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Kick start your new travel writing career on assignment to Istanbul with Rough Guides

World Nomad’s 2011 Travel Writing Scholarship Contest Takes Winner On a 22-Day Work and Play Assignment in Turkey !

Rough Guides and active travel company BikeHike Adventures is accepting applications from aspiring travel writers to enter an essay contest themed around travel. The winning entrant can kick start their travel writing career by going on an assignment with a Rough Guides author to Istanbul, Turkey.

Candidates, 18 and older, can be journalism students, emerging and non-professional writers or even lovers of travel looking for a career change. Applications will be accepted until the March 28, 2011 deadline.

One person will be selected to travel, all-expenses paid, to Istanbul to work with Terry Richardson, author of The Rough Guide to Istanbul, as he researches a new edition of his book.

Prior to meeting and working with Terry, the winner will enjoy total immersion into Turkish culture. BikeHike Adventures will provide a delicious buffet of multi-sport activities on their 12-Day Turkish Delight tour highlighting most of Turkey’s iconic gems. The trip includes exploring the fairytale landscape of Cappadocia by mountain bike, foot and horseback, strolling through Istanbul visiting the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar and Palace and sea kayaking on the Mediterranean past ancient ruins.

For complete details and easy online entry please visit Travel will take place from June 7 to June 28, 2011.


Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".


Top Traits to Look for in a Great Guide

A great guide can make a successful trip just as quickly as an average or sub-par guide can ruin one, says Dan Austin, co-founder and Director of Austin-Lehman Adventures (ALA), a leading active tour company based in Billings, Montana.

With over 20 years in the business, Austin knows what he’s talking about. ALA was honored this year by the editors of National Geographic Adventure Magazine with its highest accolade as one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

Here are the top traits ALA looks for in selecting guides:

1. Focused with laser-like precision on making sure that guests feel like a V.I.P.
2. Naturally intuitive and has the innate ability to foretell what a guest is thinking or wanting.
3. Spontaneous and can seamlessly deal with the unexpected, both pleasant and potentially disastrous. This means having a Plan B ready in case of such things as sudden weather changes, lodging snafus and road delays.
4. Passionate and eager to share his / her knowledge about an unfamiliar destination.
5. Multi-tasks, switching from chauffeur, coach, and doctor, to teacher, culinary wizard, athlete, mechanic, social worker and psychologist, all in a heartbeat..
6. Has sense of humor and can loosen everyone up to break out of their shell, helping to create strong bonds between absolute strangers.


Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".


DRIVE TIME: Guides to Affordable Getaways

NEW: Guides to Affordable Getaways

Check out these picks at for your best local getaways, all under a gas tank away. Just tell em’ how far you want to travel, and they’ll show you all the top places to eat, sleep and play!


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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

Comment - A new site to help travelers cross the cultural divide

Wondering if you should bow or shake hands with your Chinese colleague? Worried that you might have offended your Moroccan hosts by declining that second cup of tea? Want to know the best time to arrive at a Brazilian party?

Log on to; an evolving database of cross-cultural information about every country in the world. This free, user-built reference guide allows people from around the globe to access and share essential tips about how to navigate the world with savvy and sensitivity. An invaluable resource for travelers, businesses, students and anyone living and working in a multicultural community, offers its users an opportunity to:

* Access information for more than 200 countries (with new information added daily)
* Add knowledge to the country guides
* Ask questions and chat directly with other users and experts from around the world
* Explore global resources to facilitate any cross-cultural experience

According to founder Michael Landers, “There are many sites that tell you how to book a trip and what to pack, but very few sites offer crucial information about the intangibles like appropriate greetings, gestures, and taboo behavior- tips that will help you stay out of trouble when crossing cultures. Ours is the only site providing free access to this kind of knowledge for every country in the world.”

