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Mobiata - Travel Smart

Dec 28 '12

App Guide: More Great Travel Apps

By now we all know there’s not only an app for everything, but when it comes to travel – there is a whole world of apps out there to enhance your experience! While we’ve covered so many here on this blog, there’s always room for more. Here are some great apps to consider for your next trip.

HearPlanet
If you love a good tour guide when traveling somewhere new, this is an app you probably won’t be able to live without once you download it. HearPlanet tells you what attractions are nearby and then plays the Wikipedia description aloud.

Air Sharing
Called “a dream come true for mobile workers” by Macworld, this app is something special. This app is great for anyone who finds themselves constantly downloading docs  abroad, and spending lots of money to do so. Air Sharing lets you save HTML Web pages, PDFs, text files, you name it, for off-line perusal anytime, anywhere.

IAmHere
If you sharing, and want your friends to know exactly where you are in the world, IAmHere  will do that for you. This application use GPS and Wifi to acquire the location, or use map to have you set the location.

World Customs
Customs differ from one city to another so just picture the distinctions between one country to another. This app shares useful tips and information on the culture and lifestyle of over 165 countries.  The app dispenses international dos and don’ts, one for every day.  If you travel a great deal, for business or pleasure, this all will be an amazingly informative friend.

Wi-Fi Finder
International data rates can be awfully expensive, so finding Wi-Fi is absolutely crucial, especially if you Skype while abroad. Wi-Fi Finder tracks over 145,000 hotspots in 135 countries.

What are your favorite travel apps? Leave a comment on this post, or connect with Mobiata on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or find us on Instagram @Mobiata!

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Dec 27 '12

The Best of 2012: Tumblr Edition

As 2012 officially wraps up, we wanted to take a moment to thank all of our loyal fans for supporting Mobiata, a  brand and team we are very proud to be a part of! This year, we joined the world of Tumblr, and we’ve loved getting the opportunity to share all things travel, as well as getting to follow so many other great travel bloggers.

We wanted to round up some of our favorite Mobiata posts from this year, ranging from great travel apps we couldn’t live without, to how to pack your sports equipment. Take a look back on some of our favorite posts from this year…

Great Apps for Business Travelers
Heading on your next business trip soon? Here are some great apps to help along the way. From packing and dining to navigating subways and language, these apps will certainly make your trip easier and more enjoyable!

Virtual Carry-On: Tips to Overcome Travel Anxiety
When it comes to travel, especially air-travel, it is very common for many to feel anxiety. While some people get a little bundle of nerves as they’re about to embark on a long flight, others find themselves completely paralyzed with fear.  Even if you suffer from travel anxiety and are getting on a plane this holiday season, you still can enjoy your travels! Here’s some great advice from BoardingArea.com on how to deal with these emotions.

Food for Flight: Getting ready to fly? Eat This, Not That!
You’re headed to the airport in a few hours, and plan on just grabbing something to eat before you board the plane. Hold on! There are a few things you should know about what you put into your stomach before and during your flight. Here are some tips and suggestions on the best things to eat while traveling, and those you could do without!

Book Lovers, Unite! The Coolest Bookstores in the U.S.

When checking out a new city for the first time, many want to discover all of the unique restaurants, shopping and museums it has to offer. When you’ve got a passion, though, such as books – you just might want to check out the book stores in the area too. We’re not talking about your run of the mill Barnes and Noble, we’re talking about these one-of-a-kind, funky, independent bookstores that give a city charm and have a great story behind their start. Each interesting and special in their own way, we’ve rounded up a few of the coolest book stores in America.

Gear Guide: Don’t Leave Home Without These Items (When On the Road!)

When traveling, it’s easy to remember the important stuff to pack: the right clothes, enough underwear, your toothbrush and medications. But there are all those other things that are often forgotten, debated and left at home, or not even considered all along. Here are a few items that we consider to be some of the most important of all. Next time you’re packing for a trip (big or small), add these to your list.

