New Cure For Travelers With A Bad Attitude

Some travelers are just not happy no matter what. They can be flying to a fabulous destination they may have dreamed of for years but restricted legroom sours their mood. On a road trip planned for months, the traffic in a big city, while expected, is annoying. Now, a new study says that people can literally throw away negative thoughts.

Apparently, getting rid of negative thoughts is as easy as writing them down on a piece of paper then throwing that paper away. In kind, those who write thoughts down and save that piece of paper are more likely to use their thoughts when making judgments, a recent study shows.

“However you tag your thoughts – as trash or as worthy of protection – seems to make a difference in how you use those thoughts,” says Richard Petty, co-author of the study and professor of psychology at Ohio State University in a Laboratory Equipment report.The trick to making it work either way, indicates the study, is the physical act of discarding or saving those thoughts, good or bad.

“The more convinced the person is that the thoughts are really gone, the better,” Petty says. “Just imagining that you throw them away doesn’t seem to work.”

So will writing “No legroom” on a piece of paper then throwing it away make flying coach more enjoyable? Maybe so. Another way to get rid of a bad attitude when traveling can be to laugh, on purpose, out loud. That and creating something seem to have a similar positive effect as we see in this video:

[Photo Credit- Flickr user]

A Traveler’s Confession: I Hate Sightseeing

I love to travel but I hate to see the sights. Have you ever found yourself running around looking for obscure museums and other tourist attractions while on a trip and wondered what the point was? I prefer to spend my travel time on the road the same way I enjoy my leisure time at home: wandering around, meeting people and indulging my curiosity when I stumble upon something of interest.

Depending on who your travel companion is, it might be a struggle to avoid sightseeing. My wife, for example, is much better at sightseeing than I am. I enjoy museums, but I prefer strolling through, stopping to read only the most interesting exhibits. She, on the other hand, is often quite content to read every word on every plaque in the entire place while I roam around looking for a bench and a newspaper to pass the time.

Our biggest tourism incompatibility, though, is our divergence on archaeological sites. I’m more of a history buff than my wife is. In fact, I like to read history books and, with some rare exceptions, she does not. But I hate schlepping around archeological sites and she loves it. These places, by their nature, lack shade and somehow it always seems to be 100 degrees when you visit them. I’m not ashamed to admit that when given the choice between visiting Pompeii this summer and eating at the world’s best pizzeria in Naples, I chose the pizza and I don’t regret it. (I can read a book or watch a documentary on Pompeii, but reading about pizza isn’t the same)

My worst nightmare is being part of a guided tour where I’m herded around and lectured. If the guide is outstanding, it’s barely tolerable for me, but most of the time I’m looking at my watch or searching for an emergency exit I can slip out of. If the attraction only offers guided tours, I’m most likely to give it a pass. I’d much rather look around on my own and have a guidebook or brochure I can read at my leisure. For me, travel is all about freedom and having to abide by someone else’s schedule and tastes is not my cup of tea.

I’ve been to London twice in the last decade. On the first trip, I ran around like a mad dog visiting all the “must do” sights listed in my guidebook and, while I enjoyed many of the attractions, I felt tired and ready to go home after three or four days of hardcore sightseeing. I went back in August of this year on another four-day visit but this time I made a point of visiting just one real tourist attraction-the British Museum. The rest of the time I just picked a neighborhood that sounded interesting, took the tube there and wandered around.

If I saw something of interest, I went in, but I wasn’t out searching for specific attractions. I spent a lot of time walking on quiet, residential side streets, taking the pulse of the city and its residents. It was a stark contrast to my previous visit because when you “see the sights” in any city, you’re surrounded by fellow travelers, who know little about the place you are trying to digest.

I enjoyed my second, non-sightseeing trip to London infinitely more than the first and by the end of the four days, I wanted more, not less of London. I’m not suggesting that people visit Cairo and skip the pyramids or travel to China and pass on the Great Wall, but if you just run around from one tourist attraction to the next, you won’t get much of a flavor of what a place is really like. Take my advice and don’t obsess over seeing the sights. You’ll save some money and you might have a better time too.

[Photo/video credits: Dave Seminara]

Halloween Costumes For Travel Lovers

Is your love of travel part of your identity? Have you trawled every Southeast Asian backwater, and explored the twisting streets and alleyways of little-known European cities? Whether your adventurous spirit takes you abroad for work or pleasure, chances are you’ve seen enough of the planet to know that certain stereotypes exist for a reason.

This year, Gadling decided to come up with some Halloween costume ideas based upon our collective experience as world travelers. Don’t take offense: We’ve all been guilty of travel crimes or attire that make our country of origin painfully obvious. Just remember, there’s a fine line between funny and racist. Don’t cross it.

Trustafarian Backpacker in Southeast Asia (gender-neutral)
Your costume consists of dreadlocks, “indigenous” necklace and bracelet, Lao beer T-shirt, Thai fisherman’s pants, and at least one tribal/Chinese character tattoo (mistranslation optional). This is my variation on Pam Mandel’s “Chiang Mai Blogger,” which includes “a MacBook Air, Nikon DX000 (one-year old, bought at bugout time), fully-stocked 401k, and crumpled-up absentee ballot, because ‘it hardly matters.'”

Euro Trash Guy
Super pointy, expensive leather shoes, douchey scarf, and tight pants n’ high thread-count tee are de riguer. Style a fashion mullet, don your trendy shades, and talk about your last holiday on Ibiza. Chain smoke, and offer mints to fellow partygoers, telling them it’s Ecstasy. Eek!

