Comfortably Wild: Our Glamping Book!

glamping book

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Comfortably Wild: The Ultimate Glamping Guide

In our eight years traveling around the world on our HoneyTrek, we’ve slept everywhere from camping tents in the Andes to five-star hotels in Zambia and we can say with certainty, glamping is our favorite style of lodging. Because it’s not just a place to lay your head, it’s an experience. River rafting between luxury camps, harvesting vegetables for a farm-to-table dinner, and ziplining to your treehouse suite, glamping is experiential travel at its finest.

Breaking the mold of big-box hotels and transforming camping into a glamorous affair, this revolutionary travel style needed its story told. We traveled over 73,000 miles from Canada to Costa Rica (56,000 miles by RV), seeking the best glamping destinations in North America and the deeper meaning of this trending term. In the first guide of its kind, Comfortably Wild dives into the history of glamping and this 21st-century craving for unconventional experiences that effortlessly connect us with nature, loved ones, and ourselves.

Rather than being organized by style of lodging, each chapter of our glamping book offers a unique way to vacation, like the boutique farmstays in “Cultivate,” wellness retreats in “Rejuvenate,” and the action-packed journeys of “In Motion.” Seventy-plus destinations come alive with colorful descriptions and hundreds of gorgeous photographs. In addition to inspiring stories, we offer practical tips to finding the right destinations for you and mobilizing a lifetime of unforgettable adventures.


Comfortably Wild Features…

Comfortably Wild Property Example

✦ 256 pages and 250 color photographs, across nine chapters organized by glamping experience
✦ Over 70 destinations across 9 countries, plus 80 extra getaways by region in our North America Glamping Directory
✦ Roundups of unique outdoor accommodations at vineyards, wildlife sanctuaries, hot springs, state parks, and more
✦ HoneyTrek Tips offering the best deals, local secrets, and tested-and-approved travel advice
✦ Vacation Matchmaker pinpointing the best destinations for your trip style
✦ Random Awesomeness featuring wacky one-of-a-kind destinations from cave mansions to ski-on-ski-off treehouses
✦ Packing lists, cooking ideas, handy apps, and booking sites to get you glamping


Videos: Properties Tested and Approved!


We didn’t just pick places from the internet’s best listicles, we personally experienced the properties featured in Comfortably Wild, explored the surrounding areas, and found the essence of what makes each one so special. Watch a few of our videos to get a feel of what it’s like to stay at these fabulous destinations.




Social Media: Comfortably Wild Behind the Scenes

See some of our favorite social media posts from glamping across the continent. For more photos and videos, see our Glamping Highlight Reel on Instagram Stories.


Critical Acclaim for Comfortably Wild

Comfortably Wild Reviews
The Howards’ newest guide is perfect for everyone who loves the outdoors—not just physically fit 20-somethings, but also families, pet owners, disabled folks, and those of us who just hate sleeping on the ground. The vivid photos and descriptions will have you daydreaming about kayaking with belugas and counting shooting stars from a bubble suite—a little mental vacation to hold you over until your next real one.
—Sadie Dingfelder, feature writer at the Washington Post

I love that this book isn’t just about beautiful glamping properties, it’s also about the experiences that make our travels resonate and the incredible people that bring them to fruition. Helpful and inspiring, Comfortably Wild is the guide that every North American traveler needs.
—Samantha Brown, Emmy-Award-winning host of Places to Love

“Comfortably Wild finally gives us a comprehensive view into the vast world of glamping. This book is as relevant and delightful for industry experts as it is for first-time glampers.
—Ruben Martinez, Co-founder of Glamping Hub and the American Glamping Association

I have always believed that if you understand and appreciate the process, that’s the only time you can value the product. And that’s exactly what Anne and Mike have done here in addressing the brave new world of glamping. For those who are both adverse to as well as unable to pitch a tent—let alone survive in one—but still want to enjoy the wonders of life outdoors, this book is for you.
—Peter Greenberg, travel editor at CBS News

See more reviews, articles, and radio shows about Comfortably Wild

If you’re looking to review Comfortably Wild, interview the authors, or collaborate on a glamping feature, see our official press release and reach out to [email protected]


Author Events

HoneyTrek Book Event Ultimate Journeys for Two
Our cross-country book tour was a hit! A big thanks to Third Place Books, Boulder Book Store, Book Soup, the Glamping Show, and all our family and friends that showed their love for Comfortably Wild. See the photo galleries from our East Coast and West Coast events. Do you know an audience that would be interested in learning more about glamping? We regularly give talks at trade shows, glamping camps, bookstores, and media outlets and are always thrilled to do so! Reach out to us [email protected]


Where to Get a Copy of Our Glamping Book

Where to Buy Comfortably Wild BookAs of October 1st, 2019…Comfortably Wild is available in print and ebook! We hope you can support this labor of love and pick up a copy at any of the following outlets: Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Books a Million, or your local bookstore via Indie Bound. Would you like a signed copy? We can personalize it for you or a gift recipient through our HoneyTrek bookshop. Looking to buy in bulk? Reach out to us for discounted pricing. If you enjoy our glamping book, we’d be sooooooo grateful for a review!


Stay in Touch!

Comfortably Wild: The Best Glamping Destinations in North AmericaFor the latest in Comfortably Wild news and adventures, follow @HoneyTrek on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and be sure to sign up for our travel newsletter. See you around the campfire!



Wisconsin Road Trip: Celebrating Our 50th State!

Wisconsin Road TripAfter 3.5 years and 74,000 miles of road tripping around North America, we’ve reached our 50th State! We started this grand USA road trip in April 2017, ventured everywhere from the Arctic Circle to the Florida Keys, and have finally made it to the Great Lakes state of Wisconsin! With Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and 15,000 other lakes scattered around WI, they are known for their freshwater adventures, but we quickly realized that’s just the beginning. They have a International Dark Sky Park, billion-year-old rock formations, a 1,200-mile hiking trail, IMBA-ranked mountain biking, and more fruit and veggie farms than a vegan could dream of. For our 50th-state celebration, we went big and partnered with Travel Wisconsin for a 1,300-mile, two-week road trip around the state—in peak fall foliage, no less! We had an absolute blast and are excited to share our must-see stops for the ultimate Wisconsin road trip.
 

Our Wisconsin Road Trip Route

This was a grand clockwise loop around the state, working our way up the Great River Road to Wisconsin’s slice of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands, carrying on through the cranberry bogs of Eagle River to the billion-year-old Rib Mountain. After a heartwarming farmstay in New London, we zigzagged up the Door Peninsula and ferried to their outlying islands. Cutting back into the center of the state, we explored Devil’s Lake and dug into Frank Lloyd Wright’s roots in Spring Green. Making stops in quirky towns like Mt. Horeb (the unofficial Troll Capital) and the 19th-century Swiss Village of New Glarus, we headed back out to Lake Michigan for a splash-out finale.
 

The Great River Road

Wisconsin Road TripRunning through 10 US states—from Minnesota to Louisiana—The Great River Road is a national scenic byway we’ve driven at numerous points. Though Wisconsin’s 250-mile stretch, running along massive bluffs and through 33 historic towns, somehow made the importance of America’s original super highway resonate in a new way. Getting off on the right foot, our journey started at possibly the coolest visitor center: Potosi Brewing Company. Not only do they offer helpful info on the Great River Road, this 1850s brewery is still making beer and has partnered with the American Breweriana Association to host The National Brewery Museum. We bellied up to the bar and got more local tips from the adorable mother-son bartender team, then toured the thousands of beer artifacts—from 19th-century ceramic beer bottles to nostalgic tin adverts. Better yet, Potosi is a Harvest Host so we stayed the night in exchange for our pints of patronage. We continued north on Highway 35, making stops at the state historic site of Villa Louis to learn about the early French fur traders, cruised the Victorian mansions of La Crosse, and stopped at the sleek La Crosse Distilling for unreal vegan seitan chorizo enchiladas and a flight of their handcrafted spirits. Leaving the area’s largest city, nature areas dominate. The Great River Road is also the Mississippi River Flyway, a major corridor for migrating songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and more. We stopped at the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge and marveled at the thousands of birds feeding and playing in the lagoon. For a spectacular finish to the day, we zigzagged up to Alma’s Buena Vista Overlook to watch the sun drop over the cliffs and shimmer pink across the Mississippi.
 

Driftless Area & Vernon County

agro tourism wisconsinDetouring inland, we realized it wasn’t just the mighty Mississippi sculpting the landscape. We were in the Driftless Area, a region that escaped the flattening effects of glaciation during the last ice age and is instead marked by steep forested ridges, deep river valleys, and karst geology. Vernon County was settled by Norwegians because the rugged landscape reminded them of home; they were joined by Italians, African American freedom-seekers, and Amish to create a rich agricultural heritage, complete with iconic round barns and over 200 organic farms. This bounty of quality ingredients is exactly why Luke Zahm, a James Beard-nominated chef and host of Wisconsin Foodie, chose this area for his restaurant. Spoiled for choice and keen on fresh ingredients, the Driftless Cafe changes their menu every day based on what local farmers have on offer. We had to try this place. Cuddling up in a high-back booth, we ordered crispy brussels sprouts and beet ravioli to start, then entrees of roasted sweet potato, caramelized onion, and chickpeas, topped with creamy turmeric sauce and toasted sunflower seeds. It was the most delicious expression of the region.
 

Interstate Park & The Ice Age Trail

Best hikes on the ice age trailThere are a lot of reasons to visit Interstate State Park. Located on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, it’s Wisconsin’s first state park and the western end of WI’s very own National Scenic Trail. The Ice Age Trail is a 1,200-mile footpath zigzagging from the Minnesota border to Lake Michigan, tracing the edge of an ancient glacier. As it retreated 10,000 years ago, it left behind a stunning landscape and some of the world’s finest examples of the continental glaciation that shaped our planet. We took the Potholes Trail to see the official start of the national route, views over the steep river gorge, and the curious cylindrical holes left by the torrential meltwater. While we were far from joining the thousand-mile club, we got to hike the awe-inspiring Ice Age Trail from three different trailheads around the state.
 

Riding The CAMBA Trails

Biking the Camba trailsWho would have thought the Midwest would turn us into mountain bikers? After our summer rides on the Maah Daah Hey and the Copper Harbor, we were warmed up and stoked to try Wisconsin’s Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) trail system. It’s one of around 40 in the world recognized as a “Ride Center” by the International Mountain Biking Association and particularly incredible in autumn. To make the most of the 28 trails and 300 miles of biking heaven, we called Up North Guided Tours. The founder Josh grew up going to summer camp in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and always dreamt of coming back to lead his own adventures. Today he runs the area’s premier fat biking tours and might be the happiest guy on the planet. He was so excited to show us the beautifully groomed CAMBA trails and secret single-track that rolled like a coaster through the hills. To cap off an awesome day of biking, Josh did a cookout for us on the crystal-clear Lake Owen and ROAM Adventure Base Camp had a fantastic camping spot waiting for us. ROAM had modern cabins, wooded campsites, sparkly clean bathhouses, and a wood-fired Finnish sauna to reward our day on the trail. Glampers, make sure you book early…their cabins are in high demand!

