Archive for January, 2010

Tugo Drink Holder Changes the Way We Travel

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Disclaimer: I received a tugo drink holder thanks to Kendra Handke at

tugo suspended Tugo Drink Holder Changes the Way We Travel

Tugo suspended

When Karen Porte realised that the space between the upright handles of a rolling bag is about the perfect size to hold a coffee cup, a new idea was born. Thanks to her, travellers no longer need to worry about spilling their take-away drinks at the airport or the train station.

The tugo drink holder fits nearly all roller luggages and its unique design prevents sloshing. By threading and tighten each side of your tugo drink holder to your luggage, you can easily attach the tugo. Then, simply slide in your take-away drink (small to medium – larger sizes tend to tip over), make sure the cup opening faces the side, and you’re good tugo!

tugo uptight Tugo Drink Holder Changes the Way We Travel

Tugo uptight

I love that tugo is so durable and flexible, dishwasher safe, available in black and made using materials without phthalates. Plus, it doesn’t cost more than $10.

If you have ever run out of hands at the airport because you tried to carry too many things at the same time, I bet you’ll love tugo as much as I do.

Buy your own at

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Recent Reads: Tuscany Road Trips, The High Line Park & Santorini

Friday, January 29th, 2010

This is part 10 of “Recent Reads” in which I highlight recommended posts in the blogosphere.

santorini Recent Reads: Tuscany Road Trips, The High Line Park & Santorini


On Killing Batteries, Leif Pettersen offers a take on Tuscany’s best road trips. Plus, if you comment on one of his Tuscany posts, you can win a copy of Lonely Planet Tuscany & Umbria.

Mark Ashley of Upgrade: Travel Better gives his opinion on Air New Zealand’s new lie-flat seats.

On its birthday, The Economist’s Gulliver pondered what benefits business travellers can hope to enjoy on their birthdays.

CheapOair’s Aldo Singer shares a video of one of New York’s most talked about free tourist attractions — The High Line Park in the Meatpacking District.

On, Louise Brown writes about Robin Locker’s mysterious obsession with Europe.

Joshua Samuel Brown, the professional nomad behind Snarky Tofu, reveals how it feels to travel constantly.

And Devin Galaudet of the newly launched site Travel, Write, Live shows three beautiful pictures from the Greek island of Santorini.

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Share your worst airline flight delays

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The nasty weather in the UK through Christmas and the New Year meant many travellers plans were disrupted, with flights delayed or cancelled. There’s not a great deal you can do about the weather but I wish our airports and public transport in general could cope with the bad weather; it is winter after all.

Share your worst airline flight delays

Airline tricks and unhelpful customer support

As you can imagine my inbox was full of stories from consumers, many asking if they were entitled to compensation for being delayed or their flight cancelled. To be honest I was shocked at the types of tricks that the airlines used and how unhelpful some of them were.

I read stories of passengers being delayed for 18 hours, without any assistance from the airline. I shouldn’t write this because it’s going to happen to me now, but I have never been delayed for more than 30 minutes. I’ve put that down to good luck more than anything else.

I remember dreading my flight home from Hobart via Sydney and Kuala Lumpur, hoping that all my connections were on time.

Airlines avoiding their responsibilities

At the moment I am writing a guide about passenger’s entitlements to compensation and assistance when a flight has been delayed or cancelled so I won’t go into the detail here, other than to say that the airlines flying into the EU should be aware of their responsibilities through EC Regulation No 261/2004.

So, what was your worst flight delay and did the airline assist or compensate you?

This post was syndicated from the Travel Rants Consumer Blog.

Share your worst airline flight delays

Top 5 Places to Ride a Scooter

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

This is a guest post.

If you want a vacation that’s filled with fun, excitement and adventure, try out things you’ve never tried before. There’s no point trotting down beaten tracks and going through the motions like other tourists do. If you’re a foodie, taste the local cuisine, even if the food that arrives on the plate scares you. If you’ve never stayed in hotels other than 5-star or similar, check into a backpacker hotel and see how it goes. There are so many things you can do to add spice to your vacation. Only, you’ve got to have the guts to make your holiday exciting and worth the dough you spend. Actually, your holidays can get to be more fun, even if you simply ape the locals and do all the stuff they do.