The resources available at are free to use, easy to navigate and simply organized by country and divided into three distinct categories of information: the basics, business essentials, and student life. Topics covered include greetings, gestures, taboos, dress, negotiations, meeting etiquette, school rules, gift giving, communication styles, eye contact, and more. Besides being an indispensable reference guide, the site also offers a variety of additional features such as interviews with culturally conscious celebrities, a humorous blog where you can learn from others’ cross-cultural faux pas, tools to help you explore your own “cultural baggage”, and quizzes so you can test your cultural IQ.

Culture influences our behavior in countless ways - subconsciously guiding our actions, reactions and interactions. In order to successfully engage with the global community, it’s crucial to understand how culture affects the way we socialize, communicate, and do business. In our increasingly borderless world, cultural ignorance can lead to misunderstandings with far reaching implications. Whether you’re working with a multicultural team, transitioning to a life overseas, preparing to study abroad, or just planning an international trip, will enhance your personal experiences, deepen your cross-cultural understanding, and cultivate peace in our interconnected world.

Created by cross-cultural trainer Michael Landers and multimedia producer Lisa Grossman, is the result of their passion for exploring the world and commitment to fostering cross-cultural understanding. The founders also rely on the voluntary support of professionals, students, and community members from around the globe to vet and grow their database of cultural information.

Live for just four months, the site already boasts members from over 75 countries and has recorded over 20,000 unique visitors and 1.5 million hits in July alone. is quickly gaining recognition as the perfect primer for all your international experiences.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".


Hospitality Industry Makes Packing the Pets Easier Than Ever for Spring/Summer Travels; Travelocity Lists Top Pet-Friendly Spots and Attractions for Animal Lovers Traveling the U.S. and Abroad

Americans’ favorite four-legged companions have evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry, as hotels and businesses throughout the world seem to be rolling out the red carpet for pet guests. Travelocity(R) travel insiders report that hotels in particular throughout the U.S. and abroad are cashing in by catering to the four-legged set.

Accommodating this exploding trend, Travelocity has compiled a list of pet-friendly places for travelers who can’t bear the thought of leaving Fido behind as well as a few animal-themed attractions for the wildlife lover.

“Travelocity found that one in four people travel with their pets, showing that this is a big part of the growing travel market,” said Amy Ziff, Travelocity’s editor-at-large. “Travelers are no longer limited to walking their dogs in the backyard or local park. Now the entire country can be their pets’ playground.”

With special menus, a kitty concierge, a doggy translator and more, Travelocity’s editor-at-large Amy Ziff names some of the best hotels for pet lovers and animal experiences in North America.

San Diego, CA: This spot tops the list as a year-round pet lover’s paradise. There are a number of pet friendly hotels, from the boutique Hotel Solamar to the W San Diego, which is part of the chain’s PAW (pets always welcome) practices and has special events like doggie happy hours and menus. But it’s not just the hotels that embrace animals — Sea World, with the legendary Shamu shows, swimming with Dolphins, shark encounters and more, tops the list for animal interaction. The San Diego Zoo’s animal park has a summer Roar N’ Snore overnight program where visitors can sleep in the park for extra access to the animals. There are also numerous pet-friendly beaches, dog-runs, salons, and restaurants.

Boston: Beantown has a reputation for making way for our furry and feathered friends with the Boston-based book Make Way for Ducklings. There are the Swan Boat Tours and the Boston Duck Tours which guarantee a view of the area’s more active feathery friends. Beyond the gardens and the commons, Boston has pet friendly hotels such as the Fairmont Copley plaza with a canine companion named Catie. For more animal sightings, visit the Franklin Park Zoo with gorillas, warthogs, Cotswald sheep, Pilgrim geese and more. Zoo details:

Chicago: It’s home to the Shedd Aquarium, the world’s largest indoor aquarium featuring Beluga Whales, Black Piranha and Leafy Dragons. It opened in 1930 and added the Oceanarium in 1991, nearly doubling its size. Enjoy a stay at the Hotel Monaco and partake in the Guppy Love program, which makes a Goldfish every guest’s companion for the duration of their stay. Or, consider a Canine cruise for dogs and their people, operating Sunday mornings June - September through Mercury skyline cruises at Walk along Magnificent Mile, Lakefront Trail, or the Riverwalk Gateway to learn the city’s history.

