Tag Archives: where to go next

VISITED Travel App Helps Travelers Keep Track of Where They’ve Been, Where to Go

Got the travel bug? The travel app VISITED can help you keep track and plan where to go next. Is Venice on the list? © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.

The mobile app development company, Arriving in High Heels Corporation, based in Toronto, Canada (arrivinginhighheels.com) has launched three new features in its VISITED travel app that are specifically designed to motivate travelers to find new experiences and help the travel industry recover from the stay-at-home coronavirus pandemic.

“People are ready to travel again and VISITED is ready to get them excited about new opportunities and destinations,” Founder and CEO Anna Kayfitz said,  No other travel app has these three features.

The new features are Inspiration, Lists, and City Maps. Together they highlight those places not necessarily popular but worth a trip, as well as well-known tourist attractions. They allow travelers to swipe photos of famous and not so famous places to add to their own picture database of destinations they have experienced or want to visit. VISITED has over 1.2 million users.

For individual travelers, the VISITED Inspiration feature tracks personal travel stats, such as percentage of the world visited, number of countries and cities visited, as well as regions on a personal wish-list. The List feature names capitals of the world, wonders of the world, and art museums. Museums and other attractions are constantly added to provide even greater options to choose from. The City Maps feature is invaluable in planning upcoming itineraries.

The app enables travelers to keep personal stats on the number of countries visited, percentage  of the world or country seen by region, how you rank against other world travelers, number of cities visited, percentage of the world that you WANT to see vs. where you are in your travel journey.

For the travel industry, the VISITED app’s features present a sponsoring opportunity for hospitality related companies, “because we know where the users have been and where they want to go,” Kayfitz said. “This is also an opportunity to showcase travel products and destinations without losing the focus of the user.”

She is looking forward to seeing a resurgence in travel. “In the meantime, users can start planning their trips with VISITED, discovering places to go, things to do, and sites to see domestically and internationally.”

Kayfritz is the founder of Arriving In High Heels, a mobile app company, which she started 2014 and incorporated in 2017 converted it to a corporation. The company, now known as Arriving in High Heels Corporation, and has 3 apps including Visited, to help keep track of your travels;  X-Walk Fitness app, a Nordic walking app that tracks progress and lists the top 25 famous hikes and Pay-off Debt app that helps people get out of debt faster.

All her app ideas came from a personal need for them, Kayfitz said.

The idea for Visited, for example, “started while I was flying back from South Africa with my husband (then boyfriend, Brian). I would use a little notebook and make a list of all the countries I visited and places I still wanted to visit. When I could not remember a few smaller islands such as Curacao, I became frustrated and spent the enter long haul flight trying to remember the islands we had visited. Brian had mentioned there has to be an app for that. When we could not find one, Brian, who is an app developer decided to make one for me for my personal use. We launched it in iOS only. When we started seeing downloads coming in, we knew we had something. So, we slowly began working on it to make it the app it is today. We currently have 1.2 million plus users and are growing.

“My travel industry experience did not really impact the development of the app. I was always into travel. My parents would always visit new places while I was growing up and that started my interest in travel. When I had the chance at 18 to go abroad with a friend, we went on a tour to London, Paris, Rome, and that’s when the travel bug bit me.”

The Visited app, she said, “has opened my eyes to new destinations especially with the inspiration section of the app. Gathering the hundreds of photos that are currently in the app, it made me realize how much more of the world there is to see. It has also motivated me to check off even more countries I want to visit.”

Prior to developing Visited, she said, “I would discover new places by browsing the web, travel brochures, reading magazines and even talking to other travelers while abroad. I kept track of my travels and things I wanted to see in a journal. I hate to write, so it was just a simple continuing list or a drawn map of all the places I have visited. I used to love to check off top destinations, lists found in magazines, blogs to see what percentage I have seen. This is what we hoped to capture in our app. We also added the top 10 countries to visit based on where you live to inspire people to travel to easy to reach/popular destinations.”

The app doesn’t replace guidebooks, she maintained. “It is a complimentary app to these books. Guidebooks offer a way into a destination with detailed explanations, and insightful information while we offer a macro approach to travel to simply tick off places you want   to travel or have already visited.

