Routehappy is a flight search engine that uses flyer feedback to help you pick an airline that will make your trip happier. Routehappy lets users search for flights with Wi-Fi, power outlets, additional leg room, comfortable seats, and in-flight entertainment. The service displays details of the flight and outputs a “Happiness Score” based on total flight time, various amenities, and flyer ratings along with the usual price, airline, and other flight information.
I know someone in Australia who is a true traveler. I don’t just mean that he loves to travel, he lives for it. All of the money he gets goes almost entirely into saving for his next trip. He will go for a year at a time, forsaking all the comforts to get there. He has backpacked through Europe and Asia, so far, and he plans on not hitting the other parts of those continents he missed the first time around before heading to do the same in North America.
All of this is absolutely incredible. Just getting out there to one country is hard enough, but he has managed to see two continents on limited funds, all within two years. Yet, back home he gets a lot of grief for it. Especially from family and friends who just don’t understand why he bothers to travel when there is so much in his life there that he should be focusing on.
He and I have spoken about this quite a lot. There has always been tension and frustration between himself and those in his life back in Brisbane. His life is supposed to be set on a specific line: a steady job, a wife, a couple of kids, a house. None of this interests him much, and they just don’t understand that. But worst, for a long time he felt as though he were doing something wrong for not wanting those things.
It all comes down to personal fulfillment. We are all fulfilled by different things, and have different goals. He has chosen his path, and there is nothing wrong with it. It just happens to differ from what others in him life decided for themselves. They don’t understand his choice because they don’t understand the psychology of the traveler.
What Drives Us
Take a moment and imagine stepping off of a plane in a brand new place. You look out the wide, glass windows of the airport, gazing past the runway to the world beyond it. You turn and glance at the many people hurrying by, meeting loved ones who have just gotten back home, or scrambling to catch their own flights. It is a picture of beauty, a look into endless possibilities. That is always the feeling I get in an airport.
That sensation inevitably stretches out into the city I am in. It’s somewhere I have never been before, a whole new land. It has its’ own history and delights, culture and stories to tell. People I have never met before and might never meet again. Anything can happen, and the very idea that I am standing there is enough to make my heart pound and adrenaline pump through my entire body.
While this is a personal feeling, I have heard something similar from others who love to travel. That sense of excitement and wonder and possibility all rolled into a single moment. One that can be repeated again and again. Is it any wonder that we are so eager to run off to the next destination, see the next place?
My friend still struggles with his feelings of being strange for avoiding what people say is ‘normal’ for a man his age. I continue to tell him that there is nothing at all wrong with him. The call of travel is a strong one, impossible to resist. How could anyone think badly for him wishing to see the world in all its wonder and glory?
Jessy is the travel addict and writer for Dobovo, the free travel search engines helping you find affordable accommodation in Kiev.
Everyone knows that trips go a lot smoother if you install the right apps before you go. What with New York being a popular destination for technophiles, I thought it would be good to offer some app recommendations specifically for the city. They don’t call it the Big App-le for nothing, and there are A LOT of NY apps out there. This list features the ones that are most diverse, quirky and interesting. So without further ado, let’s press on to some life-changing travel apps.
One of the best things about NYC is its lunch-time food trucks, but tracking them down can be another story. Tweat.it is dedicated to showing you just where you can find that fresh lobster roll at any given time in the city. It’ll also help you seek out classics like the tiger-striped Korilla BBQ and the Green Pirate Juice Truck. The app basically works by mapping the location of each truck every time they send out a tweet. It’ll also make you aware of any daily specials and secret discounts. Pretty smart!
CultureNOW: Guidebook for the Museum without Walls
Experiencing art in New York doesn’t have to cost the Earth, especially when so much of it is on the streets and in the subway. CultureNOW gives you the lowdown on where to find public works of art. So if you’ve ever wondered about that sculpture on the way to work or the mosaic outside the library, wonder no more.
As well as telling you about individual artists and pieces, CultureNOW also lets you listen to podcasts by artists, architects and historians. Or if you’re feeling super diligent, take a tour of a particular neighbourhood like ‘Cultural and Historical 125th Street’. All in all, a really handy app that replaces that stack of books in your backpack.
New York BlackBook
It can take months, if not years, to compile your black book of all the best places to go out in New York. BlackBook’s app does a lot of the legwork for you by recommending the hippest restaurants, bars and clubs in town. They also have a pretty cool blog where you can find out more about what’s happening in your area. By far the best thing about this app is its discounts and perks, like free drinks and queue jumps. These can be yours simply by showing your phone at the bar or club.
iPhone, iPad (free)
Unless you’re local, you’re going to need to book some NYC accommodation, and HotelClub’s iPhone app makes it as easy as pie. This user-friendly little number lets you filter tons of New York City hotels, according to whether you need a swimming pool, luxury service or place that accepts dogs. Once you’ve found the one that’s right for you, you can book it with just a few taps of your phone. A really cool feature is that every time you make a booking, you will earn Member Rewards which can be claimed off future purchases.
