Personalized travel map

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Checking out my google reader I find an interesting present for whoever wants a world map.

Yes, it’s the world map poster and you can scratch every country you’ve been. It’s a quite classy wall map, but then you scratch off the places you’ve been travelling and it reveals some lovely colourful and geographic detail. You only need to rub it with the edge of a coing, scratch-card, keys….and get the amazing dettail underneath.

Check it in a video😉

Pros of staying at Hostels (and promotions)

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Saving in accomodation when you travel? Sure! Although when I travel I prefer staying with my fellow couchsurfers, sometimes having a good time at hostels is a nice adventure to discover by yourself and other travelers the best places of the city you are visiting!

I read in a blog that if you want to travel in May to Athens, Barcelona, Krakov, Dublin, Edimburgh, Lisbon, London,  Los Angeles, Melbourne or Rome  and you book your hostel at Hostelbookers, beds are 20 cents (not all of them, check the conditions)!! (don’t book them at HostelWorld if you want this deal).

Other promotions can be found on the chains like Hostelling International, where you can get free nights if you are travelling and staying at their places.

But…why a hostel? here are my reasons to stay in a hostel better than a hotel:

Pros of statying at hostels:

  1. Hostels usually are budget-oriented (check it before you go there because sometimes you can find cheap rooms for 2 in hotels, but rates are lower than hotels).
  2. Hostels also have private rooms like the hotels and private bathrooms too (usually you sleep in dorms with shared bathroom: girls separate from boys).
  3. Hostels have computers with internet connection or free WIFI for its travelers (I’ve never seen a hotel with free internet yet, they usually charge you😦 )
  4. Hostels usually have more common areas and opportunities to socialize. The dormitory aspect of hostels also increases the social factor of meeting new people.
  5. Hostels have different activities every day: contests, parties, and other programs to share books, DVDs and other items. Sometimes they have agreements with gyms or other activities in the city  for free or cheaply.
  6. Hostels do not usually have the same level of formality as hotels, you can find young people at the office desk with piercings, tatoos or just part time workers that are at university and it’s always good vibes.
  7. Almost all the hostels provide you with breakfast, although it’s a self-catering action: they provide you the food and you organize your breakfast. For lunch and dinner, you cook the food you buy using the recipy your mom teach😉. Usually hostels have one kitchen or more.
  8. Some hostels offers you the opportunity to stay there for a while, you can deal a better price for your staying, and some of them offer you the option to work over there if you want, like the one in Flagstaff, AZ.

Cons of staying at hostels:

  1. It depens on your life style, maybe the reasons above are not for you, but if everyone is clean and we use hostels facilities and we leave them as we find them , I just think there’s no reason on having cons and enjoy some nights at the hostel😉

And you guys, do you think there’s more cons? more pros? help me to settle the list up!!! Safe travels!

Keep Austin Weird!

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For me, Austin is one of the best cities in the United States, my last time in the city, I said to myself I would come back. Yes, Austin is  a mix between cowboys and country, but the city and its citiziens have an aternative and liberal behaviour! Austin has something special, has a perfect mix and I recomend y’all visiting it !!

Austin is the capital of Texas, one of the southern states from the United States of America and also one of the biggest ones (after Alaska), also called the Lone Star State

Families, kids, professors, students, immigrants, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, a large gay community and hippies are living in this city and all of them are sharing the mentality of the slogan “Keep Austin Weird“, this slogan refers to the eclectic and liberal lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses to keep them safe against the big corporations.

My favourite place is the SoCo,  an amazing district stretching down South Congress Avenue from Downtown. This area is the home to coffee shops, eccentric and old stores, restaurants and festivals.  First Thrusdays (every month) are the best days to go and enjoy life music on the streets.

Austin City Limits is also an amazing opportunity to enjoy the music in one of the biggest music festivals in the US, ACL Festival brings together more than 130 acts from all over the world to play rock, indie, country, folk, electronic and more on eight different stages. Thousands of people attend the festival each day.

There are so many things to visit and do in Austin, dartying near or 4th street, visiting the capitol, walking along the river… so many things to do and now SXSW festival is held over there (South By Southwest Music & Media Conference) (another recomendation you guys should attend if you can). As Lonely Planet is on everything, they offer Austin city guide for free as they did during the mobile web congress in Barcelona or the free city guide promotion,

So, don’t forget to download here the city guide to enjoy one of the best cities of the USA😉 you will enjoy tips from Lonely Planet authors, offline maps, and everything you need to navigate Austin and find your way to a good time (for example a nice big breakfast after you had a bit too much of a good time the night before).

Enjoy it and hurry up! it’s available until March 15th!!!

Deals in Barcelona during the GSMA Mobile Congress

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The way to discover a city can vary depending on how many days you are visiting, what is the purpose of the trip…whatever it is, taking the most advantage of the trip with previous information, but..what happen when the city you are visitng offers  really good deals!!

