Today marks the 20th anniversary of what’s believed to be the first travel blog post. So happy birthday to us, and maybe you too!
In honor of the occasion,
travel bloggers worldwide are raising a glass (ok, they were probably doing that anyway), Jeff Greenwald, the author of that first travel blog post, uploaded from the tourism bureau in Oaxaca, Mexico, reflected back on the experience for “Wired.”
A recently-released program called Mosaic was revolutionizing what might be possible on the World Wide Web. “What we hope you’ll do,” the editor [at O’Reilly Media] said, “is write columns for us – from the road. We’ll publish them live, on the GNN [Global Network Navigator, O’Reilly’s website], where people can read them as you travel.” The Travelers’ Center, he told me, would include a feature that sounded miraculous: A map would be displayed on their website, with dots showing the locations from where I’d sent back posts. People would simply click on those dots – and see the story I’d written from that location!
As Greenwald points out, today is also the 20th anniversary of Nancy Kerrigan’s knee getting bashed in at the U.S Figure Skating Championships by members of the unofficial Tanya Harding Fan Club. Draw what connections you will between the two anniversaries.
Las Vegas, Nashville and Orlando were the top three searched for cities on MapQuest in 2013. The results are a compilation of destinations searched for on both MapQuest’s website and its recently updated-and critically acclaimed-iPhone and Android apps. [Full disclosure: AOL owns both MapQuest and Gadling.]
Texas was the only state with two cities in MapQuest’s top 10 list: Houston was eighth and Dallas was ninth. Feel free to criticize these travelers for not going to Austin instead in the comments.
Here are MapQuest’s top 10 most-searched for destinations of 2013:
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Orlando, Florida
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Chicago, Illinois
- Denver, Colorado
- Houston, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
- St. Louis, Missouri
The litany of year-end travel-related lists continues. Today, it’s TripAdvisor, which unveiled its most reviewed cities. Leading the way: London, Rome and Paris, according to the Telegraph. The top U.S city was New York, which ranked fourth overall — a stunning blow for American exceptionalism.London venues received 459,000 reviews, 96,000 more than Rome.
According to the Telegraph, “TripAdvisor features more than 260 million monthly visitors and its community has contributed more than 125 million reviews and opinions to the site, up from 75 million reviews and opinions a year ago.”
Two weeks ago, the Transportation Security Administration announced that it would began allowing travelers to apply for its PreCheck program, “an expedited screening process” through airport security.
Curiously though, the only airport in the country where travelers could complete the program’s required background interview was Indianapolis International Airport. That changed today when TSA opened three enrollment centers in the Washington, DC area. Interestingly, none of them are at DC-area airports. Nor are any of them in DC itself.Instead, according to the Washington Post, the centers are located at
- 3139 Duke St., Alexandria, Virginia
- 2200 Broening Highway, Suite 110, Dundalk, Maryland
- 10665 Stanhaen Place, Suite 300A, La Plata, Maryland
To enroll, applicants need to complete an online form, then visit one of the TSA centers. PreCheck requires a background check, fingerprints, $85 for a five-year enrollment and documentation of your identity.
Photo-sharing app Instagram and Facebook, a website your parents visit, released lists of their users most checked-in locations for 2013 earlier this week.
Congratulations to Disneyland for being the top U.S. spot for Facebook check-ins and the third most photographed location on Instagram. And props to all of Canada: its most checked-in location was a hockey arena.