Denver & The Mountains: Though the mile high city and surrounding mountains are welcoming to visitors of all kinds, remember to keep pets hydrated at high altitudes. The Monaco hotels in Denver have a line of pet paw-licies that detail special pet services from gourmet canine cuisine to massages and pet-sitting. The Teatro will serve pets food in a personally-monogrammed dish and walk them as needed. When in the mountains, try spotting elk, moose, deer, coyotes, cougars, black bear, hawks and more.

Miami / Ft. Lauderdale: Miami’s SoBe catwalk is full of pooch pride. Dine at the News Cafe with your furry friend or window shop. The Ritz-Carlton, Royal Palm and the Aqua welcome pets as well. Broward county, the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, boasts more than 70 pet-friendly hotels, numerous parks and recreation areas and even restaurants that cater to pets. For pet R&R, check them into the Camp Canine Country Club & Spa in Ft. Lauderdale or the Tail End Pet Resort & Spa in Davie. Pets dine on gourmet fare from Bone Appetit in Ft. Lauderdale or Three Dog Bakery in Plantation. There is even canine couture found at Tea Cups in Hollywood.

New York City: Home to the most notorious of dog shows, the city is over-run with dog lovers each winter for Westminster. From Central Park to Battery Park and Hudson River Park to Washington Square Park, dog runs are as common as play grounds in Manhattan. Visit for the low-down on playing with pets in the city. Visit the famous Central Park zoo featured in Madagascar and the bigger Bronx Zoo as well. Hotels like 70 Park, the Muse, the Affinia 50 (and all other 8 Affinia properties in Manhattan) as well as the five W hotels all welcome pets. The Affinia hotels run a Jet Set Pet program with a special welcome and extensive list of services whereas the W’s offer signature programs including robes (for you and your pet), treats, and a Where-to-Woof guide of dog parks, groomers and pet boutiques.

San Francisco: Take pets to the Golden Gate Park Dog Run, Mountain Lake Park or the Presidio. Even enjoy a jog at Baker Beach, Fort Funston or Ocean Beach — just be aware of the strictly enforced leash laws. Visitors and their pets can hop on and off the public transport while seeing the sites. Numerous local hotels such as the W San Francisco and the Kimpton hotels are pet friendly. Perhaps the most notable treatment is at the Fairmont where guests can sign up for the Doggy Translator which enhances pet communication.

Puerto Rico & Vieques: These destinations are a diver’s delight — for lovers of the deep blue ocean and all of the creatures beneath the water. Not only does the Caribbean offer coral reefs and brilliant fish, they have bioluminescent bays for nighttime dives as well. Bays can be brimming with phosphorescent single-cell animals that glow in the water when they are agitated or moved. Witness the phenomenon from two bays in Puerto Rico: Fajardo and Guarnica. In Vieques, the healthiest of the bio bays in the Caribbean is Mosquito Bay. Stay at Puerto Rico’s Normandie House.

Washington, DC: Even our nation’s capital welcomes pets. The White House has a history with animals from Calvin Coolidge’s pet raccoon that was purportedly walked on a leash to Woodrow Wilson’s herd of sheep. There have been gifts as outlandish as a herd of elephants and tiger cubs. So, it should come as no surprise that the Mall is a two-mile long playground for pets (although no pets are allowed IN the monuments). The city’s National Zoo is a great place to visit more than 2,400 kinds of animals. The city has numerous pet-friendly hotels including the Fairmont, Hotel Palomar, The Topaz, The Rouge, the Monaco and more.

