A Year of TravelPod Travel Blogs

With new TravelPod blogs appearing every day as our members travel the world, we thought it would be interesting to see what what all the blogs from one year would look like when we mapped them out together. You can watch the results in the video below, as a year’s worth of blog entries unfolds in 1.5 minutes. To build this, we made every entry a dot based on its location and used lines to connect entries within trips. Viewed all together, the result is kind of magical, and some obvious trends emerge. Lots of travel between Europe and Australia, for example, and the vast distances covered by travelers in Asia, South America, and Africa.

It’s great to see the wide variety of trips being saved and shared on TravelPod. Keep traveling!

This visualization was produced using Processing.
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Holi: A Burst of Color

Who wouldn’t love taking a day to fling handfuls of colored powder and water at friends and strangers alike in a jubilant celebration of spring, forgiveness, and renewal? Perhaps that’s why the ancient Hindu festival known as Holi is celebrated not only in South Asia where it originated, but throughout the world as well.

Luckily for us, TravelPod bloggers risk their cameras during the color fest and have grabbed some great shots for us over the years!

If you have any great photos of Holi, be sure to start up a TravelPod blog and share! We may be able to feature some more Holi shots in a future post.

Photo credit: TravelPod member allmytravels

Photo credit: TravelPod member hanjolo

Photo credit: TravelPod member tsd-india

Photo credit: TravelPod member ginenneandrob

Photo credit: TravelPod member comfortsontour

Photo credit: TravelPod member simoncardnell

Photo credit: TravelPod member hanjolo

Some participants even take before and after photos.

Photo credit: TravelPod member lou-and-ian

Photo credit: TravelPod member hanjolo

Photo credit: TravelPod member hanjolo


Top 5 South American Cities for Travel Bloggers in 2014

TravelPod members share their adventures from incredible destinations all around the globe, and South America is of course no exception. While our bloggers usually find themselves in tiny villages, jungle trails, and salt flats, they eventually make their way to the great cities as well for some urban exploration.

Following are quick glimpses of the five most popular South American cities among TravelPod bloggers based on 2014 trips. Be sure to check the links for the latest and greatest photos from these travel hotspots.

1. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Not only a leader among TravelPod members, this capital city is in fact the most visited city in South America! A thriving arts scene and a high standard of living make BA one of the great cities of the world.

Photo credit: TravelPod member mattyjordan

Sunday San Talmo Markets
Photo credit: TravelPod member fae-neilvsworld

La Boca
Photo credit: TravelPod member mattyjordan

Check out more photos from Buenos Aires on TravelPod.

2. Santiago, Chile

Santiago, on the Mapocho River, has a third of the population of Buenos Aires and is growing quickly.

Inside the main cathedral of Santiago
Photo credit: TravelPod member ericjon97

Wine cellar
Photo credit: TravelPod member ericjon97

Fresh strawberries from the market
Photo Credit: TravelPod member the5wynns

See more photos from Santiago on TravelPod.

3. Cusco, Peru

If you’re looking for Incan history, you’ll find it here in Cusco, which served as the Inca capital until the Spanish conquest.

Photo credit: TravelPod member pietrasanta

Photo credit: TravelPod member ellengoeseast

Cusco at night
Photo credit: TravelPod member jamieking

Photo credit: TravelPod member ellengoeseast
Find more photos from trips to Cusco on TravelPod.

4. Lima, Peru

Another Inca city before the Spanish arrived, Lima was once a religious center. It’s now a city with more than 10 million residents and a thriving tourism and arts scene.

Mire Flores, Lima
Photo credit: TravelPod member katyflo

Photo credit: TravelPod member ebzh

Central Lima by night
Photo credit: TravelPod member jdtrip

Be sure to check out photos from recent trips to Lima on TravelPod.

5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There’s a reason why almost 3 million travelers find their way to Rio each year: beach life, arts, culture, Carnival, and beach life all come to mind. Did we mention the beaches?

Lapa sterps take 2
Photo credit: TravelPod member mattyjordan

Coucher de soleil sur le Corcovado
Photo credit: TravelPod member marie-claude.g

Rio from Christ the Redeemer
Photo credit: TravelPod member spoonball

Sunday at the beach
Photo credit: TravelPod member eoinshirl

See more photos from Rio de Janeiro on TravelPod.

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10 Classic Leaning Tower of Pisa Photos

Pisa’s famous bell tower has been leaning since its construction began in the 12th century. For all we know, this tower would have toppled years ago had it not been for the valiant efforts of fearless travellers doing their part to hold it up–and snapping a photo while they’re at it. Naturally, TravelPod members are eager to help, as you’ll see below. Here isyour guide to the many ways you can get a great photo of yourself doing your part!

The Classic Save
Just helping out a tower about to fall!

Photo credit: TravelPod member europeinajar

The Finger Save
Useful in an emergency when no one else is around.