Hurry up because  Barcelona has deals for you!! ans some of them are finishing soon.

So, if you are in Barcelona during this week for the GSMA Mobile World Congress or just visiting the city, don’t forget to download the free Barcelona Lonely planet application. Lonely planet tweeted it today and it will be available until midnight Thrusday the 17th. During that days, you can also have free wifi acces to Skype Acces-enabled Wifi hotsports in cafés, hotels and airports across Spain.

But Barcelona doesn’t offer only this city guide for free, with your mobile device you can get some discounts with Facebook places. You only have to log in on Facebook places, and check in at:

  • Starbucks and you will get a Free TALL hot beverage (until the end of the month)
  • El corte Inglés 50% off onall their products. (Also until the end of the month)
  • H&M: 20% off on whatever you buy until today
  • Futbol Club Barcelona store: You get a 2X1 when you buy a ticket for a soccer game. (Also until the end of the month)
  • Sol Melià hotels: 50% off in the restaurants, breakfast buffet and Spa of this hotel chaine
  • BBVA: if you check in any ATM or office, they give Red Cross 2€
  • United Colours of Benetton: if you checkin in a store,they give Architecture for Humanity 2€

Good luck!!!

City guides with your smartphone for free

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Before going to travel to a city, you have different options to get the information for a better exploration of the new place you are. That options are infinitive, depending on your relationship with locals (a lot of people have a lot of contacts everywhere in the world, or use sites like couchsurfing or hospitality club), or forums online, libraries,  bookstores for a Lonely Planet (my favourite guide) …so many places to get that information for really cheap and just  to take the best for their days in the new city.

But today, there’s another option also for free for having the information on your mobile device!

If you have a smartphone and want to travel to the major cities in the United States and Canada, this is the perfect time to download for free the 13 Lonely Planet city guides! The apps are available for free until tomorrow, February 4th (they are usually 5,99 USD) and they include: Hundreds of places to explore and points of interest of real interest, the maps work offline and all the information is in detail of the following cities:

Also available the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

Yes, as you can see, they are only available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod, and I’m an android user😦 !!

Tip: they are almost 20MG, so download from the Itunes or with a Wifi connection, the 3G connection can take forever!

Low cost airlines in Europe

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I’ve just arrived from a course about community management in Barcelona and the teacher said something really interesting: there are a lot of people who hate looking for flights and some people who LOVE looking for the best deals, best time to leave, compare airlines…this is me😉 but i’m not doing this because I’m all the time flying, huh? I wish!

I do this because I like to see how the prices increase, what is the best airline to fly to.. etc with that information I know WHEN to book or when I’m getting a super deal .

I usually check the prices throught the flights search engines, but not all the flight search engines get everything. Sometimes, low cost airlines are missing.

So, if you have decided where do you want to go, I suggest you to compare prices throught the the lowcost airlines websites; and after that, go to the search engines. If you find something cheaper in the search engines with a standard airlines, go ahead. If not, think about the options. Sometimes flying with a low cost carriercan be more expensive, but if you think wisely and you don’t care about all these things below, don’t think it twice!

  • Changing tickets (day/time/name); you can do it, but it can be really impossible and sometimes more expensive.
  • Flying super early in the morning or super late at nights (of course, think about that the best prices are not on Fridays neither on Sundays)
  • Flying to secondary airports further away from the main place you wanted to go.
  • Forget the business class or first class and confortable seats, and of course, no reserved seats.
  • All the routes are short-routes, that means that if you want to fly further, you will have to get out of the passengers area, get your luggage and check in again to the new destination.

So I’m going to share some of the major low cost airlines in Europe within this map I found in the attitude travel blog, with a link to all the low cost carriers in Europe! before flying; check all the options and good luck!!

New Year’s resolutions: top 10 countries for 2011

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Yes, it’s been a while since my last post, but after realizing how important is to share my little tips, my reads, my travels with not just my friends, with everyone here is my New Year resolution:

1. Post more often

2. Travel more

3. Keep you updated about my movements this year.http://

So before start thinking about what i’m going to blog, I share with you the TOP 10 countries for 2011 from the Lonely Planet blog, with a ranking based on scores for topicality, excitement, value for money and the “special factor” that makes a country different.

1. Albania
2. Brazil
3. Cape Verde
4. Panama
5. Bulgaria
6. Vanuatu
7. Italy
8. Tanzania
9. Siria
10. Japan
From this list, I’m thinking about Japan, Cape Verde and Tanzania (yeah, i want to visit Africa), but I think Lonely Planet is missing something important:  Peru.

The reason is because it’s been 1 centurysince Machu Picchu was discovered. The Peruvian goverment will organize a big party with Paul McCartney, Sting and Bono to commemorate these 100 years, although I don’t like that a festival will be holded in the natural amphitheater of Machu Picchu I think it will be something good for the country and i’m sure they will take care of the enviroment of this World Heritage.
Another country to my list😉

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