Changes and a New Focus
I’ve decided to make a number of changes on this site.
A huge reason for that is my most recent South Africa trip. I’ve raved about this trip so much already, but it was more than a fun time — it showed me exactly the kind of work that I need to be doing, exactly the kind of trips that give me the best content, and exactly the kind of travel that I need to be sharing with you.
Beyond that, it really made me think about where Adventurous Kate has been heading lately. Some of it has been great; some of it, not so good.
Here’s what I’ll be changing:
A Renewed Focus on Budget Travel
I know my audience perfectly, and I’ll talk any company’s ear off about who the typical Adventurous Kate reader is (female, 25-34, university-educated, US/UK citizen, urban-living, travels internationally at least once per year…)
However, there was one aspect that I always shied away from, and it was the price point.
Not all of you have the same budgets. Many of you are shoestringers; many of you wouldn’t be caught dead in a hostel. But one thing’s true above all: you love value. Most of you fall into the category of budget travelers.
You know what? I love budget travel! I would much rather stay in a private room in a really nice hostel than a nondescript hotel room, I’ll eat at a street cart every chance I can get, and I’d much rather spend my money on cool activities than fancy lodging.
I also go absolutely giddy about getting a deal. Did I mention that I got flights from Dubai to Tokyo for just $280 each? SCORE!
Still, I like to splurge once in a while, especially for special occasions. I’ll write about more expensive travel on occasion (like my upcoming 29th birthday trip to Dubai), but know two things: I plan to cover more expensive travel from a value perspective, and I plan to maintain at least 80-90% of the content related to affordable travel.
In the past few months, I’ve been adding more details to the “Essential Info” box at the end of each post, including prices in the local currency and US dollars. The response has been outstanding. From now on, I’ll include much more comprehensive information so you can plan your trip more easily.
Some people have asked if I can go into my old posts and add the information back. My thoughts? Eek. More than three years worth of posts — and a LOT information has changed since then. Some of my favorite guesthouses have since fallen into the lake and in one sad case, burned down (RIP, my beloved Monkey Republic). Keeping that information current and up to date would be a full-time job.
If you’re looking for quick information from my past travels, like where I stayed in a certain city, the best way to get a quick answer is to tweet me.
But for future trips, all the information will be included in each post.
Fewer Group Press Trips
I turn down about 80% of the trips that I’m offered — primarily because I’m not interested in them. I mostly accept trips to destinations I really want to visit. However, I’m going to be even more discriminating in the future, as I’ve noticed lately that a lot of my coverage of press trips has been flat and lifeless. Not every press trip is like that, but it’s starting to make a noticeable difference in my content.
I’ll still take press trips (and I have some lined up), as they are one of the ways that I make my income, but I’ll be prioritizing the awesome ones. The best press trips are trips where we do things rather than see things, and I’d like to stick to trips focusing on activities rather than sights.
One example of a great press trip? Blogville Emilia-Romagna. It’s like the un-press trip. At Blogville, you go stay in an apartment in Bologna (my favorite city in Italy!) for a week with other bloggers, and while there are some organized events, you are largely left to your own devices to explore the Emilia-Romagna region the way you love to travel.
I’ll be there in both June and October. You’ll find me in Parma, eating ALL OF THE HAM and ALL OF THE CHEESE.
More Awesome Press Trips
The best press trips of all are when I get to work directly with DMOs (destination marketing organization — think tourism board or destination bureau) and work with them to create a trip that fits my style. Cool cheap lodging; interesting food experiences, from budget to expensive; fun and interesting adventure activities.
Those are the trips I’m trying to create now, and I think the coverage will be better for it.
A Slightly Broader Focus
Since the early days, this site has focused on solo female travel. Encouraging women to travel solo is something that gives me immense joy. But I’d like to broaden my focus. From now on, the focus of this site is independent and solo travel for women.
What does independent travel mean? Basically, any kind of travel that requires conscious planning beyond booking a cruise or a stay at an all-inclusive resort. (While both cruises and all-inclusives are incredibly fun, I don’t write about them here.)
I’m about to travel for a year with my boyfriend, and that isn’t exactly the best trip from a branding perspective for the solo female travel girl. But even so, I will always be a solo female traveler, taking trips on my own; I will always work to help solo female travelers; and I will always cater to solo female travelers on this site.
I’m going to continue writing about the travel issues that women face, especially in the Ask Kate feature. But this goes for all women, whether you travel with your partner, your family, your friends, or by yourself.
Still: I Need More Solo Travel
The other day, Mario pointed out that I haven’t done much solo travel since we started dating eight months ago. To a degree, he’s right — while I’ve traveled solo in Paris, Edinburgh and spent most of my time in New York on my own this winter, it’s definitely been minimal compared to past years.
It’s time to get back to my roots — solo female backpacking. I have an opportunity and I’m ready to take it!
The Next Solo Trip: Macedonia and Bulgaria
I have roughly two weeks of unscheduled time in between Istanbul and Dubai. Mario has long planned to be in South Africa; I’ve considered lots of options for myself. After much consideration, I’ve decided to travel to Macedonia and Bulgaria!
Two new countries. Backpacking solo. The challenges of Cyrillic script and less travel infrastructure. The joy of Eastern European prices.
And something new: zero comps, zero freebies. I think that it’s important for me to let my feet touch the ground a bit and travel without the benefits of my site. (Despite the fact that I know Bulgaria’s PR team and that they would hook me up if I wanted to.) My friend Janice of Solo Traveler does one trip paid out of pocket each year, and I think that’s a great idea for many reasons.
So if you have any suggestions in Macedonia or Bulgaria — OR Kosovo, OR Bucharest, Romania, where I’ll be flying from at the end — please let me know! I’m flying into Skopje and have thirteen nights before I fly out of Bucharest.