For the Intrepid Traveler

Travel agencies and tour companies are always trying to advertise their product as the most comprehensive and inexpensive package available. For the intrepid traveler, however, claims are not enough and unless complemented by the accurate map detailing everything from time required to costs incurred, they will remain unconvinced. Into this scenario, we bring in flash maps and the option of including everything one needs to know in one visually arresting, easy-to-understand map.

How does it work? Well, we begin by choosing an area of interest to the traveler. In this case, we pick Europe as an example. Countries in Europe have sharp seasonal changes and therefore the weather has to be kept in mind at all times. In this case, let’s make a map for a summer break euro trip. On this trip one can cover all the northern and mid-European countries. First thing to do on this map is the mark the main cities, once this is done, the next step is to plot the routes to and fro that point, each route can be provided with a mouse over option which will provide information such as airline and train services and approximate cost of both.

The pin points marking the cities can be provided with a drill down option to provide basic information about the place and also the best time of the year to visit. If the city has a homepage then that link can also be provided on the map. The map can also be colored in order to indicate the areas of Europe that are best visited in certain seasons. Another version of the map can be engineered to show the kind of budget one requires to traverse an area. If a budget-wise color-coding is done, then a student traveler or a luxury traveler would simply have to click on a zone and then choose options accordingly.

Food and Board on a Shoestring

Everyone travels for different reasons. Some people travel for leisure, other people for business, and some for research. Once while in Italy I even ran into two Danes who were in Italy purely for the food! But if you are like me, you travel to experience new cultures, open your mind, get out of the monotony of daily life, meet new people, and visit the places you have always dreamed of seeing. Unfortunately, we all aren’t Donald Trump. Most of us simply can not afford to stay in hotels, eat out every meal, and take taxis everywhere when we travel. I am writing this for the people who have always dreamed of seeing the world, but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend. If this is you, pay close attention, because you can travel anywhere in the world, for as little as 5 dollars a day.

The first and most important way to save money is to either not pay for housing, or find the cheapest around. Often upon hearing this, people assume that means you will be staying in disgusting and dirty places. However, in my experience this is not always the case. There are many websites that help people find quality places to stay for free. Couchsurfing is currently the most popular website. On this website people from all over the world offer to have you stay with them when you visit there city. Before you stay with them you can see what other people who have stayed with them have said about their stay. Some people worry about safety issues, but couchsuring.org does everything they can do to insure peoples safety. Furthermore, I have couchsurfed in many different countries and have always had amazing experiences and made great friends. You can stay with both men and women, old and young, rich and poor – but no matter where you go, it is FREE!

Venice, Italy – Tour of Venice

Venice is the greatest architectural repository in the world. All six sestiere of the city contain palaces and churches in the three most impressive styles Europe has produced: Gothic, Renaissance and the baroque. What makes Venice even more remarkable is just how many of these buildings there are. Palaces are crammed against each other and churches appear around every corner. However, Venice is also a city of squares (campI) which means that buildings are displayed to best effect in a series of leafy outdoor “rooms” that crop up one after the other. There are no long roads in Venice unless you count the Canal Grande, the city’s high street, but even that curves like a snake so that new vistas are continually revealed. The canals of Venice divide the city into many manageable chunks and turn what might otherwise be a narrow dark alleyway into a luminous border down which float shiny black gondolas full of camera- wielding tourists.

The city of Venice occupies a special place in history. It was the first great republic since Rome. It had an elected head of state (il Doge) and an insatiable appetite for both making money and then spending it on ostentatious decoration. At its zenith, it had the most powerful navy in the world and a virtual monopoly on European trade with the Orient. As it declined, Venice became a byword for decadence, a city-state addicted to gambling, sex and intrigue. It was always stylish even if it wasn’t always beautiful. Nowadays, even the scruffiest campus is still distinctly and proudly Venetian. Its citizens remain in their hearts a truly independent people.