There are plenty of romantic ways to discover travel destinations (after browsing Lonely Planet guides for 28 hours over 5 bottles of red wine you may have finally decided where to go, or it could be that backpacking friend who after 5 beers finally divulges his best kept travel secret to you), but I don’t subscribe to any of them.
It’s probably my day job as a quantitative analyst in a big name financial institution that makes me like this. But I like to think that what we are dealing with here is an issue of information asymmetry in the travel industry and a less than clear presentation of data where it is made available.
There are endless travel blogs that give you new travel ideas every day, and every point of even the most minor significance in any small village anywhere in the world now has its own TripAdvisor page, just like every country on earth seemingly has a Lonely Planet guide. But how do you see the forest for the trees?
Travelindicator probably seems like your usual travel website. But while we may look somewhat generic from the outside, our real product is the data that drives the site. Over the past 1.5 years or so, we have taken a systematic approach to mapping worldwide travel destinations along no less than 23 travel themes. A travel theme can be anything from “beach and seaside”, “romantic” to “lakes and rivers”, and it is our philosophy that those themes are not a black or white phenomenon like they are on other travel websites. So we (and our users) score them on a scale of 1 to 100.
What happens next is that we couple it with geocoding of every travel destination and an average estimated hotel price, and in an instant we can tell you where:
The nearest beach destinations to you are
The nearest affordable beach destinations to you are
The nearest affordable beach destinations which also feature some mountains to you are
The nearest affordable romantic beach destinations which also feature some (but not a lot of) mountains to you are
The nearest affordable romantic beach destinations which also feature some (but not a lot of) mountains, and where you can do shopping, go out and check out some cultural hotspots to you are
Now it is no longer a matter of spending endless hours reading up on travel blogs in the hope of discovering that perfect destination. With Travelindicator it essentially just boils down to a database query. No longer are there secret destinations you won’t know about, as with us they just become a line in the database. Not romantic, but a crucial service in a fast globalising world where more and more people can and do travel.
Of course we have a bit of a romantic side to us as well. So if the above still does not satisfy your thirst for travel inspiration, you may want to check out our newly launched side project Sixtripz. On loading, it presents you with 6 quick trip ideas on 7 travel themes. Loaded randomly from nearly a 1,000 destinations in 188 countries. A bit like every other travel blog.
Last weekend was quite a momentous one for the Travelindicator crew. It was the first time that the two co-founders (Nik and Jaap) of Travelindicator actually met up in person.
Of course we have had our fair share of Skype sessions in addition to being in almost daily contact as we worked on the project, but we felt the time was right to bring our Singapore-based and Germany-based founders together for a weekend of brainstorming in sunny Singapore.
We concluded that in order to get the message of Travelindicator across better, going forward we will focus on 3 key themes: clarity, simplificationandsocial. Here's what we talked about in more detail.
Recap: what is Travelindicator?
First, we spent a few moments brainstorming about summing up Travelindicator as succinctly as we could:
Keywords: Travel. Social. Discovery. Explore.
Tag: Travelindicator: Explore further.
Story: Travelindicator is a destination discovery tool that helps you discover and explore your world
Nik and I have always felt that there is a very natural location for Travelindicator on the travel services spectrum.
You have your booking websites that you use to arrange your flights and hotels, and you have your Lonely Planets, Rick Steves and Rough Guides for getting in-depth information for destinations. What does not exist however, outside of Travelindicator, are services that let you discover new places.
Sure enough you can find plenty of "top 10" lists once you start Googling, but a service that actually really maps the travel profile (location, themes, weather, cost) of hundreds if not thousands of destinations, and lets you search through them? We have not come across any good ones, and that's why have built one.
What will we do differently?Expect more emphasis on the core idea of Travelindicator ("a destination discovery tool that helps you discover and explore your world") going forward.
As part of clarifying our product and explaining where we sit on the travel spectrum, we also realised we are going to have to get rid of some clutter. Feedback we received from users once they started browsing a destination page was often along the lines of "you should really add more information on X or review more attractions for this city", etc.
