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October 05, 2009

Western Australia Launches New Trails Resource


The Kimberley_ATC
Western Australia's The Kimberleys (courtesy, ATC)

Western Australia—home of the Coral Coast and some of the country's most far-flung cities and pristine landscapes—launched a great new travel resource last month.  TopTrailsWA provides a fun, info-filled resource on over 50 of trails within the region, from an hour-long mountain bike jaunt to days-long treks, along with packing lists, tips on "leave no trace" low-impact hiking, and dates to key events.

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Related Topics: Exotic Escapes · From Around the Web · National Parks · Outdoor Adventures · Travel Websites

September 29, 2009

BusJunction.com Adds Yelp Ratings for Bus Lines


Busjunction2

In April, we wrote about a new player in online bus-travel ticketing, BusJunction.com. The site has since gained positive reviews from publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post for its utility in navigating the profusion of budget bus providers, particularly for popular routes up and down the East Coast. Last week, BusJunction.com launched a new feature on its website enabling travelers to view star ratings from Yelp users about the listed bus companies, taking some of the guesswork out of the travel experience once you hop onboard. Think of it as TripAdvisor product reviews for the new generation of bus-goers.

Have you used BusJunction.com to book a bus trip? Have any stories to tell about bus journeys you have taken? Tell us in the comments section.

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Related Topics: Budget Travel · Travel Websites

September 25, 2009

New Program Pairs Bike Rentals With Local Rail-Trails


Washington-dc-bikeBIKE THE SITES: National Mall and U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. (Nathan Borchelt)

Isn't it great when the dots connect? Particularly when it comes to putting more bums on bike seats and getting them onto the tens of thousands of miles of bike-friendly trails around the country. RentaBikeNow.com, which debuted to consumers at the beginning of 2009, and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy have just announced a partnership that pairs the ability to find bike rentals around the United States (and Canada) with over 15,000 miles of rail-trails and other bike-friendly paths. As a regular bike commuter in the Washington, D.C., area, I can attest that there's no better way to explore your surroundings (not to mention, escape the nation's fourth-worst case of urban gridlock).

In other bike-related news, The Washington Post Travel section just published a bumper Biking Issue that offers a slew of great two-wheeled touring options from L.A. to Cuba to Kilimanjaro.

Got the biking bug? Browse our Top 10 Rail-Trails for Fall, brought to you in association with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

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Related Topics: Outdoor Adventures · Travel News · Travel Websites

September 17, 2009

How to Find the Best Fall Foliage Updates Online


Colorado-fall-foliage
Fall colors in Colorado (courtesy, Colorado Tourism)

Tuesday, September 22 officially marks the start of fall, a date eagerly anticipated by those most ardent of outdoorsy folks: leaf peepers! Reports show that Mother Nature is already revving up for the annual show, with rich reds, crimsons, and yellows already sweeping down through Canada and some of the more northerly parts of New England.

Look out this year, too, for a color-filled profusion of online updates, with newcomer Twitter.com able to provide a stream of real-time updates. And check out Away.com's comprehensive guide to fall for activity ideas and general peak predictions. For a great general resource, go to YankeeFoliage.com, plus follow the photographer who's behind the site on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Foliage_Reports.

Below the jump are listings for state and provincial tourism bureaus in those regions where fall colors are typically the most impressive, with additional information on the latest updates for the 2009 season. Obviously there are dozens more great local resources available around the Web, so tell us in the comments section if you have additional leaf-peeping information to share!

Continue reading "How to Find the Best Fall Foliage Updates Online" »

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Related Topics: Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Outdoor Adventures · Travel Photography · Travel Websites

September 03, 2009

How to Get the Best Travel Advice on the Web


Lao-cai-province-vietnam
Hmong villagers in Lao Cai Province, Vietnam (Skip Nall/Digital Vision/Getty)

Getting travel advice the "old-fashioned" way used to require stepping out on the smoker's balcony at your backpacker's hostel and joining the conversation (cigarette or not). That philosophy—talking to your fellow travelers—still applies once you're on the road, but these days it's even easier to get advice via the Internet, plus share your wisdom once you return. And now with the explosion of social media, a new and almost bottomless layer has been added, offering the ability to tap your network of connections and seek advice from people whose opinions you probably trust even more than guys named Arthur Frommer and Rick Steves.

Which gets us to the current problem: Information overload and too much choice. Where do you start? Which sources of travel information are even worth the effort? It's enough to (almost) make you yearn for the days when you could set off with little more than a round-trip ticket in hand, vague itinerary in mind, and a vagabonding spring in your step.

Continue reading "How to Get the Best Travel Advice on the Web" »

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Related Topics: Travel Tips · Travel Websites

June 25, 2009

New Airline Targeted Towards Pets!



By Erin Pak
06/25/2009

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Pet-airways
Pet Airways Turboprop (courtesy, Pet Airways)

Pet fanatics rejoice! Your pet can now enjoy the luxury of traveling in the main cabin rather than in cargo on Pet Airways, the first airline to dedicate itself to pet-friendly travel. I'm not a pet owner, or even a fanatic, but I do believe that animals should enjoy a safe and comfortable ride, just like us humans. So it's about time something like this arrived, although today's current economic climate makes it an interesting time to launch such a venture.

