Tag Archives: Vacation

How to Diet and Exercise When You Travel

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Conferences are a fantastic way to educate yourself and make new connections with people. They’re also a great way to network at after-parties and gain a little weight. Let’s face it: most conference parties offer food which is full of carbs, sugars and other icky substances. Even though it tastes fantastic, our bodies may not thank us for partaking in the morning. What’s a geek to do to stay in shape while spending so much time attending events? Jake met up with Tim Ferriss – author of The 4-Hour Body – to find out.

Sticking with proteins and veggies can be done at SXSW and any other event you may be traveling to. Don’t feel you have to sample all of the food offered to you during conference lunches and dinner or during parties thrown for attendees. Additionally, if you feel you must drink alcohol, try ordering a NorCal Margarita. This is comprised of soda water, high-grade tequila and the juice from at least four limes. These drinks are the “lesser of many evils” according to Tim, since many types of booze contains a lot of calories.

Exercising in a hotel room can be tricky, and you usually don’t quite feel up to going for a morning run during conference days. Tim has a few ideas to help Jake out there, as well. Packing a few mini bands allows you to quickly do your resistance exercises. You can also adapt several normal types of exercise to give you more of a workout: try doing one-armed pushups against a desk at an angle. Do your squats with one leg raised. Make sure you aren’t a klutz like me before attempting any of these things, though.

If you don’t have any weights in your suitcase or hotel room to help with your workout, try making your exercises much slower than usual. If you’re performing squats, go down slowly at a count of five and come back up at a count of five. The same goes for many other types of stretches and lunges.

Lastly, Tim recommends looking into doing an intense workout the day before traveling which requires giving your body 5-7 days to recover before doing another. This sort of covers you for the days you are gone and cannot work your body to its usual pace.

How to Pay Less for Travel With Yapta

This is a guest post written by Matt Gamboa.

It always happens… you wait for the best price on a plane ticket to maximize your savings, only to find that a few days later, the price drops even more. What can you do? Don’t most tickets say “non-refundable” when you’re reading the terms of sale at the final confirmation screen? What you might not have known is that quite a few airlines offer some form of credit if the price of your travel drops after purchase. The fine print varies per airline, but a Seattle startup is looking to exploit that policy and empower the user with the information. The company is called Yapta.

Yapta is an airline travel site whose main feature is to track airline ticket prices and provide alerts. You look for a specific itinerary by searching on the site (powered by Kayak), and set up alerts to let you know via email when that ticket falls within your budget. It’s very useful if you don’t want to spend more than a specific amount on a ticket, or if you’re just waiting for the best time to travel.

The other, quite unique service Yapta provides is the ability to tell you if your ticket is eligible for a refund because the price dropped after you bought it. A lot of airlines have a policy on refunding travel credit in the event that the ticket you purchased drops. It varies, but generally if the ticket drops below $150, you’re eligible. Yapta will monitor the ticket while you just watch your email account for notifications!

The site was launched in 2007, and they say there have been more than $300 million in savings. Travel is already expensive, you should be obligated to save as much as possible. Yapta helps us take a huge step in getting that lowest price.

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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What is There to Do in Boston?

It’s been awhile since we last wrote about travel tips, as sent in by our community members. We asked months ago for you to send us the top ten places to visit in your hometown. So many of you responded that we are STILL trying to get them all posted! Today we’re going to talk about Boston. We may end up with more than ten things to do, since three of you sent in your ideas. Thanks to Mike, Robert and Charmain for letting us know what great things there are to do in Boston, Massachusetts!

