Given A Map, A Lot Of People Have No Idea Where They Traveled (Or Where They Live)

world map
Glyn Lowe Photoworks, Flickr

While early explorers may have spent countless weeks plotting their journeys on maps and charting the best course to get to their destination, it seems many modern day travelers don’t have a clue about where they’re actually going.

A new study has found massive numbers of travelers can’t find their vacation destination on a world map. When asked where Cyprus was located, 53% of respondents were stumped, pointing to countries like Greece instead. This is despite having traveled to the Mediterranean island within the past year. Turkey also had recent visitors scratching their heads, with around half of those surveyed hard-pressed to locate the nearly 1,000 mile long country on an atlas.What’s most bizarre, however, is those people who seemed to have trouble locating their own country on a map. When asked where France was, a surprising 14% of French respondents pointed to their northern neighbor Belgium.

But perhaps we shouldn’t be so hard on the French. After all, remember this famous gaffe a few years back, when a Miss Teen USA contestant was asked why a fifth of Americans couldn’t locate the US on a world map?



But it’s not just beauty pageant contestants that are stumped by geography. Even politicians can get tripped up, like in this interview where John McCain refers to the problems at the Iraq/Pakistan border…which doesn’t exactly exist.


And then there was the time that President Obama managed to visit all corners of the US, including “about 57 states”.



Do you think it matters that so many people are confused by world geography? Or is understanding maps irrelevant in this day and age of GPS and technology?

Meet In The Middle: Plan Group Travel With TripCommon

TripCommon group travel planning toolHave a friend in Austria while you are in Austin and want to take a trip together this summer? How do you figure out where to meet? Do you choose a destination in the middle, or one with regular cheap flights from both of your destinations? A new website just launched in beta, designed to make planning group travel an easier process. TripCommon is a flight search engine that computes the cheapest common destinations, giving you the option to filter by region (maybe you’ve both always wanted to explore South America), activity (make it a beach trip), and where you have local friends (if you link up to Facebook).

What makes TripCommon genius is that it doesn’t just find random points on the map that are midway between you and your friends (you can enter up to six cities for big group travel planning), it finds destinations that have the lowest average price. Maybe you are in grad school and have a fixed budget; you can find places with the lowest cost from your city. If you have frequent flier miles to burn and your friends are the ones looking for the cheapest seats, you can sort by lowest price from one of their home cities. You may discover destinations you never thought about (Canary Islands sound nice for summer!), and make the trip planning process a lot more equitable.

Start planning your group trip at www.tripcommon.com.

[Photo credit: Trip Common]

5 great spring ski destinations

Arapahoe Basin is a great spring ski destination.Winter may now be officially over but that doesn’t mean we have to hang up our skies and snowboards just yet. After all, spring usually brings warmer weather, shorter lift lines and discounted passes. For those still hoping to hit the slopes a few more times this year, here are five great spring ski destinations that will leave you wishing it was winter all year round.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado
Traditionally one of the first mountains to open in North America each year, A-Basin is a popular destination all season long. While many resorts have already started preparing for closure, Arapahoe still boasts 56 open trails and up to seven lifts still in operation. The mountain has a consistent base of 44 inches of snow as well, which means there is still plenty of powder to shred. They’re even running some great spring specials on lift tickets, which you can find here.

Heavenly, Lake Tahoe
Located along Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border, Heavenly more than lives up to its name. The expansive ski area currently has a snow base that spans from 48-85 inches depending on where you are located on its more than 4500 skiable acres. As of this writing, the resort still has 88 trails and 25 lifts in operation and late season storms continue to blanket the area with fresh powder on a regular basis. The resort is now offering a BOGO deal on lodging and lifts as well.

Snowbird, Utah
With a vertical drop of more than 3240 feet and 85 spectacular runs, Snowbird is one of the most popular ski and snowboarding destinations in the U.S. The resort still has an impressive 94-inch base and regular snow falls continue to add to that total. Better yet, Snowbird has a full schedule of events slated for spring, including live music, ski competitions and discounted passes. Checkout the entire line-up here.Jackson Hole Mountain, Wyoming
One resort that hasn’t lacked for snow this year is Jackson Hole Mountain. Following a season that saw more than eight feet of snow dumped on the hill, Jackson Hole still has a base of 95 inches for skiers and riders to enjoy. As a result, nearly all the lifts are still in operation and every one of the 116 trails, 40 of which are groomed, remain open for business. It wouldn’t be spring at Jackson Hole without a little party and on March 31 and April 1 the resort will hold its seventh annual Mountain Festival featuring plenty of live music and skiing.

Mammoth Mountain, California
Wyoming isn’t the only place to enjoy heavy snow this winter, however, as Mammoth Mountain has had its fair share as well. The resort currently lists its base as between 6 and 8 feet, which means all 150 trails and 28 lifts remain open to skiers. Mammoth also features one of he best terrain parks in North America and a season that generally stretches into June. Currently, the resort is running a 2-for-1 special on airfare which makes getting there easier and cheaper than ever.

Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean we have to give up on our favorite winter sports. There will be plenty of time for mountain biking, hiking and kayaking in the months ahead. For now, hit the slopes and enjoy it while you can.

[Photo courtesy Arapahoe Basin]

Frommer’s reveals top destinations for 2012

What destination are you dreaming of for 2012? The staff at Frommer’s have just unveiled their list of top travel destinations for the coming year. Included in the list is a little something for everyone: large metropolises, secluded beach towns, colorful riverside villas, and more.

But Frommer’s didn’t just rely on their expert editors and author’s for this years list–they also polled readers to find out where they wanted to visit in 2012. Click through the gallery below to see Frommer’s (and their reader’s) picks–including one surprising midwestern city that is the only spot in the United States to make the cut.
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Other Winners:
Top Family Destination: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Top Cruise Destination: Tromso, Norway
Top Beach Destination: Hanalei Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
Top Adventure Destination: Moab, Utah
Top Food & Drink Destination: Lima, Peru
Top City Break Destination: Chicago, Illinois
Top Endangered Destination: Aysen Region, Chile
Top Value Destination: Albanian Riviera
Top Destination to Get Lost: Whitsunday Islands, Australia

25 newly-discovered travel destinations from Wanderfly.com

newly-discovered travel destinationsIf you’ve checked out Wanderfly, the new travel planning and booking service that suggests destinations and activities based on your interests, you know they’ve come up with some unique and untouristy destinations. Now they’ve gone beyond the beaten tourist track with 25 newly-discovered travel destinations. Why just see the Great Wall of China when you could see a whole city full of kittens in China (far greater if you ask us!)?! Fan of Dolly Parton? Thousands go to Dollywood, why not relax on a man-made archipelago in the shape of Dolly and Kenny Rogers at Islands in the Stream in Dubai? Can’t get enough of that rascal Charlie Sheen? Intrepid adventurers can get inside his brain and see what all that tiger’s blood does.

The Wanderfly researchers teamed up with Whim Quarterly to unearth these new places and the best activities to do. The new destinations were chosen for their interactive experiences to give travelers the most authentic experience. “We challenge any traveler to find even a single destination that can compare to these unearthed gems,” says Wanderfly co-founder Christy Liu. “Paris? London? Cleveland? With respect to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they all pale in comparison to such places as ObeCity, Funkytown, and Your Mom’s House.”

For more on these exciting new discoveries, visit Wanderfly.com and click the crazy kitten on the home page and then Get Going. But hurry, some of these destinations may only be available on April 1st.