Back for 2016!

We’ve had a lot of emails asking about when the next Big Blog Exchange will be taking place. Our celebrated competition is taking a break this year but will be back in 2016 with more excitement and surprises than before.

In the meantime we hope you’ve been out trying new things, meeting new people and creating memories. Why not take some travel inspiration from our past winners and find out what they’ve been up to since their exchange?

Stay tuned and happy travels

#bigblogX Team

Logo without year


The epilogues are in!

We can hardly believe it’s been almost 3 weeks since our bloggers returned home from their cultural exchange adventures. This years competition was an incredible journey not just for the bloggers who took part – but for us here at HI and the followers too. We threw our winners a surprise country to explore, and sent them on their way to learn as much as they could about the culture – all the while recording their experiences so that we could learn alongside them.

We had lost luggage, delayed flights, new friends, new families, minds opened, perceptions changed – and some unforgettable experiences providing insights into an unfamiliar culture. We followed our winners from the packing of their bags to the moment they landed back home, documenting every experience and thought in between.

Now that our bloggers have settled back into every day life, we asked them to take a look back on their Big Blog Exchange experiences. What did they learn in their exchange countries, what did it mean to them? Their reflections, memories and musings were translated into wonderful video epilogues – and here they are on our HI Youtube channel for you to see. Just follow the link to find out what our bloggers thought about their time with TBBE.

If you would like a chance to be in our 16 winners shoes next year, you can register yourself on the BBE site to recieve notifications about BBE 2015! It’s been an amazing journey – and we will see you next year for another Big Blog Exchange adventure – welcoming 16 brand new bloggers.




Didn’t win this year? Here’s why you should try again in 2015..

Last year when the Big Blog Exchange first kicked off, hundreds of excited bloggers from countries scattered all over the world jumped at the opportunity and signed themselves up. Only 16 winners could be chosen, and 2014 saw the turn of 16 new bloggers – jumping out of their comfort zones and into the 2013 winners shoes.

If we could – we would have sent every single blogger who entered over the last two years off on an adventure as they have all been so unique and deserving.

We just wanted to take the time to address the hundreds of wonderful bloggers who have not made it to the top 16 in the competition over the last few years, and to put the message across that it does not mean you can’t be packing your bags and heading off on an adventure in 2015!

Vincent, one of our 2014 winners, packed his bags and left his coffee shop in Malaysia a few weeks ago to make his way to Argentina, swapping places with his exchange partner Belen.

Vincent’s story is one that we find particularly inspiring, and we wanted to share it with those of you who are perhaps feeling slightly dis-heartened after not being selected – as you could be in his shoes next year!

Vincent first heard about the Big Blog Exchange around it’s launch in 2013. He signed himself up, pushed for votes, blogged his heart out and sadly was not selected as one of our winners.
He did not let this defeat him however, instead he went away and put a lot of thought into his blog. He worked on himself, his blogging techniques and came back to the competition stronger than ever this year. It all paid off when the news reached him that he was a BBE 2014 finalist – and would be heading off to explore Argentina!

We asked Vincent to put together a little article on his journey, addressing those of you who were not selected as winners directly – and here is what he has to say:

Two months ago, I wrote a post about my winning the Big Blog Exchange (BBE) 2014 organised by Hostelling International.  In it, I described how I felt (and reacted) when I learnt that, together with 15 other bloggers from around the world, I’d won the competition.

Having now returned from my most eye-opening exchange to Argentina, I thought it apt that I should share with everyone why winning the BBE meant so much to me.  It is also my hope that this post will serve as humble motivation for those who didn’t succeed in either this or last year’s competition to try (and try) again and not give up.

Here’s why winning the Big Blog Exchange 2014 exposed wide open the emotional side of me.

1.  I PERSEVERED.  For a brief period after BBE 2013 and after failing to even make the finals last year, I was left exasperated – disheartened even – from the battle and indeed was apprehensive about joining this year’s competition (in fact, I’d told a fellow Malaysian blogger that I probably wouldn’t).  Deep down, however, I always knew throwing in the towel was never going to be an option.  A 10-day overseas cultural exchange was too massive and meaningful a prize to forgo without putting up a good fight, however you look at it.  So, soon after my elimination from last year’s BBE (I didn’t even wait for the exchanges to start), I prepped myself (and my blog of course) for another go at this year’s competition.  I was determined to win the BBE at some stage.

  For more than a year, I worked really hard to improve my blog in preparation for BBE 2014.  I open-mindedly thought over my site vis-a-vis those of last year’s winners – even those of some of world’s most popular bloggers.  I revamped my blog’s layout where I felt there were flaws, revisited my writing style, rethought the things I’d write about (without losing my own identity of course), dedicated considerably more time to the activity and, through social media, worked hard to widen the reach of my blog.  I also punctiliously made sure my posts were as interesting and, more importantly, as engaging as possible.  In short, I reinvented myself as a blogger in the hope of going one – or even two – better in this year’s competition.  Time is of the essence in any contest, and when BBE 2014 kicked off in July, I duly joined on its second day – my confidence and optimism significantly higher than they were last year.

3. I REALLY WANTED THIS.  If, like me, you have an earnest desire to learn about and experience unfamiliar cultures, then giving the Big Blog Exchange a shot (or anothershot) really is a no-brainer.  Indeed off the top of my head, I struggle to name another blogging competition that offers a prize as generous as an all-expenses paid trip to a foreign destination complete with itineraries that promise maximum exposure to the country, her people and her culture.  Being the curious guy that I am, I couldn’t let such a grand opportunity pass me by without giving it another shot.  After all, all I had to do was share my daily experiences with the rest of the world through my photographs and, of course, my writing.  I wanted this;I wanted this real bad.

