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Friday, May 4, 2012

Super Useful Travel Links 5.4.12

I hope you are enjoying May so far and my first two reviews in REVIEWapalooza. I decided that so many review requests in a row was a good thing, especially with Summer coming. I still wanted to bring you fun travel links, too, so I am working around my own schedule to make it work. By the end of May, you will be totally prepared to travel for summer, though you could be more so by downloading a copy of my eBook, Secrets to Summer Savings, and learn how to also do it for less money! Use code IREADSTC at checkout and get it for half price! How’s that for saving money?!

One of the hardest things to do while traveling in a group is to get everyone in a shot, especially when you also want to get background in, so you know where you all were crammed together, and you probably also want to be able to see who everyone is, so standing a block away isn’t going to make for great vacation shots. Techlicious has some fantastic tips on making group shots look awesome, like taking multiple shots and piecing them together with photo editing apps and software.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably got some irrational fears. Like, I’m afraid of the dark, giant bugs and empty public restrooms. Yes, it’s true. I’ve seen one (thousand) too many horror movies and it has affected my ability to use a quiet rest stop bathroom, get out of bed in the middle of the night or wear sandals in humid climates. I’m not embarrassed to admit my phobias – maybe because I don’t think they are that unusual – but if you had some of these weird phobias presented by Travel + Leisure, you probably wouldn’t leave the house, much less travel around the world.
Wouldn’t you love to leave your ATM card in your hotel safe or, better yet, at home when you travel? There’s no way it can be stolen from you if you aren’t carrying it around. Japan is testing out some new ATMs that will use your handprint instead of a card. If these machines work well, they may end up replacing ATMs across the globe. Though that would be quite a ways in the future, it would be fabulous news for travelers everywhere. Unless thieves steal your hands (unlikely), you’ll always be able to get money out and travel worry-free, unless you’re captured by Somalian pirates. We won’t think about that.

Do you love Disney’s (and Seattle’s) monorail system? It’s pretty cool, right? What if you could travel on a super-fast tube system that worked by the same means as a monorail and roller coaster? It could be coming in the future, too. Considering we can barely get good public transportation in some places in the country, it’s not very probable, but if it was, it would be really fun – even if you couldn’t see where you were going and would maybe have to crawl your way to the bathroom if you needed go. Perhaps you could go before you got on and could hold it the two hours it would take to make it from New York to China. Considering the proposed tube doesn’t even look like it has a bathroom, you might not want to drink too much before getting on.

Free! I love that word. It doesn’t often go with travel, but in this case, it does. Walking tours are high up on my list of things to do at your destination to quickly learn all there is about a city. It’s even better when your tour is conducted by a local that genuinely loves showing people around and teaching them fun facts. Sandemans NEW Europe Tours partners knowledgeable guides with visitors in over a dozen European cities, with more destinations to come. You can also find free or cheap city tours in U.S. destinations, too, just by Googling for them.

With as many times as I tell you that vacation rentals save money and are awesome, it pains me to say that some renters are trying to scam the system with non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements. By keeping guests from writing up unfavorable reviews, they are able to gain more business for their shoddy accommodations. If you’re looking to stay at a property, ask to see the agreement paperwork BEFORE you pay any money and if they have a charge for posting a bad review, tell them thanks, but no thanks and find another property. If they don’t have confidence in their own property, neither should you. It’s no way to run a legitimate business and future guests should know what they are getting (or not getting) before booking and being disappointed.

Do you ever get stuck in front of that one kid on the plane that either thinks freaking out and screaming bloody murder or kicking the back of your seat for the entire flight is a great idea and then notice that they have the most unobservant parent ever, then you will thank your lucky stars for this new service (assuming people are willing to use it). You may also be thrilled to learn about Nanny in the Clouds if you have a rambunctious child (or children) that you travel with and need a couple extra hands. I’m not sure how convenient the service will be, since fate has to be on your side and both of you need to end up on the same flight, but fortune smiles on you both, you can hire a nanny on your flight and they can earn a little extra money on their way to wherever they’re going. Check it out!

Not quite ready for a nanny yet? If you’re pregnant (or planning to be), then here are some useful tips on traveling when you’re with child, from Essential Travel. Of course, if you already have children, you probably know the dos and don’ts of traveling while pregnant, but for first time mommies-to-be, you may be grateful for the advice from experts, especially when you don’t want becoming a family to also slow down your desire to see the world. Also, make sure to find some amazing walking shoes and pack many snacks.
So, what do you think? Would you try any of these services or have you come across an interesting travel post lately that you want to share?
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