Archive for the ‘Online Media’ Category

Focused readers (and those feed reading rather than bellying up to the trough) may have overlooked two new elements in the sidebar.  Let me draw your attention to them now.

Further down the page I’ve added a “Crossing my Radar” box in which I share links to some of the most interesting and useful posts I’ve spotted across the blogosphere.   If you like what I’ve got to say, I think you’ll like these too.  This is constantly updated as the articles, ahem, cross my radar, so keep checking back to find the latest and greatest in no-budget travel news.  It is even possible to add these as a feed piped directly to your prefered feed reader, if you swing that way.

For the month of December, I’ve added a link to the Passports with Purpose project.  If you haven’t read about it yet, here it is in a nutshell:

Passports with Purpose is a travelblogger-driven fundraiser for Heifer International, a nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate hunger and poverty around the globe.  I know many of you are kind-hearted souls who have probably given or received a duck or sheep or two with this organization and are familiar with their programs. 

If you haven’t given Heifer money yet this year, or if you’re still unsure what to give some of those hard-to-shop-for ninnies on your list, let me suggest you donate by purchasing a raffle ticket from Passports with Purpose.  All proceeds go directly to Heifer, but you (or your chosen ninny) are also eligible to win some amazing (and expensive) prizes, donated by travelbloggers across the globe.   You can find the full list of prizes here — there’s plenty for travelers and non-travelers alike.

All tickets are sold through 29 December over the First Giving site.  For each $10 donation you make, you’ll be entered into the raffle for the prize you’ve selected.  Be sure to enter your email address and the prize you want to win in the comments field.  The organizers will pull winners and notify them via email on December 30th.

For even better chances at a teensy-tiny prize, I’m still looking for reader suggestions for NYC and DC.  I’m surprised that no one’s left a comment on New York yet (meaning your chances of winning currently stand at 100%).  So click through and add your hard-won experience today!

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This Just In published an interesting interview with Alex Boylan, star of the upcoming show Around the World for Free.  Boylan earned his fame and travel cred as the winner of the U.S. reality television show The Amazing Race 2.  Please go read the interview, (watch this clip, if you choose,) then come back and join in the following discussion.

In principle, I agree with much of Boylan’s hard-earned advice and offer in many ways a less extreme version of the same ethos here on this blog.

At the same time, this project (and other travel experiences/blogs like it) lead me to reflect on how gendered travel can be.  How many of these places and experiences were open to them simply because they were two young men rather than two young women undertaking this journey?

This is not to imply that women *couldn’t* do this trip or that women *shouldn’t* travel anywhere these men did, or that we are somehow inherently more fragile or weak than male travelers.  But at the same time, women do consider the risks of rides or offers of accommodation from strange men, traveling in areas of unrest and even being out after dark differently from their male counterparts.  Further, female travelers are harrassed and targeted in ways that men on the road are not.  I’m sure it’s not possible to quantify the difference that this confidence and access makes, but I believe more effort should be made to note it.

I don’t pretend to represent all female travelers and would love to open a discussion on this subject.  While I hope you will take my lead and leave your thoughtful comments primarily on this topic below, there are two more points I think are worth making. 

As an anthropologist, I wonder to what degree the camera influenced their interactions with their subjects.  Boylan touches on this only slightly in this excerpt and doesn’t reflect on how the camera affected his own behavior either.

Relatedly, does travel lose some of its transformative power when your home audience is so immediate?  My college Russian professor thought we were spoiled because we had the internet while studying abroad; when he studied behind the Iron Curtain, the only contact with home came during 3-minute phone calls placed from the central telephone office.  Now students can (and do) twitter and vlogcast their experiences just like Boylan did.  But do we  — in broadening the horizons of our friends, family and interested audiences “traveling along” with us — sacrifice our own deeper understanding, preventing full immersion by surrounding ourselves in a protective bubble of interaction with the familiar?  Is there not something meaningful in unfettered escape from home?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Related post:  Traveling (Solo) Safely

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I’m a big fan of installations — high-concept, usually temporary, art displays — the appreciation of which increases the more of yourself you give over to experiencing the piece.

Though I’ve never (gasp!) really been to New York and I can’t imagine myself living in the city, I do have an appreciation for the way art installations are often integrated into public space there. So it should be no surprise that I was disappointed to have missed “The Gates” by Christo, nor that I am now encouraging anyone who has the chance to visit “Pulse Park” by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, residing till November 17 in Madison Square Park.

I mean, when else will you have the chance for your heartbeat to dance across prime real estate in 200 theatrical spotlights? Seriously cool!

So to my New Yorker friends and readers: get thee down to the Flatiron District after dusk and light up the night — I want to see your pictures and live vicariously through you and your cardiac rhythms!

Thanks to This Just In for the tip.