My recent exchange to Argentina was so culturally- and intellectually-enriching that I feel I must share my journey in the Big Blog Exchange with all of you.  The road for me has been a long and occasionally arduous one.  But as with most things in life, hard work and perseverance usually pay.  I mean, just imagine… Argentina.  In fact, winners can look forward to exchanges anywhere in the world; Iceland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Peru or even Japan.

I’m nearly 50; I work 14 hours a day, six days a week and have only 250 blog followers to my name – pittance compared to many of you.  Hence, if I can win the Big Blog Exchange, so can you.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to how much time and effort you’re willing to put into your blog and into the competition.  It’s also about how you project yourself to the judges through your work.  Above all, it’s about how much you genuinely want to be part of the BBE project and how much heart you’re willing to put in to achieve this end.

The wonderful thing about the Big Blog Exchange is that it’s open to all bloggers regardless of age, blogging experience or following.  So do keep an eye out for next year’s competition by regularly visiting either Hostelling International’s official website or the BBE website for the latest news and announcements.   Remember, if this ol’ fella – a mere hobbyist blogger – can do it, SO CAN YOU!

Good luck.

To read Vincents blog and catch yourself up on the journey he recently embarked on, visit his blog.

You can also catch yourself up on what our 16 winners experienced on their cultural exchange adventures this year by going back to our day 1 daily summary, and making your way to day 10.

If you are still craving an extra dose of the BBE, head over to the site and read through our winners individual blogs to see what they got up to.



Day 2 – BBE daily summary

A few days ago our winning bloggers jumped out of their comfort zones and took off on the adventure of a life time, armed with a backpack of blogging equipment and an open mind. Yesterday on the blog we gave you the low-down on what our bloggers got up to on Halloween, their first full day in their exchange country, and what an amazing day it was! We had Tango lessons in Argentina, Panda costumes in DC, Pumpkin carving contests at HI Vancouver, scary movies in Paris, bucket list wishes ticked off in Brazil and some surfing lessons in Australia. If you missed yesterdays action, click here to catch yourself up!

Remember Twitter is buzzing with live updates on the whereabouts and insights of the 16 winners, to follow live updates of the exchanges – click here!

Yesterday, the 1st November, was the second full day of their exchanges – here is a summary of what our bloggers have been getting up to!

Lucie, France to USA! Lucie has said that the culture shock really hit her when landing in America, but as she put it beautifully ‘It is a different country, there is no need to compare, I needed to just be there and enjoy’. Lucie had an amazing time on her first day in Washington DC, celebrated Halloween in our DC hostel, she saw the Washington monument and the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. Lucie grabbed some lunch in Washington DC yesterday, and made her way over to the next city on her itinerary, Baltimore, Maryland, exploring and staying in our Baltimore hostel!
Follow Lucies journey on Taralynns blog.

dc 2 dc 3 dc luh dc1 dcdc FROM DC TO BALTIMORE Lucie walking in the leaves in DC Rock creek park lucieee LUNCH IN DC on flight skeli



Taralynn, USA to France! Yesterday Taralynn woke up and grabbed some breakfast in Paris at Bobs Bake Shop. After breakfast, she set off to catch her train to Strasbourg – and got a bit lost along the way! The metro system in a new city can be difficult to grasp for somebody who is new to the whole thing, and even after this and a broken luggage wheel (not ideal!) she made it to the hostel in Strasbourg safe and sound. She’s written a blog on Lucies page, the second edition of her day in Paris. Visiting the iconic Notre Dame and seeing the beautiful locks by the river. She may have walked into a pole, as she was embaressed to admit (we’ve all done it!) but she loved Paris, and is now settling in Strasbourg for the next leg of her French adventure. We can’t wait to see what she gets up to in Strasbourg!
Follow Taralynns journey on Lucies blog.


Logan, Canada to India! Logan spent some time in Dehli, and commented on the traffic! “Traffic in India is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. It is tremendously scary and confusing, but provides a unique look into the lives of the locals!.” He had a strange taxi experience involving a Cow and Justin Beiber… but he had a fantastic time exploring Dehli, and has written a post on Purujeets blog about his first impressions of India. Yesterday, he headed over to Agra!
Follow Logans journey on Purujeets blog.

LOGAN INDIA TRAFFIC logan, india after 24 hours on purujeets blog

Purujeet, India to Canada! Purujeet spent yesterday, his second day in Canada in Vancouver! He spent the day exploring, visiting local museums and galleries and spent some time in our Vancouver Downtown hostel. He’s off to Whistler in the morning, and we can’t wait to see what he gets up to.
Follow Purujeets journey on Logans blog.

Capture capture 3







Vincent, Malaysia to Argentina! Yesterday Vincent spent some time in Buenos Aires, and headed off to catch a flight from HS Palermo, Buenos Aires to Mendoza. Vincent arrived at HS Mendoza at middnight, caught up on some sleep and is off to the Andes on his third day!
Follow Vincents journey on Belens blog.

