How do tour groups fit into your travels?

A non-hypothetical question: What’s your relationship with tour groups? Travel blogs often debate the worth of these two, but I’m curious about the actual facts of your experience. How do tour groups factor into your travels, if at all?

An Indian friend of mine who lives in New York, no stranger to the vagabonding approach to travel, just got back from a two-week group tour through the American … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (9)  | June 30, 2010
Category: Hospitality, Vagabonding Life

Traveling vans in Oceania

After my previous post about grey nomads here in Australia, you might be inspired to travel by caravan…only you’re not grey.  You might be nomadic, though.  In which case, perhaps you might want to investigate the following: small campervans made out of DIThemselves converted minivans.  These wee inclusive vehicles include a queensize foldout mattress, fridge, stove, cutlery, bedding, storage, and in the case of the one I got, a DVD player and choice of free … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (3)  | June 29, 2010
Category: Family Travel, Female Travelers, Oceania, Solo Travel, Travel Bargains

Great dishes from the north of France

Nord-Pas-de-CalaisThe people of the north of France are said to be the friendliest and most welcoming in the country. The area also boasts a distinctly different culinary tradition, characterized largely by a sort of hearty “comfort food”. Here are a few budget-friendly dishes one should be sure to try when visiting this region.

Tartiflette: This baked casserole dish is a staple of the north of France. … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (4)  | June 28, 2010
Category: Europe, Food and Drink

Most travelers hurry too much

“Most travelers hurry too much…the great thing is to try and travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open, and not too much factual information. To tune in, without reverence, idly — but with real inward attention. You can extract the essence of a place once you know how. If you just get as still as a needle you’ll be there.” –Lawrence Durrell, “Spirit of Place,” quoted in The New New Journalism (2005)

Posted by | Comments (2)  | June 28, 2010
Category: Travel Quote of the Day

Crop Over festival in Barbados

IMGP4321.JPGCelebrate summer with a harvest festival. That’s right. In Barbados, the exhausting sugar cane harvest ends in June, and Crop Over is an over-the-top summer carnival to mark the relief at the delivery of the last crop.

Started in the 1780s, when Barbados was one of the world’s most important sugar producers, Crop Over celebrated the end of backbreaking work on sugar estates across the island. … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | June 25, 2010
Category: Languages and Culture

Guidebooks go mobile

Looks like the guidebooks are heading for the really small screen: mobile devices. With the soaring popularity of the iPhone and other smartphones, guidebook publishers are moving to take advantage of new platforms, as this AP article describes: Guidebooks adapt to mobile download era.

However, they are running into a common problem in the tech world: compatibility. Mobile networks may not offer the same availability of apps from country to country. The cost of … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | June 25, 2010
Category: Travel Guidebooks, Travel News, Travel Tech

Looking at the long term impact of backpackers

We like to think that as we travel the world, we leave it as we left it or better. However, an upcoming documentary by Pegi Vail, an anthropologist from Columbia University, looks at the impact that decades of backpackers have had on cultures, economy, and the environment in parts of Thailand, Mali, and Bolivia. A cautionary tale, GRINGO TRAILS is currently Read more »

Posted by | Comments (1)  | June 24, 2010
Category: Backpacking, Ethical Travel, Travel Video

The World Cup is a great travel fix

When columnists try to explain why Americans (supposedly) don’t care about the World Cup, they turn to the same old examples. They point out qualities of the game: Too low scoring, no commercial breaks to grab snacks, no hands allowed. I think the real reason that most Americans aren’t into the Cup is because most Americans haven’t traveled. I’d guess that the more you’ve traveled, the greater your … Read more »

Posted by | Comments (5)  | June 23, 2010
Category: Africa, Notes from the collective travel mind, On The Road

MOO Cards

Do you like tiny business cards that can be mailed anywhere on the planet, are adorable and totally personalizable, with up to 100 of your own images in a pack of 100 cards? Do you like memorability, tiny cards that fit easily in wallets or pockets, and high quality printing and lamination? Order MooCards. Trust me on this one. When I started using them, I never went back.

Posted by | Comments (4)  | June 22, 2010
Category: General