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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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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10 funny signs from around the world

Traveling around the world as an Anglophone can be pretty funny. Most people try to speak English, but they don’t all quite get it.

This worldwide phenomenon has spawned such websites as Engrish.com among many others. Here at TravelPod, we’ve got our own assortment of funny signs. Some of them more coherent than others…

1. “Don’t throw coins in crocodiles mouths”, Bangkok, Thailand

"It might cause them death"

"Please don't throw coins in crocodile's mouths. It might cause them death"

“I have a hodge-podge of various new pictures to upload, from Lauren and Halloweeen, to a festival, and most notably from when we went to the zoo! The pictures will pretty much explain themselves, and there are a lot of pictures of animals so I thought that I would give everyone a Thai language lesson with it too.” – Schipper

2. “This place danger” in Gyangze, China

"This place danger. Take devious route."

"This place danger. Take devious route."

Our final activity was a hike up the Gyantse Dzong – an old fort in the middle of town. We had the fort to ourselves not a tourist or Tibetan was there. We took it slow going up (man can we feel the altitude here – or we’re really out of shape!) but the view was worth it – we could see the entire town, the monastery, and the Himalayas in the distance. Not a bad way to see the sunset! – Carlaandmike

3. “Guests are requested…” in Broome, Australia

"Guests are requested not to leave meals unattended unless they wish to share them with the seagulls"

Rachandstu found this sign at a bar on the beach in Broome, Australia

“To celebrate being in a town, we went out for dinner at a bar on the beach where we sat with our pizza and drinks – (a glass of cold wine for Rachel – what a novelty!) and watched the sunset.” – Rachandstu

4. “Passengers Attention” – Beijing, China

Lucy_and_adele found this warning sign in Beijing, China

Lucy_and_adele found this warning sign in Beijing, China

We climbed enough steps to do us a lifetime. The older section of the wall was really cool. All rubble and broken steps. when our legs couldn’t handle much more, we went to get the cable car back to the car park. They were out of order, of course! – Lucy_and_adele

5. “Be cautionary to fall into water” – Shangri-La, China

Fredtrip found another example of Engrish in Shangri La, China

Fredtrip found another example of Engrish in Shangri-La, China

I was positively surprised by Shangri La. Few tourists here, colder weather (we are at 3200m), a lot of Tibetans and a pleasant living old city.
The city was originally called Zhongdian but some locals decided to change its name to make it more attractive to tourists. New name comes from James Hilton’s 1933 bestseller: Lost Horizon.. – Fredtrip

6. “The top of an… wha?” – Jeju City, South Korea

Jknoff22 thought this sign was amusing

Jknoff22 thought this sign was amusing in Jeju City

“If you can’t read it, it says, “The top of an election is a clean election.” Now say it as a Korean would, changing the “l’s” to “r’s” and you have an enigmatic yet very funny sign.” – Jknoff22

7. “Smoke is billowing” – Hachioji, Japan

Tothemoon found this strange sign in Japan

Tothemoon found this strange sign in Japan

I’m glad the trip ended up much better than it started, but I kinda don’t ever wanna go on vacation again. – Tothemoon

8. “Premarital sex” – Telluride, USA

78ers found this sign humorous in Telluride, USA

78ers found this sign humorous in Telluride, USA

“On our way back out to the main road, we drove on a little half gravel/half paved road through a really beautiful area. The road passes the town of Dunton- apparently it’s actually a privately owned ghost town, so I don’t think you can walk around it or anything. But the whole stretch of road was really nice, Silas and I were sort of hating the people who live there!” – 78ers

9. “The grass is smiling at you” – Beijing, China

Bizarreirishsta found this sign in Beijing's Olympic Village

Bizarreirishsta found this sign in Beijing's Olympic Village

“After our day at the Summer Palace, we made our way to the Olympic Village. We had enough time to get to it and have a snack before it started raining. It didn’t rain much, but just in spurts. The Bird’s Next is quite the architectural design, but definitely more impressive from a distance.” – Bizarreirishsta

10. “Fartshumper” – Olderfjord, Norway

Marksadventures loves Norwegian signs

Marksadventures loves Norwegian signs

“This is the only photo worthy of being shown today….another funny Norwegian sign!” – Marksadventures

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A free trip to Thailand for a worthy TravelPod blogger, seriously.

I went on a trip to Thailand last year with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and I can say for a fact that they will treat you like pure gold.

Beautiful Ko Phi Phi in Thailand

Beautiful Ko Phi Phi in Thailand

If you are a frequent TravelPod blogger and you can get to the Los Angeles airport, I might be able to hook you up with a representative of Thai Airways and the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Los Angeles office.

Please contact me to apply

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Blogwatch: The Tokyo Parasite Museum

To further expand upon my popular blog post on the Tokyo Parasite Museum, I have scoured TravelPod.com to find a couple of our own members visiting this off-the-beaten-path attraction.

Baggagewhores don’t go into much detail, but their picture says 1,000 words:

Baggagewhores at the Tokyo Parasite Museum

Baggagewhores at the Tokyo Parasite Museum

Actually, we had a token husband throughout Japan. A Japanese friend of the family – Kazunori actually decided to stay and show us around Tokyo even after we nearly killed him when he offered to help take our luggage to our hostel on the first evening. And on our shopping trip to Harajuku, he was the perfect gentleman and insisted on carrying ALL our bags! He even arranged a trip to the National Parasite Museum, and we got tapeworm shirts and weeks’ worth of nightmares out of it!

