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Review of over 180 travel apps for iOS

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10 countries to visit, if you are seeking genuine experiences

10 countries to visit, if you are seeking genuine experiences

Guru Prasad lists 10 countries that every traveler must visit that are meant to be quirky & not the usual ones you see in lists in travel magazines & guidebooks.

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Best transportation option? – Part 2 – Survival

Best transportation option? – Part 2 – Survival

Here are some tips on what you must do to survive public transportation and save money while traveling with the locals.

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Best transportation option? – Part 1 – Bus or train

Best transportation option? – Part 1 – Bus or train

The question for a lot of travelers is whether to take an bus or fly between cities with long distances between them? Find out the answers.

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Am I going down? iOS app PackMyBag iOS app Entrain iOS app Slated Keyboard iOS app
Smigin iOS app UMapped iOS app Photo Sphere Camera iOS app Mobile Passport Control iOS app
Flight Tonight iOS app Top10Hotels Travel iOS app TripList iOS app Amount iOS app

Over 180 iOS travel apps reviewed

The latest reviews (Jan 27 2015):
- Am I Going Down? (Free)
- PackMyBag (Free)
- Entrain (Free)
- Slated Keyboard ($4.99)
- Smigin (Free)
- UMapped (Free)

See all 183 apps >>
Best places to travel in each month of the year

Best places to travel in each month of the year

Check out the list of the best places to travel in what month, with weather prices, etc. in mind, put together by money.com.

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Take the free walking tour if you’re visiting Medellin in Colombia

Take the free walking tour if you’re visiting Medellin in Colombia

There are a lot of things to do in Medellin. Sign up for a free walking tour provided by Real City Tours to experience the downtown in a unique way. Find out why and how.

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Experiencing Eje Cafetero (Coffee zone) in Colombia – Pijao & Buenavista

Experiencing Eje Cafetero (Coffee zone) in Colombia – Pijao & Buenavista

One of the largest exporters of coffee in the world, Colombia's Eje Cafetero (Coffee Zone) is a highlight on any traveler's list. Travel with us and 'Wakecup' to experience Pijao and Buenavista, and meet the local farmers.

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Bicycle tour & meeting a local artist in Popayán, Colombia

Bicycle tour & meeting a local artist in Popayán, Colombia

A 30 km bicycle tour in the mountains of Popayán in Colombia and how we met a local artist in a cafeteria, where we got invited to her home.

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Over 45 Walking Tour guides for Kindle, Nook, iBookstore in various languages
Beautiful travel postcards for purchase

Beautiful travel postcards for purchase

Sending postcards to friends and family during your travels? Purchase our beautifully designed postcards from the list below and let your family friends know you’re thinking of them, while letting them know you’re that awesome traveler!

See and purchase all postcards here



The top 20 safest cities are…

January 30, 2015

Based on the factors like digital security, health security, infrastructure and personal safety, Safe Cities Index 2015 has ranked Tokyo as the safest city in the world.

With an estimated 38 million people living in Tokyo, it is also the most populous city on Earth. Just following Tokyo are Singapore, Osaka, Stockholm and Amsterdam.

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10 countries to visit, if you are seeking genuine experiences

January 27, 2015

What are the top 3 countries you recommend to travelers and why?
I have been asked some variant of this question often. Earlier I used to be uncomfortable answering this as I felt I had not seen enough. With 63 countries traveled in – on average twice to each of them – I can now present a worthy list. Note that these are not necessarily my favorites and/or countries I wish to live in – that list may have some overlap with this but not much. Also, this is directed more towards backpackers and travelers who are willing to go to a place without doing any research and bothering about travel advisories.

halong-vietnam-hero

So three would be too incomplete a list, hence I will name 10 to get a nicer and more just number. The reasons to visit are meant to be quirky & not the usual ones you see in lists in travel magazines & guidebooks.

The ordering isn’t significant. I suggest spending around a month in each of them, motorbiking or hitchhiking where you can. Don’t make a list of all the spots to visit in them, but when you go to one, linger and take it all in, slowly.

