It has been a long year for us overe here at Travelindicator.
It's a strange contradiction when your job includes running a website about the most fantastic travel destinations in the world, yet on the daily you spend most of your time sitting at your desk coding away - wishing you were there.
Don't get us wrong, that is in no way a complaint as we love doing what we do and discovering all these new destinations, and what's more we love the fact that Travelindicator actually helps us make our holiday planning that much more efficient.
But just to change the tone here for a moment, let us today share with you a bit about our very own and very personal holiday plans for summer 2015.
One part of Travelindicator (that's me!) is actually a European who resides in Singapore. A funny anecdote is that in one of my first days here some years back I enthusiastically told a local friend about my plans for the upcoming summer holiday, only to find him laughing in my face.
"Summer, what do you mean? Every day is summer in tropical Singapore!" OK, lesson learned, but we can't quite shake that European habit of spreading our wings come June-August.
Making it even more difficult is the fact that on the one hand I am surrounded by fantastic South East Asian destinations, but on the other hand long for traveling in Europe. This year my wife and I decided to go for the best of both worlds and spend a short week here in the region, and another two back in Europe.
Leg 1: South East Asia - Koh Samui
The first part of our holiday (traveling with wife and kid, by the way) brings us to lovely Koh Samui. The Gulf of Thailand rather than the Andaman Sea is where it's at at this time of year if you want to avoid the rain, so that's where we shall be.
We are staying in a resort on the northern side of the island, roughly between Bophut Beach and Fisherman's Village. I will be the first one to admit that we booked our holiday relatively late, and so finding a place to stay proved difficult as most were fully booked or outlandishly expensive.
We ended up with a four star resort that offers us what we think we need: a good beach, near to places to drink and eat but not in the midst of it, and close to the airport. We can't wait.
Leg 2: Europe - Amsterdam and The Netherlands
OK, so I am one of those people that calls The Netherlands "home home". As in, my real and current home is somewhere else, but that is where my roots are.
There won't be much sightseeing in places like Amsterdam involved here I'm afraid, as rather than that we will drive all the way to the eastern province of Overijssel and stay with relatives there.
Come to think of it, we have not written a single piece about that part of the country (to come I'm sure), but rest assured that it is green and lovely. See accompanying photo.
Leg 3: Europe - Tuscany, Italy
After spending a few days in the Netherlands we head over to what is actually the main stay of our entire holiday: Tuscany! Here we will spend 2 weeks in utter peace in an AirBnb property that stands on top of a hill and is 500 meters away from its closest neighbour.
The funny thing is that this place cost us less money for nearly 2 weeks as we pay for a short week in the Koh Samui resort. From here we will explore places like Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre and Lucca.
We then end our trip by heading over to Genoa and Milan for a night or two, and from there we fly back to Singapore. Sounds like it's going to be a magnificent summer!
Enjoy yours too.
Some like their holidays active, others like things slow. There is no shame in going on holiday, kicking back and doing absolutely nothing, yet so often in reality it doesn't quite work out like that. Arrive in a new destination, and most of us will instantly want to head out and explore every nook and cranny. We just can't help ourselves.
We have come up with a few locations that will help you a hand in resolving this conondrum. These destinations feature some of the most spectacular scenery seen anywhere in the world, but there is not much to do other than gawk at it in awe, and kick back...
Too good to be true, yep, that is definitely the tag we would attach to Aitutaki, an island of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific that circles around a shallow lagoon. Besides diving into the crystal clear water, laying on the beach under a palm tree and having a bite or a drink in the bars and restaurants on Aitutaki, there is NOT much to do here at all. Just the way we like it.
The Maldives warrant an obvious inclusion in this list. 1,192 coral islands that offer absolutely NOTHING to do except for the most gorgeous shallow waters full of marine life, beaches and fantastic resorts. Go here and laze your days away.
Good old Saba. This tiny Caribbean volcanic island officially forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and pops out of sea like a mountain out of nowhere. It has 2,000 inhabitants and has a single road connecting everything. So tiny, yet such great scenery and no way to easily get off the island. Yep, you'll definitely have to relax here.
This is not the kind of Cambodia you had in mind, trust us. No temples, no Khmer era relics. Koh Rong is more like a Thai island without all the development. Fantastically beautiful, yet no resorts and nothing to see or do other than beaches and jungle. Sounds good, right?/p>
Almost everybody can name you a few "Koh" of Thailand nowadays. But not many have heard of Koh Lipe, and looking at its size that is no surprise. Put it back to a Phuket or Langkawi on the map and you can barely spot it. This car-free island has absolutely nothing to do but long stretches of beach with shallow waters in front of it, and a bit of jungle in the interior. Once you get here, you will not be able to do much else than laying back, having a swim, grabbing a drink or bite to eat. And the next day? Rinse and repeat. Love it.
I will be honest with you. This site is a perfect reflection of my own core interests. The first interest is probably our common denominator: I like to travel (my most recent trip in fact was last weekend, to Phuket in Thailand). The second interest is probably more specific to me: I like to puzzle, analyse data and present it to others in a format that can be of use to them.
Travel Indicator already offered you the ability to filter down on places based on distance, weather and features (mountains, shopping, culture, etcetera). It also allowed you to filter based on the average price of an overnight stay in a city, giving you an indication of how expensive a stay in a certain place would be. Today we have made a start with an additional piece of the puzzle: an estimation of the cost to get there by airplane. Imagine if you would have a database showing you up-to-date costs of flying to and staying in a certain place, and then allowing you to filter down on what those places have to offer travellers. That is what Travel Indicator has already become, and it is easy to see how useful and exciting this will be to many people!
Access the feature by showing some results, then filtering down on Total cost.
Now, hold your enthusiasm for a second. The flying costs are an estimate, and a crude estimate at that. We have looked at historical data for flight tickets, set them off against distance and come up with a simple formula that reflects historical price levels. This is far from an absolute truth, as there will be discounts and upswings and downswings in prices. Yet it should be obvious that generally speaking there is some relation between distance flown and tickets prices. This general relationship is what we are trying to incorporate, and on the whole it is expected to work better on long distances. In due time we will try to link up with a major flight ticket site to give you a real actual reflection of ticket prices. Stay tuned!
P.S. Meanwhile we have also silently added support for some additional currencies: EUR, GBP, AUD and CAD.