-from “The land of Hello Kitty AKA I ate a prawn head!” – Tokyo, Japan

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Free trip to Costa Rica (honestly)

I have been offered another free trip for an enthusiastic TravelPod blogger.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

If you can leave on short notice, you can enjoy an absolutely free adventure-themed trip to Costa Rica. All you have to do is blog on TravelPod.com about it.

It will take place from Nov. 7-14 and includes white water rafting, mountain biking and rappelling. Please send me a message if you are interested in this amazing opportunity.

The Costa Rica Tourist Board is sponsoring this event. It is definitely not “too good to be true.”

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Help decide how TripAdvisor donates $1 million

I’m passing along this really cool opportunity to make a difference with the folks at TripAdvisor.

They’re donating $1 million to 5 travel-related causes, and they’re asking TravelPod members to help them decide where it should go. As passionate and opinionated as we all are about travel, this is something I think we can all get behind.

You can vote for one of five worthy world-changing charities. Remember, the more votes an organization receives, the larger share of the $1 million your favourite group will get.

Here are the five causes and the organizations that will benefit:

Eco-tourism – Conservation International

Emergency relief – Doctors Without Borders

Exploring and sustaining authentic places – National Geographic Society

Environmental protection – The Nature Conservancy

Aiding children around the world – Save the Children

Vote now

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Travel itineraries from the future at TravelSkoot

Mashup: a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool.

TravelPod uses GoogleMaps technology to make our website better. Your travel blog has a built-in map from the result of an internet “mashup”.

We’re not the only website doing this. TravelSkoot is a brand new website also using GoogleMaps to help you plan your next adventure. The website contains a database of user-created travel itineraries all planned out neatly on a Google map.

There is a sushi crawl in New York City, a Ferris Bueller themed “Skoot” in Illinois and a short driving tour of Los Angeles among many others.

Right now, the site is weighted heavily on the American road trip side of things, but with time, more travelers should be adding their own itineraries. I couldn’t find any to direct me around any Canadian or Mexican cities, so I’m hoping that things improve.

In the meantime, if you’re planning a dog-friendly beach tour of the U.S.A. or if you want to know where the best coffee spots are in Boston, TravelSkoot may provide all the niche-y information you’re looking for.

Have you used TravelSkoot before? Let me know what you think of it in the TravelPod travel forums.

Louise Brown

TravelPod Community Manager

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MeGlobe: instant messenger translator

I came across this website in my inbox today. It looks like it could be quite helpful for anybody attempting to secure a couch for the night in Paris, or even for somebody trying to flirt online with someone living in a far off land. It’s called MeGlobe.com and it’s a web-based instant messaging service that has some great potential.

After a speedy registration process, you can login and chat with other people who have also registered and signed in. You tell the website your mother-tongue, and it will translate everything you type into the mother-tongue of the person you are chatting with and vice-versa for your buddy. It’s faster than emailing and translating everything in Babelfish manually.

There’s also a handy translator tool that you can use to quickly translate a phrase or paragraph into another language.

I tried the website with my German friend, but the translation was a little off. He meant to say “Hey, this is cool” in German, but it came out as “Hey, that is sharpens”. But still, it got the point across.

I was in total hysterics when my French friend kept saying to me, “CHEEKS TOO WITH THE WORDS” and I was not understanding AT ALL. He meant to say “You’re playing with the words!” But hey, computer-based translation is not an exact science…yet.

I also noticed a few connection issues while I was chatting with a couple of friends. But, I only had to sign in again, and I could chat freely.

What’s coming in the future for MeGlobe? Perhaps integration with other instant message devices like MSN or Skype.

“We’re hoping Meglobe can become a valuable resource for travelers around the world to connect and communicate with each other,” says marketing manager Jose Rodriguez.

Try it out for yourself and then let us know what you think of it in the TravelPod travel forums.

See you there.

Louise Brown

TravelPod Community Manager

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Faster emails and notifications

Sending emails and notifications on TravelPod has always been a labourious event … until now! We’ve increased the speed of sending emails and entry notifications significantly. So that means no more waiting around in an internet cafe for all your notifications to go out. Also we’ve increased the number of people you’re allowed in your address book (from 500 to 5000). Now you can send more blog posts to more people even quicker! Enjoy.

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Glacier Surfing in Alaska: Shocking video

Can you imagine paddling out to near freezing ocean waters, then waiting for a chunk of glacier to fall off and then getting up on your surfboard to ride it?!

I couldn’t until I saw this video of people doing just that. It’s really dangerous, because the flying ice and debris could very easily cause severe injuries, so it’s not recommended to anyone who’s not a surfing expert.

Louise Brown

TravelPod Community Manager

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Amazing “rice field art” in Japan

Check out these beautiful rice paddy creations. Farmers plant different types of rice in the fields and produce amazing works of art.

Rice field

The blog Cool Things in Random Places featured a bunch of photos in the most recent blog post. I’m left completely speechless at the sheer beauty and at the talent needed to create such incredible pieces. It’s really a shame that they only last for a short period of time, and then plowed under until next season.

What do you think? Have you seen these? Tell me about it in the TravelPod travel forums.

See you there!

Louise Brown

TravelPod Community Manager

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