Seven years ago the online world looked pretty different. It was seven years ago when I first started researching my crazy idea to take a career break and travel for a year. As a completely novice traveler, I had no idea where to start in my research or planning, embracing the internet to see what I could find. But Google search results on various travel terms were minimal at that time – there was no such term as “Career Break” and there were few results for “long term travel”. At that time travel blogs and other places where I regularly get my travel information and do research today were non-existent.
In fact think about it – in 2005 did you even know what a blog was? Did you purchase travel regularly online? Probably not.
However in 2005 I did find one site that was my beacon to guide me through the process – BootsnAll. It was an indie travel site with loads of information and forums where I could ask questions. They even had hotlines where you could call people and ask questions about trips. I still remember calling and talking to one of their founders, Chris, about my planning my trip to Kilimangaro. I used their advice to start booking my trip and became a fan of theirs before we even had the term ‘fan’ in our online vocabulary.
Fast forward 7 years later and as fate would have it one of the Co-Founders and CEO of Bootsnall is one of my good friends. In fact, Sean is not only a friend but a business partner in my other website Meet, Plan, Go! Our passion for getting more people to reap the rewards and benefits of travel is what brought us together a couple of years ago and I’m thrilled that my journey has sort of come full circle. He really serves as my mentor in the world of running an online travel media business and for that I’m eternally grateful. He keeps my creative side in check and reminds me to put on a business hat again from time to time.
Sean is a part of my weekly routine as we talk nearly every week about business, ideas, and strategies. Yet it goes beyond business – I’m happy to call him a friend – one that makes me laugh and helps me see my life and the world in different ways. One of the things that I appreciate most about Sean is his straightforward personality and his ability to take risks fueled by a passion for travel. I’ve been able to watch and learn over the last two years as he has led Bootsnall through one of their biggest projects to date, one that will make the life of independent long term travelers much, much easier.
Today a new flight booking engine launched thanks to Sean and his team’s vision – Indie Multi-country Flight Finder. It’s an Around the World Airfare Engine and multi-city/country flight finder that allows travelers to get instant prices, with no rules and book online. Surprisingly, this has not been done before. Try to book a trip online (Travelocity, Expedia, or Airtreks), with more than 6 legs. It can’t be done…. until now. In fact – Indie allows you to search and book up to a 25-stop trip yourself, from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world.
Just stop and think for a moment – if you could book 25 stops around the world – where would you go?!
As someone who books a lot of multistop tickets – I am thrilled to have this on the market now and part of my travel planning tools. I’ve been using the Beta for a while now and am impressed with the visual map based interface, how quickly you can get back price quotes (something that you used to have to wait for days or call travel agents for), and the competitive and often lower prices it finds.
My girlfriend and world traveler/spy, Charlie, just recently gave Indie a ‘test run’ with her crazy 7 stop journey through Europe, Africa, and South America for 2013 and found the following:
“I just played around with the bootsnall search engine and it is really cool. I like it. It would take me from Brussels to Ethopia (then by land) to Tanzania to Cape Town to Buenos Aires to La Paz (by land) to Quito and JFK for like $4000! Not bad. At the first route of playing around with it — I’m impressed. It is super smart and easy to use. I particularly love the function of being able to select certain portion of your flight by land and not have to start another search all together.”
1) Instant Prices
2) No Rules
3) Online Booking
A ticket can be booked in under 1 hour. You don’t have to travel in one direction. You aren’t limited to a year. There are no mileage limits. To put it simply, there are no rules. A huge change from what “was” back when I was planning my original travels.
Want to learn more about how Indie works?
I hope you give it a try on your upcoming travels. I am excited to put Indie in my travel planning arsenal and am equally excited for the team at Bootsnall who after 2 years are celebrating today!