Here are both lists.The Most-Instagrammed Locations of 2013
- Siam Paragon (สยามพารากอน) shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand
- Times Square, New York
- Disneyland, California
- Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas
- Disney World Florida
- Staples Center, Los Angeles
- Central Park, New York
- Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
- Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ, Bangkok, Thailand
- The High Line, New York
Top Facebook Check-Ins Around The World (excluding transportation hubs)
- Argentina: Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires
- Australia: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), East Melbourne, Victoria
- Brazil: Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo
- Canada: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Egypt: Sharm el-Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
- France: Disneyland Paris, Marne La Vallée
- Germany: Reeperbahn, Hamburg
- Hong Kong: 香港迪士尼樂園 | Hong Kong Disneyland
- Iceland: Blue Lagoon, Reykjavík, Iceland
- India: Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple)
- Italy: Piazza San Marco, Venice
- Japan: 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland), Tokyo
- Mexico: Auditorio Nacional, Mexico City
- Nigeria: Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
- Poland: Temat Rzeka, Warsaw
- Russia: Центральный парк культуры и отдыха им. Горького | Gorky Park of Culture and Leisure
- Singapore: Marina Bay Sands
- South Africa: Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
- South Korea: Myungdong Street, Seoul
- Spain: Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Catalonia
- Sweden: Friends Arena, Solna
- Taiwan: 花園夜市Tainan Flower Night Market, Tainan City
- Turkey: Taksim Square, Istanbul
- United Kingdom: The 02, London
- United States: Disneyland, Anaheim, California
Vineyards and ziplines have long been used to attract tourist dollars for destinations that, well, could use a little help:
- Regardless of the area’s suitability for growing grapes, plop down a vineyard or winery and travelers will come for a taste and buy a sympathy bottle (pro tip: go for the ice wine as it’s harder to mess up)
- Ski resorts looking to attract off-season dollars or stale attractions looking to draw media coverage and visitors hook up a zipline
So really, the 1,800-foot Pinot Express zipline at Margarita Adventures, which debuted recently at the Santa Margarita Ranch in the Paso Robles wine country on California’s Central Coast, is the travel industry’s destiny.The zipline begins atop a mountainside forest, 125 feet above the ground, then sends swoops low over pinot noir vines. It’s the highest, longest and fastest of Margarita Adventures’s four ziplines. A zipline tour costs $99
“Tours conclude with an optional tasting at the affiliated Ancient Peaks Winery, which specializes in artisan wines grown on the ranch’s estate Margarita Vineyard. Tour guests receive 20 percent off wine purchases, and the tasting fee is waived with a purchase of one bottle or more,” according to the press release.
“You can taste wines from vines that you just zipped over,” said proprietor Karl Wittstrom said. “It’s a fitting reward for your adventure.”
Top reasons to visit San Diego right now:
To help check off the last item, Hotel Solamar, a boutique Kimpton hotel in the city’s Gaslamp Quarter, is offering the Fall on Your Ice Skating package:
The promotion is $139 and runs until Jan. 5, 2014 when the rink closes for the season.
Yes, Horton Plaza also offers lessons.
Jasper180969 via Flickr
Last night’s live production of The Sound of Music on NBC got more flak than Maria did for being an unsolvable problem nun. The acting was bad, the costumes St. Pauli-esque and the mountains… gasp! They were fake!
But there was one winner in last night’s performance: the city of Salzburg, Austria. Home of the Von Trapps, setting of the original movie and now site of thousands of Edelweiss-blasting tour buses and gazebo-worshipping 16-going-on-17-year-olds, Salzburg enjoyed a flurry of love last night.Some viewers reminisced about past visits to the Austrian city (and the nearby lake district):
Many were eager to show off their inner Maria:
For some, it inspired new interest in traveling to Austria:
Others piped in from Salzburg, where the Sound of Music is apparently still a hot jam after almost 50 years:
There was also the inevitable “there’s more to do in Salzburg than the Sound of Music”:
And finally, more Sound of Music Live bashing — this time in defense of the real place:
So while Carrie Underwood and Vampire Bill may not be winning Emmys, it was a good night for the beautiful city of Salzburg. Which by the way does have more to offer than the Sound of Music, including a wonderful Christmas Market, which is open right now.
The period after Thanksgiving isn’t just the start of the holiday shopping season, it’s typically the start of the ski season as well. To that end, AOL Travel has posted these two guides to ski vacations:
Now you’ll be able to cross off Ski in Alabama on your bucket list.