Conjure an image of what’s it is like to go on a cruise. Are you picturing buffet dinners? On-deck spinning classes? Retirees playing shuffleboard? Many cruises really are like that. But if you’re looking for a different sort of cruise scene consider traveling by cargo ship.
Cargo ship travel is the un-cruise. There’s nothing fabricated about it. Every day thousands of freighters ply the high seas. Some of them have extra state rooms and accept passengers to tag along for the ride. It is as “real” as travel gets.
Spot Cool Stuff is a huge fan of Quirky — the cool online store that exclusively sells crowdsourced products. It’s one thing to have strangers online collaborating on the sort of household items Quirky sells — creative wine openers and unusual barbeque tools and the like. It’s quite another for the internet-assembled masses to collaborate on the design of an entire hotel.
Yet, that’s (almost) exactly what Prodigy Network, a New York City-based real-estate company, plans to do.
Vacation home rentals are one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. And why not? Compared to staying in a hotel, vacation homes can provide more spacious and personality-filled accommodations for around the same price. That’s particularly true if you are traveling with a large group.
For the past several months, Spot Cool Stuff has been scouring the internet for websites that let you book temporary vacation homes. We checked out out more than 60. Here’s a review of our six favorites:
Your flight’s been delayed and you’re stuck at the airport. What should you do? You could go shopping at the terminal’s over-priced stores. Or play more Angry Birds on your iPad. Or download yet another novel onto your Kindle.
Or, you could go looking for romance.
That last option is the premise behind MeetAtTheAirport, a new dating website dedicated to finding love — or, at least a person to flirt with — before, after or between flights.
Arranging a trip to the Caribbean online? There are lots of general travel websites—Travelocity, Expedia and Funjet Vacations among them—that cover the Caribbean along with the rest of the planet. But many of the best deals, and much of the most useful planning information, are found on websites that specialize in the Caribbean. Here are our countdown review of the five best:
A school in Jamaica doesn’t have enough pencils. A rural jobs program in Thailand needs cell phones. In South Africa, an orphanage could use more toys.
How do we know that? And what can you do about it? The answer to both those questions is the same—Stuff Your Rucksack.
SYR (as we aren’t sure anyone calls it) is a cool website that matches non profits lacking basic supplies with travelers willing to bring them.
You might think of Google Street View as that feature of Google Maps that let’s you look at ground level photographs of your childhood home, a new restaurant you are trying to locate or some other street-side destination. But for several years now, Google has been expanding Street View to all sorts of locations that, well, don’t have any streets. You can use Street View to climb up the Swiss Alps, trek in Antarctica or tour some of the world’s greatest art museums. And, now, you can also use Google Street View to explore along the Amazon River.
Flash deals—steep discounts offered for brief periods of time—are now the “in” thing online. The trend really caught on with Groupon (a Spot Cool Stuff favorite) and then spread to all sorts of competitors and specialty sites. We’re working on an overview of the best of them for our cool websites review blog. But there’s one website offering flash hotel and resort deals that we didn’t want to wait to write about: Snique Away.
Technically access to the site is “invitation only,” though that seems designed more to create an aura of exclusivity than it does to keep people out. Simply click on this link to get an invite through us.