Submit your travel photos to be part of Wanderfly’s one-year anniversary

Submit your travel photos to be part of Wanderfly's one-year anniversaryTo celebrate its first anniversary as a travel inspiration site, Wanderfly is asking travelers to submit their best travel photos from the past year to be included in a video on WanderflyTV. “1 Year, 1 Minute” will be a stop-motion montage of travelers’ photos from around the world organized to take viewers through the seasons from fall 2010, when Wanderfly launched, to this autumn.

If Wanderfly’s anniversary video is anything like “Move,” “Eat,” and “Learn,” the recent trio of videos by STA Travel Australia, then its sure to become an Internet sensation. Don’t you want to be part of that? If the answer is yes, then head on over to Wanderfly to find out how you can contribute to “1 Year, 1 Minute.” And hurry up – Wanderfly needs your photos by October 12. “1 Year, 1 Minute” is set to air on October 19.

New site helps you plan day trips from Mumbai

As someone who lived in Mumbai for two years, I can tell you there were numerous weekends when I just wanted to get away from the blaring car horns, insane traffic, and “go go go” mentality of India‘s most populous city. I relied on guidebooks and word-of-mouth to find out about nearby hill stations, such as Matheran (pictured at right), and beach-side resorts that were suitable for a day trip or weekend excursion. But even with those resources at my disposal, I knew that there had to be scores of other places that my friends didn’t know about or that guidebook writers didn’t have room to cover.

Thankfully, there’s a new website that is trying to take the mystery out of planning a short jaunt from Mumbai. A Break Please (www.abreakplease.com) recommends places to go depending on how much time you have (one, two, or three days), how many travelers are in your group, your budget, and whether or not you have a car (not a given in a country where the per capita income hovers around $1,050). Somewhat akin to Wanderfly, A Break Please also makes travel suggestions based on the type of trip you want to take. Select from beach, hill station, fort, pilgrimage, and four other options.

Having just launched a few weeks ago, A Break Please is very much a work in progress. For example, you can’t book directly from the site and options such as choosing the type of company you will be traveling with (as mentioned on the website’s blog) are not yet available. But even just a quick search on the site returned dozens of accommodations ideas, complete with contact info, nearby activities, and, for the carless, a train schedule detailing fares and departure times.

While A Break Please may not be practical for many travelers to Mumbai, it does appear to be a useful tool for locals and expats who may just need a break from the frenetic pace of Bombay.

Google launches flight schedule search

Google has revealed its new flight schedule search optionsYou knew it was only a matter of time before Google jumped into the travel game, especially after their acquisition of ITA Software was approved awhile back. But on Friday of last week, the Internet search giant launched its flight schedule search option, allowing travelers to get a list of flight options directly from the basic Google search box that we all know and love.

The new options was announced on Google’s Inside Search blog and in typical Google fashion, it couldn’t be any easier to use. Simply type in the search term “flights” followed by the city you’re flying from and the city you’re flying to. The search engine will go to work, and give you an option on the results page to view a schedule of flights. Clicking that link will display a drop down menu of the days and times for flights offered by the major carrier.

In their blog post, Google used the example of “Flights from San Francisco to Minneapolis,” and and you can see exactly how the results are presented by clicking here. As you would expect, the results are given in a neat, clean, no-frills fashion.

So, what do you think? Will this option replace your normal online flight search tool of choice? It is nice to have such a simple approach, but for now, I personally still prefer the options presented by Kayak.com or some of the other services. But who knows, Google may just be getting started, and they’re likely to refine this over time, giving us more features and search tools in the future.

[Photo credit: Google]

Wanderfly.com beta invites for Gadling readers


We hate to break it to you, but there’s only a week left in summer. Why not get a jump on planning your fall and winter travel? Wanderfly, the new travel-planning and booking site we reviewed earlier this month has just unveiled a spiffy new beta site and is offering free invites to check it out to the first 500 Gadling readers to sign up.

What’s new and improved on the beta site?

– The search functions have improved: you can search by airport, and within specific countries. You can also modify your preferences as you browse results should you decide you want to add the great outdoors to your beach and culture vacation or want to move your trip forward a month.
-Results are better too, with more accurate recommendations and enhanced destination info, including new photos and Google Maps integration.
– Better communication and sharing with Facebook Connect to see where your friends are and ability to save and email itineraries to friends or to yourself.

Want to start searching for your next trip destination? Sign up for access here with code gadling and let us know what you find in the comments!

New online tool, AvidTrips, offers adventure travel options

AvidTrips, a newly launched website, is giving adventure travelers a new option for finding unique places to explore and connecting them with tour operators that can help them do it. The site is currently in beta form, and still lacking a lot of travel options at the moment, but the interface shows a great deal of potential, which bodes well for the future.

Upon visiting AvidTrips for the first time, you’ll notice that it has a nice clean design that is approachable and simple to use. The site offers the ability to search by location and activity, with such options as cycling, climbing, fishing, and more. However, for even greater control over your search, you’ll want to use the advanced features of the “Trip Finder”, which allows you to filter by a variety of criteria including the dates you would like to travel, duration of trip, difficulty level, price you want to pay, and so on. Scrolling further down the page, you’ll also find AvidTrips’ top rated options for the week, as well as new additions to the site and special discounted offers.

Selecting a destination brings up a brief, but well done, overview about the country that includes climate information, currency type, time zone, and more. The destination page also allows you to see the various activities that are available there as well. For instance, visitors to Nepal can choose from trekking, climbing, safari, and world culture options. Clicking on any one of those activities will display a list of tour operators that offer those adventures in the particular destination you are browsing.

The main drawback at the moment is that the database for destinations is still a bit lacking. For instance, when you click on Africa, the only two options are Kenya and Tanzania, despite the fact that there are at least a dozen other great adventure destinations on the continent. Similarly, South America only offers Argentina and Chile, while North America doesn’t list any options at all. Given some time however, this can easily be rectified. After all, it takes time to build such an extensive database, and this project is still listed as being in beta after all.

The potential is there however, and perhaps given some time to mature, this will grow into a very useful site for adventure travelers. Once more options are available, it may even be useful for finding destinations that are a bit more under the radar, but for now, it is mostly offering up the places you would expect, albeit still some of the top adventure destinations on the planet.