  • USS Constitution – Better known as Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution was a prominent ship during the War of 1812. Tour the ship or visit the museum, which is full of over 150 interactive displays.
  • Harvard Walking Tour – After taking this tour, you’ll be able to say you’ve been to Harvard! Tour the famous campus with a student leader, and learn of its history and prestige.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Campus Tour – Regularly scheduled student-led campus tours are conducted Monday through Friday at 11:00 AM and at 3:00 PM.
  • Institute of Contemporary Art – For more than a half century, the ICA has presented contemporary art in all media – visual arts, film, and video, performance and literature – and created educational programs that encourage an appreciation for contemporary culture.
  • Bunker Hill Monument – In this first major battle of the American Revolution, the outnumbered American militia flew a red, white, and blue flag bearing the pine tree emblem of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Today, you’ll find a 221-foot granite obelisk marking the site of the famous battle.
  • Fenway Park – Fenway is the home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. It’s a gorgeous stadium, and one that you’ll enjoy visiting… even if you’re not a baseball fan!
  • New England Aquarium – Founded in 1969, the New England Aquarium is a global leader in ocean exploration and marine conservation. The Aquarium is one of the premier visitor attractions in Boston, with over 1.3 million visitors a year, and a major public education resource.
  • The Public Garden – The Public Garden was created in 1837, Boston Common in 1634. What a difference two centuries made. From its inception, the Public Garden was decorative and flowery, the Common pastoral and practical. The Common’s walkways were for crosstown travel, the Public Garden’s paths for meandering. The Common was America’s first park, the Public Garden its first public botanical garden.
  • Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum – This is a comprehensive museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting the legacy of the single most important event leading up to the American Revolution. It is scheduled to re-open in the summer of 2010 (after renovations are complete), and will undoubtedly be a huge hit.
  • Boston Children’s Museum – The Boston Children’s Museum exists to help children understand and enjoy the world in which they live. As an early museum experience for children, the environment is informal, but the purpose is serious. The exhibits are geared towards children ages 2 – 10.
  • Boston National Historical Park – The Boston National Historical Park is an association of sites that showcase Boston’s role in the American Revolution. It was designated a national park on October 1, 1974. Seven of the eight sites are connected by the Freedom Trail, a walking tour of downtown Boston.
  • Boston Duck Tours – You’ve never toured Boston in anything that comes close to Boston Duck Tours. The fun begins as soon as you board your “DUCK”, a W.W. II style amphibious landing vehicle. First, you’ll be greeted by one of our legendary ConDUCKtors, who’ll be narrating your tour. Then you’re off on a journey like you’ve never had before.
  • Arnold Arboretum – The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is the oldest public arboretum in North America and one of the world’s leading centers for the study of plants. It is a unique blend of respected research institution and beloved public landscape.
  • Whale Watching Cruise from Boston Harbor – Boston Harbor Cruise’s Whale Watching cruise is both an unforgettable and educational experience. The guides, who are researchers from the Whale Center of New England, will teach you about everything from whale behavior and migration patterns to the local ecology. You’ll also be able to get amazing photographs of the area – and the whales!
  • Franklin Park Zoo – Franklin Park Zoo is a 72-acre site nestled in Boston’s historic Franklin Park, long considered the “crown jewel” of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace Park System. You’ll find hundreds of exhibits, and enjoy hours’ worth of fun.

It sounds as though there is no shortage of fun – and educational – things to do around Boston! There seems to literally be something for everyone!

What is There to do in Singapore?

From all of the pictures I’ve seen over the years, it’s safe to say that Singapore is a beautiful place. David Xu wrote in to share with us some of his favorite places to visit in the city. I can close my eyes and picture some of these places, thanks to the great descriptions that David provided. I have to say that after reading through this list, Singapore is now on my list of places I need to visit someday!

  • Sentosa Island – This is an island off the southern coast of Singapore mainland, and is one of the most visited resorts of tourists. One can travel to Sentosa by car or bus, via the bridge, or use the cable cars that will allow you to have a sky view of the island before going on it. There are butterfly parks, dolphin lagoons, underwater world, go-karting, 3 amazing and relaxing beaches, and the Merlion tower. This tower is about 37 meters high, and is a replica of Singapore’s most enduring symbol. A Merlion is fish with a lion head.
  • Singapore Zoo and Night Safari – The Singapore Zoo is well known both in Southeast Asia and worldwide for its variety of animals and excellent pedigree. You’ll see everything from Chinese pandas to orang utans to white tigers. Certainly worth a visit and if you have the time, go for the Night Safari which is an interesting night tour of the zoo. Night Safari is the 1st nocturnal zoo in the world which was started in Singapore in the year 1994 and encompasses a total area of forty acres with 120 species and a total number of 1040 animals, out of which 29% are endangered species. The zoo has received a number of awards such as the top ten best family attractions, the best leisure attraction in Singapore and more. This open air zoo, which is open only at night, is set in a humid tropical forest and is divided into 8 zones which can be surveyed on foot or by taking trails and trams. There are a number of itineraries which include creatures of the night show shown by Leopard trails and tram journeys. The various attractions in the park include Fishing Cat Trail, Forest Giant’s Trail, and Himalayan Foothills, Nepalese River Valley, Giant Flying Squirrels, Bat Mangrove Walk and more.
  • Jurong Bird Park – If you’re bored of seeing the numerous shopping malls and restaurants in Singapore, then try visiting the Singapore Jurong Bird Park. The Jurong Bird Park is the largest open-concept bird park in the Asia Pacific, with over 600 species of birds. You can take a ride on the air-conditioned Panorail for a scintillating sight of the Park. You can also enjoy the fantastic Penguin Exhibit with an underwater viewing gallery, along with the world-class All-Star Bird Show.
  • The Singapore Botanical Gardens – Among the most interesting and most visited place in Singapore is the Singapore Botanic Gardens. The gardens are a lush and scenic park spread over 52 hectares of land right in the heart of the city. The garden is accessible from the Holland road and Cluny Road, just off the western end of Orchard Road. The park is a great spot for people who want to enjoy time at a leisurely pace, go for a jog or set up a picnic spot. The Botanic Gardens are rather distinctive as they contain a whole variety of flora from differing climates.
  • Haw Par Villa – The ‘Haw Par Villa’, is an important tourist spot in Singapore. You can see all the different mythological and legends of the Chinese culture here. Moreover, you will be entertained by the dragon dances and other cultural shows. A dragon boat ride brings you through the ups and downs of the Chinese Hell.
  • Chinatown – If you’re interested in the culture and sights of the largest ethnic group in Singapore, then Chinatown is a must visit for its interesting little curio shops and cultural fare. Make sure you pop in to try the local food and also shop for traditional Chinese stuff like herbs and mahjong sets or jade.
  • Singapore River – This is the place to be at night. The scenery is really indescribable. Included is a picture of Downtown Singapore at night. You can see the Singapore River in the middle, and towards the left, there’s a triangular shaped building. That is the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore’s very own 6 star hotel.
  • Esplanade – The Esplanade is easily differentiated from the other buildings around it due to its unique architectural design. Its design is similar to the tropical fruit, durian, so many Singaporeans refer to the Esplanade as “The Durian”. It is a place that is worth taking a photo with as you won’t see this design anywhere in the world.
  • Singapore Science Center – For budding scientists, the world-acclaimed Science Centre Singapore will keep your mind racing with more than 1,000 interactive exhibits depicting the wonder and beauty of science. Apart from the main exhibition galleries, the Omni-Theatre is also one of the central attractions of the Science Centre Singapore. The five-storey high and 23 meters diameter hemispheric giant screen and sophisticated sound systems promise audiences a thrilling cinematic experience.
  • Food! – Singapore is Food City. There are many other good reasons to stay in Singapore, such as the Night Safari at the zoo, the Bird Park, Sentosa, the war memorials, and even the shopping. But eating is the attraction that could keep visitors amused for weeks. Singaporeans love eating. Anything, at any time. To get the best from Singapore eating, it’s advisable to break all the Australian rules. Head for shopping centers. Go to luxury hotels. Indulge in fast food. Look for buffets. And eat something strange.

