Katie Williams hiking in the mountains of Idaho

This Idaho local’s guide to falling in love with travel and the great outdoors

Katie Williams, the dynamic voice behind travelingspud.com, brings a unique perspective to the world of travel. Her blog captures the essence of diverse cultures and stunning landscapes, highlighting the beauty and complexity of destinations around the globe. With a love for travel – both near and far, she often embraces the thrill of road tripping and the serene beauty of the great outdoors. Through her engaging stories and vivid photography, Katie shares her experiences, offering valuable insights and inspiration to fellow travelers and dreamers alike.

How did you fall in love with travel and what motivated you to quit your job and start a blog?

Growing up in Idaho, we didn’t travel much, so when I got to college and had the opportunity to study abroad in London, that was huge for me! After that, I got accepted to go on a service trip to Ghana, and that’s when my travel bug truly kicked in! I became obsessed with travel after that. 

I moved to San Francisco after college and made sure to get a job that allowed me to travel as much as possible. I ended up doing events for a tech company and got to travel a lot. That’s when I started my blog and also when I knew I needed to save up money to travel ‘long term’. Eventually, after about two years of saving, I saved enough to make it happen! I ended up traveling about 14 months solo around the world and recap a lot of my adventures on Instagram @travelingspud and TikTok @travelingspud!

Any insights you would want to share with beginner travelers?

My biggest tip would be to do your research about the places you want to travel. Research: 

  • safety measures about that particular place 
  • determine if you’ll need a visa, get travelers insurance
  • set a budget 
  • make a list of your ‘must-do’ activities so you can plan your trip around those

I also recommend checking to see if there are any particular customs you must follow, like dress code, etc. Another big tip is to try to book your stay in a central location so you can walk or easily get around the places you want to visit. And as a woman, I always recommend arriving at a new destination before sunset.

I love that you feature your home state of Idaho so often and congrats on being named a top 15 influencer of the Northwest! What’s your favorite part of the state and what did it mean to you to win something that represents where you grew up?

Thank you!! My favorite part of the state is two small mountain towns: McCall, Idaho, and Stanley, Idaho. McCall is on a beautiful lake with so much to do, and Stanley is located near the Sawtooth Mountains—breathtaking mountains in Idaho that can’t be missed. I’m also obsessed with our hot springs! We have 130+ soakable hot springs in Idaho. 

To win the award was so amazing! I’ve had my blog since 2015 and have put a lot of sweat and tears into building the brand, so it meant a lot to be recognized for it after so much hard work!

You have an online course on empowering women to plan and make their dream trips happen. What tips can you share from the course that you think everyone can learn from? 

My course was a labor of love during the pandemic and helped keep me sane because I could live vicariously through teaching people about long-term travel!

This course is great for anyone looking to travel solo long-term! It’s mostly created with the female traveler in mind. Inside are all of my tips and tricks about traveling long term, including where to book your stays, what apps to use, how to budget and determine where you are going, what insurance is best, visas, and documents you need. I even included advice on what to do about laundry while traveling long term! I really wish there had been something like this for me before I took off on my year-long trip. Check it out here. 

What are some of your favorite activities to do when you travel?

The first thing I love to do when I enter a new city is to go on a free city walking tour. These are always so good, and you get a lay of the land before you can dive into things that sound interesting to you! 

I’m also a big fan of cooking classes in new countries. It’s a great way to learn about new cultures and learn a new skill as well. 

As an outdoorsy, road trip extraordinaire, what is your top destination recommendation, and what’s still on your bucket list?

I’m biased, but I truly love being outdoors in Idaho. Mainly because we don’t get the crowds like other states do, so backpacking in the Sawtooths is just gorgeous with not as many people!

I am also obsessed with Alaska, and exploring the outdoors in Southeast Asia was jaw-dropping!

As for road trips, I love road-tripping through Oregon, it’s so beautiful. I’m going on a road trip to New Zealand in February, so I can’t wait! On my bucket list, I’d love to drive across the USA and Canada in a campervan!

Winter camping/hiking: yes or no and why?

Yes! But make sure you have the right gear!

What are your travel must-haves?

I am currently obsessed with my Nordace Backpack Siena 17 Pro. It’s a great travel backpack. I also always bring my luggage scale so I can be sure to be underweight in my luggage while traveling. My Charles Schwab debit card comes with me to new countries always—especially if a country is cash forward because it has zero foreign withdrawal ATM fees, and that’s huge when traveling.

What advice would you give to someone who would love to travel but is not sure where to start and how to plan?

There are so many travel blogs out there, and I’d recommend either asking someone who has traveled before or going online to research all you can about the basics of travel. But remember, you learn a lot about travel while on the road! So don’t feel like you need to know it all, just the basics. You’ll learn the rest when you’re out there! 🙂

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