Traveling With Sports Equipment: What You Should Know

Whether you’re quite the athlete or someone who just loves a certain sport, it’s not unlikely that you’ll be traveling with sporting equipment at some point on your life, be it for a business trip or vacation. If you’re planning to golf, ski or play baseball while away, there’s certain equipment of your own you may want to bring with you. What’s important to note is that there are restrictions are on certain items. Regardless of the size or type of equipment, you should make a point to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations so you don’t run into any problems at the airport.

Which of our blog posts this year did you enjoy the most? Tell us about it! Leave a comment on this post, or connect with Mobiata on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or find us on Instagram @Mobiata!

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Dec 26 '12

Volunteer Vacations

The great thing about a vacation is that it allows us to take a step back from our everyday lives and really experience something special. For many of us, the opportunity to do some good while we’re away from home enhances our vacation that much more. If you’re looking to go on a trip where you can also help out the environment, rest assure that there are many options out there for you! The Daily Green rounded up a great list of fifteen eco-friendly volunteer vacations, perfect for the traveler looking to walk away with a valuable volunteer experience while away. Below are just a few of the fantastic opportunities available, click here for the full list!

Protect sea turtles while patrolling Costa Rican beaches.
Each year the endangered leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles come to the beaches of Parismina, Costa Rica to nest. Unfortunately, poachers also frequent those beaches. It was with these turtles in mind that the 
Asociacion Salvemos Las Tortugas De Parismina (ASTOP) was started. The agency was founded by local residents who patrolled the beaches at night to stop poachers and protect sea turtles during their nighttime nesting routine. Volunteers can patrol the beaches while also collecting data on these amazing creatures. 

Make the desert bloom in Israel.
Deep in the heart of the Israeli desert lies one of the greenest places you could volunteer, Kibbutz Lotan. This low-impact organization boasts composting (no water) toilets, a passive cooling system and shared gray-water systems, to help conserve water. As a volunteer you’ll help with organic gardening, creative recycling projects for visitors (shown here) and construction needs around the kibbutz (in fact, you’ll stay in a straw-bale and mud geodesic dome campus that was created by previous volunteers) among other projects. 

Explore old Europe in a new way.
Maintaining ancient forests in England, protecting wetlands in Germany, building nests on the Black Sea in Bulgaria: These are not your typical European vacation activities. But each promises an unforgettable experience. Toss out your travel guidebooks and explore a foreign country while helping to protect it with a BTCV Conservation Holiday. (That acronym used to stand for British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, but now they simply go by BTCV.) The organization offers conservation holidays around the world but focuses mainly in the U.K. and other parts of Europe. 

Explore the Rockies on the Colorado Trail.
The Colorado Trail was built by volunteers, back in the mid-1980s, and each summer volunteer groups organized by the Colorado Trail Foundation set out to remove downed trees, fix signs and markers, educate trail users and generally keep the trails open for everyone to use. Volunteer vacationers camp out in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, cooking, eating and working together.

We love the idea of a trip that gives back. Have you ever been on one? Tell us about it! Leave a comment on this post, or connect with Mobiata on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or find us on Instagram @Mobiata!

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Dec 24 '12

Great Tips to Surviving a Long Haul Flight

Depending on where you’re flying this holiday season, you may potentially be up in the air for an entire day. If you feel like a flight from the east to west coast is almost too much to take, imagine flying from New York City all the way to Australia. Let’s just say, it’s pretty crazy. Independent Traveler  recently wrote a piece, 10 Ways to Survive a Long Haul Flight. We love their tips, and wanted to share some below. You can see the full article here!

Upgrade.
When traveling long-haul, you have no better friend on the planet than your frequent flier miles. On the Tokyo - Newark flight I was disappointed to see come to an end, I enlisted the help of my travel agent to find flights on which I could burn up all of my Continental miles to upgrade my entire trip. It meant catching puddle jumpers to my final destination in Japan (Gifu), but a couple of short extra flights were a small price to pay for 27 hours of first-class legroom, fully reclining chairs, edible meals, entertainment and breathing space.

