Gadling + BootsnAll – Picks of the Week (5.29.09)

Gather round dear readers, it’s Friday and that means it’s time for our weekly roundup of links from our friends at BootsnAll. Think of it like a travel website “cage match:” hundreds of travel stories go into the ring, only five of the best come out alive. Got it? Then to the winner the spoils! Here’s what we found this week:

  • Calm Those Flying Fears – I have a secret confession. Despite the fact I write for a travel website, I’m quite a nervous flyer. The fact is, I doubt I’m alone in my fear. Thankfully our BootsnAll friend Katie Hammel is here to help, offering up some great tips on How to Control a Fear of Flying. I’m feeling more relieved already. You can too – check out Katie’s tips.
  • South of France Secrets – travelers have long been drawn to France’s beautiful southern regions, flocking by the planeful to hotspots like Cannes and Aix-en-Provence to experience the pastoral landscapes and wonderful climate. If you’ve ever wanted to visit, make sure to read Christine Cantera’s Seven Secrets About the South of France, offering some insider tips for this highly trafficked region.
  • Scenic European Driving – the image of the European railpass traveler, backpack over shoulder and Eurail in hand, has become such a cliche that it’s easy to forget Europe also has an extensive network of highways Have you ever considered renting a car and taking a scenic drive though mountainous valleys and coastal vistas? Christina Dima has the scoop on Nine of Europe’s Best Drives. Take a look before you buy that Eurail.
  • Use the Crisis: Volunteer! – there’s been much made in recent months of the current economic crisis. Many have lost their jobs and others are struggling just to get by. But instead of bemoaning our bad luck, what if we were to consider the crisis as a hidden opportunity to try something new? Alix Farr has Five Reasons why right now is the perfect opportunity to switch things up and volunteer abroad. Not only can it be personally rewarding, travel can offer surprising cost savings.
  • Amazing Iguazu – along the northern border of Argentina with its neighbor Brazil is one of the world’s great natural wonders, Iguazu Falls. Consisting of a system of over 200 different waterfalls, some rising over 200 feet in height, it’s a must see for any South American traveler. Keivin Lim recently put together a photo tour of the famous falls. Even if you can’t make it to South America any time soon, take a visit with your eyes through his great photo roundup.

This marks the end of yet another week of Gadling + BootsnAll Picks of the Week. Hungry for more travel picks? Check back next Friday for another round of links.

Gadling + BootsnAll – Picks of the Week (5.22.09)

Welcome back. Here we are again for Gadling’s weekly roundup of links from the independent travel experts at BootsnAll. This week’s links are custom-made to get your wanderlust racing and put you in the right travel mindset. So pull that suitcase out of the closet and start clicking below:

  • Biggest Soccer Rivalries – soccer is a sport that tends to elicit groans of boredom from many Americans. But around the world it’s serious business. Rivalries like Spain’s Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona or Boca Juniors vs. River Plate in Argentina spark intense fan participation, raucous crowds and huge TV coverage. Jessica Spiegal has a list of some of the best rivalries, including teams in Egypt, Iran and England among others.
  • Weird World Heritage – the World Heritage Site program was established to conserve sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to all of humanity. That said, Cherrye Moore points out that the program’s selections include quite a few picks off the beaten track, including the “Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump” in Alberta Canada (the Native Americans used to run buffaloes off the cliffs) or the Quseir Amra Castle in Jordan.
  • Bone Churches – European church builders seem to have an odd proclivity for building and decorating their structures with human bones. Often called ossuaries, these unique bone structures can be found in churches from Spain, to Italy and all the way to the Czech Republic. Whether you’re a Goth into the black arts or just interested in some unique cultural landmarks, Jessica Spiegal’s bone churches roundup is worth a look.
  • South American Subways – as Eileen Smith points out, Europe is not the only continent with a wealth of public transportation options. If you happen to be traveling around cities like Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Caracas, or Medellin, Colombia make sure to give them a try.
  • Amsterdam Amenities – let’s drop the stereotypes: Amsterdam has a lot more to offer than marijuana, Van Gogh museums and canals. The WhyGo Amsterdam blog has a roundup tips to know before you visit. Ever considered some Indonesian food for dinner? Or a visit to the world’s largest flower market? Have a look.

That’s it for this week’s BootsnAll Picks of the Week. Check back again next Friday for another roundup of great links from around the world.

Gadling + BootsnAll – Picks of the Week (5.15.09)

Welcome back to Gadling’s weekly “Picks of the Week” feature, brought to you by our friends at travel website BootsnAll. How does it work? We input thousands of travel variables into the Gadling mainframe computer, and out comes five of the best and most interesting travel stories from BootsnAll this past week, ready for your reading pleasure. Got your 5.25″ floppy disk ready? Alright, here’s what we found:

