spanglish creates a fun and casual environment in which to practice languages and meet people from all over the world.

Once in Motion®
Once in Motion® is a local company that offers an easy-going atmosphere where you will find young people experiencing the best of what Buenos Aires has to offer. Nightlife promotions, freebies, private theme parties and trips in Argentina, specifically for international exchange students and independent travelers.
Come meet your peers and porteños through our activities!
Party right! You only live once.

Supernova Argentina
Supernova Argentina is a Tourism and Travel Company specialized in international customers, offering domestic and regional destinations.
Our options are the favorite for young people who want to travel in groups or meet new travelers. They also provide special service to local universities and exchange programs.
Fun guaranteed at low prices.
Alone or accompanied, enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Argentina, meet people and form friendships for life through Supernova.

Winter Travel Photo Contest

By: Triptrotting Team

Who said that pictures are only good to look at?  Triptrotting, in partnership with our friends at  Let’s Go, would like to challenge you to enter A Winter Traveler Photo Contest. Every week you can submit a photo that fits the theme of the week here in the categories listed! The winner of the contest will win $50 Amazon Card and Citizen of the World T-Shirt and the Runner up will get  $20 Amazon Card and Citizen of the World T-shirt! Best photos will also be featured on Triptrotting and Let’s Go sites, Facebook and Twitter! GOOD LUCK!

Check out the details here!


Traveling with a cause!

By: Sarah Logie

Triptrotters are not only global citizens but are also striving to make a difference in the world!  Check out Triptrotter Sarah’s recent adventures combining an amazing trip with her passion for helping those in need and her search for the next adventure trip!

I recently climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for an amazing children’s charity called Flying Kites. It was a challenging climb (physically and emotionally) as we trekked up to 19,000 ft in 5 days, starting in tropical rainforest and ending in arctic conditions (with very little oxygen!). Nonetheless, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and reaching the summit as the sun was rising is a memory that will stay with me forever. And knowing that throughout it all I helped an orphan at Flying Kites made it all the more satisfying! Not only was it one of the most amazing experiences of my life, but knowing that I made a difference to children in need made it so much better!

Now I’m looking for fun and adventurous people to join me in my next charity trek to Machu Picchu!

Flying Kites KenyaFirst, let me tell you a little about Flying Kites. Flying Kites is a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, NY that seeks to raise the standards of care available to the world’s poorest children.  It helps prepare these children to contribute to their communities and beyond with programs that emphasize practical education, social responsibility, compassionate leadership, and effective advocacy.  Currently, Flying Kites runs a Leadership Academy and a children’s home in Kenya, benefitting approximately 80 children of all ages.  Just look at some of these faces!

As part of its outreach and fundraising efforts, Flying Kites runs a program called Flying Kites Adventure Challenges.  This innovative program allows people like you and me to participate in one or more “challenges” (e.g., Mt. Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, Machu Picchu) by reaching a certain target amount.  This money can all be fundraised so, technically, none of it has to come out of your own pocket!  Roughly half of this target amount covers the participant’s expenses and the other half goes directly to a specific child at Flying Kites.

So, having tackled Mt. Kilimanjaro, I figure it is time to take on a different mountain and I am looking for people to join my team. The Machu Picchu Challenge is April 13th – 20th, 2012 with sign-up closing March 12, 2012.  Spaces are filling up fast so sign up soon!  The target donation amount for this challenge is only $2,000 (this does not include airfare). Participants will cover the 45km trek in four days, with the remaining days being spent in and around Cuzco.

If you have any questions or are ready to sign up, please contact me on Triptrotting here or email me at sarah@sarahlogie.com.

Interview with a study abroad guru!

By: Triptrotting Team

Did you ever study abroad or would like to study abroad?  We recently interviewed the President and Founder of studyabroad101.com, Mike Stone, who shared with us his love for traveling, tips for studying abroad, and experiences starting a venture based on his passion.  Check out the interview.

Q:  Tell us about yourself

A native Bostonian, I graduated Tufts in 2007 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Communications and Media Studies. A high school trip to France became the “gateway” to my travel addiction, as well as my decision to invest savings in experiences over material goods. I had the opportunity to study abroad twice in college, Melbourne, Australia, and Talloires, France, where I later returned and taught a global citizenship workshop for high school students. I enjoyed working in the marketing industry through my experience in account management at Arnold Advertising, in Boston as well as Melbourne, Australia. I am also extremely passionate about documentary filmmaking and social entrepreneurship, and I am still very active in various Tufts alumni service groups.