 

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Wisconsin Road TripWe’ve long dreamt of the Apostle Islands. In our book Ultimate Journeys for Two: Extraordinary Destinations on Every Continent, we close every chapter with a list of experiences still on our bucket list. When it came to our roundup of “Ultimate Freshwater Adventures,” kayaking the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore got top billing. We had seen images of the sandstone cliffs and paddlers weaving between the caves, and it forever stayed in our minds. Three years later, we arrived raring to explore the 21-island archipelago from every angle. For an overview, we hopped aboard the National Park Service boat, Apostle Islands Cruises. Their “Grand Tour” sails 55 miles through the islands, with commentary on the islanders past and present, historic lighthouses, and geological formations carved by Lake Superior and Old Man Winter. When you reach Devil’s Island, with its dozens of arches, vaulted chambers, and honeycomb cliffs, you’ll see why kayaking is a must. Many outfitters just skirt the mainland shoreline but Whitecap Kayaks does trips to Sand Island, a place with the perfect mix of Great Lakes history and sea caves; plus, these guys have such heart! The husband-wife team not only started the company for their love of paddling, but as a leadership and wilderness training program for local youth. We went out with Dr. Neal and his long-time mentee, Josh, for a full-day trip to Sand Island. We chatted the whole three miles, swapping international travel stories (he’s done all sorts of disaster relief work abroad), until we reached the jaw-dropping cliffs. We followed their lead under the stone arches and into the network of caves, listening to Lake Superior gurgle like the stomach of a giant. We docked on Sand Island for lunch next to the 19th-century lighthouse and celebrated an adventure that exceeded bucket-list expectations.
HoneyTrek Tip: For an incredible glamping experience at the foot of this national lakeshore, check out Apostle Islands Area Campground and stay in their covered wagon!
 

Lake Nokomis Cranberries

Wisconsin road tripDid you know that Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries, harvesting more than 60 percent of the country’s crop and half of the world’s production?! Wild cranberries are native to the marshlands of central Wisconsin and have been harvested for centuries by Native Americans and the tradition continues with family farms like Lake Nokomis Cranberries. We arrived at harvest time and the Zawistowski family and crew were literally up to their elbows in berries, and asked if we wanted to jump in and help. You bet! They handed us rubber waders and wooden paddles, then we were corralling berries with the best of them. As we were learning the art of the cran-sweep from Cecil, a man in his 50s from St Louis, he opened up to us. “I was a bad boy for most of my life, caught up in trouble in the city, but I’ve found my calling in this bog.” When we were down to the last berries, we used our hands to “doggie paddle” them into the boom, then gave rubber-gloved high fives to our new team. The owner Dave thanked us for our “help” with an extensive flight of cranberry wine, just one of the many cran products they offer in their tasting room and gift shop (aka the former family house). Maybe it’s their intake of antioxidants, but as Dave shared stories of his life on the farm and adventures by motorbike, you could tell he had found happiness too.
HoneyTrek Tip: September-October is the time to see the harvest and when Lake Nokomis offers tours; though it’s worth stopping by the tasting room anytime of year to meet the Zawistowskis for a glass of cranberry wine.
 

Rib Mountain & Granite Peak Resort

What to do Rib MountainWhile Wisconsin doesn’t have huge mountains, they have some of the oldest on earth. Made of tough quartzite, Rib Mountain has withstood 1.5-billion years of time and offers incredible rock formations to explore. It’s a state park with trails along the rugged spine and views over Marathon County, plus it’s one of the Midwest’s best skiing destinations. Granite Peak Ski Resort boasts 68 trails, 4 terrain parks, and snow-blowing that promises around a six-month season. Making use of their high-speed lifts and scenic location, Granite runs special fall hours for leaf peepers. There is nothing like seeing the autumn tree canopy at eye level and gliding through a sea of color.
HoneyTrek Tip: While you’re in the neighborhood, visit the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (we caught the annual “Birds in Art” exhibit and it was spectacular) and stop for beers at Central Waters, one the state’s most sustainable breweries.
 

Farmstay at Mulroy’s Irish Acres

Mulroy's Irish Acres Farm, WisconsinIn early summer we got a call out of the blue, “Hi, I’m Jane from Mulroy’s Irish Acres, a fifth-generation family farm in Wisconsin,” said a chipper voice. “I bought your glamping book and think you would love a stay with us.” At the time we had no idea we’d be heading to Wisconsin, but always remembered her cheery disposition and kind invitation, so we took her up on a stay in the off-grid fairy cabin and a day of farm-life workshops. As we indulged in pumpkin pancakes with caramelized apple compote, Jane and her husband David told us about their farm’s beginnings in 1848, when the only neighbors were 13 newly settled Irish families and the Menominee Indians, all living in harmony off the land. To this day, the Mulroys use Celtic traditions and biodynamic techniques to help their heirloom seeds thrive without pesticides. Despite their success, they were concerned about the future of their family farm, considering their own kids have opted for city life. The conversation continued, as we made dream pillows out of floral herbs and pressed apples for cider, and the good news is…Irish Acres has big plans. They’re expanding their offerings with a wild herb school, an on-site farmer’s market, internships for urban youth, and eventually becoming a Camphill—a self-sustaining community for adults with developmental disabilities. Not only did we come away with a gallon of apple cider and eight pounds of fresh picked vegetables, we gained a new appreciation for farmers and hope that there are more like the Mulroys.
 

Door County

door county travel guideIf you look at a map of Wisconsin, you’ll notice there’s a long skinny peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan—that’s the incredible Door County. Three-hundred miles of shoreline, 35 islands, 5 state parks, and dozens of charming villages, it’s a place we could have clearly spent more time. Funny enough, when we went to talk to the visitor center, an enthusiastic tourist would barely let the attendant get a word in edgewise, emoting his favorite tips from his annual trips here. With a marked-up map in hand, we started our counterclockwise loop around the peninsula, making our first stop at Whitefish Dunes State Park. With abundant sunshine, sandy beaches, and turquoise water, Lake Michigan was looking closer to the Caribbean than the Midwest. We picnicked on the dune side, then walked the honeycomb cliffs to Cave Point. Next up, Cana Island via John Deere Tractor. Would have never seen that one coming, but farm machinery and a wooden wagon are the best way to make the shallow crossing. We rumbled and splashed our way across and giggled every minute of it. Looking up at the 150-year-old lighthouse in the late afternoon light, we had a travel epiphany. “If we take our RV on the 6pm ferry to Washington Island, we’ll get a sunset cruise and be in an extra remote area for stargazing near the International Dark Sky Park!” Our plan worked and we had an incredible night at Washington Island Campground, photographing the Milky Way and our fun flashlight drawings (see opener photo). In the morning, we explored this isle rich with Scandinavian culture (it’s the second oldest Icelandic settlement in the US), with stops at the Washington Island Farm Museum, Schoolhouse Beach, and Stavkirke—an impressive replica of a Norwegian church from 1150 CE. Hopping the ferry back to the mainland, we cruised the west side of the peninsula, where the concentration of cute towns is off the charts—from Sister Bay, where goats graze on the roofs of Swedish restaurants, to Ephraim whose lakeside warehouse is signed by a century of sailors who’ve docked there. For the quintessential Door County sendoff, we watched a fish boil at the White Gull Inn, then had dinner at the Mill Supper Club, complete with Wisconsin-style Old Fashioneds.
 

Baraboo: The Gateway to Devil’s Lake

Wisconsin road tripWhile it was tempting to just keep cruising the gorgeous Lake Michigan shoreline, there were still more gems in the center of the state. The town of Baraboo is the gateway to Wisconsin’s most popular park and interestingly enough, where Ringling Brothers Circus began in 1884. Their success made for a grand little town with a beautiful main street, mansions, parks, and a theater that still brings in top-notch shows. We had a great time antiquing (our nieces are going to love these vintage toys!) and had a very special lunch at The Cheeze Factory. We were celebrating our 5th anniversary as vegans so this 100% plant-based restaurant, serving international cuisine with a Wisconsin twist, was just the ticket. Mike ordered the “Deli-icious” sandwich, a grilled ciabatta bun stuffed with miraculously vegan roast beef, pepperoni, smoky bacon, and Italian sausage, dressed with grilled onions, tangy banana peppers, and smoked gouda (Wisconsin cheese, at last!) and I had the Indonesian rice dish Nasi Goreng with broccoli, mushrooms with grilled sesame tofu. Now it was time to hike off all that food! Devil’s Lake State Park has 30 miles of trails, with the East Bluff offering the best quartzite formations like Balanced Rock and Devil’s Doorway. We took the gradual ascent up the 500-foot bluffs, admiring the jigsaw-puzzle of boulders, the peak fall foliage, and the massive lake. In no hurry to leave, we decided to camp at the Ice Age Campground (yes, the national trail goes right through the park) and found a gorgeous spot surrounded by autumn-red sumac. Props to the Wisconsin State Park System for offering same-day, online booking, so we could show up after hours, pick the best available site, and pay on our phone.
 

Taliesin & The Frank Lloyd Wright Trail

Frank Lloyd Wright's Wisconsin estateA Wisconsin road trip would not be complete without seeing the work of their homegrown boy and “the greatest American architect of all time,” Frank Lloyd Wright. His Welsh family settled in Spring Green, WI and the valley’s rugged bluffs and coulees inspired his famed organic architecture. This is where Wright oversaw his very first building, started his school of architecture, and called home for over 60 years of his life. His Taliesin estate is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and living museum. We took the Highlights Tour which explores the interiors of both his Hillside Studio (where Wright trained his army of apprentices) and his 37,000-square-foot residence. Unlike other Wright properties, Taliesin isn’t just a line item on his resume, the estate shows the evolution of his style from a young man in the 1890s to his final days in the 1950s, with buildings and additions from nearly every decade of his career. Plus, it shows the personal side of this legendary man, whose life was filled with nearly as much scandal as success. The moment that struck us most was standing before his desk and thinking about all the revolutionary ideas that transpired on that simple slab of wood. Our tour guide was excellent, the grounds beautiful, and the interiors a dream. Taliesin is a must, and if you have more time, make all nine stops along Wisconsin’s Frank Lloyd Wright Trail.
 

Wisconsin Road Trip Finale: The American Club

American Club Lake House ReviewsWrapping up our time in our 50th state called for a little celebration, so we checked into The American Club—one of the finest hotels in Wisconsin and the world. It started in the 1920s as the employee quarters for the Kohler Company (of kitchen and bath fame) and has been transformed into a hotel that’s been awarded Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond status. The accommodations have expanded well beyond the original building, with eight separate lodging choices, including the brand new Lake Cabin. Just outside the Whistling Straights Golf Course (home to the 2021 Ryder Cup) and along the cliffs of Lake Michigan, it was the perfect hideaway! Wrap-around porch, outdoor firepit, state of the art kitchens and baths (of course), and ultra chic decor…it had us swooning. We didn’t want to leave this cabin for a minute, but couldn’t miss the chance to stand-up paddleboard Kohler-Andrae State Park with the pros at EOS Surf and get a couples massage at the world-class Kohler Waters Spa. After a day of relaxation, The American Club knows guests don’t want to toil away in the kitchen, so they’ve just added a recipe box program to their list of dining options. This is where their award-winning chefs stock your kitchen to your dietary preferences and give you pre-prepped ingredients and detailed instructions to craft gourmet meals. Our fridge and pantry were veritable treasure chests of vegan delights and all the items necessary for a three-course Indian feast with sticky toffee cake and green apple sorbet for dessert. We had so much fun cooking in our deluxe kitchen, sipping champagne, and laughing about our sudden rise to culinary greatness. Cuddled up in our gorgeous cabin and eating the most delicious meal we’ve ever made, we felt like we really made it.
 
Wisconsin Welcome signA big thank you to Travel Wisconsin for sponsoring this post and making our 50th state so unforgettable! As a part of our ongoing #BloggersGiveBack pledge and to show our appreciation to the communities and wilderness that make the state so beautiful inside and out, we have made $250 in donations to the following non-profits: Wisconsin Environment, Hunger Task Force, and WisconsinFirstNations.org.

For more photos and videos from our #TravelWI adventures, see our Instagram highlights reel. We’d love to hear which places piqued your interest and if you’d like any extra trips to plan your own Wisconsin road trip!

