Woot!!! I can’t believe I won this contest!

“Woot!!!  I can’t believe I won this contest.” is what Nina L. of Spanish Fork, Utah, said when she heard she won our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels App Contest (whew, that is a long name for a contest!).

Nina and her husband will receive one free night at one of the favorite inns along the Pacific Coast Highway: the beautiful Vagabond’s House Inn in romantic Carmel. If Nina travels between January and March 2012, the Inn will throw in a second night as part of the prize.

Carmel

Carmel

And what does Nina think about all this?

“I feel like screaming and jumping  up and down. I never win anything. Ever. Since I love to travel, this is one of the best things on earth to win. I am so excited and can’t wait to go there with my husband.”

Thank you for taking part in the contest. If you did not win this time, we wish you the best of luck next time!

Ah… and what about the correct answers? Nina got them all right:

1.  What is the predominant color for the second photo in the App?  -> Red

2.  How many rooms does the Vagabond’s House Inn in Carmel have?  -> 13

3.  Which famous movie star is co-owner of the Cypress Inn in Carmel?  -> Doris Day

Planning a trip along the Pacific Coast Highway?
Then get the Pacific Coast Highway App!

iPhone Travel App Pacific Coast Highway Hotels

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Earn from travel website

Travel writers all around the world are yearning for an answer to “how much money can I earn” from travel websites. Every business has to start small but with determination, advert revenue and good content, it will grow overtime.

How much will I earn?

Depending on your topic destination and the amount plus depth in content, search engines such as Google will pick up your travel articles. Therefore leading to a higher number of page views. Of course you need to consider how to search engine optimized your articles. This shall give you about 2 to 3 figure sum in a monthly revenue in the beginning. There are more details on how much you can earn from a travel website here.

How do I start?

You can always start from scratch and build a travel website but that can take a long period of time for the monthly revenue to come in. Make the smart move by sign up an account on GuideGecko. From there, you can add in content and photos.

After adding the content and photos, you can promote your travel guide on GuideGecko to friends, bloggers and media. Ask for exchange links to other travel bloggers or do a guest post on their blog. Tweet or write about it on Facebook!

Why should I publish with GuideGecko?

GuideGecko is a well established travel website. We are highly visible and optimized in search engines. Therefore you need not to worry about low readership. All you need to do is write good content accompanied with interesting photos.

Share the world with your knowledge and insider’s tips on a particular destination. Get more info on how much you can earn and some travel website promotion tips here.

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Latest iPhone Travel Apps: Hvar, Pacific Coast Highway and Girona

GuideGecko proudly presents three latest iPhone Travel Apps; Girona Travel Guide, Hvar: An Insider’s Guide and Pacific Coast Highway Hotels. From Spain, Croatia and to California, you need to feel lost anymore. Simply take out your iPhone and find the best place to see, dine and sleep! Well, at least no one will know you are a tourist.

All of our iPhone Travel Apps include a GPS-enabled offline map, photo gallery and augmented reality, which recognizes places of interest nearby.

Girona Travel Guide

Girona is a charming town on Costa Brava in Spain. Our travel app has full coverage of the best places to visit and sleep in Girona. We included a walking tour of the Old Town, just in case you are unsure where to begin.

Hvar: An Insider’s Guide to Croatia’s Premier Island

Hvar: An Insider’s Guide to Croatia’s Premier Island is a must-buy guide when planning a trip to Croatia. This comprehensive guide is written by a British expat who is staying in Hvar eversince 2003. There are over 320 insider’s tips on where to eat, shop, see and sleep.

Pacific Coast Highway Hotels

Pacific Coast Highway Hotels is a travel app written by two award-winning travel writers. When driving along the Pacific Coast for a road trip, stop by places to get some rest. This guide covers from California, Oregon and Washington. This iPhone app comes along with author’s review of the hotels too. No marketing language or crowd-sourced content!

Check out more iPhone Travel Apps.

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Our new Backpacker Cheatsheets make independent travel easy!

Backpackers listen up! Researching on a particular country might take weeks and months for preparation. Hogging on the Internet and travel guide books for insider’s tips and worthy places to see are the few steps we all take before that huge trip.

