Tag Archives: Travel

Q&A with Frugal Traveler: Exploring the World on a Budget

6 Mar

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who have had firsthand experiences traveling around the world. Last time, we featured Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere. Today, we are happy to feature Seth Kugel, the New York Times’ Frugal Traveler.

This traveler’s path is quite atypical. After teaching in public schools, Seth worked in immigrant and child protection services. Then he started as a columnist for the City section of the Times before taking up the torch as the Frugal Traveler for the New York Times in 2010. You can read more about his career path here.

In 2010 you started your adventure as the NYT Frugal Traveler with a 13 week trip from Sao Paulo to NYC. How often did you travel by bus during this trip? How were your experiences traveling by bus?

I really like traveling by bus, because it’s cheap and so different everywhere you go.

In some Latin American countries buses are still old and in many cases they are old United States school buses that have been repainted. That’s not the case everywhere, so it’s interesting to see the contrast between different bus services.

One of my first trips was a 36-hour bus ride. That was an interesting journey. I sat next to a coca leaf dealer, which is all legal business in Bolivia, but as an American it seemed kind of funny to be with a guy who was transporting coca leaves on the bus. He was able to explain to me how the legal trade of coca leaves works and that was totally fascinating. We stopped in little towns, saw this llama entertaining passengers.

There are always tons of crazy things that happen on bus rides.

In Central America it’s more the school bus thing, it’s actually very uncomfortable because you have no cushioning at all in the seats. Luckily, countries in Central America are smaller than Bolivia, so you don’t have that far to go. You travel in the mode of transportation that everyone travels with there. In most countries, especially in the developing world, not everybody can fly. In fact, most people have never been on a plane before. Everybody takes the bus so you get to interact with better mix of society.

It was also very interesting to see what the system is like, sometimes how inefficient it is, and it can surprise you sometimes with how comfortable and efficient it gets.

16Frugal-span-blogSpanSource: New York Time Frugal Traveler

Any advice for first time travelers? Those who long to travel but fear to take the jump?

I’d just say to do it a little bit at a time. If you wanna do it all at once, take a big jump, a year around the world, going to crazy places, that’s fine, but you can certainly also just start small. Take a small trip, be a little more daring than you usually would be.

There is a rule that I always like to follow in many situations: if you’re ever wondering if you should do something or if you shouldn’t, like if you should take this street of if you shouldn’t, if you should talk to this person or you shouldn’t. Within the balance of reasonable physical safety, you should always do it. That’s a good rule to follow. You’re on vacation and you’re not sure if you should do something, then you should probably do it if it doesn’t involve a physical risk for yourself.

Photo: Patricia Stavis

At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel easier. Especially allowing travelers to search, compare and book bus tickets anywhere in the world. What do you think about this mission? Do you think this type of service would help travelers during their trips?

Well, it sounds like a very difficult task because there is no worldwide regulation of buses like there is in trains, right? My experience is that in a lot of places in the world you still can’t book a bus online, and even if they have a website, it’s usually impossible to use it if you’re not from the country. I think that if you guys can do it, that would be fantastic! It sounds to me like a very hard job, you have a ton of language issues, it would be great if it works.

Of course, it’s a hard job, but it’s what we love to do. Our 20 brains and pairs of hands stay busy to keep making bus travel easier anywhere in the world and to get more and more coverage. We are now serving bus schedules for over 9600 cities in 81 countries in the world.

Thanks a lot Seth!
You can follow his adventures as Frugal Traveler on Twitter.
Read his column on The New York Times

Busbud’s Top Travel Apps

14 Feb

asturias

Every traveler has specific needs when on the road, you can be sure there’s almost always one or more apps to meet every one of these needs, and make travel easier.
We decided to gather the ones we like the most here in a blog post, so here’s our little mobile toolbox to help you have an even more enjoyable journey!

Where to Sleep?
Whether you’re planning your trip in advance or need to find a place to sleep on the go, AirBNB and Hostelworld give you the possibility to find a place by city or according to your current location, to sleep at a local’s place or a hostel. Hotel Tonight is specialised in last minute bookings, it’s a good way to enjoy the comfort of a hotel at a very competitive price.

Where to eat?
Use Urbanspoon for an almost exhaustive list of restaurants in a specific city, or if you’re reeeaally super hungry right now, try Foodspotting, a visual guide that shows you good food around you. Finally, if you just wanna book for dinner, use OpenTable, a real-time restaurant-reservation service.

