Dopplr is proud to introduce Dopplr – The Social Atlas for iPhone. There are lots of travel guides for mobile phones, but Dopplr’s is different because everything on it has been created by the smart travellers who use Dopplr. Over the past couple of years, these travellers have been helping Dopplr to build a thing they call “the Social Atlas”. It is the combined wisdom of these frequent travellers, people who know a good hotel, a nice restaurant, and an interesting place to explore when they see one. Wherever anyone is in the world, he/she can call up his/hers current location and find the nearest places that Dopplr travellers have recommended. If the person is hungry, open the app and find a cafe. If he/she is tired, it will help him/her locate the nearest hotel. And if the person has got time to kill, find something interesting to see or experience. The app is not just a view of the atlas, it is also a means of adding new places to the database. By just tapping the blue locator, it would allow people to enter the details of the fantastic new bar they are standing in. Travel tips are added to what Dooplr know already, and automatically shared with fellow travellers. People do not even need to be on Dopplr to use the iPhone app. If iPhone users are simply doing some travel planning for a forthcoming business trip or family getaway, there is plenty of useful information built-in, including Dopplr’s recommendations for 250 of the world’s most popular cities. Any places added will be stored on the iPhone, so these can be easily found again when needed. And if the user joins Dopplr at a later date, all those new places will be uploaded and added to the Social Atlas. If the user is a Dopplr traveller, he/she can keep an eye on his/hers fellow travellers with the iPhone too. Check where friends are now, and where they will be going next. Look for co-incidences, where people might all be in the same place at the same time. And stay in touch, by sending messages to them directly from inside the app. This is just the start. Dopplr is already working on more features for the app, which will appear in future updates. The app can be downloaded for free by following the link on the iTunes App Store.
Dopplr is a service for smart travellers. Dopplr members share travel plans privately with people they trust, and exchange tips on places to stay, eat and explore in cities around the world.
Renting a car in Europe is a breeze; cars get great mileage, distances are short, and roads are in excellent conditions. For more information on the Rick Steves’ Europe TV series — including episode descriptions, scripts, participating stations, travel information on destinations and more — visit www.ricksteves.com. Video Rating: 4 / 5
Whether you are traveling by plane, train or automobile, summer vacations are the perfect opportunity to get away to a favourite spot or experience new sights and adventures. Most important, it is a time to be together and enjoy each other’s company. If however, your trip is not planned correctly, you will spend your vacation stressed out! So regardless if you are packing up the kids in the back of the van or traveling solo to exotic destinations, here are some travel tips to make this summer vacation your best one yet:
Easier said than done right? Packing is a fine balance of bringing what you really need without taking too much. How do you do it? Planning ahead and having a really good list. Bring anything you absolutely must have, bring co-ordinated clothing you can mix and match and make sure to have a list prepared well in advance so you don’t forget anything. Don’t bring too much of anything, you will not wear six pairs of shoes I promise you, and don’t bring anything that can be bought along the way if you really need it.
Have Plenty of Sun Screen, Hats and Sunglasses
The sun is stronger in the summer time and UV rays keep increasing. There is nothing worse then getting sunburned on the first few days of your summer vacation and spending the rest of it uncomfortable. Sun protection is more important now then ever before.
Leave a little wiggle room in your plans. Give yourself plenty of time for delayed flights and traffic jams. Even if you do not get an opportunity to do something as planned, enjoyable rest stops or detours can be used to explore and can end up being even more memorable than the planned stops.
Bring A Camera
This one sounds obvious I know, but you would be surprised how many people either forget to bring the camera or the extra batteries or the memory card (in the old days it used to be the film) etc. Prepare your camera gear in advance so you have it ready to go, you do not want to miss that great sunset or your child’s first encounter with the dolphin.
Keep The Kids Amused
If you are traveling with kids, unless you love to hear “Are we there yet?” over and over, make sure they have enough to stay amused. Have them pack their own travel bags with things they love in order to keep themselves occupied during the trip on the plane or in the car. You can also find inexpensive travel games in stores, or you can play your own such as “I Spy” or the license plate game.
Be Prepared For Rain or Cooler Weather
There is nothing worse then packing t-shirts and shorts only to be hit with a cool spell and spending your summer vacation trying to stay dry and warm. Even if you are traveling to a hot desert, be prepared with basic rain gear and a warm jacket and vice versa.
Be Ready For An Emergency
If traveling by car keep an emergency kit handy that includes jumper cables, basic hand tools, flares or reflective warning triangles, a first aid kit, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and a cell phone if possible.
