Tag Archives: destination

Airline iPhone Apps Could be Worth a Million Miles

If you are a frequent traveler, you know how important it is to get great deals. You likely are a member of a (or several!) airline rewards programs, such as those that Delta and American Airlines have. Did you know, though, that the airlines also offer iPhone apps to help you plan your travel and pass the time? Additionally, the two aforementioned companies just happen to want to give you a million frequent-flier miles to use.

American is offering the Mobile Million contest. Just download and install their app by October 15th, play a few games of Sudoku within the app, and you could win one of many prizes, including the grand prize of one million AAdvantage miles.

Delta’s contest, One App. One Million Miles. runs until the end of this month. The prize, of course, is one million Delta Sky Miles after using their app.

Are you a frequent flier? Which members-only programs do you belong to?

Take Time for You When Traveling

I stumbled across this video on my friend Chris Brogan’s new Man on the Go website. Chris travels a lot for business, and has gathered a ton of travel tips, tricks and ideas along the way. He’s also begun embedding videos created by others to help guide you in your travels.

This particular video was shot by Elizabeth Hannan during a trip to Arizona. She has one of the best tips I’ve heard lately: to take time out for YOU on any business trip. When we travel often for business, we tend to get stuck inside a lot. We sit at a desk or slave away on our notebooks around a conference table. We’re meeting people, networking, making connections. We become drones in a sense simply by living our business lives.

Elizabeth pushes us to get outside and live life – even when working. Plan ahead the next time you have to travel. Figure out something you would like to DO in the city that you’re visiting. Heck, instead of meeting with a client or associate in their office, ask them if they’d like to golf, hike or take in the newest art at the museum. Chances are, they’re going to take you up on your offer. They don’t want to be stuck behind a desk, either. This type of bonding experience will go a long way towards creating a positive and lasting business relationship.

Taking time out to do something just for you is healthy for your mind and body. It can keep you from burning out, help you recharge your body and mind and get you a little more of that (dreaded and hateful!!) sunshine.

How do You Travel?

Chris Brogan is – simply put – a great guy. I’ve heard him described as a “big teddy bear” with a “huge heart” on more than one occasion. He’s genuine, personable and extremely intelligent. Chris recently started up a new site that he is calling Man on the Go.

Chris is definitely a man on the go. He attends more conferences and functions than even Robert Scoble does. During all of his travels, Chris has learned many things the hard way about packing, unpacking, hotels, food, airlines and things that most of us never even think about. He’s using Man on the Go to help educate men and women alike… helping us all be better travelers.

Some of the tips Chris gives in this video include:

  • Only use a carry-on bag whenever possible. – You’ll cut down 20-30 minutes of each trip by not having to wait in line for luggage. You also will never run the risk of having your luggage lost.
  • If you’re a larger person, go for a window seat. – Chris has very wide shoulders, so he always chooses to sit near a window. This way, he can tuck himself in a little better and not be bashed in the arm or leg by the beverage cart.
  • Bring your own snacks on the plane. – Chris advises you to bring your own snacks to eat. Most airlines will give you nothing more than a small bag of half-stale pretzels or nuts. Bring some jerky, trail mix or other snacks that can be easily tucked into your bag.
  • Test out your carry-on before getting on the aircraft. – There’s nothing worse than struggling to find what you need in your bag in the middle of a flight and disturbing people around you. You don’t want to elbow someone repeatedly as you dig through and attempt to find what you’re looking for. Pack smart, and be aware of where things are located that you might want to retrieve in the air.
  • Don’t read your magazines until you are going on a trip. – If you subscribe to any magazines, don’t read them when they arrive if you know you’ll be traveling soon. It’s unreal how much you will save by not grabbing something in the airport to read on the plane. Many magazines have their cost inflated by up to 90% when you buy them this way.

What tips do you have that are tried-and-true? Leave us a follow-up comment and give us your ideas.

What Can You See in Hawaii?

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I just returned from Hawaii, courtesy of @alohabruce and his team at Hawaii-Aloha. Despite visiting the state to speak at a Social Media conference, they coaxed me out onto the water for an afternoon of frivolity. I learned there are many interesting things to see there in Oahu.

Believe it or not, I managed to not have a problem with motion sickness. Being The Great Indoorsman, it was very tough for me to have to be outside… in a boat… racing at break-neck speed across the water… and having that giant yellow thing in the sky beating down on my face. I swear I’m not going out of my house again for at least a month. I’ll need that much time to recuperate.

