Guides from our travels

Day-to-day details & all costs of our trips

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Do's, don'ts, advice, how-to's

This oldest lighbulb has been on for 110 years (and how you can visit)

November 17, 2014


If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, then take a road trip for about 45-60 minutes and go to the city of Livermore to see the oldest lightbulb in continuous use.

The Centennial Lightbulb is 110 years old, and is likely the oldest electrical device in continuous use period. Installed in the summer of 1901 by the Fire Department Hose Cart House on L Street when the fire chief had just installed a new modern technological marvel, one of the first electric carbon lightbulbs in town and invited anyone curious to stop by and witness this new invention. This was the “Improved Incandescent Lamp” was the lightbulb of choice and it was an incredible design. In many cities the Fire Departments were motivating people to consider using this relatively new invention for safety.

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This European city introduces tourist tax starting 2015

November 16, 2014


Starting 2015, if you arrive in to Lisbon, Portugal, by air or sea, then be prepared to pay €1 per visitor as tourist tax. This tax does not apply to passengers arriving by train, bus or private car. Through this tax Lisbon hopes to raise €7 million next year.

This tax is temporary and will be in effect until 2019, when Lisbon City Council is expected to come up with a “Lisbon’s Strategic Plan for Tourism”.

Also, beginning in 2016, another €1 will also be charged for each night’s stay in the city, and this tax will also be in effect until 2019. Children under 12 will be exempted from the overnight tax and is applicable for the first week of a stay in Lisbon, meaning tourists will pay a maximum of €7 for any number of days more than seven.

Moreover, from these two taxes a municipal tax for Citizens Protection will be created, through which the Lisbon City Council hopes to raise €18.9 million.

Get over jetlag faster with Entrain app

November 13, 2014

entrainLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

Bang for buck: It’s free!
Ease of use:
The looks:

We have mentioned the Argonne anti-jetlag diet before and also gave some tips on avoiding jetlag, but an app designed by the mathematicians at the University of Michigan and Yale University, Entrain minimizes the effects of jetlag.

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Facebook introduces Places Directory showing popular places in your next destination

November 13, 2014


Facebook introduced a new feature called Places Directory that shows you all the attractions, cafes, restaurants, museums, etc. in any city along with ratings and reviews; and if you’re logged in then it will show what your friends are saying about them.

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New rules for compensation for flight delay favors passengers (E.U. only)

November 12, 2014

airport_delay_tnFavoring passengers, re-defining flight arrival time is a part of the new rules that the European Court of Justice has implemented. The rule says that the actual arrival time of an aircraft at its destination is defined by when at least one aircraft door is opened. This ruling has particular significance for passengers who seek compensation for a flight delayed by three hours or more, especially in cases in which the aircraft lands close to the three-hour threshold.

If you’re flying between U.S. and Europe, then the new ruling can boost your chances of collecting compensation of up to $800. Although the EU’s compensation rules only apply when the delay is fault of the airline, delays due to storms or labor actions don’t count.

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Travel Photo: Catedral Metropolitana de Porto Alegre, Brazil

November 11, 2014

Catedral Metropolitana de Porto Alegre, Brazil

50 things every traveler should know

November 8, 2014


Translate text in real-time on iOS with Slated

November 8, 2014

slatedLink: iTunes
Cost: $4.99

Bang for buck:
Ease of use:
The looks:

There are tons of language translation apps on iOS and while most of them like Google Translate are free, they require internet or data network to work. Although apps like Smigin work offline, it is restricted to certain phrases for now.

If you want to send a text message to friends who speak a different language, you have to use those apps to translate and then copy-paste the translated message.

But Slated is an iOS keyboard that translates while you type, and can also translate what’s sent back to you.

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Fly over 35 times free on Southwest with this trick

November 5, 2014


Million Mile Secret has this awesome post on signing up for 3 Southwest Chase credit cards (you only have to do 2), and get enough points to fly 35 times for free, depending on your flights.

Find out how…

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Book travels with low, monthly payments at Triptive

November 5, 2014

triptiveTravels can be expensive and a lot of people are discouraged by the costs of flights and hotels. With all the baggage fees and booking charges, travelers tend to spend more than they would have anticipated when booking flights and hotels.

But what if you can book your flights and hotels on a monthly payment plan? Triptive will do just that for you.

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ESTA updated for additional information for U.S. Visa Waiver Program

November 3, 2014

USA_ESTAThe Secretary of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced enhancements to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) required to be filled by citizens of countries applicable for United States’ Visa Waiver Program.

This simply means that if you belong to a country that does not require you to get a visa to visit U.S. will have to fill in additional passport data, contact information, and other potential names or aliases.

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Build phrases and learn language using Smigin

November 2, 2014

smiginLink: iTunes
Cost: Free

Bang for buck: It’s free!
Ease of use:
The looks:

There are a lot of iOS apps for language translation and most of them do a great job of translating, but if you’re looking for basic and simple conversation then try Smigin.

It lets you build phrases quickly, giving back native pronunciation, and you can save them as favorites for later user.

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How to use Uber for airport pickup

November 2, 2014

Uber_AirportThe new ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are life-savers; and even pocket-savers when compared to taxi services from airport to the city. Most of the times these ridesharing apps can save you up to 50%, and the best part is the whole system is cashless. You don’t need to pay anything to the driver, and don’t spend that extra cash in tips.

Most cities in U.S. and world have accepted ridesharing as the best way for transportation. But because of the fees that taxi drivers pay to the airport, these apps won’t allow pickups at airports.

As some Uber drivers told me that they are free to drop passengers off at the airport, but are not allowed to pick up people from the airport (although it does depend on the city you live in, as some cities do allow it now).

So how do you work your way around this?

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Hang in there & check for open seats when you’re stranded on cancelled flight

October 30, 2014

Cancelled FlightFlights get cancelled all the time and there are not many options one can have in those situations. You can opt-in to stay at hotel or call your friends and family to find out if they know someone in the city, where you can crash for free; or perhaps call a travel agent (if you have one) to see if they can put you on an alternative flight.

But sometimes your persistence will help. Find out why?

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Put a longer hold time on your domestic flight seat with this website

October 26, 2014

optionsaway_tIt’s a general rule for most airlines to allow you to put a free 24-hour hold on your tickets, but often times that’s too less of a time to finalize the other parts of your travel plans. But what if you need more time to put a hold on your tickets?

This is where Options Away comes in.

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