Photo credit: TravelPod member marmarwong

The Finger Push
The more mischievous cousin of the Finger Save. This one makes us very nervous.

Photo credit: TravelPod member iancarmen

The Hug
If there was ever a tower that needed a hug, it’s this one.

Photo credit: TravelPod member ashnbrieurope

The Team Save
Some things can’t be handled by just one person!

Photo credit: TravelPod member daisylou71

The Top Grab
A little to the right, please.

Photo credit :TravelPod member bigbanana

The Bollard Stand
Yes, that is what they’re called, and yes, that is why they were put there.

Photo credit: TravelPod member trishfr

The “Where Do You Want This?”
Anywhere is fine but whatever you do don’t drop it!

Photo credit: TravelPod member chris-roisin

The Header
Technically more difficult than it seems, this move may in fact draw a whistle from the ref.

Photo credit: TravelPod member edevalla

The Remote Save
Surprisingly, this one is not as common, but we like the resourcefulness!

Photo credit: TravelPod member dylanandliz


How to Write a Great Travel Blog

So you’re all set for your next big adventure: the tickets have been purchased, your itinerary has been carefully planned out (or not!), and your new luggage is just waiting for you to start packing!

On this trip, you’d like to keep a great travel blog to share your adventure with friends, family members, and anyone else who loves a good travel story. So, what are the best ways to go about it? Here are some quick tips from TravelPod:

1. Start yesterday!

People love to read about the trip even before it starts. What is motivating you to go exploring? What are your plans and expectations? Often your readers have travelled to the same country or faced similar issues and can offer great advice before the trip starts for real. Remember, when it comes to travelling, information is key, and your readers may have lots of it to share.

A couple of entries during the planning phase of your trip will also help you get the hang of blogging while you’re still on home turf. You don’t want any technical surprises while you’re out on the road, so learn the ins and outs now.

2. Set up your blog on TravelPod.

TravelPod is the oldest free travel blogging platform around, and we have tons of experience to help you get the most out of your trip without requiring you to have any technical expertise or a friend-of-a-friend who is “good with computers.” During the TravelPod blog setup, you can create an itinerary showing where you plan to be on every day. This can help you organize your blogging and is a great way to start planning your trip.

Once your blog is set up, figure out how you’re going to update your blog. For example, TravelPod can be updated using any connected web browser, an iPhone or iPad via the iOS app, or even by sending posts as emails to a special email address. Pick the method that is right for you. Remember, you may not have access to mobile data or wi-fi many times during your trip. If blogging when you are offline is important to you, have a plan to either type your blogs into a note-taking app for transfer later, or use TravelPod’s iOS app, which works offline and synchs back to the blog when you have wi-fi access again.

3. Try to write every day.

Even a short post will help keep your readers interested and up to date on your journey. Also, it will make remembering your trip all the better many years from now if you can see what you did and what you thought about it on any day in your trip.

4. Include highlights and try to be as descriptive as possible.

The highlights will be the moments that stood out to you as something you’d want to tell a story about later. More mundane facts about the day, such as what you wore or what time breakfast was served, may seem more interesting while you’re writing them than they will to the average reader. Now, if you accidentally wore shorts and sandals to a formal wedding because you misread the invitation, that is definitely a highlight!

You want to recreate what it felt like to be in the location you’re writing about, so I’m going to channel my 10th-grade writing teacher and remind you to use descriptive language in your entry. Descriptive words that recreate the sights, sounds, and even smells of your experience are like popcorn to the hungry travel blog reader. Get inventive if you must, but the more descriptive detail, the more your comments will fill up with praise.

5. Take photos and include the best ones.

In this day and age, every blog entry should have at least a couple of photos. Uploading photos is super easy if you are using the TravelPod mobile app, but you can also upload them using the web dashboard. If you’re using TravelPod’s email blogging feature, just include them as attachments to the entry email and TravelPod will take care of attaching them to the entry. Try to include photos that relate to the events you wrote about, if you can. This really helps make the whole blog entry more cohesive and satisfying to read. Include details you want to remember about the photos in the caption of the photo, such as the name of that great pool bartender. Don’t go overboard on the photos, though! After a while, looking at too many photos starts to feel like viewing someone’s three-volume wedding photo album. Safe bet: include your best shots, and leave them wanting more!

6. Review places you stay and visit.

TravelPod has tools for leaving reviews of hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, and even attractions. By leaving a review you’re helping the next travellers to come after you, so take the time to share your thoughts. This is a great way to give back to the TravelPod community.

7. Wrap it up.

Remember that all important “Home at last!” entry at the end. Some great travel blogs end with a quick synopsis of the trip highlights, and perhaps a reflection on what you got out of the trip. For anyone interested in following in your footsteps, this is definitely the icing on the cake. Once you’re back you can continue to tweak and fine tune your blog, adding or removing photos and maybe filling in some blank days. Once it’s done, you can even order a printed book of your TravelPod blog for a tangible keepsake of the adventure.