ARRIVAL AT HS MENDOZA best exchange dinner

Belen, Argentina to Malaysia! Belen attended a Malaysian wedding on her first day! She spent some time in Putrajaya –  visited the Convention Centre and went off on a boat ride! She even came across the Durian fruit, a somewhat scary food suggested by her exchange partner “No wonder nobody wants to try it! It smells horrible!” All part of the cultural experience, Belen! 
Follow Belens journey on Vincents blog.

boat ride in putrajaya dinner with erica dinner Durian food from vincent MALAY WEDDING MASJID PUTRA view from putrajaya convention centre

Ainoha, Brazil to Ireland! Ainoha was allocated her traditional Irish name yesterday over breakfast, and made her way over to the incredible city of Cork to do some exploring and meet the Cork City hostel staff!
Follow Ainohas journey on Stephanies blog.

irish name and breakfast Capture

Stephanie, Ireland to Brazil!
Stephanie met our Brazillian BBE 2013 winner yesterday! She spent the day taking in her last dose of Rio, before packing her bags and heading over to the vibrant city of Salvador! She checked into our quirky F Design hostel, pretended to be a monkey for a few selfies and then got out the face paint (and an Irish hat, of course) ready to party Brazillian style for Halloween.
Follow Stephanies journey on Ainohas blog.

1 10735236_1510456755868913_2089638165_n F design ladies room halloween makeup monkey off to salvador rio steps salvador halloween salvador smba Stephanie halloween party makeup brazil

Jono, Australia to Slovenia! Jono visited Bled in Slovenia yesterday, took on some hefty food challenges, rowed a boat on the stunning lake, took some cheesey head shots at Bled castle and enjoyed the stunning view of Bled from our Bled hostel.
Follow Jonos journey on Ninas blog.


bled castle shot Jono challenge bbe shirt pork knuckle lake bled boat view from bled hostel what a day two it has been

Nina, Slovenia to Australia! Nina spent her second day in Sydney, recovering from her surf lessons and had some Kangaroo pizza! Jono, her exchange partner thinks she’s nailing the Aussie lifestyle so far! She made her way over to the Blue Mountains – we’ll see how she got on there tomorrow!
Follow Ninas journey on Jonos blog.

jono tweet Kangaroo pizza Sydney shot weather in sydney

Kitty, Hong Kong to the UK! Kitty has spent her first few days in the UK in the currently chilly capital of London! She’s seen Portabello Market, M&M world in Leicester square, Notting Hill, the Natural History Museum and yesterday – she let her nerd flag flight high and proud and visited Harry Potter Studios. Being a creative breakfast blogger, she’s had a fair few traditional English Breakfasts too!
Follow Kittys journey on Ruths blog.

breakfast brekkie english breakfast kitbs journey map kitty london bus m and m world natural history museum

Ruth, UK to Hong Kong!
Ruth is enjoying the stunning views of Hong Kong, she’s been exploring the streets of the city and the beautiful beaches.
Follow Ruths journey on Kittys blog.

Ruth - day 2 in hong kong photo mash

Manuel, Spain to South Africa!
Manuel went on a horse back beach ride, and took some incredibly stunning photo’s of his views along the way. Follow Manuels journey on Roys blog.

horse ride Capture

Roy, South Africa to Spain! Roy spent his second day in Spain in Burgos, with beautiful clear skies – and visited Burgos Cathedral!
Follow Roys journey on Manuels blog.

burgos Roy - clear spanish skys ROY BURGOS CATHEDRAL

Marcela, Italy to Philippines! Marcela left Manila and headed over to Cebu City. She explored the city and she’s having an incredible time, and getting a taste for the local cuisine! She’s currently in Cebu City preparing for Mactan Island!
Follow Marcelas journey on Tessas blog.

891518_735953376492539_1415071974_n FOOD


Tessa, Philippines to Italy! Tessa spent the day exploring and headed over to Vicenza! Today she is heading over to Venice, and we’ll see what she got up to there tomorrow!
Follow Tessas journey on Marcelas blog.





Remember to check back to the blog tomorrow, we’ll be giving you an overview of what are bloggers are getting up to today on the third day of their exchanges!

Join the conversation #bigblogx

You can see all of the bloggers together by clicking here. They will be posting on their exchange partners blogs for the duration of the 10 day cultural exchanges, sharing everything with you all along the way. It’s day 3 of our 10 day digital trip around the world, and we can’t wait to see what else they get up to. We have an incredible team this year spreading the word of the project in 16 culturally diverse countries, and the adventure is only just beginning!


Winners Landed



A Day With Kisty

Kisty, our winner from Singapore visited the Hostelling International offices on Monday (17th June) to meet the Big Blog Exchange team and enjoy a cupcake reception! She also met the CEO and President of HI, in addition to taking part in an interview about her overall experience!


Kisty meeting our HI President!


BBE team Brianda and Scarlett with the cupcakes for Kisty!

P1000822 P1000799


Traditionally British Scones, Jam and Clotted Cream!

P1020181 P1000800 P1000806 P1000827


We also spent a day in London with her too!

camdenkisty13 camdenkisty1



Thanks for visiting us Kisty! It was great to meet you.

Stay tuned on this blog for the video interviews, we can’t wait to share them!

The last day of the Big Blog Exchange!

We can’t believe it’s over now. It has been an amazing adventure for all. Most of our bloggers are flying home at the moment, reflecting on their 10 days experience. As we mentioned before, some of the bloggers are staying to explore the exchanged destinations for longer at their own expense and with a support of Hostelling International’s National Associations.

Andy Anderson from USA (blogging from Spain)

Andy is now in Granada enjoying the sun. Look at some oh his great shots from his trip to Cordoba!

andyas andycordobe andycordobsd andycorodb andycorsodb

Sara Rodriguez from Spain (blogging from USA)

Sara spent her last day in Santa Monica and is now off to Spain.

hiking at santa monica mountains santa monica 3 santa monica pier art at santa monica

Audur Osp from Iceland (blogging from Israel)

Audur is on her way home now! On her last day, she enjoyed Jerusalem street art and Israel Museum.

audurlastlast night Israel - local beer Israel Museum street art Jerusalem 5audurlastday1 audurlastday23

Ali Karp from Israel (blogging from Iceland)

Ali had a casual drive through a cloud of volcanic ash.

galcier with a volcanic crater which is 5 km diamater GJokulsarlon glacier laggon on her way to vagnstadir Hostel glacier

Kisty Mea from Singapore (blogging from the UK)

Kisty has visited our office today. We had some great laugh together and we also enjoyed some HI cupcakes. She has met BBE team as well as our president Edith Arnoult-Brill and CEO Mikael Hansson.