What Not To Do On Your Summer Vacation
There are a few things you should also not do in order to have a great summer vacation. First, try to avoid traveling during peak times, this means long weekends in the summer, unless you are a sucker for punishment. It also means rush hours in the city if you are driving, try to plan your time around these hours.
Don’t break the bank. A recent Expedia survey found that 57 percent of travelers blow their vacation budgets on food and drinks. Ways to get around this include staying at all inclusive resorts and booking rooms with a kitchenette. Before you visit a particular city, check out what activities are free to do there. Especially for kids, there may be lots of parks, museums or just interesting things to look at that will not cost anything.
And the most important tip for having a great summer vacation? Don’t overdue it. You are on vacation, don’t plan too much into a short amount of time, and leave room to just r-e-l-a-x. Enjoy the glorious summer days and nights, as we all know, they go by way to fast.
While on a hiking trip in Japan, Sonic and co. settle in and have fun. Cheese is swimming when a current blows him off course and into a stream. They find him again, and the river led him into a pool in a Chao colony. They take care of the Chao and play with them. However, the place is put in danger when Eggman, also hiking in the vicinity, shows up with a new robot, thinking that the gang is there because they found a Chaos Emerald. Eggman attacks the Chao but is defeated, however the destroyed robot is leaking oil into the lake; Sonic clears the lake by running around it with full speed.
Travel responsibly with these 9 simple travel planning tips.
1. Know what responsible travel is. Responsible travel simply means traveling with not only your own needs in mind, but also the needs of your destination. Responsible travelers realize that when they travel, they are entering someone else’s home, whether they literally visit someone or not. Responsible travelers treat others as those people would like to be treated, and they care for the environment in their destination as they would care for their own home and community.
2. Think: What exactly do you want to experience? You’re about to travel, and you’re looking at an array of possibilities: new people, intriguing places, and the hope of memorable experiences. What are you interests? What do you love to see, feel, do, taste? Why have you chosen your particular destination? Whom would you love to meet? What would make this trip really memorable for you? Once you know that, you can create ways to get the most of those very special experiences out of your trip.
3. Go surfing – and read! Do some searching online for resources specializing in sustainable travel, or responsible travel, in your destination. You can seek out resources on ecotourism, too; just be aware of the pitfalls of “greenwashing.” (See Number 4, below.) Some guidebooks can be very helpful in your planning, as well. Rough Guides and Lonely Planet guidebooks (as well as others) are oriented toward sustainable travel, and they give you a great overview and starting point for your planning.
4. Reach out and ask key questions. Once you know where you’d like to stay and what you’d like to do, get in direct touch with the people providing the services. Tell them it’s important to you to travel responsibly and that you’d like some information about their property or service. Have they received any eco-awards? Do they have an eco-rating? What is their environmental policy? You can also ask if they’ve received any “green” certification. There are several certification programs such as Green Globe and the EcoGreen Award; many more have been created by communities and countries around the world. The standards of these programs vary, and as yet, there are no universal “eco” standards. However, just by seeking out a hotel, restaurant or tour operator who has taken some steps toward sustainability, you’ll be making a better choice. But watch out for “greenwashing,” the whitewashing of goods and services that are not environmentally sound to make them look as if they are. Remember: Although a tour company may seem responsible, its practices may not be environmentally or culturally responsible. You can find out whether a business is environmentally and socially responsible by doing a little research — and asking questions.
5. Choose carefully! Your decisions are important. All your travel decisions are important: they add up to your total impact on your destination, both environmentally and socially. Choose carefully. Some businesses are certified, and some are not. Even without certification, they can state their policy on responsibility and sustainability.
6. Plan with the environment in mind. As much as we travelers love the call of the open road, we also know our transportation, if powered by anything other than ourselves, is contributing to excessive CO2 in the environment, and thereby to global warming. Being responsible travelers, we don’t want to do that. So think about offsetting the carbon emitted by your trip by purchasing carbon-offset credits. In fact, think about offsetting the energy you use in everyday living. You”ll be supporting programs that neutralize our use of fossil fuels, thus helping to reduce global warming. One such well-rated program is My Climate. Others include Native Energy and terrapass. Check them out and see which you prefer. For more information on carbon offsets and how they work, visit the FAQ page of Sustainable Travel International by clicking here. And don’t forget the local ecology. For example, will you be hiking through natural areas? Of course, you’ll want water to drink. How about bringing just one water bottle and a supply of water purification tablets? They work just fine, and your thoughtfulness will be a significant help to a local area that may not have the infrastructure to take care of the thousands of plastic water bottles left by visitors.