Imei thought it would be great fun to make the boat rock back and forth. HELLO! I don’t think this thing was designed for that kind of nonsense. It seems to me as though it should ride smoothly through the water at a sedate pace – much like a luxury car going down a new stretch of highway. Imei apparently doesn’t agree.

Bruce pointed out something the locals call a “Sea Booger.” I thought it was rather interesting looking, but got yelled at when I wanted to touch it. Danger Will Robinson! I’m still not sure why the hell I couldn’t play with it.

A moment later, we were enjoying the gorgeous scenery and seeing some pretty amazing rocks. All of a sudden, one of them started moving! What the hell! This thing was gargantuan, with legs as long as an Anaconda. The pinchy things on the ends of its legs look like something straight out of the movie Predator – or was that Alien?

Once that thing was gone from view, I was amused momentarily by a nice fat Sea Turtle. He was cute, in a slow kind of way. He didn’t worry me overly much… at least, not as much as Hawaii’s very own Sarlacc pit. It didn’t have tentacles and it kept erupting with water. That seemed mostly harmless.

I’m happy to report that there was no sign of Boba Fett there in Hawaii.

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Ten Things to Do in Switzerland

Imran sent an email to me awhile back, talking about all of the best things to do if we ever visit Switzerland. At the beginning of the email, Imran mentions that Switzerland has not one, but four national languages: German, French, Italian and Rumantsch! There is also a wonderful rail system there, so you don’t have to rent a car if you would rather not. Without further ado, here are Imran’s recommendations.

  • Geneva (French-speaking) – Geneva is the home of many international organisations : WTO, WHO, UN, and the Red Cros. This is the most international city in the country. There are interesting museums, including the Red Cross Museum and the Patek Philippe Museum (one of the most prestigious watch makers). And it’s nice to just stroll around the city center, where you may find various kinds of shops. And there’s an Apple Store too ! Home of the Protestant movement and Calvin, you will want to see the Reformation Wall.
  • Lausanne (French-speaking) – About 50 km away from Geneva, still on the Leman Lake, this city is home of the IOC. You definitely want to check out the Olympic Museum, which is situated right on the lake’s shore, with a permanent collection tracing back the whole history of the Olympic Games, and a temporary exhibition which covers various subjects. And strolling around the city is a blast, but you might be warned : the city is built on several hills, so you won’t stop walking up and down.
  • Leman Lake – A very nice thing to do is to board a steamboat and
    > sail all around the lake – that’ll take all day, so maybe you’ll want to just go to another city on the lake shore (like Vevey – home of Charlie Chaplin towards the end of his life – or Montreux). And every time you see a lake in Switzerland, try and see if you can sail on a steamboat, it’s worth it, especially in summer.
  • Canton Valais (French speaking (East) and German speaking (West)) – This Canton doesn’t have any real major cities, it has mountains !! Over there, you mainly have one big valley from which you can access many famous small towns up in the mountains, such as Verbier, Crans-Montana, and Zermatt. The latter one being my personal favourite, since it’s a very small place where no cars are allowed… and where you have one of our famous national symbols : the Matterhorn! Further to the west, you have the Aletsch Glacier, the biggest in Europe (23km long). You will want to go up in the mountains in winter or in summer (but beware of the hordes of tourists in winter ! summer is still okay). On a side note, Valais is not the only place with mountains, but there are so many, I’ll let you check it out yourself. You really have dozens of places to visit up there, and hundreds of kilometers of trekking paths.
  • Bern (German speaking) – The capital city! You’ll definitely want to walk around the old town all day long, it’s so beautiful! And check out the Federal Parliament too. It’s the biggest city in Switzerland, but it’s worth visiting.
  • Basel (German Speaking) – Situated way up north, Basel has an interesting History, and a nice city center. You may want to check out some of their temporary art exhibitions, which happen every so often.
  • Luzern (German speaking) – A city by the Four Canton Lake (or Vierwaldstättersee), there is the famous Chapel Bridge, the oldest wooden bridge in Europe – built in 1333 and still there! This was partially burnt down in 1993, but it’s been repaired. And most of all, you have the Lucerne Museum of Transport! There you’ll see the whole history of Swiss trains, planes, boats, cable-cars… and with the real things, real size!! You can enter the trains and see how people traveled decades ago. A must-see! Plus you have the iMax cinema there too. And through the lake, you are able to reach different other smaller places nice to visit, and also you may see the Grütli plain, where the Swiss Confederation was originally created in 1291.
  • Zurich (German speaking) – This is the biggest city in Switzerland. You have so many things to do there. You’ll want to walk down the main street (Bahnhofstrasse), and see all the fancy buildings. You also have the lake. Believe it of not, you have two Apple Stores in Zurich.
  • Lugano and Locarno (Italian speaking) – These two cities south of Switzerland are absolutely breath-taking in summer. As usual, you have lakes, and mountains surrounding them. Plus, every year around August, you have the International Film Festival of Locarno, with an open-air screen in the Piazza Grande.
  • Canton Graubünden (German and Rumantsch speaking) – Another canton with mountains to explore! The main cities are Chur and Davos. A must-see canton in winter!