Here I go:

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Travel app review: Am I Going Down?

January 27, 2015

downLink: iTunes
Cost: $0.99

Bang for buck:
Ease of use:
The looks:

With the recent events of planes getting lost and crashing, some people are paranoid and may want to know if their flight is of any risk? This is where “Am I Going Down?” wants to ease nervous flyers with logic by calculating just how unlikely it is that a plane will crash.

Based on real flight statistics, if you’re flying from Los Angeles to Cancun on Airbus A340 operated by Ethiopian Airlines then there are 1 in 2,761,193 chance that your flight will ‘go down,’ or crash in transit. That’s one huge number which will stop making you worried!

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What should be your best transportation option? – Part 2 – Survival

January 23, 2015

Taking public transportation is the best way to conserve energy (read gas/petrol), save money and travel with the locals. But taking public transport in a foreign country can be daunting in terms of how to use, when to use, what to use, costs, rules, etc.

NYC_Subway

Read up, ask your friends on social media, visit transportation websites – do your research to understand how the public transportation system works at your destination. So here are some tips on what you must do:

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What should be your best transportation option? – Part 1 – Bus or airline

January 21, 2015

avianca_airline

That’s always the question for a lot of travelers. Whether to take an bus or fly between cities with long distances between them? While traveling by bus is cheaper than flying, it can take up to about 10 times the time. Also, some countries may have airlines offering cheap flights, whereas some may have companies offering comfortable buses as opposed to a chicken bus.

For example, during our trip to Colombia last month, we decided to fly from Bogota to Armenia, taking one hour via Avianca airlines. And we took a bus from Medellin to Cartagena taking 13 hours on Brasilia. So what factors help you make those decisions?

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Tour review: Red Planet Expedition, Uyuni, Bolivia

January 15, 2015
Red Planet Expedition

Value
Guide
Services

Address: Calle Sucre, between Ave Ferroviaria & Ave Potosi, Uyuni, Bolivia
Website: www.redplanetexpedition.com

This experience is from our trip to Bolivia in July 2013

Firstly, there are a lot of tour companies in Uyuni offering the same tour(s) around Salar de Uyuni. So shop around; contact various companies for rates and tour plans, before deciding on any one company. Having said that, I decided on Red Planet Expeditions after reading multiple reviews online that were more positive than negative.

Many travelers have rates guide Gonzalo as a terrible, so beware of that. I was lucky enough to have Oscar as our guide because he was kind, funny, helpful, friendly and spoke perfect English.

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Hotel review: La Casa Azul, Cali, Colombia

January 15, 2015
La Casa Azul, Cali, Colombia

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service
Breakfast included: Yes

Address: Av 4aN # 5N – 09, Barrio Centenario, Cali, Colombia
Website: facebook.com/lacasa.azul.92

The first impression of walking in to the courtyard of this homely hotel was a ‘wow!'; and with it’s blue-white walls and large, spacious rooms anyone would be amazed at how low-priced this place is. Located in the heart of northern Cali, close to the old city, this is a great place to stay (read below for more!) with restaurants and cafes just walking distance from the hotel. The front gate is always locked which ensures safety of the guests.

Breakfast of eggs, bread/jam/butter, coffee and orange juice is served everyday and included in the price. Being there on Christmas night in 2014, we had an opportunity to share a home-cooked meal prepared by the owner of the hotel, that included a three course dinner and wine for COP 25,000 per person (approx USD 10).

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Best places to travel in each month of the year

January 14, 2015

peru_sacred_valley

New York Times released the 52 places to travel in 2015 last week, but one of the questions every traveler asks is ‘what is the best time to go to ___?” And there’s not definitive answer, and it’s best to check the weather conditions and prices, along with other factors, to decide on the next destination.

But Money.com put together a handy list of the best places to travel in what month, with these factors in mind. With locations both in the U.S. and abroad, you should be able to find a destination that fits both your budget and schedule:

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Google Translate app update will be your best friend when traveling

January 14, 2015

google_translate

If you have a smartphone that has Google Translate then make sure to update it before you leave for your next exotic destination. The latest update, announced today, will add the ability to translate printed text by aiming your phone’s camera to it, and the app will translate it in real-time without using any internet data.