P1000799 P1000822 P1000801 P1000836 P1000838

Sophie Roberts from UK (blogging from Singapore)

Amazing Asia Adventures came to a close. Sophie is now flying through Malaysia-Singapore-Amsterdam-Geneva-Chamonix to her hometown in the UK.

singapore infinity poolsophiemalay

Rosario Lamastra from Argentina (blogging from New Zealand)

Rosario had spent her last day in Auckland.

Queen Street, Auckland Hot Chocolate time at Hello Kitty Cafe with Amanda Good morning Auckland auckland Auckland Ferry Terminal

Katherine Kearsley from New Zealand (blogging from Argentina)

Katherine is just checking-in at Aeropuerto Internacional de Ezeiza. Here are just couple of shots from her visit of La Boca, a district in Buenos Aires, with a view of a beautiful sunset to finish off an amazing trip.

Colourful buildings in Caminito in La Boca Museum in La Boca Restaurants and cafes in La Boca   Beautiful sunset to finish the tour of La Boca

Natalia from Brazil (blogging from France)

After visiting Carcassonne, she is heading to Biarritz, a beautiful seaside town.

at the entrance

nataliaskasmCarcassonne at nightnataliaslastday


Claire from France (blogging from Brazil)

Claire is flying back to Canada now. She spent her last moments in Rio de Janeiro!

feet  in the sea Christ the Redeemer Ipanema beach Little monkey sugar loaf sunset

Camie Juan from Philippines (blogging from Germany)

Camie is about to cross the border of Germany and Netherlands.

1010600_537443559652113_2013327803_n 1005115_537437756319360_708486322_n

Tina from Germany (blogging from Philippines)

Tina is back in Frankfurt now and is missing Philippines already!

skyline of metro Manila chill out Frankfurt airport

Liesbet from Belgium (blogging from South Africa)

Liesbet is just on the plane back home. She spent an early morning at Table Mountain to end this trip with some great views over Cape Town.

last must to, trip to table mountain liesbet reflecting on her experience what a view The whole #bigblogx Adventure is running to its end

Didi from South Africa (blogging from Belgium)

Didi had an amazing time in Belgium. Now she is on the plane to South Africa. Have a safe flight Didi…

the whole team presents once upon a time in brussels goodbye cute

Jeremy Fowler from Canada (blogging from Malaysia)

Sophie and Jeremy said bye bye to each other and they are both on their way home.

sophie and jeremy

Chee Chingy from Malaysia (blogging from Canada)

Chee spent a day at La Ronde Amusement Park yesterday. She played the Goliath which is the largest, tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada. Afterwards, she got on the Maid of the Mist and got really close to the Niagara Falls. She said it was the best experience ever!

strawberry and dark chocolate crepeLa Ronde Amusement Park Old Montreal at Niagara Falls

Follow all 16 of our winning bloggers over at the , where all of their posts, pictures and experiences will be published daily on the wall.

Have you ever wanted to travel the world in 10 days? Do so through our bloggers eyes! 

Day 10 – BBE Daily Summary!

It’s the last full day for some of our bloggers before flying home, so they are making the very most of their surroundings!

Andy Anderson from USA (blogging from Spain)

Andy has been blogging about his time in Cordoba!

andyas andycordobe andycordobsd andycorodb andycorsodb

Sara Rodriguez from Spain (blogging from USA)

Sara has been staying in Santa Monica! Doesn’t her hostel look amazing!

saralast saralastday saralastday23 saralastdaywe sarlastdfh

Audur Osp from Iceland (blogging from Israel)

Audur has been exploring Israel’s most colourful and energetic sites in her last few days!

audurlast audurlastday audurlastday1 audurlastday23 audurlcik audurs

Ali Karp from Israel (blogging from Iceland)

Ali has been enjoying the Midnight Sun, in Skogar.

alikarpcs alikarpfreidsn

Kisty Mea from Singapore (blogging from the UK)

Kisty has been exploring the (apparently) most haunted city in the UK – York!

kistywork kistywyok kistyyokrghostwalk kistyyork kistyyork1 kistyyork13 kistyyorksd

Sophie Roberts from UK (blogging from Singapore)

Sophie has enjoyed her trip so much, she said that at some points – it has felt like being in a film!

sophieginaspo sophiemalay sophieseaswya

Rosario Lamastra from Argentina (blogging from New Zealand)

Rosario has been visiting Akaroa.

From the bottom of New Zealand RotoruaMemory of a day in Christchurchlive being good in maori

Katherine Kearsley from New Zealand(blogging from Argentina)

Katherine has been enjoying her last few days in Argentina by going on a HI bar crawl with some of the staff from the hostels she has been staying in! All this wine tasting and drinking must be tiring!

attachment On the Hostelling international bar crawl Wine tasting Lekker Wine tasting Winetasting in and around Stellenbosh

Natalia from Brazil (blogging from France)

After two days relaxing in Sète, Natalia visited an oyster farm!

nataliaLASTDAY nataliaskasm NATALIASLAST nataliaslastday

Claire from France (blogging from Brazil)

Claire has been exploring yet more wildlife in Brazil!

clairenature clairenature1 clairenature2 clairenature4 clairenature5 clairenature6

Camie Juan from Philippines (blogging from Germany)

Camie is still busy exploring Germany!

camiejuanfisher camiejuanfisheye

Tina from Germany (blogging from Philippines)

Tina hosted a bloggers meet up for the BBE contestants in Manila! Lots of bloggers attended – and Tina now has a new circle of blogging friends!

tinablgo tinablgo23 tinablgos tinablog tinabohol tinasljd

She’s now on her way home.