Well, we have the solution to save you from all the trouble researching places to see and how to get around from one city to another. GuideGecko presents Cheatsheets. The name speaks for itself. We have Cheatsheets that cover a lot of top holiday destinations. Excited already?

Places to see and activities to do.

In Asia, we currently have Cheatsheets for Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Burma/Myanmar, Indonesia and Bali. We are working on the Himalayan region (Nepal and Tibet).

Basically, Cheatsheets highlights places to see, activities to do and how to get around the country or city. This way you will know how to move from one place to another without wasting time asking around. You can follow our suggested route to cover the country of your choice too. We included important phone numbers such as the Embassy’s in case anything happens.

Estimated time and cost when getting around.

In the Pacific Islands region, we have Australia and New Zealand. We have included the estimated cost to getting around from one town to another. At least, you will know how much to set aside if you plan to move around.

As for South America, we have Cheatsheets for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. We are currently working on these countries. Hold on a little bit longer and you will be trekking up to Machu Picchu in no time.

All it takes to get these Cheatsheets is to choose the country and download the Cheatsheets for free! Please help spreading the word to other fellow backpackers.

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8 Questions with Ruby

The past few weeks had been rough and tough. We are lucky to get a hold with Ruby, our editor and writer for the 8 Questions section. Ruby is a multi-tasker, we guess she can split into different Rubys and complete all of the tasks before deadline. She graduated with a Diploma in Mass Communications from Temasek Polytechnic, which is the same school as Nabilah. You don’t want to mess with this girl, she plays Touch and can head butt whoever upsets her!

Which trip made you realize that you love traveling?

The 2009 trip to Gold Coast with my partner. It wasn’t the first time I was there but I think it was the first time I could really sit back and take everything in slowly. It made me realise what sort of traveller I wanted to be as well; not the “I came, I saw and I left” type but the kind who spends a bit more time and has the luxury to “do nothing” on some days, without worrying bout not experiencing enough of a place.

Since you are a fan of OZ, share the best moments you had over there.

Spending a month in Gold Coast at my aunt’s place with my partner. It was a trip that gave us time to relax and live a bit like a local. It’s really the most memorable trip yet.

How would you categorize yourself as a traveler?

Depends on the place I’m going to really. I’d probably be a backpacker in expensive countries and a flashpacker in cheaper ones, haha!

Share with us what is on your travel playlist.

None. Honestly, I don’t listen to music when I’m out and around or on the plane. I read more when I travel than listen to music. Oddly it’s the reverse when I’m home.

Did anything funny happen in any of your trips?

It was a clear sunny day in Phuket and we decided to check out one of the viewing points. We were on our scooter and it started pouring like crazy! Thankfully we brought our ponchos along. On the way back, we were behind this songtheaw and the people started laughing and taking photos of us. I guess we were their source of entertainment in the heavy rain.

Where is your dream destination?

Wow, I really don’t have one because I can’t narrow it down. Let me give you the one that’s in my head now (it could change tomorrow), Greece!

Share with us one travel tip.

Don’t be afraid to venture down the wrong alley!

What would you love to do ten years down the road?

Be travelling and writing to pay for the travelling.

Thanks Ruby! Do make sure to check out Singapore Gay Guide written by our dearest Ruby.

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8 Questions with Shazana

This week’s 8 Questions, we get a little more in depth with our writer, Shazana. She graduated from Lasalle College of The Arts, which is one of the best art schools in Singapore. The former Fashion Communication student confessed that she can’t keep still staying in Singapore and has the itch to travel every now and then.

What made you shift your interest from fashion to travel?

My folks are working in the airline industry and I get the chance to travel ever since I was a baby. Every year we will fly to places we have never been before. I would say traveling has become a part of me ever since. Plus I need a break from fashion but that does not mean I lost interest!

What would you never leave when traveling? Other than passport, cash and luggage.

Oil blotter and camera. My face tends to get oily by noon and the blotters come in handy. As for the camera, you never know what you get to see when traveling and it helps to record your trip too.