Q: What is your job and what do you like about it?

I am a co-founder and President of Abroad101, the first and largest study abroad review website. Study abroad changed my life, but when researching programs, my friends and I felt completely overwhelmed since there were no online resources offering insider student reviews. I love the fact that my team and I are building a community that can help returning students share their experiences so more future students can choose the best program for their needs. I am a huge proponent of molding a career around your passions and strengths while finding an opportunity to serve a demonstrated need and positively impact society. If every student studied abroad, our world would be a significantly more informed, accepting, and dynamic place. The fact that our website encourages such global citizenship provides more adrenaline than coffee any day!

Q:  How many countries have you been to? 13 – US, Canada, England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Israel, Spain, Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan

Q: What do you like about the Triptrotting idea?

I love how Triptrotting facilitates and expedites cultural acclimation via connections with like-minded individuals. The type of reciprocity that results from two travelers sharing an interchangeable host/visitor relationship is remarkable. I really appreciate having insider information about foreign destinations before I arrive, ranging from the best “hidden gem” restaurants to museums and events. I also really enjoy hosting out-of-town friends and experiencing my own city from the unique, novel perspective of a tourist. The traveler’s mentality is always more adventurous, and you don’t need to leave your neighborhood to experience the thrill of a vacation. I think it’s awesome that Triptrotting helps form these connections, and ensures that people can avoid the tourist traps and truly “live like the locals do”!  

Q:  What are some tips you could give your members about studying abroad?

Don’t settle for a program that is less challenging than what you can handle. Studying abroad is all about re-defining your comfort zone. Do some reflection on your personal limits and what you want out of your experience, so that you can select the program that will provide the infrastructure to expand your comfort zone. This enables less inhibition to take risks, embrace a new culture, and return from your experience with more confidence and a heightened global perspective. I would also recommend diving head first into the local culture as much as possible. Take courses with local students, join a student organization, live with a host family, or get a job or internship to avoid “The American Bubble.” As I wrote in a recent blog entry, “One of the biggest complaints we hear from students when they return from their time abroad is ‘I wish I got to know more locals and further integrate into the culture.’ In other words, we all have a desire to experience our new foreign home as a local…but it can be difficult to be ‘in the know’ if you are busy adjusting to the new culture and haven’t yet mastered the language.” More reason why we love what you are doing at TripTrotting! Read the rest of this entry

Way off the track in Rio de Janeiro…

By Stewart Alsop

Stewart is a Triptrotting Adviser for South America. He lives in Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro and has traveled all over the world in the past few years. 

For the past four months I have been living in an unpacified favela, known as Vidigal, located on a hill overlooking the richer parts of Rio de Janeiro. On Sunday, the government will invade this favela, as well as a neighboring one and attempt to establish control over the estimated 450,000 people living in these two areas. Around 2000 troops, with the support of armored vehicles and helicopters, will descend upon Vidigal on Sunday and I will be here. I intend to provide live updates of what is going on through Facebook, Twitter, and my blog so that people outside can get a different side of what occurs than that which is provided by the Brazilian and international media.

For those of you that aren’t aware, favelas are informal lower-income neighborhoods that were set up by poor migrants looking for opportunities in the larger cities of Brazil. An unpacified favela is a community that is under direct political control by drug traffickers, not the central government. Almost everyday that I have lived here I see armed men without uniforms. Since Brazil received the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, the government has slowly and surely established its control over these areas in order to convince the world that it is ready to host these events. From the roar of helicopter blades over my head, I know that Vidigal is next on their list.

Vidigal, Rio de Janeiro (Photo courtesy of Jason Scott)

As most travelers know viscerally, first hand experience allows for better understanding of a situation than that which can be gained from reading an article or watching the news. Living here for the past four months has made this truth all the more valid to me. Due to the fact that drug gangs control the favelas, the perceptions of people outside the favela are incredibly skewed. Most upper and middle class Brazilians, and many foreigners, associate the favela with danger and violence. While there is some truth in this view, the reality is ever more complex. For the traffickers, the favela is one of the most dangerous places on earth, with casualty rates far exceeding that of many conflicts in other countries. For everyday people unassociated with the traffickers, the favela can be safer than many other places in this crime torn city.