Liesbet from Belgium (blogging from South Africa)

After wine tasting in South Africa and she is now ready for the Town Ship Tour and the trip to Robben Isle!

liesbet23 liesbetergf liesbetgjfk

Didi from South Africa (blogging from Belgium)

Didi has been enjoying her last few days with new found friends!

didinew didinew1 didinew3 didinew54 didinew54er

Jeremy Fowler from Canada (blogging from Malaysia)

Sophie and Jeremy are still exploring Malaysia together!


Chee Chingy from Malaysia (blogging from Canada)

Chee has left Toronto and is now in Montreal, a city she immediately fell in love with as soon as she saw how creatively driven it is! This weekend is the Festival International Montreal en Arts which it celebrates music, art, designs and all things artistic!

cheemause cheemontreal cheemonty cheemonty12

Follow all 16 of our winning bloggers over at the , where all of their posts, pictures and experiences will be published daily on the wall.

Have you ever wanted to travel the world in 10 days? Do so through our bloggers eyes! 

Day 9 – BBE Daily Summary!

There’s just a few days left to go – we can’t believe it’s gone so quickly! Our bloggers are still exploring new destinations though, and blogging about it for readers to follow.

Andy Anderson from USA (blogging from Spain)

After exploring ‘beautiful’ Cordoba, Andy is now en route to Sevilla!

andy22 andyas andysfood andytoledo

Sara Rodriguez from Spain (blogging from USA)

Sara has been busy living the LA lifestyle!

Sara LA life sara LA Saralasc Saralash SarLA

Audur Osp from Iceland (blogging from Israel)

Audur says that IYHA (HI’s association in Israel) have been spoiling her whilst she’s been away! Take a look at those lovely views!

audur3 audurj audurjs audurs

Ali Karp from Israel (blogging from Iceland)

Ali has been on a tour of Snæfellsnes!

alikarp1 alikarp2 alikarp3 alikarp5 AliKarp6 Alikarp7

Kisty Mea from Singapore (blogging from the UK)

Kisty has been exploring Robin Hood’s bay – and tasting the English seaside classic ‘Fish & Chips’!

kisty fish and chipskist1 kistry34 kistyfish

Sophie Roberts from UK (blogging from Singapore)

Sophie and Jeremy have been exploring Malaysia together, and their readers have been setting them challenges via Twitter (scroll down to see Jeremy’s challenge below). They are currently at Port Dickson.

Jeremyandsophie JeremyandSophie1


sophiechallenf sophiechallenge Sophiecsing sophiejere sophiesingaporechallenge

Rosario Lamastra from Argentina (blogging from New Zealand)

Rosario has taken some beautiful images of her time in Christchurch!

cheris chircsdh chisdh chris chrisdfk christchurchrosario

Katherine Kearsley from New Zealand (blogging from Argentina)

Katherine has been on another wine tasting expedition (this time by bike) and has met lots of other like-minded adventure seekers!

kapchas kapchasd kapchasfd kpaxhsd

She tried ‘mate’ a type of herbal tea for the first time and really liked it!

Natalia from Brazil (blogging from France)

Natalia has been exploring the medieval town of Carcassone!

natalia3 nataliacas nataliasbac nataliasgjf

Claire from France (blogging from Brazil)

Claire has some fantastic pictures from her trip to Foz do Iguaçu! She even went water rafting!

clairegreen clairegreencroc clairegreensd clairegreensdsd clairegreenwater

Camie Juan from Philippines (blogging from Germany)

Camie is visiting museums today, and getting to know the history of her exchange partner’s home country. Do you normally visit museums when you travel?

camiegreat camieicecream camiejuasnsd camiemilka

Tina from Germany (blogging from Philippines)

Like the true foodie she is, Tina travelled around Cebu with her taste buds!

tinafoodie tinafoodie1 tinafoodre tinagoodie

Liesbet from Belgium (blogging from South Africa)

Liesbet went on a lions walk yesterday, and managed to spot two! One had even managed to climb up a tree!

liesbet23 liesbetdf liesbetlions liesbetliontree

Didi from South Africa (blogging from Belgium)

After meeting lots of new friends in Bruges and Ghent, Didi made her way to Brussels yesterday! And already, it looks like she’s having a great time!

didi233 didikadd didisdkhgdghjfg didisjhr didiwejkdhf

Jeremy Fowler from Canada (blogging from Malaysia)

Sophie and Jeremy are continuing their adventure around Malaysia.


One of Jeremy’s readers challenged him to try Durian fruit icecream (also known as the smelly fruit). Sophie took a photo of him tasting it, which he described as being between ‘awful’ and ‘death’.


Chee Chingy from Malaysia (blogging from Canada)

After mountain biking for the first time yesterday, Chee is now in Toronto!

cheemoutan cheetoronoto cheetoronto

Follow all 16 of our winning bloggers over at the , where all of their posts, pictures and experiences will be published daily on the wall.

Have you ever wanted to travel the world in 10 days? Do so through our bloggers eyes! 

Day 8 – BBE Daily Summary!

Our bloggers have been busy exploring their exchange destinations, and blogging! Make sure you catch up on all of their posts here. Until then, here’s a little summary of what they’ve been getting up to.

Andy Anderson from USA (blogging from Spain)

This morning, Andy was featured in The Advocate as the ‘Face of the new diplomacy’. What a great article!