Escape.
You will want to have a rock-solid plan for frittering away several hours of your flight, and I don’t mean working; staring at spreadsheets and writing proposals may burn up hours, but it does not make them vanish. You want these hours to disappear almost without a trace. Think headphones and Hollywood blockbusters. Getting a lot of work done is fine — rarely do you have 15 consecutive hours without a phone or e-mail, so I encourage bringing 
some work — but work will fail you when you get to the brutal middle hours of this ordeal. Headphones and Hollywood; don’t stray from this.

Bring your go-to gear.
When it comes to surviving flights, I am not a gear guy. I can’t be bothered to lug around neck pillows, eye masks, earplugs, noise-canceling headphones, etc. —
except on a long-haul flight. As I note above, your total carry-on haul should be limited, but you may want to consider some of these relatively small survival tools. Your body and brain will thank you for every small comfort you can provide, and the inconvenience of packing and carrying these around is dwarfed by the misery of 15 hours in flight with crying children, pilot announcements, engine noise and a major crick in your neck. Gear up.

Board relatively rested.
Don’t count on a long-haul flight as a good place to catch up on sleep — it’s not. As attractive and intuitive as it seems to get on a long-haul flight extremely tired, hoping to sleep the whole way, you are in for a world of hurt if you 
can’t sleep for any reason. You will be on the plane long enough to catch a few winks even if you are somewhat rested, and my advice is to take it when it comes; if your eyes start to droop, get out the eye covers and earplugs, and go with it. If you throw away a solid two-hour nap on a few extra rounds of Angry Birds, you might well be angry at yourself later.

What is the longest flight you’ve ever been on, and what are some tips to get through it? Leave a comment on this post, or connect with Mobiata on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or find us on Instagram @Mobiata!

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Dec 21 '12

App Guide: Best Travel Apps for Kids

Let’s face it, kids and traveling don’t always go hand in hand. Often, all adults can ask for is that their children cooperate and don’t get too antsy while on a plane, train, or long road trip. While some adults aren’t all that fond of their kids spending hours in front of a screen, many will admit that when it comes to those hours spent traveling, items like their iPhone and tablet have become a real savior! The great thing is, there are tons of apps out there that are educational and fun, which is a win-win for both adults and kids. Here are a few great apps for kids to take with them on their next trip.

PBS Kids Video App: Ages 2–9
This is a great app for kids who enjoy PBS KIDS television series. This app features more than 1,000 videos from over a dozen top PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! Series, including shows such as The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That and Sesame Street, to name a few. The app is child-friendly and easy for kids to navigate by browsing and watching videos at home or on the road.

Alfred
This app is simply awesome! It’s perfect to help a child explore a new city for the first time. Alfred the robot concierge acts as your guide through U.S. travels. In the beginning Alfred will ask questions about what kinds of restaurants you like. Then he’ll start recommending places so you can approve or deny. The more you use Alfred, the better he is at choosing places you love. Then, when you get to a new town, you can trust his picks based on previous favorites. This is a clever travel app for the whole family to use together.

Stack the States
A fantastic app for any child who is interested in geography, and the perfect app for a long plane ride across the U.S.! Kids will learn about states and their shapes, capitals, and other locations in this four-in-one game with cartoon states. Kids can stack, tumble and slide them around like puzzle pieces. There are various levels, and each time a level is completed, you earn a state to add to your country map.

Kids Maps
Another great map app for kids. Unlike some of the other map apps for kids, this one doesn’t have too much fluff, but is rather based on a simple premise: See the state and drag it to its correct place on the map. The design is fun and colorful, and the app provides interesting and funny facts about each state, such as, “North Dakota. North Dakota is where lots of geese live.” It’s an app that can absolutely educate, and is great for the adults too!

Sunday Drive
This app is fun and entertaining, and great for the whole family. It turns the dull and potentially boring car ride or road trip into an exciting part of your day or vacation. This app points out scenic routes along the way, historical landmarks, fun places to eat and local hidden gems that you may be missing! It’s certainly great app to spice up a long car ride.

What travel apps do you recommend for kids? Leave a comment on this post, or connect with Mobiata on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or find us on Instagram @Mobiata!

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Dec 20 '12

Our Favorite Instagram Photos of 2012

2012 was a big year for us here at Mobiata, and one of the exciting things we started to get involved in was Instagram. Naturally being a lover of photography and travel, Instagram has become such a fun way to share our favorite pictures, and also an awesome tool to follow others. Below are 7 of our absolute favorites that we’ve posted this year!