But that is not the point of Travelindicator, the point is that we just made you aware of the existence of that city! Now you can save it to your must-see, should-see or might-see list, or even create an itinerary. And then keep browsing.
What will we do differently?We will work on streamlining our interface and simplifying the website, rather than adding more and more complex features as we go along. Less is more.
One area where we will keep innovating and pushing is social. I realise that for many startups social is added as a gimmick, or as a must-have in order to build a user base and so on.
We are convinced that Travelindicator is different. We started adding basic social features this year which allow users to message each other, share and publish itineraries, recommend places to each other and so on.
We envision a future for Travelindicator where entire families or groups of friends are browsing together to discover destinations and build itineraries for their next trips.
What will we do differently?There will be increased focus on the social aspects of Travelindicator. Not as a gimmick, but because it will make planning your trip that much easier.
One of our favorite hidden features at Travelindicator is the weather overview for all your saved destinations in myTI. Once you have registered an account with us and saved some places as must-see, should-see or might-see destinations, you get to see the weather prediction over the next two weeks for all of those saved destinations in one handy overview.
When we say weather prediction, what we really mean is the interval of the maximum temperature in a given destination over the next two weeks. So if the lowest predicted maximum temperature is 18℃ and the highest is 25℃, we will tell you that you can expect the temperature to fall anywhere in between those.
After adding Santiago De Compostella to our destinations; we simply had to follow up on an extraordinary event that captures in equal measures ones amusement and bewilderment.
As mentioned in the review an absolute must see event that will leave you speechless happens at certain intervals throughout the year, one falls around the 25th of July for the feast of St James which is during the pilgrimage time of year. The Botafumeiro, or to us lay folk, 'The Giant Swinging Incense Pot' is an 80(ish)kg silver pot of smoking fumes. It is hoisted on an old rope by 8 priests who start pulling in unison.
The smoking pot swings higher and higher, faster and faster until it is penduluming the entire width of the mighty cathedral at a speed of about 65km/hr (40.38mph).
This ritual started in the middle ages and purportedly one of the reasons of doing this was to clear the air from the stench of the under-bathed pilgrims who had just hiked their from all over the continent.
On several occasions in its several hundred year history the hefty incense pot has not gone to plan. On one such occasion it speared through the stained-glass windows and travelled a good distance from the church. This happened to have occurred when a certain queen-to-be was visiting - Princess Catherine of Aragon was travelling to England to marry King Henry the 8th. She was there to bare witness to this event, some say she should have taken it as an omen for her pending marriage.
*Watch to the end to see the priest take it for a twirling dance to bring it to rest.
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!
Travelindicator was never meant to be an isolated and static website. Right from the start we planned to be a social platform for travelers to connect and discover new destinations. It just took us a little while to get there!
Allow us to introduce to you Travelindicator's new messaging, itinerary publishing and user profile system, which will make the whole Travelindicator user experience even better.
We have added user profiles (such as the one below) that display basic information about all of our users. It shows you which places they have saved, what itineraries they have created and which other Travelindicator users have liked their account.
A like may happen if you know a person (let's say if it's your brother, wife or a good friend's account) or if you feel that a user is creating some awesome itineraries and you want to keep track of their latest moves.
You will come across links to user profiles all over the place, for instance when a user leaves a review on a destination or when a user has saved or included a place in one of their itineraries.
The most fun part about user profiles is that we use all of your stored destinations to build a profile that tells you what kind of traveler you are. Whether you for instance are a family person, an adventurer, a thrill seeker and so on!
At Travelindicator you could always store itineraries, but now we have added the possibility to publish them. What this means is that you can build your personal holiday program ("Summer holiday 2015" or "Japan trip January 2016"), find destinations you want to check out and store them to the itinerary, and finally publish them.
Upon publishing they get a link (such as the one below) and you can share them with your friends, colleagues, parents, or whoever... You can add some comments to it to give them further pointers. Pretty neat, right?