As the cocaine and crack boom in the 1980’s changed the nature of lower income communities in America, the same happened here in Brazil. The difference, however, is that in America the government writ extended to all parts of the city. In Rio, the central government has thoughtlessly ignored the informal communities of the favelas, denying them basic services such as police and sanitation. When it became apparent how much money was to be made in the drug trade here in Brazil, criminals could see no better option for their business than to set up shop in an area that was not under control of any government forces. They invaded these lower income neighborhoods and set up a political system that, to my knowledge, exists nowhere else in the world.

Amazing views from my hostel in Vidigal! (Photo courtesy of Jason Scott)

Rio is generally seen as a dangerous city to the outside world, with some justification. My friends living in other parts of the city have been robbed on several occasions and live their lives accordingly; they don’t take out their cell phones in public and never display wealth. My experience in the favela has been completely different. I drive an expensive foreign motorcycle and have no fear of taking out my Iphone or expensive camera. This is because the dono, or leader, of the main drug gangs, enforces his law rigidly, with the help of his managers and street level enforcers. The punishments for theft or rape are harsh and swiftly administered. Unlike the police, who live on $500 a month in the 12th most expensive city in the world, these enforcers and managers are not corrupt. They too know the punishment for inappropriate behavior.

Obviously, living under the whim of a dictatorial warlord, supplied by money from the drug trade, is not ideal. There is no right to property or a fair trial and the Brazilian constitution does not apply. That being said, the alternatives for those living in the favelas are no more ideal. Police in Rio de Janeiro are corrupt. They are viewed by much of the population as criminals themselves; running illegal gambling operations, demanding bribes, and often supporting the drug traffickers in exchange for money. The people living here have few good options.

Beautiful night views of Rio from Vidigal (Photo courtesy of Jason Scott)

In writing this, I am trying to witness and describe the disappearance of a unique community that is full of contradictions. I have been lucky enough to experience this unique place and want to share what I know before it disappears forever. I am not trying to excuse the drug dealers or portray them in a positive light. They have chosen the life they lead. I only want to bring attention to the majority of the community who are in no way tied to the drug trade. I have lived, travelled and studies in over 45 countries and nowhere else have I encountered such a warm and charismatic people as the ones I have met here in Vidigal.

I know that Triptrotters are the kind of worldly and intelligent people who can see past the stereotypes and misrepresentations provided by the media. Please help me in sharing this with your friends and family so that the people within this community can be seen and heard before they are rolled over by the bulldozer of history.

You can follow me on Twitter @offthetrackrio and on my blog: Stewart Alsop in Rio

TRIPup Halloween Recap

By Triptrotting Team

Have you recovered from Halloween weekend yet? The entire weekend was all about parties for the adults and the candies for the kids…and costumes of course all around!

For Triptrotters visiting or living in Los Angeles, we co-hosted a black-tie TRIPup Halloween masquerade at the W Hotel in Hollywood with special performance by Tyson Ritter from the All American Rejects afterparty!  All while watching some spooky black and white movies, sipping on complimentary Casa Torelli wine and amazing appetizers from our co-sponsor Wimdu.com.

Triptrotters received complimentary entrance, free drinks and appetizers!
If you are not in Los Angeles, no worries!  Keep up with our events on the events page and you can even host your own TRIPup in your own city!

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You are invited to our Halloween TRIPup Bash!

By Triptrotting Team

Happy Halloween Week everyone!  Today, Halloween is all about the parties for the adults and the candies for the kids…and costumes!  People in the United States and many large cities around the world are celebrating this holiday this coming Monday.  For those of you that celebrate this awesome holiday, we hope you have a great time but be safe!

For Triptrotters visiting or living in Los Angeles, we’d like to invite you to a complimentary event at the W Hotel in Hollywood this Sunday evening with a black-tie masquerade!   Even more, we’ll have Tyson Ritter from the All American Rejects be our guest host and entertain us with a special performance!  All while watching some spooky black and white movies and dancing the night away.

Triptrotters receive complimentary entrance!  More details and RSVP at events.triptrotting.com

If you are not in Los Angeles, no worries!  Keep up with our events on the events page and you can even host your own TRIPup in your own city!

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