Kirsty Henderson, of NerdyNomad.com just put out a new e-book, “The Underground Guide to International Volunteering.” If you are thinking about volunteering overseas or if you are interested in reading from those who have done it, it’s your best choice for the most up to date information, resources, and advice. There are a lot of interviews in the 63 page e-book and most every one of the volunteers will tell you it’s been a good experience. Did I mention I dig the cover as well?
The number of sites trying to get in with the travel community is always growing. It seems everybody and their friends have an idea for the next big Facebook of Travel. Well Baraaza is no exception. They use locals to hopefully, post good travel information activities and sports. Good luck to them. I’ve always liked the idea of using natives to get information, as they know the place better than a travel writer ever could. But the challenge is getting enough people to actually use it. The site is still in beta, and you can tell by the limited amount of information they have available, however they are doing some contests you might be interested in. It also would be worth a quick look if you are going to a spot you’ve been before and are looking for something a little different.
iJourneys produces walking tours for some Europe hot spots. iJourneys have 12 locations available for audio tours ($14.95 with map), mostly Italy and Austria. Download their mp3 to your ipod or mp3 device, head to the starting location, and press play. I’ve always been a fan of these mp3 style tours. There is no group or tour guide to go follow around like a bunch of sheep (which I’ve done more than once), there is no silly over-sized phone or playback device to hold to your ear walking around like a tourist. These allow you to use your own headphones, with some degree of discretion, and still get some good information. This particular company uses the voice of Elyse Weiner, who has worked as a news producer. Her voice is about what you would expect from a tour guide.
Which got me to thinking…who would you most like to be the voice on your mp3 travel guide? I think I’d want someone with a sarcastic take on the whole process yet smooth voice. Maybe Julia Louis-Dreyfus? That could be alright.
I’m starting to hear some buzz about travel apps for the iphone. Most everyone knows apps are about endless for the iphone, so this should come as no surprise. I’ve posted a link to GeoNova Publishing as this looks like a pretty solid travel app. It has a locater feature for those who get lost quite often, and a zoomable map along with attractions and trasnportation information. Call me old school…but isn’t this cheating?
CVB’s and visitor center’s around the world are using Twitter to dole out information about their city. And TwisitorCenter.org seems to have collected them all. Personally…I dislike Twitter. But two of my friends seem to get overly excited when they try to convince me, so I’ll post this for them. Actually, I’m sure a traveller or backpacker could use Twitter for things such as getting local information, advice, and help…but it’s never going to be a definite application that will work every time. I’ll leave it at that.
This is how all travel guides sites should be. Simple with awesome photography. Although I feel the phrase ‘Great Strengths are Great Weaknesses’ applies here. The reason I like it is the reason it’s not entirely practical. The content is minimal…but the photography more than makes up for it. Yes…I’m flip flopping I know! Go check GoToChina out. Then get more information from LP or RG.
I’m thinking about getting this for a friend of mine who does nothing but shop and eat. Plus she is going to be in Atlanta for a long time. From ShopComposition.com comes a very cool guide for only $15, covering only shopping and more importantly eating! Supposedly, it’s a guide to the best locally owned spots and we all know how much I like the locals.
I guess over two years ago I purchased the Lonely Planet Blue List 2006. It was a well designed book, but now entirely practical when it comes to an actual guide book, which was the point I suppose. And then when the 2007 book came out, LP offered a special “Purchase the Blue List 2007 and get a free copy of Blue List 2006.” Well, I was interested in the 2007 edition (which was orange) so I got it and gave the 2006 book to a friend. So when 2008 came out, I’m thinking…okay…let’s wait a year and get two at one time to save money (2009 & 2008). Well 2009 came and no Blue List. Instead LP came out with ‘Best in Travel 2009.’ And as I assumed, they offered a free copy of 2008 Blue List with it, shown above. So I guess LP decided the Blue List wasn’t working anymore. Which is a bit of a shame, since it was an interestingly designed book. Bottom line…I’m going to be pissed if they come out with Blue List 2009 and I just bought this combo. Wow…that took way more effort to explain than what I was shooting for.
Urbane Nomads is a new site/operation as far as I can tell. They call themselves ‘travel mixologists.’ I suppose what this means after reading their ‘about us’ is that they create off the road itineraries for the well off.
I’m a little mixed on Urbane Nomads myself. I don’t really admire companies that market themselves as designer, mod and upscale. But I do admire any tour outfit that can take you on a 13 day tour in Afghanistan. I think this company would be great for MBA grads. They’ve got money, they’re young enough to have a sense of design, and some understand that you have to get off the beaten path to see another (the real) culture of the place. And also…MBA grads lack vision and creativity in my opinion. Either way, Urbane Nomads has a rather inconsistent site with multiple font sizes and weird navigation. The map is very cool, yet it doesn’t do much….like I said…I’m still feeling ‘mixed’.
Lulu.com brings us the Urban Gridded Notebook created by John Briscella. The sketch notebook is for creatives who want to map out their own cities, track their movements, and not be distracted by anything on maps. The above image is a sample page from the notebook. Each page is an actual city (listed at the back of the book). Very creative….I am loving this. 125 cities from around the world for under $16.00….not bad at all.