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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 is your 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

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Writing the blog in Jarnem camp

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
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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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Editor’s Choice – Great Museums for Your US Trip – Part 2

If you missed part 1 in our series about museums to visit on your USA summer trip, we’ve been going state-by-state to find some shining examples of can’t-miss museums to add to your vacation plans no matter where in the United States you’re headed. In part two of the series, we’re covering the remaining states from Montana to Wyoming and highlighting some of the best sites to see on your summer holiday. We’ve whittled it down to just one favorite per state, but rest assured that there is a wealth of things to do regardless of where you’re going. If you try out our recommendations or find your own travel gems, don’t forget to share your memories on your TravelPod blog! Part 2: Montana – Wyoming

  1. Montana – Montana Museum of Art and Culture (Missoula)
  2. Nebraska – Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha) Blogger ModernNomad67 wrote “The Joslyn is well worth a stop on a cross country drive on I-80 or to be included in a Midwest travel itinerary.”
  3. Nevada – The Neon Museum (Las Vegas)
  4. New Hampshire – Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (Dover)
  5. New Jersey – The Old Barracks Museum (Trenton)
  6. New Mexico – New Mexico Museum of Art (Santa Fe) Recommended for fans of the art style by johnrandall. “I got a great introduction into the Southwest school of art.  I’ve always liked this style and I saw some of the greats on display.”
  7. New York – Museum of the City of New York (New York City)
  8. North Carolina – North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh)
  9. North Dakota – Fargo Air Museum (Fargo)
  10. Ohio – Taft Museum of Art (Cincinnati)
  11. Oklahoma – Science Museum Oklahoma (Oklahoma City) TravelPod user pndcadena loved the variety at the Science Museum, noting “There is literally everything under the sun for science-minded individuals. Interactive exhibits and unique displays make the museum a truly amazing educational experience”
  12. Oregon – Oregon Historical Society (Portland)
  13. Pennsylvania – The Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia) “The new building that housed the Barnes collections was beautiful!”, wrote roadscholarorg. “We had a lot of time there, but I confess I probably could have stayed another hour or two.”
  14. Rhode Island – Rhode Island School of Design Museum (Providence)
  15. South Carolina – Columbia Museum of Art (Columbia)
  16. South Dakota – South Dakota Art Museum (Brookings)
  17. Tennessee – National Civil Rights Museum (Memphis) TravelPod blogger tonestar described the museum as “by far one of the best museums I have ever been to in my life… The attention to detail was phenomenal and you had chills when you saw the Martin Luther stuff. I will never forget it as long as I live.”
  18. Texas – Perot Museum of Nature and Science (Dallas) alaskalucas97 loved what the Perot museum had to offer. “This museum was too cool – everything from the solar system, to dinosaurs, to weather, robots, oil, animals…this museum had it all. It is absolutely NOT what I remember museums to be when I was a kid, No Way. It was totally cool, totally modern. Outstanding!!!!!”
  19. Utah – Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (Salt Lake City)
  20. Vermont – Billings Farm & Museum (Woodstock)
    Blogger dseals included this operating dairy farm and museum in their visit to Woodstock and called it a “must see if visiting the area.”
  21. Virginia – Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond)
  22. Washington – Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (Seattle)
  23. West Virginia – Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of Western Virginia (Charleston)
  24. Wisconsin – The National Mustard Museum (Middleton)
  25. Wyoming – National Museum of Wildlife Art (Jackson) orlandoanne made sure to include the museum on her trip across the United States.

Looking for must-see museums from Alabama to Missouri? Check out Part 1 of our Editor’s Picks series.

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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!

Hot places

Osama vs Travel – The post 9/11 effect on travel

The 9/11 attacks have had a long lasting effect, particularly on travel. Here is a look how travel has changed in the past 10 years.

Osama vs Travel Infographic

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Airline news

TripWow and TravelPod get a mention on TV!

Wow! Did we ever get a great Christmas’s present this year!

The tried and trusted TravelPod was highlighted on a TV talk show, Steven and Chris. We’re thrilled that TravelPod can still turn people’s heads after 10 years.