Face of the ‘new diplomacy’ - People - The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

He has been staying in Toledo for the past few days, in a real Castle!

Toledo1 Toledo2 Toledo5 Toledo8

Sara Rodriguez from Spain (blogging from USA)

Sara blogged today about staying in green-eco hostel Boston!

Boston Hostel boston hall

In addition to having a perfect day ‘surrounded by nature’!

Seals-Beach Año-Nuevo-State-Park Path Seals

She is currently staying in this amazing lighthouse hostel! Yes, we do have a hostel in a lighthouse!


Audur Osp from Iceland (blogging from Israel)

We absolutely loved Audur’s latest post ‘An Eskimo in The Desert’ depicting her first experience in desert surroundings, coming from the cold climates of Iceland.

Yesterday, she lazed by the pool – chatting to the lifeguard. She said that ‘every pool should come with a handsome flirty lifeguard’!

masada hostel view Camels in the desert desert Lazing by the pool

Ali Karp from Israel (blogging from Iceland)

Ali visited a glacier yesterday – and is up to more exploring today!

Ali visiting Glacier All wrapped up to visit the glacier Ali karp visiting Glacier

Kisty Mea from Singapore (blogging from the UK)

Kisty is visiting Boggle Hole and Robin Hood’s bay today!

View today bought a new camera

“This camera was not part of my itinerary”. Kisty couldn’t resist buying a new camera!

kisty in church view back to hostel

Sophie Roberts from UK (blogging from Singapore)

Today, Sophie and Jeremy jumped on the bus to Malaysia together – ready to explore the historical city of Malacca. They will be hosted by HI Malaysia for the remainder of the trip, before Sophie flies back to Singapore for her flight home! We can’t believe it’s gone so quickly!

Twitter - hostellingspore- @challengesophie @fowlerjeremy ... Twitter - hostellingspore- @challengesophie @fowlerjereefrmy ...

Yesterday however, a dream came true for Sophie as she visited an infinity pool in Singapore that her brother had shown her a picture of many years back. She claimed at the time that ‘one day I will visit’ – and yesterday, was that day!

singapore infinity pool1 best pool ever DSC_0072we sentosa sentosa1 singapore bloggers infinity pool singapore cocktail singapore infinity pool

How amazing is that view!


When exploring Sentosa with HI representative Jo, she came across pink dolphins. We didn’t even know they existed! Apparently, they turn more pink the older they get.

Rosario Lamastra from Argentina (blogging from New Zealand)

Rosario is continuing to explore Christchurch today!

christchurch3 christchurch4 rosario bike tour christchurch christchurch2

Katherine Kearsley from New Zealand(blogging from Argentina)

Katherine is visiting Alta Montana, where it goes from hot – to freezing cold (and snow) within a few steps!

Yesterday summer shoes. Today snow and leg warmers. #altamontana amazing An old inca bridge and abandoned hot spa on the way up the mountain Cute little place we stopped for breakfast on the #altamontana tour today he lookout point to the #Aconcagua Mountain Photo by kapcha • Instagram the view

Natalia from Brazil (blogging from France)

Natalia is still exploring the lovely Lyon!

Sète was the place I ate the mos delicious food in this trip so far bouchon bouchon2 bouchon3 bouchon4 dish Just relaxing lyon Sète

Claire from France (blogging from Brazil)

Claire has been swimming in the falls!

swimming in the falls waterfall a hat fruit for breakfast pool

Camie Juan from Philippines (blogging from Germany)

Camie’s latest blog post ‘falling in love with Bavaria’ outlined Camie’s dream to visit a Castle!

big-blog-exchange-germany-bavaria-neuschwanstein big-blog-exchange-germany-bavaria big-blog-exchange-germany-bavaria-2 big-blog-exchange-germany-bavaria-3 big-blog-exchange-germany-bavaria-hohenschwangau

Looks like her dream came true!

Tina from Germany (blogging from Philippines)

Tina has been enjoying a little slice of Paradise!

whale shark tipping over boat best mangoes in the world flower of south east asia island shrine lunchforone on Instagram lunchforone on Instagram1 lunchforone on Instagram3 tasting lechon

She even spotted a whale shark! And has been updating regularly on Instagram!

Liesbet from Belgium (blogging from South Africa)

It’s the last day on Liesbet’s Garden Route Tour – take a look at her pictures!

View out of our room this night Braai and marshmallows for the last evening of our Garden Route braai with gumboot dancing on the beach Day Tour with guide Nizaam on Sunday 9th June Day Tour with guide Nizaam on Sunday 9th June 2 hike to stormsriver mouth2 hike to the Stormsriver mouth I am also a campfire-addict liesbet on a bike tour Relaxing at the Indian Ocean relaxing beach Stormsriver ... Woaw the guide that can make magic happen

Didi from South Africa (blogging from Belgium)

Didi’s adventure was featured in a newspaper this morning! How amazing is that!

Ballonvaarder maakt droom Didi waar - Jeugdherbergen in Vlaanderen en Brussel

Yesterday, she took a hot air balloon ride around the city. Meaning she had an amazing view of her surroundings to take pictures of!

hot air baloon day5 baloon baloon2 didi with a friend from baloon from baloon2 hot air baloon day hot air baloon day2 hot air baloon day4

Jeremy Fowler from Canada (blogging from Malaysia)

Jeremy has had a great few days exploring Singapore, but is now heading back to Malaysia (with Sophie) to explore the historical city of Malacca!