“As an analyst I always start by asking the questions of why and so what? Since Visited was designed for my personal use at the beginning, I wanted the app to answer the following questions:

  • How many countries have I seen?
  • Many of our copy-cat competitor apps show you what percentage of the world you have seen. However, what use is that? I do not want to visit every country in the world although for some that may be their goal. However, I wanted to know what percentage of the world I WANT to visit and what percentage I have seen. So, we have included the metric that answers those two questions.
  • We also added the top 10 locations for people to visit from their home country. This allows users to discover easily accessible countries. This was done to inspire additional travel. For example, if Canada is their home country, Canadians will find plenty to see in destinations easy to visit in Canada. This answers the question what sites can I visit in my home country?
  • We also have a rank of how you compare to other international travelers.
  • We now allow users to count the UK as 4 countries vs 1, so., we now have the options for you to select it as 4 or 1. This will help answer the question how I count the number of countries I have visited.

“The app is designed to show your progress and to inspire you to complete your journeys.”

As to who the Visited app can benefit, she says, “Anyone that likes to travel regardless of their style of travel. They can be a once-a-year family trip traveler, a backpacker or someone who has rented an RV to visit every state. They will all benefit from using our app to keep track of their trips and get inspired to visit new locations. We find that it is a good reminder of all the places that you have been to, to make yourself feel better especially during the coronavirus pandemic. That is why we added the list feature that lets you check of all the art museums, world wonders, and other lists to help keep up travel moral during the pandemic.”

Users can use the app to share their trips, by clicking an icon that pops up with all the different ways you can share – text, email, print, download as PDF, as well as via social media you have installed such as WhatsApp, Instagram.

Visited now has 1.2 plus million users. XWalk and Pay Off Debt are niche apps that were launched in the past 2 years; the number of users has been growing.

Travel apps have taken off with people getting back to traveling once again. According to Sensor Travel Apps 2021 report, U.S. Travel Apps surpassed 85 million downloads, growing 128%.

How to use Visited:

  • Download the app for free via App Store or Google Play Store
  • Sign up – with email – (email is required because this is a unique identifier to keep track of the data that the user has select that way if they change phones, they will always be able to get back to the selection).
  • Input where you live, countries visited and countries you wish to visit
  • The map will display the selections. You can then click on each country to see additional information such as regions and cities, and input notes for that destination.
  • If you click on cities (Paid Feature) you can select different cities by tapping on the country.
  • You can see on the) dashboard the top countries you visited, how you rank against other international travelers as well as the top 10 countries that are most visited from the country you live in.
  • You can swipe to see photos of places and add them to your wish or been list.
  • You can click on experiences and see the different lists such as capitals of the world, art museums or world wonders, etc. In addition, you can also see the percentage of the world you have visited. You can also tap on experiences (such as hiking, skiing) and can select all the countries you have been to and doing that activity. For example, if you select: Canada, the US, and Switzerland for skiing it will display the 3 countries where you skied. You can also select where you want to ski.

The app can be downloaded for free on iOS from the App Store and on Android from Google (due to copy-cats, the app is called Visited with the blue world icon and a yellow pin).

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Been there. Done that. World’s Greatest Travelers List of 8 Epic Travel Adventures for 2020 (Also Known as: The 2020 Travel Bucket List for the Jaded Traveler)

Discovering a village on stilts on Inle Lake, Myanmar during the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt. Where will they go this year? © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Bill Chalmers & Pamela L. Chalmers, GreatEscape Adventures


Los Angeles, USA – Getting a kick taking an adventure used to be easy: visit South Atlantic’s remote St Helena, scuba dive Mexico’s underground river Cenote, hike up Mount Etna. Been there. 

Nowadays, travelers looking for the next great adventure rush must: traverse Karakorum Highway, spend a night at Everest Base Camp, or swim with jellyfish in Palau. Done that.

But for those of us that: have zip-lined across the Grand Canyon, hiked Tasmania’s Overland Track, and are frankly sick of sand in every orifice after Burning Man. What’s next? 

You may be among the World’s Most Interesting People, but for jaded travelers who have supposedly done everything and have nothing left on their Bucket Lists, here’s your what’s next eight over-the-top adventures from The World’s Greatest Travelers.

1. A long way to go to maybe be eaten alive! But, head to Cape Town, South Africa and go cage diving with Great White sharks. Come face-to-face with the world’s meanest badest coldest predator along the shark-abundant shores of South Africa. You will be sunk in a cage and given a poker stick for protection. Chances are, you’ll be okay. You’ll probably even see whales and dolphins too—being the smart mammals, they are always interested in watching stupid human tricks. 