So here’s how it works. First, buy your ticket on the Pet Airways website, where you also specify the animal’s height and weight. Sample round-trip fares for small- to medium-sized dogs traveling between New York City and L.A. in September cost $698 round-trip (a lot of dough to throw down for your pet!). That would also include a no-fee overnight stopover for your pet in Chicago. Shorter flights are direct and cost upwards of $300 round-trip, depending on your pet’s height and weight. For extra comfort, you can upgrade your pet’s carrier for an additional $50.

Continue reading "New Airline Targeted Towards Pets!" »

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Related Topics: Air Travel · Travel Websites

June 16, 2009

Lonely Planet Launches New iPhone City Guides for 20 Cities Worldwide


Lonely-planet-iphone-appDespite what you might read in the news these days, some travel publishers aren't taking the death of print lying down. In fact, you could say they're reveling in it. Witness Lonely Planet, the go-to guidebook for budget-conscious backpackers (and even well-heeled travelers like my in-laws) for decades. With a savvy Web presence that actually long predates all of today's Web 2.0 chatter, Lonely Planet has just released a series of iPhone City Guides for the iPhone and iPod Touch for 20 cities including London, New York, Rome, Tokyo, and Paris. Regularly priced at $15.99 and available from the iTunes App Store, its San Francisco city guide is currently available for a nominal fee ($.99) until the end of June.

What you'll get is a download containing all the editorial expertise (eg. the best hotels, restaurants, attractions, itineraries) from Lonely Planet's well-researched print guides, but now nicely packaged in a portable, location-based interface that allows you to scroll through maps and customize and save your favorite items. The content, photos, and maps also remain available offline, so no sweat about roaming fees if you happen to be strolling Las Ramblas in Barcelona and need an instant recommendation about where to find the best tapas. And while I can safely say that a downloadable e-guide will never usurp my dog-eared collection of Lonely Planets in terms of sentimental value, these iPhone guides do offer the clear advantage of automatic (and free!) updates whenever new editions become available. Check it out and let us know what you think!

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Related Topics: Travel News · Travel Websites

April 24, 2009

Sites We Like: BusJunction.com, a New Player in the Bus Wars


Busjunction

The East Coast bus wars just found their Switzerland: BusJunction.com, a new website that combs through discount fares on a dozen of the big bus lines that ply the major routes between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston (as well as further west in hubs like Cleveland, Buffalo, Chicago). As founder Matthew Keller told us in an email, "We think it's a lot like Kayak.com, but for bus tickets." Well put, and like Kayak.com, its secret lies in its simplicity. Plug in your desired route and date, and the results page outputs your options in a cleanly designed interface that lists price, departure time, journey duration, and whether or not the bus has add-ons like WiFi or power outlets. As a test, we plugged in a last-minute escape to NYC from D.C. for tonight and got a fare on MegaBus for $19; you can search further out (up to six weeks) and score fares for as little as $5. The site launched on April 8 and is still in beta mode but we like what we see so far (it would be nice to be able to search on round trips instead of just the existing one-way option, but we suspect that's in the pipeline). Of course, while we can vouch for the middleman, we won't speak to the variable quality of service on some of those bus lines once you hit the road. Note that bookings are made on the bus lines' websites, so no worries there regarding credit-card security or ticket authenticity.

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Related Topics: Budget Travel · Travel Websites

April 13, 2009

Away.com Is Now on Facebook and Twitter!



By Karen Chen
04/13/2009

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If you like Away.com's travel ideas and inspiration, you can now get updates from us even more frequently, through Facebook and Twitter!  Become a fan of Away.com on Facebook and get updates about our latest travel stories and photo galleries right to your Facebook News Feed.  Plus, as a fan you can:
- Share your travel photos, stories, and tips.  We want to see where you've been!
- Get the latest on seasonal and regional travel ideas.
- Give us feedback on our site and tell us what you'd like to see—we want your input!

And in case you've been living in a cave, and haven't heard about the Twitter revolution (and literally, a Twitter revolution by the youth in Moldova), Twitter is a microblogging website that is growing faster than you can say "tweet."  The website allows you to share information and stay in touch with your network of followers on a real-time basis.  It's proved a useful tool for travelers looking for recommendations and advice—even food and lodging. Follow us at awayblog on Twitter, and we'll:
- Keep you updated on all the latest travel news.
- Give you updates on new blog posts and articles.
- Post links to cool and interesting happenings around the world (and the Web).
- Ask you for your two cents about travel-related issues.
- And answer any travel questions you've got! 
We've already got over 970 people following our up-to-the-minute travel tweets, so what are you waiting for?  Become our 1000th follower and we'll send you an Away.com luggage tag, T-shirt, and mug! 

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Related Topics: Away.com News · From Around the Web · Travel Trends · Travel Websites

March 26, 2009

Video: Best Family Travel Sites on the Net


Away.com’s Family Travel Guide has been selected as one of the “Best Family Travel Sites on the Net.” Check out the video below (look for us at 1:59!), which is also packed with some other great family-centric sites like WeJustGotBack.com and the world-roving SoulTravelers3.com blog. Did Trip on a Deal overlook any other can’t-miss family-travel resources? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Related Topics: Away.com News · Family Vacation · Travel Videos · Travel Websites
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