I don’t speak any language other than English, but Switzerland definitely looks like an absolutely amazing – and beautiful – place to visit!

Top Ten Things to do in Chicago

Chicago is a happening kind of town. It is known as the Windy City, and rightfully so! I hear that the wind never stops, and can even carry a person right in to Wisconsin if they aren’t careful! I’ve always been lucky to not have my clothes blown away while I was visiting the city. That wouldn’t be a sight to see. However, Joe sent the following list of places you should see if you find yourself wandering around Chicago.

  • The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum – The Planetarium has a wonderful view of Chicago’s skyline, and is located on Lake Michigan. The Adler Planetarium is known as America’s first planetarium.You can experience the all-digital StarRider Theater, which is 3 stories tall or the Sky Theater.
  • Sears Tower Sky Deck – Even though the name has now changed, anyone native to Chicago still refers to the tallest building in North America as Sears Tower. There are touch computers in the multi-media elevator ride to the top. You can learn about Chicago’s history and view new displays. The Skydeck is open every day of the year, so you have plenty of time to plan your next trip.
  • Navy Pier – Navy Pier is full of attractions, restaurants, shops and parks. It is a wonderful place for the entire family. You can jump on the giant Ferris Wheel, or start a game playing Navy Pier Adventure Golf. Also, enjoy the Navy Pier Ropes Course – an obstacle course with four platforms and twelve activities between each platform.
  • Medieval Times – Just northwest of Chicago, in the Hoffman Estates, is the magnificent Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. You will be able to watch 11th century jousting tournaments while enjoying finger-licking good roasted chicken and barbecued ribs, or roasted veggies for the non-meat eaters. You will be divided up into different sections of the audience. Each section cheers for a different knight. The knights ride real Andalusion horses, and are dressed in exquisite costumes of the medieval time period. This event is a family favorite.
  • ESPN Zone – If you like sports, then the ESPN Zone is the place for you. Take part in interactive sports that are played in the ESPN Zone such as Hoops Hysteria, MoCap Golf and NHL 2 Night. When you are finished playing, sit back and relax in the Screening Room, which contains a 16 foot screen surrounded by skybox suites. There are high-definition monitors placed throughout the entire ESPN Zone for watching all of the sporting events. There is also a wonderful American Grill dining selection, as well as a merchandise shop.
  • Lincoln Park Zoo – Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the last free cultural institutions left in the United States, and it is open every day of the year. You can choose to get on rides such as the SBC Endangered Species Carousel, the swan boat, or the LPZOO Express train. Enjoy wonderful interactive exhibits and learn about all of the animals. There are a couple of gift shops, and many different dining options to choose from.
  • Martini Ranch – If you are looking for a place to go after a long day just to relax and have fun, then the Martini Ranch should do the trick. You can get a drink (any kind of Martini imaginable), and also order some tasty appetizers such as chicken fingers, nachos, mozzarella sticks and potato skins. The Martini Ranch is popular and can get crowded sometimes – but it is worth it.
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation – Learn about Chicago’s Architecture in the ArchiCenter. The ArchiCenter is open every day of the year with free admission. Be a part of interpretive exhibition and visit the ArchiCenter museum shop. From the center, you have access to 75 different tours.
  • Shoreline Sightseeing Skyline Cruise – Take a tour of Chicago’s Skyline. This boat departs from Navy Pier, and continues to the Hancock Building, past the lighthouse and Sears Tower to the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. You can also choose to take night cruises. Often during the summer, the night cruises boast a beautiful view from the middle of Lake Michigan for the fireworks at Navy Pier.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio – Visit Wright’s private residence and studio. His home was also his laboratory for architectural designs. There are available museum tours as well as walks that are self-guided audio tours. There are 25 of his buildings to view and learn about. Take part in the historical architecture.