Twitter - hostellingspore- @fowlerjeremy trying the hard ... Twitter - hostellingspore- @challengesophie @fowlerjereefrmy ... Twitter - hostellingspore- @challengesophie @fowlerjeremy ... Twitter - hostellingspore- @fowlerjeremy having a nice ... Twitter - hostellingspore- @fowlerjeremy having the feel ...

Chee Chingy from Malaysia (blogging from Canada)

start of hike hiking for 5 hours HI-Lake Louise Alpine Centre

Chee has been hiking and white water rafting today! Wow!

Good morning! Waiting for laundry after mountain biking before white water rafting

Follow all 16 of our winning bloggers over at the , where all of their posts, pictures and experiences will be published daily on the wall.

Have you ever wanted to travel the world in 10 days? Do so through our bloggers eyes! 

Day 7 – BBE Daily Summary!

Day 7 of the Big Blog Exchange has been full of adventure and activity! There’s only three days left of the official exchange (although several of our bloggers are staying a few days extra at their own expense to explore a little further!). We hope you’re enjoying exploring 16 different countries all at the same time, alongside our bloggers!

Andy Anderson from USA (blogging from Spain)

Andy told Sara’s readers that when travelling, he rarely chooses to visit and appreciate the local art – but when afforded the opportunity to in Madrid, he was pleased that he grasped the chance too, as he really enjoyed it!

andy1 andy22

When you travel, do you look around local art galleries too?

Sara Rodriguez from Spain (blogging from USA)

Sara is now exploring California, and absolutely loves her new surroundings!

hostelcali hostelviewhostelcali

The hostel she was staying in, even had a hot tub! Check out her view!

hostel hot tub

Audur Osp from Iceland (blogging from Israel)

Despite initial reservations about visiting Israel, Audur is really enjoying her BBE adventure – and has said it’s opened her eyes much more!


Take a look at her salad ‘starter’, it looks like a full meal!


Ali Karp from Israel (blogging from Iceland)

Today, Ali will be jumping on a snowmobile and checking out a large glacier!

ali23 alicsd alier

Kisty Mea from Singapore (blogging from the UK)

Kisty has been enjoying the English countryside, but is also looking forward to returning to London to explore some of the local museums – and visiting the HI offices!

kistry34 kisty23 kisty34 kistyer4


Sophie Roberts from UK (blogging from Singapore)

Sophie is exploring Singapore further (and Island hopping) with fellow BBE winner Jeremy! She will then head back to Malaysia (with Jeremy) for more adventures!

BBEwineners sophiejere sophiejerem

Rosario Lamastra from Argentina (blogging from New Zealand)

Rosario has been getting active whilst exploring Christchurch!

rosario12 rosariochristchurch rosariochsc

Yesterday she took a cool sip at the Ice Bar in Queenstown!


Katherine Kearsley from New Zealand (blogging from Argentina)

Katherine has been taking a trip to the wineries for some wine tasting!

wine12wine233 winert

Natalia from Brazil (blogging from France)

Natalia has been blogging from sunny Lyon today, it looks lovely!

nataliassd nataliassdfdf nataliassfdfd nataliaw2 natalisdlyon

Claire from France (blogging from Brazil)

Claire has written about her time in Sao Paulo today, and has some amazing pictures to share!

claires claires1 claires3 claires4 claires6 claires67 claires658

Camie Juan from Philippines (blogging from Germany)

Camie has recently blogged about her time in Germany – meeting new friends and visiting sites of historical interest. We love hearing and seeing what she has been up to!

camiediner camiejuan camiemunichcamie

Tina from Germany (blogging from Philippines)

Tina has been exploring Cebu and Bohol’s beautiful landscapes and nature! We love her captioned pictures in her latest blog post!

tina manila tinacdf tinacebu tinargofij tinasddfg tinasdf tinasdgfg

Liesbet from Belgium (blogging from South Africa)

Liesbet has been having an amazing time on Safari in South Africa!

liesberoijt liesberouhr liesbetrffk liesbetrjsdf liesbrtt

Didi from South Africa (blogging from Belgium)

Didi has been having lots of fun adventures in Bruges, with a new travel companion that she met at the hostel! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jeremy Fowler from Canada (blogging from Malaysia)

Jeremy Fowler is still exploring Singapore with fellow BBE winner Sophie! Today, he had lots of fun island hopping!

Jeremy13 Jeremy34 Jeremysophie

And consulting the Indian fortune teller. “Please tell me I will be the final winner for the Big Blog Exchange”!


Before visiting the Sentosa Aquarium!

Chee Chingy from Malaysia (blogging from Canada)

Chee checked into the picturesque Lake Louise hostel yesterday, before exploring what it’s surroundings had to offer!

cheeepidufj cheeisdfkjf cheeisjdhdsf cheejdjf cheekjldfdf cheesddfn chereiufkj

Today, she has her own cabin at HI Banff!

Follow all 16 of our winning bloggers over at the , where all of their posts, pictures and experiences will be published daily on the wall.

Have you ever wanted to travel the world in 10 days? Do so through our bloggers eyes! 

Day 6 – BBE Daily Summary!

We can’t believe it’s already day 6 and we are more than half the way through the BBE adventure! It’s been so fantastic seeing what the other bloggers are up to around the world each day, and we hope you’ve enjoyed following them too. There’s still lots more to come!

Andy Anderson from USA (blogging from Spain)

Andy spent the day in Cordoba today, exploring his local surroundings! We’re yet to hear how he got on, but here are some great pictures from his time in Madrid!

Madrid - Richard Schirmman Hostel - Andy  Madrid - Albergue Juvenil San fermin Madrid - Albergue Juvenil San fermin 3 Madrid - Richard Schirmman Hostel

Sara Rodriguez from Spain (blogging from USA)

Sara is in San Francisco, and has spotted not only wildlife (sea lions on the pier) but lots of great architecture too!

