Monday, December 21, 2009

Social Media and Mobile – Fundamentally Changing Travel Forever

Social media and mobile technology are fundamentally changing the way we think about and experience travel, forever.

We used to ask our friends for recommendations, buy a guide book and do a bit of web research.

Now we just hop on a plane and wing it (sorry, bad pun).

We live in an interconnected age: people around the world can engage with bloggers in Iran, protesters in Tibet can MMS videos direct to the media, and, more mundanely, I can tweet pictures of my son building a sandcastle.

We’ve become used to having our friends on tap on Facebook and Skype. Our lives have become reduced to a stream of 140 characters. But that’s OK.

We’re at the forefront of a mega trend on the web - people’s online attention spans are getting shorter. We can access anything we want, anytime, anywhere. Call us the iPhone Generation or the Facebook Generation, whatever you like. We expect instant response, social interaction and relevance.

Perhaps as a result, online travel reviews are getting shorter. But I don’t think this is indicative at all of travellers’ declining interest in learning about foreign countries. On the contrary, I believe we travellers are more curious than ever, more adventurous, more open-minded. It’s just that we are using different media to acquire knowledge in different size chunks to a different schedule.

But with information nirvana comes chaos. How do we sort through it all? By using all this wondrous new webby social technology stuff to ask that age old question – Can you recommend a good bar?

Using social media, I can simply ask my real friends, or my extended social network ‘friends’, in real time.  Or I can do a quick search on a website I trust. In either case, I get an immediate response that is relevant to me.

Perhaps I didn’t need to buy that guidebook after all?

This is really appealing. For me reading a guide book has always been a bit of a let down. The Lonely Planet guys beat me to it – there’s nothing left to discover. I know that’s not true really, but it’s still a feeling I get.

But who do we trust? It used to be the people closest to us. But now, thanks to social media, it can be anyone. Our Twitter followers are asking our travel writers for bar recommendations in Rio…..while they’re walking down the street in Rio! How cool is that? 

So, travel websites need to build immediacy, interaction and relevance into their online experiences. Websites like The Travel Editor and TripBod are doing just this by pooling together groups of experts into a vibrant community full of travel knowledge which travellers can tap into.

Mobile will also play a very important role in our travelling future. I’m very interested to see how the iPhone apps put out by some of the guidebooks will fare. They require people to download the app in advance, and in some cases buy the electronic guidebook to go along with it. Playing devil’s advocate, won’t people prefer to wait until they’ve arrived and then ask people they trust for recommendations?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Travel & Technology Roundup - Week 38, 2009

Hello all,
Apologies for the long time between posts. The market seems to be picking up again and we at have been very busy indeed. This is a good thing.

There have been loads of things going on in tech and travel.

Nokia buys travel social network Dopplr....then weeks later there are rumours they want to sell it. What is going on here? Techcrunch believes Nokia wanted the management team (many of them former Nokians) but not really the business. Any buyers out there? Actually, we may want to give Nokia a call.....

You heard it here first: Time Out launches city guide ebooks. There are 54 titles in Time Out’s City Guide series, with Paris the first guide to be developed as an ebook and London, Venice, Barcelona, New York and Cape Town in the coming weeks. No link unfortunately.

New adventure travel company, Kumutu, appeared on our radar screen. Kumutu aggregate and promote adventure travel destinations and tours. Adventure tour operators can register for free and be added to Kumutu's GDS system. A new company, they've done a good job so far with 400 tour operators already in their system.

Our friends at Spot Cool Stuff have listed 5 Amazing Towns on Perilous Cliff Sides. I won't give the game away, but they're all in Europe except for one. The photos are absolutely stunning. A must read article from this super cool website.

Finally, here's a round up of what's been happening at

New Israel Travel Guide launches today! It's still a work in progress, but we've got some of our best writers on the case to make it even better. Special thanks to Anthea Gerrie for so diligently churning out article after article these past few months.

We've also launched a New York City everyone knows New York, like London, is a tough one to do properly. We've had a go and have enough New York restaurant and hotel reviews for at least a good ol' weekend of shopping, food and booze. Any writers out there who want to contribute please get in touch with us.

But we're especially excited about It's a Wild World, our ecotourism and wildlife travel section. Edited by wildlife journalist, Ron Toft, this section really brings wildlife tourism to the fore and shows us that it's not just for geeky birdwatching enthusiasts, but for all of us. And in this day and age of environmental peril, we think everyone should read these articles to help remind us what is at stake, and maybe awaken the hidden activist in all of us.

Other great features include:
* The Best European Christmas Markets
* Top 10 Christmas Gift Travel Gadgets recommended by The Kitmaster
* Newly redesigned Weekend Breaks section, including weekend breaks in England, Scotland, Paris, France, Eastern and Western Europe.
* Coming soon...a new mini guide to Philadelphia. Stay tuned.

Happy travels.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Travel & Technology Roundup - Week 29, 2009

My latest findings in the world of travel and tech:

New travel blog: Nile Guidance. Written by the folks at Nile Guide, who are sort of a competitor of The Travel Editor, but I do quite like them. They went to Zion and Bryce recently - two of my absolute favorite national parks in the USA. I look forward to reading more from you guys.

I love Boots n all. They write about lots of far flung and off the wall places. For example, 11 volcanoes in the Americas you can climb. Including the infamous Mt Saint Helens, which I still remember as a child when it blew up. My brother lives near Mt Redoubt in Alaska and sent some glorious pics. Here's one that looks like it came straight out of Mordor:

My friends at Spot Cool Stuff have researched the weirdest and wackiest stuff to be sold on Amazon. The weirdest? That's got to be the full size wedding chapel for $21k. Here's the article.

The latest on The Travel Editor:

We've updated our Cornwall travel guide with restaurant reviews and hotel reviews.

We've also updated our Tunis City Guide, and have several Tunis restaurant reviews.

Our Rotterdam section has upgraded to a full size Rotterdam City Guide. You know that club that generates electricity from clubbers dancing on piezoelectric floor tiles? That's Club Watt, and it's in Rotterdam.

We've partnered with FairFX, the currency card people. You can get cheap dollars and Euros at at good exchange rates with FairFX. We have a special offer for you too. Visit their site and get a free FairFX currency card (RRP £10) if you top up with €10.

Lots of new travel product reviews to talk about:

Pure Move portable DAB digital radio product review - win one if you register on The Travel Editor by the end of July!

Cygnett GrooveTransmit in-car iPhone / iPod FM transmitter product review.

A day by day review of Jazz a Juan on the Cote d'Azur, Europe's oldest jazz festival. Jeff Beck played this week to a roaring crowd.

Brilliant review of North Devon's best beaches. And here's a review of South Devon's best beaches to go along with it.

That's all for this week. Happy travels everyone.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Travel & Technology Roundup - Week 27, 2009

Have been busy busy busy so apologies for being incognito for a couple of weeks. Here's a quick round up of the coolest things I found in travel and tech this week:

US Independence Day is coming, and here are the best places to watch fireworks according to National Geographic.

More on that theme from NG: here's a map showing legality of fireworks by state. Very interesting that lots of yankee states have outright bans on fireworks.

In India, they have finally repealed the ban on homosexuality. Great story from Matador Pulse.

I love the guys at Spot Cool Stuff. They have a beautiful site and great content. This week I found the Top places that look like they came from a Dr Seuss story. The interesting thing is I tweeted the story (not following TheTravelEditor on Twitter? Shame on you) and it got RT'd literally dozens of times as a result. It didn't quite go viral, but it sure picked up some momentum for a few days. I wonder if I can do that with some content?

Another cool story from Spot Cool Stuff: 8 alternative powered motorcycles. They run on solar, hydrogen and electricity. Cool!

Here's the round up of all the cool stuff at

We've added some wonderful new Antigua hotel reviews and Jamaica hotel reviews to our Caribbean Travel Guide.

Great mini-city guide to Santa Barbara, California by Anthea. She talks about the upcoming music and wine festivals, especially the New Noise Festival as well as some noodling about Michael Jackson's legacy.

We published a new Vancouver City Guide, comments are welcome as it's still a work in progress.

New Mini city guide to Rotterdam. I had no idea Rotterdam had such wacky architecture.

A wonderful travel guide to Jordan, the Dead Sea, Petra, Aqaba and more.

We're always adding new spas to our health spa reviews site.

Finally, lots of new travel product reviews: Digital & FM Radio Reviews, Luggage Reviews, Guide Book Reviews, and Travel Clothes reviews.

Oh, one more thing. Why is the Billingham 555 - Camera bag so popular? We're getting tons of traffic to our review.

Happy travels,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Travel & Technology Roundup - Week 24, 2009

After taking last week off, here's a quick round up of the coolest things I found in travel and tech:

I started following Spot Cool Stuff on Twitter recently. Their bio states "Destinations, gadgets, music, movies & high design with a WOW! factor. I've learned about Goth weddings in Vegas and a fab list of travel tweeps.

Cruise Lines International has launched their new campaign, "You deserve a cruise" promoting special offers and perks from 23 different cruise lines. Personally, I'm getting into cruises at the moment since we launched our own Cruise Reviews site, with reviews of Caribbean, Alaska, Mediterranean, Antarctic and Yangtze river cruises.