Finally, we felt that a site can't truly be social without letting our users communicate with each other. Found that person who seems to like all the same places in Korea as you do? Reach out to him and see if he has any tips for you. Or just tell your friends about those shiny new destinations you just came across!
We are really excited to announce that we have just added our 700th location to Travelindicator.com. Having just added an extra destination (making it 701) we can now say:
'Travelindicator.com inspires & informs travellers on more than 700 destinations!'
We will continually include more locations to make your experience increasingly rewarding. The best part is the more destinations we add the more powerful our highly tuned search features and algorithms are in assisting you pick your next travel destination.
Here are 7 randomly chosen destinations - these were selected by hitting refresh on the home page which shows a different featured destination each time - click on any to go through to the page.
Let us know - via comment or email, any destinations you would like to see added to our database; do a quick search on our website to see if it is already on there and if not we will add it just for you as soon as we can.
Thank you for enjoying our site, we look forward to further serving you with more useful Travel indicators.
[All currently written Where to travel to posts: April / May]
Last month Travelindicator started a new series called "Where to travel to in...". With these posts we aim to provide our readers with a thorough analysis of the best travel destinations for every month of the year across the different continents. To get to our recommendations, we use all data and indicators that we have at our disposal at Travelindicator, including the weather, any special dates and holidays that we may be aware of, the relative crowdedness, budget considerations, activities and so on.
Besides giving you specific travel ideas to work with, we will also give you some generic thoughts on regions to check out and/or avoid in the fifth month of the year. Oh and if you want to store our destinations for easy reference, create itineraries and keep track of the weather and cost of a destination, you should register with us! We will slowly work our way through the year, and as we covered the month of April last time around, this month we will continue our coverage with discussing the best May travel destinations.
The best travel destinations in May
In our last instalment we told you that an old Dutch piece of farmers wisdom says that "in May birds lay their eggs". Indeed, while April is still fairly unpredictable weather-wise, May tends to be solidly on the way to "fairly nice" in northern Europe with temperatures reaching the high teens (just under 70 Fahrenheit) and generally speaking a decent amount of sunny days.
While the north of Europe may still be better visited in June (although spring is perfectly nice most of the time), for the south of Europe this may actually be the best time to visit as it will be warm, but not yet hot.
Budget-wise, our stats show a hike in prices in April and May for most of the smaller and larger cities in Europe, as these are the months that Europeans take their spring holidays. In France those will for instance fall anywhere between mid-April and early May, while the Netherlands is off in early May. In terms of crowds, May should nevertheless be a safe bet. Interestingly, a lot of the beach destinations show lower prices for May, which may make for quite an interesting mix with the solid - no let us rephrase that to remove any amibuity - great weather this time of year.
We would avoid traveling to: Mountainous areas like St. Moritz (Switzerland), Ischgl (Austria), or any skiing destination really because who likes the combination of expensive and cold? The furthest north is best avoided as well, places such as Aarhus (Denmark)
While in April, East Asia and Japan in particular were all about the Cherry blossoms, May does not have many events of significance. It does see the Korean Lantern Festival in Seoul (either late April or early May), Waisak in Yogyakarta with a similar purpose, and the Koh Samui Regatta, but none of these are events you should aim to avoid or especially come out for. Do note that May 1 is a holiday in many countries.
Weather-wise this is actually a better time to visit East Asia, as temperatures in for instance the larger cities of East China reach their mid twenties (high seventies if you think in Fahrenheit) and become warm but not yet consistently unbearably hot. Japan and Korea will be just a bit under that, but absolutely pleasant as well.
Further to the South, places like Phuket in Thailand find themselves in an in-between phase where the monsoon hasn't quite started (though rainfall is somewhat higher), but tourism has quieted down a bit from the start of the year. This may be the best time of year to head out here if you prefer it to be a bit more quiet or are looking for a good deal. The alternative is to head out to Gulf of Thailand islands like Koh Samui, which guarantee both great weather and crowds, while Bali will be busy but not crowded (and not cheap but not expensive!). If there is one place we would recommend you to avoid in its entirety, it would be India, most of which sees scorching hot temperatures this time of year.