Above all, relax and have fun writing your travel blog. If at any time it feels like a chore, take a break and enjoy the amazing sights and sounds going on all around you. The more you enjoy your trip and truly live in the moment, the better your blog will be whenever you choose to write!

Bon voyage from TravelPod!

Photo credit: TravelPod member alice-and-will (http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/alice-and-will/1/1371216741/tpod.html)
Follow me on Twitter: @frasercole
Photo credit: TravelPod member vagabonddrift (http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/vagabonddrift/1/1425772800/tpod.html)

10 Hilarious Photos From Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni in southwest Bolivia is not only home to the worlds largest salt flats, but apparently also to the world’s largest concentration of travellers taking wacky perspective shots. Something about the light, the endless white salt deposits, and perhaps a fair bit of tradition has made the forced perspective photo a required activity for visitors to this ancient briny plateau.

TravelPod members visit Uyuni every year and we think they take some of the best forced perspective photos. Here are some fairly recent examples to inspire you to dust off your SLR and your miniature dinosaur toys and hit the road for Bolivia. Just remember to share the results on TravelPod!

Photo credit: TravelPod member djmorton

Photo credit: TravelPod member mic_hal

Photo credit: TravelPod member teamsharry

Photo credit: TravelPod member tylerdunn

Photo credit: TravelPod member tnanoble

Photo credit: TravelPod member ianandsarah2014

Photo credit: TravelPod member robandhannah

Photo credit: TravelPod member kate.alexandra

Photo credit: TravelPod member birck82

Photo credit: TravelPod member vagabonddrift
Follow me on Twitter: @frasercole
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Editor’s Choice – Great Museums for Your US Trip – Part 1

Summer road trip season is right around the corner! Whether you drive, cycle, or fly, you may find yourself looking for a great museum to visit in the U.S., and we’ve got a list of options to get you thinking, planning, and hopefully fitting some great American culture into your trip.

In this two-part series, we’ll give you a jump start on summer museum season by highlighting a unique, intriguing, inspiring, or just plain fun museum option from every state in the USA. Of course, it’s difficult to pick one out of an entire state, but these choices are sure to give you a unique and memorable experience, and we highly recommend them. (In many cases, you can find out more by seeing what our members had to say.) If you’re able to work any of these great destinations into your itinerary, grab your comfortable shoes and get in line for your ticket.

And of course, don’t forget to share your visit on your TravelPod blog!

Part 1

  1. Alabama – Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham)
    TravelPod member georgenpoli called BCRI the “highlight” of their Birmingham visit, and noted that “two hours is not enough” at this “top notch facility.”
  2. Alaska – Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center (Anchorage)
    Recommended by blogger louclaire as “a great introduction to Alaska.”
  3. Arizona – Children’s Museum of Phoenix (Phoenix)
  4. Arkansas – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville)
  5. California – Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Los Angeles)
    According to nathantorpie this contains “one of the most extraordinary dinosaur exhibits” he has ever seen!
  6. Colorado – Clyfford Still Museum (Denver)
  7. Connecticut – New Britain Museum of American Art (New Britain)
    Blogger modernnomad67 stopped by and took some pics.
  8. Delaware – Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Wilmington)
  9. Florida – The Dali Museum (St. Petersburg)
  10. Georgia – Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University (Atlanta)
  11. Hawaii – Bishop Museum (Honolulu)
    TravelPod member c.i.222 included it on his 2013 trip.
  12. Idaho – Idaho Potato Museum (Blackfoot)
  13. Illinois – National Museum of Mexican Art (Chicago)
    Check out the blog entry and great photos from terredeshommes on TravelPod.
  14. Indiana – The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Indianapolis)
  15. Iowa – Figge Art Museum (Davenport)
  16. Kansas – Kansas Cosmosphere & Space Center (Hutchinson)
    TravelPod blogger cody_max made it a stop on his massive U.S. road trip.
  17. Kentucky – Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (Louisville)
    Michellejo86 and fellow travellers made it a part of their coast-to-coast US tour.
  18. Louisiana – The National WWII Museum (New Orleans)
  19. Maine – Portland Museum of Art (Portland)
    Stop by for a culture break like mndlx did, and be sure to take a tour of the Winslow Homer Studio.
  20. Maryland – Geppi’s Entertainment Museum (Baltimore)
  21. Massachusetts – Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum (Boston)
    Recommended by tannoreth, this eclectic museum is “like visiting all of Europe, China and Japan rolled into one.”
  22. Michigan – Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (East Lansing)
  23. Minnesota – Mill City Museum (Minneapolis)
  24. Mississippi – Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale)
  25. Missouri – City Museum (St. Louis)
    To quote rmadventures: “Words and even the pictures we got can’t explain how awesome this place was!”

Looking for our recommendation for Nebraska, Virginia, or maybe Tennessee? Check out Part 2 of the series, which features our Editor’s Picks from Montana to Wyoming!

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