We’re baaaack! #WhereToGoWednesday went missing for a few weeks (been focusing on a few new wrinkles we’ll unveil in the coming weeks) but as lovers of remote islands we’re especially happy to bring you this week’s most popular destination – Saparua Island in Indonesia’s Maluku province. A long haul from the US, it’s mainly for those who want to venture off the beaten path and blend in with local laid-back island life. You’ll need to fly into Ambon then take a bouncy speedboat from there. Think sarong’s and flip-flops, rustic beach-huts and fresh-caught fish dinners. When you’re done snorkeling with sharks, grab a bemo van into town and visit the old Dutch colonial Fort Duurstede. There’s not much to do here, and that’s the point. Chat up a local, or disappear into your own private Gilligan’s Island escape. Want to check out some similar places? Set your TripTuner sliders to remote, beach and thrifty right here. Stay tuned!
OK, so normally #WheretoGoWednesday is a weekly-ish feature on the most popular destination on TripTuner for the past 7 days but I was won over by the good folks over at Southern Visions Travel, a Puglia, Italy based operator of amazing gourmet & cycling tours. They stopped by TripTuner HQ this week and wowed us with their culinary prowess
in between various events and an appearance with J.C. Hayward on Washington, DC’s News 9 at Noon. I had the pleasure of experiencing one of their tours this past summer and highly recommend it for a unique and memorable, active yet relaxing sojourn. Whether it’s browsing the whitewashed town of distinctive trulli buildings in Alberobello, a caffe fredo after a bike ride to Locorotondo or a fantastic seaside lunch of cavetelli frutta di mare near Polignano a Mare, you will never forget this still relatively untouched (at least by Americans) region down in the heel of Italy’s boot. And of course, if you need some guidance on getting it done, we’re here to help. Stay tuned!
It’s time once again for #WhereToGoWednesday. The Big Island was the most desired destination this week, and it’s easy to see why. It has something for everyone – from the local flavor of lush, green Hilo to the craggy lava beds of Volcanoes National Park; from the resorts and golden sands of Kona to the sometimes snowy summit of Mauna Kea and it’s observatories. All good reasons, but this howlie would go just for the ahi tuna poke alone.
Though it’s not surprising to see tropical beach destinations rise in popularity during the winter, it’s notable that Bazaruto Island in Mozambique is this week’s most popular destination for #WhereToGoWednesday. When we set out to create TripTuner, we wanted to help travelers find places in tune with their interests – both near and far, familiar and unknown. To have such a remote destination top the charts this week tells us that we’re succeeding in shedding light on lesser-known locales. Bazaruto (part of the eponymous archipelago) is a remote gem of sweeping golden-
white sand dunes, surrounded by deep indigo waters of the Indian Ocean, just a boat ride away from the popular coastal town of Vilankulo. South African travelers have known about this part of the world for awhile, but Bazaruto Island remains largely unspoiled, with just a handful of luxe places to stay like Indigo Bay Island Resort & Spa and the Bazaruto Lodge. Inspired to see more options? Check out these remote beach ideas. Stay tuned.
This week, Harbour Island is our most popular destination, and since I have a very special personal connection to this place it’s hard to rave about it without exposing a bias. So I’ll just let the description on our overview page say it all for now, and perhaps every now and then I’ll update this post with a few choice tips and pleasant memories (of course I’d love to hear yours in the comments). In the meantime, feel free to just GO – we can help you get there. Stay tuned!
It’s All Saints Day. A holiday in many countries. In Spain, they call it a puente. A way to “bridge” two weekends together and take a trip. But I’m working. You too? Well, we can still think about where we’d like to go. So go ahead and dream about Punta Cana, Paris or Polignano a Mare – I’ll be working hard today on making TripTuner a better place for you to discover that perfect destination match for your next trip.
And for those of you (us?) who were a bit too scary on Halloween, here are 7 paths to redemption. How you can be an angel and help me help you travel better:
1) JOIN – from $9.95/month, you get our expert help whenever you need it all year long: fast answers, insider tips and booking assistance. Plus full access to premium features.
2) SIGN UP – we offer a free test drive to give you a taste.
3) TRY IT – just for kicks, search for a destination and tell me: does it work for you?
4) INVITE A FRIEND – when they join as a premium member, you get $20.
5) LIKE US – like our Facebook page. First 100 get a special thank you gift.
6) FOLLOW US – on Twitter.
7) PARTICIPATE – do you have a favorite place we should feature? Amazing photos? Let me know (comment below).