Talking about excitement, if you haven’t tried riding a scooter on a holiday, then you’ve not made the fun tourist grade, yet. Scooters are zippy and loads of fun. Don’t let their diminutive sizes (some look like big mice) fool you. Some of these dainty machines pack quite a punch. Though not of the Harley type, riding a scooter can be quite a thrill and pleasure if you know where and when to ride one. So we thought we’ll just give you a ride on our pillion and listed 5 places where we think you can have the best scooter rides on your vacation.

bermuda Top 5 Places to Ride a Scooter

1. Bermuda

Bermuda offers you no rental cars, so you’re left with three choices apart from walking, crawling, or swimming. Ferries, buses, taxies and scooters. Forget the first three because we don’t want the regular stuff, remember? The first thing you’d notice if you’re an American tourist is that the Bermudans drive funny on the road. If you don’t want to be splattered on the sidewalk, you’d better drive on the left side, too…just as the locals do. Bermuda isn’t a big place, and there are only 3 main roads here. If you drive your scooter around the North Shore, South Shore, and Middle roads, you’ll pretty much see everything this place has to offer. But riding a scooter on the small winding roads of Bermuda is in itself an experience. The warm breeze from the Caribbean Sea on your face will please you no end as you make your way down the main roads or the winding alleys. Scooter rentals are in plenty and much cheaper than taxis. The best thing is…most rentals will deliver your scooter to your hotel, give lessons on driving if needed, and pick up the scooter from the same place. The South Shore Road is the one you should take if you want to enjoy the most panoramic scenes of Bermuda on a single stretch. So the next time you’re in Bermuda, have a scooter ride ready and waiting for you at the airport.

key west

2. Key West, Florida

If you don’t want to drive on the left side in Bermuda, try driving a scooter in some place closer to home. And if you thought that scooters aren’t ideal choices for zooming around in American cities, check out Key West, Florida. This is one place in America where going around in a scooter is considered hip and happening. If you’re already in Key West and if the balmy weather, tropical landscape, active nightlife, and thriving beaches don’t excite you enough, take a scooter for hire and zip around the city. A scooter ride in Key West is just what the doc ordered to get the adrenaline pumping again. And we’re not talking about excitement of the dangerous variety—most scooter drivers are as sensible as motorists in other cities (which is not saying much about road safety)—but the fact remains streets in Key West are as safe or unsafe as any other American city streets, and driving a scooter doesn’t add to the dangers one bit. In fact, you’ll see a lot of people going around in scooters, and you’ll find many scooter rentals in the city stuffed with a range of these little, motorized gizmos. One huge plus for people that hire scooters is the parking spaces they’ll find, and this is akin to getting VIP passes to the Super Bowl because Key West can get pretty jammed with tourists during the busy seasons, and finding parking spaces for your cars is next to impossible. So if Key West is your destination for your next vacation, scooters won’t be just fun rides—they’re absolute necessities!

hawaii Top 5 Places to Ride a Scooter

3. Hawaii

Another place you might want to try if you’re looking to be the scooter explorer this vacation…is Hawaii. Take a flight or a cruise to the Aloha state and hop on to the first scooter you find on arrival. Scooters in Hawaii aren’t about parking hassles, it’s more than that. It’s culture, its fun, it’s Hawaii! C’mon, three piece suits and luxury cars are so not happening in Hawaii. It is bare bodies (well, almost, don’t get your hopes up), flippers, and scooters all the way. Don’t be a fashion outcaste in Hawaii and hire a scooter the moment you land in the land of succulent pineapples. The back roads and streets of Hawaii are perfect for scooter rides, and seeing the sights and doing the dos are so much better on the back of a scooter than in a claustrophobic car. Quaint hamlets and roadside coffee shops are more accessible if you’re on a scooter. Diamond Head or Pearl Harbor, Waikiki or Honolulu, doing a slow 30 miles an hour gives you a better chance to imbibe the spirit of Hawaii and strike up a friendship with local folks. So, the next time you’re in Hawaii, remember the 3 golden rules. Hire a scooter, put a smile on your face, and say Aloha to everyone as you whiz past them on your scooter!