I really like this list, as it lists several things that most people have never heard of. I prefer it this way. I don’t only want to visit the “famous” or “popular” attractions. I want the local flavor!

Top Ten Places to Visit in Porto, Portugal

I’ve been across the pond exactly once in my life… to Germany. Next week, I’ll be heading to Paris, France for a conference. There are many places I have yet to visit over in that direction, but would very much like to. Portugal is one of those places on my “hope to see someday” list. It’s beautiful there, with much history everywhere you turn. Jorge Bravo lives in Porto, Portugal. He sent me the following list of places that you should definitely take the time to see should you ever find yourself visiting his homeland.

  • Serralves Museum – This is a building that is as much a work of art as the collections it exhibits inside, surrounded by a magnificent park.
  • Music House – An architectural masterwork by world-renowned architect Rem Koolhaas.
  • CAIS DE GAIA Wine Cellars – The city’s fantastic skyline is showcased here. This is the birthplace of one of the world’s most popular wines.
  • Igreja de São Francisco Church – Unquestionably one of Europe’s most extraordinarily lavish church interiors.
  • Galeria Miguel Bombarda – Check out the art galleries down Rua Miguel Bombarda.
  • Douro River – Take a cruise down the Douro River.
  • Dom Louis Bridge – Before the Eiffel Tower, there was this ironwork showpiece.
  • The Cathedral – This is the 12th century fortress-like cathedral where Prince Henry the Navigator was baptized.
  • Clerigos Tower – This is a beautiful iconic landmark overlooking the city.
  • Soares Dos Reis Museum – This is a notable national art museum named after one of Portugal’s top artists.

After taking a look at all of these places, I think Portugal has moved up higher on my list of “must see” places! What about you? Where do you live? What is cool, fun and educational in your area?

Paris, France Tips

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Next week will be my first time to visit France! I am going to be the Keynote speaker for the LeWeb Conference. There are over 1800 people registered for this particular conference, and the speaker lineup is astounding. I am honored to have been asked to speak at LeWeb – but I’m nervous, as well!

As I said, I’ve never been to France. I also don’t really speak a single word of French! I feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to get around. I feel lost already, trying to figure out where I should go, what I should see, and what I need to do!

What suggestions do you have? I’ve already gotten several good ideas. Keep them coming!

If you’ve never been to Paris, what would you want to do if you were to get to go?!

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It Tasted Better Than Soap!

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Everyone loves gifts! I especially love them when I’m not expecting them! Nancy from the Outrigger Waikiki sent me a surprise gift basket to my room when I was staying there recently, courtesy of Bruce Fisher and his team. I was in Hawaii for the [re]Think Hawaii conference. Apparently, the hotel noticed that I was tweeting from my hotel room, and posting pictures of the scenery! In any case, they sent me a very cool gift basket, and I was pleased as heck with it!

The card was really nice… appreciative of my stay at their hotel. Inside, there was an actual basket, believe it or not! There were some Sweet Potato and Taro chips inside, right on the top. They’re very yummy, and made by the Hawaiian Chip Company.

I also uncovered some Island Assorted Candies, some chocolate-chip macadamia muffins (SO delicious!), chocolate and pineapple flavored macadamia nuts, and some shredded newspaper! Oh, wait… the newspaper was probably to keep the chips and such from getting broken!

I really appreciate Bruce, and everyone who made my trip to Hawaii a reality. I had an amazing time on the Islands, and at the conference itself. Also, thanks to the Outrigger Waikiki for sending me this great basket of goodies!

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Top 10 Things to Do in Nottingham, England

The following recommendations were sent in by Ross, who happens to own his own travel business across the pond. Between being a native of Nottingham — and running the travel business — I am confident that Ross’ suggestions of things you won’t want to miss are right on target. Here’s hoping you’ll get to visit one day!

