Friday, May 26, 2006 & Other Podcast Walking Tours

I recently received an email from Torsten Peters at with updated information about their free downloadable audio walking tours, which currently cover London, Barcelona, and Paris. Interestingly, he included a couple of competitor urls and told me that if I wanted more he would send them. I said yes, and boy was I surprised at the number of links he sent me. At some point, when I have some free time (ha!), I will write a review article on this topic, possibly for my journal, Tourism Geographies. But in the meantime, I wanted to share the links with all of you. Torsten noted that is free, while most of the others charge a fee for their downloads. If you know of any others that I should add to this list, send them to me ( and I will add them to this list.

Thanks to Torsten!

BTW - What should we be calling these? Auidoguides? Audiotours? Podguides? Podtours? ?? - Bangkok
NEW: Passport Guides for the PSP:

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

DIY Free Passport (and Visa) Photos at

Save your money! Don't spend the outrageous fees at Kinkos for passport and visa photos. This websites helps you create your own.

I especially like this list of 10 Do's and don'ts for passport photos -- The MANY Sample Photos are both informative and humorous!

Check it out at:

From the webiste:
  • ePassportPhoto is the Internet passport photos booth - empowering people around the world to make free and valid passport photos.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Schmap - Never Buy Another Guidebook?

Online destination information has long been available in Web 1.0 format. These websites were rather limited in the past (fear of competing with print guidebooks, I think), though they seems to be getting more comprehensive.

More recently, online audio guidebooks have started to proliferate in the podosphere (podcasts and videocasts/vodcasts), replacing the never-really-that-popular cassette tape guides (examples include, and While helpful tools for general background information on a destination and site-specific walking tours, audio and video guides will never be able to replace the diversity and quick lookup capabilities of printed guidebooks. (I will be writing a broader review of audio guides in a forthcoming blog.) takes a different approach -- and one that is directly aimed at the printed guidebook. The Schmap Player installs on Windows PCs (not Macs, yet) and then works with downloaded destination information (Schmap Guides). Once is a downloaded, the Schmap Guide enables (from the website):
  • Dynamic Browsing - The Schmap Player dynamically integrates maps, photos, reviews and online content, giving you complete freedom to explore.
  • Trip Planning - When you're browsing, searching or playing a virtual tour, simply bookmark places of interest to tailor a trip itinerary.
  • City Search - Search the city, a neighborhood, or within a radius of your hotel - find sights of interest, restaurants to match your taste...
  • Custom Guide Printing - Take your bookmarked places or any other selection of guide content, then custom print a full-color guide, with maps, photos, reviews...
  • Virtual Tours - Play, pause and fast-forward your way through one of our suggested tours, or your own custom selection of places of interest. (The photos used are from with creative commons copyrights.)
  • Tools - Email a favorite place, explore with our cool map tools, click online for user reviews, web search, and driving directions...
Perhaps the most popular feature is the maps, which highlights attractions and services as the cursor passes over their locations. This is helpful for trip planning and preparation, though it also requires that you take your computer with you and possibly a printer if you want to print out a revised hardcopy itinerary and reference. If there were a way to save the information for viewing on a PDA, cell phone or mp3 player, that would be cool.

Only a few guides for the US and Europe are currently available, though forthcoming guides and their availability months are listed. Their dependence on local partners may result in considerable variability in quality and content, and may cause some guides to be delayed or not regularly updated. By late 2006, the site will have couple hundred city and destination guides, including Canada. They hope to cover the rest of the world with time and expanded participation from local partners located in the destinations who can update the Schmap Guides on a 3 to 6 month basis. All of this currently seem to be free and without advertising, though I wonder it that might changed someday. In the meantime, Schmap appears to be a valuable Web 2.0 Travel Tool worth checking out for your next trip.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Life of Travel - Travel Journals/Blogs, Reviews, Photos, + Maps

I think I may have found my preferred travel blog site.
My Life of Travel bills itself as "The fun, easy and powerful way to publish travel stories, upload photos and grow travel maps online."

One thing that this side does that is different from other travel blog sites is that it allows you to create a "Travel Route Map" - which is essentially a line map that connects the places you have visited with straight lines that mark your travels over time. A sliding bar is used to move back and forward in time. This is a significant improvement over the simple dot maps that most other travel blog sites are now adopting.

Really cool! Check it out.