As part of the next instalment in my international version of Guests’ Corner (previously a local South African travel interview section on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust), I chatted to Melvin Boecher, founder and CEO of TravelDudes and COO of iambassador, both industry leaders in the world of travel.
Melvin Boecher, a passionate global traveller, is the brains behind the awesome TravelDudes, a site for travellers, by travellers. In addition to being the founder and CEO of TravelDudes, Melvin is also the COO of imabassador, one of the best travel influencers online.
Through these, Melvin helps to not only promote a love of travel, but also to inspire it in both new and old globetrotters alike, as he provides platforms for them to follow, enjoy and engage with!
TravelDudes offers its clients cost-effective, inspirational and engaging travel content for digital and social platforms, and serves as daily inspiration for travellers the world over! So be sure to follow them for your next travel tips.
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
It’s about sharing travel experiences and encouraging people to get out to see the world; I got the best tips from locals and other travellers.
Print guidebooks are limited in space, that’s why we created TravelDudes.org, which was also one of the first online guidebooks created by a community of travellers.
Even if you have seen many parts of the world, there are always travellers who have seen more or something different. It’s just awesome if you can share ‘your’ experience with others and inspire them to make their own.
Travel Dudes has grown bigger and bigger, and it has turned out to be the first social travel platform now.
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or something of everything?
I’ve travelled with my family when I was young, then did many of my own trips, which were always organised by myself. Sometimes they were on a lower budget with a backpack, sometimes with a bit more luxury… but always independent.
And I definitely like a good adventure and getting out. Nowadays, I also travel quite a bit for business.
For me, the perfect trip is a mix of luxury and budget travel. I love to dine out in fancy restaurants, but also love to eat street food. The same goes for accommodations, where an amazing boutique hotel is its own experience… But a cool low-budget guesthouse or hostel can be just as good!
Important for both is the atmosphere, which can be influenced by many things like its people, neighbourhood, views, location and food…
3) Which are your top three most memorable travel experiences and why? Please list each one with a brief explanation.
There are more than three and it’s hard to choose one.
I’ve had a thrilling encounter with an elephant in Tanzania; slept with cockroaches in my hair in Thailand; swam with crocodiles and sharks in Australia; had an amazingly bad Delhi Belly in India and even thought an old man was dying next to me on the plane, as it seemed he was splitting blood (which turned out to be red wine…).
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening travel experience in your home country and why? (Please provide your home country’s name too.)
The Cologne Carnival (Germany) is an amazing tradition and a very cool travel experience. It’s one of the best street carnivals in the world. What’s special is that 95% of the people are dressed up, not like elsewhere where only the paraders are in a costume.
The whole city goes crazy and parties inside and outside. You will feel part of it very quickly, even as a tourist… People are very open and welcoming, inviting you for drinks and a good time together.
5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?
I don’t remember a bad local experience. But I’m always very ashamed that people have to pay when using toilets in Germany. That’s the case in many restaurants, unless you are a guest usually. (Though at some places you even have to pay there.)
Not many know though that the staff only get paid via the tip. That’s not good – and, if you ask me, they should be paid by the bar/restaurant.
6) Your top three travel destinations across the globe – either that you have personally experienced or would love to visit?
My three favorite destinations are actually four! (But I could, and should, make it five!)
1. I love Havana! The vibe in the city was enormous. The old and renovated part of the city is so colourful and a must-see. But the other parts were even more interesting, as that is where you can see the real daily life… It’s not as shiny, but more lively. Kids playing baseball, men dominos and women chatting… and all happening on the street.
2. Then I would add Tanzania as a great place to see wildlife. Especially the southern part of the country was great, as we explored it on self-drive and it got us close to the people – but also to the wildlife – without that you ‘shared’ a lion with 20 other jeeps…
3. Laos was my favorite country on our three-month trip through Indochina. It’s not as well-travelled – like the destinations around, which have access to the sea, like Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam.
And I think that this exactly makes it so interesting. It’s a bit tougher to travel, and the only beach days you can spend there are on the sand of the Mekong River.
4. Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro are the cities to fill the list! There are many great cities out there – but can you top the scenery of those two?
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs that you can recommend for following?
There are many, so I’ve created two lists of travel folks who I would recommend following:
8) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
(As it’s winter time right now and during the day, the sun has only shone four hours in the last six weeks), I would head somewhere South with lots of sunshine! This could be Asia, Africa, Southern Europe or even the Alps, as long there is enough sun.
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?
If your trip gets you to Germany, you should definitely visit Cologne. When in Cologne, you have to visit at least one traditional brewery; it’s a very unique experience.
You get the beer served in 0.2 glasses, so rather small. (That way it’s always fresh.) When it’s close to empty, the Köbes (waiter) will serve you a new one without that you having asked for it.
You have to put your beer coaster on top of the glass if you don’t want a new one. The beer coaster is also your receipt, as the Köbes will mark the amount of beers on it… So don’t throw it away.
Oh… and the Köbes is a good one when he is a bit grumpy and makes jokes about his guests.
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
It’s good to be prepared for a trip, but do not book all in advance, maybe the first one to two nights. From there, on try to stay spontaneous and flexible and see what happens.
Get lost when in you are in a new destination and wander around. Walk more than usual. You will then have experiences that you will never forget… and that are 95% positive.
To read about and see all of all Melvin’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit his amazing site. Or follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also check out my travel tip post on Traveldudes here.
Thank you very much, Melvin, for appearing in this international guest travel segment. Until the next one… happy writing and reading, everyone!
Author: Tamlyn Amber Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.