Name the best holiday trip.

I would say all the trips I’ve went are the best. I got lost in Florence, walk around New York City despite having jet lag, played with lion cubs at Johannesburg, laze like a beach bum at Koh Phangan and surfed in Bali. Every trip I’ve went has its best moments.

What camera do you use to take travel photos?

Nikon P600 and Holga are my sidekicks.

Have you ever tried any adrenaline rush activities?

Surfing at Canggu in Bali almost got me swept away by the ocean current. Having the thought of a 6 feet high wave heading towards you and the basic instinct to get up on the board gets my head and heart racing.

Share a piece of travel advice.

Make friends with the locals. Ask them where to eat and places to see. This way you just don’t go to “touristy” places but hidden places only the locals know.

Name a place where you would like to live forever.

It is a tie between Hawaii and Bali. I love beach destinations. The idea of having a beach front house has always enthrall me. Waking up in the morning with the best view of the ocean and not your neighbour’s house, or worst HDB flats in Singapore.

What would you like to accomplish in the near future?

Get to do a volunteer travel at least before I am 40 and learn Sign Language too.

Thanks Shazana! For more information on beach destinations, check out our Bali guide.

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View Listings On Map

We have recently tweaked our GuideGecko website by adding a new function on every main chapters page. Scroll down and you will see a map. Instead of listing the names of restaurants or hotels in that particular place with a small description and thumbnail, we have added a map that pins the location of listings. This way, it is easier to find out where exactly is this restaurant or hotel.

Zoom out to see it on continent level.

Browse through our continent pages and you will see red and blue orbs with numbers on it. This indicates the total number of listings in a particular country. Click on the colored orb and it will zoom in to country level.

Different chapter page has different set of aggregation and listings. For example, if you click on Hotels in Asia, it will only show the number and location of hotels. Same goes for Attractions page.

Different aggregation in country level.

Click on the numbers and you will see the different places of interest at such parts of the country. The figures are the total number of listings in a particular place. That way you know where are the popular places of interest.

Click on the green pins for a description of the listing.

By clicking on the numbers, it zooms down to street level and click again on the green pins for a short description of the listing. You can even see it in satellite view. For more information of a particular listing, click on more. If you prefer to view it in previous default settings, just click Display all on the right.

Go on and see the maps yourself!

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Food Feast presents Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Food Feast is our new weekly feature. We would like to share with you some of the dishes, which are prepared by one of our team mates. As for this week, Henry is eager to demonstrate how to make Vietnamese Spring Rolls.

Henry all good and ready to show us how to make spring rolls.

Authentic rice paper from Vietnam.

Fillings for Spring Roll.

As we sat around the table, there were slices of cucumber, fresh lettuce, bowl of dark Soy Sauce, shredded fried eggs, bowl of Bee Hoon, crisp looking rice paper and plate of carrots.

Cooking class begins.

We then followed Henry by soaking the rice paper in warm water and place it gently on a dry plate. He said “Just pick whatever you like and put it nicely on the rice paper.”

It was definitely an interactive lunch especially when you need to pick either some or all the fillings and wrap it nicely. For most of us, we felt a little foreign because it was our first time wrapping a Spring Roll. Like they said, practice makes perfect. Well in this case, as long as the vegetables or Bee Hoon (white noodles) does not fall out of the wrap, you are good to eat.

Daniel and Ruby are giving it a try.

Pick, arrange and wrap!

That’s the best part of making Vietnamese Spring Rolls for lunch. Pick only the ones you wish to eat, tuck it nicely and wrap it. Dip it in the black sauce, which is Soy Sauce drizzled with Vinegar. The Spring Rolls are really addictive.

Success!

Thanks Henry. Lunch was good and we are looking forward for next session of Food Feast. Meanwhile, check out our Singapore Food Guide to whet that appetite.

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8 Questions with Henry

This week’s 8 Questions, we get down with Henry and dig in a little further about our “happy-go-lucky” software developer.