7. Prepare yourself: Learn some lingo If you’re visiting another place, whether at home or abroad, you’re visiting someone else’s home. That’s the fact. And the more you remember that, the easier it’ll be for you to make friends and contacts. So learn some expressions in the local language. You don’t need to be fluent. But there’s no doubt that your trip will be far more exciting, and people you meet will be far more interested in you, if you speak some of their language. For tips on learning language for travel, check out my 5 Sure-Fire Tips for Learning a Foreign Language, available at www.peacethroughtravel.net.
8. Prepare yourself: Learn the basics of the local culture How do people prefer to be addressed in the country you’re visiting? Do they shake hands? Do they bow? Do they drink alcohol? How do women carry themselves? How are you expected to behave toward a woman? These are all questions that are worth taking the time to answer. Your understanding of how local people behave and interact will add fun, adventure, and plenty of social interaction to your travel experience. A note on clothing: We all like to be comfortable when we travel, and as Americans we’re particularly used to dressing as comfortably as we like. Abroad, however, responsible travelers keep local mores in mind. As a rule, particularly in developing countries, dress conservatively. If it’s important to you to connect with people you meet, it’ll help to leave the shorts and sneakers at home; they both scream “Tourist!” Wear lightweight shirts (not T-shirts), lightweight slacks, and comfortable walking shoes, instead. Women, for travel in rural developing areas, think long skirts and covered shoulders. At the very least, be sure to have a shawl. It’s important to balance comfort with respect – and avoid the blatant tourist tip-offs.
9. Prepare yourself: Rev up your sense of adventure! Use the web, use your books, contact professionals – and then tap into your own passions and creativity. Venture off the beaten path. Get yourself thinking the way local people think. Leave your usual routine at home. After all, that’s why you traveled, isn’t it? And always expect the unexpected! Yes, the a/c might break down. You may not like the meal you ordered. You might get lost. But if you’ve done your homework – you know the lay of the land, you know what safety precautions to take, you have your maps and books, and you know what to expect from the people you meet – you’ll be fine.
And just think: Oh, the stories you’ll bring home with you!
Linda Rivero, president of Peace Through Travel® Radio and Women Travel for Peace, publishes Responsible W.O.R.L.D. Traveler, a FREE e-zine on culturally authentic and responsible travel. Want to be a mindful traveler and help your planet as you explore it? Enjoy free tips and resources on responsible travel worldwide with your FREE subscription at http://www.peacethroughtravel.net . Linda is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Planning a trip to Laos? You might have gathered most of information you need to make your travel plan. At this point you might either be exhausted or over whelming by the wealth information available on the internet. Don’t worry, a careful planning will help smoothing your travel. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning a trip to Laos.
Plan your itinerary carefully. If you plan to go to other countries in the region before or after Laos (e.g Thailand, Cambodia or Vietnam), at least determine where to go first, next and last plus the entry/exit points in Laos. It’s important to have a clear plan to avoid doubling back that can eat up your time and money. If you need to get a Lao entry visa, decide where and how to get it. Tourist visas are now valid for 30 days. Here are two ways to get the Lao visa: - Arrange it with the Lao Embassy. If there is no Lao embassy in your country, you might need to get it in one of Laos’s neighboring countries (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China). Allow plenty of time if you chose this option. - Get it at Lao border or airport. Tourist visa is available at most Lao ports of entry. Visa fee ranges from US (China) to US (Canada). Have the exact amount of money and 2 passport photos ready for that. Please note that not everyone is eligible for Lao visa-on-arrival, you better check to make sure you aren’t in the list of “not entitle” nationalities.
Get your passport ready. Make sure your passport is not expiring within the next six months otherwise your application will be rejected. It can even be worse if you plan to get a Lao visa-on-arrival, and arrive at a Lao border or Airport only to find that you’re not allowed to enter the county because of your expiring passport.
If you consider taking anti-malarial drugs. Keep in mind that you might have awful reactions to anti-malarial. It’s best to consult your doctor.
Sort out your traveler check or credit card(s) for use in Laos. Take some cash as well. Small notes helps save hassles when it comes to buying things on the go like bottled water and snacks.
Book/buy your tickets early. Book your ticket as soon as you have a clear plan. You can save good amount of money by purchasing your ticket early. If possible stay with the same airline during your entire trip to receive round-trip or connecting fare discounts.
If you’re on medication ask your doctor for your prescribed medicine. Take enough for the period of your travel. It’s a good practice to keep them in their original packages (in case you have to declare at the airport security checkpoint). Putting them in your carry-on bag to ensure that you have your medicine whenever you need.
D. Rasavong is the owner and author of www.laos-guide-999.com. Her website provides a wide range of information on Laos from Lao travel tips to the rich culture of Laos.
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