We would travel to: East and South-East Asia. Phuket (Thailand), Bali (Indonesia), Kenting (Taiwan), Seoul (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan)
If you head to Africa at this time of year, the south is where it's at - we are specifically talking about countries like South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe or Mozambique. And let's throw in Mauritius for good order. Elsewhere in the continent, East Africa gets a lot of rain while North Africa starts heating up. In terms of crowds, you will be out of the high season in most of Africa while in terms of holidays the May 1 Labour Day is probably the only one to really keep in the back of your mind.
We would avoid traveling to: Central and North Africa, places such asN'djamena (Chad), Luanda (Angola) and Zanzibar.
In Central America and the northern parts of South America, this is the ramp up to the rainy season with more rain than in the earlier months of the year (for instance in Dominican Republic rainfall spikes in May). The Caribbean is an overall safe bet and we have had a look at hotel prices, these don't seem to fluctuate much throughout the year in most of destinations there.
This time of year, the central parts of South America see pleasant temperatures even at the higher altitudes of countries like Peru. For cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro this may be the best time to visit, as temperatures hover around the mid twenties Celsius or high seventies Fahrenheit. Meanwhile you may want to avoid the Amazon as it is at the back of its rain reason. Similarly, as you head further south, past cities like Buenos Aires and all the way down to Ushuaia, things start to get pretty chilly. Those parts are best avoided this time of year, although then again it is a slightly cheaper period.
In North America, many places in Mexico are at their peak in terms of hot weather, something which may be fine in Mexico City (which doesn't get too hot), but we would advise you to avoid cities like Guadalajara. Meanwhile, most of the US is fine to travel to, with even Anchorage reaching the mid teens (60 Fahrenheit).
We would travel to: the Caribbean, United States, Canada and central South America
We would avoid traveling to: Central America, Mexico and southern South America
Winter is nearly here in Australia and New Zealand. While in Australia, northern Queensland and cities like Cairns, Brisbane, Darwin or Perth are fine for traveling to year-round, Melbourne and Hobart are getting quite fresh, while Sydney is just about on the edge. In New Zealand places in South Island like Milford Sound reach about 12 Celsius or 54 Fahreheit. It's your call.
[All currently written Where to travel to posts: April / May]
To be honest, we pretty much tend to travel wherever we can, whenever we are able to. We might book that city trip to Shanghai or New York, that long holiday to New Zealand or that island break to Phuket or Aruba without really considering if the time of year we are heading there is really the best time to go or not.
That means we usually go on our way without giving much consideration to the weather or what a certain place will otherwise be like at a given time of year. Sometimes we get lucky and sometimes this brings us somewhere at the worst possible time of year.
This behavior is mostly born out of necessity. Having a busy 9 to 5 job during the week (OK - let's just be honest here and tell you it's really a 7 to 7 job - not talking about maintaining Travelindicator!) and not having a large amount of holidays nor the freedom to easily take them up, means that it is difficult to really plan our trips very much in advance.
But maybe we should change our approach and get a better idea of where to fly off to when we book the next trip. For that reason we are starting a new series of blog posts titled "Where to travel to in..." where we will recommend what places are best to travel to in each month of the year. We start the series with the first episode, where to travel in April*. Note that if you want to browse through our destinations, create itineraries and keep track of certain destinations (e.g. to know when they are most affordable), you can do so by registering here.
* The time of writing is March and that month is nearest to us. Going forward we will of course cover the entire year!
The best travel destinations in April
I guess there are a few things to consider when planning whether to go somewhere during in April. We have systematically worked through a few hundred travel destinations, mostly considering the weather and relative crowdedness (and therefore affordability) of certain destinations. Let's just say that we wouldn't want to check out the beaches of the Costa del Sol in early August. Luckily, April tends to be off-season for most places anyway.