  • The Venice of the… – Venice Italy is arguably one of Italy’s, if not the world’s, most popular tourism destinations. So popular in fact, that it’s spawned a fair share of “imitators.” As Roger Wade points out, pretty much any city that has a canal or waterway is laying claim to the nickname, including spots in Iraq, Russia and India. Check out his list of “Fake Venices Around the World.”
  • Life and Death in New Orleans – New Orleans is renowned for its spooky above-ground tombs, a feature of the city obviated by its elevation below sea level. Jessica Spiegel takes a photographic tour of New Orleans’ many atmospheric burial grounds. Don’t be afraid – the images are downright beautiful.
  • Drunken Culture – go on, admit it. You like to have an alcoholic beverage now and then. Lucy Corne is in on your secret – and knows how to help you make the most of it. She’s compiled a list of 10 places where you can drink and pretend like you’re soaking up all kinds of local culture. It’s OK…we promise to tell everyone that you went to Dublin to see the Book of Kells. No really, go see that too after you finish your Guinness.
  • Staying Healthy – when you’re out traveling, having fun and throwing caution to the wind, it’s suprisingly easy to forget to take care of your body like you might at home. Never fear, Eileen Smith has six cautionary reminders to make sure you spend your trip having fun and not in the hospital.
  • Thailand English – ever considered teaching English abroad? It can be a highly rewarding experience, but also one not without its challenges. Chabli Bravo spent the past seven months teaching English in Thailand and has a few suggestions to make the experience as good as possible. Even if you want to teach English elsewhere, it’s a post that’s certainly worth a look.

Well folks, looks like we’re out of room for this week. We’re just going to have to save all the other great links for next time around. Tune in again next Friday for more Gadling and BootsnAll Picks of the Week.

Gadling + Bootsnall – Picks of the Week (5.8.09)

Here we are, back again for another weekly roundup of links from our travel friends at BootsnAll. It’s been two weeks (sorry, the Swine Flu had us preoccupied). But don’t despair, we’ve journeyed far and wide, from the jungles of Sri Lanka, to the Savannahs of Africa and through the Capitals of Europe to bring you this week’s picks. What did we find? Check it out:

  • Sri Lanka in Photos – Dominic DeGrazier could have gone anywhere for his recent sabbatical. He chose Sri Lanka, the tiny island nation just off the coast of India. While he was there, Dominic fell in love with the lush scenery, vibrant colors and frenzied street life. Check out this link to see some of his photos and read a few of his observations on the country.
  • It’s just Africa – say the word “Africa” to many travelers, and you frequently evoke some strong negative reactions. An entire landmass of varied countries is characterized as one giant continent, rife with poverty, danger and disease. Laura Claire-Corson wants to set the record straight. She’s got a few reasons why every traveler should check out Africa at least once. It’s easier to visit than you think, incredibly diverse and an experience you’re not soon to forget.
  • FREE Europe – earlier this year, Gadling took a look at how you can make that trip to Europe a reality, even if you’re on a tight budget. Cristina Dima is backing us up – she’s got a list of 12 of the best FREE European attractions you should check out. How can you say no to free museums and attractions? Take a look.
  • Food for thought – food is such a huge motivator for travel. Whether its eating sushi in Japan or an authentic bowl of pasta in Rome, food is a language that reveals the true details of destination’s culture. And one of the best places to experience food while traveling is the local market, where you can get some fresh specialities. Katie Hammel takes a look at eight of her favorite markets from around the globe.
  • Going it alone – face it. At some point the travel bug is going to sneak up and you and none of your friends and family will be able to come along. Have you considered trying a trip by yourself? JoAnna Haugen weighs to pros and cons of solo travel in her recent post. There’s plenty of reasons to give it a try – read her post and decide for yourself if a solo trip is right for you.

Sorry…we’re fresh out of great BootsnAll links for this Friday. Why not check back next week, when we’ll be standing by with another round of great Gadling + BootsnAll Picks of the Week.

Gadling + BootsnAll – Picks of the Week (4.24.09)

Welcome to Friday and another installment of our weekly content picks from travel partners BootsnAll. We reach into our “Gadling hat” and pick out 5 of the week’s best travel stories at BootsnAll, covering topics ranging from religious monuments to food to old travel standbys like Paris. Got it? Good. Let’s see what we pulled up this week:

  • Twitter x Travel – all you Twitterers out there probably already know about Gadling’s own account on the increasingly popular microblogging service. But not everyone is a fan – travel expert Rolf Potts had his followers “tweeting” mad recently when he expressed his dislike for those that used the service the way it was used while traveling. Jessica Spiegel takes a closer look at the potential pros and cons of using Twitter on the road.
  • Hostel Hiring – ever have one of those trips where you just didn’t want to return home but ran out of money? Kathleen Schmidt suggests you consider working at a hostel as a way to earn some extra cash. The prospect of long-term sleeping arrangements in a shared dorm might be a turn-off for some (read: ME) but it’s also a great way meet new friends from all over and also save some money without going home – have a look.
  • Food Freakout – if you’ve traveled enough, you’ve probably come across a “local specialty” food somewhere that made you squirm. Lucy Corne lists out Eight Traditional Foods you are obligated to try but probably won’t be asking for seconds. You know what though? I think Haggis gets a bad rap!
  • Markets in ProvenceProvence is known as one of France’s most beautiful and picturesque regions. But it’s not just the crazy beautiful scenery that’s making visitors jump on a plane – it’s also the amazing markets, chock full of fresh baguettes and straight from the farmer produce. One of Provence’s best markets is the one featured in this article on Isle sur la Sorgue. If you go, bring me back some olives, will you?
  • Angels & Demons – next month will see the release of Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, the movie sequel to 2006’s The Da Vinci Code. Considering both films were filmed in Rome, there’s increased interest in the locations where the films were made. Find out how to take your own self-guided Angels & Demons tour of Rome with this article from BootsnAll Italy blog “WhyGo Italy.”

And with that, we conclude another installment of the Gadling + BootsnAll Picks of the Week. Stay tuned for more great travel links next Friday.