Vancouver: Rover can roam the stunning city of Vancouver and enjoy many of the parks — even off leash! Local dog lovers have united to develop the Vancouver Dog Owners’ Association Web site with useful information including where and when to take pets to the park and which are leash free. Also check out the Doggy Style Deli on Denman Street specializing in a dog diet akin to “raw food.” Dine in or take out with meals that range from $2.50 - $6. There are many pet-friendly hotels including the Fairmont, The Delta Vancouver, The Sutton and the Metroplitan. At the Pacific Palisades Hotel, the V.I.Pets program welcomes dogs for free and offer biscuits, a Frisbee, pick-up bags, dog bowls and plenty of places to take pooches.

Even if Fido can’t come along, some great animal sightings, experiences, and festivals include:

    —  South Dakota Bear Country (Rapid City, SD)

    —  Ostrich Festival (Chandler, AZ)

    —  Camel Racing (Virginia City, NV)

    —  Sting Ray City (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands)

    —  Sail with your pet on Cunard’s QM2

Travelocity’s editor-at-large also has a number of tips for traveling with pets:

    —  Check with your vet before traveling as it can be stressful to
        furry friends. So, make sure it’s OK and they have what they
        need (including a letter that documents they are up-to-date on
        their shots and vaccinations).

    —  Be aware that while many hotels welcome pets, some charge
        extra. The Fairmont’s fees are from $25-$40 and the W has a
        $25 fee and a non-refundable $100 cleaning fee.

    —  Traveling with pets can be stressful so take care to acclimate
        them. Bring items from home to comfort them. Consider Comfort
        Zone’s spray & diffusers, for more information visit

    —  If flying with a pet, make reservations in advance and get an
        airline-approved container.

    —  For U.S. dog parks, visit

    —  For pet forecasts, including the best time for walks, visit

    For more information visit:

Source:  Travelocity
Travelocity is committed to being the traveler’s champion — before, during and after the trip and guarantees everything about a customer’s booking will be right. If it’s not, Travelocity will work with its partners to make it right, right away. This customer-driven focus, backed by live 24/7 phone support, great prices and powerful shopping technology has made Travelocity the fifth largest travel agency in the U.S. — booking $7.4 billion in travel worldwide in 2005. Based in Southlake, Texas, Travelocity also owns and operates Travelocity Business(SM) and GetThere(R) for corporate travelers,, a leader in European online travel and ZUJI, a leader in Asia-Pacific online travel. Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE:TSG), a world leader in travel commerce.


Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".


Free London Travel Guide for your iPod, iPhone and Mobile Phone

Leave those out of date, bulky travel guides at home and let your iPod, iPhone or Mobile take you on a tour around one of the worlds greatest capitals. The London Travel Guide, available to download for free at, neatly packs over 400 pages of info together with a host of impressive features onto your favorite mobile device.

Unlike a paperback, the guide can be regularly updated so users have the most up to date information about each attraction, including entrance fees, phone numbers and websites. iPhone and mobile users can simply click on the phone number of the attraction to call them up, or use the website link to go directly through to the attractions site to find more information.

Accessing the London Travel Guide could not be any simpler. Coolgorilla designed the iPod version to be downloaded as a podcast via iTunes and the iPhone and mobile versions have both been optimised so visitors can access the information over the handset’s web browser.

Once downloaded, users have access to a range of rich content on London’s most popular tourist attractions. Coolgorilla used its eye in the sky to create aerial footage and spectacular views for the guide that most tourists and even Londoners do not get to see. The London Travel Guide also contains intriguing facts about each attraction and the reviews are not just practical but candid too.

“A recent road trip through California got me thinking about how we could improve on the traditional, paperback travel guide,” said Roy Forsdick, Managing Director of Coolgorilla. “By using the content rich features available on iPods and mobiles we can help travellers get the most out of their visit to London. Also, since software isn’t exposed to the same reproduction costs as hardcopy publications, we can distribute the guides for free!”

Coolgorilla is already working on similar travel guides for a number of other cities including Paris, Barcelona, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, due to be released later this year

About Coolgorilla

Coolgorilla is a successful developer of applications for the iPod, iPhone and mobile phones. The company has created a variety of travel related applications including the hugely successful talking phrase books.

For more information, visit

Source: Sonus PR

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".