A Man Prays Quietly In One Of San Cristobal De Las Casas’ Quietest Churches

Like a teenager ignoring their friends at dinner by chatting with online acquaintances instead, I did not realize this man praying in Templo de San Cristobal until after editing the shot a day later. Mexico is a country full of impressive churches with towering domes like Granada’s Cathedral, but the smaller ones vary so much visiting many hardly gets dull.

Mexicans pray passionately as they do in Tbilisi though the rituals changes from church to church, often dramatically. Yet you might miss them if you focus too long on the architecture or getting the right angle for your photo. You’ll just have to decide what you want to give up; but sparing a moment for a memory isn’t a travel decision we tend to regret.

Targu Jiu Wins The 2015 Best City To Visit Tournament, Romania’s Third In A Row

April 7, 2015 by  
Filed under Contests

craiova park lake

The 2015 Best City To Visit Travel Tournament was the one where the Romanians, whose city’s Sibiu and Craiova won in 2013 and 2014 respectively, looked most vulnerable. There was a very close call with Granada in the Final Four – had the local media campaign begun an hour earlier it’s likely Targu Jiu would have lost. Instead, Targu Jiu passed Granada by 3 votes and eventually Boston, to be named 2015’s Best City To Visit by you.


Same Country, Different Results

Although it’s the third Romanian win, three things still hold true about The Best City tournaments: no Champion city has ever won back to back contests and no city has ever won the tournament twice. Finally, and most exciting for me, is that no city I have ever visited before has won. Since I always head to the winner of the best city contest before the year is up, I’m especially looking forward to planning my first trip to Targu Jiu some time in 2015.

2015 best city final bracket

Next Year’s Tournament Will Be A Big One

I’ve already have a few things in mind for the 2016 Best City To Visit Travel Tournament, including a big prize. You’ll have to wait until next February to find out the specific details but the best way to get first word on how 2016’s contest could send you traveling is to sign up for my free bi-monthly newsletter.

Congratulations again to The Best City To Visit of 2015, Targu Jiu as well as Damian, who originally picked the city. You’ll have $300 coming your way soon! Again, thank you to all of you who nominated the other 63 cities as well as those who voted. Your participation is what makes the contest come to life every year!

Let me know your recommendations if you’re from or have been to Targu Jiu in the comments below. When or what events would you suggest I visit, what should I eat, see, and eat?

The Best Portable Hard Drives For Travel

April 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Security, Tech

portable hard drive travel

They aren’t the sexiest topic but if you take a lot of vacation photos, travel for business, or have experienced a laptop crash on the road, a good portable hard drive is a serious matter. Not having any kind of backup is one of the biggest tech mistakes you can make as a traveler and while online backups have advantages, adding a portable hard drive as part of your travel security plan can ensure you don’t lose any precious data on flaky Internet connections.

These hard drives are the best choices that are both reliable and light, with a few distinguishing features between them.

Western Digital (WD) My Passport Ultra 2 Terabyte (TB) Portable Hard Drive

wd my passport hard drive

In most cases you don’t need to shop further than the WD My Passport series of portable hard drives. They’re 226 grams (8 ounces) light, 2 centimeters (.08 inches) thin, and very affordable at less than $100. The Slim version is 20% more expensive but half the weight if that’s a particularly important consideration for you. The My Passport also comes in 4 different color varieties, which might come in handy if you’re traveling with a partner.

wd my passport hard driveWestern Digital My Passport Ultra 2 TB Portable Hard Drive, Black

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Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2 TB Portable External Hard Drive

seagate backup plus slim

The main attractive feature of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim over the WD My Passport is that its 50% lighter but roughly the same price. That’s a pretty good selling point for a backup hard drive that’s nearly as durable plus syncs well with mobile devices; so you can backup your phone or tablet photos directly.

seagate backup plus slimSeagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive

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Samsung T1 Portable 500GB USB 3.0 External Solid State Drive (SSD)

samsung t1 portable hard drive

A solid state drive means that there are no moving parts inside the Samsung T1, giving it an exceptional level of reliability. An SSD also means the T1 Portable is about 3 times the price of the hard drives mentioned above – for 1/4th the storage space. Still, it’s physically smaller with data transfer speeds five times as fast. If you’ve got the budget and are a heavy photo or video shooter – the Samsung T1 is worth considering.

samsung t1 portable hard driveSamsung T1 Portable 500GB USB 3.0 External SSD

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What Is A Terabyte And How Much Storage Do I Need?

A terabyte is equivalent to 1,00 gigabytes (GB). Given that the average laptop hard drive has a storage capacity of either 250 or 500 GBs, a 2 TB portable drive should meet your needs. Two terabytes also happens to be the largest amount of portable storage your can currently find before prices really jump. (A 4 TB portable hard drive costs 25% more per terabyte for example.) Of course that will change as storage inevitably becomes cheaper. However if you want to backup your backup using two drives, it’s generally a good idea to get two smaller drives, rather than a single big one.

Whichever portable hard drive you decide to go with, remember to protect it using Truecrypt, and automate your backups with Crashplan so you’re covered off and online.

The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2015 Championship: Boston vs. Targu Jiu

March 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Contests, Money

best city 2015 championship craiova

In case you missed it, the Best City To Visit Final Four ended with two last-minute wins. Boston’s supporters came out to push their city past Reykjavik as the polls were closing Sunday. On the other side of the brackets, thanks to an active campaign by Turismo Ciudad de Granada, the Spanish city almost upset Romanian Targu Jiu in a back and forth voting race that went on until the final moments. In the end, we have Targu Jiu who defeated Granada by 3 votes facing Boston in the Championship. This is the final round of this year’s contest – will the Romanians win their third contest in a row or does Boston pull off the upset? Your votes will decide, good luck to both cities!

You have until Sunday, April 5th 6:00pm US EST to vote in each of the match ups below. Those of you reading through email and RSS will have to click-through to this page to vote.


The 2015 Best City To Visit Travel Tournament Brackets.

best city 2015 championship

A map of the Elite 8 (red circles), Final Four (red stars), and remaining two cities in the Championship (green).

The final results of The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2015 will be announced next Tuesday, April 7th!

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