To take the bus, subway or taxi? That is the question. Luckily, the completely free HopStop app will get you out of such existential conundrums. Named one of the 50 Best iPhone Apps by TIME, HopStop will help you find subway stations and bus stops near you, as well as listing all possible routes to get to your chosen destination. What’s really good is that it’s available for all devices, and lets you know via real-time updates if there are any delays or disruptions. It’s also particularly useful if you require buggy or wheelchair access. Definitely the best public transport app out there!
Matt Lindley is a travel and technology fan based in London. When not at his laptop, you can find him exploring London’s green spaces and jetting off on weekend trips to sunnier climes.
For many decades, Thailand has been one of the premier Asian destinations that millions of tourists flock to all year round. This country has progressed at a remarkable rate since the 1970s and has not looked back since, especially in terms of its tourism industry. For those who have yet to come to this little piece of Asian heaven, there is a list of Thailand holiday destinations that simply must be on their itinerary.
This spectacular location is just one of the 51 different islands that encompass the Marine Park of Tarutao archipelago in the southern region of Thailand. Among other things, this island is where some of the most pristine beaches in the world can be found, with its remote location allowing its utmost preservation. In addition, it is also a great place to watch marine wildlife up close, as it is home to tortoises, whales, monitor lizards, mouse dears, and crab-eating macaques.
For those who love to explore nature, there are a number of excellent hiking trails in Ko Tarutao where exotic waterfalls and plant life can be seen and enjoyed.
This is among the most famous islands in Thailand with its breathtakingly fine white beaches, excellent diving sites, and highly diversified marine life. While most people go to Thailand to enjoy the clear blue waters, others are also interested in the lush greenery and wildlife, which Koh Samui has in abundance. In addition, this island does not lack in tourist entertainment as there are a number of bars and pubs in and around the area that allow for a drinking and dancing with friends and family.
For tourists who are fond of shopping for clothing, shoes, accessories and souvenirs, Chiang Mai is by far the best destination in Thailand. This city is considered one of Asia’s biggest shopping hubs that house dozens of malls and hundreds of small boutiques in various nooks and crannies. Whether you are looking for high-end designer goods or great bargains, this is a great destination to visit and shop your heart out.
Diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, this destination is just about the best place to be during summer. Some of the diving sites in Ko Phi Phi Don, Krabi Province are among the most preserved sanctuaries that have very strict policies and rules that apply to tourists and local divers. The unspoiled beaches are also a sight to behold, not to mention the local scenery which includes outdoor yoga classes.
This city is among the most populous cities, but more importantly, it is where tourists can find some of the most exquisite Buddhist temples and other displays of excellent Asian architecture. Some of the finest and highest rated hotels, malls, and museums can also be found in this city, which is beginning to rival such cities as New York, Paris, London, and many other world-class locations in the world, at large.
When planning a trip to Thailand, it helps to know which places can offer the most fun and excitement. After all, vacations are all about relaxation and unwinding so you might as well make the most out of the down time.
John Chen is a travel writer currently located in Bangkok, Thailand. If you are in Thailand and you need legal help, visit Interactive Thailand.
I went to Resorshop to look at their bags and found these wonderful notebooks. Combined with their brass collection these are collection of wonderful and decidedly analog products (though the next time I’m in Thailand I’m going to try and find a similar cover for my iPhone). It features a high quality 2mm thick and vegetable-tanned leather cover handmade in Chiangmai, Thailand. The leather cover will become softer and will acquire a unique look and personality. The more you use it, the better it becomes.
The inside refillable notebook is made in Japan with Midori’s original paper in order to pursue the highest writing quality. The notebook can be incorporated inside of the leather cover using a rubber band that is fastened by a clasp made of tin. The leather cover can be closed with a color-coordinated rubber band that goes around the outside of a sketchbook. It’s refillable and can be customized in your own unique way with different type of notebook and pockets.
The luxury of a notebook such as this doesn’t mean you need to give up on the convenience of your iPhone – coupled with Evernote you could capture and catalogue all your notes for later retrieval.
On my bucket list of activities to do with the kids.
17 Countries. 343 Days. 6237 Photographs. One incredible journey. Follow the adventure at http://kienlam.net/around-the-world and http://kienlam.net
After I quit my job last year, I packed a bag, grabbed my camera and bought a one way ticket to London. 17 countries later, I compiled this time lapse of the many amazing places I came across.
As you stand in endless lines this holiday season, here’s a comforting thought: all those security measures accomplish nothing, at enormous cost. That’s the conclusion of Charles C. Mann, who put the T.S.A. to the test with the help of one of America’s top security experts. Vanity Fair on the security theatre performed by the American TSA:
Terrorists will try to hit the United States again, Schneier says. One has to assume this. Terrorists can so easily switch from target to target and weapon to weapon that focusing on preventing any one type of attack is foolish. Even if the T.S.A. were somehow to make airports impregnable, this would simply divert terrorists to other, less heavily defended targets–shopping malls, movie theaters, churches, stadiums, museums. The terrorist’s goal isn’t to attack an airplane specifically; it’s to sow terror generally. “You spend billions of dollars on the airports and force the terrorists to spend an extra $30 on gas to drive to a hotel or casino and attack it,” Schneier says. “Congratulations!”