Work With The Glamping Experts

glamping experts
Looking to create an unforgettable glamping experience? Having reviewed over 200 luxury accommodations on their global honeymoon and written the book on the best glamping destinations in North America, Mike and Anne Howard know what it takes. With a unique background as professional photographers, glamping writers, travel influencers, and advisors to the American Glamping Association, the founders of HoneyTrek are excited to share their unique skill set with the glamping community. Whether you are looking to get your camp off the ground or your brand the media attention it deserves, the HoneyTrek glamping experts can help.
Here’s how…

 

Our Services for Glamping Camps and Outfitters

Glamping Consultants

Guest Experience Workshops & Glamping Consulting

Before you invest more in a glamping property, you need to understand the person you’re building it for…the guest! Drawing from their experience staying at glamping camps around the world, HoneyTrek has pinpointed the elements—large and small—to create an exceptional stay and crafted it into a comprehensive course for property owners. Taking into account each client’s unique situation, this three-hour session is tailored to your goals and lays a path for achievable success.

Workshop topics include:

  • Efficient and inviting property design
  • The basics and style of a great room/suite
  • How to incorporate dining (even if you don’t have a restaurant)
  • The right bathroom setup (including off-grid options)
  • Common areas and social dynamics
  • Inspiring reflection, relaxation, and romance
  • Amenities and thoughtful touches
  • Offering a robust but low-maintenance activities program
  • Check-in/out process that leaves a lasting impression
  • Ways to be more sustainable for the environment and eco-minded consumer
  • How to garner guest loyalty and positive reviews
  • How to work with the media and influencers to promote your property

This three-hour workshop is conducted as a Zoom session. In-person courses and ongoing consulting are also available.

Professional Photography

The Howards are a rare team. Studying photography at Columbia University and shooting a book’s worth of photographs for National Geographic, Mike is an accomplished photographer. While his partner Anne’s eight years of experience as a national magazine editor and stylist working on high-profile photo shoots, brings an extra attention to detail, curation, and finesse to their work. Understanding what it’s like to shoot for print and social media, B2B and consumer-facing brands, the Howards adapt to the needs of their clients and each project. They create imagery that showcases what it’s like to enjoy the luxury outdoor lifestyle and what makes each camp so special. Delivering compelling, high-resolution photographs with unlimited-usage rights, HoneyTrek offers each client the assets needed to elevate their property’s marketing initiatives and increase bookings.

See a sampling of HoneyTrek’s glamping photography portfolio

Social Media Storytelling

While HoneyTrek is already photographing your property, why not make the most of having travel influencers on site? The Howards can create social media content around their glamping experience for their social media audience (330,650 followers) while simultaneously creating exclusive content for your business’ social channels. This is an easy and effective way to boost brand following, engagement, and awareness for a glamping camp. For an example of HoneyTrek’s social storytelling for glamping brands, see this Instagram Highlight Reel. For an example of a full editorial and marketing campaign, see this splash-page.
 

A Trusted Voice in Glamping

HoneyTrek Glamping Services
When looking for glamping experts, the media and the travel trade come to the Howards. Check out the following interviews to hear Mike and Anne’s insights on glamping.

    Forbes:Traveling Couple Creates Definitive Book on Glamping
    Lonely Planet:We talked to the couple who wrote the book on glamping – here’s what we found out
    Inspired Camping Podcast:Getting Comfortably Wild with HoneyTrek
    American Glamping Association Podcast:Meet Advisors, Mike & Anne Howard
    Family Travel Association Podcast:Family Glamping: Comfortably Wild Vacations
    Budget Travel:The Best Glamping Getaways in North America for under $150
    Outside Magazine: The New Spirit of Camping Issue; Glamping Pairs with Adventure
     

    Testimonials

    glamping testimonials
    “As seasoned writers and influencers, the Howards understand all the intricacies of putting together a program that is complete yet allows some wiggle room, that’s inclusive without being exhausting. Here in chilly Quebec, they embraced it all with determination, did not skip a beat and never lost their smile. Bravo. Personally speaking, the time I spent with them was 9/10 fun and 1/10 work. Hopefully, I will have the pleasure of working with them again.”
    — Nancy Dacres; Account Executive, Quebec City Tourism

    “We were thrilled with the Glamping course they put on for us. It turned into a note taking frenzy and idea session that took on a life of its own. We were all so excited about all of the ways to make a glamping site special and we could have gone on for hours more, so we will need to schedule our second session to unlock the rest of their secrets. If you get the chance, Mike and Anne are wonderful to work with. We hope you enjoy their workshop as much as we did!”
    — Sam H., soon-to-be glamping operator and HoneyTrek Glamping Workshop client

    It has been a pleasure working with Anne and Mike through the years. They’re very organized and personable with a professional and go-getter attitude. Without hesitation, they go above and beyond for Glamping.com and I can’t say enough good things about this lovely couple.
    — Mey Martinez, Editorial Coordinator & Product Manager, Glamping.com

    “The Howards’ book ‘Comfortably Wild’ finally gives us a comprehensive view into the vast world of glamping. It is as relevant and delightful for industry experts as it is for first-time glampers.”
    — Ruben Martinez, cofounder of Glamping Hub and American Glamping Association

    It was a privilege to have Mike and Anne come to our property and share their glamping knowledge with us. Their extensive travel throughout the world makes them a terrific resource in identifying what makes a glamping accommodation and facility unique and memorable. They pointed out several key areas that would further enhance the glamping experience for our guests.
    — Matt Z., owner of Airydale Retreat and HoneyTrek Glamping Workshop client

    “I love that for Mike & Anne, glamping isn’t just about beautiful glamping properties, it’s also about the experiences that make our travels resonate and the incredible people that bring them to fruition. Helpful and inspiring, ‘Comfortably Wild’ is the guide that every North American traveler needs.”
    — Samantha Brown, Emmy Award–winning host of Places to Love

    “When I met Anne and Mike we instantly hit it off—their energy is infectious. We had one of the most productive meetings. In their editorial and marketing campaign for Visit Florida, they over-delivered and produced beautiful content that highlighted the diversity of Florida, which was one of our key goals. I would be thrilled to work with them again and would recommend their work to any travel and tourism brand.”
    — Meaghan Dougherty; Public Relations Director, Visit Florida

    They don’t just have a website, Facebook and Twitter accounts for their journey, they’ve got a brand: HoneyTrek.
    — Chris Reynolds; Travel Editor, Los Angeles Times

     

    Contact The Glamping Experts

    To find out how to work with us as glamping experts, consultants, photographers, and/or travel influencers, please email [email protected] or call (888) 852-9383. We would love to brainstorm potential synergies between our brands. We look forward to working with you!
     
     
     

RVing Baja, Mexico: Road Trip to Paradise

RVing Baja MexicoFlanked by the big surf of the Pacific ocean and the tranquil Sea of Cortez, with three mountain ranges and a cactus-studded desert running up the middle, Baja is what camper dreams are made of! With basically one main road escorting you to the big highlights and a few dozen spurs into unspoiled wilderness, it’s as easy or adventurous as you want it to be. Even though we have spent extensive time in Mexico (housesitting, vacationing, even road tripping) and consider this country one of our favorites in the world, we were a little nervous about RVing here. This is in part because Mexico is often portrayed as “dangerous” in the news, but also because we didn’t know if our slapdash RV style would fly. We wild camp in the middle of nowhere, drive well past sunset, and own a vehicle you could break into with a can opener. When we realized these were our own problems and ones we could easily fix, it was time to discover the Baja magic!
 

Our Baja Road Trip Route

Over a three-week, 2,100-mile road trip, we traveled from the laid-back border-town of Tecate, to the wine country of Valle de Guadelupe, the seaside resort town of Ensenada, then rode Highway 1 into Desierto Central’s cactus-studded mountains. Six days into our journey we crossed from Baja Norte into Baja Sur (the peninsula’s two states). The southern half is where the marine life really ramps up—from the gray whale calving lagoons on the Pacific side to the UNESCO biosphere islands of the Sea of Cortez. Plus, Baja’s Spanish colonial heritage shines. Eighteenth-century missions make mountain hamlets and beach towns far richer and the areas where the Spanish didn’t build have barely been touched. Bahía Concepción has some of the prettiest beaches and not a single chain hotel! Driving from the Pueblo Mágico of Loreto there is a bit of a lull, but when you reach the city of La Paz and its surrounding islands and mountains, it’s wondrous all over again. Greater La Paz was even worth hopping out of the camper for a few days of island glamping on Espíritu Santo and a rancho homestay in the Sierra de La Laguna. (If you want to carry on farther south, check out this blog from a previous trip around Los Cabos). Read on for our favorite tips from roads less traveled.
 

Baja Camping 101

RVing BajaLet’s start with the basics of camping in Baja. The average cost of an ocean-view campsite is around $7 and quite often free. To discover them, start by downloading the iOverlander app. This led us to a variety of gems, from secluded sand dunes to family-owned restaurants that let you stay in exchange for buying a burrito. The app also maps out where to find propane, fresh water, showers, dump stations, and more with their handy filters. If you like the social aspect of camping, check out the VanLife app or Xscapers to connect with fellow adventurers. FYI, camping on our own always felt totally safe and serene. To help make this happen, we didn’t drive after dark, read the comments for each iOverlander listing, and stopped going down dirt roads if rain was in the forecast (after we LEARNED THIS THE HARD WAY!).
 

BAJA NORTE

Tecate Border Crossing

Baja via Tecate BorderInstead of entering Mexico via the busy Tijuana crossing, we went 45 minutes inland to Tecate. This town is not just the home of Tecate brewery, but it is a Pueblo Mágico, (a special designation for Mexico’s most culturally rich and historic towns). There was one car in line and when it was our turn, the officer only asked for our car registration (not even our license or passports!) and to take a glance inside the camper before he sent us on our way. While we kept driving to make sunset in wine country, we would recommend staying a night in Tecate to get your Mexican bearings and enjoy its traditional town square, 1,500-year old cave paintings, and tour the peninsula’s most beloved brewery.
 

Valle de Guadelupe: Wine Country Camping

Mexico wine countryHighway 3 carries on through beautiful mountain passes to Valle de Guadelupe’s “Ruta del Vino.” The region has been making wine for over 100 years, but the industry only started booming 20 years ago. Today there are more than 150 wineries, making it the “Tuscany of Mexico.” For our first night in the country, we seized the opportunity to use our Harvest Hosts membership and camp at a winery (free of charge in exchange for buying a bottle). We pulled into L.A. Cetto just as the sun was hitting the mountains and casting its glow on their 4,000 acres of vines. Save from a security guard looking after the place (gracias, señor!), we had the entire place to ourselves. The next day we were happy to repay one of the country’s oldest and largest wineries with a tour and tasting. We’d also recommend Las Nubes and Bar Bura, not just for their wine but for their views of this gorgeous region.
 

Punta Banda: Hot Springs & Marine Geysers

Punta Banda BajaLess than an hour south of Ensenada (home of the original fish taco and Baja’s oldest cantina, the great Hussong’s), lies our favorite sliver of the far north: Punta Banda peninsula. It is full of natural wonders, starting with their hot spring beach! At low tide, you can see steam rising from the sand—those are your hot spots and where you want to start digging. We plunged our shovel (see our Baja packing list below) and 100-degree water bubbled up! In just fifteen minutes, we had a natural jacuzzi with views to the bluffs! Could Punta Banda get any better? It did. At the tip of peninsula, we found Campo El Mirador, a campground on a mountain spine that drops to the sea and the famed La Bufadora marine geyser. At high tide, this blowhole shoots water up to 90 feet in the air! From your campsite, it’s a gorgeous hike through coastal succulent gardens and free when you arrive by foot!
Hot Springs Intel: There is no name or sign for Punta Banda’s hot springs. To get there, follow these GPS coordinates (31.7167, -116.6661) and park at the mini mart (good to buy some cervezas from them to earn your spot). On the right, there is unassuming long narrow path between properties that leads down to this delightful public-access beach!
 

