Photo of the Day (12.06.10)

Trailer parks get a bad rap. They’re the punchlines of tornado jokes and referenced in conversations about rednecks. Sadly, modern-day trailers are pretty devoid of personality and feed into the stereotypes. There was a time, however, when trailers seemed like magical devices. They even looked futuristic. Those were the golden (are should I say silver) days of the Airstream.

There are still Airstreams on the road. However, if owning a trailer is not for you, you can simply head to Hicksville Trailer Park in Joshua Tree, California. That’s what you see in this photo by Flickr user Amy Widdowson (Full disclosure: Amy is a friend of mine and one of the talented people behind NileGuide. Did you know that they are running an awesome holiday contest right now?). At Hicksville, you can sleep in an Airstream, bone up on your archery and just enjoy the chromed-out nostalgia of it all. Not a bad way to spend a weekend if you ask me.

Taken any great photos of trailer parks? Or maybe just some interesting travel photos in general? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Talk like a pirate, win a trip to Aruba

As you must surely know, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. This year, while you shiver your timbers, you can also win an amazing trip to Aruba courtesy of our friends over at NileGuide. Simply chart a course over to that contest page, enter to win and you and your first mate could soon could be flying down to Aruba on JetBlue, sailing on a pirate ship, dining inside a replica of a 16th century galleon and resting your head at the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino.

That’s quite a booty! Be sure to tell your friends to enter because, if they win, they could share their treasure with you. The deadline for entry is October 19, 2010, so don’t delay. All the information you need is over at NileGuide. Consider it your treasure map.

Now, get out there and talk like a pirate. People may think that you’re a moron (or that saying “arrrrr” means that you’re having a seizure), but you’ll have the last laugh when you’re swashbuckling in style down in Aruba. travel-planning site launches in beta

A new travel-planning website and booking engine is launching this month in beta, and I was excited to give it a test run, having first heard about the site this spring at a EuroCheapo travel happy hour. is a “personalized recommendation engine” that takes your interests, budget, and even social network connections to give you inspiration and help you plan your next vacation. Flights and hotels are pulled from Expedia, with restaurant recommendations, activities, and sightseeing descriptions culled from Lonely Planet, FourSquare, NileGuide, and Yelp.

Let’s say you have a week to travel in early September for Labor Day. Budget is under $1,000 per person for flights and hotels, and you’re interested in culture, beaches, and food. Plug all those into the search engine and you’ll get a series of destinations to review, refine, share, and book. While the site still has a few bugs (budget busters would sneak through the filters, the help feature is not fully enabled), the interface is slick and user-friendly, the features are thoughtful, and the content is reliable.

What’s cool about the site:

  • Since I’m currently based in Turkey, I loved that your point of origin could be pretty much anywhere in the world so I could run searches from New York and Istanbul to get a wide variety of places convenient for different parts of the world.
  • A wide (1,200 and growing) network of destinations gave me some ideas I’d never considered or even heard of (Kalingrad, Russia; Azemmour, Morocco; Krabi, Thailand), as well as some more tried-and-true vacation spots(Sunny Isles Beach, Florida; Mykonos, Greece; Split, Croatia).
  • Weather and news tabs give you an idea of the current climate (could be too hot on that Egyptian beach) and happenings, though you might come up with nothing for more obscure destinations. I also love that many of the news feeds are through Twitter accounts like @visitbritain, giving up-to-the-minute quickie items.

What will be cool about the site:

  • Ability to share trip ideas and plans with friends via email or Facebook is great for planning a trip with multiple people or getting feedback on a destination. Currently, Facebook Connect will tell you who you know in a given place, but I’d probably remember if I had a friend in Lutsk, Ukraine.
  • Festivals and special events come up via Eventful, but on the beta site event dates will pop up well after your search range so don’t plan around that blues festival just yet. There are also plans to add destination reviews, currency converters, and travel tips.
  • After all the searching, sorting, and sharing, you can actually book through the site, though only if you have a US credit card. The booking interface is also easy to use and gives options for frequent flier numbers, seat and meal preferences, and room types.

All in all, Wanderfly is a nifty new tool for dreaming and planning your next trip. If they could find a way to integrate time-sensitive deals, local blogs, and multiple-destination trips, this could be the only travel site you need.

Photo of the Day (07.19.10)

I don’t get people who don’t like the beach. You know those people. All they do is complain about how they hate that sand gets all over them and that there’s nothing to do. Sure, we all hate when we take a bite of our sandwich and encounter than unmistakable crunch of sand mixed in with the turkey, but that’s a small price to pay for a day wearing next to nothing, swimming in the ocean and frolicking the same way we did as kids.

Where else can you bury your friends up to their necks, ogle scantily clad sunbathers and laugh when some kid gets blind-sided by a wave? That’s why I love this beach shot by Flickr user (and NileGuide staffer) AlexiUeltzen. The beach is for jumping and laughing and being free. Just make sure that you have someone rub lotion on your back. It’s the smart (and erotic) thing to do.

Have a photo of some beach shenanigans? Or some awesome photos from your travels? Submit your best travel images to Gadling’s Flickr group right now and we might use it for a future Photo of the Day.

‘Tis the season for 2010 travel predictions

As the year comes to a close, it seems everyone is offering up their predictions for 2010 travel trends. Which destinations will be the new hot spots? Will the cost of airfare rise or fall? Will people travel or won’t they? As with every year, some predictions will be spot on. Others will just seem like the same ideas from last year dressed up with new names.

Rick Seany, CEO of FareCompare, centered his predictions around air travel. He says we can expect more a la carte pricing, fuel surcharges, and in-flight advertising. He also says deals will be much harder to find…but we’ve already seen some low fares for the first quarter of 2010, so let’s hope he’s wrong there.

TripAdvisor made predictions all across the board. The listed the destinations they think will grow in 2010, which included spots in Turkey, Mexico, Germany and Scotland, and made predictions about fees and traveler behavior patterns. For example, 22% of travelers expect to be more environmentally conscious about their travels next year.

Nile Guide’s 2010 predictions ranged from where we will go to how we’ll get the information to plan our trips. Having access to information on the go (via travel apps) will play a huge part in how we plan our travels. They also predict the availability of in flight wi-fi will continue to increase.

The Independent got in on the act too, with a travel forecast from Editor-in-Chief of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Julie Kinsman. Kinsman predicts more travelers will mix business with pleasure. That may be true, but do we really have to call it “bleisure?” She says “granny chic” (which may just be “shabby chic” recycled from the late 90’s) will be a popular decor style and that we’ll see more boutique B&Bs, luxury all-inclusives and eco-lux resorts in the coming year.

What are your travel predictions for 2010? Tell us in the comments.