rome Top 5 Places to Ride a Scooter

Piazza dei Spagna © Vladimir Fofanov

4. Rome, Italy

Some guy once said, “When you are in Rome, do as the Romans do.” The problem is…nobody actually listens to this guy, anymore. When tourists arrive in Rome, they forget the golden saying and just go through the grind until it’s time for the flight back home. BUT; the smart tourist always does what the Romans do. The cool ones always hire a scooter and this is exactly what the Romans do. Italians are simply scooter crazy, and you can’t blame these good people because Italy is the land of the Vespas (scooters from Piaggio), and off course—the pizza and the leaning tower of Pisa—among many other things. When you go around Rome, you can see the first one in all colors, shapes and sizes. Even the prized Pizza is transported and delivered across the city in scooters. Though Rome is an ultra modern city now, the city still retains the cobbled streets, narrow alleys, and buildings of historic times. Most streets in the old quarters are one way, and getting around the city in a car might get you stuck in a jam. You can only have a complete ‘Roman Holiday’ if you can access all the alleys and the nooks and corners of Rome. Churches, museums, and monuments are what the regular tourists do; for tourists that are looking for the unusual and extraordinary, explore the unseen and unheard of Rome, on a scooter.

barcelona Top 5 Places to Ride a Scooter

5. Barcelona, Spain

Many people feel that if you see one city in Europe, you’ve seen all the cities of the continent. Can’t blame them since most cities across Europe have similar architecture and culture, and even the countryside looks the same. There’s a visible difference between the colder north and the warm Mediterranean south in terms of the landscape, but the architecture and general culture remain the same. London, Paris, Rome, Brussels, Geneva, Oslo or Madrid, most places have the same feel in the air and more or less share the same essence. But Barcelona—Barcelona is different; Barcelona is magical; Barcelona is unique.  That’s not to say other European cities are boring, but Barcelona is Barcelona. The capital of the Catalan province or Catalunya as the Spanish call this region, Barcelona strikes you as distinct the moment you arrive in the city. And what makes Barcelona more special apart from the squares which the Spanish refer to as Piazzas, the long cobbled roads with souvenir shops on the sides, and street shows on 24/7 are the nifty scooters you’ll find in plenty. Barcelonans simply adore their scooters, and the tourists that come down here have borrowed the passion of the local folks for these gizmos. That’s why you’d see more tourists on scooters than even the local people, nowadays. Scooters also offer practical solutions for traffic congestions and budget worries in Barcelona. The whole city is full of squares and thoroughfares, and the Spanish people prefer to take it easy; so never be in a hurry when you tour Barcelona and go easy on the engine of your scooter. The Spaniards believe there’s always a time for everything and there’s no point hurrying to get there. Perhaps, it’s time for you to park your scooter on the sidewalk and take a siesta just like the locals. Don’t worry about the sights of Barcelona running away from you; there’s always plenty of time, and Barcelona always takes good care of its guests who go around on scooters!

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Personal message: Act now to save Taro life. (it’s legit)

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

it »s personnal message for my readers, in direct from this blog or in all my syndication network.

If you are connected, I think you are aware of the challenge that’s face Daniele Beccari (VP Europe Isango) with is brother in law, TARO.

Taro has been struck by a sudden liver cirrhosis (NOT from alcoholism), leaving him with a life expectancy of a few months.

Taro is 38 years old. He needs to receive a liver transplant as soon as possible.

We are many bloggers (travel and other) who help and if you read this post, it’s now your human responsability to act and help to save taro.

So act now, it’s simple, do this:

Go to Taro website to read the full story

Make Tweet & buzz about this story

Donate, even 5 USD, or more, that will help to save Taro

Thanks you


Note: I was sad to know Taro passed away. We where close to win the battle and raise enought money to save Taro.

You can leave a message on the Taro website

How To Be Native in Cambodia

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

IMG 0570 How To Be Native in Cambodia

From spending 24 Hours at Angkor Wat to aimlessly walking around the capital of Phnom Penh, in order to fit in to the Cambodian lifestyle, you will need to follow a few or possibly all of these tips.

1.  Parkas and Gore-Tex

If you venture outside or somewhere onto the street, whatever you do, don’t forget the North Face down parkas.  Locals don’t appreciate the glorious sunshine.  I saw numerous people rocking the latest in mittens, leggings,  scarves, and long johns.

2.  100cc Family Vehicle

The Dodge Caravan is no longer the family of 5 vehicle of choice.  Rather a family of five or six (and 2 or 3 generations at that) comfortably manages to finagle their way onto a 100cc Honda motorbike and cruise from place to place as a routine activity.