In keeping with the theme I suppose I could add “become an angel investor” here. Makes total sense for a young startup like ours. We’re not actively looking for investors, but I do enjoy sharing my vision for the company so let us know in comments if you’d like to learn more. Or just follow this blog. Stay tuned.
Starting a company in the midst of the greatest recession since the Great Depression is a daunting task. You’re diving into the relative unknown – like jumping off a cliff. Not a very positive analogy, I know. And a bit cliché. But what the heck, I wanted to find some way to include this video in a post.
From a distance, the jump looks very doable – as does a startup business. Then, with each step upward you strain a bit. You begin to feel just a little bit of apprehension. But you keep on. You put the building blocks of a business plan together. And then you reach the last step, the point of no return. The jumping off point. You’ve done the research – others have made this jump before – but there’s still doubt. It could be low tide. The business opportunity might not be so large after all. The water may not be as deep as you think. But you have this vision propelling you. The seeking of a thrill, however short, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with confronting one’s fears and doubts directly, of persisting in spite of it all.
Then the moment of truth arrives and there is only one way to break through the lump forming in your throat. You must act, quickly. Otherwise if you linger too long, you will find a rapid stream of reasons why you should not do it. Doubt will settle in, and you will forego a chance to pursue your dreams. So even if you have the best laid business plans, in the end what’s needed is a bit of craziness with a heap of confidence and an unwavering belief in your vision. It’s the only way you can take that last step, and plunge into the exhilarating realm of uncertainty – or in this case, the waters of the Fiordo di Furore, on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
While the potential rewards of business success are great, in this case I was happy to earn the admiration of my daughter (who’s excited scream you’ll hear midway through my jump). Thanks for listening and welcome on board what is sure to be a refreshing plunge into new experiences. Triptuner.com is now live. Here we go!
Two acquaintances of mine were on the road recently, doing their own separate solo tours of Asia. One is a female post-graduate student in her mid-20s (we’ll call her Julie) on what Australians might call a “walkabout”, an extended trip of a few months. The other (let’s call him Brian) is an urban professional in his mid-40s, taking a three-week break between jobs. Because I’ve traveled extensively in the region, they asked me for help in planning their respective trips.
While both of them shared the same wanderlust, it is interesting to see their divergent approaches on getting travel advice. Both had the same big-picture questions (is X period of time enough to see certain countries, what’s the best way to get around, etc.) But when it came to more specific suggestions about hotels or activities, Julie was just fine scouring the web for free info. I’d offered my help, but she didn’t really see the need. Maybe it’s just a sign of her generation: “millennials” are well-known for their comfort with technology. But I’ve even heard older travelers boast of how easily they can dig up good travel info. Indeed it’s almost a source of pride.
So what’s the big deal? I too enjoy uncovering valuable nuggets of travel info – whether it’s a more direct flight, the perfect hotel or a unique activity. Some websites will even give you a “medal” if you play along and contribute your own info. Which in turn makes such sites more attractive to search engines, creating even more opportunities to sort through an ever-increasing amount of info.
But over the years I’ve found that it can eat up a ton of time. And when I do search, my signal-to-noise ratio is much tighter – I’d like less searching and more finding. Call me old and crotchety but my brain gets enough info searching and processing every day at work. It’s like getting your driver’s license. All you want to do is drive, then years later all you do IS drive. The novelty wears off. Same thing with technology. The excitement of getting 4 million search results in 0.7 seconds wears off after clicking on the 4th or 5th result. (Like many, I’m still waiting for technology to deliver my increased leisure time).
Perhaps Julie is simply a better multi-tasker, whose younger brain can withstand more info processing like a newer-model computer. But as a recent Stanford University study shows, over-tasking the brain affects even the hardiest multi-tasking college students. Try keeping it up in an office environment for 20 years, and you begin to understand why people like Brian want to cut to the chase and get solid, timely advice. Without a ton of searching.
So when he asked me to help finalize an itinerary for his Asia trip, I tried not to bog him down with a ton of options. I promised to help him out on the go as needed, but emphasized that above all he needed to GO. Get out there on the road and enjoy these precious travel moments as much as possible. Of course his tight time frame can explain why he chose to rely upon my on-the-go help rather than do it on his own. And what an ironic twist that having a “virtual trip assistant” of sorts inspired Brian to hop on a flight and delight in spontaneity – something usually reserved for college students.
How did this all turn out? Brian had a great time and became a loyal early advocate of Triptuner. As for Julie, she finally got her fill of DIY travel planning and sought me out for her last stop in Singapore.
We each have preferred ways of getting travel advice. I just think that there’s got to be a better way of accessing all of this valuable info in a meaningful way, while providing the personal service to help fill in the gaps. It’s one reason why we’re building Triptuner.