We welcome every language!

One of the best things about the Big Blog Exchange competition is it’s diversity. We have such a wide range of topics being blogged about, from over 50 different countries, in multiple languages!

So don’t be put off by the fact that our blog and site is written in English, even if your blog is not, we will be reading through with just as much interest and attention as we do with every other (with the help of trusty translator tools of course!) and we are sure followers of the competition will too.

Do you blog in a different language? Or maybe even multiple languages? 


Motivations We Love #29

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Emma Tilton, from the United States says:

I am a seasoned blogger, and would love this opportunity to connect with new readership around the world. In addition, I have barely traveled! I’ve never even left the USA (which seems to put me in the minority among most college students). This opportunity would likely be one of only chances I would have to see more of the world, experience new cultures, and expand my horizons.”

Seattle Dredge, from Canada says:

I’ve been doing this travel blogging thing for nearly four years now, but the best travel experiences I ever had were international exchanges back at ages 17 & 21. What chance will I ever have to do another exchange again? This needs to happen. Challenge: I get tattooed in almost every country I visit. I want my exchange partner & I to get tattoos representing each others countries.”

Bhumika Thakkar, from India says:

Even though I am a beauty, fashion, lifestyle blogger, I love travelling and exploring places. I want to see the whole world and I surely will. I have not yet blogged about travel much, but I definitely look forward to including an entire section on travel. Or may be start a new travel blog :) Lets see. For now, I would love to win this, for starters.”

Pilar Flores, from Spain says:

By taking part in this competition I just would like to meet people and their blogs from all over the world! Summer is the best time of the year to enjoy life. Would you like to share my experiences with me? Read my blog! I have been writing it for nearly ten years. It all started because I broke my left arm when I was cycling with my mountain bike in the mountains near Granada. Consequently I had to stay at home for a couple of months without doing any outdoor activities apart from walking with my left arm inside a folded scarf. I had always loved photography and writing but had had very little time for doing it. I was a full time secondary teacher then. Now I am luckily retired. That leave was the perfect moment to start my blog in which I linked my two hobbies: writing and taking photos. When my arm got better, I went back to work and to my mountain bike rides and alll other activities and I also kept writing my blog and taking pics Besides, I have a very big family with many of its members living far from Spain. In my blog I try to tell them about our family celebrations and all kind of news about our relatives. I know that they like reading my blog to keep up to date with what is happening here. It would be great if also won this prize!!!”


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Your feedback

The Big Blog Exchange team are thrilled to be receiving such positive messages from you all letting us know what you think of the competition. Last year, with your help, we achieved so much – and it’s incredible to know that it’s all happening again this year!

We’ve had several bloggers tell us that the competition has helped them to make valuable connections with other bloggers, some that they may not have otherwise had the chance to meet. Other bloggers who share similar interests and styles that they can relate to – as well as bloggers who are completely different giving them new ideas and inspiration!

So has the BBE helped you at all so far? Have you seen an increase in readership? Made new friendships within the community? 

Let us know below!


Motivations We Love #28

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Leasha Waddingham, from the United Kingdom says:

My Trip This Year is a fairly new blog that started (like many others) as a way to get rid of the verbal diarrhea that so many of us travelers seem to have (excuse the pun!) It sets out to openly admit to not knowing much about the world or how to travel sensibly but will happily share mistakes and thoughts with those like minded newbies. From advice to diary entrees it shows how someone with so much Wanderlust copes with spending most of the year saving to truly appreciate the trip of the year. It’s like Bambi standing for the first time, she doesn’t know what she’s doing but she’s gonna give it a bloody good try!”

Hanna Natalisa, from Indonesia says:

Being a mom of two toddlers and not yet in her 25 year of her life makes me feel awesome. Plus being young and a fresh graduate. It would be great to add ‘have seen more than one country’ to the list ;). I’d write stuff about family and it’s beautiful traditions in the country I go to :D.”

Tanya Lenardson, from the United States says:

Created this blog to share my experiences and have a keepsake to remember the many adventures and memories that I’ll make from here on out.”

Jessica Hewson, from South Africa says:

Like the music making troubadours of olde this digital damsel is on a journey. I am chronicling stories of all sorts of every kind of people. Travelling is about seeking and searching. Winning this competition would allow me to tell the tales of people in a faraway land. That would be thrilling for a story seeker! Contact me if you’re seeking a storyteller.”



Are there any first time bloggers or travellers out there?

So many of you have been writing about what the travel experience means to you in your motivations. So we got to wondering, are there any first time travellers out there? Perhaps you’ve only ever travelled within your home country and haven’t had the chance to travel internationally yet, or maybe you have never even left your hometown! 

We also love the community spirit going on between you all, you’re all swapping blogging tips and helping each other out, so we wondered – are there any brand new bloggers signed up? Perhaps you only started blogging to be part of the BBE this year, if this is the case, has the BBE helped you to build on your blogging skills at all?

Comment below and let us know!


2013 Winners interview – Liesbet Maroye

Last year the Big Blog Exchange competition sent 16 excited bloggers from across the globe on a 10 day adventure, swapping countries, cultures and blogs with each other for 10 days – all the while sharing their experiences with the rest of the blogging community following their journey digitally.

Liesbet Maroye, one of our winners in 2013, travelled from France to South Africa on her exchange. Read her interview and see what she had to say about her BBE experience.

Full name: Liesbet Maroye

Age: 28

Blog URL: http://liesbetmaroye.wordpress.com/

Where did you visit on the BBE: the lovely South Africa

What were the biggest highlights of the exchange?

I think that every BBE-winner will say the same: it’s hard to pick the biggest highlights :). But I’ll give it a try: of course the South African wildlife, the game drives, the nature and the animals. I was really amazed by our roadtrip on the Garden Route: every bend revealed a new landscape. Besides the nature, I often think back to the moment that we were eating braai in a typical shebeen with other guests from the hostel, with hostel crew members surrounded by the South African ambiance. The day that touched me most was the day that we visited the township of Langa followed by a visit to the Robbenisland. It makes the whole story of Apartheid more real and touching.

Has the BBE changed you?

It was the first time in my life I travelled alone that far away and that I lived the feeling of “go with the flow”: as the journey was organized by the South African representative of HI, I didn’t really know what to expect. So every night I went sleeping with some amazing experiences and I got up the next day longing for more! And yes, such an experience can be a source of inspiration for your own life. It made me think about my future, about what I want to do and about how I want to grow.

Did the experience change your views about travel?

It did not really change my views about travel, but it rather confirmed them. Staying in a hostel, makes you feel more like a traveller than a tourist. By talking and travelling together, you learn how others deal with their quest for happiness, it teaches you to appreciate the things you have. I adore those moments where total strangers become travel friends at the end of the day.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of entering?

3 words: do not hesitate :). Really. Don’t. I am not a professional blogger (maybe one day, but not now ^^). I am just a girl who likes blogging about my life and my journeys. When I entered the competition, I had a very basic blog, but as I was determined to win, I put all my energy and commitment in it. Whatever you blog about, this is your chance to meet like-minded people and to share your thoughts. So, just go for it: get people to vote for you, engage them with your enthousiasm, keep on blogging and maybe you’ll get that HI-once-in-a-lifetime-experience.

Would you have done anything differently looking back?

I don’t really think that I would have done something differently. Just enjoy, go with the flow and blog about it.

Sum up the BBE in three words:

One amazing experience!

Liesbet South Africa garden Route Tour

Could we be posting YOUR winners interview next year?

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Motivations We Love #27

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Ruan Smit, from South Africa says:

Pixelsmithstudios is 4 years old and since the first day my mission has been about promoting others, giving interviews and building a relationship with like minded people to help promote and share in any way I can. The interviews and features we’ve given have helped (the feedback we’ve heard of) people with new jobs and interviews on local newspapers. We want to help people in anyway we can and especially help our local artists build connections and get new jobs. In the next few months we’re going to start a job board section in hopes of providing more work and sharing our pride in our talented artists.”

