You are on vacation, on a remote beach, and take a photo of yourself. A minute later, on the other side of the world, your mother is walking around her house and sees that same photo of you smiling back at her from the digital picture frame in her living room.
That’s the world we live in today. Photos can be shared across geography in all sorts of cool and creative ways.
Previously, Spot Cool Stuff reviewed the best travel cameras. But how to share your trip photos once you’ve taken them? Here are three creative sharing options that you can use while you are still traveling. None require use of a computer (either your own or one in an internet cafe) through you will need to be traveling with either a smartphone or a tablet.
Want to see Cirque du Soleil? A single ticket to a live performance of the impossibly acrobatic dancers will set you back as much as £85 in London. You’ll have to part with S$148 in Singapore. In Las Vegas, you’ll pay $359 for a center seat vaguely close to the front of the stage. But in Quebec City, Canada you’ll pay C$0. At current exchange rates, that works out to US$0, €0 or ¥0.
And there’s no gimmick. You don’t have to win a contest, hear a sales pitch for a timeshare or creatively acquire someone else’s ticket. Anyone can show up at a Cirque du Soleil performance in Quebec City and watch it—for free.
What kind of cool travel getaway can you go on with 150,000 Membership Reward points? How about a romantic trip for you and yours truly to a tropical car-free island in Mexico where you go swimming with the world’s largest fish and bring back video of your underwater adventures and top it off with a Mexican feast and tequila distillery tour.
That’s the trip Spot Cool Stuff chose when American Express challenged us to create a WOW factor getaway with 150,000 Membership Rewards points.
With Pay With Points, available through American Express Travel, you aren’t limited to exchanging points for airplane tickets. You can also book hotels, resorts, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. And you aren’t even limited to those. Link your Membership Rewards account to Amazon.com and you can use your points to buy anything that the internet retail metasite sells. Or you can select deals on the shopAmex website. And even those aren’t your only options. How about meals at any restaurant bookable through Open Table? Or dining, music, and theater rewards available specifically for American Express charge cardmembers? Or movie tickets? Or mystery trips?
So many choices. So little time. In the end, our travel editors decided to use Pay With Points available through American Express Travel to journey to Mexico’s Isla Holbox. Over the next week, we’ll publish reviews of our experience. Click below to check those out . . .
POST TITLE PUBLICATION DATE
Swimming With Whale Sharks published!
Exploring Isla Holbox: The Other Side of Cancun published!
Stay at La Nubes de Holbox Hotel published!
. . . or sign up for an American Express charge card (if you don’t already have one) and use Membership Rewards to create your own cool experience. Here’s the inside scoop on how we pulled off ours:
Time was, you used to be able to get ultra-cheap air fares if you flew standby. You’d buy a special standby ticket and show up at the airport. If there were room on the plane you’d get on; if there wasn’t you didn’t. The idea being that an airline would rather get a little bit of money for a seat than fly with it empty and get none at all.
Though some airlines still sell full-fare standby tickets, the days of them being deeply discounted are no more, sadly.
Happily, the standby concept might be taking hold in another travel industry: cruises. Luxury operator Crystal Cruises is now offering deals to those willing to be a bit spontaneous with their vacation.
This article is about Spot Cool Stuff second favorite way of getting around Bangkok.
Our preferred method of traversing the Thai capital is by boat and river taxi. Most travelers know about the ferries that ply up and down Bangkok’s major river, the Chao Phraya. Less well known are the boat services along the smaller rivers and canals that criss-cross the city. The problem is that the canal transport system is often confusing, sometimes slow and (obviously) limited to destinations near water.
So often we turn to that public transportation option that’s best for zipping through the notorious Bangkok traffic and that, by happy coincidence, is also among the least expensive: the motorcycle taxi.
Have you flown on a commercial flight recently? Ugh. Airlines are decreasing their level of service. Airports are increasing their level of security. Add to that delayed flights, crowded cabins and lost luggage and you have a recipe for frustration.
Spot Cool Stuff can’t do anything about the workings of the airline business. But we can recommend seven items that can help take some out of the stress out of air travel. Or at least help make the experience of it seem to go by faster.
Here’s a potentially money saving tip for your next Southeast Asia trip: Get the cheapest airplane ticket you can to the region (ie Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur) and then separately purchase an onwards ticket to your other regional destination(s) on a low cost carrier.
Southeast Asia is rife with budget airlines operating frequent schedules with decently-reliable service. One-way tickets within the region go for as little as $100, $50 or even less. We once flew from Luang Prabang (Laos) to Hanoi for $28 and have seen domestic flights within Indonesia for $5!
Here’s our rundown of some of Southeast Asia’s budget airlines, subjectively arranged from the most to least useful:
Pets can make absolutely wonderful travel companions. The process of finding pet-friendly accommodations, however, can be a less-than-wonderful experience. Fortunately there are several websites that specialize in helping your little Rover or Fluffy enjoy your vacation along with you.
Reviews of our favorites: