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From Long Nights to Long Haul Flights

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Official Travel Notes Blog

As the clocks go back in the UK this weekend and the long nights start to smother our daylight hours, now's the time to think about a long haul break; to feel the warmth of the sun again, at 5pm in the evening.

Let's look at a few of the options for a low-cost holiday before Christmas.

Turtle Beach by Rex Resorts Hotel

The Turtle Beach by Rex Resorts Hotel is directly on a mile-long sandy beach at Great Courland Bay, on the north-west coast of Tobago. The beach is regularly visited by nesting Leatherback turtles, usually between March and July, who turn the beach into home to lay their eggs. The hotel is 7 miles from Tobago`s capital Scarborough and 2 miles from the Mount Irvine golf course. (£602 for 7 nights).

Sandos Caracol Eco Beach Resort and Spa

The Sandos Caracol Eco Beach Resort and Spa sits on the exclusive Mayan Riviera in Mexico, ten minutes away from the charming village of Playa del Carmen. This all-inclusive beach resort is in a naturally beautiful area at the edge of an exotic jungle surrounded by mangroves and natural lagoons making it the ideal destination for taking things easy. (£861 for 7 nights - all inclusive).

Hotel Shaw Park Beach Spa

The Hotel Shaw Park Beach Spa sits on a private beach on Cutlass Bay, Jamaica. Ocho Rios is approximately two miles away. The hotel is next to the mouth of the White River and three miles from the Shaw Park Botanical Gardens, a 25 acre reserve with waterfalls and tropical plants in a stunning hilltop location overlooking the Caribbean. (£713 for 7 nights - all inclusive).

Relax by the pool of The Grenadian Hotel

The Grenadian Hotel has the choice of two wide, white-sand beaches; one dedicated to water sports and the other for simply relaxing in the hot Caribbean sun. The hotel rooms are modern and spacious, some with ocean views across Tamarind Bay to the capital of Grenada, St George's - six miles away. (£612 for 7 nights).

If money's a little tight in the lead up to Christmas, you can't go wrong with Goa.

Peravel Beach Holiday Homes
The Peravel Beach Holiday Homes sits on a quiet lane less than a five-minute walk from Candolim Beach. Candolim village has a modest selection of local stores and eateries and Panaji, the capital of Goa, is ten miles away. Candolim beach is wide and sandy and is quieter and more relaxed than some of the towns.(£444 for 7 nights - B&B).

If you are a fan of the long, cold, dark nights (I know my sister is) - try Iceland or Norway. A selection of chilly, ice hotels coming soon.

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Build Websites That Sell

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Official Travel Notes Blog

Over the years, all sorts of website submissions have made their way to the Travel Notes inbox; from stylish, personal travel websites hosted on free domains to corporate productions that didn't do any favours for the brand.

I've also seen almost every search engine optimisation trick in the book and enough dubious domain name changes to wonder if there shouldn't be a law against such blatant misrepresentation of the Uniform Resource Locator (URL).

Travel and Tourism Websites - Then and Now

Back in 1997, most of our links pointed to 'real' travel and tourism websites; in that people had travelled to the places they were writing about, or a local tourist office presented the attractions for visitors to their country or city.

Travelogues still make interesting reading although many have now taken on the form of a travel blog; which is fine, as all the entries are date-stamped.

Build an Online Business instead of a Blog

But when I read some of the blogs today, so much work has gone into them that it's almost as if the 'blogger' is trying to make an income, as a writer. And if they are, I wonder why they don't create an articles website and call themselves writers?

Blog vs Website:
Most people searching for information will find a website rather than a blog, so perhaps the blog is better served as an add-on to the website?

The Website Business

It seems that keyword-driven-hyphenated-domain-names are getting longer; almost becoming sentences in themselves, boldly describing what the website is about.

We've had a number of these sent in to us and I must admit that I initially thought it was just another scam from fly-by-night promoters, trying to get their website ranked higher in Google search results.