Amber Jones, from the United States says:

Living on a sailboat is not the romantic fantasy I envisioned when I retired from my job and joined my partner on a 30-foot sloop! I was sucked in by the concept of sailing to tropical islands, swimming and snorkeling, and socializing with sailors at tiki bars. The reality is nowhere near as romantic. Yes, my photos show glowing orange sunsets and white-sand beaches, stingrays under the docks, and sails billowing in the breeze. However, there is no air conditioning, my legs are covered with bruises from lifelines and ladders, and those beautiful beaches are deserted because they are infested with bugs. The sails rip, the engine balks when you need it most, and boats notoriously leak from places that prove impossible to trace. Join me as I pour out my anguish in my blog, documenting the adventures (and mis-adventures) of Captain Pope and First Mate Amber as they cruise up and down the coasts and across the sea to the islands of the Bahamas. From riding the swells to feasting on fresh pomegranates, from swimming with sharks to cleaning the bilge, living on a boat offers both a chance to explore islands and marine sanctuaries inaccessible by land–and to throw all your money into a lurching, leaking hole in the water. Sipping rum cocktails with other sailors at sunset—tell me, just how big were those waves again?—and snorkeling in sun-dappled grottos make up somewhat for the wrenching of soul and fiberglass on ocean crossings. But my illusions of a relaxing cruise through a tropical paradise were quickly shattered with invasions of sand flies and the first two engine breakdowns. Crisis—or at least the fear of it–was a constant companion. Yet how many people actually carry out their dreams for leaving the 9-to-5 behind to see the world? We did. We left the comforts of bed and bath in favor of ocean swells, currents swift enough to smash boats into rocks, as well as playful dolphins, breaching whales, and long days in the sunshine. We wintered aboard the boat, cruising down the Intracoastal Waterway and across a finger of the Atlantic to the Bahamas, weaving among island chains as far south as Little Farmers Cay in the Exumas, and north to Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos. We learned local dialects, diesel mechanics, and how to cook conch. I offer my tales—all true, I swear!—to kindle your own fantasies and take you along on the “romantic” cruise of a lifetime.”

Vaidehi Venkatadriagharam, from India says:

I have been walking and hiking in the Himalayas for 25 years now. Nothing very fanciful – no expensive trekking gear or other luxuries like a porter. I was introduced to Himalayan treks by the Youth Hostels Association of India – inexpensive, basic but great, nevertheless. Now, I am a part of private trekking groups and enjoy all those fanciful things too. Being an average trekker, lacking in stamina and not having nerves of steel(while crossing a slippery glacier, for example), I seemed to be an unlikely candidate to continue with this activity. But, here I am, still addicted to hiking in the Himalayas. I have just started writing a blog to share my experiences, to demystify trekking in the Himalayas. Ordinary people like you and me, who are not adventure freaks or into serious mountaineering but who would like to physically exert themselves, breathe in the fresh mountain air and be one with nature, can hike on the innumerable trails in the Himalayas. At the lower altitudes, these trails take you through villages and you get a glimpse of the life of the simple folks living in this region. What the Himalayan trails offer is astounding – perhaps unmatched in this world – green meadows, some with flowers strewn all over, gushing mountain streams, thick forests, wildlife and of course snow laden mountains, Himalaya meaning the “abode of snow”. Walking these trails has enriched my life beyond description. You could do this too!”

Hollie Cradduck, from the United Kingdom says:

I believe I deserve to win this competition as considering the pain that surrounds my story and the reason why I blog is still raw getting away and seeing an exciting and alternate life to my own excites me. My life is very routine and if I had the opportunity to see how other inspirational bloggers live and write I feel it would be an invaluable life lesson to me.”


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BBE 2013 Winners Video – Argentina to New Zealand

Last year the Big Blog Exchange saw 16 lucky bloggers jetting off on the travel experience of a lifetime, swapping cultures, countries and blogs with another blogger from across the globe for 10 days. They had the time of their lives on their exchanges, and this year, it’s somebody else’s turn!

Here are a couple of videos that one of our winners in 2013, Rosario Lamastra from Argentina, put together herself about the Big Blog Exchange and her 10 day adventure in New Zealand.


If you were a winner this year – how would you document your journey?