The Otherworldly Desierto Central

Desierto Central MexicoBaja’s tourists generally stick close to the border and Los Cabos in the far south, but little do they know that Baja’s most iconic beauty lies in the middle. The Valle de los Cirios is the second largest protected natural area in Mexico, spanning from coast to coast all way to the state line with Guerrero Negro. Towns vanish and cacti are the new skyscrapers. Fifty-foot tall cardons, Dr Suess-like cirios plants, pink barrel cacti, and boulders are strewn about the sierras. The first sign of civilization you’ll encounter is one created 1,000 years ago by the Cochimí people at the incredible Cataviña cave paintings. We took the short, steep hike and ducked into the ancient art gallery. Spared from wind and rain, the ceiling retained its vibrant depictions of dancers, animals, and geometric motifs. Rather than hike back the way we came, we climbed down the backside to the river valley for some fun rock scrambling among this palm-tree oasis.
Connectivity Tip: There is no cell service between El Rosario and Guererro Negro. Hotel Mision Cataviña offers WiFi by the hour, plus a decent restaurant, bathrooms, and a beautiful cactus garden.
 

BAJA SUR

Ojo de Liebre: Communing with Gray Whales

Oje de Liebre Whale WatchingIn addition to warm weather, gorgeous scenery, and fantastic people, the reason we came to Baja, Mexico is for the one-of-a-kind whale watching. Each winter hundreds of gray whales migrate from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to their breeding grounds in Baja. They come to birth and raise their calves in three Pacific lagoons: Magdalena Bay, San Ignacio, and Ojo de Liebre. With whale hunting a thing of the past, generations of whales have come to see boats and humans as a chance for friendly interactions. It seems unbelievable but mothers actively encourage their babies to approach panga boats! So excited by this prospect, we seized the first whale-watching opportunity on our route. Leaving from Guerrero Negro with Mario’s Tours ($50 for three hours, plus lunch), eight of us hopped in a little boat and cruised along the sand dunes until we got to Ojo de Liebre. We saw whales spouting off in every direction and with patience and a little bit of luck, a mother and calf came to play with us for 25 minutes (and we caught it on video!). Spyhopping and diving just inches from our boat, this was by far the most intimate whale encounter we have ever had. Though speaking of intimate, we later saw three whales rolling around in a courtship ritual!
Whale Watching Tip: While we loved our experience out of Guerrero Negro, the town of San Ignacio is a much cuter basecamp (a Spanish colonial charmer) and supposedly their lagoon has even friendlier whales!
 

Don’t Miss These Spanish Missions

Best Missions BajaHeading out to the Sea of Cortez, incredible Spanish colonial missions begin to appear. Starting with Misión San Ignacio Kadakaamán, you’ll drive alongside gorgeous palm-lined lagoons and this stone beauty from 1728 appears in the heart of San Ignacio village. At the start of Bahía Concepción, the expat haven of Mulegé is great for getting gringo comforts and propane refills and, of course, its mission. Tucked high above town and up a snaking side street, it’s easy to miss but well worth the efforts to see this foreboding structure overlooking the river and sea. (Interesting fact, it doubled as a stronghold in defeating the invading Americanos during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.) Farther south, the 17th-century Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó is the first mission the Spanish built in the region, making it mother of all Baja and Alta California missions. If you have the time, Misión San Francisco Javier de Viggé-Biaundó is an hour off the main road from Loreto and supposedly the prettiest of them all!

 

Santa Rosalía: French Baja

Baja Travel GuideSanta Rosalía is the first real town when Highway 1 hits the Sea of Cortez, and while it’s far from the prettiest, it is the quirkiest. It was started by a French mining company in 1884 so the architecture is unlike anywhere on the peninsula, with its ornate wooden homes and a metal church designed by none other than Gustave Eiffel of Paris tower fame. The owner of the mining company, snatched it up after its appearance in the World’s Fair and had it flat packed on a boat to Baja to bring some religious sophistication to town. He also made sure they had a quality French bakery—the one and only, El Boleo. We followed our nose to this institution and a worker motioned us over for a behind-the-scenes tour of their pastry chefs making the original recipes in the 19th-century stone ovens.
 

Bahía Concepción: The Best of Beach Camping

Bahia de ConcepcionWhen you see those idyllic photos of Baja with turquoise waters, cactus-studded islands and white-sand beaches, it’s probably somewhere along Bahía Concepción. While there are surprisingly few tourists, there are few enclaves of snowbirds that have it all figured out. When we got to Playa Santispac, this beach cove dotted with islets took our breath away, as did the volume of RVers. We would normally be turned off by such a crowd and $10 camping fee, but something interesting was happening here. This was a world unto itself where over 100 retirees set up camp for months at a time, completely cut off from the outside world, with nothing but this stunning beach, the facilities of their RVs, and one rocking bar. After a glorious kayak around the islands, we walked the beach chitchatting with people from Alberta, Michigan, and virtually every cold weather region in North America. Then the music sparked up! Turns out, the original Van Halen drummer winters down here and he’s formed a solid local band. We may have been 25 years younger than anyone at this party, but they were dancing us under the table until Baja Midnight (9pm) and rewriting the definition of a retirement community. For something more chill along Bahía Concepcion, Playa El Requesón is a stunning spit that fans into two coves and beaches like Playa Armenta are plenty beautiful for the price of free.
 

Kayaking Bahía de Loreto National Park


The town of Loreto is a tourist favorite with its ancient mission, ficus-tree archways, margarita happy hours…but to us, it’s all about the Bahía de Loreto National Park. This UNESCO biosphere reserve and Mexico’s largest marine preserve is ripe for island hopping, scuba diving, and kayaking. For a self-guided kayak adventure, we honed in on Isla Coronado, a volcanic island with beach coves, rock scrambling, reptile spotting (16 species!) and sand spits too shallow to be reached by motor boats. In the protected bay there was very little wind so we cruised alongside the birds, fishies, and bobbing sea turtles. After three miles of paddling, we reached the white sand beach, without a soul on it, and hiked the black boulders to the ridge. On the way home, our arms were feeling the burn, but a sandbar island and the lunch in our drybag kept us motivated. Our craft skidded ashore, feeling like this low-tide island only emerges for adventurers like us.
Kayaking Tip: For the put-in spot, follow signs to “La Picazon” restaurant and have faith that the long dirt road will get you to a good parking spot (GPS: 26.0897, -111.3256) and a short path down to the beach.
 

The Road Angels of Lonchería Lupita

best roadside restaurants bajaAfter Bahía de Loreto, Highway 1 does a massive S-curve into the desert abyss until it swoops back out to the Sea of Cortez, and even though it’s not the most interesting stretch, we had one of our favorite cultural experiences here. It was getting dark so we consulted iOverlander and they listed “Lonchería Lupita” as a roadside cafe that’s friendly to RVers. We arrived as they were closing but instead of turning us away, the family invited us into their personal kitchen for an off-menu burrito feast complete with a mountain of steamed veggies (a vegan dream!). While Lupita was preparing dinner, Mike and her grandson invented games with a ball and a box, while I enjoyed a chat with the patriarch. Then, in walks the daughter with her eight-day-old baby. Even though she’d only known us a few minutes, she put her newborn in my arms as if we were part of the family.
 

La Paz Carnaval

La Paz Mexico CarnavalWe reached the vibrant city of La Paz, just in time for Carnaval! It’s said to be one of biggest pre-Lent celebrations in the country, so if you’re arriving in February, try to align your trip with the festivities (dates here). This five-day festival takes over the malecón (seaside promenade) with parades, bands, rides, games, and countless food stalls. With our expat friend Kristen Gillas an accomplice, we dove head first into the carnaval revelry. We cheered on the parade, sampled junk food, drank the legendary Doble Canalas (beer, clamato, and vodka), danced at every bandstand, and rode the swirling swings for 360-views over town.
 

Bahía de La Paz: Snorkeling with Whale Sharks

Whale Shark Tour La Paz BajaEvery winter upwards of 100 adolescent whale sharks come to feed in the Bay of La Paz. While this happens in various locations around the world, this is one of the most accessible and responsibly managed destinations for these wildlife encounters (read: no feeding or crowding). We went on a full-day boat trip with RED Travel, a Baja leader in sustainable tourism, and it exceeded our expectations. To make sure the whale sharks have ample space, a limited amount of boats can be in the sanctuary at any time. The good news is, “waiting your turn” means a boat trip into the archipelago to see rare birds like the blue-footed boobies, the San Rafaelito sea lion colony, and Balandra Beach (known to be one of Mexico’s most beautiful). After a whale shark orientation by our brilliant young guide and biologist, Andrea Quintero, we were ready to swim with the world’s largest fish. The main rule is to stay out of their path (as docile as they are, they move like freight train). We swam alongside a baby, then a 25-footer, marveling at their gorgeous spotted skin, swishing fins, and the symbiotic fishies hitching a ride. As if our wildlife encounters couldn’t get better, a pod of dolphins was diving around our boat and our guide asked, “Want to swim with them?” With a heck yea, we dove back in and were eye-to-eye with a half dozen bottlenose beauties! To end the perfect day, we docked on a deserted beach for ceviche (cod or quinoa style), cervezas, and sunbathing. See this incredible day on film, here.
 

Glamping Isla Espíritu Santo


Just outside of La Paz, Espíritu Santo is the gem of the Islas del Golfo de California UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With 891 fish species and 39% of the world’s marine mammal species, it is a wildlife wonderland and unspoiled paradise. Of course, hotels would love to build along its white sand beaches, but Todos Santos Eco Adventures’ sustainable glamping is the only luxurious way to stay. Featured in our book Comfortably Wild: The Best Glamping Destinations in North America, Camp Cecil earns its spot in the “Safari” chapter and our hearts. During our three days on the island we cruised alongside dolphins, swam with baby sea lions, and spotted birds rarely seen outside of the Galapagos. Better yet, whenever we sailed or paddled back to camp, fine food and fabulous tents awaited us with big smiles. Watch this video—it’s time to go glamping Baja style!
 

Ranchero Culture in the Sierra de la Laguna

Trips to Sierra de la LagunaThe Sierra de La Laguna is also a UNESCO biosphere reserve, recognized for its contrasting ecosystems and volume of endemic species. Our two favorite tour operators Todos Santos Eco Adventures and RED Travel both offer trips here. As tempting as it was to try the brand new Camp Cecil de La Sierra glamp camp, we were excited to try an overnight trip with RED and learn more about their Mexican culture and reforestation programs. We arrived to the fourth-generation Mesa family ranch and were welcomed with a vegetarian feast. Sitting on their terrace, surrounded by tropical fruits and looking out to the rolling cow pastures, we started to see the interconnectedness of life on the ranch and food on the table. Over the course of two days, Ricardo showed us how to milk cows and Cristina taught us to turn that fresh milk into cheese. We visited the neighbors who proudly showed us their thriving vegetable fields. In the evening, we spent time in the thatch-roof kitchen learning the art of tortilla-making, over the same comal Richie’s mother cooked on 70 years ago. As we were eating dinner, our guide spotted a pair of endemic elf owls and it inspired a nocturnal safari that lasted until 11pm, followed by another birdwatching session at sunrise. Despite its UNESCO status, the Sierra de la Laguna is being threatened by mineral exploration. To prove that the cultural value of the Sierras is greater than the proceeds of mining, we need families like the Mesas, tour operators like RED, and tourists like you. Check out RED’s environmental and community initiatives here.
 

Returning North

Road Tripping Baja Route 5While it could be a bummer to retrace a 1,000-mile route, Baja is so gorgeous it’s worth a second pass. Plus, the recently paved Highway 5 makes it easy to switch things up with a drive along the Sea of Cortez to the Mexicali border. We cruised into the desert abyss, then Gonzaga Bay appeared like a mirage. Big mountains, sweeping beach coves, and islands spiking out of the sea, it was Baja at its rawest beauty. We pulled into the Papa Fernandez campground, where they charged us a whole $5 to camp on a million dollar beach (GPS: 29.8321, -114.4028) with only one other RV. Further up the coast, make sure to stop at the unassuming town of Puertecitos and their ocean hot springs at low tide, when their rock pools hit the perfect temperature. For our last night on the Sea of Cortez, we stayed in the sleepy tourist town of San Felipe, walking the malecón, drinking margaritas, and toasting to one heck of a trip.
 

