How Tim Ferriss and Silicon Valley techies hack their trips

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Packing light. Photo: Amina Elahi / Flickr"][/caption] Business travelers, also known as "road warriors," are some of the most experienced trip hackers around. Although here at Vagabonding we espouse slower wandering, these hard-core types have streamlined the process to a science. Their advice appeared in this New York Times article: How the tough get going: Silicon Valley travel tips. Prominently featured in the article is Tim Ferriss, known as the author of "The 4-Hour Workweek" and the "The 4-Hour Body." Naturally, there are many websites and apps that get mentioned. It's interesting to see these guys… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (1)  | July 23, 2012
Category: Air Travel, Lifestyle Design, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Gear, Travel Tech

Writing about the Internet–as a travel destination?

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Man at work in a data center. Photo: Leonardo Rizzi / Flickr"][/caption] We often think of the Internet as existing in the ether, not a physical, tangible place. Wired magazine writer Andrew Blum flipped that notion on its head by visiting the Internet we don't get to see: the data centers, the underwater cables, the "series of tubes" as the late U.S. senator Ted Stevens described it.  Visit the author's website for more details. Here's an excerpt on how Blum's journey to the center of the Internet took him around the world: From the room in Los Angeles… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | July 9, 2012
Category: Travel Tech, Travel Writing

Credit card and phone fees—wasteful ways to blow a hole in your budget

Savvy travelers probably know these things, but I know some who are still behind the curve and going abroad soon. So here’s an update: Though many report having no problems at all using their US mag-stripe cards and ordinary ATM cards abroad, make sure your credit or debit card has a smart chip. The global standard is “chip and PIN” technology, meaning you’ll need to enter a PIN after the terminal reads the card’s chip. Call your credit card company and ask for a new card with a smart chip for the “chip and signature” option. Most cards without the… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | June 8, 2012
Category: Money Management, On The Road, Travel Tech

How many websites do you need to plan a trip? Planning a trip can be a logistical tangle.  At any one time, I'll have more than half-a-dozen tabs open in my web browser, each a different website.  For example: Wikitravel - Get general info. Air Asia - Find cheap flights in Asia. Hostelworld - Book hostels. Urbanrail - Look at subway maps. Travelfish - Read hostel and guesthouse reviews in Southeast Asia. Facebook - Find friends who live there. Gmail - E-mail friends for recommendations. - Calculate currency conversions World Time Buddy - Figure out time differences. Cross-checking between so many sites can be daunting, even for an… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | May 7, 2012
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel News, Travel Tech

The tech blog that digital nomads have searched for

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Electronics to bring on the road. Photo: Abigail Elder / Flickr"][/caption] Are you a digital nomad?  Chances are, you wrestle with dodgy Wi-Fi, electrical adapters, and figuring out what apps could help you travel more efficiently.  You don't care which startup just had a big IPO or the latest viral meme.  What you'd like is a convenient guide to what gadgets you need. Enter Too Many Adapters.  A site by digital nomads, for digital nomads.  They cover all the different types of digital tools a modern-day vagabonder might use.  The back story behind the name is… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (7)  | February 17, 2012
Category: Backpacking, Travel Tech

Making hostel booking social Intro video for Over the years, there have been several attempts to combine travel and social networking.  The latest on the scene is (that name is just asking for double entendres). The idea is to solve the problem of that first-night loneliness in a new hostel.  You've just arrived, and all the previous guests have formed their cliques, so you don't have anyone to talk to.  With, you can connect to travelers who will be at that hostel before you arrive.  By reading their profiles, you can find common interests and make plans to hang out. … Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | December 2, 2011
Category: Hostels/Hotels, Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Tech

How Steve Jobs and Apple changed travel forever

[caption id="attachment_13024" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Apple founder Steve Jobs, who "thunk different." Photo: andrechinn / Flickr"][/caption] The media lit up with commemorations of Steve Jobs, the legendary CEO of Apple who passed away on Oct. 5, 2011. While talking about his full impact on technology is beyond the scope of this blog, we can talk about how his products changed our trips: How Steve Jobs helped make Apple a major disruptor in travel. The iPhone was not the first smartphone that could access the Internet.  However, it was a level ahead of its competitors in offering a fuller web experience.  At… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (4)  | October 7, 2011
Category: Travel Tech

Crowd-sourcing for travel advice

[caption id="attachment_12820" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Three guys looking at a smartphone. Photo: Dave Fayram / Flickr"][/caption] Many of my best travel experiences have come about through recommendations from friends. The Taiwanese guy who took me to a stylish lounge bar in Taipei with the hidden entrance; the Australian expat who showed me his favorite ramen restaurant in Tokyo; and the list goes on. Thanks to the Internet , old-fashioned word-of-mouth is now exponentially more powerful. Instead of being limited to our own circle of friends, we can tap a website's entire community for good information.  Many of these new websites were… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (0)  | August 26, 2011
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel Tech

What if Jack Kerouac had GPS and Yelp?

Since I've written quite a bit about how electronic technology is transforming travel, I enjoyed reading "GPS and the End of the Road," Ari N. Schulman's essay in the Spring 2011 issue of The New Atlantis. In the essay, Schulman posits that GPS devices, along with "location awareness" apps like HearPlanet and Layar, are diminishing the sense of freewheeling travel discovery and possibility portrayed by writers like Jack Kerouac. "How would new technology of location affect an On the Road today?" Schulman writes. "Can we imagine its characters, and by extension ourselves, escaping into the Western night, navigating by GPS… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (5)  | August 15, 2011
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, On The Road, Travel Tech

Social networks and travel: the hard numbers

[caption id="attachment_12631" align="aligncenter" width="451" caption="Man building his life with Facebook blocks. Photo: Urs Steiner / Flickr"][/caption] Social networks have made a dramatic impact on travel. During my first backpacking trip in 2004, I relied on e-mail addresses to stay in touch with the new friends I was making.  I once met a girl in Paris. Later into my trip, I was shocked to run into her at my hostel in Edinburgh.  What a small world! That kind of thing would not have happened today.  We'd have added each other as friends on Facebook, she would have put a status update… Read More...

Posted by | Comments (10)  | July 29, 2011
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, Travel News, Travel Tech