Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Back to Europe soon!

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Having traveled extensively through Europe, I’ve chosen to return there next month for my honeymoon! Zurich, Lausanne, Gruyeres, my favorite places in Switzerland, my favorite country in the world. Can’t wait!

My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones ten years ago today. Travel has never been the same since, but it shouldn’t deter anyone from exploring their world. Travelers, though it may be tougher these days, we still win if we keep on travelin!

1 Year since my trip around the world in 18 Days – The adventure continues…

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

A year ago today I was heading for the airport in Istanbul to catch a flight to Venice for the start of the across Europe by Train segment of my round the world trip. Wonderful memories from every place I stopped, and equally important, hundreds of incredible pictures from everywhere I went. Fantastic stuff.

Since I returned in May 2010, the first thing I did was compile the best of the pictures, and the travel blog I wrote along the way into my book: Around The World In 18 Days – A Fresh Look at some of the World’s Most exciting Destinations. I found a potential publisher but alas, couldn’t get the funding to print and distribute the thing, so with months of work into the book design and editing, I started looking into the idea of self-publishing for the iPad.

It’s been quite a learning experience, but I finally got the first book: Around The World In 18 Days in the App Store for iPad in December 2010. It didn’t really take that long, I actually have work to do and I managed to put that together in ‘spare’ time, but still, I learned a lot about the dos and don’ts  of electronic publishing and I’ve sold a fair quantity of the full book since then.

The biggest expense for me was trying to promote it. Manual promotion through Facebook, Twitter and Stumbleupon as well as commenting on any relevant travel blogs I could find worked quite well. Paid advertising was a hit or miss affair, never really driving the numbers I needed to sell quantity. So, I pulled back on the paid ads and instead spent my time hustling travel editors and sending out free copies of my book. Every review featured on any travel page or blog worked wonders, delivering huge spikes in traffic and sales. Interestingly, the most successful reviews (as far as numbers sold relative to time of review) were from tech and App review web sites. None of the travel blogs or sites came anywhere close to the tech blog numbers.

That made me realize that what drives the electronic market for content isn’t really the content niche I was trying to appeal to, it’s a much broader market of people generally looking for cool stuff to put on their cool  new iPads. With that in mind, our job as travel writers or publishers is to try to get noticed in a massively crowded general marketplace where games and free ‘loss-leader’ products stay prominent in the App Store shelf space and niche market products have to compete for space with global publishers on very limited shelf space – which also has a very limited shelf life.

The bottom line is the App Store market (I’m writing here only about the iPad market, it’s what I know, so if you read electronic publishing market, I’m referring only to the rather large segment of it for iPad, because that is all I have experience with) is just as hard to break into as, say, the shelf space of a national or international book store. Do I fit in with Fodor’s and Lonely Planet, or do I fit in with the more eclectic ‘travel journal’ type of small publication? Do I try to keep my products visible with ads or promotions or keep hustling for the big review someplace?

Well, I have found that the only thing that works is patience. Since publishing my first book for iPad, I  have also published two more individual ‘Chapters’ of the book as standalones, which are selling very well (48 Hours in Hong Kong and 48 Hours in Cairo) at a lower price point. The beauty of all this is I can do it myself, if, of course, I have time. I’d rather be traveling, but this adventure is the future of publishing and if done well, and done well consistently, could be a rather lucrative revenue stream to fund future travels.

Only time will tell.

Please check out my Travel Series on the App Store for iPad:

Around The World In 18 Days – $5.99

48 Hours In Hong Kong - $1.99

48 Hours In Cairo – $1.99

Around The World, or just one stop, now choose individual destination chapters for your iPad!

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Around The World In 18 Days… Again!

My first round the world trip was so much fun, I’m doing it again! You can read and see all about my first round the world trip in AROUND THE WORLD IN 18 DAYS for iPad. It’s available now on the App Store for just $5.99, please check it out!

Meanwhile,  I’ve made the world even more accessible by creating five new Apps: 48 Hours in Cairo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Istanbul and Across Europe By Train, just $1.99 each! You can still buy the whole trip for just $5.99, but this new 48 Hours Series is completely new, all photos now optimized for full screen, new images, new local information and more, just $1.99!

48 HOURS IN CAIRO for iPad – fully interactive travel photo gallery and journal with added maps and local information. $1.99 - Download today for your iPad!

48 HOURS IN HONG KONG for iPad – fully interactive travel photo gallery and journal with added maps and local information. $1.99 - Download today for your iPad!

Around The World In 18 Days – Now available for your iPad!

