Podcast #8 – TravelCommons on Vacation

This TravelCommons podcast comes to you from my first day on vacation, recorded in the bathroom of the Novotel in Geneva, Switz. I walk through the Internet technologies that I used to book a small non-chain hotel in the French Alps, talk about the sort of “travel insurance” that people believe they get from chosing well-known travel brands, and then reflect on the pleasures of unplanned wanderings — trying to stay awake in Geneva and spending an afternoon at the World Beach Tchoukball Championship. Here’s a direct link to the podcast file.

Sorry for the delay in posting the show notes, but my Internet connectivity was a bit spotty at time, and I am, after all, on vacation:

  • Intro music — Warmth by Makkina
  • Recorded in the bathroom of the Novotel in Geneva, Switz
  • On a 2½-week vacation in Europe
  • Take the Worst Airport poll in the left column of this web site
  • Using all kinds of technology to book vacation hotels in France
  • Update — The Hotel Altiport was a great place in a beautiful setting above Meribel and had a great staff
  • Direct Link to a picture of the Hotel Altiport
  • Comfort in brands — where to take risks and where to play it safe while traveling
  • Serendipity — finding an unexpected prize when traveling
  • Direct Link to a picture of the women’s Beach Tchoukball finals
  • For those interested in tchoukball — www.tchoukball.org
  • Feedback at comments[at]travelcommons.com, the comment board on podcastalley.com, or right here in the comments section below
  • Direct link to the show
  • 11 comments on “Podcast #8 – TravelCommons on Vacation

    1. Anonymous says:

      My vote for the worst airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India.

      The underlying reason for this is that the airport suffers from the regular delays of any airport, made worse by the lack of urgency on the part of any officials.

      But that only aggravates the real problem with this airport, at least the international terminal. (I’ve never been to the domestic one, but I fear it would be similar.)

      The international terminal has no bathrooms or food shops (to get snacks or drinks) after the security cordon. So if your bladder is not completely empty – risking, of course, dehydration – you’re likely to be crossing your legs before boarding your plane. And if you have not brought enough fluid and sustenance to wait out an interminable delay, you’re also out of luck.

      Jeff Inglis, South Portland, Maine

      PS – I enjoy the podcast. Thanks for doing it!

    2. mark says:

      Jeff –

      Thanks for leaving the words of warning about Gandhi Int’l Airport. And I thought Kansas City was bad! I have not had the opportunity to travel yet to India — I was on my way to Bangalore this January, but had the trip cancelled at the last minute. I believe that my itinerary had me connecting through Delhi, and I don’t remember any warnings regarding lack of services beyond security. Quite a difference from the places like London Heathrow’s Terminal 4, which seems like a duty-free shopping mall with a few flights arriving and departing.

      Glad you enjoy the podcast.


    3. Anonymous says:

      Thanks for mentioning this in Podcast 9! Got a kick out of hearing it… And yes, be prepared whenever traveling in India – even if you’re on business, you never know what could happen…

      Be well.


    4. Anonymous says:

      Can you add the Oakland, CA airport?

    5. mark says:

      Maybe I’ll take the winners from the first poll and put them up against new suggestions. Oakland and Miami have received write-in votes…

    6. Anonymous says:

      I listen to quite a few podcasts, and I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that travelcommons is my absolute favorite. While I have favorite podcasts for my auto racing/cycling iterests, I especially enjoy travelcommons for your unique and eclectic view of the world around us.

      While I’m not a frequent business traveler, I’ll be making a trip to L.A. for work in a week or so, and all of the insider tips and insights have helped me prepare for my trip… Whether it be airport tips, referring your listeners to Skype or tips on booking your travel itinerary… I appreciate the information.

      I found your podcast thanks to iTunes, and downloaded the latest episode. After listening, I went back and downloaded all of your previous episodes and was hooked. While I wish you had the time to put out more content, I know how difficult that can be when you are on the road. Thanks for the great podcast & website.

      I really don’t get to travel much these days, but am still a traveler at heart, and hearing the travelcommons podcast makes me feel like I am still in tune with the mindset of a road warrior.

      Thanks again!

      Tim G.
      Marietta, OH

    7. mark says:

      Tim –

      Thanks for the comments and complements. I’m glad that you enjoy the podcast. I certainly enjoy doing it. I’d like to put out more content, but given my work commitments, I’m doing well to keep a once-a-week cadence. Years ago, I wrote a weekly business column for an alternative newspaper in Philadephia called The Welcomat. That experience taught me the difficulty/challenge in stringing together 600 somewhat-interesting/insightful words a week.

      This podcast provides a similar challenge. I think about possible topics during the week, jotting them down in my notebook. I then write out a detailed outline — typically on an airplane flight or after dinner in my hotel room. The recording is the easy part. I then take a couple of hours to assemble, edit, post and write the show notes. I may spend as much time thinking about the right introductory song clip as I do recording the actual topic!

      Don’t know where you’re going in LA — whether LA proper or down in Orange County. Two thoughts — beware of LAX, and get a hotel near the ocean. LAX has one of the worst architectural layouts for today’s increased security screening. Give yourself enough time to pass through security — I’ve rarely spent less than 15-20 minutes in the security queue. On the positive side, carve out some ocean time if possible. I see that you, like me, are from the Midwest. We don’t see the ocean every day, so we should grab every opportunity to smell a bit of salt air. The easiest way to do this is to book a hotel room by the ocean. It may add 10-15 minutes to your drive, but I think that it’s worth it. Experiencing the beach communities of, say, Manhattan Beach or Huntington Beach, is worth it.

      Take care,

    8. Meegeekai says:

      Mark – you continue to amaze and inspire me. I finally think I got this figured out and after a long sabatical have starting posting up my podcasts again. I am in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore this trip and just posted up #2 and #3. I have copied your format somewhat, hope you don’t mind. Just was getting too hung up on structure and not focusing on content. This too will evolve.

      Thanks again, have a good vacation – Curt Taylor (www.emptyseat.net)

    9. Anonymous says:

      I’ve listened to two your shows. I’ll be back for more.

      Wondering if you have comments (or have earlier shows) on:
      1 internet access in-flight
      2 mobile phone access in-flight


    10. mark says:

      Good topical questions; I’ll try to address them in future podcasts. I’m personally in the anti-mobile phone camp. When you have 150+ people crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in a cylindrical metal tube, loud mobile phone conversations just doesn’t seem to be a good idea. Waiting for a recent flight to complete its boarding, a woman behind me forced everyone in a three-row radius to listen to her conversation with her husband because she was using the speakerphone feature on her phone. The rest of us all looked at each other in wonder/horror!

      Mobile phone conversations seem to shut off people’s sense of their surroundings — they seem to ignore the people who phyically surround them and only focus on the person at the other end of the call. It’s bad enough to deal with mobile phone conversations during the 20-minute boarding process and the 10 minutes between touchdown and de-planing. I’m not sure I could handle the constant chatter during a 4-hour flight from Chicago to LA.


    11. Meegeekai says:

      Lufthansa has started internet access inflight. A co-worker of mine from Italy just used it and loves it. Also, if you use IPass as an ISP they just announced connectivity from various airlines bring this service on line. As far as mobiles, have not heard or seen anything on this.

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