…Travel

11) Just When I Thought We Didn’t Need Another Travel Site… –

hipmunkWe’ve profiled Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Travelocity, Bing, Hotels.com, Priceline, TripAdvisor, BedandBreakfast and HomeAway.com before. And just when I think we don’t need another one, I find one. Lately, I’ve been hearing about…

http://www.hipmunk.com/

It comes highly recommended, even though I had never heard of it until last week. Have you used them before? Any impressions? Do you have a favorite such aggregator, not mentioned above? If so, please click “Comment,” in the comments under the online (web) version of this item. And thanks for passing along your find.

2) What are Cool Tools for Travelers?

TravelOver the years, certain Brigada “travel-related” items seemed to generate a lot of feedback. Sometimes, the feedback even bordered on excitement. So, over time, we have watched feedback on those items and collected them into a kind of “all-star” cast of items. Today’s edition features an update on some of those all-star “Cool Tools for Christian Travelers and Those who Serve Them.”

 

6) Cool Tools: The Right Photographer’s Vest

travel vestI admit: I was always just a tad embarrassed to wear a photographer’s vest, even though it was extremely handy, just because it made me look like a gadget freak. With the development of the new slender profile “ScotteVest,” however, most of that image problem has gone away.

http://www.scottevest.com/

The ScotteVest’s pockets are all but invisible — and tech-enabled. It was recommended to me by a great friend and, I’ll have to admit, he was spot-on. They become a walking, incognito extra carry-on. My camera fits in one pocket, my flash or water bottle in another, and I still have PLENTY of space for a lightweight mini-tripod, a small flashlight, hand sanitizer, passport (in a protected, waterproof pocket), hand sanitizer, and virtually everything else you wish you had on the trail or village visit. I suggest you stick to khaki. The black vests seem a bit too paramilitary-looking.

5) A Candle in the Window Giveaway: Summer 2013

A Candle in the Window Hospitality Network is a growing, worldwide, online Christian hospitality network in which members open up their homes to one another for either a meal and/or an overnight stay of 1-2 nights when traveling. Missionaries are invited to join for free. From the outset, it has been the desire of A Candle in the Window to help their international members build travel networks within their own and neighboring countries, as well as to provide host locations when they visit America. Towards that end, A Candle in the Window Hospitality Network offers free charter memberships in different parts of the world from time to time… During the months of June, July and August 2013, they invite Christian brothers and sisters in Europe (Eastern and Western Europe and the UK) to join the network for free! Just log on and join as “charter members”. Feel free to tell others.

http://www.acandleinthewindow.com/

9) Godspeed Travel Network

The goal of Godspeed Travel Network is to build a robust network of individuals who either live or travel around the world and are willing to share their experience and knowledge with others. By using this platform, International Outreach personnel can avoid potentially man made or natural disasters, dangerous situations and cultural mistakes that can cause offense. Go to

http://www.godspeed.ning.com

to learn more or sign up for free. Your input is needed and the organizers believe you could potentially save a life. Take a look at the site first and decide how to handle your own personal profile on the web.

9) Loved my New International Phone Sim Card

Last week while traveling in Europe, I packed an upgraded sim card from Go-Sim…

http://www.gosim.com

The “new” capabilities deal with making it easier to deal with the call-back concepts used by Go-Sim and other vendors like them. The assigned number they gave me this time was a British number (rather than the Estonian number that I’ve been using with them for a number of years.) It was, in a word, EASY. The rates were great, coverage was wide (both voice and text), and the customer service (and infrastructure) was excellent. Highly recommended, affordable, and practical in scores of lands. Watch for the term “ekit” — because that’s a sign that they’ve shipped you one of the new sim cards.

3) Here’s a Site that Will Fight for your Right to a Flight

The concept is simple. If, for any number of reasons, your flight with an airline goes south, the forces behind this site…

http://www.refund.me/en/index.php

will fight for the right to get a settlement. They’ll take 25% as their bounty, and give you the rest. You only pay if you win. How ’bout that? Has anyone actually tried these guys? It looks legit’, but I’d love to hear a real case study from our community. (Thanks to Caleb for the tip.)