2. Take A Blind Date with the World – really! – by joining the 2020 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt. This real-life Amazing Race-like event is for savvy globetrotters who want to test their travel IQ in a competitive setting where they will circumnavigate the globe in 23-days visiting ten countries as a participant in the annual travel adventure competition that crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers. Not for anal Type-A planners though, because you won’t know which country you are going to until you actually get to the airport! It’s the ultimate magical mystery tour. Their 2020 event takes place between April 17 and May 9, 2020. Applications now being accepted. I dare you…

3. Bike from sea-to-sea across a country. No, not across Canada (9,525+ km), but the more manageable country of Nicaragua that is only 568 km (352 miles) from the Pacific Ocean’s San Juan del Sur to Pearl Lagoon on the Atlantic Ocean side. The amazing 13-day mountain bike expedition will take you to volcanos, colonial towns, national parks, rainforests and lakes, as you share the road with trucks, cows, horses, pigs, and chickens. Do it now before the Chinese slice the nation in two ala Panama!

4. For the culinary daredevil in you, while you are in the geographic neighborhood, take in the wild-west of food: a pop-up jungle-to-table extravaganza in the Bolivian Amazon basin along the Beni River. Once every few years, local “back to nature” chefs converge to prepare exotic semi-illegal outside the villages dishes like: crocodile fillets in a coca leaf broth, grilled giant tapir meat served with a cocktail of fermented kecho fruit and cacao beans with a spicy chili pepper twist, paiche (a really big fish—a carp really) served with figs and spicy-sweet beetle larvae. They might also conjure up a purplish fungue—that may or may not have hallucinogenic effects, along with steamed giant river turtles. Caiman sushi anyone?

5. I took this serendipity challenge last year and ended up in Madagascar—pre-plague outbreak. Take the 24-Hours to Anywhere Challenge: It is our belief that with today’s growth of regional air carriers that you can be anywhere in the world in 24-hours. So, pick a destination furthest away geographically from you and attempt to get there in 24-hours. On a bet, I recently went from the San Francisco Bay Area to Antananarivo, Madagascar—17,599 kilometers away! SFO to IST (12:55 hours), then IST-ADD (5:30 hours), followed by a flight between Ethiopia (ADD) and Madagascar (TNR) (4:50 hours). I got to Madagascar in 23 hours and 41 minutes—but I did do it on the night we changed clocks! Tip: Bring a really good multi-media playlist.

6. We humans have gazed in wonder at the night skies before words hit paper; and you don’t have to be an astrophysicist to wonder what’s up. Nigh-sky travel (aka astrotourism) are great adventures to take. We suggest two spellbinding panoramas to be found: 1) Head to the Canary Islands international observatory at Roque de los Muchachos on La Palma for some sensational light pollution-free heavenly viewing. Or 2) for some really deep dark-sky space stargazing at a gold-certified Dark Sky Reserve, head to NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia where you can sleep out under the cloudless skies of Africa for a look at infinity…or at least some amazing celestial sights. 

7. With age comes experience, and over the years we have suggested how to get higher highs: a lost weekend at an infamous Vegas dive bar, visiting a Bolivian pop-up cocaine bar, a Laotian opium den and how best to enjoy Peruvian ayahuasca. For this year’s vibe adventure, forget BC Bud, Emerald Triangle Kush and Colorado Wedding Cake, take a Jamaican Ganja tour. Turned up bright, the tour will take you and other like-minded and bud-tended friends to Rastafariland, with highlights including: Nine Mile, the boyhood home and final resting place of reggae superstar Bob Marley; Ocho Rios to relax and hike in nature; along with several plantations…aka ganja farms. Pick up is around noon, munchies and rum included, but hotel drop off time is vague. 

8. Give peace a chance: start travel podcasting and make some faux press credentials, then head to Damascus and interview the loneliest man in the world: Syria’s Minister of Tourism. From 8 million tourists and 40% growth in 2011, to the nasty civil and chemical war, mostly, behind us, Syria is open for business again. You can visit one or two restaurants still open and err, ruins. Their catch phrase: “Syria … come see for yourself“. We know the UN Weapons Inspectors did. A few travel-related glitches though: all legal border crossings are closed, no FAA-approved commercial flights into or out of Damascus, those beach-side cabanas along the Mediterranean beaches are now refugee tents, and crime might be down, but war crimes are up. Sure, it is dark tourism at its finest, but so too is visiting Venice and Barcelona these days. We double-dare you!

As for us, we’ll be going on the around-the-world event, The Global Scavenger Hunt…better destinations, better experiences and better food. Got any novel adventures to share?

The title of The World’s Greatest Travelers and free trip around the world to defend their titles in the 2021 event await the travelers worthy enough to win the 16th edition of the world travel championship. The date for the 23-day 2020 Global Scavenger Hunt is April 17-May 9, 2020. Event participation is open but limited; the $25,000 per team entry fee includes all international airfare, First Class hotels, 40% of meals, and special event travel gear. All travelers are interviewed for suitability and single travelers are welcome to apply. For additional information visit GlobalScavengerHunt.com, or contact GreatEscape Adventures Inc. at 310-281-7809. 

