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United Airlines launches door-to-door baggage delivery service for a fee (Updated)

January 13, 2013

United Airlines launches baggage delivery serviceLast August, American Airlines launched door-to-door baggage delivery service, and now United Airlines launched the same. The new service enables customers to have their checked bags delivered directly to their final destinations – within 100 miles of their arrival airports – and skip baggage claim upon arrival.

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Visit the very unique ‘hotel’ website for a good cause

January 11, 2013

Faktum HotelsFaktum is Gothenburg’s street newspaper, and recently they launched a website called ‘Faktum Hotels‘. The first impression of this image-heavy and well-designed website is yet another hotel website. But this is not a hotel brand.

Faktum Hotels is a project to attract donations for as many as 3,400 homeless people living in the Swedish second largest city. Upon visiting the site, you’re shown ten different “rooms” used by the homeless around the city – such as an underpass, disused paper mill, park bench, forests, dock, even under the seating area at a football stadium.

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Hostel Review: D’Nest Inn, Belize City, Belize

January 10, 2013
D'Nest Inn, Belize City, Belize

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service
Breakfast included: Yes

Address: 475 Cedar St, Belama, Belize City, Belize
Website: www.dnestinn.com

Great rooms, serene location, family-run B&B
If you’re in Belize to experience the cayes and the islands, then this may not be the place for you to stay. As it’s well-known, Belize City doesn’t have much to look forward to, and everything that is to-be-experienced is on the islands/cayes out of the city. But if you’re spending a night or two of relaxing and heading out west in the country, then this bed & breakfast inn is perfect for you.

Located in the north-west side of the city, in the neighborhood of Belama, D’Nest Inn sits in the corner of a road’s end. Run by a family, who live on the ground level, the decor of this cute home will awe you and the hospitality of the owners will want you to get out of your room and sit with them over a cup of tea.

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Hostel Review: Hostal Los Volcanes, Guatemala City, Guatemala

January 9, 2013
Hostal Los Volcanes, Guatemala City, Guatemala

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service
Breakfast included: No.

Address: 16 Street 8-00 Zone 13, Aurora 1, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Website: www.hostellosvolcanes.com

Rude staff, terrible rooms, cheap hostel
If you’re looking for cheap accommodation right outside the Guatemala City airport, then this may be a good option. But consider this as your last option because the rooms are terrible and the person at the reception desk is not friendly.

We had booked our room through a tour agency and upon reaching the hostel, we were told by that person at the reception desk that he did not have any idea about the booking. That led him to be rude and put us in room 10, which was at the end of the backyard, with no hot water in the showers, the wash-basin was in the room itself, and worst – the room was full of mosquitoes!

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Search and book all your RTW flights in one place

January 9, 2013

indieOne of our favorite travel website, Bootsnall, have released their latest product targeted to the indie travel community: a multi-point flight planning tool called Indie.

They claim to be the “world’s first multi-country flight finder,”, this comes as a boon to multi-stop round the world (RTW) travelers. The website is simple, easy to use and provides instant pricing (after sign-up) as one of their core value propositions.

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Airport baggage tags for a fantastic ad campaign

January 9, 2013

ogilvy1Expedia UK, in collaboration with Ogilvy, has come up with a fantastic advertising campaign using something that every traveler would throw away upon arrival to the destination – airport baggage tags.

These ads will be put up across all London Tube stations and simply sends out the ones message – go travel!

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Hostel Review: Hostel Panamericana, Panama City, Panama

January 9, 2013
Hostel Panamericana, Panama City, Panama

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service
Breakfast included: No.

Address: Plaza Herrera, Casco Viejo, Panama City, Panama
Website: www.panamericanahostel.com

Fantastic location, good rooms, friendly staff
Hostel Panamericana is located in a perfect and one of the best places in Old Town Panama City called Casco Viejo. With beautifully painted lobby and kitchen area, this hostel’s staff is extremely friendly and helpful, and the rooms are spacious and clean.

We got room 10 which was facing Plaza Herrera from the patio, and has a great view of Ancon Hill. The only downside of all the rooms in this hostel is that the top part of entrance door to the rooms have vents, and being a backpackers paradise, expect a lot of noise coming in to the room at night. This is also an inlet for the mosquitoes!

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Hostel Review: Casa de Las Fuentes, Antigua, Guatemala

January 9, 2013
Casa de Las Fuentes, Antigua, Guatemala

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service
Breakfast included: No.

Address: Avenida El Desengaño No. 26, Antigua, Guatemala
Website: www.hotelcasadelasfuentes.com

Poor location, good rooms
There are few things right about this place and then there are a few wrong. Let’s start with the good ones – The decor of this place is fantastic and it’s a huge hostel with great, clean and spacious rooms. We stayed at room 23, which was way at the back in a separate building, along with other rooms. The hostel’s main reception person speaks English. The building area is well-secured with a 24-hour attendant at the front desk.

But some of the bad things about this place are: It’s located at one end of the Antigua town, so be prepared to walk a lot to reach the hotel from anywhere in the town. Although it is located on a busy street so you will always have vehicles passing by, even in the dark time of the day.

