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Great transportation tips to save some money

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Blog post freely translated from an article by French tripwolf author Marianne Morizot.

 

Whether you’re traveling for months around the globe or zipping off for a cozy weekend in Rome, traveling has a tendency to empty the wallet and is rarely straightforward. Thinking on your feet, insider tips, special offers . . . voilà, a selection of our tips and tricks to help you stay within your travel budget — and spare your nerves.

 
Photo: flickr, Santiago S.V.

Photo: flickr, Santiago S.V.

 

- Buy Cheaper Airline Tickets

Of course the famous comparison portals are unavoidable. Not everyone knows, however, that tickets for overnight flights are often much cheaper than tickets during the daytime. Another hot tip: work in a small (or large) detour and change the destination – the fares often differ drastically. Read More »

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10 of the most impressive bridges in the world

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They allow us to cross rivers safely and without getting wet, to pass from one district to another, or even to enter a different country altogether. But in many cases they not only fulfill such practical purposes but are architectural masterworks in their own right. Let’s pause for a moment, and marvel at ten of the most impressive bridges worldwide that simply take our breath away.

1. The Helix Bridge in Singapore

Photo: flickr, Jeffery Wong.

Opened as recently as in 2012, the Helix Bridge in Singapore is the first and youngest on our list. Visitors can cross the 918ft (280m) long bridge and gaze at Singapore’s skyline from five different viewing platforms.
The design of the bridge is based on the strands of human DNA – the Double Helix Model – which is most obvious at night, when the bridge is radiant in different colors. This is when you will also see the illuminated letters c, g, a, and t, the initals representing the components of human DNA (cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine). Read More »

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How to make the most of a rainy trip

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Guest article by Elisabeth Magesacher (translated from German).

 

Wet socks, cabin fever, not to mention the vain battle you and your umbrella fight against the wind in order not to take off like Mary Poppins. Rain during your vacation can really give you the blues. But that’s no reason to give up hope! Here are five recommendations on how to make the most of a rainy trip.

 
Rainy New York - a special play of colors. Photo: flickr, Sarah Alaica.

Rainy New York – a special play of colors. Photo: flickr, Sarah Alaica.

 

1. Try something new

Rain during your trip is the ideal opportunity to start a new activity, maybe something you normally wouldn’t have considered doing. For example: visit a cooking class! Cooking classes are the ideal way of getting to know a country through its culinary culture, and you can meet like-minded travelers and learn new recipes to impress future dinner guests with back at home. And as you can feast on your homemade exotic meal at the end of class, you save yourself looking for an restaurant for the eveneing in the rain! Read More »

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Autumn Leaves: 5 travel destinations

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Guest post by Elisabeth Magesacher.

 

It’s undeniable. Whether it’s promenades through colorful autumn forests, city trips or a late seaside vacation during the off-season: autumn is a great time for traveling! These 5 destinations are especially attractive even late in the year.

 

Tours (France)

Half-timbered houses, little boutiques, narrow alleyways, cafés and boulangeries – the charming little French city of Tours always is an attractive spot to visit. In autumn, though, this area is especially lively when all the students return to revive the scene and the city’s cultural offerings resurrect. Situated alongside the Loire, Tours is also the ideal homebase for trips to its rich surroundings, for example the Châteaus of the Loire valley. Most of them are preserved pretty well and impressive both on the outside and the inside. After visiting the noble château, how about some recreation time and a picknick in the palace garden? Très français.

 

Der gemütliche Place Plumereau in Tours. Foto: flickr, Roger Wollstadt.

The cosy Place Plumereau in Tours. Foto: flickr, Roger Wollstadt.

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It’s tapped! The Oktoberfest Survival Guide 2014

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Munich in autumn isn’t all beer, pretzels and short dirndl dresses – in order for you to enjoy your time outside of beer tents as well, you can now download the tripwolf Munich guide for free until the end of the Oktoberfest! Have fun!