Motivations We Love #26

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Therese Smith, from the United Kingdom says:

We would not survive on our planet without the ecosystems in place around us, yet so many of us are blind to them. In the recent years, I have started visiting places around the UK and abroad with the purpose of exploring the nature around us. I start mainly with the birds, but also enjoy the fascinating mammals, insects, reptiles and amphibians that live in harmony with them. I hope that the accounts of my trips on my blog encourage others to go out and appreciate these incredible creatures and contemplate as to what they do for us. In exchanging my blog, I would be provided with the opportunity to explore a completely different place with species I have most likely never even heard of before. I’d get the chance to interact with a new readership and encourage them to embrace nature, whilst simultaneously introducing my current readership to a new and exciting location. I genuinely believe it would be the perfect experience!”

Ainoha Moura Aguirre, from Brazil says:

Hola! My name is Ainoha and I was born in Barcelona, Spain. I am Brazilian, my accent is Argentinean and I chose to live in Mexico City. Inspired by ecological projects fostering a more intelligent, human and sustainable Mexico, I created “Vanguardia Sustentable”, a space to communicate creative ideas and foster local and worldwide initiatives, which are committed to the development of a more fair and sustainable society. Engaging with people from different cultures, breaking with the routine, making new friends and recording everything related to sustainability are sufficient reasons to feel the need for packing up and immersing myself into the art of travel. Participating in “The Big Blog Exchange 2014” and your vote can help me achieve this goal. Thank you!”

Ashley Dy, from Japan says:

First, I want to travel the world. But I also want to have a purpose. I want to capture the world’s version of kawaii and spread Harajuku kawaii culture to the world as well. There are many things I’ve learned in Tokyo and one of those is to help each other to achieve your dreams. Seeing Big Blog Exchange’s goal on how to change the world, it’s a perfect fit to my purpose. If I will win this competition, I will not forget my purpose and my dream, that is to let people know that anyone could be kawaii if they just believe. Anyone could achieve their dreams if they make a move closer to that goal.”

Kalpana Bhandari, from Nepal says:

I am a wanderer in streets of Kathmandu -looking for something. My blog narrates my thoughts of what I see and how I perceive thing. My blog talks about architecture that everyone can relate to. It is an attempt to understand the practice of my city and how it lives everyday.”


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Are you using Instagram?

As you all know we have been using Instagram within the BBE more this year. The world of blogging is opening up, and more and more people are using alternative blogging tools such as Instagram to tell their stories.

We’ve introduced the ‘Latest Instagram photo’ feature on the homepage, so whenever you post a photo using the tag #bigblogx it will appear on there for everybody visiting the site to see!

So get posting your BBE related photo’s and making the hard decision of which filter looks best! :)

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Motivations We Love #25

Here are some of our favourites of the day:

Ryan Cuncannon, from Canada says:

I should win because I am a full time traveler on my Eurotrip 2014 when I’m not living and working in Ireland. I’m also a amateur photographer and people love my pictures! I read somewhere “if you’re good at something, don’t do it for free”. I’ve been abroad for 6 months now, and am on week 4 of my backpacking adventure through Europe. I like to do travel photography and blogging on wordpress about my time in Europe. My pictures get a lot of attention on line which drives me to keep doing it. I run a YouTube channel, WordPress, Facebook page, Twitter, and WordPress as part of my travel blog arsenal. I am very computer literate, and I use Adobe Creative Cloud to edit my pictures and videos. A blog as much as I can without taking away from my trip.”

Reagan Decena, from the Philippines says:

Our world as we know it is grim and full of terrible news as of lately. We need to change that. The world needs something different. We might not have superheroes yet, but on the digital age that we are on now, bloggers can have that power. I can help reach out and spread positivity, good news and fantastic views on the world that we live in. May it be a random story from a stranger, or that perfect cup of coffee, I can be the herald of good vibes on the blogosphere. I believe bloggers are more than just people armed with a keyboard sitting behind the desk. I am more than that. Not (yet) a superhero, but a blogger for the world.”

Pedro Richardson, from the United Kingdom says:

My passion for all things travel determined my professional choice: hotels! From a language teacher, I became a hospitality person, hoping to travel the world professionally, living here and there. Little did I know destiny had other plans for me, making me call London home, and travelling differently. Seventy eight countries later, I now share my experiences around the world on my blog Travel with Pedro and the social media world. I enjoy transiting between different environments, from a street market in Iraq to a historical hotel in the French Alps, not forgetting people I meet along the way. I want to make the world my back garden.”

