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Poll results - June 21

The day has arrived once more for the poll results. This time with the question: What are you doing this summer?
And as you might have guessed most of you will be traveling. Let yourself sound off on where you will be going.

Have some great traveling time!

A traveler

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A close look at the new travel sites

The internet is developing everyday. And so are the travel online sites. There is a great quantity of new travel sites that spring up every month. Some make a difference and others end up to be just another online travel site. Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Hotels.com and Travelocity for instance have been on the scene for quite a number of years. And we all know what a difference they have made since the old days when the only option was a travel agency.

Nowadays people DIY by searching and planning for their own travel arrangements. Mostly online. Not only can you find the best deals this way. But you can find them in the comfort of your own home.

So what are the new rising and notable online travel sites? What do they offer? Do they actually make a difference? There is only one way to find out. That is to actually go to the websites to try them out. And that is exactly what I did.

Here are the results for each of the new sites:


DealBase.com - Basically can be summed as a travel deal database. The site claims that they have the "largest collection of hotel deals and discount offers on the planet." And with their Deal Analyzer they compare the deal with the full price. With it you can find out how much you are actually saving.

With the possibility to search by destination it is easy to find all the deals for the destination you would like to visit. Once you find your destination you could customize the search results to your Hotel class, tags, month of travel, minimum required nights and price range.

Definitely a site to check out when planning for a trip. Though the design and color background is a little bit unattractive. And there is also a chance that you will not be one of the lucky ones to actually find a deal that suits all of your needs.


Nextstop.com - Without even reaching its first birthday Nextstop is already on

e of the big social-networking/travel-recommendation site. The site is based on "short, positive, recommendations from people all around the world". Here you could find what others like of a particular destination.

When I searched for "Tasmania" for example I received two full guides on Hobart and nine different recommendations. These recommendations can help you find unique spots in Tasmania to visit. Noticeable about it though is that almost all the recommendations are restaurants. So if you are looking for attractions or adventure so far there is none for Tasmania.

In short it is a great site to get some recommendations but yet you are not guaranteed to find a review on what you are looking for.


BestTravelDeals.net - Another site with much potential. This site is only a couple of weeks old and still has a lot of growing to do. Nevertheless it is a great business idea.

The concept is that users get to share deals and users get to vote on them. And the deals with

the best votes get to appear on the front page. So it is a the site to visit when you want to find out what is hot out there.

It will probably take a while before you could get the best deals out there on this site. Since the site only has 135 members at the moment. But it is definitely a site worth joining!



Voyij.com - Voyij seems like the upcoming name in online travel sites. The site offers the possibility that most of us have been longing for. All you need to do is enter your departing airport and when you are ready to leave. In return you will get a vast amount of hotels, flights and vacation packages that are on sale. Do I even have to say more?


These are what I have found of these websites. Check them out for yourself and let me know what you think. Have a great time exploring.


More about travel sites:


CNN's top 25 travel sites (by category)

Kiplinger.com's 30 best travel sites (by category)

Budget travel's 5 best travel sites

Surfing the wave of new travel Web sites


A traveler



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Poll results - June 7

Posted on: June 7, 2009

As promised today is the day to announce the poll results to the question: What type of vacation spot do you prefer?
According to the results 40% of you like it warm and breezy. So places like Jamaica, Cyprus, Turkey, Ecuador and Fiji or anywhere near these places would be a great vacation spot for you.
Thank you for voting. Don't forget to vote on the new poll starting tomorrow.

A traveler


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Your oppertunity to sound off!

Posted on: June 1, 2009

Since I got such great response on the last poll. Starting today there will be a new poll on Travel destinations to visit every week. This will give you an opportunity to sound off your opinion around the topic Travel Destinations.
A new poll will be posted every Monday and the results will be posted on Sunday. So check back every Monday and Sunday to see the opinions of others just like you.

This weeks poll is: What type of vacation spot do you prefer?
And you could locate it at your left-hand side of this page.

Enjoy!
A traveler

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Stay in luxury for cheap

Posted on: May 31, 2009

Vacation rentals have changed a lot in the last couple of years. With the growing use of the Internet, a larger inventory and the recession in the US vacation rental prices and availability has changed.
Nowadays people are renting for shorter periods of time and are not willing to pay as much as they used to. Furthermore most renters choose to negotiate the price before they rent.

Because of this property owners are put in the position where they are almost forced to lower the prices and offer vacation rentals for shorter periods of time.

This means great news for renters. According to HomeAway about 66 percent of US property owners have lowered their prices for rentals this year in response to the recession. Rentals are offered for as much as $1000 cheaper all across the States.