As there are no robots at Travel Notes, I do look at the domains and noticed a similar trend in how these websites were laid out too.

Although most of the designs were different, the basic concept remained the same.

It was as if one person was churning out numerous keyword-optimised, content-driven, (hopefully) money-making machines.

The biggest common denominator was at the bottom of the page:

Powered by Site Build It - Click Here For Case Studies

I originally thought Site Build It was a web-building tool provided by a free-host looking for a greater market share, along the lines of the former GeoCities, FortuneCity, TerraShare (now parked) or Bravenet.

It said 'Powered by Site Build It', but the links pointed to Site Sell. What's more, SiteSell seemed keen in getting affiliates to do the selling for them; judging by the way the small banner slides across the screen before your very eyes.
Join The SiteSell Affiliate Program

If you're a blogger and can't give up the day job just yet, you might want to take a look at the SiteSell affiliate program.

Maybe you're not a blogger and you're wondering how the World Wide Web can help your local business. Perhaps you've always fancied the idea of an online business but didn't know where to start.

I'm assuming most people reading this would be interested in reading about travel sites using SBI, or how to make travel your business?


I first bookmarked Site Sell a few years back but never really got around to asking the questions. I have a few dormant domains I still need to develop, so I'll let you you know how things progress.

Although $299 a year might seem like a lot to pay out up front, ordering the $29.99/month plan seems a little more friendly. At under $1 a day, that's less than most reputable web hosting plans. And you can pay by PayPal, if you wish.

Before you part with your money though, take a look at the tools to help you succeed. If you're serious about online success, make sure to read the SBI Action Guide. This is the 10-day plan that some people in the SBI forum wish you didn't have free access to.

The free-to-use, all-in-one Search It resource combines many pre-programmed advanced searches to help you 'brainstorm new topics for your site; deepen the research on your competition; get your domain naming, trademarks and other legalities right; and research material for your content pages'.

Beware - building websites that sell is not for everyone. Not only does it cost money to get started, it takes time and effort to keep going. But earning while you sleep is a good feeling. You might even come up with a new super-packed-keyword-domain-that-rocks.

Site Build It!

Alptransit - New Gotthard Rail Tunnel

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Official Travel Notes Blog

Photo of a Poster Celebrating the New World Record

After 17 years of work, Swiss mining engineers finally drilled through the last section of rock, between Faido and Sedrun, to complete the 57km tunnel through the base of the Gotthard mountain; creating what will become the world's longest rail tunnel.

Going Down to Tunnel Entrance at Sedrun

Some two hundred guests were invited to witness the final breakthrough live, deep in the belly of the Alps, while celebrations were held in a marquee on a sports field at the mountain village of Sedrun; 2,000m above where the two ends of the tunnel became one.

Trains are expected to use the tunnel by 2017, reducing the travel time between Zurich and Milan to two hours and forty, instead of the four hours ten minutes the journey currently takes; but travellers in the tunnel won't get the mountain views.

The Glacier Express Passes by Sedrun

Around 300 trains a day will be able to travel at speeds of 250km/h (155mph), thanks to a project that has cost an estimated 9.8bn Swiss francs (about £6.4bn or $10.3bn).

That may seem like a tremendous amount of money, but due to the increasing freight traffic coughing out diesel fumes in the area, the project was considered a huge saving for the environment; althought the final cost may top 12bn Swiss francs - close to 5 billion over the initial cost plan.

Removing the Rock From the Mountain at Sedrun

Swiss voters gave the project the go ahead in a referendum held on 27th September, 1992 - with 63.6% of the voters in favour. A year later, on 22nd September, 1993 test drilling for the tunnel started at Polmengo.

Resculpturing The Alpine Landscape

About 2,500 people have worked on the tunnel, that cost the lives of eight people during its construction.

The End of The Road For The Gotthard Rock

All photos by Michel - Photos.TravelNotes.org.

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