Find The World’s Best Festivals

Il Palio festival
Chip Conley, Fest300

Do you travel for food, culture or history? You can find all that and more at a festival, and a website launched this week aims to connect travelers with some of the world’s most unique, exciting and unusual festivals. Fest300 is part practical directory, part inspirational magazine. On the homepage, you’ll find a mix of lists (how about top festivals to enjoy naked?), essays, videos and “festimonial” interviews with participants and performers. Ready to attend something? You can search for festivals by month, location or category (“wild parties” is intriguing).

Throughout Fest300, you’ll also find blog posts and tidbits from founder Chip Conley, a sort of festival “junkie” who founded the Joie de Vivre boutique hotel chain and now travels the world in search of the “collective effervescence” experienced at festivals, sharing his on-the-ground experiences. Why 300? Chip explains, “Fortune lists the 500 largest companies, and Forbes the 400 richest people in the world. We chose 300 experiences as the right number to capture the wide diversity and best festivals the world has to offer.” The site is adding more festivals each week, aiming for 270 by the end of year, with the final 30 to be crowd-sourced by the Fest300 community. Also in the works is a “matchmaking” feature to find the best festivals for you based on your interests.

Take the pledge to attend at least one festival this year at Fest300.com

Arthur Frommer To Publish New Guidebooks This Fall

Frommer's guidebooks
Flickr, David Lytle

While much of the world is on royal baby watch, there’s a new arrival in the travel world to get excited about. Arthur Frommer has just announced via the New York TImes that he will again publish guidebooks under a new name, FrommerMedia. The guides will be distributed and marketed through Publishers Group West of Perseus Books Group starting in October. He will also launch a new series called “Easy Guides,” in response to the too-lengthy printed tomes that can’t compete with quick (and free) apps and online content. Mr. Frommer and his daughter Pauline will head up the new company and expect to have 80 titles by 2014.

The Frommer’s brand was sold to Google last year and the print books were to be discontinued, causing many fans to mourn the loss of an iconic brand. Mr. Frommer bought back his name in April and announced he would publish books again, while the old content remains with Google.

5 Ways To Preserve Your Travel Memories (That Don’t Involve Photos)

no cameras signage
LEOL30, Flickr

If you’re an avid traveler, chances are you’ve experienced some type of fantastical sight, to which no photograph can ever do justice. Talent and camera quality have no bearing whatsoever on the ability to capture this moment, and so you resign yourself to committing it to memory.

Although I love looking at travel photos, I’m not much of a photographer. But I’m also well-traveled enough to know that sometimes, when you try to shoot something stunning, you inadvertently end up depriving yourself of just enjoying the experience. I see this all the time on trips; the guy who’s so busy running around chasing the perfect shot, he misses the entire point of the destination.

I’ve finally learned when to put the camera down and just be in the moment – at a certain point, sunset photos become redundant. Remembering the other sensory details surrounding the actual event, however, may well be something you’ll cherish forever. I’m not saying you should leave your camera at home when you travel. Rather, I’m advocating incorporating other ways to create travel memories that don’t involve Instagram or tripods. Read on for creative ways to preserve “unforgettable” sights or locales.

girl writing in journal
Paul Stocker, Flickr

Write it
Even if writing isn’t something you’re particularly good at, that shouldn’t stop you from trying (not everything needs to be posted to a blog or social media). Whether you scribble in a journal or email the folks back home, the objective is to get your memories written down, without trying too hard.

I strongly recommend writing longhand, as it’s more expedient, practical and, for lack of a better word, organic. So no texting, iPad, netbook or other device. Just you, a pen and a notebook or sheaf of paper. Think about sights, smells, sounds, textures and colors. Whether or not your end result is a list, paragraph or story, you’ll have something that captures a memorable moment from your trip. Not only does this exercise improve your writing skills (which, after all, are crucial in daily life); it helps sharpen your memory and senses, as well.

Verbalize it
OK, I know I hinted at ditching the devices, but many people are articulate. If you’re known for being a great storyteller, record memorable experiences soon after they occur. Whether it’s a mishap, linguistic misunderstanding, touching cultural exchange or incredible meal, recount it in vivid detail, as you’d tell it to your best friend, spouse/significant other or kids.

shells on beach
B D, Flickr

Collect it
Although I’m a writer by occupation, my favorite way to create travel memories is by collecting small, meaningful souvenirs unique to a place. They may be found objects or regional handicrafts, but my interior decor is defined by these objects. They’re my most cherished possessions (next to, I confess, my photos).