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

ipad

ipad

I am proud to bring you Around The World In 18 Days exclusively for your iPad! Over 100 pages packed with over 300 photographs, tons of background, travel tips as well as a completely new section on Travel Photography Tips. It’s available today for just $5.99 from the Apple App Store for iPad.

With the completion of Around The World In 18 Days, I have one goal: to do it again! I’m already planning my next round the world itinerary for late 2011. My first round the world trip might well be called a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but since I started blogging this trip while I traveled, editing the copy and adding more and more pictures, I’ve relived the experience again and again, and the final result is this beautiful book for iPad, which gets better every time I look at it.

It’s about the experience, the joy, and the love of travel, of taking in every moment of the trip and trying to capture the way I felt about each moment. The trip and the book have inspired me to reach out and find other like-minded travelers, and try to be helpful with reviews and tips at every step of the way. I hope it inspires you to travel, too. Thank you again for visiting, and I hope you’ll take the time to check out my book, it’s available now in the App Store

Cheers, and happy travels!
- Andy

pad2

Places visited in this book: Hong Kong, Singapore, Cairo, Istanbul, Venice, Zurich, Bruges, London and Paris.

Find out more at www.AroundTheWorldBook.com

RTW TOP TEN – Top Ten Reasons to Travel Around The World!

Monday, October 18th, 2010

My destinations were Hong Kong, Singapore, Cairo, Istanbul, Venice, Zurich, Bruges, London and Paris. Fantastic trip. This Top Ten isn’t really destination related, more the overall cool stuff related to the RTW experience. Enjoy. I did!

My RTW TOP TEN – Now available exclusively in Around The World In 18 Days, it’s on the App Store for iPad!

Around the World with SpinFirst.com!

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

WINTER 2010 – Around the World in Eighteen Days


My first round the world trip was a dream come true, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure across 9 countries. I am already planning my second itinerary for early 2011, meanwhile, I have just put the finishing touches to a beautiful book of my first round the world trip: Around The World In 18 Days: An Fresh Look at Some of the World’s Most Exciting Destinations. 7″ x 9″, hardcover, 100 pages, over 200 full color original photographs, and a freshly edited version of the travel blog I wrote along the way with detailed itinerary notes and helpful tips. Click here to visit the book web site, and email me for more information!


AUGUST 2010 – Now Posted48 Hours in San Francisco!
A quick spin down to the city by the bay, and some fun pics and helpful information to share along the way!

JUNE, 2010 – SpinFirst.com DESTINATIONS SPINFACTORWe’ve just completed the first phase of SpinFirst.com’s SpinFactor, rating destinations based on Traveler Independence. Can you walk around to most attractions? Is it safe at night? How much does it cost to get to and from the airport? Is public transportation good, and is it affordable? Does the climate (weather and political!) suit walking, or do I need to take taxis/organized tours? All these factors affect your independence, your experience, your freedom to explore, so we rated destinations based on research and experience to try to provide a general guide to the approachability and visitor-friendliness of a destination. These ratings will be updated regularly to reflect changing politics, new research and any data we can find that will help you to know more about a place. We’re also tracking the top tourist destinations, most expensive cities and average hotel costs! Check it out, let us know what you think.


Thanks for checking out the SpinFirst.com Travel Blog. We’re here to help you find out more about traveling your world. Please contact us with your feedback and travel tips, we’d love to hear from you. Email us here…At SpinFirst.com, find out all about global destinations with our interactive World Map and Destination Guide designed to help you find out more about places around the world, and find easy ways to get there. It’s free, and fun to use — and it’ll soon be available for iPhone! Best of all, we’re giving you the World! If you sign up for our monthly travel newsletter, you’ll be entered to win a super cool free inflatable globe – we’re giving away 20 a month. Sign up today!


A selection of snaps from our recent Round the World Spin. Check out the gallery by clicking above and don’t miss the destination travel blogs: Hong Kong, Singapore, Cairo and Istanbul!Well, what a trip! Nine countries. Eleven airports. Nine train stations. Eighteen days. Paris, the perfect bookend to a wonderful spin around the world! Read all about it, After an exhilarating stay in London, the final report from Paris posted in 96 Hours across Europe by train. Rail Europe made the Europe train segment flawless.

Azumano Travel made the flying segments a breeze. Expedia.com hotel booking and discounts made that part of the trip not only meet my expectations, but in most cases exceed them. I did all my research at TripAdvisor.com, which is about the most valuable travel reference site out there. I’ve learned a lot about airlines trains, airports and travel essentials, some of which has made it into the individual destination blogs, the rest will be compiled into a more comprehensive travel tips guide coming soon. Thanks for following along on this amazing trip!

