Archive for the ‘Travel Fun’ Category

6 More Places to Explore the World from Your Armchair

  • Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall
  • August 29th 2012

If you’re ready for a bit of armchair sightseeing, then the World Wonders project we recently reviewed isn’t your only option. There are several other sites where you can see less famous (but still interesting) sights, courtesy of Google Maps. Here are six of them.

Google Maps USA

1. Google Lat-Long

To kick things off, here’s the only official Google blog on the list, the Google Lat-Long blog. This keeps readers up to date with what the Google Earth and Google Maps team are doing, and there are plenty of links to other map blogs which Google Maps aficionados will also find useful.

2. Google Earth Hacks

Google Earth Hacks provides lots of downloads to help you get more from Google Earth, but that’s not all. Travelers may be interested in entries showing aircraft in flight or places of interest that don’t happen to be world monuments. There are more than 28,000 files available on the site.

3. Virtual Globetrotting

Virtual Globetrotting uses Google, Bing and Yahoo maps to provide an eclectic mix of maps, including the diner where Michael Jackson filmed Beat It, a ruined church at Chichen Itza and a range of Street View maps relating to buildings, land, events and transportation. Confusingly, the site also features the portraits of famous people from galleries around the world in their ‘this week’s birthdays’ feature.

4. Google Maps Mania

Google Maps Mania has been running since 2005 to track sites, mashups and tools which rely on Google Maps. Interesting recent mashups include transit planning for people with disabilities, a map showing restaurants featured on the Food Network and and air quality map.

5. Google Earth Blog

Despite its name, the Google Earth Blog is an unofficial blog but it covers news, sights and technology relating to Google Earth as well as tips on getting more from Google Earth. Whether you need a basic introduction to Google Earth, more advanced tips or just want to see how people have used Google Earth for virtual sightseeing you will find it here.

6. Google Sightseeing

The tagline of Google Sightseeing is “why bother seeing the world for real?” While we don’t agree that virtual travel replaces real travel, it’s worth browsing the ‘weird and wonderful sights’ presented here. You will find everything from abandoned towns and cities to volcanoes, theme parks and an eclectic collection of weirdness.

Which are your favorite sites to explore maps?

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How to Explore the World from Your Armchair

  • Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall
  • August 27th 2012

Can’t travel but want to see something new? Ever wondered if those famous sights are really worth the price of admission? If you want to get a preview of the wonders of the world, then Google has the answer: the World Wonders Project. Working with organizations like Unesco, the World Monuments Fund, Getty Images and others, Google has used Street View to bring world heritage sights to your computer. It’s a way to virtually explore some of the wonders of the ancient and modern world.

Google World Wonders Project

Exploring World Wonders

There are several ways to explore the content on the site. You can select Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America or South America from the drop down menu. There’s another menu which highlights specific themes (archeological sites, architecture, cities and towns, historic sites, monuments and memorials, palaces and castles, parks and gardens, places of worship, regions and landscapes, and wonders of nature. And the home page feature a slideshow of famous sights along with a globe that shifts to highlight other sights in the region. Just click on one of the red flags to find the one you want.

Getting More Info

Once you go to a place, the main window shows it as it would look if you were standing there. Click on a white circle to go to a particular spot or use the familiar Google Maps and Google Earth controls to navigate to where you want. The sidebar menu gives an overview of the location, additional information from Unesco, photos and videos (including those submitted by visitors to the location, 3D models and a map where you can explore other nearby places of interest.

Of course, a virtual tour of Pompeii isn’t really a replacement for being there, seeing the sights, smelling the smells and absorbing the local color, but if your planned trip is some time in the future, this site can keep your appetite whetted and help with your trip research. It’s also a useful site for educators and students looking to learn more about the wonders of the world.

Don’t forget that our current airport parking coupon expires soon. Grab it now for discount airport parking.

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12 Fun Facts about Airports

  • Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall
  • August 22nd 2012

We travel all the time, but other than the inconvenience of security checks, do we ever give any thought to the airport we are flying through? Here are some fun an interesting facts about airports and air travel.