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Last week marked the end of the one-month trial period of Montreal’s new public bicycle-sharing program, Bixi.

The system will be up and running for good from mid-April 2009, though those signing up before December 15 will have access to the bikes earlier than the general population in the spring.

Cheapest options for tourists will be either daily ($5 CDN) or monthly ($28 CDN) subscriptions, which allow you unlimited 30-minute rides during your stay for free.

Toronto has expressed an interest in implementing a public bike system itself and last week invited Bixi representatives to present their program to its citizens. The Toronto Star reports the program should be up and running by summer 2009, despite the lack of a public plan or even a mention of any such thing on Toronto’s Cycling Committee webpage.

If you’re interested in reading more about the nuts and bolts of the system Montreal developed (in order to, for example, suggest it to your city council), check out this link: Public Bike System.

Planning a trip to our neighbors to the north? Tune in tomorrow for a guest post full of no-budget tips for Montreal visitors.

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If you’re new to Less Than a Shoestring, please take some time and have a poke around! I welcome your questions and comments on the site. This blog shows that travel can indeed be both pleasurable and frugal. Because I live in Europe, you’ll find loads of information on European no-budget travel — but in keeping with This Just In’s post and for your ease, I’ve put together below a collection of my U.S. tips and bargains.

Once a month, the Travel on a Shoestring Carnival turns its focus to the Americas. You’ll find lots of great tips from around the blogosphere collected in the following posts:

Every Friday, the blog features a travel freebie. Some timeless classics for U.S. staycationers and backyard travelers:

Not free, but cheap activities include:

For those traveling a bit further afield, take a look at the posts:

If you’ll be driving to your destination, you’ll want to read:

Before flying, from the wild and wooly world of U.S. airline travel:

Changes U.S. travelers and visitors should know about:

See the no-budget traveler take on the New York Times’ “Frugal Traveler” in the posts:

If you like what you see, subscribe to the RSS feed and have the latest no-budget travel tips delivered to you! It takes just a second to set up, ensuring you never miss a single post.

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Hundreds of museums across the U.S. have signed on to grant free admission to visitors this Saturday, Sept. 27, led by Smithsonian magazine and the organization’s affiliate museums.  You can check the list of offerings by searching your state here.

For you and a guest to qualify, fill out this online form and print the subsequent “card.”  Turn in this card at the museum of your choosing.  (NB: take a copy of the card for each museum you intend to visit.)

Art, science and history museums and even gardens and arboreta are represented, so there is something for everyone.  With all the talk about the presidential race and tonight’s scheduled debate, perhaps you’d like a little historical perspective on the office of the President and the men behind the decisions that have shaped our country?  Check out the following museums, participating in Museum Day:

If you, your friends and your families participate, link back here with your review of the exhibit and your free day out!

Thanks to Amy @ The Q Family Adventure for the tip!

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Welcome to the sixth Travel on a Shoestring Carnival for South America, Africa, and the Middle East. Here you’ll find South American, African, and Middle Eastern (and Antarctic!) travel tips for those without a lot of money to spend.

Photographic inspiration this week thanks to Heather Bays and the kind folks at Intelligent Travel. You can read about Heather’s setup for the “perfect shot” in her hostel at Global Eye: Cordoba, Argentina.

Chris Christensen of the Amateur Traveler interviews a round-the-world cyclist on the most hospitable country that he has visited in (surprise?) Iran by Bike.

Nomadic Matt explains how a frugal lifestyle and travel ethic easily finance an unusual amount of travel in his post How I do it, part 2. Also a good read is his post on Keeping Yourself Motivated to Travel.

Joel Widzer has provocative ideas — such as (no joke) following natural disasters — to save you money on travel in his post Insider’s Guide: Contrarian Travel Tactics at “Where Next?”:The Away.com Travel Blog.

Greg Laden encourages you to neither give nor request travel souvenirs in his post Vicarious Travelers and the Poison in the Gift at Greg Laden’s Blog.

If you buy that, then perhaps a read of Flyaway Cafe‘s Mary Jo Manzanares‘ post Create a Travel Journal on the Go is in order. She writes, “You can save on expensive souvenirs by making your own travel journal as you go.”

Steve James covers the most common amateur packing mistakes in What NOT To Bring Backpacking: 10 Things To Leave At Home, a guest post at nomad4ever.

Last but not least, if company’s coming, lay out fresh towels, scrub the toilet and read Tip Diva‘s post on Top Ten Tips – Being A Courteous Host posted at Tip Diva.

Thanks for reading along. If you’d like to see your post on budget travel in South America, Africa or the Middle East in this carnival, submit using the online form found here. Encourage your favorite regional bloggers to submit posts for next month! Our next carnival will be posted Saturday, when we return to Europe. You can submit your posts through Wednesday for that carnival here.

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