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What does it mean to be a guest versus a tourist? The difference became clear to me during a recent trip to Moloka’i. During my five day stay in this oft overlooked Hawaiian island, I had the opportunity to visit Hālawa Valley. In ancient times, it was estimated that 5,000 people lived in what’s said to be the oldest settlement in the state of Hawaii.
Hālawa Valley’s cultural leader, Anakala Pilipo Solatario, was chosen at the age of five (!!!) to carry on the legacy of his people and heritage. Now 75 years old, he’s the last living Hawaiian descendant that was born, raised and still lives in Hālawa Valley.
When you visit Hālawa Valley, visitors are encouraged to follow proper cultural protocol. Protocol is an offering, in this case, asking for permission to enter private, sacred land.
We wrapped our offerings in ti leafs, first removing the spine to create a more flexible surface. My gift was salmon jerky, an item reflective of my home in the Pacific Northwest.
After a greeting and overview of Hālawa Valley from both Anakala and his son, Greg Kawaimaka Solatario (the second youngest of five children), we were led a short distance to Anakala’s house for protocol. As we lined up, songs were sung in Hawaiian with the utmost of reverence. One by one, we walked up to Anakala and placed our offering on a nearby stone. Then, we pressed our noses together and inhaled to exchange hā, the breath of life. We were then granted permission to continue on the cultural hike of the valley.
From that moment, that strange unspoken exchange of spiritual power, I no longer felt like a visitor. Instead, I felt like a welcomed guest and part of the Solatario family. It’s hard to describe the inclusiveness this ritual provided, but I felt similar warmth in all of my interactions across Molokai. People were welcoming, in an authentic, we genuinely hope to see you again kind of way. Never did I feel like I was a one hit wonder tourist passing through any shop, attraction or restaurant. I think Greg summed it up best during his talk:
Picture it: you're traveling, and about to head out on a tour that will visit photo-worthy landmarks. What do you pack to bring? Your digital camera, which fits in your pocket? Your iPhone, which already has an internal camera that's ten times better than the one you took to prom 10 years ago?
Or perhaps your iPad, which has a camera of equal quality, but is packaged inconveniently in an unwieldy machine that requires its own equally unwiedling carrying case that you inevitably fumble with as you try to open to expose the camera lens?
If you answered the last: UGH.
There are two kinds of travelers in the world: those who travel everywhere with their iPads, and those of us who loathe them because — well, we're trying to enjoy the vista of this lovely tropical waterfall, and you keep block our view by holding up something the size of a street sign.
Paris Travel / Architecture Travel / Street Art Travel / Bridges / Tourist Traps / Tourists / → All Tags
Travelers to Paris this winter (and from now on) will enjoy improved views as a popular form of tourist graffiti has been cleared from bridges over the Seine River.
The "No Love Locks" movement of earlier this year, which protested the practice of attaching a heavy-duty lock to a bridge rail to "secure" a relationship, has been successful. While gaining signatures for the petition, No Love Locks estimated that the Pont de Arts Bridge alone was covered with 93 metric tons of extraneous metal. Aside from their being unsightly, the heavy use of these locks is a problem for the structural integrity of the historic bridges.
Are they art? No. Are they romantic? Maybe for the fleeting minute you attach a lock and then leave the bridge, making its clean-up Paris' problem. "It's vandalism, and it's taken the ambiance away from the bridges."
City officials began a mass removal of the locks in September, replacing them with plastic panels over the bridge architecture to prevent tourists from attaching more. And the difference is definitely noticeable.
Tourists / Travel News / Venice Travel / Italy Travel / Luggage / Baggage / Checked Luggage / Travel Bans / → All Tags
As there are only two ways to get around Venice (by foot or by boat), tourists who haven't lined their pockets with enough cash for a private water taxi transfer typically have to hoof it along canals, down alleys, and over bridges to reach their accommodation, lugging their baggage the whole way.
2013 was a record year for Venice tourism; La Serenissima welcomed nearly 60,000 daily visitors on average. The Venice Times actually figured out that each Venetian who lives in the historic center (excluding the islands) is "'in charge' of about 354 tourists per day." Compare that to Florence's 22 tourists per resident, and it's obvious Venice is a little crowded. Each visitor naturally arrives with some belongings, and that's exactly the problem.
Vienna Travel / Austria Travel / Europe Travel / What NOT To Do In / What NOT To Do / VIE / Travel Tips / Tourists / Tourism / → All Tags
We're tempted to describe Vienna as Europe's other Paris, but that would definitely fall under the "what not to do" title since Vienna is wholly itselfa wondrous city built with a heady mix of majesty and cultural creativity. Thinking Vienna can be seen with a quick trip of 3 or 4 days while en route to Prague or Budapest is a common mistake, but visitors put themselves at risk of permanent infatuation with any length visit.
As with any world capital, there are time- and money-saving tricks as well as special nuances of etiquette to help you best enjoy your stay. So without further ado, here is the Jaunted guide of What Not To Do In Vienna: The Top 5 Tourist Mistakes.
Tourism / Travel Tech / Segways / Tours / Travel Tips / Lists / Tourists / Fort Lauderdale Travel / → All Tags
Segways. Where there's a tourist hotspot city center, there's likely to be a Segway tour or two of it. Sometimes you're onboard, and sometimes you're not, but whatever your opinion of Segway tours, it's clear to see that they're here to stay.
We recently hopped on a Segway tour in Ft Lauderdale, Florida for something a little different, and we'd be lying if we said Segways didn't come with a list of pros and cons. If you've ever debated on taking a tour or even turned your nose up to strapping on a helmet and quietly scooting around, this is for you:
Lists / Basic Bitches / Tourists / Bad Ideas / → All Tags
The worst thing to be, at least according to the Internet, is a "Basic Bitch."
Know Your Meme explains the term as used to describe an "individual who displays cliche, conformist or otherwise predictable character traits," and the hustle of the airport and tight confines of airplanes are the perfect breeding grounds for such behavior.
So, how Basic are you when it comes to travel? Find out with our very scientific list:
Video travel logs - especially those created by major media organizations trying to check the online travel journalism box - almost always fall somewhere in between annoying and really annoying. Most of the time they're simply uninteresting, and then watching one is the equivalent of being forced to sit through a slideshow about somebody's family vacation. Every once in a while they're fascinating, and then you end up feeling the same kind of wanderlust envy that you get when your friends post Facebook pictures from the Caribbean.
So we were kind of surprised when the recent New York Times video on Copenhagen travel turned out not to suck. The spot - and the attached article - are part of the Times' "36 Hours" series, which mixes straight travel reporting with - and now we're quoting their press release - "three-day itineraries for exploring cities worldwide." We've embedded it below.
EW GROSS / Bad Ideas / That is Nasty / Passenger Shaming / Health Travel / Flight Attendants / Tourists / Facebook / → All Tags
The struggle is real.
Flying in Economy Class isn't the steak dinner and ample legroom experience it once was, and travelers have adapted to the lessening space and tightened liberties remarkably well; that is, until you view the Passenger Shaming Facebook page (and it's not just limited to Economy).
Started by a flight attendant in early 2013, the page has amassed over 200,000 "likes" of the submitted photos of passengers behaving badly. It's spread to Instagram and Twitter, not to mention spawned a small line of T-shirts.
Although it began with the aim of allowing cabin crew to vent frustration with ill-mannered and unhygienic flyers, it now welcomes image submissions from anyone and anywhere. Some have even spotted themselves among the shamed; as you can imagine, they're not flattered by the attention.
In order to stay out of the Hall of Passenger Shame, follow these few simple rules of in-flight etiquette:
Travel Photography / Airline Blogs / KLM / AMS / Amsterdam Travel / Tourists / Citizens of the Airport / Humans of New York / Facebook / → All Tags
Humans of New York, the photography project with nearly 10 million Facebook fans, 1.6 million Instagram followers, and a bestselling book, went international this season. The man behind HONY, Brandon Stanton, headed out with UNICEF on a 50-day trip through 10 countries, designed to apply his style to a broader (and certainly more war-torn) base.
HONY also has another current international connection, as KLM has been inspired enough to adapt the Humans of New York style in the creation of their "Citizens of the Airport" (COTA) series. Through portraits and small interviews, the airline gets up close with individual travelers at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport to learn a little of their life around each particular journey.
It's fun to be part of a club, sharing thoughts and experiences with new friends. After all, no man is an island. And the Travelers' Century Club is one we can really get behind since it promotes travel to more than just the usual countries; the Club is especially focused on reaching the most remote islands and once-in-a-lifetime corners of the Earth.
Our planet has about 195 sovereign states, which naturally makes for a lot of passport stamps if you're focused on visiting them all. Fortunately membership to the TCC can be had for less; to join, it only takes a round total of 100 visits.
Travel Photography / Flytographer / Tourists / Instagram / Europe Travel / North America Travel / Hawaii Travel / → All Tags
Let's be real. Nothing is more embarrassing than a selfie stick, but you can't just travel around with a personal photographer in tow. Or can you?
Flytographer.com finally has a solution for travelers who are struggling for selfies, consistently disappointed with vacation photos, or feel like they're not living in the moment with an eye to a viewfinder. That solution is to book a local vacation photographer who will tag along to craft an informal photo shoot in your destination.