Henry hails from Vietnam and came to Singapore for better prospects and experience. He holds a Degree in IT Management and Masters in E-Management from Hanoi University of Technology and Institute of InnoTech. Henry is into a photography craze and is always on the hunt for better gadgets. Don’t worry we are not going to ask him about technical stuff.

Which part of Vietnam do you come from?
I was born in Thai Binh province and grew up in Hanoi.

What do you do in your free time?
I usually spend my free time with friends and we go for movies. I like reading news too.

What is the weirdest Vietnam dish?
Pig intestines, which most of it are imported from China.

We heard you are into photography. How many cameras do you own?
I currently own one camera, which is the Nikon D90.

Who would you like to photograph?
My female friends and scenery.

Where would you like to go for a holiday?
Somewhere that has nice beach, mountain, forest and ancient villages, which has to be more than a century old.

Which part of Vietnam would you recommend others to visit?
I would recommend going to Duong Lam village (Ha Tay province), Hanoi, Ha Long bay (Quang Ninh Provinces), Phong Nha – Ke Bang (Quang Binh province), Cham towers (Ninh Thuan province), Nha Trang, Mui Ne (Binh Thuan), Ho Chi Minh and Can Tho.

Complete this sentence, “If I wasn’t working in Singapore, I would live in Hanoi and enjoy it with my beloved ones.

Thanks Henry. Well, for more information about the recommended places you have to read our Vietnam guide!

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8 Questions with Nabilah

We have a new section called 8 Questions with any one of our GuideGecko team members. See it as a great way to get to know more about our fellow members.

We have expanded our team and welcome Nabilah Husna, a Mass Communication graduate from one of Singapore’s top tertiary, Temasek Polytechnic. Now, she is part of our Editorial team. A scarf tied around the head and those striking blue highlights are her signature style. This girl will go all the way to see her favorite acts and that’s probably a smart way to see the world too! We get down to ask some questions with Nabilah.

What or who made you want to travel?

It’s probably a collective effort from the universe. (Putting the blame on one person for all my travel-rooted financial woes might be a bit unfair, I think!). The first time I traveled independently, sans-family at least, was for a music festival, and I got hit by wanderlust pretty bad after that. The quote “I was not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land” springs to mind. My first foray into living this probably started when I was when I knew that traveling would only be a ‘distant future plan’ if I didn’t just do it while I could!!

Where is the best destination you have ever been?

It’s a toss-up between Wellington and London. I probably treasure the experience of Wellington more because the people I met there, through Couchsurfing, but London summoned my Harry-Potter-fangirl side far too much to not enjoy.

Where would you love to go?

Iceland – and I’m not even sure why. Something about its glacier-ridden environment (coupled with the lack of people) fascinates me. Living in an Icelandic turf house would be awesome.

Tell us the top 5 things you must bring whenever you travel.

My iPod Touch; the wackiest, most out-there clothes in my wardrobe; antiseptic wipes; ramen packets for days when I feel poor; boots.

Since you are a fan of gigs, which best/wildest music festival have you been?

I queued up for 9 hours for a barricade spot and almost broke my neck by a kicking crowdsurfer at the Green Day gig (worth it!), but I think the most obsessive thing I’ve done was fly to Japan and Australia for gigs. The Lostprophets gig during SINGfest 2008 was pretty mad too!

Name us your favorite band/singer.

I would only spend ridiculous amounts of money for My Chemical Romance and Motion City Soundtrack (and I have). Right now my iPod’s going through a The Wombats and The Libertines phase. Can’t go wrong with British music.

Tell us the wackiest thing you have ever done at a music festival.

The Japanese show crowds are quite unlike normal crowds – raucous and loud during songs, but between them, after a round of polite applause, they calmly (and very quietly) wait for the next song. Classical music concert or heavy metal show, they’d be just as silent you can hear a pin drop. The girls I met before the shows, both American, and I were not used to this so we yelled out random stuff (“CHICKEN!!”) and got far too happy when it echoed through the entire arena. Cheap thrills.

What would you like to accomplish by end 2011?

Go back to London, join a volunteer programme, go for more gigs abroad and meet more awesome people!

Thank you, Nabilah. Check out this week’s featured article written by her.

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