“Place-dropping”: the new social currency?

You just landed in Paris. What’s the first thing you do? Head for the passport line? Withdraw some money at the ATM? How about updating your Twitter/Facebook status? It’s called ‘place-dropping,’ an increasingly popular form of “digital bragging” about where you’ve been online. With many of us carrying laptops, checking mobile phones and using location services, it’s easier than ever before to log on and update our status, notifying our friends back home about our adventures. But is there a difference between simply sharing news and simply being obnoxious?

Like so much of social media etiquette, the proper rules of place dropping are still up for debate. Writer Spud Hilton took a stab at laying some ground rules in a place-dropping article on World Hum last month, suggesting a good place drop “conveys you were there” but doesn’t “overplay your hand.” But Hilton is talking mostly about place dropping during face-to-face conversations. What about doing it online? In some cases, there’s justification. For instance updating curious friends and anxious family members on where you are. For frequent travelers, a place drop is also a research tool. I often sent requests for destination insights during my recent trip to Southeast Asia. And it’s a handy way to find travel friends who are nearby.

Yet place dropping has limits. It prevents us from truly immersing and enjoying ourselves in our destinations. And if done excessively on social media, place-dropping alienates friends and followers. At a time when we can get anywhere on earth in 24 hours or less, it also seems increasingly redundant.

What do you think about place dropping? Is it just a sign of our ever-more-connected global lifestyle? Or something more heinous? Leave us a comment to start the discussion.Related:
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Before you go, be sure to check out Travel Talk, in which the guys visit the spiciest restaurant in NYC — try to slake their thirst with beer.

‘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.

Will Chinese really take over English and Spanish?

When I left my high-flying public relations job to travel, learn Spanish and write, more than a few people said: “what are you learning Spanish for? Learn Mandarin, it’s going to be the new most needed/wanted language, it will take you places!” This context is often debated and recently resurfaced in articles on Forbes, Freakonomics and World Hum.

I still don’t see the point.

Mandarin may be spoken by a larger number of people, but those people are mainly in China, Singapore and Hong Kong. When they travel or immigrate abroad, they need to learn the language of the place they’re at — people aren’t going to try to learn Mandarin to communicate with them.

Approximately 400 million people speak Spanish, across the US, all of Latin America and a majority of Western Europe. So if I speak English and Spanish, I can communicate practically anywhere except perhaps Japan and the 3-4 Mandarin speaking countries. Even with skyrocketing rate of economic growth in China, and the increase of travel of Mandarin speaking people worldwide, I really don’t see the whole, expansive world changing their main language of communication from English to Mandarin, do you?