11) TripIt: Probably Beats out TripCase

Just when I was starting to like TripCase…

http://www.brigada.org/2012/12/23_10365

A friend introduced me to TripIt.

http://www/tripit.com

They’re similar apps. Each has an email interface. Once you register with the site, you forward your air and/or car rental itineraries to the email interface and the app automatically parses out your itineraries and details, creating a virtual trip and timeline for you. Granted, there’s a degree of risk involved, in that you’re giving over private information to the grid. However, in all my searching, I couldn’t find one example of this resulting in any kind of mischief. Instead, every review and every testimony seemed to indicate a huge amount of goodwill generated by these programs. Naturally, they’re trying to gather and market aggregate groups of customers, but again, these are well-researched apps that seem to have earned the trust of the internet community at large. The real pay-off comes in the smart-phone apps that these sites offer as well. Lay out your trip on the web, then you instantly have access to it on your iPhone or Android device. And, if TripCase already weren’t gifted enough, check out TripIt. Once I had my rough itinerary set up, I registered the other travelers in my group by providing their email addresses (ask their permission first, of course). Instantly, in their own accounts at TripIt, they now have access to all the flights, connections, and activities as well. You can even set up “meetings,” appointments, and personal activities. Gone are all the days of trying to manually create flights and appointments in your Calendaring app. TripIt can now do it for you, using WebDav features. It’s a new day, … a game-changer, and for the most part, it’s all free (though there are certain premium features you can purchase — like 99 cents to buy out the ads on your iPhone — permanently).

So what are your thoughts? Are you nervous about the possible privacy intrusion? Have you had good luck with these and other similar apps by Kayak and others? What’s your own favorite? Please use the comment box following the web version of this item at Brigada.org. Thanks!

7) A Travel Guide You Create

Now there is a Wiki Tour guide for everybody to build.  Are you going to a new place and want a non-missions perspective on the sites to see and perhaps get an idea of who lives there and what it will be like? Check out WikiVoyage.org. Have you been someplace with family or mission that you would like to help others go to or learn about? Wikivoyage is a free web-based travel guide written by volunteer authors. The name is a blend of the words “Wiki” (originally the Hawaiian word for “quick,” but more recently, an Internet-based software system that allows change and extension of the text by any user) and “Voyage,” the French word for travel, journey, or trip. This week is the official launch of the site as its own fork in the WikiMedia family of entry points. See if you can help build it at…

http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Main_Page

Wikivoyage content is broadly categorised as: destinations, itineraries, phrasebooks, and travel topics. In the old days, Livingstone had to forge a path by himself. Now, we get to follow others and share how to get to the unreached places together. To learn more about the format of the site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikivoyage

Let’s help each other preach the Good News to the ends of the earth.

8) Use TripCase to Bring Order to your Travel Chaos

For years, I’ve longed for a way to make a timeline/itinerary for trips with complicated, multi-city flights. Who knew that I’d finally find it on my phone. Try it. You can forward itineraries to your account and TripCase automatically sorts out the flights, dates, times, and destinations. You can add events manually, too, and share your itinerary with friends (like your wife or co-workers from your org). Learn more at…

http://www.tripcase.com/

Or find it in the Apple AppStore.

5) Six-Session DVD Series to Prep for Int’l Travel Security –

Are you traveling to a dangerous location? Or … maybe you’re just traveling to a location that can BECOME dangerous by a person that is emotionally haywire. Here’s a group that offers a six-session DVD course featuring David Dose, a well-known trainer on questions of security and travel risk. Check out mini-video-introductions the 6 sessions at the bottom of the home page.

 

http://safetravelsolutions.org/home/

7) USA Citizens can Enroll in “STEP” –

The USA’s “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program” is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency. STEP also allows Americans residing abroad to get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Sign up at…

 

https://step.state.gov/step/

 

The US gov’t promises they “will not disclose the information you provide us in your STEP application to any third parties unless you have given us written authorization to do so, or unless the disclosure is otherwise permitted by the Privacy Act.” By signing up, you can get special updates from embassies and other USA sources about the places you’re visiting or the countries in which you’re residing. Worth it.

4) What’s your Favorite Credit Card to Save Frequent Flyer Miles? —

My buddy, Tim, recently acquired the United Mileage Plus Visa Signature Card (they have three levels and this is the middle). The card allowed him to gain…

 

1st year free then $90 a year thereafter.

1 mile for every dollar spent.

Double miles on United Purchases.

40K free miles immediately.

Miles never expire and are unlimited.

Also, 2 free United Club passes per year.

When used to purchase the trip, allows one free bag to be checked.

Also allows priority boarding.

Card plus his status allows free upgrades to economy plus seats.

 

Have you been happy with a credit card like that? I have used an American Express Card since 1991 and by now, they have me in a Platinum version. It’s great because the points will transfer virtually anywhere. But I like Tim’s card because there will be virtually no yearly membership fee. So … what’s in *your* wallet????? (and why?) :-) Please click on “Comment” below — or, if you’re reading the email version of this post, please log onto the web using the link below and leave a note about your best pick. Thanks in advance!!!

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