Mexicali & Mechanics All Over Baja

RV Repairs in Baja MexicoAs we were approaching the Mexicali border, it dawned on us that Mexico has some of the best and most affordable mechanics and we’d be remiss to not get a little more work done. We pulled into Super Mofles to weld a crack in our manifold downpipe, partly because it was a good deal, but also because auto shops had proved to be a priceless opportunity for cultural exchange. When we got our leaf springs done at Muelles Verdugo in La Paz, we felt so fortunate to spend the day with a pair of brothers in a medieval-style blacksmith shop passed down from their father, where they were literally reshaping metal with a coal fire, an anvil, and brute force. We bonded and as a tip, we gave their adorable son my old Razor scooter and them a six pack of beer so we could raise a glass to their incredible work. All told we got a new muffler ($55), catalytic converter ($100), welded manifold downpipe ($10), oil change ($5), rebuilt front sway bar + bushings ($25), four new leaf springs (quoted at $1,100 in the US and $180 in Mexico), and an even better Buddy the Camper. From the Verdugo brothers welding to Lupita’s luncheonette, the warmth of the Mexican people is as strong as the sunshine.
 

RVing Baja, Mexico: Planning and Packing

RVing Baja MexicoGetting stoked for a Baja Road trip? Here are few more tips to mobilize your overland journey:

  • Mexican Car Insurance: Foriegn car insurance won’t cut it, you need a local policy. We went with Sanborns, a trusted name for over 70 years, offering 24 days of coverage for a grand total of $88.
  • Travel Insurance: We’re firm believers of annual insurance and always have our Allianz All Trips plan to cover medical emergencies and travel mishaps. They also offer great single-trip plans; either way, play it smart with some travel insurance!
  • Tourist Card/Forma Migratoria Múltiple (FMM): Virtually every Baja guide says that travelers staying longer than 7 days need to get this $30 FMM card and have it stamped upon arrival. We never saw a place at the border to buy this card, nor were we asked for it at any point on our journey. So while odds are good you won’t be asked for it either, getting it online (three weeks in advance to allow for processing) would cover your bases and offer you some peace of mind.
  • Roadside Assistance: It’s good to have a membership like AAA or Good Sam (the RV equivalent), though it’s also nice to know that Mexico offers “Angeles Verdes,” a free roadside assistance; just dial 078 from any phone.
  • 20-Liter Water Jug: Having a jug like this will save you from buying countless plastic bottles of water—which is terrible for the environment and far more expensive than a refill (20 liters for 65 cents). Mexico has potable water stations at most grocery stores and any given town, so it’s super easy and affordable to fill your jug, your personal water bottles, even your entire RV reservoir.
  • Gas Canister: There are some long stretches of road without services so it’s good to carry a gas canister on the roof.
  • Shovel: Our SOG folding shovel proved to be invaluable for smoothing out road ruts and sandy parking spaces, plus it helped us dig jacuzzis at the hot spring beaches.
  • Layers: Northern Baja is colder than you’d think. We didn’t take off our jackets until we got into Baja Sur and desert temps drop at night, so don’t let those turquoise waters fool you into packing all shorts and t-shirts.
  • Kayak: Having a kayak adds a whole new element of adventure and independence when exploring the beaches of Baja. We love having a hard-sided tandem kayak, but an inflatable kayak, SUP board, or even raft would make your Sea of Cortez experience that much more fun.


We love Baja and hope you fell in love with it too. Looking forward to your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

2019 Year in Review & 2020 Preview

2019 Travel Year in ReviewRoad tripping 22,036 miles around North America, hiking 20 national parks, housesitting 37 pets, backpacking 4 European countries, donating $720 to local non-profits, and publishing a 256-page coffee table book…2019 was a mover and a shaker! Considering Buddy the Camper had already traversed the continental divide, summited 10,000-foot mountain passes, and off-roaded his way across the States, he was ready for The Last Frontier. He took on the 2,319-mile trek from Washington to Alaska like a boss and one-upped it with an unpaved victory lap in the Arctic Circle. Giving Buddy a break, we hopped a plane for three weeks in Europe. We explored four countries until it was time to come home for our seven-city book tour. Of all our achievements this decade, publishing Comfortably Wild was one of the biggest. This book was the constant thread of our 2019 (and 2018) from glamping, writing, researching, editing, promoting, and celebrating the first book ever written on glamping in North America. We’re incredibly proud of it and even more excited that the Associated Press, Forbes, Lonely Planet, Pure Wow, Family Travel Association, and tons of glampers like it too. Thank you to everyone for supporting our journey this year and all the years before. We hope you enjoy these highlights from 2019 and a taste of HoneyTrek 2020.

 

Ski House Reunion in Vermont

When we started dating in 2006, we joined a ski house in Killington, Vermont and spent winter weekends there for the next five years. For Anne’s birthday, we fired up the Hot Tub Time Machine for a weekend of shredding the gnar, dancing at the Wobbly Barn, playing basement Beirut, hot tubbing at all hours, and getting silly with old friends.
 

Landing on North America’s Tallest Mountain


Our Alaska road trip holds so many epic experiences, but if we had to choose a favorite it would be Denali Basecamp. From our prop plane, we watched the scenery change from lush forest to rivers of ice to a fortress of glaciated peaks. Then we landed on the glacier and hopped out to frolic in the footsteps of mountain-climbing legends. See our other 11 favorite AK adventures in this blog.
 

California Dreamin’

IPW Anaheim 2019Every year more than 6,000 people attend the US Travel Association’s IPW conference and man, do they throw it down! We were honored to be among a handful of domestic media invited for this five-day meeting of the minds and phenomenal lineup of events. The week was filled with huge musical acts, including Snoop Dogg, Jason Derulo, The Beach Boys, Natasha Bedingfield, and three Broadway casts. They rented out Knott’s Berry Farm AND Disneyland (the week Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge ride opened) just for our group. Though the best part of IPW is the people! Loved catching up with some of our favorite writers and connecting with inspiring travelers from around the world. More photos here.
 

Art Exhibit of the Year

We took an awesome ten-day road trip through California’s San Luis Obispo County (aka “SLO CAL”), cruising the PCH, wine country, charming little towns, and the coolest art installation we’ve ever seen. British Artist Bruce Munro’s largest work to date, Field of Light covers 15 acres with 58,000 stemmed fiber-optic bulbs for an electric super bloom. Walking the valley from twilight to nightfall, the colors intensified with every minute, while the oak tree silhouettes grew gnarlier. More than an art exhibit, it was a full-body experience that we can’t recommend enough. Good news is that due to its overwhelming popularity the exhibit has been extended through June 2020.
 

Unbelievable Whale-Watching

While out on a fantastic seven-day southeast Alaska expedition with UnCruise, we hit the grand-slam of whale watching: bubble-net feeding! It’s a collaborative process where humpbacks encircle a school of fish while blowing a “net” of fine bubbles, then simultaneously shooting to the surface with mouths agape to swallow them in one dramatic swoop. Watch this video to see how this phenomenon played out with seven whales—not once, but nine times!!! For more photos, check out this gallery.
 

Partnering with Nalgene

Nalgene water bottlesYou guys know we gave up single-use plastic water bottles back in 2012 and we don’t travel anywhere without our reusable bottle…well, Nalgene took notice! We share the common goal of preventing billions of single-use plastic bottles from clogging our landfills and oceans (see this Nat Geo Facebook Live we hosted for World Water Day) so when they asked to join forces, we gave a resounding YES! We did a big Instagram campaign for them over the summer and its success sparked another one this winter! Keep an eye out for our posts on their sweet new custom bottles, clean water fund, and more.

 

Coastal Brown Bear Photo Safari


Researching our glamping book over the past three years has been one the greatest joys of our HoneyTrek journey. And the last property of the 60 we reviewed closed this project out with a bang. BearCamp, a former homestead-turned-glamping-camp in Lake Clark National Park, is surrounded by clam-laden beaches, a river with multiple salmon runs, and forests full of protein-rich sedge and bountiful berry bushes—read: heaven for coastal brown bears and safari-goers alike. Watch the video for the raw magic and power of bears.
 

Reaching the Arctic Circle

Driving the Dempster HighwayThe Dempster Highway, a 458-mile shale and dirt road leading to the Arctic Ocean, is general reserved for 18-wheelers and German overlanders, but Buddy had come too far to stop short of the Arctic Circle. After scaling the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, taking the historic Alaska Highway and following the Yukon Gold Rush routes, he carried on to Canada’s Northwest Territories. For three days we averaged 15mph, trying not to fall apart at the seams (and the washboard road still shook our oven door off its hinge!), but those are the sacrifices Buddy makes to be our hero. See more photos from our Yukon and NWT adventures.
 

#ITravelBecause

I travel because blog seriesSometimes it’s the little moments that create the greatest travel memories. We have dozens of heart-warmers to share, but they were getting lost in our long-form travelogues so we started a new series, “#ITravelBecause” sponsored by Allianz. Read this story about a heart-warming pupusa-making lesson in the “Murder Capital of the World” and our New Zealand couchsurfing experience that inspired a seven-year international ping-pong match of giving.
 

Backpacking Europe

ATTA World Summit Sweden
Sweden
Hamburg Oktoberfest
Germany
Cophenhagen things to do
Denmark

Amsterdam Travel tips
Netherlands
When in Europe, you’ve gotta make the most of it! Our invitation to the Adventure Travel World Summit in Sweden inspired an 18-day, 1,400-km, 4-country adventure. In Sweden, Mike and I actually went on different “Pre-Summit Adventures.” While he was off on a moose and beaver safari and foraging for wild mushrooms, I was biking the country’s first national bike route from Helsingborg to Gothenburg. After a fantastic conference, we hopped a ferry to Helsingør, Denmark to explore the castle that inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet, followed by three days in the dynamic city of Copenhagen—then Oktoberfest called us to Germany. While Hamburg is no Munich, we found a neighborhood northeast of the city that was throwin’ it down with traditional music, lederhosen, pretzels, and plenty of Hofbräu’s finest. The grand finale was a stay with our dear friend Jessica at her new home in Amsterdam. Unlike any other European city, it feels like a series of charming villages that flow from one canal to the next.
 

Releasing Our New Book, Comfortably Wild

Glamping book tourIn summer 2016, Falcon asked us to write the first travel guide on glamping North America. So why did it take three years to release? We wanted to do right by this misunderstood travel style and personally visit the properties, meet the owners, test the local adventures, and get to the heart of glamping. The result is a 256-page guide-meets-coffee-table-book full of places, people, and stories we could not be more proud of. To celebrate we went on a cross-country book tour, including an NYC launch party, bookstore talks in Seattle, San Francisco, and Boulder, an LA family soiree, and The Glamping Summit (where Buddy the Camper was a booth in a blizzard). Catch some of the launch day excitement with this Facebook Live and photo gallery from the tour.

 

HoneyTrek in the News

Between our eight-year honeymoon, Nat Geo book, glamping quest and our travel expertise, HoneyTrek continues to get some nice press and we could not be more grateful. This year we were interviewed by the AP, CBS News Radio, Lonely Planet, Forbes, and more; plus, our books were featured in 38 gift guides, from Pure Wow to Publisher’s Weekly. While these features are always flattering, our main hope is that our tips and stories inspire more people to make life an adventure!

 

Playing Park Rangers & Farmers in Utah

Housesitters AmericaA couple that read Ultimate Journeys for Two reached out for extra housesitting tips, then came out and asked, “Do you want to be our housesitters?” They said, “we live within two hours of six national parks and monuments, have a view of the Abajo Mountains, and are backed up to a red rock canyon and pond. Plus, we are park rangers so you can come early and we’ll show you the best hikes and hidden archeology sites.” Sounded amazing to us! Then came the part about their 2 dogs, 3 cats, 7 turkeys, 24 chickens, and 100,000+ honeybees. We aren’t intimidated by much but 36 pets and two beehives gave us pause. We looked at each other as the silence grew louder on the call, then said “What the heck, let’s do it!” It turned out to be a fantastic month getting to know the complex inner workings of Bears Ears National Monument, the Morman-Navajo towns of San Juan County, and life as a semi-homesteader. Blog coming soon on this fun and fascinating housesit; until then, watch this comical video from our stay.
 

20 National Parks & Monuments

National Parks PassNational parks and monuments have been a big part of our 2.5-year USA road trip, but they were a focal point of 2019. We visited Yosemite, Mesa Verde, Bryce Canyon, Great Basin, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Glen Canyon, Arches, Glacier Bay, Canyonlands, Kenai Fjords, Lake Clark, Wrangell-St. Elias, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, Gateway Arch, Bears Ears, Grand Staircase Escalante, Natural Bridges, and Mojave National Preserve, making a total of 20 parks this year under 1 America the Beautiful pass…it’s the best thing we own!
 

Bloggers Give Back

HoneyTrekRealizing how fortunate we are to work with tourism boards on a regular basis, we decided to make a concerted effort to give back to the regions we explore. As of June 2019, we began donating 5% of our earnings from each campaign to local non-profits! It’s been exciting to discover so many awesome environmental and social causes—from the Juneau Icefield Research Program to the Friends of the Elephant Seal. More than just giving money, we’re also sharing awesome altruistic travel experiences, whether it be a ranger-led hike that also does trail maintenance or dining at a social-good restaurant. We are excited to continue giving, volunteering, and sharing how awesome sustainable travel can be.
 

2020 Preview

Dempster HighwayA new decade of HoneyTrek begins with…

Baja Road Trip: Buddy is heading south of the border this February! We’re taking the month to travel the length of the 760-mile peninsula, chill in beach pueblos, watch the great grey whale migration, and practica español.
Travel Conferences Galore: Yes, we’re going to a crazy volume of conferences this year, but we love our travel community so much and can’t resist a good meeting of the minds!

  • IMM & New York Times Travel Show: Every January we dive into four days of networking and speed dating with destinations from across the globe, followed by co-hosting the 5th Annual Blogger Throwdown.
  • ITB Berlin: This is the world’s largest tourism trade fair and it’s about time we attend and check out this hip German city.
  • TBEX Sicily: We’re excited to be returning speakers at TBEX Europe! This is always a fantastic travel blogging conference and will be particularly fab in its host city of Catania, Italy!
  • TravelCon New Orleans: Another fab travel media conference, TravelCon is where we’ll be speaking about RVTravel and how to succeed on the road.
  • Camp Indie: Part travel conference and part summer camp, Camp Indie will be three days of workshops and playing on a lake in Connecticut. It’s billed as the “The World’s Most Fun Travel Conference,” so if you are considering becoming a digital nomad or are an entrepreneur building their side-hustle, you should join us!!

Spring in Europe: We may only be doing a week of travel conferences on the continent but that doesn’t mean we’re rushing home. Where should we go after Italy…Malta, Greece, Spain, Austria? We have two months to explore.
East-Coast Road Trip: The Whole Enchilada. After New Orleans and some much-needed niece time in Memphis, we’ll head up the East Coast through Maine and into Canada. Quebec, New Brunswick, Labrador, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland…it’s all new and exciting to us. If you have tips for this summer road trip, let us know!
Completing the 50 States: We’ve been to 47 States and are missing one of the most beautiful pockets of the country, especially in autumn. Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota here we come!

Happy New Year!

What was your favorite thing that happened in 2019 or that you’re most excited about for 2020?

The Ultimate Oregon Road Trip: The Cascades

Oregon Road Trip
Everyone knows about iconic U.S. road trips like the Pacific Coast Highway or Route 66, but hugging the curves of the Cascade Range? This has been one of our favorite legs on our 8,000 mile journey across the States. Within the Pacific Ring of Fire and running from Northern California to southern British Columbia, this mountain range is stunning across the board. Though to tackle it without crampons or a month of vacation time, we’d vote for the Oregon route between Ashland and Terrebonne. Spunky towns, glaciated mountains, high desert, craft beer country, and more adventure than an adrenaline junkie knows what to do with, our Oregon Road Trip through this slice of the Cascade Range has it all.

 

Oregon Road Trip: The Route


Distance: ~300 miles
Timing: 2 nights Ashland, 1 night Crater Lake National Park, 2 nights in Bend, and 1-2 nights Portland.

 

Get Artsy in Ashland


We pulled into Ashland and liked it instantly. A university town with a world renowned theater company, it exudes energy, creativity, and small-town charm. From February-November, catch a play or music performance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Tuesday and Saturday shop the Rogue Valley Grower’s & Crafter’s Market. The pride for all things local is infectious.

 

Farm Stay at Willow-Witt Ranch


Just 12 miles from Ashland, nestled in a mountain valley covered in wildflowers, a historic and working organic farm has opened its doors to curious travelers and foodies. Even though Ashland is a destination in its own right, we actually came to the region just to scope out Willow-Witt Ranch for our glamping book. More than a farm, it’s a project to conserve this unique ecosystem and get people of all ages in touch with the food we eat.

We slept in cozy canvas cottages and woke up with the sun to harvest spinach and arugula, gather eggs from the coop, and learn the ropes of goat milking from the lovely owners, Lanita & Suzanne. We spent our afternoons trekking the 445-acre property with their friendly pack goats, cooking up our hand-harvested delights, and capping off the day in the fire-heated hot tub under a blanket of stars. Spend a night or come for their day-tours…you won’t forget it! For more fabulous farmstays, check out the “Cultivate” chapter of Comfortably Wild.

 

Crater Lake National Park

Oregon Road Trip
Make your way east to Highway 62 and hop on the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, with a special pit stop at the raging Rogue River Gorge and Beckie’s Cafe for an amazing slice of pie. An eruption over 7,000 years ago created a pumice desert and a profound caldera, now Crater Lake National Park.

Cruise along the 33-mile Rim Drive, breaking for countless photo ops of the deepest lake in the United States at 1,949 feet. The full loop and many of the trails are only open in mid-summer and early fall, so drive or hike as far as you can, and if all else fails there are snowshoe rentals and cocktails at the historic, Crater Lake Lodge.

 

Bend: Beer, Music, and an Enviable Place to Live


Whether you take the straight-forward highway 97 or detour from Sunriver onto the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway, you won’t be disappointed arriving to Bend. As sporty and entrepreneurial people, we’ve always had a little fantasy about moving here. It seems everyone is a skier, kayaker, brewmaster, artisan, or webmaster. We dove right into Bend culture with a music festival on the river (check the summer events calendar, it’s packed with fun!) and a few stops on the 16-brewery Bend Ale Trail.
 

Hiking Misery Ridge

Twenty-seven miles north of Bend, lies one of the “Seven Wonders of Oregon”: Smith Rock State Park. After going to such a grand national park as Crater Lake, our expectations weren’t too high for this place, but it completely dazzled us! The Crooked River cuts through sheer red mountains of tuff and basalt, and world-class climbers scale its cliffs from all angles. Some even consider Smith Rock the birthplace of modern American sport climbing and there are more than a thousand bolted routes on offer. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, take the 3.8-mile Misery Ridge Loop Trail for a challenging hike with immensely rewarding views of the dramatic park and the Cascade Range.
 

Glamping the High Desert

Panacea at the CanyonAll these mountain adventures warranted a bit of R&R (any excuse for a bit of pampering) so we checked into Panacea at the Canyon. An off-the-grid glamping retreat set on the cliffs of the Crooked River, this place was built with nine years of hard work and passion by a husband-wife team. The co-owner Darren, artist and hot-air balloonist by trade, greeted us and his wife showed us the way to the teepee spa for our chakra-balancing treatment. We were sent into a state of bliss that carried through our two-night stay, with walks in the meditation labyrinth and sun salutations on the cliffside yoga deck. Whether you use Panacea as your base camp for adventures in central Oregon or as a retreat away from it all, this place is worth a visit. We loved it so much we included it in our upcoming glamping book, Comfortably Wild!
 
Oregon beer tastingTop off your Oregon road trip with a scenic drive around Mount Hood, before finishing in Portland for a craft beer and cheers to the road less traveled!

Colorado Road Trip: Best of The Rockies

Colorado Road TripWho’s got a friend who moved to Colorado recently? Just about everyone…because it’s awesome. It’s a state where mountains erupt from the earth with red cliffs, snowy peaks, and sand dunes. Cities are as cosmopolitan as they are granola, with bankers leaving work early to hit the mountain bike trails and farm-to-table waiters serving to sustain their ski habit. Coloradans have got it figured out, between natural beauty, great weather, and a healthy lifestyle that leaves room for a few craft beers. We’re perfectly happy as nomads, but towns like Denver, Fort Collins, and Steamboat Springs had us looking up real estate. We drove over 1,200 miles, zigzagging in every direction and the state never ceased to amaze. We didn’t mean to be on a Colorado road trip for two months but check out our favorite places and adventures and you’ll see why it was so hard to leave.
 

Great Sand Dunes


Entering Colorado from the South, you expect pine-covered mountains, not North America’s tallest sand dunes. Surrounded by the snow-dusted Sangre de Cristo Mountains with a river running at its feet, Great Dunes National Park seems remarkably out of place. We walked into the ranger station, asked for trail recommendations, and got the best response, “For the dunes, there are no trails, just blaze your own path to the top.” We geared up with long pants, bandanas, and sunglasses like a modern-day Laurence of Arabia and followed the contours of the peaks and valleys. You could see the wind changing the shape of the dunes, and our footsteps only expedited the process. We reached the 750-foot summit (way higher than it sounds when your trekking in sand), only to see the dunes continue another 30 square miles until they hit the ring of mountains. Then we ran down the slippery sand, like school kids…giggling, fearless, unstoppable.
 

The Wild West of Cripple Creek

Where is Cripple CreekColorado’s historic hunt for gold in the hills inspired roads and quirky towns in some unlikely places. We embarked on the Gold Belt Scenic Byway, starting at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument with remarkable petrified redwoods, palms, and insects dating back 34 million years. Continuing south, we reached Cripple Creek, the state’s most prosperous mine town from the 1800s to present. We drove down the main drag and it was like no time had passed, with saloons and gambling halls in Victorian buildings. It happened to be Mike’s birthday so we used his lucky day as an excuse to play a few slots and drink beers on the house.
 

Stagecoach Shelf Road

Shelf Road, ColoradoBy far the biggest win from Cripple Creek was discovering Shelf Road—one of our favorite routes of the entire 29,000+ mile road trip. Built as a stagecoach route in 1892, this narrow, unpaved road is cut into the limestone cliffs, snaking around corners without guard rails and dipping into rocky river valleys until it spits you out at Cañon City. Watch this video (if you aren’t afraid of heights).
 