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Bike riding in Amsterdam

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Beautiful sky view from flight

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Aerial shot in Toronto, Canada

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Just another busy day in Times Square

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A slice of paradise in West Palm Beach

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The busy city of Munich, Germany during Oktoberfest

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A fantastic view from right below the Eiffel Tower

Share your travel Instagram photos with us! Share your photo by posting on Mobiata’s Facebook wall, or Twitter page, or find us on Instagram @Mobiata and we’ll follow back!

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Dec 19 '12

Gear Guide: Tips and Tricks for Packing Smart

Photo:  Some rights reserved by jetalone

Heading off on an adventure sometime soon? Maybe it’s your first journey abroad. The thought of packing (and figuring out what to pack) can be quite daunting. And for some reason, whenever people are packing, they suddenly feel the need to bring items they never even use in the first place, because, what if?

We get it, it’s confusing! While there is no one right or wrong way, we can definitely help shed some light on how to pack realistically.

If you don’t use it at home, don’t pack it
While you literally may be traveling across the world, it doesn’t mean the everyday items you will be wearing and using will end up being all that different. It’s a classic mistake first-timers going abroad make, and one even seasoned travelers find themselves making. Of course you’ll need to pack accordingly based on the weather and climate, as well as any extra items you’ll need for specific things you’ll be doing there (ski goggles, bathing suit) – but there’s no need to pack anything that you have to spend too much time debating. Leave it at home, you won’t miss it!

Buy things when you get there
All those little things can start to add up, making your bag heavier and taking up unnecessary space. Lotions, shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays – you can pick up that stuff once you arrive. You might even end up discovering a new brand you love at a great price if you’re abroad. Plus, traveling with those items can get sticky…literally. If you’ve ever had a shampoo bottle explode, you know what we’re talking about.

Use storage bags

Packing cubes, mesh storage bags, whatever you prefer – but these guys are a great way to keep yourself organized when you’re packing a variety of clothing attire for different destinations and itineraries.  This way, what makes sense to be together, stays together, and you don’t end up with a big jumble of clothes in a ball. 

Mini-size it
If you can go with a smaller version of something, do so! From blow dryers and make-up bags (pack the make-up you actually wear!) to flashlights and umbrellas, if you can get a smaller version or own one – most definitely bring it. There’s nothing worse than lugging around heavy bags from one place to the next, and the smaller your items are – the less cluttered your hotel room will get.

Know the current airline luggage rules
Make sure to call your airlines or check online for the latest information regarding your airline’s luggage rules. If you’d like to avoid additional fees and unnecessary stress the day of travel, make sure to understand how many pieces of luggage may be checked and the maximum dimensions and weight allowed for each bag.

 

What tips do you have to add to the list? Share them with us! Leave a comment on this post, or connect with Mobiata on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or find us on Instagram @Mobiata!

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Dec 18 '12

Street Art

Since it’s all about color today!

Street Art

Since it’s all about color today!

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Dec 18 '12

Virtual Carry-On: Colorful Places of the World

Photo: thecoolist.com

There is something so magical about color. Bright and colorful cities have such a distinct, unique character to them. They’re easy on the eyes and can’t help but make you want to see everything! From the architecture and design to the beauty of nature itself - If you love art and color, and want to take in some of the most beautiful scenes in the world, there are a handful of places you may just want to add to your bucket list. The Coolist rounded up a list of 10 vibrant cities around the world, and we are jaw-dropped over some of these amazing photos! Check the full list out here!

Cinque Terre, Italy
The pearl of Italy’s riviera is not a city, per se, but a collection of five seaside villages that are together celebrated as an UNESCO World Heritage site.  
Cinque Terre, Italy comprises the villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore, all of which are perched high above the quiet Mediterranean below.  These villages climb the mountainous overlook with bright, varied colors, appearing as if they were drawn in place by the pastel hand of a dreaming artist. 