3.  Guerrilla Marketing

Local Cambodians have taken guerrilla marketing to the highest of world levels.  If you have something to offer, offer it at a price (includes advice).  If you have a 2 seater motorbike, ask everyone if they need a ride, even if it’s obvious they don’t.  If you have scissors, offer a haircut.  If you have hands, just start massaging unsuspecting victims.  And by the way, getting rejected 5 or 6 times is absolutely “NO” reason to give up.

Phnom Penh

4.  Wear Pajamas

This mostly goes to females and is directly correlated with the winter gore-tex.  Women love pajamas.  It is a frequency to see ladies dodging across traffic on streets, riding side saddle, or vending, all while  sporting the latest in Berenstain Bears or Digimon.  If you leave the house, don’t forget to “NOT change,” or if anything, add a parka, mittens, and a scarf to the repertoire.

5.  Invent the Remix

You better be up on the latest rap and pop songs, because they need to be remixed in Khmer, ASAP.  As I heard very familiar rap songs blasting on buses and in restaurants, very unfamiliar voices were projected.  If you are good at remixing, a video must also be produced, like Ghost Ride the tuk tuk in Bangkok.

6.  Overload Your Vehicle

If you have a truck, it is mandatory to load it to capacity, then add a few more tons of cargo, then add a couple family vehicles on top (100cc’s), and then add a couple generations of families to the very top.  This must be done even if no one really wants to go anywhere.  After completion of loading, you can get more advice from how to successfully drive a car in Indonesia.

CambodiaTruck How To Be Native in Cambodia

Overloaded Truck in Phnom Penh

7.  Play House

Get comfortable on microscopic tables and chairs and sometimes using tiny utensils or other “play house” essentials.  The toy food sets and furniture I played with when I was a kid, become a full grown adults reality when eating outstanding cuisine on the streets of Phnom Penh.

Cambodian Sandwich

8.  Chill Out

If there is not much to do in the afternoon it is required to take a nap on the back of a motorbike, in a hammock, on a fence pole, or with your leg vertically propped in some position that looks ridiculously uncomfortable.

IMG 02011 How To Be Native in Cambodia

If you can master these daily norms you will easily fit in and possibly even start to become a local Cambodian.

-Migration Mark

Time to share my travel mistakes

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Most of us have been guilty of rushing to the airport to catch our flight, or worst still, arrived at the wrong airport. I remember reading a story about a group of Newcastle football fans who had arrived in the city where the team was playing a day early, and were flying home the day of the game.

Time to share my travel mistakes

I am always giving out travel advice, yet, sometimes, I fall foul of my own stupid travel mistakes.

Checked into the wrong hotel

This incident happened last year. I decided to take a long weekend trip to Venice, and all was going well. I found the street where my hotel was located, checked-in, unpacked, had a shower. Then, I looked at the notepad on the bedside table and noticed that it was the wrong hotel!

What was annoying is that I had given the receptionist the print-out and the name of the hotel was clear to see, yet they checked me in. My stupid mistake I know. I explained my situation and that it was the wrong hotel. I couldn’t get out there quick enough. The hotel I had booked was four doors up the street.

Ten mile walk back to the apartment

A few years back I went on holiday to the Greek island of Crete. My brother was relaxing on the beach, so I decided to take the local bus to a village that I heard had a great market, the name I can’t remember. I jumped off the bus, wandered around for a few hours and had a bite to eat.

In the evening I set off to find out that the last bus had left for Bali, the village we were staying at. I had no mobile phone, and I think I left my common sense back home too. Ten miles later, sweaty, sunburnt and stressed I arrived back at the apartment, while my brother sat in a local bar relaxing.

Missed the flight to Berlin

In 2008 I was going to the PhoCusWright @ ITB conference in Berlin. The night before I hadn’t slept too well, and well, slept in an hour longer than I should have. I dashed to the station to catch the train to Liverpool; the train was delayed at Manchester so I missed check-in by 25 minutes.

So, what mistakes or situations have you found yourself in while travelling?

This post was syndicated from the Travel Rants Consumer Blog.

Time to share my travel mistakes

How to Get From Bangkok to Angkor Wat

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010
CambodiaEntrance How to Get From Bangkok to Angkor Wat

Cambodia Border Entrance


1.  Mo Chit Station- Bangkok

Start at Mo Chit Station- Bangkok’s Northern bus terminal.  Take a bus to Aranyaprathet that departs every 30 minutes starting at about 4 am for the price of around 200 baht (US $6).  Bus takes about 4 hours

2.   Rongklua Market- Border

The bus will either take you all the way to the border or it will drop you in town and you will need to spend less than 100 baht (US $3) on a tuk tuk to the actual border at Rongklua Market

CAUTION: If you take a tuk tuk, don’t let the driver take you to a middle man to get your visa.  Go all the way to the border and get it officially so you don’t get ripped off.  Insist that the tuk tuk takes you to the border, if the tuk tuk tries to stop at a visa service, tell him to continue onwards. 