But the main focus of the piece was on our new slideshow creation tool, TripAdvisor TripWow!

In the introduction, Chris mentions that he usually sits everyone down at home and bores them with his vacation pictures, to which the presenter answers:

“Well, you’re not going to bore anyone with this!”

Great stuff!! Glad you guys like it!

Watch the clip here!! The relevant bit starts at 35:30.

If you’re not in Canada, use this page to view the video.

Once you’re done watching be sure to head over to tripwow.tripadvisor.com to see what all the fuss is about.

Happy New Years!

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The TripWow travel slideshow experience

Remember the days when your Great Aunt Agatha back from her trip, invited everyone over and gathered around the slide projector to show off your photos?

Snore. Boring right?

Your dad could never get the screen set up properly, a lot of times the slides would be out of order and the projector jammed in the middle of it.

Luckily, with digital cameras and the miracle of the internet, we don’t have to deal with that anymore.

Introducing: The TripWow slideshow experience.

Preview Lucky's TripWow experience

Anyone with a Flickr, Facebook, Picasa or TravelPod account can create one.

(TravelPod members can click the top corner of any of their blog entries to create one)

Import your photos from any of these accounts, add some music to match and magically, you’ve created very own, cinematic slideshow experience.

This is not your grandma’s slideshow

TravelPod Buzz TravelPod Features

The best hotels in the world chosen by real travelers

Find out what millions of real travelers call the best hotels in the world!

Now in its 8th year, the Travelers’ Choice awards from TripAdvisor are the only hotel honors awarded by the world’s largest travel community, based on the trusted opinions of millions of real travelers.

This year’s award categories include Best Bargains, Best for Families, Best B&Bs and Inns, Best for Romance, Best Luxury, Best Service, and Best All-Inclusive. Plus, TripAdvisor has added two new categories for 2010: Trendiest and Best Relaxation & Spa.

Another new feature in 2010: Europeans’ Favorites, where TripAdvisor’s European members share their local insights on the best accommodations in Europe.

You can also browse travelers’ top 25 hotels by region: United States, Europe, India, China, and Japan.

See all the winners at TripAdvisor.com/TravelersChoice. Just one look and you’ll be packing your bags for a new adventure.

Get the list

Travel news

Ewww! Announcing TripAdvisor’s Dirtiest Hotels for 2010

Look out! TripAdvisor’s Dirtiest Hotels “awards” are back for 2010, and as disgusting as ever.

True to TripAdvisor’s promise to deliver the whole truth about travel – the good, the bad, and the ugly – TripAdvisor has identified the world’s most disturbingly dirty hotels, based on real reviews and photos by TripAdvisor travelers.

The “hall of shame” includes the ten filthiest hotels in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. From crusty carpets to broken fixtures, filthy bedding, unidentifiable stains, and bugs of every kind, what our members saw and smelled will shock you.

Check out the complete list, but be sure you’ve finished eating first. These hotels are not for the squeamish!

Get the dirt

Travel news

Connect TravelPod to multiple Facebook accounts

Are you traveling as a group?

Are you traveling as a couple or a family?

You can now log into TravelPod using many different Facebook accounts.

This allows several people to update a single blog.

As an added bonus, when you send an entry notification, it will be sent to the Facebook friends of all the accounts associated with the blog.

Just click the blue “Sign in with Facebook” button and connect your Facebook account to your TravelPod account by following the prompts.

It’s that easy.

TravelPod Features

Costa Rica Local Expert: Lisa Valencia

Lisa Valencia packed up everything and moved to Costa Rica in 2007.

Since then she has been creating art and living life to the fullest in her favourite place in the world.

She’s one of TravelPod’s most recent additions to the Local Expert team.

I asked her a few questions about her new life and on being a TP Local Expert and here’s what she said:

Lisa Valencia drenched after a rainstorm in Costa Rica

Why did you become a Local Expert?

I love my life in Costa Rica and want to inspire others to follow their dreams, too.

What are the best and worst things about living in Costa Rica?

The best thing is that I can live cheaply, in a beautiful place, and enjoy a leisurely lifestyle. My life is so much simpler here than when I lived in the States. I have time to walk on the beach and have idle conversation with whoever I meet, time to exercise, time to write, time to just be.