How to fly there?
In terms of booking, Kayak, Expedia, and Hipmunk give you loads of options and help you compare prices. Flightfox pushes the booking a bit further by matching you with an expert that does all the research job for you and offers personalised service.

Ground transportation
When in need for a taxi, use Uber, which connects passengers with taxi drivers. To move from city to city use Busbud (of course!) to search, compare and book bus tickets. If you are more into driving, Getaround, a peer-to-peer car sharing and local car rental is a good option.

Explore
Before getting there, Fotopedia gives you access to thousands of travel pics, perfect if you’re looking for the most stunning places. After having a look at users recommendations on TripAdvisor, use Triposo to access a worldwide mobile travel guide. Then Gogobot will suit you if you’re looking for recommendations from friends or people who travel like you.

Planning your trip
Tripomatic helps you find out what to see and what to do in your destination and create itineraries.  For travel planning, and to make sure you keep your plans in one place, use Tripit and WorldMate.

Language
Understanding and getting understood can get tricky when you travel to foreign places. To read and translate signs, menus and other written information, use Wordlens. Then, no need to describe the must have Google translate. To get how to pronounce, use Translator with Speech.

Communication
When travelling, keeping in touch with friends and family is made easy and way less expensive by Whatsapp, Viber and Skype, with which you can text and call around the world with a wi-fi connection.
If you want to keep a little traditional touch, use Postagram to send postcards from your instagram pics.

Get around
To get from A to B use Google maps and Scout, a navigator that gets you around traffic. If you don’t want to worry about the expensive data issue, City Maps to go will give you detailed offline maps, travel content and insider tips.

Introducing the Montreal Chapter of Travel Massive

20 Jan

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Great news! Busbud’s CEO LP Maurice and friend Lauren McLeod from fellow Montreal travel startup Flightfox are launching the Montreal Chapter of Travel Massive this Tuesday, January 21st!

The free event will be held at The Reservoir bar. Good news, it’s open to anyone wanting to share a beer and talk about travel. We’ll be there, and we’d love to count you in!

Travel Massive is an international meetup for members of the travel industry and travel lovers. It’s mission is to help travel & tourism companies, bloggers, startups, and travel media to connect locally and internationally.

Montreal is the 40th city to join this global community, four meetups are planned for 2014.

For the story, the original Travel Massive event was held 5 years ago in 2009, when Ian Cumming and Alicia Smith, two Sydneysiders, decided to create an event to connect with other people in the Sydney local travel industry.

From a simple casual meetup on a rooftop bar with a few others from the online travel industry, they went to a massive event attracting international guests and travel CEOs to sydney, all this within a few months. Canadian Alicia Taggio then started the first meetup in Toronto and Travel Massive started to spread around the world. You can learn more about the group’s story on the Travel Massive’s Website.

Join the Montreal Travel Massive Facebook group to stay posted on the events!

Our favorite travel and lifestyle bloggers in Amsterdam (in English)

6 Dec

When planning for a trip, traditional information resources like guides and magazines are always a good start. But the best way to find great insights and well kept secrets about your destination is to checkout what locals, expats and travelers who actually know the city differently have to say about it

Stuff Dutch People Like
Stuff Dutch People like

 

The blog, created by Colleen Geske, a Canadian expat living in Amsterdam, is an awesome resource of all you need to know about the dutch cultural specificity. The blog deals with stereotypes with a sassy and humorous tone, making it a really funny way to get more familiar with people and habits before you reach to the city. It was really hard to choose which posts we like most, so here are two examples: Sinterklaas, and for the linguistics: Speaking in expressions. But seriously, you should read them all, they’re hilarious!
Read more here


Your Little Black Book
Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 2.52.54 PM

Anne is a lifestyle blogger living in Amsterdam. First of all, her blog is very pleasant, full of beautiful pics, and gives you a good global view of what to do in Amsterdam, whether you are a foodie explorer or the shopping addict type. The Amsterdam City Guide section gives great weekend guides, tips on seasonal events and things to do in the city, like the best up-coming new year’s eve parties, or hotspots to discover.