The feature available on Word Lens app for a while now will be integrated into Google Translate after the company was acquired by Google.

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Take the free walking tour if you’re visiting Medellin in Colombia

January 12, 2015

medellin13

There are a lot of things to do in Medellin, the second largest city of Colombia – For example, take the Metrocable up to Parque Arvi for stunning views of the city and a piece of serene nature. Downtown Medellin boasts some of the best sights to see in the city, so instead of walking in the downtown area, which is not the safest as per locals, sign up for a walking tour provided by Real City Tours. And it’s free!

The company offers two tours in a day – 9:00am and 2:30pm – Monday through Friday. REMEMBER THIS – Being the top activity to do in Medellin on TripAdvisor, you MUST book in advance since they get sold out in a jiffy. For any particular day, they open the bookings about 48 hours in advance, so make sure to jump in the bookings as soon as they open. You will receive a confirmation email upon successful booking.

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Mass flights cancelled to Philippines for Pope’s visit

January 12, 2015

philippines_airport

Pope Francis is visiting The Philippines and because of that airlines are cancelling flights after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines announced limited operations at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) from Thursday, January 15, to Monday, January 19.

The list of airlines that have cancelled and rescheduled flights to and from Manila during the papal visit include Cebu Pacific, TigerAir Philippines, AirAsia, Philippine Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Passengers scheduled to travel on these dates must visit their airline’s website for information on re-booking and refunds, if any.

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Experiencing Eje Cafetero (Coffee zone) in Colombia – Pijao & Buenavista

January 9, 2015

coffee9

The first thing anyone would think of Colombia is the coffee. One of the largest exporters of coffee in the world, Colombia’s Eje Cafetero (Coffee Zone) is a highlight on any traveler’s list. And although there are many operators and companies that offer tours to some of the towns or places in the coffee zone, we met Juan Agudelo in our hostel in Armenia, while a fellow backpacker was about to go on a tour with him to Salento and Valle de Cocora.

After a brief conversation with Juan, we found out that he has a company called ‘Experiencia Cafetera‘ that specializes in tours around the towns of Pijao and Buenavista, which are in the coffee zone. We immediately signed-up for a half-day tour to these towns.

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Bicycle tour & meeting a local artist in Popayán, Colombia

January 8, 2015

popayan5

Popayán is a quaint little town in the south of Colombia comprising of white-washed houses and small lanes within the old town. One of the best activities to do in Popayán (and highly recommended by TripAdvisor) is the “downhill” bike ride from the natural thermal pools up in the mountains to the town center.

This is where we dipped in thermal pools, had some delicious food and met a fascinating local artist who invited us to her home to have a look at the paintings she has created over the last 40 plus years.

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The countries with the best public wifi are…

December 17, 2014

bestwifi3Travelers love wifi hotspots and with a growing number of public hotspots in the world, it is extremely useful for business and leisure travelers because they do not have to pay for international mobile data.

But connectivity and quality of public wifi networks comes at low speeds and unavailability because of technical reasons. Moreover, the one city’s public WiFi does not reflect the whole country’s context.

Rotten WiFi users have measured and evaluated the quality of public hotspots in 172 countries worldwide, testing hundreds of networks. The collected data revealed Top 20 countries with best public WiFi in this infographic:

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Visas & passports – a rogue guide

December 16, 2014

Given the number of questions about visas and requests for detailed notes I have had over the last few years of my travels, I should have written this note ages ago.

My observations here stem from my own personal experience, ranging from the delightful to the tortuous, at embassies & consulates around the world.

I have been to over 200 embassies on my own during these last 7 years. Not counting visas & stamps obtained on arrival, I have been able to get around 90 visas of roughly 70 nations. At times, I will borrow from anecdotes related by others.

So here is the summary, from my experience of personally visiting around 205 embassies of 100 countries, in 70 countries:

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