The worst thing about living in Costa Rica has not to do with the country but with me. The worst thing about living here is that I am not fluent in Spanish. Life would be so much richer if I was. But I keep learning, every day. I can’t think of anything that bad about living here – Oh! Yes I can – the bathrooms. Public bathrooms are not kept nearly as clean in this country as in the United States.

What are the top five things for travelers to do in Costa Rica from your personal experiences?

1. Go to the Caribbean, play on the beach, get to know the people and do the following:
2. Take a guided jungle hike.
3. Ride a horse in the mountains.
4. Go to a Salsa Club and watch the amazing dancers.
5. Go to the waterfalls.

What are some of your best and worst travel experiences?

There are so many…… and they’re all in my book!
The worst was the night I spent in a cheap hotel – no – it was the time all my clothes were stolen.
The best is every new day!

What is your proudest accomplishment?

In life – the two great kids I raised.
In travel – creating exactly the life I want to live in a tropical paradise, all on my own.

What do you do with most of your time?

It really varies. I write. I sometimes travel to other parts of Costa Rica. I do art work, spend time with my daughter and my friends, ride my bike and on and on……

What’s a typical day like for you?

I get up, do my yoga, eat breakfast and work online answering emails and writing. Then I’ll go out to do errands – buy some groceries, talk to people I meet on the street. Or maybe I’ll go to the beach for a few hours. Sometimes I walk the beach, sometimes I lay in the sun and read a book. At the end of the day, just as the sun is beginning to set, I like to get some more exercise by running on the beach. In the evening I usually eat at home, but sometimes go out to one of the great restaurants here in Puerto Viejo. Then I’ll stop in to one of the four or five places that have live music. Life is good!

What’s your favourite part of the TravelPod forum?

My favorite part is making connections with new people who love traveling and are interested in Costa Rica. I like to share my adventures and learn about theirs.

Featured blogs

Sort your entries to suit your needs

The List of Entries is the most used page by our bloggers. Since we launched the redesign last June, the list has been optimized for members that are already on their trip that add new entries as they go. We decided to order the list with your newest entries right at the top, so that you can quickly look over your last 10 entries and complete any drafts you needed to finish off.

However, this week it dawned on us that this ordering doesn’t make sense for someone who has just entered in a big itinerary for an upcoming trip. Clearly, you’re going to want your first entry (relatively the oldest) at the top when you start out on your trip.

Today we’re pleased to announce another small but helpful enhancement to the site: Sort your List of Entries by newest or oldest first!

It works exactly as you’d expect and we save your preference automatically.

TIP: You may like the “Oldest first” option when you first start your trip, but once you’ve crossed the half-way point, you’ll find that “Newest first” will be handy.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

TravelPod Features Uncategorized

TravelPod blogger rebuilding Haiti featured on NBC Nightly News

Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, I have been perusing recent blogs from the area.

The volunteer organization Hands On Disaster Response is a popular one for our bloggers.

John Hancock volunteered in October, 2008 with the organization and found himself on NBC Nightly News:

More recently, cmj helped rebuild the country with Hands on Disaster Response as well.

Follow along as he helps the Haitian people literally dig themselves out of the muck that fills their homes every hurricane season.

A couple of cmj's new friends working hard in Haiti

It’s brutal work but someone’s gotta do it.

Hats off to our members in Haiti and other areas of the world making a big difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Also, keep an eye out for Marco, who is frightened, but alive after the disaster.

TravelPod in the news

Connecting Facebook and TravelPod

We’re very excited to announce a new feature that allows you to sign in to TravelPod using your Facebook account.

The biggest benefit for you, is that you no longer need to remember a separate username and password for TravelPod. Simply “connect” your TravelPod account to your Facebook account and from then on when you’re logged into Facebook, you’ll be able to access your TravelPod blog as well.

To get started, just click “Connect with Facebook” link in the header.

This is only the first step in an ongoing effort to make it easier for you to share your travel experiences with your friends and family.

Look for more great Facebook features on TravelPod in 2010!

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