Today we’re kicking off the new month with an interview of Kim Mance, co-founder of the new social network for travel bloggers, TravelBlogExchange.com.
We’re big fans of “TBEX,” signing up shortly following its launch earlier in the year, and have enjoyed watching it rapidly grow and thrive. For all of our Cheapo bloggers out there, we highly recommend visiting TBEX and consider becoming a member as well (don’t worry, it’s free.)
1. G’day Kim and welcome to our “4 Cheapo Questions” series. First off, let’s cover some basics. TravelBlogExchange.com is fairly new. Can you please tell our fellow Cheapos a little about what the site is and why you decided to launch it?
Travel Blog Exchange is a really fun site for travel bloggers (you couldn’t see that one coming from the title, could you?) to network with each other in groups, member-only chats and by posting blog entries and photos. It also importantly provides a platform for the members to show off their blogs, as well as connect through the site with relevant PR Reps and Travel Industry folks. It’s kind of a travel expo online. Debbie Dubrow and I from deliciousbaby.com are co-hosting a TBEX ’09 Meetup in Chicago this July, so we can all hobnob and learn from one another in person (or via livestream for those far away). We’ve got some pretty fabulous speakers lined up to share on topics that are pretty important to travel bloggers.
2. You also co-founded the travel site GoGalavanting.com – such a busy bee! – please tell us a little about its mission and how it’s useful for travelers.
You’ve got that right, I often get teased about never sleeping…which is a little bit true. Gogalavanting.com is an online travel magazine for women and is a site to highlight the an indie-woman’s way of traveling. We’ve got destination essays and travel tips from about forty contributors around the world. We focus on strong but casual narratives that don’t skimp on budget-friendly, practical advice and links to locations and resources. I think guys secretly read us too though.
We’ve also launched Galavanting TV, but even though the destination guides and travel tip 101 videos are hosted by GoGalavanting editors, we don’t focus on women-only things like the online magazine does. It’s pretty much just for everyone who loves travel and can’t get enough…but doesn’t have a trust fund. We try and be as honest as possible and really capture the essence of a place and the experience it invokes. Oh and funny — we’re also pretty freaking hilarious…I think.
3. What’s the best travel advice you’ve ever received?
Hmmm, the best travel advice I ever received would have to be from a guy named Mark before I went on my first trip abroad at the age of fourteen. He drilled into me the importance of one small, well-packed bag. I thought he was overstating the many ways that resisting the urge to over-pack would make my life and trip much easier, but I shed my teenage rebellion and followed his advice. When a few friends on the trip were nearly in tears trying to catch trains and lugging things around, I thanked Mark, and still follow his advice today. I’m the lightest packer around and would much rather make a trip to the drug store on the other end, than throw my back out lugging everything I own.
4. What do you think is the easiest way to save money while traveling abroad?
Rule number one is to not get suckered into things like traveler’s checks. Use a credit card with no international exchange fees (yes, there are a few out there) for most transactions and draw cash out from your ATM card. Second rule is don’t get suckered into buying a souvenir for every single person back home. A great photo of you having fun abroad (or holding up a sign with their name in front of a famous landmark) will often be a great gift.
Bonus Round Question! Where’s your next trip?
We’re actually headed to a ton of different places this year for Galavanting TV (and will write about them too of course…). Next week is Puerto Rico, next month Italy, then on to Belgium, Paris Morocco, Egypt and Jordan in June. Can’t wait!
Wow – sounds like you sure are quite a galavantor, Kim! Have a wonderful trip and thanks for joining us on EuroCheapo!