On September 20th, the (in-)famous Oktoberfest festivities begin in Munich – new Mayor Dieter Reiter will give the beer tap a mighty blow at noon precisely and announce, “It’s tapped!” for the 181st annual celebration. Together with the guys behind the MyWiesn Secrets app in Munich, we have once more created the most up-to-date Oktoberfest Survival Guide 2014 so you can enjoy the Oktoberfest adventure to the fullest.

Each year, 6 million people come from all over the world and guzzle millions of pints of beer and over 500,000 roast chickens. Any “Zuagroaste” (as residents of Munich lovingly call newcomers) standing at the gate of the Theresienwiese for the first time might be forgiven for asking: “How the hell do I find my way through this sea of intoxicated people, tents, beer gardens and sausage stands?”

 

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Answer: The tripwolf Oktoberfest 2014 Survival Guide

 

What to wear? The right outfit

The gentleman slips into his Kracherte (leather pants) and Haferlschuhe (Bavarian rugged shoes), while the lady opts for a dirndl – ranging from the traditional long cotton dirndl to sexy couture. Read More »

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5 Dreamy Old Towns in Europe

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In multifaceted Europe you can find many buzzing modern metropolises that are in constant change and keep reinventing themselves. At their core, however, you can encounter the architectural and artistic remains of times long gone, which often make those old towns tourist hot spots. Here are some cities that invite you to wallow in nostalgia and romantic feelings while at the same time satiating your hunger for culture.

 

1. Stockholm (Sweden):

The old city center of the Swedish capital, Stockholm, directly translated from “Gamla Stan”, connects the northern district of Normalm with the southern one of Södermalm. In the 13th century the old town of Stockholm was the actual urban part, surrounded by rural areas. Nowadays, Gamla Stan offers a wealth of sightseeing opportunities thanks to its medieval relicts. The Grand Square is packed with tourists taking pictures of the typical earth-colored architecture. In addition, the two churches of Tyska Kyrkan and Storkyrkan, as well as the royal palace, are just around the corner. Besides these typical sights, little alleyways with their tiny original cafés, restaurants or craftworks stores whisper tales of long gone Scandinavian times.

 
Gamla Stan, Stockholm.

Gamla Stan, Stockholm. Photo: flickr, 2benny

 

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2014 FIFA World Cup – Brazil

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The upcoming FIFA World Cup hosted by Brazil is just around the corner. From June 12th to July 13th all sports fans will be looking at Brazil to watch the most important football event worldwide. Held every four years since 1930, the World Cup was cancelled only twice in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II and its aftermath. The formers champions of the World Cup are Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002), Italy (1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006), Germany (1954, 1974 and 1990), Uruguay (1930 and 1950), Argentina (1978 and 1982), England (1966), France (1998) and Spain (2010).

Since 1998 (hosted by France) the tournament features 32 national teams. The first stage is the group stage when the 32 teams are divided in 6 groups of 4 teams each. At this point each team will play against the other 3 teams in the same group. The top two teams of each group advance to the next stage. The knockout stage starts in the eighth finals with 16 teams in eight single-elimination matches in which the winner advance to the quarter-finals, followed by the semi-finals, the third place match (between the defeated teams of the semi-finals) and the final.

 
Copacabana, Río de Janeiro. Photo: flickr, Christian Haugen.

Copacabana, Río de Janeiro. Photo: flickr, Christian Haugen.

 

The opening match (Brazil vs. Croatia) will take place at São Paulo on June 12th. The twelve host cities along with São Paulo are Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador with 4 group stage matches in each.

Besides the tournament, football fans will have the opportunity to experience such a variety of attractions in the host cities and their surroundings. Curitiba, for instance, is a well-developed city with some nice attractions like the Botanical Garden, the Wire Opera House and Oscar Niemeyer Museum among others. However, for those going to the Paraná State, a top not to miss attraction is Iguaçu Falls in the city of Foz do Iguaçu, one of the most impressive natural beauties on earth. The trendy Praia da Pipa is a 2 hours’ drive away from Natal. Read More »

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Top 10 Safari Destinations in the World

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Guest article by Tanmay Sharma.