What about you? Have you been to Singapore? Did David list all of your favorite places? What about where you live – what are the best things to see and do in your area?

What is There to do in Kentucky?

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted a top ten travel tips post. We have had so many responses, and I have loved learning about where all of you live. I thought it was past time to get back to posting these. Spring is coming sooner than we think, and many of you are thinking of planning your vacations! Kentucky has much to offer in the way of entertainment and culture, as evidenced by this list sent in by Tim Cook.

  • Mammoth Cave – Mammoth Cave is considered to be the world’s largest cave. So far, the passageway is measured to be 360 miles long, with discoveries of new passageways every year.
  • World’s Largest Baseball Bat – This bat is six stories high, and is located just outside of the Louisville Slugger Museum. There is also the world’s largest baseball glove to go along with it.
  • Paramount Arts Center – Go watch a concert at the historical Paramount Arts Center. The arts center started out as a movie theater in 1931, showing only silent films thats was made exclusively by Paramount Pictures. It was also one of the first transitional theaters built for “talking pictures” while it was a model theater to showcase films by Paramount. But during the Great Depression, Paramount had decided to turn it into a all-in-one theater for mainly concerts. It has recently been remodeled to look like it did in 1931, which is like stepping back in time.
  • Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace – Visit Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace, which is not located in Illinois, as many believe. You’ll find the cabin where he was born, still in good shape.
  • First Kentucky Fried Chicken – Visit the World’s first KFC, which started in 1937. The original name of the restaurant was Colonel Sanders Cafe & Museum before it burned to the ground. It has been, and still is today, a restaurant and a motel combination.
  • Muhammad Ali Center – If you’re a boxing fan, then the Muhammad Ali Center is the place to go. It was created by Muhammad Ali himself. The Center is entertaining for any age, and features captivating exhibits and multi-media presentations, a five-screen orientation theater film, historic Civil Rights era media footage, video-on-demand of Ali’s fights, interactive boxing, two changing exhibit galleries, children’s Hope and Dream wall, meeting and event space, a retail store and more.
  • Kentucky Derby – The most well-known derby in the U.S. is the Kentucky Derby. It has been anually held since 1875 on the first sunday in May. The horse races aren’t the only attraction. The museum is also the most famous and remunerative in the world.
  • Nicholasville – Visit a town called Nicholasville, which is the home of the nation’s first commercial vineyeard, established in 1798. It holds national record as the third-largest producer of win since 1860.
  • Cumberland Falls State Park – To see the rare moonbow, you need to go to Cumberland Falls. The moonbow is located in front of the waterfall, which is 125 foot wide and has a 68 foot drop. The moonbow can only be seen on clear, strongly moonlit nights. The lake is also called Little Niagra.
  • Jenny Wiley State Park – For those who enjoys outdoors, then this park is for you. There are any number of activities to participate in. You can play golf, watch a play, go fishing, swimming, walk or ride a bycicle at the trails. The heritage byway alone is a 154 mile loop.

I don’t know about visiting anything sporty or outdoors-y, but I’m down for heading over to the KFC! What about you? Where would you like to travel to this year?

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!