Abdeel Yanez, from Mexico says:

I LEAVE everything to travel. I never had vacations with my family because my mom worked hard to send me to the school. But I began to travel by myself when I was 11 (Scouts) When I turned 30 I decided to quit my job, take my backpack and LIVE. Now I have been in 24 countries, 700 cities, I used almost any kind of transportation that you can imagine. I want to inspire other people to travel and LIVE.”


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Let’s get the BBE trending worldwide!

We need your help bloggers; we have decided to go on a little mission to get #bigblogx trending worldwide!

We know you’re all scattered across the world, waking up and going to sleep at completely different times, so we’re going to see if we can get it trending within the next 24 hours!

Get tweeting #bigblogx, retweeting and getting your friends and readers doing the same!

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Motivations We Love #24

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Scarlet Paolicchi, from the United States says:

This Top Mom Blog is written by a Nashville stay at home mom blogger who reports on parenting tips, family fun activities, eco tips, family food, family travel, decor, discounts, and giveaways. Family Focus Blog would enjoy sharing this fun experience with readers!”

Nikki Watson, from New Zealand says:

GO CHASE THE SUN started at the end of 2013 with our need to ‘drift’ around the world. Our blog was a spontaneous idea when we came back to NZ from travelling Borneo. We decided then that we would go on a journey around the world leaving behind our life for a time to have an experience that would make us fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted and to begin to have a feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired. We both contribute to our blog writing posts about the countries we have visited together sharing our personal experiences. Some posts are more adventurous for the people who like living life to the extreme and others are more glamorous for the less adventurous traveller. If you have an ache for distance places and the craving for travel then our blog is for you!”

Louis Bedwell, from the United Kingdom says:

I write this blog for fun and to help process my challenges. I love to inspire and encourage others to step outside of their comfort zones, taking new opportunities and learning new skills. The Big Blog Exchange would allow me to share this passion, spreading the message and enabling others to make life memorable.”

Markus Kramer, from Germany says:

I want to travel and Explorer the world with all Adventures….Travelling is my life.”


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Nationality confirmation

There’s been a little bit of confusion about representative countries, so we thought we’d take a moment to clarify it to you all.

The country you represent in the BBE competition must be one that you hold a valid passport for at the time of travel (31 October 2014).

If you hold more than one passport, it’s totally up to you which country you would most like to represent. We hope this clears up any confusion anyone may have had – but if any of you are still unsure please give us an email at tbbe@hihostels.com and we’ll be more than happy to help you out.

We’ve been getting some amazing feedback from you all recently, and we can see so much passion and enthusiasm in all of your blogs.

Keep up the good work guys! 

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Motivations We Love #23

Here are some of our favourite motivations today:

Mariana Trigo, from Brazil says:

Crossing borders, go beyond. Be in fashion, in beauty, no matter, the important thing is always to go. That’s what I do, in what I believe. I believe in myself and the passion that moves me. For life, for people, for the world.”

Jasmine Rajah, Malaysia:

As an indigenous person, land is everything to me and my people; it is our source of wealth, our connection to our ancestors and our main source to identify ourselves as the true protectors of our land. Unfortunately, the pressure of development have stripped us away of our lands and its beauty to which we can only reminisce today. It is my hope that through this wonderful exchange opportunity, the blogger that will be a guest in my home can experience all that Malaysia can offer to them; from our beautiful nature to our vibrant and rich culture, from the warm friendly faces of our people to the savory and exquisite taste of our local traditional food. It’s great to know that amidst unfortunate tragedies that surrounds Malaysia, there is still that bit of warmth and beauty that the country can offer to its visitors. Here’s a pre-welcome to Malaysia!”

Hatty Grant, from the United Kingdom says:

I’m passionate about events and how they can change the world around us. I love my placement as a public sector events coordinator and how what I do affects the care that people are given every day. Events can have such an impact on people and communities and I would love to travel further to see the impact of events (especially third sector) on communities in other parts of the world.”