 

Catching a glimpse of the wildlife in their natural habitat is the ultimate thrill that any wildlife lover would love to experience. In the wild, animals roam about uninhibited and go about their business without a care in the world. The abundant resources available in and the protective cushion provided by the wild mean that these animals continue to thrive in these regions. Taking a safari in the wild and having a close encounter with these awesome animals is not an everyday event, and so when you get an opportunity you would want to make the most of it. The unspoiled beauty of the wild is another reason why people are so attracted to the wild. But then, not all safaris are the same and not all wildlife has the same element of thrill. So, we have prepared a list of the best safaris in the world from which you can have your pick.

Costa Rica

One of the premier destinations for a jungle safari, the lush green jungles of Costa Rica is home to a number of popular and endangered animals. Costa Rica is one of the top 20 countries with the most diverse plant and animal species in the world; it has over 500,000 species of wildlife contributing for almost 4% of all species in the world. A wildlife safari to Costa Rica would present you the opportunity to see exotic birds, insects and butterflies. Popular animals include monkeys, languid sloths, crocodiles, countless lizards and poison-dart frogs. The Giant Anteater is an endangered species found here, and it may well be your last opportunity to see it in real!

 
Costa Rica Wildlife. Photo: flickr, Darren Johnson

Costa Rica Wildlife. Photo: flickr, Darren Johnson

 

Kenya

Kenya has to be the best place for safari as it has a wide variety of flora and fauna; from the famous Cape Buffalo to wildebeest to African Elephant to Giraffe, you name the most popular animals and you will find them here. In fact, the famous “Big five” can be spotted here. The abundant wildlife in Kenya is not just restricted to its parks, pens and reserves, of which there are many, but you can even go off the beaten track and try out less famous destinations that may spring a surprise. Birdwatching is another activity that you can indulge in during your safari holidays in Kenya. Read More »

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10 Stunning Natural Phenomena That Will Leave You Amazed

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There is a variety of cultural and historical sights or events that make us pack our bags and travel to a certain destination. The most incredible events are staged by nature itself, though, the biggest artist on the stage of planet earth. These amazing natural phenomena are definitely worth a little detour!

1. Aurora Borealis — colorful lights in the sky

We already recommended the picturesque northern lights in our article about interesting places to visit in 2014. Whenever solar storms shoot huge amounts of charged particles in the direction of our planet, the sky above northern parts of the Earth glows with beautiful colors. The year 2014 is especially convenient for a trip to the north of Iceland, Alaska or Scandinavia — due to high energy concentration the phenomenon will occur with unusual frequency in December 2014!

 
Aurora Borealis. Foto: flickr, Moyan Brenn.

Aurora Borealis. Photo: flickr, Moyan Brenn.

 

2. Bioluminescent Bays — stressed out plankton

Tiny blue plankton living in certain bays in Puerto Rico (e.g. Crab Island), the Maldives (Baa Atoll) or California perform an astounding and surreal natural event. Their blue glow could almost be mistaken as reflection of the night sky, it is the result of the bioluminescent quality of this special kind of phytoplankton, though. Whenever these micro-animals are stressed out (for instance when being stirred by waves or stepped on by human feet), they emit a light blue glow. For us, the resulting view is entirely hypnotic and not stressful at all. Read More »

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Introducing New tripwolf Maps: Sharper, Smoother, Wider!

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Hello, dear current and future tripwolves!

My name is Matej. I am an Android developer here at tripwolf, and it is a pleasure to introduce to you a major update of our Android app (which will soon be available for iOS, too).

I am especially happy that I personally had the chance to work on a major overhaul of one very important feature in our app and bring it much closer to its full potential.

The feature I’m talking about is our map.