This is the time of year that spring typically really starts to make it presence felt on the continent. In the Netherlands a piece of old farmer's wisdom goes "March wags its tail, April does what it wants and in May birds lay their eggs". Take that for what it's worth.
The average high to low temperature ranges are 8°C to 18°C in Rome (that's 46°F to 64°F), 5°C to 14°C in Amsterdam (that's 40°F to 56°F) and 12°C to 20°C in Athens (that's 53°F to 68°F). So while the north of Europe is still quite fresh, this may in fact be the best time to head somewhere further to the south - you will have decent weather and definitely beat the crowds!
Our suggestions are:Kos (Greece), Crete (Greece), Lisbon (Portugal) or Barcelona. At this time of year we'd still steer clear from cities further to the north. Avoid traveling to: the North of Europe unless you plan on spending most of your time indoors.
Asia in April. For us that means checking out the sakura (Cherry blossoms) in Japan, though as a general rule you will need to head a bit further north to still get to see them. Japan National Tourism Organisation has an overview of all the viewing spots and their corresponding dates. Looking at the rest of the continent, we think you can pretty much skip India, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, er... entire South-east Asia, as temperatures can go as high as 38°C or 100°F in some places. Yep, the North of Asia is where it's at this time of year.
Our suggestions are:Sendai (Japan, for the Cherry Blossoms), Jeju (South Korea), Seoul (South Korea), Hainan (China) or Chongqing (China). As there are no public holidays of significance in these countries in that period (ignoring Qingming Jie in China), traveling to any of them should be a safe bet. Avoid traveling to: South(-east) Asia.
Africa and the Middle East
This may be one of the best times of year to visit Northern Africa. In fact, we are going to tell you that most of the Maghreb (roughly north-western Africa) is pretty excellent for a visit at this time of year. Think about the temperatures in the southern extremes of Europe that we just mentioned, and just add a few degrees to it. South Africa is cooling down but still quite pleasant.
In April, places in the northern parts of the continent are still too cool to truly enjoy (and in the big cities its always high season anyway, making them not really relevant to our list). Head a bit further south however, and you find the places where we think it's at this time of year. In the United States that means some of the more spectacular national parks and southern cities - it's not quite high tourist season but the weather is perfectly agreeable.
The climate in South America is quite different still, but April is not a bad time to travel there either. In places like Brazil, the temperatures have declined from their highs in January/February, but are still totally doable (when are they ever not, anyway?). Of course, for a visit to the Caribbean this is as good a time as any to go, given their pretty stable climate.
Not surprisingly, this is as good a time of year as any to visit some South Pacific islands. It is also a good time to visit South Australia or New South Wales and Victoria, with temperatures in Sydney and Melbourne hovering around the low twenties (high seventies in Fahrenheit). In New Zealand, some of the more mountainous and South Island destinations are probably best avoided, but it's not a bad time to head north.
There is a lot of good stuff to be said about travel. You get to see the world, get to experience new things, meet new people and broaden your horizons. And maybe best of all, if you are like us and working a regular 9 to 5, you get to be away from the constant stress and pressure of your day job.
Yet the unfortunate and somewhat harsh truth is that travel is expensive, which creates an automatic link between how much you earn and how much you get to travel. Of course there are many travel hacks and these can ease the burden a bit, but no one is going to hand you a budget trip to the Maldives... but not to worry, Travelindicator is in our opinion the most useful tool out there right now to find budget alternatives to luxury travel destinations.
Premium travel destinations and their budget alternatives
So that all sounds great, but how do we do that in practice? Not too difficult. Let's say you were to head over to our price rankings of travel destinations and have a look at some of the more expensive ones for each continent. Depending on when you head over to that page and take a look yourself you are going to find different names there, but at the moment we for instance see that Zürich in Switzerland and Yokohama in Japan are pricing themselves out of the market.