Jodhpur, India
Generations ago, the priestly caste of Jodhpur, India painted their homes blue to separate themselves from the rest of the citizenry.  It wasn’t long until the rest of the old city, Brahmins or not, took up the tradition and painted their homes blue as well.  While the city has expanded far beyond its old walls today, its central core is almost entirely indigo in color.  Ask a few locals about the color choice today, and you’ll receive many answers.  Some may point to the priestly caste years ago, others suggest it wards off mosquitoes, and others claim the blue keeps their homes cool under the hot Indian sun.

St. Johns, Canada
The city of St. Johns on the island of Newfoundland is arguably Canada’s most colorful city, a characteristic in contrast to its otherwise chilly climate.  The cultural gem of its province, St. Johns features many museums, art galleries and urban parks throughout its hilly coastal environs.  In the hip sections of the city, low-rise buildings have been painted in a vibrant array of colors, a visual quality that is noticeable even from the ships that pass by.  When it comes to color, there’s nothing dull about this hamlet on the easternmost point of North America.

San Francisco, CA
Despite its standing as the most culturally-progressive city in the United States, there’s another rainbow of colors shining brightly in San Francisco.  This densely-packed peninsula city is home to a colorful architectural identity, one reflected in the varied paint styling that changes from door to door.  The Painted Ladies, a row of homes in San Francisco’s Lower Haight district, are one of the most recognizable works of color in the city, but bright colors can be found anywhere throughout the town.

And our favorite one of all:

Valparaiso, Chile 
has been called the “Ocean’s Sweetheart”, “The Jewel of the Pacific” and the city that “goes to paradise”– and it is also the cultural capitol of this geographically narrow nation.  It is covered with color from city limit to city limit, a characteristic which has charmed Chileans and foreigners for generations.  The city of Valparaiso climbs from the shore of the pacific into the mountains above, covering the hills with a sight as rich as the personalities within.  Its culture, its color and its progressive spirit have earned it another nickname which fits this list quite well– the San Francisco of the South.

Where are some of the most colorful places you’ve ever been? Leave a comment on this post, or connect with Mobiata on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or find us on Instagram @Mobiata!

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Dec 17 '12

Understanding a Local Culture

Photo: Some rights reserved by Simon_sees

We’ve all heard it before, “Do as the locals do.” When traveling to a new place – be it a city, state, country or continent, one of the very best ways to get the full experience is to act like a local. It’s up to the tourist as to just how far they’d like to take it, and we think the more local you act, the better! Getting an up close and personal account of the way a culture experiences the world around them is such a fulfilling, exciting and eye-opening experience.

National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel recently wrote a piece about some important rules and social norms to learn about before heading to a new country. Cultural consultant Dean Foster, an expert at helping business executives negotiate sensitive deals overseas, shares his personal ideas on etiquette for over a dozen countries with his latest venture, CultureGuide apps. (Talk about awesome travel apps!) Below are some of our favorite universal rules that Foster discusses. You can check out the full article here.

Practice the local greeting. Most Thais prefer the wai (palms pressed together as a prayer); the Japanese drop their eyes and bow slightly. Muslims don’t shake hands with the opposite sex.

Mind your table manners. In parts of Asia, chopsticks left standing upright in a bowl of rice symbolize death.

Drink as the locals drink. During a toast, Slovaks hold eye contact from the moment a drink is lifted until it’s placed back on the table.

Be aware of fashion statements. In Polynesian cultures such as Hawaii, a flower tucked behind the right ear means you’re single (and ready to mingle). Wearing a striped tie in the U.K. may imply membership in an exclusive club or school.

Be flexible about space norms. Expect to be elbowed and bumped into on the streets and subways of South Korea.

Avoid offensive hand gestures. The middle finger isn’t the only digit that disrespects. The Dutch tap thumbnails together in disgust; the A-OK signal is X-rated in Brazil.

“Delight in the expectation that you will experience things you don’t understand. People are generally forgiving of cultural ignorance — you’re not one of us, so how could you know? — as long as you’re respectful.”

What are some local do’s and don’ts for other cultures that you’ve learned through your travels? Leave a comment on this post, or connect with Mobiata on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or find us on Instagram @Mobiata!

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