Incheon International Airport

  1. In the UK in the 1920s you didn’t need to have a license to fly people or goods around; in fact, you didn’t even need to pass a test.
  2. There are no air traffic control in the early day of flight; pilots had to keep their eyes peeled for other planes.
  3. Airports that handle large planes need long runways as the size of the plane corresponds to the distance it needs to take off. The Antonov AN225 requires a 4km runway.
  4. Glycol is used to de-ice runways so that snow and ice don’t get into the engines of the planes.
  5. Australia’s Qantas airline is the oldest continuously operating native airline in the world. KLM actually started operations a year earlier, but has now merged with Air France.
  6. The world’s oldest continuously operating airfield is College Park Airport in Maryland, set up by Wilbur Wright in 1909.
  7. Sydney Airport claims to be the world’s oldest continuously operating commercial airport. It began operations in January 1920.
  8. The world’s busiest commercial airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Airport (ATL) in Atlanta, with 970,000 airplane movements a year.
  9. At large airports passengers wait for an average of 16 minutes.
  10. One-third of the world’s airports are located in the US.
  11. Dubai Airport has the world’s largest airport duty-free section with 161,000 square feet of shopping space.
  12. Singapore’s Changi airport has a swimming pool on the roof.

Find more fun airport facts in this infographic from MoneySupermarket via Aspiring Backpacker.

(Image: d’n'c)

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Social Media and Your Vacation

  • Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall
  • August 15th 2012

I’m always fascinated by the stats presented in travel infographics and recently one on Vacationing the Social Media Way caught my eye. Some interesting stats on how our travel behavior has changed include:

  • 51% of travelers using smartphones used their phones to find information on flights and accommodation, doing everything from checking prices to making the final booking.
  • Facebook has become a major go-to online destination for finding more information about places.
  • 74% of us can’t bear to be disconnected from social media while we travel and see mobile devices as a great way to keep in touch.
  • Many of us use mobile devices/social media to share info on our trips while we’re there or after we get back.

Check out the full infographic below:

Vacationing The Social Media Way [infographic by MDG Advertising]

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Top 5 iPad Travel Apps

  • Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall
  • August 1st 2012

Traveling with your iPad? Today’s guest post by Danielle Wigzell suggests some must-have travel apps.

With gadgets such as iPads being as popular as ever, it’s hardly surprising that new applications are being released for them all the time. In this article we take a look at 5 of the most popular travel apps that can be used on the iPad.


One of the most popular travel apps for the iPad is TripAdvisor. This clever little application allows you to find tourist attractions, parks, restaurants, hotels, transport and shopping destinations almost anywhere in the world. All you have to do is type in the town, city or country you are in and TripAdvisor will open a map of the location along with comprehensive lists of what you might like to find or explore. TripAdvisor also includes user reviews and a star rating to help you find great accommodation and places to eat amongst other things. You can easily filter and sort listings by budget, rating or cuisine types to make it easier than ever to find exactly what you are looking for. A huge advantage of this travel app is that the information is stored on your iPad so you can access it without a network connection – ideal if you’re travelling.

Developed in Australia, this innovative application will help you make the most of public transport wherever you are. You can download transport maps and routes for a large number of cities and use it to plan routes to where you want to go. You can add stops wherever you want, save trips for future use and even share trips on Facebook. TransitTimes+ also enables you to see the location of transit vehicles in real time in some cities, allowing you to see if a mode of transport is approaching or where the best place to get on it is. This app also includes a summary of travel times and cost for convenience too.

Inrix Traffic
This application for the iPad has been designed to allow you to find and avoid delays in your journey. It can be used for commuting to the office or on holiday and the application will identify your current location through your iPad to save you time entering your location. Similar to a sat nav, this app will show you the route whilst areas in orange signal slow moving traffic and red indicates delays.

TomTom App
TomTom is renowned as an in-vehicle satellite navigation system and now it can be accessed through this fantastic app for the iPad. Create journeys and find routes with options such as quickest, shortest and most fuel efficient to save you both time and money.  View maps and scroll through menus at the same time thanks to the split screen capabilities. With advanced lane guidance technology, you can even be sure that you’re in the correct lane at complex junctions and motorway exits – perfect for navigating around new holiday destinations. App
This clever application allows you to review, compare, check availability and book millions of hotels around the world. You can search in the town or city of your choice and filter the results by star rating or price in a similar way to TripAdvisor.

With an iPad in your hand, you’ll be able to access everything you need whilst on holiday, anywhere in the world. Try these 5 applications to enhance your experience with your iPad on holiday.

Image Credits: Sean MacEntee and stevegarfield.

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