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Globetrotting à la carte

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Planning a trip can be fun and exciting in itself. So much to choose from: A clear whiteboard if money’s not a decision factor, with a selection of seemingly infinite destinations and ways to get there. And while you are planning, new tools are fast developing to assist you.

Today it is about the journey, not just the destination. The experience includes getting there. Slow travel is in, including globetrotting. It’s also about breaking up the trip by rail, car or cruise to enjoy a boutique hotel or a trek in the wilderness along the way.

Building on the success of the cruise, rail is reinventing itself. And in keeping with “slow,” Traincations are hot, with lower fares on the ground, pressure to reduce the carbon footprint, a bit of nostalgia, and an appreciation of getting somewhere slowly brings rail travel thundering back into style.

Growing exponentially is enlightenment and edification. This includes gaining new skills by assisting within the destination community, absorbing culture and perhaps a new skill, plus the justification of making a difference. And it’s the pursuit of the cultural experience that is driving stays at historical palaces and non-chain accommodations such as the Canal House in Amsterdam, opened in February 2011.

TripAdvisor move over. An interactive online trend that will enhance your travel is the new apps and travel social media cum travel communities. Foursquare uses a check-in system.

As soon as you’ve pressed “enter,” advising where you are, travel tips pour in from your followers and local businesses. There’s Tripatini, an online network of globetrotters sharing their experiences and travel tips named “Facebook for travellers” by the New York Post. It lets you share statuses with friends and followers around the world. There is an Ask the Expert for real insider information. Facebook recently launched Hotel Me, an application where friends are able to make informed recommendations that allow you to plan your next trip.

“Green” has arrived. This catchword now includes responsibility and sustainability. Hotels, are moving to zero carbon and integrating “volunteerism” into green and responsible travel programs. And car rental companies are quickly following, adding more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles to their fleets than ever before. In 2011 you can be both on trend and ethical.


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