Music on The Rocks

One of the reasons we came to Colorado was for IPW, a five-day travel conference with the USA’s biggest players in tourism. We had some really exciting meetings with tour operators, tourism boards, and journalists; plus, we were blown away by their event lineup. IPW hosted a 3,000-person party on the Broncos’ football field, brunch was prepared by James Beard chefs, Broadway dancers performed at lunch, followed by the B-52’s and Rob Thomas, and then…One Republic performed a private concert at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater. This venue, sandwiched between two 300-foot sandstone fins, has been hosting shows since 1904, with the Beatles, Sting, Jimmy Hendrix, U2, The Grateful Dead, and countless others clamoring to perform in this acoustically perfect temple of music. During his incredible set, lead singer Ryan Tedder said, “I’ve performed in over a hundred venues around the world—even an amphitheater by Alexander the Great—and nothing rivals Red Rocks.” Music lovers, make sure this amphitheater is on your bucket list. Watch the concert highlights, here.
 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado Road TripMike’s been taking his two brothers on road trips since he got his license and it was time to spark the tradition back up. With one brother (Matt) already in Breckenridge, another (Ryan) just a Southwest flight away from San Francisco, and a camper big enough to sleep three, the stars were aligning again. To give them some quality bro time, I bid the boys farewell in Denver and they set out on a three-day camping adventure in Rocky Mountain National Park. Extensive trip research has never been their MO, so the fact that the park was still largely under snow never came up until they were knee deep. Turns out sneaker sledding, bonfires, and snowball fights worked out better than sunshine, and they had a blast making plenty of new memories (including Mike nearly slicing his finger off with a heroic drone catch).
Park Tips: Try to time your trip when Trail Ridge, the highest continuously paved road in the USA, is open and visit midweek. Hike a portion of the historic Ute Trail from the Alpine Visitor Center. Make multiple photo stop along the Continental Divide. Bag three lakes in one short hike from the Bear Lake Trailhead. Watch out for lots of moose and grazing elk.
 

Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods ColoradoDid we tell you we housesat for ten days in Colorado Springs? We didn’t put it on Instagram Stories since we were in hard-core book research mode and barely left the house (which had mountain views and a bocce court, so it wasn’t too rough). Despite our hermit phase, we couldn’t leave “The Springs” without a night on the town and a hike at the Garden of the Gods. This park and national natural landmark are made of red sandstone fins, cliffs, and spires that shoot up 300 feet. It’s an amazing series of easy hiking trails and very advanced rock climbing. After our hike, we got sent to The Principal’s Office: a bar within the old Ivywild elementary school. This 100-plus-year-old building and its halls of learning are now the brewing facilities of Bristol Beer, a series of boutiques, bakeries (with teacher discounts), and of course, the Principal’s Office. We went for “Detention Hour” specials, sipped on a Sack Lunch (rye whiskey, creme de cassis, lemon, and peanut butter) and a Teacher’s Pet while playing hangman on the chalkboard bar.
 

Arapaho Valley Ranch

Colorado GlampingThe best part about the glamping book research is actually experiencing North America’s most unique properties in the great outdoors. For our “Living History” chapter we are highlighting properties that keep traditions alive and breathe new life into the past–whether it’s restoring a train stop town or a Navajo family inviting guests for a night in their contemporary hogan. When we heard about a 100-year-old guest ranch (started by an enterprising woman under a male alias) with the town’s original dance hall and the house of Charles Lindbergh’s flying and drinking buddy, we were intrigued. The ranch was practically abandoned for a decade, then Todd & Emily Gold had the dream to restore the historic buildings, add glamping tents and teepees, and create a luxury campground for people to enjoy this storied section of the Indian Head Peaks Wilderness. Tucked between a river, lake and granite cliffs, this place is gorgeous with a laid-back vibe, which we soaked up for three glorious days. Can’t wait to come back when the dance hall is restored to its two-stepping days.
 

Fort Collins

My maiden name is Collins so I’ve always wanted to see our namesake fort town. To get there we gladly cut back through Rocky Mountain National Park and wound through more incredible canyons until we hit this lively city. It happened to be the “First Friday” art walk and the Summer Sessions concert series so we hopped from the outdoor dance floor to galleries to live music bars. The next day followed with an antique car show and the Poudre River Music Fest at the New Belgium Brewing Co. If this is how every summer weekend goes down, we may just move in.
 

Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs ColoradoDid you know there are no steamboats in Steamboat Springs? The name comes from the hissing and whistling sounds of the hot springs that bubble up all across town. Needing to get a bit of work done, we posted up at the Bud Werner Memorial Library and it turned out to be one of the prettiest we’ve seen in the country. As we typed, we watched kayakers and SUPers catch waves in the Yampa River, bikers cruise the boardwalk, and the springs steam. By night we went to the downtown hot springs and pubs and by day we watched ski jumpers practice at Howelsen Hill, one of just three complete ski jumping complexes in the United States (helping yield 89 US winter Olympians).
 

HoneyTrek communityColorado….what can we say? With all the beautiful landscapes, lively cities, and fun people (not to mention a ton of our friends), you wooed us and we’ll undoubtedly be road tripping your way again soon.

2019 Preview & 2018 Travel Year in Review

HoneyTrek Travel Year in ReviewWhen you move almost every day, you cover a lot of ground in a year…like 17,756 miles by car alone. We traveled at a crazy pace in 2018, but the camper inspires us to keep on rolling because there is always another national park, ski village, beach town, monument, honkeytonk, or good friend just around the bend. We love Buddy the Camper but also like to mix up our travel style, so we parked him for a few months and backpacked four other countries by boat, bus, and hiking boot. North America was the focus of our 2018 because that’s where our next travel book takes place. To research the best glamping destinations on the continent, for our publisher Falcon Guides, we did everything from trekking between Mayan villages in Guatemala to dog sledding at the Ice Hotel in Canada, and found so many gems and inspiring stories along the way! This glamping journey sparked a slew of adventures, as did our time housesitting in Central America and catching festivals from The Calgary Stampede to Burning Man. Meanwhile, HoneyTrek crossing a quarter million social media followers and our Nat Geo book ranking in the top 0.01% of all books on Amazon, opened lots of new doors—from speaking at the Smithsonian to getting featured on CBS This Morning. Read on for more highlights from 2018 and a preview of 2019.
 

2018 Road Trip Route

HoneyTrek Route 2018Buddy’s four-cylinder engine has been on overdrive this year, clocking 17,756 miles through 24 states, 3 Canadian Provinces, 17 National Parks and Monuments, North America’s highest continuously paved road, deepest river gorge, and its lowest point in elevation. See our blog about the good, bad, and awesome of living in a camper.
 

Speaking at the Smithsonian

HoneyTrek Public SpeakingAlmost everyone wants to travel more, but where to go and when? It’s such a pervasive question that the Smithsonian Institute wanted to get the bottom of it with a lecture, presented by none other than HoneyTrek! To prepare for our two-hour presentation on “2018’s Must-See Destinations & Travel Skills” we cross-referenced the 700+ places we’d visited against industry trends, world news, and our inner circle of globetrotters. It was a sold-out house with over 200 people! For those that missed the lecture, here are our favorite destinations by month, and our top tips and tricks to make those ambitious travels a reality. This lecture kicked off a year of speaking gigs and co-hosting travel events, including The Glamping Summit and Travel Con.
 

Quebec Carnival

Quebec Winter CarnivalWe heard about this three-week, 200-event soirée while researching the best winter festivals for the “Snow & Ice” chapter of Ultimate Journeys for Two, and put it on our calendar for February 2018. Donning our warmest long johns, we slept in the ice hotel, dogsledded, snowmobiled, ice fished, cheered on the ice canoe racers, and enjoyed winter like only the Quebecois can. See our cool blog and video tour inside the Hotel de Glace.
 

Snowbirding in Florida

North Florida Road TripFlorida has more freshwater springs than anywhere in the world, the oldest European city in the U.S., a melting pot of cultures from around the globe, the one and only Everglades, and beach weather when most of the country is shoveling snow…why wouldn’t we spend our winter here? In partnership with Visit Florida, we set aside one month to road trip the Sunshine State, from the southernmost point to the northwestern border, and discover the places even more magical than Disney. Catch our Top 10 experiences in this Facebook Live and the road trip highlights in this blog.
 

Our Families Join The HoneyTrek

couples travel year in review
Perhaps the greatest joy of having a house on wheels has been visiting and hosting our family and friends all over North America. We have literally visited every single member of Anne’s family in seven states…some we hadn’t seen in years! We’ve been able to visit friends too sick to leave their home and those with too many toddlers to make it downtown, but we were able to come to them with a little wine and sunshine. What could be better than that? Our families road tripping with us! We were thrilled that Anne’s mom joined us in Louisiana for a little camping, kayaking (for the first time in her life), and city exploring, and Mike’s brothers hopped in for a boys-only adventure in Colorado! They took the camper into the Rocky Mountains and hiked, frisbee golfed, grilled on the campfire, and monkeyed around like only bros can.
 

Starring in the DR’s Year-long Video Campaign

The Southwest Dominican Republic is a hidden gem and, as far as the tourism board was concerned, a little too hidden. Trying to spread the word about the incredible provinces of Barahona and Pedernales, they called up HoneyTrek. Having written about the DR on our blog, for Travelocity, and our Nat Geo book, they knew we loved the country and asked us if we wanted to come capture the Southwest’s diverse landscapes, untapped adventures, and warmhearted people. Heck, yea! From our jam-packed week of adventures, their talented production team created dozens of videos that they rolled out for their 2018 ad campaign. Have a watch!
 

Signing a Second Book Deal

Falcon Guides Glamping bookGlamping has long been our favorite style of accommodation. No longer a trend, this connection between creative architecture, luxury, and nature has started a movement and has a story that needs to be told. Falcon Guides asked us to author the first-ever book on Glamping North America and we accepted the challenge! This has been our #1 project for 2018 (and half of 2017) which sent us scouting over 50 glamping destinations across the continent—including Central America and the Caribbean. Our 244-page coffee-table book is more than halfway finished and will be keeping us busy until we turn in the full manuscript this spring.
 

Adventures in Glamping

HoneyTrek Glamping BookSome of the highlights from our glamping adventures? Driving Conestoga wagon trains through the Tetons, ziplining between cypress treehouses, herding cattle at a 115-year-old ranch, learning swordsmanship from a knight at medieval-style encampment, staying in a 1950s Airstream at a craft brewery and Southwestern dance hall…and plenty more we’ll be sharing in the book when it releases in fall 2019!
 

100 Miles of River Rafting

One of our most hard-core glamping adventures was a 100-mile, five-day river rafting trip through the largest contiguous wilderness area in the lower 48. Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, fly fishing for cutthroat trout, and staying at pop-up luxury camps in the depths of the Frank Church Wilderness was unforgettable (watch the video, above). We’re so glad this trip brought us to Idaho because it sparked a three-week road trip to the Sawtooth Mountains, Craters of the Moon National Monument, our new favorite little city of Boise, and lots of hot springs in between. Read all about this highly underrated state.
 

Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede 2018Said to be the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” and the rodeo world championships, the Calgary Stampede is a must for anyone with a little cowboy spirit. This century-old tradition brings the best in the biz—from bull riders to country singers—to Alberta for this ten-day spectacular. We made it just in time for the finals when the stakes and energy were at their highest. Our highlight? Chatting with this friendly guy Tim in the photographer’s pit, only to find out he was the MC of the grandstand show, and getting invited backstage for the after-party with all the stars of the Calgary Stampede! Canadian hospitality never ceases to amaze. See more Alberta adventures here.
 

Burning Man

Burning Man 2018Camping for a week in the burning hot and freezing cold desert with 70,000 people, Burning Man is not for everyone. Though with hundreds of art installations and nothing but rave reviews from every Burner we spoke with, we decided to give it a shot. We went all in for our Black Rock City adventure, with outlandish costumes, a tricked-out tent, and an open mind. After nine days in the desert dust, we found this unconventional community offered an indescribable feeling of freedom, invoked curiosity, instilled confidence, promoted creativity, celebrated unabashed silliness and that it was absolutely for us. We tried our best to capture this indescribable experience in words and photos in this blog. Have a look and brace yourself for hitchhiking on art cars, swinging from sculptures, snow cones made by human-powered hamster wheels, fire-breathing dragon DJ booths, Food Network-star cabaret dinners, goose body shots, and the two of us dressed like Mad-Max-meets-Priscilla-Queen-of-the-Desert.
 