So what's next? Well, we head over to the pages of both of those cities and scroll down the page to head to locations similar to Zurich and similar to Yokohama. This gives you an overview of the 25 places most similar to each city according to the Travelindicator.com algorithm. But more interesting perhaps is that under each suggested similar destination, you see an icon. Depending on whether it shows a plus or a minus, that tells you whether at the moment a certain place is cheaper or more expensive.
Note that alternatively, you could zoom in on places nearby a certain destination (for instance here for the Maldives) and you could filter away destinations much further from it. This then gives you a view of destinations close by that may be cheaper or more expensive - here too we show you the icon.
OK, so realistically Kyoto is pretty cool and unbeatable. Temples, shrines, tea houses, parks, it is all in all a pretty fantastic place and probably our favorite city to be in in Japan. But a popular place is never a cheap place. That's why we are going to suggest you a bunch of similar and often cheaper places. First of all there is the equally stunning Nara (Japan) which goes at a 20% discount. Elsewhere in the region there are Ubud (Indonesia) which can be expensive but on average should be about 70% cheaper. The same goes for Chiang Mai (Thailand) and to throw you a bit of a curve ball our algorithm suggests heading over to Europe instead and checking out the lovely Guimaraes (Portugal)
Have you ever just wanted to take your pillow into the city and start a giant pillow fight with a bunch of strangers?
Neither have we, but apparently enough of us do because International Pillow Fight Day exists. The event boasts quite an impressive list of locations so there may be one near you; and if not, you can just start one.
Amsterdam is putting on it’s 6th annual pillow fight at Dam Square in the city centre. If you are in search of a unique, apparently fun, though quite ridiculous experience - then look no further.
This movement whilst on the surface is pretty strange carries a message behind it about freedom, enabling the citizenry to use their public spaces for what they wish, without consequence or permission; with the caveat that it does no harm.
We are still pondering how exactly this became a "thing" but there you have it - it exists and we are beholden to tell you about it.
Here at Travelindicator we tend to be quite open about the fact that we do not actually intend or manage to go in-depth for every single travel destination that we cover. Our purpose in life is to give our readers the basics for lots of destinations in order to help inspire your travels, but we subsequently gladly leave it up to some of the other fantastic travel websites to give you more detailed information on them. Below you will find some of the travel resources we tend to use and have come across in the past, as well as some travel websites that we are partial to.
If you have a travel blog or website and would like to be included in the below list, just drop us a note at email@example.com and we will see if we can fit your link in anywhere. That is on the condition of course, that we think your website is useful ;)
Nomadic Matt: We admire his style. To the point, but giving you almost all that you need to know to get started.
Adventurous Kate: She gets to travel far more than we do, you can label us jealous. But really though, a great resource to get inspired.
Irene's Travel Blog: Irene's picture heavy travel blog is great, she looks like a person who knows how to have a good time!
A Luxury Travel Blog: Their slogan is "for those who enjoy the finer things in life" and well, we do enjoy the finer things in life...
The Shooting Star: We have a soft spot for those giving up their normal lives to go traveling around the globe
Backpacking Matt: Aims to offer budget conscious travelers and backpackers destinations specific advice, stories of adventure and exploration, travel reviews
Secret Traveller: Sina writes mostly about travelling in Europe and mixes it up with useful guides and travel tips
Wikitravel: Often our first go-to resource when getting up close with a new travel destination. Quality per location varies, but for the more popular ones you get solid information about how to get in, how to get around, what to see, where to eat, sleep and drink, etc. Highly recommended.
Lonely Planet: Let's face it, these guys are hard to beat. If you find us traveling anywhere, there is a good chance we will be carrying their guide books in our bag. Their online information is not always very thorough, but always inspired.
Travel guides (country specific)
Travel China Guide: It took us a bit of time to realise, as they are essentially a travel agency, but their information on major Chinese cities and attractions is hard to beat.
General travel websites and coverage
Yahoo Travel: Visually appealing and a good place to get inspired.
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.