  • Sample a Fine Pint in England’s Oldest Inn! Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem (below Nottingham Castle) is England’s oldest inn, serving food and drink for over an incredible 800 years! A real highlight is the Medieval food night (finger-licking food crusade-style) — be it lamb chops, pork cutlets, or oven-baked chicken drumsticks served with hot roasted spuds. And to drink? Flagons of the finest ale served up by the establishment’s very own serving wenches, authentic to the fullest! What a scrumptious number 1 in the top 10 things to do in Nottingham.
  • Nottingham Castle — Home of the ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ Just above the city, Nottingham Castle has a vibrant museum and art gallery housing collections of silver, glass, decorative items, visual arts, paintings, and Nottinghamshire archaeology and history. This is also the home of the legendary ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’ and, believe it or not, there is still a Sheriff of Nottingham today — however, it is now purely a symbolic role. Be warned: the guides here are some of the most boring you will meet!
  • Explore Nottingham’s City Caves Enter and explore a whole new world in the caves underneath Nottingham city and descend into the dark depths of the original Anglo-Saxon tunnels. These caves have been used and adapted over the centuries by local people to escape and take refuge from the world above. During World War 2 on 8 May, 1941, 500 high explosive bombs were dropped over Nottingham in a fearsome blitz; thousands of people sought refuge and retreated to the safety of the shelters built in the caves.
  • Visit Sherwood Forest — the Home of Robin Hood Once a royal hunting forest, this is the legendary home of the outlaw Robin Hood. Today, it’s part of a national nature reserve because of its national ecological importance. There are 900 veteran oak trees here, including the famous Major Oak. This forest veteran is a huge oak tree thought to be around 800 years old. In a 2002 survey, it was voted “Britain’s favourite tree.” According to local lore, its hollow trunk was used as a hideout by Robin Hood’s men. What can I say, I’m a tree-loving kind of guy and have to say that this is one beautiful tree and certainly worth a visit.
  • Take Some Spare Pants on a Nottingham Ghost Tour Join a ghost tour and let yourself be led into parts of the city where the street plan is nearly 1,000 years old, hear fascinating stories about ghosts and the odd gory execution whilst looking over your shoulder in the graveyard; this, of course, is a must do! Don’t forget your spare pair of pants.
  • Take a Poke Around the Bad Boy Poet’s Home at Newstead Abbey Best known as the former home of the poet Lord Byron. Visitors interested in the poet Byron can see his private apartments as well as letters, objects, and furniture that belonged to the poet. You can have fun trying on replica period costumes in the Dressing Up Room or marvel at the expansive paneling in the Great Hall. Personally, I think you can’t beat sitting out in the sun enjoying lunch in this beautiful English setting. My tip, though, is not to bother viewing the Japanese gardens as they are, in my view, not very Japanese. Having said that, I have never been to Japan, but you can trust me.
  • Sample a Ghost Supper at the Galleries of Justice if You Dare! The only museum of its type in all of Europe! It has preserved the site of Nottinghamshire’s old courthouse and county gaol as well as maintaining a vast collection of spine chilling artefacts relating to crime and punishment over the last three centuries. Go deep within the gaol to discover unsolved mysteries and see if anything paranormal happens to you. With unexplained sounds, smells, sensations, and apparitions reported frequently, it won’t only be the storyteller giving you the heebie jeebies!
  • The Shakespeare Festival Every year in August, Nottingham Castle provides the perfect backdrop for the Shakespeare Festival. These productions are performed in beautiful Elizabethan costumes by a cast of Britain’s finest professional Shakespearian actors. They include live music, action, exciting sword fights, and hilarious comedy all set in the stunning natural surroundings that Shakespeare intended for his plays. I recommend this greatly as an evening with Shakespeare is an experience in itself. (Shakespeare himself won’t be there.)
  • Visit Wollaton Hall, Gardens, and Deer Park Standing on a natural hill three miles west of Nottingham City Centre and built by Sir Francis Willoughby between 1580 and 1588, Wollaton Hall is a beautiful Elizabethan mansion set in 500 acres of spectacular gardens and parkland. Explore the magical home, stroll around the gardens, and if you get bored, you can chase the deer around the park. Be warned though that these deer don’t fear easily and may even end up chasing you instead; you may be wondering how I know this.
  • Go to a Nottingham Forest Football (Soccer) Match If you have never been to a live football match before, then head over to the ‘city ground’ and watch two times European champions Nottingham Forest. There is nothing quite like a live football match; soak up the atmosphere, enjoy a half time pie, and cheer on the Reds to victory. Having said this, I am actually a Liverpool fan, so don’t expect to see me down there!

From the pictures I’ve seen, I know that Nottingham is a beautiful area. After reading the tips from Ross, I’m inclined to believe there are a lot of cool things to see and do, as well. Hopefully I will have a chance to visit one day.