Photo by mindfultravel • Instagram34 56 mindfultravel on Instagra3m mindfultravel on Instagram5 Photo by mindfultravel • Instagram

Audur Osp from Iceland (blogging from Israel)

Audur is currently staying in the beautiful city of Akko at the Akko Knights Hostel (which is very eco-friendly and modern!). She has a beautiful view from her room’s balcony!

iheartreykjavik on Instagram I heart Reykjavík I heart Reykjavík2 I heart Reykjavík5 I heart Reykjavík56 I heart Reykjavík57 I heart Reykjavík567

Ali Karp from Israel (blogging from Iceland)

Ali is really enjoying her time in Iceland, and has even had a go at driving on the right hand side of the road – all on her own!

Iceland 1 Iceland 2 iceland 4 Iceland 9 Iceland 10 Iceland 11

She is currently staying in the brand new Reykjavik Loft Hostel. Check out her view!


Kisty Mea from Singapore (blogging from the UK)

Kisty is in Ambleside today, on a Lake Cruise – look at the wonderful views!

1013660_355587484563471_1583546336_n Photo by kistybelle • Instagram

She has blogged about her last few days on Sophie’s blog, so make sure you check that out here.

img_5943 9019733818_559d0aa4fd_c 9019827882_88bc5f6474_c 9019861176_a71a393988_c 9020450018_b06fb020c7_b img_5941

Sophie Roberts from UK (blogging from Singapore)

Sophie was sad to leave Costa Sands resort this morning (pictured with a staff member), but was really looking forward to meeting up with Jeremy in Singapore – and exploring the island together!

Twitter - challengesophie- Sad to leave beautiful Costa ...

She woke up today with a cold, feeling a little under the weather, but hopefully her healthy exotic breakfast by the poolside will cheer her up!

Twitter - challengesophie- Today's poolside breakfast ...

She has had some fantastic memories (and a great Singapore adventure) so far!

Singapore Sentosa (3) 1598_10151417319631787_899335499_n Singapore Sentosa Singapore Sentosa (1) Singapore Sentosa (2)

But was really excited to meet fellow BBE winner Jeremy and join him in exploring! Here they are together on the Singapore Flyer, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Twitter - hostellingspore- @fowlerjeremy @challengesophie ... Twitter - hostellingspore- @challengesophie in the capsule ... Twitter - hostellingspore- @challengesophie with the ...

Rosario Lamastra from Argentina (blogging from New Zealand)

Rosario is currently visiting Arrowtown, a city of gold!

rosario tumblr_inline_mo8u966sB51qz4rgp tumblr_inline_mo8uhr11HB1qz4rgp arrowtown good morning Memories of a day at Arrowtown Queenstown

Katherine Kearsley from New Zealand(blogging from Argentina)

Katherine visited El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires today, in her own words ‘the closest thing you’ll find to heaven in a bookstore’.Picked up some watermelon shoes won bingo on the bus to Mendoza Falafel for lunch heaven in a bookstore IMG_3295

And now she is heading to Mendoza!

Natalia from Brazil (blogging from France)

Natalia is enjoying exploring Lyon!

crepe balcony in lyon

She loves the traditional balconies – and the delicious crepes!

cherries Roman ruins

Claire from France (blogging from Brazil)

Today, Claire visited Parque Das Aves..

toucan DSC_1996_edit1-1 DSC_2011-1 in front of the hostel parrot

And wrote an article about where to stay in Sao Paulo!

Camie Juan from Philippines (blogging from Germany)

Camie is on her way to Berlin, after thoroughly enjoying her time in Munich. The German Association sent over these images of her arrival a few days ago – and we couldn’t help but share them!

Big Blog Exchange_Camie Juan_07062013_19 Big Blog Exchange_Camie Juan_07062013_5 Big Blog Exchange_Camie Juan_07062013_6 Big Blog Exchange_Camie Juan_07062013_9 Big Blog Exchange_Camie Juan_07062013_13

Munich Park Hostel have sent Camie on her way to Berlin after a few days there. Camie says she’s going to miss it!

camie munich park hostel

Tina from Germany (blogging from Philippines)

Harking back to her backpacker days, Tina decided to live life like a local and flag down a ride from a motorbike in Bohol!

flag down a ride from the locals

Before taking a ride on a boat!

And sunbathing in Paradise!


Liesbet from Belgium (blogging from South Africa)

Liesbet has enjoyed another day of road tripping, whilst riding on an elephant (wow) and visiting Cango caves! What an adventure!

route62 The elephant I rode #cangocaves awesome view BBE Crawling through the #Cangocaves Elephant ride and feed Evening walk along the Indian Ocean Riding an Elephant and crossing hippos Roadtripping

She is currently staying is Hostel Jeffreys Bay – Island Vibe Backpackers, a real surfers’ paradise!


She has also written an article about how she is using BBE t-shirt to gather signatures of all the people who taught her something along her travels!

Didi from South Africa (blogging from Belgium)

Didi has been catching up on her rest as since she arrived she has been on the go non-stop! dsc_0716 dsc_0706 dsc_0710

The hostel manager at De Perdevisser hostel in Oostduinkerke where she is staying, kindly let her sleep in, rest up and saved her some breakfast!

dsc_0712 dsc_0738 (1)

The hostel itself is named after the fishermen that go fishing for shrimp on horseback! Very few people in the world still do this though!

dsc_0819 dsc_0717 dsc_0734 dsc_0818

Today, she continues her journey – and has arrived in Bruges!

didi hot air baloon

Last night, she went on a hot air balloon! Wow!