Read all the destination blogs here…

APRIL 29 – 48 Hours in Hong Kong

MAY 1 – 48 Hours in Singapore

MAY 4 – 48 Hours in Cairo

MAY 8 – 48 Hours in Istanbul

MAY 14 – Final stops on the world tour: Venice, Zurich, Bruges, London and Paris!
96 hours Across Europe by Train

HONG KONG – SINGAPORE – CAIRO – ISTANBUL – EUROPE BY TRAIN…

Monday, May 10th, 2010

APRIL 29 - 48 Hours in Hong Kong
MAY 1 - 48 Hours in Singapore
MAY 4 – 48 Hours in Cairo
MAY 8 - 48 Hours in Istanbul
MAY 14 – Final stops on the world tour! 96 hours Across Europe by Train

2 Days to go – Clouds clear over Europe!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

First flight: SFO – HKK – San Francisco to Hong Kong, saved the longest one for first! Seemed like a good starting point. Weather doesn’t seem to be too good there at the moment, hope I’ll find a break for photo panoramas. #ashtag volcano chaos in Europe seems to me mostly cleared up at the moment, so hopefully my planning will have paid off.

I’ve completed booking on all hotels, planes and trains. Hong Kong, Singapore, Cairo, Istanbul, Venice, Zurich, Bruges, London, Paris here I come! Feels good to have put aside the procrastination and commit to each location. Train tickets are in the mail, as, apparently, is the camera connection kit for my iPad. Weight is critical on this trip and I am really trying to avoid bringing the laptop, but, if the camera connect kit doesn’t arrive, my photographs must be saved, organized and posted as I go, and the laptop will have to come along for the ride.This is a big commitment for me, to not bring a full horse-power laptop on a trip. I do need to work, and to post blog items, upload images galleries, but 2lb is a big weight difference, and I like traveling light! — Update on this one, apparently the Camera Connection Kits are now shipping. I’ll believe it when I see it and, hopefully, be traveling light! UPDATE: No camera connect kit, and I have to keep up with committments while traveling so this laptop is going instead. I was looking forward to road-testing the iPad, but just can’t afford to a: not have somewhere to download and organize my photos, and b: just can’t make it work. It was worth a try. Maybe next Spin, I’ll have everythingI need to road test it.

I am looking forward to revisiting places I’ve spent time before (London and Zurich) and very excited about discovering all the new places (everywhere else!). I owe a lot to the good people at Lonely Planet for their in-depth travel information, as well as the many travelers who have taken the time to post reviews at tripadvisor.com and also at Expedia.com — these reviews, matched with price needs and location desires, have really helped me sort out what was at first an overwhelming choice of places to stay and see. I will be posting my hotel and travel experiences here as well as at the above links, because, as travelers, I feel a responsiblity to share the good and the bad of travel in the hope that others can take advantage of what I experience. That’s what this trip is all about!

SpinFirst.com has started to receive thousands of mailing list sign ups — did you know we’re giving away the world?! Just sign up to join our mailing list (include your mailing address) and we’ll send 20 lucky Spinners their own inflatable beach-ball globe every month! Offer is limited by supplies, we’ll be getting more soon, please be patient. I’m taking a bunch of these with me on the Round the World Trip, looking forward to giving them away along the way. More soon…

Flight Delays? Cancellations? Share your tips!

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Well, SpinFirst’s Travel Plans do include Europe but we’ll be passing through, hopefully, after the cloud has settled. Meanwhile, Got tips for when stuck at airports, delayed or cancelled flights? Share them with us! Use our Contact Form and let us know.

Our philosophy has always been ‘know before you go’ – but the best laid travel plans are often affected by bad weather or environmental problems you just can’t predict. Last time we got stuck in Chicago, it did take an hour or two to get our hotel voucher, but queueing for an hour or so was well worth it because Airlines generally won’t compensate after the fact, you have to go with their vouchers, their hotel arrangements.

While it is probably impossible to figure out every airport’s travel desk for every airline, we’ve become quite familiar with those desks at most U.S. hub cities (Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas) and getting there as soon as you discover an issue always pays off in getting sorted out quickly. If you’re traveling as a group, send ‘scouts’ to locate the travel desk for your airline and have the rest hang near the gate for the latest announcements. Our investment in a Star Alliance Executive Lounge Pass has more than paid for itself in the much quieter, and much friendlier service you get addressing the same issues, whether hotel arrangement, standyby or re-booking, as at the travel desk. Highly recommended if within your budget!