Scrapbook it
I also love to collect vintage postcards from favorite destinations, as well as items like ticket stubs, peeled-off beer labels (really), black-and-white photos scrounged from street fairs and antique shops, and cultural or religious iconography. As long as it reminds me of a great travel experience and is flat, I keep it. Some of these talismans are tucked inside my passport; others are in a photo album or stuck to my refrigerator with magnets I’ve collected from restaurants all over the world.

aboriginal art

Barbara Dieu, Flickr

Hang it
Granted, this requires a bit more cash, effort and wall space than collecting shells. But even with a nearly non-existent budget, you can bring home a piece of art as a permanent reminder of a great trip. Here are some inexpensive things I’ve collected over the years:

  • A custom-made, silk-screened T-shirt depicting indigenous art, made at an Aboriginal-owned co-op in Australia.
  • A reproduction of an Aboriginal painting that I picked up for about $25USD at Sydney’s wonderful Australian Museum. I had it mounted for a fraction of the cost of framing.
  • A vintage card painted by a Vietnamese woman’s co-op, depicting war propaganda and purchased at a shop in Hanoi. I’m not actually a communist but the art is captivating.
  • A 4-by-5 piece of muslin printed with a photo transfer of an image taken at the port in Valparaiso, Chile. I purchased it for about $3USD in the artist’s studio, nearby.
  • A slender coffee table book on Italy’s Cinque Terra.

While travel itself may not come cheap, memories are often free (the above purchases notwithstanding). I encourage you, on your next trip, to put down your camera once in awhile, and rely instead on your senses. I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.

How The Rich Kids Of Instagram Travel

Dom Perignon Champagne
Nicholas Y.F. Chen, Flickr

When it comes to vacations, most of us probably already knew that the so-called one percent don’t exactly fly cattle class, stay in Super 8 motels or slurp cheap Chinatown noodles to keep their budget under check. But we didn’t realize just how lavish their vacations actually were until a collection of snapshots titled “Rich Kids of Instagram” started making its way around the Internet.

The photos follow spectacularly wealthy young adults as they jetset their way across the globe, instagramming their every move so the other 99 percent can gawk, tsk, admire, envy or weep over, depending on their inclination.Helicopters and private jets appear to rule as the transport method of choice for this unapologetically rich crowd. One instagrammer even buckled a gold-plated champagne bottle into its own seat on his jet while another reserved a plush leather spot for his dog. Boats made an appearance too with one photo showing Louis Vuitton luggage piled high on a luxurious yacht bound for the island of St Barth.

As far as destinations go, the rich kids of instagram are lounging by the pool at their holiday homes (holiday mansions?) in the Hamptons, posing in their brother’s chateau in the French city of Cannes, or stimulating the economy in Monaco. All this while they double-fist bottles of Dom Perignon and spray themselves with Moet like a Formula 1 driver on a podium. It’s a fantasy world to say the least, but you can step into it vicariously by clicking over here.

@American_Latino Expedition Looks To Bring Diversity To National Parks

Diversity In National Parks Has Become An Important Issue
National Park Service

In an effort to increase diversity in America’s national parks, the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation has announced a nation wide search for bloggers to take part in an exciting new adventure. Yesterday, the ALHF launched the @American_Latino Expedition, which will explore three parks this summer while simultaneously raising awareness of the contributions of American Latinos to each of those locations.

The @American_Latino Expedition project will focus on education, park stewardship, outdoor recreation and exploration inside Olympic and Mesa Verde national parks in Washington and Colorado respectively, as well as the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area located in Arizona and Utah. With that in mind, the ALHF is looking for groups of bloggers to visit each location and share their experiences with readers. That includes using outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to creatively engage their audiences as well. In exchange for their efforts, all expenses – including airfare, lodging and most on-site excursions – will be completely covered.

The deadline for applying to take part in this program is June 14, and the ALHF is quick to point out that you don’t have to be Latino to be selected. Any group with an active social media following, or even adventurous families, are encouraged to apply. To find out more about the project and to download the applications, click here.Engaging minorities in outdoor activities is a bit of a hot button topic at the moment. A disproportionately small number of visitors to the national parks are from minority groups and this project is hoping to change that to a degree. In fact, the ALHF says that there are now more than 54 million Latinos living in the U.S. and yet they make up just 9 percent of the visitors to the parks on an annual basis. The @American_Latino Expedition looks to increase that number accordingly.

It should be noted that the ALHF has partnered with both Aramark Parks and Destinations and outdoor gear retailer REI on this project. Aramark will handle lodging and other accommodations while traveling in these parks and the selected bloggers will also be fully outfitted for their adventure with some great equipment from REI.