Read more here


Amsterdamian
Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 2.54.48 PM

This blog, created by an Amsterdam lover, takes you to the streets and hidden gems of the city through a beautiful visual journey. If you take some time to wander around this blog, you’ll discover an other point of view on the city, people, seasons and art in Amsterdam, with lots of images. For example, here’s a reason why Amsterdam is a great place to visit in autumn and this one gives you a good sneak peek at the Amsterdam Light Festival
Read more here


Life In Amsterdam
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Life in Amsterdam was obviously made for all the foodies out there. What we love the most about this blog is the super simple way reviews are presented. One glance and you have all the key information, like: what is the place perfect for?, is it worth a bike ride?, the best features, etc. After exploring the blog, the places we picked up to try next time we’re in Amsterdam: Caffe Milo for sounding that fancy, and Bistro ‘t Stuivertje for sounding so friendly.
Read more here


Some of our favorite worldwide travel bloggers also had their Amsterdam adventure..

bloggers_Matt_Kate
Here’s the Amsterdam experience seen by Matthew from Nomadic Matt, and here Kate from Adventurous Kate tells you more about how she totally fell in love with dutch architecture

Our New Busbud Intro Video

30 May

We’re very happy to debut Busbud’s new intro video.

Our Busbud team‘s very own multi-talented marketing director Alain shot the video right here in Montreal, and it also features our communications superstar Caroline as Lucie (the girl from the bus)! Our thanks goes out to everyone who agreed to participate in the video!

It is a homemade labor of love and it reflects what Busbud is all about: freedom to roam, discovery of new places and the serendipity of travel!

More than anything, we hope it gives you the urge to take the bus!

Buses are amazing both for the wallet and the environment. They’re also great for last-minute travel getaways and for exploring the landscape of new places.

Who knows, on your way to a new city, you might even meet that special someone!

Happy viewing!

Busbud Joins E-180 Knowledge Market – Travel Edition

19 Feb
E-180 Knowledge Market - Travel Edition

E-180 Knowledge Market – Travel Edition

Busbud is happy to be joining forces with E-180 as an organizing partner for their upcoming Knowledge Market – Travel Edition on February 26, 2013 from 6 to 8pm at Café Matina in wonderfully chilly Montreal.

E-180 is a matchmaking website that allows you to connect and learn with like-minded people, face to face, in a cafe, bar or over lunch. Once you’ve found someone whose knowledge interests you, you can contact them via E-180’s message service and propose a place and date to meet.

Travelling soon? The Knowledge Market (Travel Edition) is a 6@8 of knowledge exchange with an international flavour where you can leave with practical advice from other participants and event partners, to plan your next getaway.

On the program, the venue will be organized in themed areas by continent, making it easy to meet participants with similar interests and special projects such as:

      • International Cooperation
      • Sailing
      • Work and study abroad
      • WOOOFing
      • Couchsurfing
      • Hitchhiking
      • Limited budget
      • Around the world

Members of the Busbud team will be there, doing our best to answer questions for travellers. Come say hi!

Register here (it’s free!): http://e180hastalavista.eventbrite.com/

Busbud Launches iPhone App

31 Jan

Busbud iPhone app

Today, we are very pleased to announce the launch of our new iPhone app aimed at giving travellers easy access to intercity bus travel information on the go.

Available for free for iPhone and iPad users, Busbud is your ideal bus travel companion, gathering together intercity bus schedules for 4000+ cities in 60+ countries.

At Busbud, we are uniquely focused on the problem of intercity bus travel, especially making the process of finding a bus schedule and buying a ticket as easy as possible.

With the launch of our mobile app, travellers can now:

  • Instantly access bus schedules on the go.
  • Sort by the best price, shortest duration and departure time.
  • View schedules in 10 languages and see prices in 15 currencies.
  • Auto-detect their current city and easily view top destination suggestions for that city.

Search

Search

Results

Results

In the example above, if a traveller searches for buses from Montreal to Toronto around noon, the Busbud app will display the next departure (13:00) closest to the current time for each company. This gives travellers a helpful at-a-glance comparison of multiple options, allowing them to find the right bus for their trip faster.

Get it from the iTunes app store here.

Q&A with Cameron from Traveling Canucks: Marriage, Travel, and Finding Life Balance on the Road

23 May

Nicole and Cameron from Traveling Canucks

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we contact travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott from Uncornered Market. Today, we’re happy to share an interview with another traveling couple, Nicole and Cameron Wears from Traveling Canucks. Residing in Vancouver, Canada, this married couple has visited 50 countries in the past seven years.

Nicole and Cameron share a common passion for travel. In 2008, they traded their jobs for a backpack and a long checklist. After a year on the road, they chose to make their home in Vancouver, British Columbia, and continue to keep travel as part of their lives. They are living proof that it is possible to build a career and family AND travel the globe.

1) What’s your next travel destination?