(See full coverage of the 2019 Global Scavenger Hunt at goingplacesfarandnear.com)

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11 “Pin”-Worthy Trips for 2019

Melk Abbey, the size of a city and a cultural and spiritual center, is one of the fascinating attractions visited on a Passau-Vienna Danube Trail self-guided bike tour, booked through biketours.com. Bike tours are a leading trend, based on Pinterest pins © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Taking clues from Pinterest’s most popular searches, top travel trends for 2019 are bike tours (my favorite), out-of-the-way towns, less-traveled islands and divine, derelict and dilapidated castles. Here are 11 trips that will help you turn these oft-pinned ideas into reality.

  1. Bike the Orient Express: Cycle in the tracks of Europe’s iconic long-distance train connecting Paris and Istanbul on TDA Global Cycling’s Orient Express tour. Follow the Danube Cycleway from Germany to Hungary and climb into Romania’s Carpathian Mountains along the way. (https://tdaglobalcycling.com/orient-express)
  2. Hot Springs and Huts: Trek from hut to hut, past hot springs and through colorful rhyolite mountains on Iceland’s Laugavegar trail with Adventure Life. Guides will lead guests through one of the largest geothermal zones in the world on the way from Landmannalaugar to the glacial valley of Thorsmork. (https://www.adventure-life.com/iceland/tours/12214/iceland-trek-landmannalaugar-to-torsmoerk)
  3. Three Islands Ride: Ride & Seek’s 3 Islands tour hops from the mountains and fishing villages of Corsica to the cliffs and coves of Sardinia to the farmland and volcanoes of Sicily, taking in cultural and culinary traditions by bike. (https://rideandseek.com/tour/3-islands-corsica-sardinia-and-sicily/)
  4. Relaxing Andes Springs: Explore awe-inspiring landmarks in the Ecuadorean Andes like the Mojanda Lakes, Cotopaxi National Park and Quilotoa Crater with SurTrek and spend a night at a resort with pools heated by volcanic hot springs.(https://www.surtrek.com/andes-tours/discovering-the-ecuadorian-andes-tour.html)
  5. Sip and Cycle Spain: Ride through rolling vineyards, an ancient fortress town and colorful fishing villages on a new tour of Spain’s Basque Country and Rioja wine region from Sojourn Bicycling & Active Vacations. Off the bike, there’s time to taste wine, savor bite-size pintxos and explore sunny beaches. (https://gosojourn.com/bicycle-tours/rioja-basque-country-spain-bike-tour/)
  6. Remote Island Catch: More than 500 nautical miles from the Seychelles’ main island, find remarkable saltwater fly fishing with at the Astove Island Lodge with Frontiers. Cast for big GT’s that rule the island, as well as bonefish, permit, barracuda, triggerfish, tuna, wahoo, sailfish and marlin. (https://www.frontierstravel.com/astove-island-lodge)
  7. Big Sky Skiing: Big Sky, Montana, has one of the largest ski resorts in the country, but the town of less than 3,000 on the edge of Yellowstone still has few lift lines. Rent a slopeside home at Moonlight Basin for easy access to 5,800 acres of terrain. (https://www.moonlightbasin.com/)
  8. Hot Springs Biking: Join Grasshopper Adventures’ Stunning Shikoku tour in Japan and ride through a land where Shinto shrines and Buddhist monasteries overlap with modern wonders, soaking tired legs in traditional onsens along the way. (https://www.grasshopperadventures.com/en/scheduled-tours/stunning-shikoku.html)
  9. Riverside Castles: Travel down the Rhine and Danube Rivers on Riviera River Cruises’ Cruise the Heart of Europe itinerary and see castles in ruins atop towering valley sides and still standing, overlooking cities and towns such as Nuremberg, Melk, Bratislava and Budapest. (https://www.rivierarivercruises.com/cruise-the-heart-of-europe)
  10. Small-Town Cowboys: Outside the small town of Ten Sleep, Wyoming, play cowboy at Red Reflet Ranch, spending the day riding horses, shooting, herding cattle and learning the ropes, then sitting down to a gourmet meal before retiring to a luxury chalet. (https://red-reflet-ranch.net/)
  11. Chef-Led Cycling: Cycle through rolling hills with endless vineyards and past ancient castles and hilltop hamlets in Italy’s Piedmont with Tourissimo and learn about local cuisine with guest chef Mary Sue Milliken, a Julia Child Award winner. (https://www.tourissimo.travel/chef-tours/piedmont)

 

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