HoneyTrek in a Lonely Planet Anthology

Travel Year in ReviewLonely Planet surveyed 100 top explorers and travel writers and had them recount their most life-changing experience from the road in one beautiful book. The Best Moment of Your Life features incredible stories from Pico Iyer, Don George, Andrew McCarthy, and more of our travel writing heroes…plus us! We had the honor of contributing two essays from our journey and could not be prouder. Pick up a copy to inspire your travels.
 

Housesitting in the Bay Islands, Honduras

international housesittingTo mix up our travel style and get working on our glamping book, we were looking for a housesit anywhere warm in North America and stumbled across a 296-square-foot beach bungalow with two cats on the island of Roatan, Honduras. Mesmerized by this Caribbean Ocean view and ignoring details like regular power outages, no hot water, and its location in a defunct resort, we took the gig. It was our most challenging and rewarding housesit to date…read all about our 2.5 months of island life.
 

Backpacking Central America

El Salvador Honduras Road TripOur Bay Islands housesit launched a multi-week adventure across Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. We took the most unconventionally awesome river rafting trip down the wild Cangrejal, summited a volcano in 100-mph winds, explored major Mayan ruins, trekked between colonial Antigua and volcanic Lake Atitlán, learned to make pupusas, and fell deeper in love with this region of the world.
 

Ultimate Journeys for Two Flying Off the Shelves!

ultimate journeys for twoOur National Geographic book may have come out in 2017, but it really hit its stride in 2018. Maybe it was being featured in 58 gift guides or getting picked up by the Associated Press and USA Today, but however it happened,Ultimate Journeys for Two has been holding strong as an Amazon Bestseller. This month the book ranked #1 in Honeymoon Travel, #2 in Travel Writing, and the top 0.007% of the 8 million books available on Amazon. Plus, it was released in Italian and German with talks of French and Chinese editions on the horizon for 2019! Nothing makes us happier than people realizing the wonders of couples travel. We hope you get out there with the one you love!
 

Crossing 2,500 Days on the Road

HoneyTrek Travel CoupleBack in January 2012 we told our parents (and our tenants) that we’d be home by the summer of 2013. That date kept getting pushed back every few months until we finally realized that…the world is our home. To commemorate our 2,500th day on the road we did a Facebook Live from our Caribbean housesit to reflect on seven years of nomadic living and answer all your burning travel questions. Catch it here.

 

2019 Travel Preview

HoneyTrek 2019 PreviewAre we slowing down in the New Year? No way! We love flying by the seat of our pants, but here is what we know so far:
Road Trip the East: After the holidays with our family in Tennessee, we’re road tripping north for two travel trades shows in New York and glamping at a few more destinations along the way–from geodesic domes in North Carolina to helicopter hangers in Connecticut.
Finish Our Glamping Book! Our next writer’s den for the final throes of our glamping book is a housesit in the ever-sexy Schenectady, New York. The book is due March 15th, wish us luck!
Ski Vermont: In our pre-nomadic lives we did a ski house for ten years in Killington, Vermont. We’re getting the band back together and we’ll be shredding the slopes at the Beast of the East and dancing our nights away at the Wobbly Barn.
College and Family Reunions: Mike’s 20th College Reunion is in April. Don’t make fun of the old man, he’s still got that college spirit! We’ll be joining the Tartans of Carnegie Mellon for the buggy races, spring carnival, and lots of Pittsburgh shenanigans. A little later in the year, we’ll be celebrating 4th Collins Family Reunion in 30 years with Anne’s fam in North Carolina!
Southwest Road Trip: Come spring, we’ll be heading across the country to explore our 44th and 45th states in the camper, then make it to Arizona for a wedding in Page, spelunking Antelope Canyon, and floating Horseshoe Bend. Utah’s national parks will undoubtedly beckon us over the border, before we drive up the Pacific Coast Highway.
National Parks: There are so many amazing parks on our list for 2019, Yosemite, King’s Canyon, Sequoia, Bryce (again), Grand Basin Nevada, and Joshua Tree (especially after we read our friend’s post on the best things to do in Joshua Tree National Park
Speaking at TravelCon: North America’s premier travel blogging conference has asked us to speak at their three-day event, featuring heavy hitters like the founder of Lonely Planet and the author of Wild! Content creators and anyone looking to make a living as a nomad should check out their offerings and join us in Boston this June!
Alaska or Bust: We made it to the southern tip of Alaska in our first year in the camper but we’re beefing up the tires with hopes to make it through BC, the Yukon, and into the Last Frontier for a summer of glaciers, grizzlies, and midnight sun.
Our Glamping Book Releases! Fall 2019 is when our book on the best glamping destinations in North America hits the shelves! Get your s’mores and champagne ready for the launch party.
Experteering: We’ve always been inspired by MovingWorlds.org, a Social Purpose Corporation that pairs professionals with do-good organizations that could really use their skills. This is the year we get out there and experteer!
International Destination…You Call It! We need to add some international travel to this list, where should we go? Leave a comment below, we always love your suggestions!

Happy New Year!

Getting Wild West in Montana


We’ve always dreamt about going to Montana, and who hasn’t? The land of Big Sky, where buffalo roam, cowboys rule the rolling hills, and A River Runs Through It… it’s the wild west at its most romantic. Ever since the railroad blazed a trail across the country in the late 1800s, Montana has captured the imagination of city slickers. The pioneers were proud of their new frontier, and the tradition of inviting guests to experience ranch life has long been woven into the state’s fabric. More than a century of hospitality experience also makes Montana one of the finest places to get rugged. We had the chance to find the best dude ranches in Montana to make these cowboy dreams come true.

 

The Resort at Paws Up

best dude ranches in Montana
One of many intimate glamping camps at Paws Up.

Driving down the dirt roads of Western Montana, we reached The Village at Paws Up, and indeed it was a world unto itself. We’ve experienced over 100 luxury resorts and have heard about the highly acclaimed Paws Up for years, but still couldn’t imagine a place quite like this. It’s on 37,000 acres with the Blackfoot River running through it (yea, the one from the Brad Pitt film) and they’ve spread the lodging across the full expanse of land. They have a dozen different glamping camps and neighborhoods of luxury homes, so even though the resort can sleep a few hundred people, it still feels intimate and inviting.

 

Adventure Central

Mike & Anne explore the Greenough backcountry.

The heart of Paws Up is the Wilderness Outpost. Every Montanan activity you could possibly imagine starts here. Classic country pursuits like horseback riding, riflery, and fly fishing to adrenaline sports like rappelling, mountain biking, obstacle training, and more are on tap. We opted for the ATV trails to make a dent in these tens of thousands of acres.

 

Driving Cattle

Cowboy Mike driving a herd of cattle.

Not just for recreation, 7,000 acres of Paws Up is a working Black Angus ranch. When we saw “cattle drive” on the activity menu, we put on our boots and spurs! We saddled up with our wrangler, a young Montanan who grew up on a horse ranch, and trotted over to the 30 head of cattle in need of greener pastures. We’ll admit, we’re not experienced riders but with a highly trained horse and a newfound cowboy confidence, we rounded up them dogies! Galloping after stray calves, hollering yeehaw, and guiding a herd was so empowering and even cooler than in the movies.

 

The Ranch at Rock Creek

best dude ranches in Montana
Entering The Ranch at Rock Creek, the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide five-star guest ranch.

Traveling from Greenough southwards to Philipburg, we reached The Ranch at Rock Creek, continuing on our quest to find the best dude ranches in Montana. We knew this 19th-century-homestead-turned-glamping retreat would be nothing short of amazing with the amount of accolades on its door, including that of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, Relais & Chateaux, and a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Guest Ranch (the world’s one and only). Though we also wondered if all that praise would get to a hotel’s head—not here. We were welcomed with open arms and a huckleberry spritz.

 

Blue Ribbon Fly Fishing

Mike fly fishing Rock Creek, a Blue Ribbon fishery.

It would be all too easy to spend our days luxuriating in the ranch’s chic cabins, full-service spa, and the all-inclusive Blue Canteen, but the Rod & Gun Club was calling. The Ranch at Rock Creek is on a Blue Ribbon trout stream, which means pristine waters, thousands of fish per square mile, and some of the best angling you can get in the States. Even though we had never fly fished a day in our lives, we geared up like pros, with Simms waders, artfully tied flies, and rods suited to our statures. The Ranch has pro-guides leading float trips, but Rock Creek runs through the center of the property so you can just walk right in. We took a quick casting lesson to make sure we caught more fish than trees, and before we knew it…Mike had a cutthroat trout on the line!

 

BBQ at the Buckle Barn

Anne enjoying a little gourmet BBQ, one of the ever-changing dining options at The Ranch at Rock Creek.

Perhaps our favorite thing about RRC is that it’s full of surprises, especially at dinnertime. Each night is different, whether it’s Dutch ovens over a bonfire, sunset cocktails and ice skating at Bikini Pond, or a BBQ at the Buckle Barn after a rodeo… we were lucky enough to catch the latter.

 

Rodeo Spectacular

Bucking bronco at the Ranch at Rock Creek rodeo.

We spent the day horseback riding the riverside trails and taking calf roping lessons to get in the rodeo spirit, then twilight came. Guests filled Camp Roosevelt Arena, and half the staff was gearing up to ride. It would seem a dangerous business decision to have your top employees ride a bucking bronco or barrel racing at top speed, but they’re Montanan. They’ve done this before… even competed professionally. With American flags waving, cowboys in their best chaps, and stallions running wild, the love of the west was infectious.

 

Best Dude Ranches in Montana

Bison Quest
Buffalo roaming the mountains beyond Townsend, Montana.

By this point in our Montana travels, we’d bonded with broncos, cattle, trout, and bald eagles, but to top off our wildlife of the west experience, we needed to commune with the American Buffalo. We heard about Bison Quest and were as intrigued by the prospect of shaggy bull sightings, as we were to meet the founders. The husband-wife team, Dr. Craig and Pam Knowles, have sixty years of combined wildlife biology experience and after working for the Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and dozens of other conservation projects, they decided to share their knowledge and love of animals with guests at their buffalo ranch. They rescued an abused herd a decade ago and bought hundreds of acres for them to roam. Pam and Craig came out to greet us, with chickens, dogs, and even deer following them like they were animal whisperers. (There isn’t a receptionist or front desk; this is a real working ranch and everything is powered by the passion and hard work of the Knowles.) We hopped in the pickup truck and headed down to the our private two-cabin camp. Amazing enough, we had the entire place to ourselves—the Knowles never take more than one group at a time to maximize the guest experience. We had brownies and iced tea in the cook tent, then we were off to find the herd. Sitting in the bed of the truck, we went off-roading until we discovered dozens of bison grazing the hills. We locked eyes and these 1,000-pound beauties lumbered toward us. We were surrounded by perhaps the greatest symbol of the American West.

Montana Mini Guide

Where to Land: Fly into Missoula, the hub of western Montana, and rent a car for a ranch road trip. If you have dreams of extending your trip to Yellowstone you can fly out of the spunky Bozeman; a great town in its own right.
When to Go: June-October is ideal for cowboy pursuits. Snow-bunnies will love the winter-sport opportunities that January-March bring.
What to Pack: Bring a pair of cowboy boots and hat (or grab ’em at the ranch), dressing the part adds to the revelry of the West. Leave white clothes at home; darker colors will fair better in the dust. Pack layers; the temperature changes dramatically throughout the day.
HoneyTrek Tip: Combo your trip to two of America’s greatest National Parks: Yellowstone to the south or Glacier to the north. Arrive at dawn when the wildlife are at their most active and the crowds are still sleeping.

Where to Next

After all our time getting Comfortably Wild in the USA, it’s time for a little international glamping…so we are teaming up with YALA (the largest luxury safari tent manufacturer in Europe). Follow along on our journey over on our Instagram Stories YALA channel!

Happy Glamping,
Mike & Anne