From Ars Technica, how to get your hands on the new iPhone 3G as soon as possible. Unfortunately there are no hidden tricks...

Mexico City launches free health care for tourists in effort to lure visitors back to the capital.

New from

Updated Weekend Breaks guide. Top Weekend Breaks from London, A Magritte-themed Weekend Break in Belgium, as well as a Weekend Break in Lucca, with a night at the opera in Puccini's birthplace.

Indian Restaurant Reviews: London's 10 best curry restaurants

The Kitmaster Strikes Back!
Expensive new gadget gets panned by The Kitmaster! Casio Protrek solar powered atomic watch not up to scratch.

More travel product reviews from The Kitmaster can be found here, including Luggage Reviews, Book Reviews, Tent and Clothing reviews and travel gadget reviews.

Have a great week everyone.

The Team

Friday, May 29, 2009

Travel & Technology Roundup - Week 22, 2009

Here's my round up of this week's cool articles in the travel, internet and gadget space:

I love spring. The plants and trees come to life, the birds are chirpy and in the mood, bees are buzzing. Go ahead, accuse me of being a typical Englishman, but I like gardens. Here are 10 places to see May flowers for free thanks to Gadling (although this list is pretty US centric).

Also from Gadling, their guide to summer music.

If you don't know Weburbanist, you should. Their strap is 'urban design, culture, travel, architecture and alternative art.' Says it all doesn't it? Great website, and here's a great article: Unbuilt Buildings: 12 Awesome Future Architectural Designs. Doesn't the Dragonfly metabolic farm look like one of those mint film things you put in your mouth, but much much larger?

Microsoft launches their knowledge engine, Bing. Then it promptly goes down under the weight of usage. But that's to be expected - it promises to shake up the big G when it finally gets going under its own steam. See this interesting article with screenshots from Venture Beat.

The latest from

New articles by Cathy Winston added to our Istanbul Guide. A great Istanbul restaurant as well as a brilliant short break guide to Istanbul.

More Isle of Wight material as well. Isle of Wight hotels, art gallery Dimbola Lodge, and chocolate shop Chocolate Island.

New product reviews: review of Varta sports headlight, review of Flylite foldaway bags, review of Touchnote mobile postcards. The rest of our travel electronics, luggage, camping, books and technology reviews can be found here.

Also, don't miss our reviews of the Best Beaches in South Devon.

That's all for this week. Peace everyone.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Travel & Technology Roundup - Week 21, 2009

Here's my round up of this week's cool articles in the travel, internet and gadget space:

Yahoo is back on the acquisition trail. It's a good time to be buying, and social media is where they're focusing their money.

Google's Eric Schmidt discusses with the FT the future of newspapers.

On Gadling, a nice historical piece on Waterloo, NY, the birthplace of Memorial Day.

On MatadorPulse, nomadic Matt writes an ebook about SEO and monetising blogs. Monetising blogs? Are people still talking about that?

WorldHum laments the demise of the aerogram. Me too. *sigh*

Latest on
We've got a new Cruise Guide, with cruise reviews, information and tips, with some great new writers, including long-time cruise veteran, David Wishart.

A lovely mini guide to the Isle of Wight written by Jenny Green and Simon Heptinstall. Lots of great Isle of Wight pub and hotel reviews as well as stuff for families.

Another lovely mini guide to England's Lake District. Some great Lake District hotel and restaurant reviews on offer here.

We're adding more spa reviews to our Spa Guide, including the lovely Ice Spa at the Sheraton in Anchorage, Alaska.

We've reached over 4,000 followers on Twitter! Follow us here on

That's all for this week. Peace everyone.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Round up Week 20, 2009

Here's my round up of cool articles in the travel, internet and gadget space:

Youtube is more influential than the New York Times, according to Technorati.

Like super spicy food? Alison Stein Wellner at WorldHum explores middle America, in the 5th and final instalment of her search for the spiciest food in the world.

How to avoid being attacked by your simian cousin. Hilarious, also from WorldHum.

TheTravelEditor launches its travel gadget reviews section. Brilliant stuff. We've got our very own Kitmaster doing all the reviews. If you have a product you want tested, get in touch with me kevin at thetraveleditor dot com.

Also new at TheTravelEditor, mini-guides to Malta, Rio, Jersey, and more.

Looking for a Marrakesh hotel? Look no further. We've just published a load of new riads and guesthouses.

10 Tatoo Cliches to Avoid at All Costs, courtesy of Matador Pulse.

That's all for this week. Peace.