Travel Blogging Turns 20 Today

HP Virtual Museum

Today marks the 20th anniversary of what’s believed to be the first travel blog post. So happy birthday to us, and maybe you too!

In honor of the occasion, travel bloggers worldwide are raising a glass (ok, they were probably doing that anyway), Jeff Greenwald, the author of that first travel blog post, uploaded from the tourism bureau in Oaxaca, Mexico, reflected back on the experience for “Wired.”

A recently-released program called Mosaic was revolutionizing what might be possible on the World Wide Web. “What we hope you’ll do,” the editor [at O'Reilly Media] said, “is write columns for us – from the road. We’ll publish them live, on the GNN [Global Network Navigator, O'Reilly's website], where people can read them as you travel.” The Travelers’ Center, he told me, would include a feature that sounded miraculous: A map would be displayed on their website, with dots showing the locations from where I’d sent back posts. People would simply click on those dots – and see the story I’d written from that location!

As Greenwald points out, today is also the 20th anniversary of Nancy Kerrigan’s knee getting bashed in at the U.S Figure Skating Championships by members of the unofficial Tanya Harding Fan Club. Draw what connections you will between the two anniversaries.

Lonely Planet Releases Top 10 Cities for Travelers

Lonely Planet recently released its Best in Travel 2014, which includes a list of the top 10 cities for traveling. These cities are spread across the globe and include classics as well as cities that are just coming into their own as traveler destinations. The Lonely Planet list includes some obvious choices like Paris, Cape Town, Zurich, Shanghai, Vancouver, Chicago, and Auckland but it also includes less obvious choices like Trinidad, Cuba, Adelaide, Australia, and Riga, Latvia. Check it out here and then let us know, which cities would you add to the 2014 list?Lonely Planet Downsizes

Times Square Concierges Share Laughable Interactions With Travelers

Tourists aren’t always easy to deal with in a congested and dense city like NYC wherein most people get around by foot. But for most New Yorkers, the annoyances don’t go any further than a slow sidewalk commute. Two Times Square hotel concierges, however, have a deeper well of annoyances and amusements from tourists to draw from – and not only are they drawing from that well, they’re publishing from it, too. Their Tumblr blog, How May We Hate You, chronicles their most memorable interactions with tourists staying in Times Square. It’s a goldmine of laughable quotes from tourists. Enjoy.

Would You Book A Flight To An Unknown Destination?

Destination Unknown
Flickr, Nico Hogg

Earlier this year, new booking engine GetGoing began offering deep discounts to travelers with flexibility and a sense of spontaneity. You tell the site what type of trip or region you want, and it will give you two destinations and the airfare you’ll pay, up to 40% off. The catch? You won’t know *which* place you’ll go or which airline you’ll fly until after you purchase.

Now how about booking a trip where you won’t know where you’re going until a few days before departure? FlyRoulette launched this week, taking spontaneous travel to the next level. With FlyRoulette, you’ll tell them your budget, maximum trip length, and type of trip (does “weird and exotic” sound appealing?) and it will create an itinerary for you. But you won’t know where you are going until 12-48 hours before you depart, which means you can probably rule out anywhere that requires an advance visa, but the whole world is fair game. In exchange for your flexibility, you’ll get great hotel and flight deals, but it’s not for those who want some degree of control over their travels.
Would you book a trip without knowing where you are going? While it’s an intriguing concept, there are a few issues I can see arising for even the most intrepid travelers. Without knowing what destinations are in their arsenal, a trip to go somewhere “to party” could just as easily be Daytona Beach or Berlin, two very different tastes. There could be reasons why a destination is discounted: even if you wanted a “quiet” trip, what if everything of interest is closed for the season? While you specify your maximum budget, you don’t know what portion is going to airfare or hotel, so you might prefer a destination with a more expensive flight but cheap accommodations. The site allows you to book for groups up to 25 people and was founded by recent college graduates, which may indicate their ideal demographic. It might be best for INexperienced travelers, who are more open to anything and carry less baggage (no pun intended) about how they travel and where they end up.

TSA Prefers That We Leave Hand Grenades At Home

TSA Grendades
Transportation Security Administration photo

The Transportation Security Administration has been working on its image, engaging readers on its blog with the latest travel security information, inviting fans to “meet the bloggers” and more. The TSA is also finding that its message is more palatable with a dose of humor.

This week on its Transportation Tips post, TSA asks readers to please leave their grenades at home. “After reading the title of this post, your first thought probably was, ‘That’s obvious.’ Not always so”, writes Bob Burns. Just this year, TSA officers have discovered 43 grenades in carry-ons and 40 in checked luggage.

Most of the grenades were inert, replica or novelty items, like antiques someone might buy on eBay. “But a few were live smoke, flare, riot, and flash bang grenades, which can pose major safety issues to aircraft and also violate FAA hazmat regulations,” added Burns.That the majority of grenades TSA sees won’t actually explode isn’t the issue. The problem is that they look just like real grenades during screening, slowing down the process, if not closing and evacuating terminals.

The “please don’t bring” advice goes for grenade shaped belt buckles, lighters, soap, candles, MP3 players, paperweights, inert training grenades, and other items can all look like the real thing when x-rayed.

Woman Finds Two Live Grenades in Ex-Husband's Belongings