States like Florida, California and Hawaii have great rentals that start from $30 US per night. For awesome condos with everything you will need for an amazing vacation with your family, friends, alone or with that special someone.

And it is not only properties in the States where the rental prices are going down. But all around the world there are great bargains to find. Whether you like the hot weather or prefer a colder weather there is a vacation rental for you.

On sites like Vacation Rentals, Vacation Rentals By Owner and Vacation Rentals web directory you can find the resources you need to find that perfect spot for you. By looking at their current deals, searching by location, price and even read testimonials of renters just like you that stayed there.

So do not hesitate but start your search today for that perfect vacation rental just for you.

A traveler

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News: Bring your pet along on flights

Posted on: May 29, 2009

"Southwest airlines now boarding pets" is what the headline reads today on the Southwest Airlines blog, with a very attractive video posted right underneath it.
This means that Southwest is finally breaking their no pets allowed policy. The P.A.W.S (Pets Are Welcome on Southwest) policy will come in effect for tickets booked after June 1st and the travel date later than June 17th of 2009. And it will only cost you $75 each way.

On the P.A.W.S website Southwest claims to have added this service because "Southwest Airlines wants to enhance the Customer Experience for pet-LUVing travelers". And that they will accept all "small cats and dogs in carriers that can be stowed under the Customer’s seat".
So basically if you are a "pet-LUVer" this is an incredible new policy for you.

The application process is easy. Just follow the instructions of Ace the dog on the video to know how to bring your pet on your next flight.

For more info:
P.A.W.S website
Southwest blog
Southwest homepage


A traveler

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Poll results

Thank you all for participating in the poll. The results are in! And they show that 77% of you has traveled outside of your home country more than once.
This means that most of you have experienced at least some other country in the world. So continue to visit Travel destinations to visit before you die! Your source of information on great destinations to visit plus tips on how to get there.

A traveler

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Adventurous vacation in Tasmania


If you like to have an adventurous time in nature, you will find something to keep you busy on the island of Tasmania. There is tons of nature to see on this island. From rivers to caves, mountains to wild coasts there must be some part of nature there that you have never seen before.
Not only is there exciting nature there, but there is adventurous activities to do in nature as well. Like abseiling, surfing, rafting, hang gliding, diving or just hiking in the bushes.

Located south-east of Australia, Tasmania is an Australian island and state. The point farthest west is said to be the edge of the world, even though this is just a nickname. The "island of inspiration" and "natural state" are other nicknames for this island. Due to the large unspoiled nature.
Government areas are situated in Hobart, which is also the capital of Tasmania. And the name Tasmania comes from Abel Tasman, the dutch explorer who is believed to have discovered the island.
The climate on Tasmania includes four seasons, but because it is located on the southern hemisphere the summer is starts in December and ends in February. Which would be the ideal months to visit if you would like to explore all the different natural landmarks.


Adventurous places that are a must visit in Tasmania are:

Cataracts Gorge - Visited by tourists from all around the world it is home of the King's Bridge-Cataract Walk. A bridge build in the 1890's that runs along the north bank of the Cataracts Gorge river. Here could also find the longest chairlift in the world.

Freycinet National Park - Famous for the secluded Wineglass bay, voted many times as one of the world's best ten beaches.

Hasting Caves - The largest tourism cave in Australia. Things to do include: relaxing in the warm waters of a thermal springs pool, hiking in the reserved forests and exploring Newdegate Cave. The latter includes chambers that began forming millions of years ago.

King Island - "It's an island of long, empty beaches and clean, fresh air, offshore reefs, rocky coasts, lighthouses and more than 70 shipwreck sites." According to discovertasmania.com

Port Arthur - Though not a nature spot, it is definitely worth seeing. Port Arthur is a small town and former convict settlement in Tasmania. There you could find the open air museum which is officially Tasmania's top tourist attraction.

As you could see there is plenty to do in Tasmania. So visit discovertasmania.com to start planning your ultimate adventure vacation.

A traveler


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Comments

Please let me and others know what you think of this blog by commenting on this post. And don't forget to comment on what you think about the other posts.
It would also be great to hear what you would want to read about.

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Aurora borealis - Alaska

It seems like all of the beautiful things to see on earth have names that feel awkward to say. Yet all of them are worth seeing.
When I first heard about the Aurora Borealis I had probably just like you no clue on what to think. Is it a country, city, place, monument? When I learned the answer to this question, it completely blew my mind away. I could not believe such thing existed here on earth. I could not believe it exists at all. But it actually does.