Rachel Gault, from the United States says:

I’ve always loved adventures and traveling. However, money and time are two things you need a lot of to embark on that journey and are pretty hard to come by. Being young (in my 20s) and not having kids, this is my chance to really explore the world! I’d love to do so and to share more of my adventures with my readers/the rest of the world!”

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Let’s share some travel tips

On the 31st October, 16 of you bloggers will be packing your bags and heading off on an exciting adventure around the globe. So we wanted to ask you all – what are the most important things you have learnt on your travels? Maybe you’ve mastered the art of packing your entire life into one small backpack, or you’ve discovered some items that you just could not travel without.

Comment below and share your tips with us and each other!

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Motivations We Love #22

Here are some of our favourites of the day:

Liz Harding, from New Zealand says:

In 2013 I quit my job in New Zealand and took a chance, travelling in the world with no real plans as to what I would be doing. I set up the blog Passport packed to share my adventures (and keep in touch with my mum). Leaving home with no set plans was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. It allowed me to become an opportunistic traveller, which has seen me enjoy a vast variety of once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. I’ve worked as a camp counselor in Germany, hitch-hiked through Spain, explored the Mekong Delta in Vietnam on the back of a Vespa, worked in a hostel in Santiago and spent countless nights eating, drinking and laughing with new friends. Being so free and outgoing has allowed me to work as a I see the Big Blog Exchange 2014 as the perfect experience for such a free and outgoing, opportunistic traveller like myself. Not only am I up for the challenge to explore a new country, but to detail my experiences on my blog (and possibly other blogger’s) also illustrates how much this wee hobby of mine, has grown since I started it. Although it started as a simple way to stay in touch, I now engage with brands, events and most importantly, over 4000 readers a month. It’s exciting to watch this grow.”

Zachariah Joe, from India says:

Oh, winning is secondary, taking part is all the fun. There is nothing like meeting like minded people from all over the world. In the process we all gain a little bit of knowledge. A good chance to smile and raise your eyebrows at times.”

Hazel Vint, from the United Kingdom says:

My blog started about one and a half years ago; initially it was to showcase the photography that I was capturing of the South African wildlife. Since then my blog has progressed to travel writing, my motivation is to give others the knowledge and practical information about visiting places in the world and to introduce people to all the fascinating landscapes and cultures. During the last four years I have traveled in Africa I have been trying to inform people that in fact this is not the Dark Continent, there are many mind blowing places and plenty of people who show me more kindness than many of my neighbours do back in the United Kingdom. This led me to the latest change in my blog, now including more photo journalism pieces. I want to delve deeper into African culture to try understand and show others the strong beliefs and traditions that shape the backbone of a completely different way of life. Every day I learn something new and wish to share with others who are also eager to learn about the differences of the world we live in.”

Tatiana Dornelles, from Brazil says:

“Apaixonada por viagens, louca por novos desafios e experiências, estou com muita vontade de participar do Big Blog Exchange. Tenho um blog de viagens desde 2011 e nele relato tudo o que faço em outras cidades e países, incentivando os apaixonados por viagens a embarcarem no próximo voo. Sonho em poder vivenciar coisas que ainda não pude experimentar. E, quem sabe, no Big Blog Exchange, eu consiga realizar este sonho…”
English translation: “Passionate a 2011 and it reported everything I do in other cities and countries, encouraging passionate about travel to board the next flight. Dream in power experience things that I could not even try. And who knows, in the Big Blog Exchange, I can realize this dream …”



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Could you win one of these 10 day itineraries?

As you all know the 16 winners of the BBE competition will be exchanging countries, cultures and blogs for 10 days. Hostelling International (HI) will be arranging the winner’s hostel stays in their exchange countries along the way, alongside arranging a host of fun activities for them to take part in during their trip.

We’ve put together some destination ‘Tripbooks’ for countries all over the world, these will give you an idea of what you could potentially get up to should you be a winner!

The itineraries aren’t definitive, they will be changed to fit the winning blogger – however they’re a good taster!

The Tripbooks can be viewed on the HI Hostels website (here’s a link for you!) https://www.hihostels.com/. 

Although there is only three up at present, we’re in the process of putting them all together so the number of trips will be gradually increasing over the coming days and weeks! :)

Happy blogging!

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