Solar-powered computer for $35 or less

Developers in India have announced an iPad clone that costs only $35. Capable of basic web surfing, video conferencing, and word processing and using a Linux operating system, the cut-rate computer is targeted at India’s student population.

India has been undergoing an information technology boom for more than a decade now, and the most popular degree for students is in computer science.

Since the computer is still a prototype, it’s not clear what the cost will be when it finally goes on the market. The target is $35, but that may go as low as $10 with a few tweaks and the help of mass production.

The Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science, who developed the device, announced that international investors are interested in producing it for commercial distribution.

This could make the perfect travel computer–cheap enough that it doesn’t matter if it gets broken or stolen, and no need for a power converter and voltage regulator. Could this be the essential travel tool of the future? Tell us what you think in the comments section.

Photo of an iPad is courtesy Glenn Fleishman via Wikimedia Commons.

National Geographic Student Expeditions expand for 2010

The popular and successful National Geographic Student Expeditions program is gearing up for another outstanding year, adding new options for high school students looking for an adventurous and educational escape this summer. The lucky travelers have their journeys enhanced further by the inclusion of National Geographic experts and trip leaders designed to deliver travel experiences unlike any other.

Of course, many students spend their summer traveling, but the Student Expeditions program offers some unique options that aren’t available elsewhere. While on their journey, each student will select an “On Assignment” project in the area of interest that includes photography, travel writing, filmmaking, exploration, archaeology and ancient culture, climate and geology, marine biology and conservation, Earth science, and wildlife and conservation. Those projects can take such forms as a photo portfolio, a travel film, or a short story, with a focus on capturing the culture and natural wonders of the locations visited.

The students are guided in their assignments by handpicked experts, such as National Geographic photographers, writers, or researchers who join their expeditions for anywhere from three to seven days. These experts are generally well known in their field and offer years of experience and expertise to the next generation of explorers on the trip. For example, when traveling through Tanzania, the students will be joined by Anna Estes, a wildlife ecologist who has conducted research in the Ngorongoro Crater, while those selecting Australia as their destination of choice, will see the country with photojournalist and filmmaker Ulla Lohmann.As if that wasn’t enough all of National Geographic’s trip leaders are college graduates who are working in journalism, photography, science, and similar fields. Each has insightful and extensive knowledge of the destination the students will be visiting, and in order to ensure the best experience possible, the ratio of trip leaders to students is roughly six or eight to one.

The 2010 schedule offers 15 exciting trips, lasting three weeks in length, to such destinations as Costa Rica, Iceland, Peru, China, India, and more. New to the schedule this year are expeditions to Alaska, Hawaii, and Tuscany. You can check out the entire list by clicking here, and high school students interested in joining one of these trips can fill out an online application here.

For a great look at what one of these trips is like, check out this wonderful video from a student expedition to Peru. Why couldn’t this have been an option when I was in high school?!?

Traveling the globe with Nat Geo Student Expeditions

In the summer of 2008, National Geographic launched a fascinating and inspiring project called Student Expeditions, which aimed to send high school students to a variety of exotic locals around the globe, immersing them in that location through unique, special projects that give them the opportunity to experience the culture and landscapes of the place, while learning something special in the process. The program is now in its second year, and even more students are getting the opportunity to take part in this amazing travel experience.

The students can choose to travel to Australia, Belize, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galápagos, Iceland, India, Mexico’s Yucatan, Peru, Rome and Greece, Spain and Tanzania. Each of the trips is three weeks in length, and along the way, the students, and their trip leaders, are joined by National Geographic experts, who share their insights and unique perspectives on each of the countries. These experts are generally writers, photographers, explorers, and so on, and they typically spend between four to eight days traveling with the high schoolers.

While traveling in their selected country, each of the students adopts an On Assignment Project, which are specially designed to teach them something about the country, while offering an experience that only National Geographic can deliver. The projects focus on photography, filmmaking, wildlife and conservation, and more. The trip leaders and experts work closely with the young travelers to help complete the assignments, and create a lasting travel experience unlike any other.

Many of the studens have been blogging their travels all summer long, and you can read all about the Student Expedtioins experience by clicking here. You’ll find thoughts on trekking glaciers in Iceland, exploring Inca culture in Peru, and visiting the sites of ancient empires in Rome and Greece, amongst many others.

And if there are any students out there that are interested in joining future Student Expeditions, click here to begin the application process.

Students and teachers can fly to London or France for $30 – No joke!

Filipe Amado's blend of London and ParisGot thirty dollars? You could go to lunch … or Europe.

STA Travel is offering $30 round-trip airfare to London and Paris while supplies last. But not yet. Calm down.

On Wednesday, May 20th, the tickets (whose totally ridiculously low price includes taxes and fees) will go on sale, so call them right away in the morning at 1-800-360-9273. You can choose a round-trip flight on Virgin Atlantic or American Airlines to London or Paris from any of these cities:

  • New York City
  • Boston
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • London
  • Paris

A couple more rules: You have to be under the age of 26 and/or a currently enrolled student or teacher. A valid ISIC/IYTC/ITIC identity card is required to purchase a ticket and is available for $22 if you don’t already have one.

The ticket is non-refundable, but don’t go buyin’ ’em up and not usin’ ’em. That makes you mean.

You can only get the discount by calling or visiting an STA Travel retail branch, and you have to mention the promo code $30OFF when purchasing.

Put Wednesday on your calendars, folks, and set your alarm. But don’t worry if you miss this deal, we’ll have another for you soon!

Young people focused on traveling, despite economy

For once, youth isn’t wasted on the young. Young adults who aren’t burdened by jobs, bills or the other trappings of adult life are realizing that they have a chance that will never arise again. They have the elbow room to go out and see the world … and they’re taking advantage of it.

Because younger travelers visit countries for an average 53 days – compared to 3 ½ for business travelers – the segment once believed to be lazy, broke and drunk is being seen differently. For Australia alone, this group is worth AU$11 billion (US$8.5 billion) this year.

Thanks to global economic developments, the definition of youth traveler has been stretched out a bit from late teens to 29 years old. Hey, people in their 30s are moving back in with their parents, so this is fair.