Lucky for me I found out after some research that it is also called the Northern polar lights. Becuase you can only view it in the Northern hempisphere sky. The aurora borealis is what could be called an all natural light color display. The are usually seen in the night and mostly in the polar regions of the earth. Nevertheless they can be seen all around the world.

The Aurora is something that many scientists are not able to explain yet. The closest they came to an explanation of it is that it is a glow of solar particles blown into the earth's magnetic field more than 60 miles above the earth's surface at speeds up to 35,000 miles per hour.
But if you are not too much into science, the Cree people had an easier explination for this phenomenon. Namely, "Dance of the Spirits".


Even though it is said that you could see this phenomenon all around the world. The best places to see it is at places closer to the North Magnetic Pole like Fairbanks, Alaska. You could find (all inclusive) tours or lodges/hotels there you could chose frome to view this phenomenon.
I would recomend the all inclusive tours. Though they might cost a little bit more, you will be sure you would not have anything to worry about. Except souvenier shopping maybe.
Prices could start as low as US$ 500 and could go up to US$ 5000 for 3 to 5 days of seeing the beauties of the earth we're living on.
The best time of the year to visit is between March to April and September to October. During this time you will find frequent displays, clear skies and generally mild weather.

So if you are trying to see something different, relaxing and beautiful a Aurora borealis viewing trip in Alaska would be it.

A traveler

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5 days left

Don't forget to vote on the poll! Only 5 days left.

A traveler

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Burj Al Arab

Maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't yet. But this extrordinary hotel is actually one of the only 7-star hotels in the world. It is the second tallest hotel in the world and is constructed on a artificial island. Burj Al Arab is located just outside of Jumeirah beach in Dubai and is connected to the mainland through a special bridge.

Exterior

The aspect of this hotel that is most noticable is that it is shaped in the sail of a boat. Just one look at this hotel and it is guaranteed that it will take your breath away. The sail is completely white by day but turns in an amazing canvas of rainbow light displays at night.



Interior


On the inside the Burj Al Arab is just as breathtaking as on the outside. Arabian-influenced geometries are found everywhere in the building. All the 28 double-story floors have their own lobby area to easily accomodate the 202 suites. The suite sizes vary from an area of 1,820 sq ft to 8,400 sq ft. Suites f eature luxurious design details like white tuscan columns and spiral staircases covered in marble with a 24-carat gold leaf railing. Bathrooms include mosaic tile patterns both on the floors and on the walls.

Service

Burj Al Arab has one of the widest selection of Rolls Royce's waiting to take you as their guest anywhere you would love to go. As well as an helicopter to either fly you in from the airport or for a skyview tour of Dubai. When arrived at the hotel as a guest you will be welcomed rose water, refreshing cold towels, dates, Bakhoor and authentic Arabic coffee.
Furthermore there will be a brigade of exclusive butlers that provide around the clock assistance to each and every guest waiting.

Together with all this you will also receive unlimited access to the Wild Wadi Water Park and an array of watersports at Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Madinat Jumeirah.

With the prices varying between US$1,000 and US$28,000 it is one of the most expesive hotels around the world. But if you are looking for some relaxing, luxurious time Burj Al Arab is truly the place to be.

A Traveler


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Cambodia - Angor Wat

While searching for the next adventurous place I would like to visit I stumbled upon a site that introduced me to Cambodia. It was not the first time I heard the name, but maybe just like you it was the first time I heard what was there.

The country of Cambodia is found in South East Asia close to Thailand and Vietnam. Phnom Penh is the largest city and also the capital of this country of 14 million.Cambodia has been closed for tourism for years. It was until recently that tourists are allowed to visit. Because of this the country is also very "raw", not much of the westernized culture can be seen in Cambodia. Yet you will be able to find two 5-star hotels in Phnom Penh: The Intercontinental and Raffles Le Royal. Where tourists can stay in style.

Phnom Penh
There is much to see in the city of Phnom Penh. Attractions like the National Museum, Wat Phnom and the Independance monument are visited by hundreds of tourists every day. Furthermore there are markets where you could get great deals on western brands.

Angor Wat

The most stunning attraction though is found outside the capital in Angor. Where you will find the temples of Angor. You might have seen them before in the movie Tomb Raider.Angor Wat is the largest religious building in the world and has drawn visitors from all over the world. This temple was first hindu, then buddhist. It is the most well perseved temple in the area. And definetly a must see.
As you can read Cambodia is definatly the place to visit if you are looking for something out of the ordinary. So let me know of your experience there or if there is anything you would like to add.