 

skobbler_promopic_ENGj

 

A good map with offline support is without a doubt one of the most important tools in any would-be traveler’s virtual backpack. Anyone who has ever found themselves lost in an unfamiliar city will surely agree, especially late at night or in the early morning hours, with only the town drunk around to ask for directions. We all know that always ends well.

Out with the old, in with the new, goes the saying, and what better way to introduce you to our new map than by comparing it to the old one.

So what have we improved? The answer is, A LOT:

 

1. Vector maps – virtually limitless detail

The old map rendering technology we used was entirely based on images, which means that the map was divided into a grid, and each square was filled with an actual image tile representing that geographical area at the current zoom level. This could mean hundreds of small images, multiplied further by the number of zoom levels, because every level has its own set of tiles to show you more or less detail depending on how far away from the surface you are. That’s why loading the map becomes sluggish, as does panning and zooming.

Our new maps are vector-based, which means that most of the information, such as streets, buildings, bodies of water, and so on, is not in the form of images but shapes, defined mathematically and drawn in real time. This makes loading much faster, because we don’t load actual images, just the information that tells the shapes on the map how they should be drawn. This is why you will be able to zoom seamlessly in and out without losing sight of the map, and also pan and move around the map smoothly, even on slower phones.

 

EN_1_2 EN_2_1

The new maps feel much more responsive. You don’t have to take my word for it — try it out for yourself.

 

2. Optimized for high resolution screens

One major weakness of the old system we used was that the texts, including street names, were barely readable on devices with high-resolution screens unless you zoomed in extremely close. The reason for this was the fixed resolution of the images, which was relatively small by today’s standards. This looked acceptable on lower to medium-resolution screens but pretty bad on high-res ones.

Our new map features crystal clear, perfectly readable street names, regardless of the screen resolution or the zoom level. This is thanks to the fact that the size at which elements of the map are rendered is actually based on the pixel density (number of pixels per inch) of the screen you have, so it will scale optimally to show you exactly what you want to see, whether your device screen’s resolution is 480p (Samsung Galaxy S2) or 1080p (Google Nexus 5). This clarity extends to every other element of the map, not only the street names. Zoom in as close as you want, and every element of the map will be just as clear as it was before.

 

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Screenshots of the old and new maps at the same zoom level and on the same device

 

3. Powerful offline maps

With the old system, we were always constrained by the file size of the maps, and this was especially painful for country maps, which typically cover a large area, so more often than not we had to sacrifice how far in you were able to zoom to keep the size reasonable. As I mentioned earlier, one of the major advantages of a vector-based map is that we can now have more information within the same file size or sometimes even a smaller file size. That doesn’t mean that the map downloads will aways be smaller and faster, because we are making sure that you get the best possible offline map experience available and that once you download one of our maps, you never have to look back. You will be able to zoom in as close as you want and see the smallest details, even on the largest country maps, without any roaming costs, just as if you were online. Another notable improvement is the fact that you can choose, within our country and region guides, to download only individual areas of a country or region map, such as specific cities or subregions.

 

EN_3_1 EN_3_2

 

Available maps for the Germany guide

 

One last neat feature I want to mention here, which can be useful when looking at the map and trying to reach some point of interest while walking through a city, is the fact that you can now make the map follow your location and point of view. Press the “Locate me” button in the top right corner of the map once, wait for it to center on your location, then press it again and the map will start following your point of view, indicated by a transparent blue cone. As you walk, the map will be centered at your current location and will rotate as you turn, so it always shows what is right ahead of you.

I hope you have found this short overview of the new map technology in this version of the tripwolf Android app useful and that you are as excited about it as we are! Of course, this is just the start and the new maps will be available for iOS soon as well.

As always, give the new version a try, leave a comment here, a rating or a review on our Play Store page, or just send us a feedback e-mail and let us know what you think.

And remember, every bit of your feedback helps us make the app better!

Until next time,

Cheers!

Matej

ANFIN

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