Travel Bug

The Travel Bug

 

Travel is the sorbet between courses of reality. 

Main Contents and Links:

About Me

USA Road Trips

General Travel Links

Life and Travels in Ukraine

Places I've Been Since May 1994

Life and Travels in Moldova

 My Blog

Life and Travels in Korea

About Me

I grew up in Santa Clarita, California, a medium-sized city about 45 minutes north of Los Angeles. I attended Saugus High School in Saugus, California and in 1994 I earned my B.A. in Social Work with a Minor in Political Science from Whittier College in Whittier, California.

I spent 5 years working for a government contractor in Washington D.C. before changing gears and getting into English as a Second Language education.  I got my Master’s Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education in 2001.

I then spent three years as a U.S. Department of State English Language Fellow, teaching English in Ukraine and doing teacher training in the nearby republic of Moldova.  After that I worked as an instructor at Samsung Human Resources Development Center in Seoul, Korea as an instructor at the University of California, Riverside Intensive English Program.  Currently I’m a Ph.D. student in Educational Linguistics at Penn GSE.

The rest of my home page is devoted to travel and related Web sites--where I am, where I've been, and any other information on travel which I've acquired. If you have any additions, questions, corrections, etc. please feel free to e-mail me.

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GENERAL TRAVEL LINKS

 

BLOGS AND FORUMS

Sometimes you really want to hear advice from someone who has been there. In addition to links on this page to my own travelogues and travel guides, you can go to these pages to find more stories and information from people:

BootsnAll

A web site with travel information, stories, forums, and blogs. A great all-around Web site.

Gather.com

Not quite a blog, not quite a newsgroup, but rather a place where people can post articles on just about anything. The travel articles seem to be written by authors who are more mature than the average 20something round-the-world backpacker. Plus, they have writing contests!

Tripadvisor.com

Has trip guides, plus Web site users who post their own thoughts and recommendations.

Virtual Tourist

Similar to Trip Advisor, except my friend Adam swears by this one.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

If you are planning to travel to another country you may find these sites useful:

U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs

Provides access to State Department travel advisories for Americans traveling overseas as well as U.S. passport information.

Embassyworld.com

Use this Web site to find the contact information for foreign embassies and consulates in your country, and your country’s embassies and consulates in foreign countries.

Foreign Languages for Travelers 

Learn how essential words and phrases in one of 60 languages translate into one of over 60 languages. Many language pages include sound files and links to dictionaries or further learning opportunities.  Be sure to scroll down past the advertisements to get to the language links.

Convert It! Conversion and Calculation Center

This Web site has gone beyond converting simple measurements; it now also converts time zones and does currency exchange and finance calculations. Just convert it!

Timeanddate.com

This Web site can tell you what time it is in the world relative to your time zone, and help you choose the ideal time for a meeting. Good stuff!

GENERAL INFORMATION AND ONLINE BOOKING

Kayak.com

This is my favorite Web site for looking for airfares for specific dates. It hunts through multiple airline and airfare Web sites for the best deals.

Travelocity

Expedia's main competition, and the one I prefer to use for finding domestic U.S. flights.

Microsoft Expedia 

Comprehensive information on air, hotel, and car rental information worldwide. I use it mainly for booking hotels and car rentals in the U.S. and have found it to be wholly reliable for these purposes.

Orbitz

A travel booking Web site like Travelocity and Expedia. Sometimes it has lower prices, but it charges services fees.

Cheap Tickets

Yet another low-price travel Web sites.

Hotwire

Another travel booking Web site, reportedly with lower prices.

Priceline

An alternative Web site in which you can “name your own” price for travel. However, you don’t get to specify the provider or, for airlines, the time of day. Also, I don’t think you can earn frequent flier miles on flights. I’ve never used it, but other people swear by it.

The Travel Channel

Get information on subjects covered on the Travel Channel shows as well as some general travel information..

Away.com

A travel site with general information plus "trip planners" for people with special interests such as hiking, biking, kayaking, or cultural tours

USA CityLink

Another source of city information for the U.S. only.

GUIDEBOOKS AND MAGAZINES

Lonely Planet Online

For the independent, adventurous traveler.  Some people debate the accuracy of Lonely Planet, but it covers most of the “weird” places I like to go (Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan etc.)

Rough Guides Online

For the "off the beaten path" types.

Let's Go

The bible of the budget traveler. Their books are a great source of information on cheap eats and the hostels to stay in or avoid. 

Fodor's

The most mainstream of the guidebooks listed here. Their books are good at laying out a large city in manageable chunks. Good advice on walking tours as well.

Rick Steves

Author of the "Europe Through the Back Door" guides and host of a PBS show by the same name. I saw him at International Travel Day 1997--down to earth guy who like me believes in budget accomodations, traveling light, and finding places just slightly off the beaten path. 

Transitions Abroad

This magazine includes stories with advice on traveling, working abroad, volunteering abroad, and studying abroad.

Best Fares

Best feature is the Weekly Net Specials list--a table of all major airline airline, hotel, and car Internet specials. The rest of the site is harder to take advantage of unless you are a Best Fares magazine subscriber ($59 a year).

Concierge.com

Formerly the Epicurious travel site; designed for Conde' Nast Traveller magazine fans.

HOSTELS AND HOTELS

Hostels, often called youth hostels (though few have an age limit), are dirt-cheap alternatives to hotels, highly recommended for young people traveling alone or with one other person. A great way to meet people from all over the world. Some links about how to use hostels and about specific hostels:

 

As I’m getting older, though, I’m turning more to hotels than to hostels.  Most of the “general information and online booking” web sites also have sections for booking hotels. I’m only including one Web site here that focuses specifically on hotels.

Hostels.com

The most comprehensive guide on the subject. Includes contact information, prices and links for hostels worldwide; frequently asked questions; and a bulletin board.

Hostel links

A private site, best used for its links to different countries' hostelling organizations.

Hotels.com

A booking site for hotels. Better for U.S. hotels than overseas hotels.

MONEY

Mastercard/Cirrus ATM Locator

Pick a city or even a street and this site will give you the name and addresses of banks nearby that accept Mastercard or Cirrus ATM cards. 

Visa ATM Locator

Search engine for finding ATMs that accept Visa or Plus.

OANDA Currency Converter

The currency exchange site preferred by the English Language Fellows program and other businesses that work in reimbursement.  Shows exchange rates for specific dates as well as for different types of rates (Interbank, street exchange, etc.)

Xenon Labs: The Universal Currency Converter(tm)

Another good site for currency exchange. Type in an amount, select the currency you are starting with and the currency you are converting to, and Voila!

Expedia Currency Converter

Expedia's currency exchange, similar to Xenon Labs.

PACKING

Onebag.com

A site dedicated to those of us who believe in packing light when traveling. If you are still taking too much stuff with you while traveling, check this site out!

TRANSPORTATION

Airline information on-line

The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for the old rec.travel.air newsgroup. Includes a list of airline Web sites, but it’s not complete; it doesn’t even have Ukrainian International Airlines, which flies to New York.  And it still has Sabena, which I think went out of business. 

Airports of the World

Not very good for the U.S. links, but has great International links.  I even found a link to the Azeri civil aviation administration.  If you still can’t find the airport information you want, I suggest you conduct a Google search for the airport.

World Airport Guide

Actually named World Travel Guide, this Web site has links to both airports and general information on traveling to a particular country or city.

Mileage Workshop

The online source for tips on how to maximize earning frequent flier miles.

Jet Blue

One of the best new U.S. airlines to come along in a while.  High quality and low prices.

Southwest Airlines

Another budget airline. Often has "fly round trip cross country for $198" specials.

US Airways

A major U.S. airline. Has hubs in Philadelphia, Charlotte, and Pittsburgh.  

United Airlines

A major U.S. airline, and a codeshare partner of US Airways. Has hubs in Washington D.C. (Dulles), Chicago, and Denver. 

Continental Airlines

Another major U.S. airline. Has hubs in Cleveland, Houston, and Newark.

Jet-Lag Diet

One method for avoiding jet lag. Not scientifically proven, some people prefer to drink alcohol or stay up for two days straight or take Melatonin, but I think this is worth a try.

Rail Europe Home Page

Train travel is the way to go around Europe, and this site is the one to go to for information on the many Eurail passes available to non-European Union residents.

Deutsche Bahn

The German state rail system's page has the most comprehensive page for finding out times for destinations throughout the EU. For full travel services or other languages, click on “Internat. Guests”.

Your Train (Tvoi Poezd)

A web site for information on trains in the former Soviet Union and nearby parts of Eastern Europe.  Theoretically available in English too, if you don’t mind being creative with your spelling of cities.

European National Railways and Timetables

Has links to each European country's national railway system. Deutsche Bahn is easier to use, but this site is really cool for people who care about terms like "SNCF" and "NS".

Greyhound

A link for the main provider of intercity and interstate bus transportation in the U.S. 

Amtrak 

Web site for the U.S. train system. Can see schedules and purchase tickets online. 

VIA Rail Canada

Web site for the Canadian rail system. 

Subway navigator

Sponsored by RATP (the Paris Metro Authority), this site can help you plan a route on a subway system in cities of nearly 30 countries worldwide. 

Dan Youra's Ferry Travel Guide

A private site which uses frames to link visitors to information on U.S. and international ferries. Special emphasis on Washington State and British Columbia ferry information.

Yahoo! Maps

Maps and driving directions, though mainly for the U.S.

MapQuest

Maps and links to information on cities worldwide, plus driving directions in the U.S. Be careful: directions can be more complicated and detailed than necessary.

Sigalert.com

A must for drivers in Southern California, this web site has real-time information on traffic conditions in L.A., Orange County, and parts of San Bernardino and Riverside. (NB:  A sigalert is a major traffic problem).

Gas Buddy

Click on a state on the U.S. or Canada, and find out where the cheapest and most expensive gas prices are.  Like sigalert.com, this one’s not just for travelers!

WEATHER

Accuweather

My preferred Web site for international weather. Has 8-15 day forecasts for cities worldwide.

The Weather Channel 

The on-line version of this Atlanta-based 24-hour weather channel which has weather information on cities all around the world, plus airport delays, weather facts, etc. 

Intellicast Weather Service

An alternate source of worldwide weather information. I like its weather maps of the U.S.

YOUTH TRAVEL ORGANIZATIONS

CIEE

CIEE offers student and youth study abroad and work opportunities. 

STA Travel 

Seems to have taken over the travel services of the old Council Travel (now CIEE)—cheap flights for students internationally.  Domestic fares are just okay.

 

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Places I've Been Since May 1994

Note: All places I have visited are in reverse chronological order; if there were multiple visits to a city or region, I went by the date of the most recent visit.  Plus, some places I go to every year so I’m just saying “multiple trips”. Even if there is no link to a specific trip, you can check my blog for articles about it by searching the subjects on the right column of the blog. 

U.S. Places I Have Lived:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (September 1999 to August 2001, July-August 2004; August 2007-?)

Los Angeles, California area (birth to June 1994; June-August 2000; March 2005-August 2007)

Washington, D.C. area (June 1994 to September 1999)

U.S. Places I Have Visited:

Seattle, Washington (multiple trips)

San Francisco, California (multiple trips)

New York, New York (multiple trips)

Rochester, New York (multiple trips)

Las Vegas, Nevada (August 2000, January 2002, August 2003, June 2007, August 2007)

Chicago, Illinois (June 1995; October 1998; June 2000; August 2000, August 2004, August 2007)

Cleveland, Ohio (June 1998, August 2007)

Sarasota, Florida (April 1995, April 1996, November 1996; October 2005)

Boston, Massachusetts (November 1995, October 1999, September 2004)

Asheville, North Carolina (August 2003)

Frankfort, Kentucky (August 2003)

Austin, Texas (March 2001)

Denver, Colorado (June 1998; August 2000)

Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, and Sedona, Arizona (August 1997)

See my USA Road Trips page for information on additional cities and states.
   

International Places I Have Lived:

Seoul, Korea (October 2004-March 2005)

Chisinau, Moldova (September 2003-June 2004)

Khmelnytsky, Ukraine (September 2002-June 2003)

Kharkiv, Ukraine (September 2001-June 2002)

International Places I Have Visited:

Germany:

Leipzig, Berlin, and Lutherstadt-Wittenburg (December 2006-January 2007) (photos) (blog)

Munich, Germany (December 2005) (photos) (blog)

Rothenburg ob Tauber, December 2004

Leipzig, October 2002

Southwestern Germany, May 1998, December 2000/January 2001

Lima Cuzco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Tacna, Arequipa, and Puno, Peru (July-August 2007) (photos in multiple folders) (blog)

Vancouver, Canada (July 1997, March 2000, March 2007)

Lome, Kara, and Kpalime, Togo (September 2006) (photos in multiple folders) (blog)

Montreal and Quebec, Canada (September 2005; June 2006)

Mexico City, Mexico (March 2006)

Taipei, Taiwan (February 2005) (photos only)

          Vienna, Austria (December 2001, February 2004)

Baku, Azerbaijan (December 2003/January 2004) (photos only)         

London, Hampshire, and Brighton, England (May/June 2001, June/July 2003)

Budapest, Hungary; England and Wales (June/July 2003)

Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia (April/May 2003)

Warsaw, Poland (December 2002)

Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia (May 2002)

Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine (April/May 2002)

Istanbul, Turkey (March 2002)

Strasbourg, France (June 2001)

Paris, France (July 1996, May/June 1998, June 2001)

Prague, Czech Republic (January 2001)

Toronto, Canada (May 1997, June 2000)

Barcelona, Spain (June 1998)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands (July 1996, May 1998)

Copenhagen (Kobenhavn), Denmark (July 1996)

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Last Revised: September 2007