A traveler



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New poll!!

Let me know if you've ever traveled outside your home country. I placed a poll at your right hand side of this page. Poll closes in 25 days so vote now!

A traveler

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Maya ruins Belize

If you like history and beauty, the Maya ruins in Belize are the place to be. There are different Maya ruins in Belize. It is said that that the Maya have been in this region since the second millenium BC. But they were wiped out by sicknesses and conflicts with the European settlers.
The most popular Maya ruins in Belize are:


  • Caracol - The center of the largest Maya kingdoms and the largest known Maya site in Belize.
  • Cerros - One of the oldest Maya sites
  • Lamanai - The longest continually-occupied Maya site in Mesoamerica - 3200 years!
  • Xunantunich - The tallest structure in Belize (see picture)

All these maya ruins have their own unique characteristics. But the one thing all have in common is the fact that they are breathtaking, jaw dropping beautiful and that they are all worth visiting.

It does not even cost much to enter these historic sites. And once you are in you can take all the time in the world to explore the unique culture of the ancient Mayan tribes. You can learn about their sacrifices, gods, traditions, passed time activities and much more.

To visit Belize you can easily do so by air with one of the US airlines or with Taca Airlines. But you could also get there by bus coming from Mexico or Guatemala.

A traveler



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Finding the best deals to travel

Now this blog is about traveling. But why dream about the places you want to go to without having the money to get there. So I assembled a list of tips on how to find the best deals to travel based on my own experiences on finding the cheapest deals. Try them and I'm sure you will find the best deals possible.


1. DIY - Do It Yourself
I found that the way to lose money when planning a getaway trip is going to travel agencies. Travel agencies are great if you do not have time and have the money to spend. But if you are on a tight budget the best way to do it is to plan your own vacation. This includes booking your flight yourself, finding a good hotel, car rental, finding attractions & things to do and finding the best deals on food around the area.
The best way to find these things of course is the internet. Sites like expedia, cheaptickets and orbitz are great for getting the best deals. You can search for flights, hotel and car rental at the same time. A great time saver!
I'm assuming that if you are reading this you do have internet access. So why not start browsing around to find a good deal on tickets as a starter?

2. Plan ahead
The best way to find a good deal on flights is to book them early. Airlines tend to raise the prices on flights 7 to 10 days before a flight. Due to business travelers who usually buy the last minute seats. So even though it is true that you could get good last minute deals, it is usually not the case.
Especially if you are planning a vacation in the high season this rule usually apply to finding a good deal. Most people do not have the money or do not know if they will get the days off to book a flight in advance for high season. So this makes the same flight a lot cheaper early on.
Also if you are booking a vacation package the best way to finding a good deal is booking at least 60 days in advance according to Expedia.
This does not mean you have to book right when you find the first cheap fare. Patience is a key to finding the best fare. Checking back to see the price might return cheaper results. So be wise in buying right away.

3. Travel on Wednesday!
Overall Wednesday is the cheapest day to travel for almost all airlines. Especially if you are traveling inside the United States borders. After Wednesdays the cheapest days to travel is on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The main reason these days are cheaper is because most people do not travel on these days. Especially people traveling for pleasure.

4. Sign up to receive e-mails
This is one of the easiest ways to always know about travel deals. You can sign up with the various airlines. Or you can sign up with other internet travel search sites.
Signing up for all these e-mails might make your inbox a little bit too crowded. If this is the case for you, you can make a folder in your e-mail account where all your travel info will go to or you can make another e-mail account especially for your travel research. This will leave your inbox open for e-mails from the people you love.


5. Go kayak
On kayak.com you can find the cheapest fare by comparing the prices different websites offer. This is a lot better than just searching on one site. And it is also a lot easier that searching every site individually. This way you can safe time but still find the best deal around the web.
Other sites that also offer this service is sidestep.com and away.com even though I find their interface a little bit less attractive.

6. The power of non-refundables
If you are sure of your date of travel, get a non-refundable ticket. They are almost always the cheapest tickets out there. The only problem is if you do not fly on that day, you loose your money. But for the price differences it is definitely worth the risk.
There is even a chance you can cancel your flight in advance and still be able to use the value of your ticket towards a future ticket. This is not true for all airlines. But you should read through the fine prints to find out if this is possible for your ticket. Southwest for example is one of the airlines you can apply the full value of your ticket toward a future trip.
Most airlines also charge a fee to change your travel date if you cancel in advance. Make sure you also find out what this fee is. Because it might be cheaper to buy a new ticket than to change your date.


