3 Tools For Finding Friends On the Road

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In the age of smartphones and social networks, it seems rare that anyone would ever be lonely. But technology doesn’t always fill the void for some good old fashioned personal contact. When you’re on the road, these tools and social sites can help you find a friend in a city full of strangers — and in some cases, you might end up saving money, too.

Graph Search
Good For:
Anyone on Facebook
In case you haven’t noticed, the search bar in Facebook now allows users to search and sort through information within your friend network. Sure, you can use it to check out which of your friends are single, but it’s also a tool that can help you find out which friends now live in certain cities or countries. Maybe one of your college buddies got a job in Washington, DC and you didn’t realize it. Or, perhaps someone you know recently visited the city. “People who uploaded photos taken in Washington” and start your detective work.

Friends of Friends Travel
Good For:
Solo female travelers
Whether you’re looking to find a place to stay or just share a cup of coffee, you no longer have to do it with random strangers. This website intentionally limits users to friends and “friends of friends,” making it easy to find trustworthy travel partners. It’s an especially good tool for solo travelers who might be a little apprehensive about using services like couchsurfing.com, which can sometimes be a mixed bag. At least now you’ll have a friend to vouch for their buddy — and you won’t have to browse thousands of couches to find them.

Grubwithus
Good For:
Hungry business travelers
For those who just want to meet up for a meal, Gubwithus can connect you with strangers who have similar interests (and I’m not just talking about a shared love of pizza). The website allows you to join different groups — options include tech junkees, book enthusiasts and ladies only — and then meetup at pre-arranged dinners. It’s a great way to not only meet new people, but also try new restaurants. Right now, Grubwithus is only available in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.

Flight Attendant Trainee Fired After Being Found On ‘No-Fly’ List

A man who was training to become an American Airlines flight attendant has been fired after it was discovered he is on the Terrorist Screening Center’s “no-fly” list. According to reports, the man is on the list after allegedly making eight bomb threats against United Airlines.

Although 40-year-old Patrick Cau cleared a background check with American Airlines, it was later discovered that he also goes by the name of Patrick Kaiser, the name on the list. On Tuesday, a company e-mail circulated information about how the airline removed Cau from the company’s training program in Texas back in May.

According to court documents, it is believed that Cau called 911 via payphones in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas and Seattle to claim bombs were on United flights. The airline is claiming it lost approximately $268,000 from canceled and delayed flights due to his threats, which mostly affected flights between Los Angeles and London.

For the offenses, Cau could serve up to five years in prison. In his plea deal, he has agreed to pay $250,000 in restitution to United.

The no-fly list was created after the September 11 attacks in 2001. To date, the list is said to contain more than 21,000 names.

5 U.S. Beaches You Can Get to Without a Car

Beaches with a car - Chicago's Oak Street Beach
Flickr, Tom Gill

Summer may be winding down, but there are still a few weekends left to spend at the beach. Rather than sit in traffic or rent an expensive car, you can ride public transportation to many beaches in the U.S. Seasonal routes are especially likely to be popular, so go early and pack light.

Boston – CapeFLYER train to Cape Cod
Reintroduced this summer, the CapeFLYER train goes every weekend from Boston out to Hyannis, connecting to ferries for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and buses up and down Cape Cod. Fares are from $18 from South Station, with a few bucks’ savings if you buy round trip. You can bring a bike, get concessions onboard and get free Wi-Fi. The train will run through Columbus Day, October 14.

Chicago – El train to Oak Street Beach
Not everyone thinks of this city smack in the midwest as a beach town, but thanks to Lake Michigan, there are more beaches around Chicago than Bermuda. There are many to choose from, but Oak Street Beach is the most central with the most spectacular skyline view. It’s a few blocks from the El train at Clark and Division, though a bus up Lake Shore Drive will get you there closer. Beaches are free and open until Labor Day, but you can enjoy the water views year round. CTA fares are $2.25, with deductions for transit cards.Los Angeles – Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica
While it’s a major car city, there are ways to get to Santa Monica and Venice Beach from downtown Los Angeles without wheels. The Big Blue Bus serves all of Santa Monica and connects to Venice Beach as well. Fares are just $1, with day passes available. LA Metro has rapid buses to Venice Beach, with fares from $1.50. A new light rail line will connect Santa Monica to downtown LA, getting you on the beach even faster.

New York – A train to Far Rockaway
New Yorkers are lucky to have lots of options for sand and swimming, from Brooklyn‘s Brighton Beach to Long Island‘s Jones Beach, and Rockaway Beach in Queens has long been an urban favorite. While it suffered a lot from last year’s superstorm Sandy, it’s back in a big way, with many boardwalk concessions reopened and a new boutique hotel. A $2.50 subway fare gets you there on the A train, and there’s also a weekend-only ferry from downtown Manhattan if you’d like a more scenic (and spendy, at $20 one way) ride.

Washington, D.C. – DC2NY bus to Delaware beaches
While a bit much for a day trip, budget bus company DC2NY offers seasonal shuttles to Delaware‘s Rehoboth (one of Dr. Beach‘s favorites in the country) and Dewey beaches from Washington, as well as Wilmington and New York. The trip takes about 2½ hours, leaving Friday night and weekend mornings through Labor Day. Fares are $39 each way, but you do get Wi-Fi, a power outlet and a bottle of water.

What are your favorite beaches to visit without a car?

NeighborGoods Allows Travelers To Borrow From Locals

Gone are the days when travelers have to pack bulky items. Now they can just borrow instead.

NeighborGoods is changing the face of consumption, facilitating a borrowing and lending culture within neighborhoods. This is great for people who want to meet their neighbors and spend less, but it’s also great for travelers who want to meet locals and borrow items they didn’t want to bring along for the trip. I spoke with the founder/CEO of the site, Micki Krimmel, via email about the potential the site holds for travelers.

“One of my favorite personal experiences using NeighborGoods was when I was traveling. I was in Austin, TX for the South by Southwest festival and I borrowed a bike from a local. I searched the Austin area and set it up before I arrived. It saved me hundreds of dollars in transportation costs and helped me experience the city like a local. Another great example of this is a new mother who was traveling alone to LA to visit family for a week. She didn’t want to haul her baby stroller on the plane by herself so she found someone in LA willing to lend her one for the duration of her stay.”

Krimmel went on to discuss another benefit travelers might find in using NeighborGoods:

“Travelers who prefer to pack lightly will find that NeighborGoods is a great resource to borrow bulky items that don’t travel well like baby strollers or sporting equipment. Borrowing a bike or a surfboard from a local also helps travelers avoid tourist traps and experience their destination more like a local.”

How to Meet Locals While Traveling

Cities With Great Abstract Art Transformed Into Great Abstract Art


Jazzberry Blue is an artist who creates consistently pleasing abstract art. Jazzberry Blue’s recently released abstract art pieces based on cities around the world have impressed the art community. Something I find especially cool about the cities chosen so far for this project is that they are all great destinations for viewing abstract art. Coincidence? Maybe. Either way, these beautiful renderings of cities as abstract art warrant a list of the best place to view abstract art in each respective city. Meta? Definitely.

New York City
The Museum of Modern Art

London
Tate Modern

Paris
National Museum of Modern Art Milan
Modern Art Gallery of Milan

Jerusalem
The Israel Museum

New Delhi
National Gallery of Modern Art

Los Angeles
Museum of Contemporary Art

Chicago
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Toronto
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art

Austin
The Contemporary Austin

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Tate Modern: From Oil Tanks to Sleek Art Space

[Photo Credit: Jazzberry Blue]