Harajuku Girl
Striped thigh-high socks, baby-doll dress or plaid school girl skirt, choppy blond or colored wig, outlandish eye makeup (or try mega-size false lashes), and crazy-high platform shoes. Don’t forget the “Hello Kitty” accessories.

Las Vegas Bachelorette Party Chick
“A sash, saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” says McLean Robbins. I suggest adding a tiara, and perhaps some type of phallic paraphernalia as accessory.

Travel Writer (gender neutral)
Do not shower for several days prior. Wear whatever clothes you can find crumpled up in your dirty laundry, and carry an overstuffed daypack filled with coffee- and -wine-stained notebook, decrepit laptop, tattered guide book, and much-abused passport. Look stressed. Mutter about deadlines and bus schedules. Feign confusion, and ask partygoers what city/country you’re in. Scary.

Hawaiian Honeymooners
An easy costume for couples: just wear matching his n’ hers outfits, leis, sparkly wedding bands, and big smiles. Carry a camera and mai tais garnished with orchids. For a group, go as “Midwestern Family on Hawaiian Vacation,” and have everyone wear matching Hilo Hattie attire and leis. Before I get angry comments, allow me to note that I’ve lived on Maui twice and yes, these are both a thing.

Ashram Girl
Yoga pants, kurti blouse, hemp necklace, handmade sandals (barefoot optional), bindi, and glazed eyes. Refer to your spiritual leader by name, often. Cue ghostly sounds.

Canadian (gender neutral)
Sew the national flag on a backpack, deploy lots of “eh’s” and “aboots” in conversation, and you’re good to go. Ask partygoers if they can spare a loonie.

Ugly American (gender neutral)
If under 30, wear Greek letters/house party shirt of choice, or opt for a tee with an obnoxious saying (“Diva,” “Princess,” “Where’s the Beer?” “I’m with Stupid”). Add inappropriately short-shorts (if female) or saggy pants (male). Carry a copy of a Let’s Go guidebook, spendy tennis shoes, and spanking new backpack. Talk loudly about how hungover you are, how much all of your material goods cost (the more expensive, the better), and complain about how no one speaks any English. Shudder.

Older folks can wear a favorite sports team or logo T-shirt (baseball cap optional) or something comparably lacking in style, with khaki shorts, dark socks, and sandals. Carry a map and camera, and in your “outdoor” voice, ask where you can find the nearest McDonald’s, or “why no one in this goddamn country wears deodorant.” Spooky!

Aussie-on-holiday Guy
Bring lots of beer (not Fosters!), a wandering eye, and a good attitude.

Happy Halloween, fellow travelers!

[Photo credits: Harajuku Girl, Flick user Leishangthem; hippie, Flickr user madaboutasia; with Stupid,]

Hearty Adventure Travelers Find Food With Phone Apps

Adventure travelers may hit the road with nothing but the clothes on their backs and maybe their cellphones. They live to explore dream destinations around the planet. Taking off to spend the summer walking America or hiking through Europe is their idea of heaven on Earth. It’s a carefree life full of wonder and anticipation – until they get hungry.

They may hole up somewhere to avoid a storm or put other worlds on hold for a while to focus singly on their quest. But when hunger strikes, they need to eat.

If they managed to bring along that cellphone, finding food can be a bit easier with some old and new iPhone apps.

In the U.S., Food Finder uses postal ZIP codes for finding dining venues sorted by cuisine type. Food Information Database has nutritional information for hundreds of restaurants. Whats The Wait? finds restaurant wait times and seating statuses nationwide.

Traveling abroad, Eat Well Global country guides are available with country-specific food and health information. Launched this week, the new country-specific app shows travelers how and where to eat well in Israel, Thailand, Mexico, China and other destinations.

“Eating well is critical for maintaining energy and staying focused,” said Eat Well Global founder, Julie Meyer, RD in the Sacramento Bee. “But often travelers don’t know how to eat well in a new country. Our apps fill this need with insights from local registered dietitians to help you find healthy and energizing foods that are also authentic to the region.”

Also featured are sections on eating well with special dietary needs, a task that can humble even the most courageous adventure traveler who might be looking for vegan, gluten-free or low fat food options.

[Flickr photo by Seth Mazow]

Travelers And Bloggers Get Together With New Web App

Travelers planning a trip often turn to a trusted travel information source, one they may have used before and had good results. That source might be a guide book, web site or travel blog like this one where intrepid travelers scour the planet for experiences and information. A new web application now hopes to connects travelers with travel bloggers in what could be a very viable and relevant source of travel information.

At, travelers and bloggers create a personalized virtual pin map to mark locations of interest. Travelers might mark places they want to visit. Bloggers mark places they have already visited and produced content about.

“Tens of thousands of travel blogs exist on the web and the Team is excited to provide a venue that offers the bloggers a resource for additional exposure,” said CEO Leslyn Kantner in a release. “We feel they are a perfect complement to our platform.”

The nature of the application encourages interactions between users about pins on the map. For example, I signed up and began by placing a pin in my hometown. Immediately, other pins pop up on the board from bloggers who had been there and written about it. The information and location of those pins came with a date and other background information to quickly scan before going further.

Bloggers are able to add a link to their blogs on the description of each pin they place on the map and offers bloggers a badge to place on their webpage so that readers can link directly to the bloggers map.

Another use: Businesses and organizations can drop pins for where their customers or group members are located.

Flickr photo by Adams K.