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Care for amenities on a flight? Then head over to Routehappy

January 8, 2013

RoutehappyAll the websites out there will give you the lowest price based on your schedule, but if you care about the comfort and helpful amenities like Wi-Fi and in-seat entertainment, Routehappy will find you the best quality flights.

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Hostel Review: Villas Jacquelina, Quepos, Costa Rica

January 8, 2013
Villas Jacquelina, Quepos, Costa Rica

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service
Breakfast included: No. Only coffee.

Address: Quepos, Costa Rica
Website: villasjacquelina.com

Serene location, great staff, good rooms
Although this hostel is located in the middle of nowhere and about 12-15 minutes walk from Quepos downtown, it’s a great place to stay, with Esteban as its owner. The rooms are clean, nice and the hostel has a great rooftop dining area with hammocks and a gorgeous view looking into the tropical rainforest.

The road leading to the hostel is muddy and it’s a bit of an uphill hike. But once you’re there, you will be greeted by a super awesome and friendly Esteban, who speaks fluent English. Although the wi-fi doesn’t work in all the rooms, but that should not be a low-down because you can always sit on the rooftop patio and surf your way around.

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Hostel Review: Hostel Pangea, San Jose, Costa Rica

January 8, 2013
Hostel Pangea, San Jose, Costa Rica

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service

Address: Ave 7, San Jose, Costa Rica
Website: hostelpangea.com

One of the worst out there in San Jose, Costa Rica
We stayed for one night at this hotel in downtown San Jose (Costa Rica) and the first impression is that considering the high crime rate in the capital city, this is a fortified hotel! There are high gates and entrance door to the hotel, accessible by ringing a bell and showing your wrist-band to the gate-keeper.

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Hostel Review: Casa del Agua, Granada, Nicaragua

January 7, 2013
Casa del Agua, Granada, Nicaragua

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service
Breakfast included: No. Only free coffee.

Address: Calle Guzman, Granada, Nicaragua
Website: www.casadelaguagranada.com

Good hostel, friendly staff, excellent location
The first thing you will notice about this family-led boutique place is how gorgeous and pretty it looks – the lobby is nothing but a courtyard with a swimming pool in the center and kitchen on one side, with rooms on other. The central room is located on the first floor right in the middle of the courtyard, and it has an amazing view of Mombacho Volcano.

The owner of this place – Gerald Webb – speaks English (being Irish) and is extremely helpful and great person to talk to. The rooms are well-decorated, lively and has all the amenities one can wish for a great, low price. Coffee is free all day and the ‘hostel’ has hot water, comfortable beds with mosquito nets.

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Tikal temple damaged by tourists celebrating ‘end of world’

December 23, 2012

20121223-231632.jpgLast Friday marked the end of an era that lasted 5,200 years, according to the Mayan “Long Count” calendar. Some believed the date also marked the end of the world as foretold by Mayan hieroglyphs.

While we will be at the Tikal temples in Guatemala in the next few days as a part of our travel across Central America, this comes as a shock to us that tourists flocking to Guatemala for “end of the world” parties have damaged an ancient stone temple at Tikal, the largest archeological site and urban center of the Mayan civilization.

It is forbidden to climb the stairs at the site but some tourists climbed the Temple II and caused irreparable damage to the ruins.

Also See: Tikal Mayan Ruins, Guatemala in pictures

Temple II, which is about 38 meters (125 feet) high and faces the central Tikal plaza, is one of the site’s best known structures.

More than 7,000 people visited Tikal on Friday to see native Mayan priests hold a colorful ceremony and light fires as the sun emerged to mark the new era.

Critics complained that the event was really for tourists and had little to do with the Mayans. About 42 percent of Guatemala’s 14.3 million residents are native Mayans, and most live in poverty and endure discrimination.

The ancient Mayans reached their peak of power in Central America between the years 250 and 900 AD.

UNESCO declared Tikal a World Heritage Site in 1979



Shanghai allows citizens of 45 countries to stay visa-free for 72 hours

December 20, 2012

Shanghai, ChinaShanghai Municipal Tourism Administration announced that citizens of 45 countries do not require a visa to Shanghai for 72 hours, starting January 1, 2013.

The 45 countries covered by the 72-hour visa-free policy are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the US.

Rules say that the passengers of the 45 countries:

  • should hold transit flight tickets to a third nation or region.
  • should have their valid international travel documents and visas of the third nation or region.
  • are allowed to stay in the administrative areas of Shanghai within 72 hours.
  • should exit through the same airport which they enter.


Gogobot expands to hotels, restaurants, street view and now photos with T+L

December 20, 2012

Gogobot & T+LSocial travel website Gogobot started with plain recommendations from your friends for destinations of your next travel. After venturing into hotels last year, they expanded their website by integration with OpenTable and Google Street View.

And now Gogobot will be doing the same with Travel + Leisure content, posting a stream of digital, thematic guides culled from T+L’s content.

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