Readers' Photos: A slide show of our fave shots
We've gotten a huge number of great photos from travelers—over 4,000 have been uploaded to date. Click here to see a slide show of our current favorites, and don't forget to upload your own photos, Travel Journals, and videos to myBudgetTravel. You'll have to register, but you'll only have to do it once, and you'll also be able to comment on and rate articles and other readers' contributions.
Do men have better travel experiences than women?
We recently published a Q&A; with Alex Boylan, star of the upcoming show Around the World for Free. In response, the female travel writer who runs the blog Less Than a Shoestring had an interesting response. She singled out one of the stories Alex told about how in Kenya he had hitchhiked to a Maasai settlement in a rural area filled with armed men. "I think that is an amazing experience I probably would have passed on," says Hilary, who goes by the pen name PoetLoverRebelSpy. "When faced with a risky choice," she says, "women are more likely to err on the side of caution." PoetLoverRebelSpy notes "how gendered travel can be." She thinks that many places and experiences were open to Alex because he was a young man, and not a woman traveling solo. She clarifies: "This is not to imply that women couldn't do this trip or that women *shouldn't* travel anywhere these men did, or that we are somehow inherently more fragile or weak than male travelers. But at the same time, women do consider the risks of rides or offers of accommodation from strange men, traveling in areas of unrest and even being out after dark differently from their male counterparts. Further, female travelers are harrassed and targeted in ways that men on the road are not. I'm sure it's not possible to quantify the difference that this confidence and access makes, but I believe more effort should be made to note it." What do you think?
In time for the holidays, "Scared of Santa" photos
During the weeks leading up to Christmas, in every shopping mall in every town, parents line up with their fidgety kids for an adorable photo of them on Santa's lap. Only it doesn't always work out that way. And hundreds of readers of the Chicago Tribune submitted the photographic proof. Two of the newspaper's editors, Denise Joyce and Nancy Watkins, collected and captioned 250 of the most astounding shots of Santa poses gone awry and published them in the recently released book Scared of Santa: Scenes of Terror in Toyland ($10). To get you into the true spirit of the holidays, click here for a slideshow of our 15 absolute favorites, with condensed captions from the book. Ho, ho, ho—or rather, Ha, ha, ha! PREVIOUSLY Photos: New York’s Holiday Windows as Festive as Ever Our Monster List of Travel Gift Roundups 12 Ways to Survive Holiday Travel
This weekend: Festive yachts parade in Newport Beach's bay, a 100-year tradition
California's Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, an event likened to the Tournament of Roses (the huge parade before the Rose Bowl football game), is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. About 100 boats are participating, from kayaks to huge yachts. They'll parade around 14 miles of Newport Beach's bay and channels, in view of businesses, homes, and public beaches (there's a detailed map and timetable here.) The parade usually attracts 1 million viewers a year—and boat owners really get into it. Word is that some have spent $50,000 adorning their yachts in Christmas lights, creating elaborate scenes with huge Christmas trees, gingerbread men, candy canes, and Santas (surrounded by palm trees—this is Southern Cali, after all). The parade has been around in some incarnation for 100 years, but it wasn't until 1946 that the event was moved from a summer contest to a holiday one. In that year, city employees decorated a barge with a lighted Christmas tree that they towed around the harbor, entertaining residents with live Christmas caroling. Newport Beach is an Orange County resort town on one of California's skinny peninsulas that jut out into the Pacific. Wednesday through Sunday, 6:30 p.m. (finishes around 9:00 p.m.) At 6:25 p.m. on Wednesday, there will be fireworks to celebrate the parade's 100th birthday. Organizers suggest you arrive early to avoid traffic and to get parking; all the city's lots will be open. MORE Seattle also has a holiday boat parade And so does Portland PREVIOUSLY Exclusive: New York's holiday windows as festive as ever
New York City: Hertz starts "pay as you go" car rentals
Hertz, the world's largest car rental company, has just launched a car-sharing service in New York City, London, and Paris, called Connect. Here's how it works in N.Y.C.: A $50 annual membership fee enables you to rent cars by the hour or day. Rates start at $10 an hour and vary by type of vehicle. Cars are parked in designated spots around town. Members reserve cars online, use a card to unlock the car, and find the keys inside. Gas and insurance are included. Some cool perks: a GPS system, EZ pass for electronic payment of tolls (which are billed to your credit card automatically), and an iPod hookup that links to the car's stereo system. You can also connect wirelessly to Hertz's 24-hour Member Care Center if you need help. The first 180 miles are free, but then you'll be charged 45 cents a mile afterwards. The new service is part of Hertz's green initiatives (which we've blogged about before). The cars in the fleet include the Toyota Prius and the BMW Mini Cooper. Connect is strikingly similar to Zipcar. We'll see how things play out as Hertz adds 20 cities to its list in 2009. PREVIOUSLY A bug in Hertz's system? Hertz guarantees a car in 10 minutes or less