7. Bid on your vacation
With a site like skyauction.com you don't need to fly, sail or sleep for the full price. On this site you can actually bid on airfare, cruise fare or hotel prices. You could have the vacation of your dream for as low as $1.
Be sure to read through all the fine prints. Some hidden fees may apply.

If you put theses tips into practice, you will be sure to find the best deals out there for your time away.

A traveler



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Wanna get away for free?

You can!
Win a trip for 2 to Curacao from any major airport. From now till May 23rd 2009! Just sign your name everyday for more chance to win!! The website is:

http://www.curacaotreasure.com/

Hope you win!
A traveler

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Uganda Equator

Ever wondered how it feels see 2 halves of the world? Wouldn't it be an adventure to stand with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one foot on the southern hemisphere of the world?
You can get this feeling by visiting the Uganda Equator.

According to Wikipedia "The equator (sometimes referred to colloquially as "the Line") is the intersection of the Earth's surface with the plane perpendicular to the Earth's axis of rotation and containing the Earth's center of mass." Simply said it is the imaginary line that divides the earth in half. With the north on one side and the south on another.

At the Uganda Equator you will see this by a line drawn in the middle of the street. And with a monument on both sides that state "Uganda Equator". It is an absolutely amazing feeling to stand on both sides of the world.

Other than the fact that you can stand on both sides of the Equator there is also the opportunity to see an experiment of how water drains straight down at the Equator. But the water will drain clockwise on the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise on the southern hemisphere. This is something very different to see.

There are also different souvenirs shops at the Equator where you can buy souvenirs to show off your adventure to your friends and family. Like a T-Shirt that says "I have crossed the Uganda Equator, have you?". I have tried searching for some souvenirs online without much luck. So I guess the only way to get these souvenirs is when you experience it for yourself.


Hope you enjoy both halves of the world. Don't forget to comment about your experience there.
A traveler


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Why travel?

Since the beginning of time people have traveled. There are many reasons to travel. To visit family and friends, business, medical emergency etc. But the reason I would like to focus on is traveling for recreation or as most people would say, FUN.
The number one reason for traveling for fun is of course just to enjoy yourself. But while you are enjoying yourself you are also relaxing, learning new things, meeting new people, feeling differently etc etc. The most imporant thing though is expanding the way you see things. While you travel and enjoy yourself you will also expand and stretch the way you view life. Which can help in all areas of life.
Maybe during your travel you will learn a new way to serve people like you saw in a restaurant you visited. Or learning a new way to save money from a tourist you met. You might just learn a new idea for throwing a party.
All this can contribute to your own growth and well being.

That is all for now. But do not forget to leave your comment on what you think of the site and what new things you would like to learn about traveling.

So long,
A traveler

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Curacao

Curacao? It might be the first time you've ever heard this name before. Or you might have a drink in mind. But Curacao is really a place. It is a small Dutch island on the south of the Caribbean sea. It has about 130,000 inhabitants and not the most popular among the Caribbean islands but yet it is worth visiting. Why? There are many reasons.

First of all it is one of only 6 dutch islands in the Caribbean. So this already distinguish it from all the other Caribbean islands with English, French or Spanish influence. The Dutch heritance on this island can be seen everywhere. From the beautiful architecture, to the language that can still be heard on the streets, the food, art, music and much more.
There is a distinct blend of the Dutch culture and the Caribbean culture on this island. You can see this just by looking at the colorful houses with dutch architecture all around the island. But you can also hear it in the Papiamentu language. Which is the native language for most Curacaoans. But do not be afraid, because Curacaoans speak 4 different languages: Papiamentu, Dutch, English and Spanish. So you do not have to learn a complete different language to visit.
Secondly Curacao has the most beautiful beaches you could ever find around the world. Most of them are small beaches with sparkling white sand and torquise blue water. Which makes it feel as if you're at a private beach of your own. The island claims to have around 40 of these beaches of its own. This leaves you with plenty of room to choose which one you want to relax at.
Thirdly there are many things to do around the island. Like shopping at the most prestigeous shops in Punda and Otrabanda. Hiking in the nature reserved Christoffel park. Horsebackriding through the jungle. Fishing throughout the year. Enjoying all the nightclubs around the island, especially the beach clubs. Taking windsurfing classes and much more.

So whether you are looking for an relaxing vacation, an adventerous one or you "just wanna have fun" Curacao is the place to be.

Enjoy your time in Curacao,
A traveler

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