10 indispensable tools for frequent travelers

One of the great things about traveling is having the opportunity to disconnect from real life, even if only for a short while. It’s hard to do. A new study shows that many of us find it challenging to get away from work and really enjoy our vacations – in fact, only 58% of Canadians even use all of the vacation time we have, which, not surprisingly, is bad news for productivity. And those people who do go away often end up taking work with them.

I make it a personal rule to leave reality at home when I travel. No logging into VPN, checking business emails, or sitting on a beach working on a report. After all, what’s the point of taking the time off if you can’t use it to recharge your batteries?

However, there’s no denying that the convenience of having access to certain tools can make the difference between a disastrous trip and a great one. Whether it’s being stranded in an airport during a travel crisis casued by a volcanic eruption, using Skype to stay in touch with friends and family back home, or simply arriving in a new place and looking for a place to stay, things to see, or people to meet, it is possible to disconnect from life back home while connecting to life on the Road.  

There are certain sites and digital tools that I consider indispensable for frequent travelers. Here are a few of my favourites:

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Putting a value on happiness

A pair of articles highlighting polls about the happiest places in the world showed up in the news today.

Vanuatu chosen by Lonely Planet as world's happiest placeFirst, the Huffington Post posted a (completely unscientific, totally subjective) poll published last May by Lonely Planet listing its version of the World’s 10 happiest places. Much to the excitement of the locals, Montreal placed second, just behind Vanuatu.

Then, Israel Insider highlighted a (slightly more scientific, but still totally subjective) Gallup Poll published by Forbes on the World’s Happiest Countries. The top spots on the list were dominated by Scandinavia. But the news was that Israel was tied with Canada and Australia in eighth spot, making Israelis the happiest people on the Asian continent.

Really, now?

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Anonymity, compartmentalization or multibranding?

Are we seeing a trend towards more anonymity online? What are the implications of increased anonymity? Does being anonymous necessarily mean having something to hide?

These are some of the questions that Mitch Joel asks in today’s blog post: The Next Big Thing Online Could Well Be Anonymity:

The knee-jerk reaction to anonymity is that the person creating the content has “something to hide.” It’s logical, but it’s not the entire story. Some people simply feel more liberated to speak their mind knowing that who they are will not become a focal point within that discussion.

(Full disclosure: I’ve been working for Mitch and the team at Twist Image for a little over three years now. You’ll likely see quite a bit of content from the folks at TI on this space. That’s what happens when you’re lucky enough to work with smart people who write thought-provoking content.)

I think an excellent point has been raised here. And it occurs to me that we may be talking about the wrong thing. Instead of “anonymity” versus “transparency”, are we really not simply talking about compartmentalization? Or, to put it another way, a personal version of multibranding?

In fact, I think this is a particularly appropriate topic for the inaugural post of a new blog, launched by a person with a digital presence in quite a few arenas. So here goes:

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The headspace experiment

The experiment: A new blog to discuss thoughts and ideas from the scary recesses of my brain related to the vast fields of digital marketing, social media, strategic marketing and advertising.

The objective: Contribute something of value to the conversation, without simply adding to the clutter.

The expected outcome: Optimistic.