What the government should be doing is focusing on the terrorists when they are planning their plots. “That’s how the British caught the liquid bombers,” Schneier says. “They never got anywhere near the plane. That’s what you want–not catching them at the last minute as they try to board the flight.”
To walk through an airport with Bruce Schneier is to see how much change a trillion dollars can wreak. So much inconvenience for so little benefit at such a staggering cost. And directed against a threat that, by any objective standard, is quite modest.
Theatre or not, flying through the US sucks. From the Vanity Fair.
An Indonesian filmakers inspiring homage to travel.
I love these custom leather luggage tags made by OfTheFountain and sold via Etsy. Perhaps not a replacement for the ubiquitous plastic variety but these are a great personalized addition to your luggage.
Planely is a new service that tries to make your flights a better social experience by showing you who is on your next plane.
I don’t particularly like to talk to strangers on a plane, nor network (cringe), but if this could be used in such a way as to avoid the usual ordeal of wondering which person walking down the aisle you are going to be intimate with for 12 hours, then I think it sounds fantastic.
Visitors to a Stockholm hotel will be able to use mobile phones instead of keys to unlock the doors to their rooms. Unlike the trial in the US I mentioned in September, this requires NFC which few phone manufacturers other than Nokia have public plans to implement.
Assa Abloy AB, the world’s largest maker of door locks, has launched a pilot in which Clarion Hotel Stockholm will lend customers mobile phones with close-range radio chips, much like devices used for contact-less payments at gas stations.
Repeat visitors during a four-month trial will be able to check in through their phones before arrival and have their phones activated as “keys.” They will then be able to skip the registration desk and unlock the door by holding the phone next to it.
Psychologists and economists have looked in some detail at vacations — what we want from them and what we actually get out of them. They have advice about what really matters, and it’s not necessarily what we would expect:
- How long we take off probably counts for less than we think
- Taking more short trips leaves us happier than taking a few long ones
- We’re often happier planning a trip than actually taking it
- Interrupting a vacation can make us enjoy it more
- How a trip ends matters more than how it begins
- And though it may feel unnecessary, it’s important to force yourself to actually take the time off in the first place — people, it turns out, are as prone to procrastinate when it comes to pleasurable things like vacations
[...] what matters far more is the intensity of sensation, whether it’s excitement or pain or contentment. And it’s not the overall average of the experience that people remember, but how they felt at the most intense moments, combined with how they felt right as the experience ended. Psychologists call this the “peak-end rule.”
Researchers in the Netherlands found that people perceived transit to take 2.3 times as long as driving a car. Your trip is actually much shorter than you think it is.
A recent study by researchers in the Netherlands put a number on it: when asked about how they get around, people perceived transit to take 2.3 times as long as driving a car. Interestingly, that number fell when the people surveyed habitually took transit in addition to driving – they were more familiar with what was involved and planned accordingly.
The perception principle also holds true for time people spend waiting for transit as opposed to being on it: a continuous ride will be perceived as taking less time than one that involves transfers and waiting, even if the second trip is actually shorter. Federal transit planners estimate that penalty to be somewhere between two and three times the actual time – so, a wait time of 10 minutes is perceived as 20-30 minutes.
ReadWriteWeb and Luxist report on how two Holiday Inn hotels have begun using iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones as room keys (MobieKey is also compatible with other phones as well), giving guests, after they ‘enrol’, the option of skipping the front desk entirely.
With the new system, which will be in testing through December, hotel guests can reserve their accommodations online. A text message is sent to their phone on the day they reserved with a room number and a link to unlock the door. No more friendly banter with the front-desk clerk when you’re late for a meeting, just get in and go – it sounds great.
The program began earlier this month at Holiday Inns in Chicago and Houston. According to USA Today, hotel patrons can sign up for the pilot program by making online reservations and enrolling through an email that receive prior to the check-in date. It is also careful to mention that smartphones “will always be an option for guests rather than a replacement for all keycards”
I’m not a skeptic but for me getting lost is part of the fun and the point of travel.
Welcome to the new, hyper-connected, technology-based travel paradigm. It’s the era of the smartphone as ubiquitous tool of navigation, when what matters is not just the here but the now. Google Maps and Google Street View blanket more and more of the planet. Facebook and Twitter allow users to ”geotag” their updates with specific geographic coordinates, while Foursquare turns ”checking in” into a form of entertainment. Users of the photo-sharing site Flickr geotag more than four million photos per month. And augmented reality (AR) technology, which allows travelers to navigate their way to nearby attractions by aiming a smartphone in any direction, weaves together all those geodata points into a miniaturized virtual world.
Read: Horizon Wireless