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A Parade of Adventurous Family Bloggers!

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It is all about Adventures. Family Adventures that is. That the theme for our featured bloggers for this week. Who does not like fun? With Thanksgiving  and the Ski seasons are fast approaching, these bloggers can be your guide for an amazing family winter fun.

Field Trips with Sue – Inexpensive Outings with Kids in Atlanta

If you live in Atlanta, you lucky to have Sue. This blog is an amazing resource of what is going on in Atlanta area. Sue keeps an unwavering eye for things to do that either free or cost very little. She updates the site quite frequently. Obviously I am impressed. In fact I asked Sue if she has any plans to move to Seattle, so that I can find new ideas for what to do:). Yeah, yeah … selfish me. Anyway, there is no plans and I am going to keep my new-starbucks-every-weekend habit. So check out what’s on this week in Atlanta: Toddler Thursday’s Fun for EveryoneKids Day at the Thrashers This Sunday

You can find more of Field Trips with Sue featured posts on her raveable profile.

Wandering Off – Adventures Big & Small

Every time I visit the Wandering Off blog, I get this sense of peace. I am not sure why, it could be the design of the blog which is really well done, or the amazing pictures which captures the scenery in San Antonio among other places. Well, Kudos to Sarah for such a nice blog. In this blog, Sarah shares her family trips and adventures around Texas and beyond.  Here, check out couple of very nice posts for family things to do in San Antonio: Just the Zoo of UsSaturday in the Park

You can find more of Wandering Off featured posts on her raveable profile.

OC Mom Activity Guide – Adventures in Orange County

Are you planning a family trip to CA? If so, you should take a look at these fun and adventurous things to do from Katie, the author of this quite informative blog. As a San Diego fan, I could not miss out on reading Katie posts on Sand Diego Wild Animal ParkSea World, so really good tips on how to plan your day-long park trip.

You can find more of OC Mom featured posts on her raveable profile.

NY City Mama – Adventures of a NYC Mama

From the city that never sleeps comes this fabulous family blogger. Carol, the author, is quite an accomplished writer and blogger as you quickly notice from her writing style. I love how the blog is organized. You can quickly find posts on NY parks, museums, hotels … etc. Check out Carol post on Prospect Park Zoo in Brooklyn, or Staten Island Ferry Ride. There are tons of goodies in this blog for you to enjoy and Carol is planning to share more with Raveable visitors, YAY!

You can find more of NY City Mama featured posts on her raveable profile.

FindandGoSeek – Kid Friendly Fun in Vermont

This is a fun blog written by the editorial directory of Fun & Go Seek website. The mission is to help families with ideas for things to do in and around Vermont. There are tons of goodies in this blog and it is quite active. I am looking forward for future posts to feature on reveable. For starters, check out this post about Shelburne Museum. Since skiing season is upon us, make sure to read these tips on skiing with kids in Vermont.

You can find more of Find & Go Seek featured posts on her raveable profile.

Welcome to our new Family Bloggers. We are very happy to have you in our growing family:)

Raveable is all about capturing the hard to find travel stories, reviews and recommendations from all over the web and bring it to the front of the eyes of travelers everywhere. Learn more about YouRave program and how to become one.

Written by Rafik

November 19, 2009 at 5:55 pm

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Adventures Await! Travel in History with Raveable Bloggers

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Don’t you just love history channel? Personally, I am pretty much addicted to all things history. At Raveable, we are so fortunate to feature a couple of very knowledgeable history travel gurus. They blog about history as they travel to historic places. Through their writing I realized that Travel + History are powerful mix. So forget history channel, live history as you go and get inspiration from our Raveable bloggers:

Historical Travel – A tour guide to historical sites in the Mid-Atlantic states

Just a quick glance at Historical Travel and you will reliaze the amount of effort that Doug, the author, has put in building the content of this blog. He visited all the places he writes about. In each post, Doug gives a very good historical

b8background of the historic attraction he is visiting, plus many illustrations through a great photography. I’ve to confess that i read quite a bit of his work and just cannot get enough:) – Thanks Doug!

Here is a couple of my recommended reads: Chesapeake Bay Maritime MuseumThe B&O Railroad Museum

See also Historical Travel Profile on Raveable.

The Lewis and Clark Trail
– Road Trip Planner for Historic Trail

Road trips can be the perfect scenario for exploring historic attractions. This site (it is not really a blog) shows you the route Lewis & Clark had taken in their expedition in 1804. If you up for some road tripping with a touch of history, use the trip planner to find the route along with quite a few attractions on the way.

See also The Lewis and Clark Trail Profile on Raveabe.

My Adventures in History
– “History teaches everything, including the future” – Lamartine b33

What drives me to reading blogs is the passion of the author. Rebecca, the author of My Adventures in History blog, is really really passionate about history and travel. It shows clearly in her work. Take this post, for example, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum; here is another great post about The Confederate White House. Don’t miss the author list of top ten best posts.

See also My Adventures in History Profile on Raveable.

There a lot of hidden gems in these few history travel blogs. I’ve great appreciation to the wonderful work done by these folks. Please keep doing your amazing work.

Raveable is all about capturing the hard to find travel stories, reviews and recommendations from all over the web and bring it to the front of the eyes of travelers everywhere. Learn more about YouRave program and how to become one

Written by Rafik

November 10, 2009 at 4:05 pm

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YouRave Roundup: Viva Mommy Bloggers

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Every time I talk with couples about travel, I hear this: “We used to travel a lot before we have kids”. Sounds familiar?! I bet you have your own share of this kid on answer yourself. Having Kids is a convenient excuse to go nowhere. Not so fast, our new bloggers that we are excited to have in raveable family are the exception to the rule. Not only they love travel with little kids, they did it with babies and even infants.  What I like the most about mommy bloggers is their desire to evangelize, encourage and help others do the same thing! Way to go mommy bloggers:

Delicious Baby – Making Travel with Kids Fun

b28A rather popular resource for traveling with kids. I had the pleasure to meeting with Debbie, the author, in person here in Seattle. She is so passionate about encouraging families to travel with little ones. On top of that, she also help other mommy bloggers gain some publicity and increased traffic with her weekly travel links.

If you are planning on traveling overseas with kids, make sure to check DB guides before you go. Pay a visit to these guides and you will know why I am saying that:   Paris, France with Kids GuideRome, Italy with Kids Guide.

See also Delicious Baby Profile on raveable.

Have Baby Will Travel – Helping you get away with your baby!

b30You gonna love this blog, especially if you are travel to international destinations. This blog is part of a larger site with the same name that Corinne, the author, is building to be a one-stop shop for traveling families.  I really love how easy it is to navigate to different blog entry; by my favorite part is the family travel articles section. Highly recommended.

Corinne is going to Florida very soon and she is going to share all here trip stories with the raveable community which I am very excited about. Let’s wish here a great trip!

See also Have Baby Will Travel Profile on raveable.

Have Kid Will Travel – