Spot Cool Stuff is writing these words from one of our favorite coffee shops. We love this place’s drink selections, its vibe, its river views—and its free wifi. But there’s one problem: We can’t send emails from here. Or, at least we couldn’t until recently.
If you’ve used your laptop at a restaurant, library, hotel, airport or other place with a public internet connection chances are you’ve run into similar outgoing email issues. The problem is that some internet connections block particular outgoing ports and/or connections to SMTP servers. This isn’t an issue using website-based mail services like Gmail or Hotmail. It can be when using an email program like Outlook, Eudora or Mac Mail.
Happily, there’s an easy, efficient solution to these email troubles: SMTP2GO.
There are thousands of websites where you can research trip ideas (Spot Cool Stuff’s own travel blog not least among them) and hundreds of websites where you make your trip reservations—from general booking engines like Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz to niche sites like Cruise Direct, Mr & Mrs Smith and HostelBookers, to a site like Tripology that will hook you up with a travel specialist for free.
But what after your accommodations are booked, after your travel guidebook is bought, after your general itinerary is set and after you’ve left for your trip? What are some useful sites for while you are traveling?
Here is a selection of our favorites for doing the following from the road:
|Send your photos as postcards||Fly with more safety and comfort|
|Stay in touch||Find the best nearby restaurant or bar|
|Share your travels||Get the weather|
|Get advice from others|
Pets can make absolutely wonderful travel companions. The process of finding pet-friendly accommodations, however, can be a less-than-wonderful experience. Fortunately there are several websites that specialize in helping your little Rover or Fluffy enjoy your vacation along with you.
Reviews of our three favorite:
We absolutely love maps. We have since we were six years old when we traced out a giant map of the world and then painstakingly demarcated the territories that would be controlled by each of our stuffed animals.
In the hope that some of our readers enjoy maps as much as we do we present one of our favorite blogs: Strange Maps.
Time was that a person on a vacation would send friends and family these things called “postcards.” A “postal service” would physically carry said card from the sender’s location to the addressee’s provided that the postcard had affixed upon it a proof of delivery service payment (or “stamp”). One side of the postcard would have a short message, the other side a photo of people the sender has never met or a vista the sender has probably not seen.
Today, people travel with digital cameras and email photos of their trip to their friends and family. This method is a lot faster. But something has been lost in not getting that physical postcard.
Into the mix comes Hazelmail.
Almost everywhere it is expensive to fuel your car. If you live in the United States and Canada, at least, there’s a website that will help you find the cheapest price. Type your address into GasBuddy.com and you’ll get a list of the cheapest gas in your ‘hood. Or, look at the handy overview map for a breakdown of what regions generally have the cheapest fuel.
Note: There’s also a similar website for the UK: Petrol Prices
If you are looking to take an epic trip what better place to get inspiration than the epic trips of the past? A flash-rich feature produced by Good Magazine has mapped out the routes of 21 historic trips, both real (eg. the trans-Siberian railroad) and fictitious (eg. a journey to the center of the earth). To varying degrees you can learn more about each route in photos and text — Jack Kerouac’s road trip is brought to life with several quotes by the author but somehow the multi-faceted Silk Road gets only two photos (?). This fun feature should appeal to anyone who’s a traveler at heart.
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