3.  Border Crossing 

Handle Thai immigration and walk through the Cambodian arch and finish the paperwork and payment of US $20 for a Cambodian Visa (have some US $ on you). You will then be lead to a FREE government shuttle bus (hassle free) which will take you a few kilometers into Poipet to the tourist taxi and bus station. 

The choice of transportation to Siem Reap is either bus or private taxi.  The bus usually costs $8 per person while the taxi costs $12 per person.  However, the buses are rather infrequent with one in the morning and one in the evening.  If you have a group, kindly finagle a taxi and strike a deal.  Joining with a few other travelers, we were able to get a taxi for 5 for US $40, splitting the cost.  You kind of need to haggle a deal  but will probably pay somewhere around $10 per person

4.  Poipet to Siem Reap

The 2 hour taxi ride will take you into the town of Siem Reap where most likely it will drop you off at a tuk tuk stop where all kinds of middle men will try to give you a free ride to a guest house in an effort to sell you a tuk tuk for the next day and make a commission on the guest house.  We were taken to the decent Green Town Guest House and accepted the offer, though you have NO obligation.  The tuk tuk driver will also attempt to get work for the next day by offering to take you to tour the temples, in my opinion not a bad offer.  If you want nothing to do with their services, kindly ask them to take you to your guest house of hotel of choice.

5.  Siem Reap Tuk Tuk

To hire a tuk tuk for an entire day of temple hopping should cost about US $12. Haggle a little and eventually reach a similar price. 

OVERVIEW: The transportation from Bangkok to Siem Reap takes approximately 7 hours and costs approximately US $15-20 with very little pain and not too much effort. 


I would recommend leaving Mo Chit bus station at about 6 am.  If you arrive in Siem Reap in the afternoon you can purchase a single day ticket ($20) to the temples at 5 pm.  This allows you to see the sunset and have the entire following day at the same cost and then maximize 24 Hours at Angkor Wat Temples.  We organized a tuk tuk for the first evening and the entire following day for $14 and had an outstanding trip!

-Migration Mark

Apartments abroad and Resort taxis ceased trading

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I have just heard that accommodation only company Apartments abroad has today ceased trading. The company sold accommodation all over the world including popular tourist destinations in Europe and the US. They do not appear to be ABTA members, I thought they were though.

Apartments abroad and Resort taxis ceased trading

Independent traveller protection issues

I am not sure at this point how many consumers will be affected.

Consumers were able to book accommodation via the website but I understand that travel agents also used them. The company also owns resort taxis, a specialist airport transfer service. I wanted to post this now in case any consumers are looking for assistance.

The problem is most consumers who have booked through a travel agent will not be aware.

Both the Apartments abroad and Resort Taxis website provide very little in the way of information but they are advising consumers affected by the closure of the company to contact Begbies Traynor who are involved in the administration.

Please add your questions below and I will update the post with more information soon.

This post was syndicated from the Travel Rants Consumer Blog.

Apartments abroad and Resort taxis ceased trading

Companies donate to Haiti for PR or to make a difference

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

I can’t imagine what the residents of Haiti are going through and when I watch the news I wish I could do more to help. I wasn’t going to write this post but felt I needed to get it off my chest. When disasters such as Haiti we have to come together and help, and it is great that millions were raised so quickly.

Companies donate to Haiti for PR or to make a difference

Helping Haiti or PR

In the last week though I have seen a number of companies (including a few in travel) promoting the fact that they have helped people in Haiti by delivering some form of aid or donated a chunk of cash. I cannot help but think that this is more about PR, hoping for media attention from their kindness.

Hunting for media attention

It’s great that companies want to help, but why do they need to tell the world that you have donated money or sent aid to Haiti if you simply wanted to help? A lot of what I have read has been on Twitter and Facebook and maybe it is just me but, I cannot understand why you promote your involvement.

Am I being unfair or are companies promoting their kindness simply hunting for media attention.

This post was syndicated from the Travel Rants Consumer Blog.

Companies donate to Haiti for PR or to make a difference