Our next trip will actually be the first international trip that we take with our baby boy. We are flying to sunny Palm Springs, California! We can’t wait to catch some needed sun and relaxation; it’s been rainy and cold in Vancouver BC. Surprisingly, we have never been to Southern California, so we are really looking forward to the trip.

In the coming months, we plan to visit Honduras, Hawaii, Germany, Switzerland and France. So hopefully Baby B won’t have any issues with airplanes.

Easter Island

2) In a previous interview with CanadianLiving, you’ve given tips on how to keep a relationship healthy while on the road. What about the benefits of traveling as a couple?

We love traveling together because we always have someone to share the adventures and memories with. It’s nice to have someone to dine with every night or play cards while on a long train ride. We’ve been traveling together for 10 years, so we really don’t know any other way.

Traveling as a couple has helped us get to know and understand each other on a completely different level. We travel well together and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, making for a much better travel experience. In our opinion, exploring new places and experiencing new things is essential for a healthy relationship!

3) I’m a fan of your Photo of the Week series. What’s your favourite picture taken in Canada? How about one of your favorite in the rest of the world?

Wow – that’s a tough question! It’s so hard to pick just one. We really like the photo from Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. It’s a picture perfect turquoise lake that is dwarfed by giant snow-capped Rocky Mountains – it’s brilliant!

Canoe at Moraine Lake

It’s way too hard to pick one favourite photo from around the world, but we put together a collection of our favourite travel photos.

4) At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. Have you encountered moments in your travel where you found yourself wanting a service like this? And do you have a bus travel story you’d like to share with our readers?

Absolutely! It recently happened on our trip to Belize a few months ago. We booked our return flight to leave from Cancun and we had to figure out how to get from Belize to Cancun by bus. It was actually quite frustrating because most bus lines didn’t have a website that was up-to-date (many didn’t have one at all!).

One of the hardest parts about finding transportation in foreign countries is that it’s difficult to find a website in English that provides honest and accurate information. We can definitely see ourselves using a service like Busbud.

A bus travel story to share would be the one we took from Luxor to Dahab in Egypt. We were told by many tour operators that the bus trip would be approximately 14 hours. We were prepared for a 14 hour journey, what we were not prepared for was the 22 hour journey that it actually ended up being!

5) I’m actually traveling to Vancouver this spring to judge a swing dance competition. Any restaurants/venues that I shouldn’t miss in Van city while I’m there?

There are so many things to see and do in Vancouver; it really depends on what you’re interested in. It’s very possible there will still be great spring skiing on the local mountains in April, but that’s weather dependant. Walking around the Seawall at Stanley Park is a fan favourite, as is wandering the cobblestone streets of Gastown near Waterfront. Some fun places to enjoy drinks are Granville Street, Robson Street and Granville Island, which has local artist shops, fresh seafood and restaurants with amazing views.

We wrote an article about “Things the Locals like to do in Vancouver”.

Caramel candy apple at the Vancouver Summer Night Market

6) Finally, I really enjoyed your message about balancing career & family with traveling and chasing your dreams. I saw that you are even traveling with your baby this summer! What advice would you give people who are struggling to find balance in their lives? How do you make it all work?

We believe that everyone should travel, at least once a year (ideally more). It opens your eyes to new cultures, food, music, traditions and experiences. It’s a great way to connect with your partner, family and friends in ways you simply cannot do at home. This doesn’t mean you have to backpack across Southeast Asia or take a career break. But make an effort to experience the world, even if it’s just a quick weekend getaway.

So many people have said to us, “I guess now that you have a baby you’re travel days are behind you”. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. We now want to introduce him to the world and have a new purpose for our travels.

Finding balance in your life is essential. It really isn’t hard to achieve once you make it a priority. Start by setting small goals, like saving an extra $100 per month or planning a local camping trip. Life balance is different for everyone, but if travel is important to you then you must make time for it and understand that sacrifices will need to be made to reach your goals.

Nicole and Cameron from Traveling Canucks

Thanks Cameron! You can get in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter. And of course, visit the blog Traveling Canucks to follow their adventures.

Photos by Cameron Wears at Traveling Canucks

Inspiring Travel Videos: “Make It Count” by Nike

11 Apr

This is a fun travel video made by Nike and released two days ago on the following theme “Make it Count”. Two guys crisscross the world in 10 days, running from one place to another, exploring new places and seizing the day.

It’s hard to resist the exhilarating rush of spontaneous worldwide travel! It’s also a great reminder that it’s OK sometimes just to go for it, buy a ticket, try things, make errors and break rules. Enjoy!

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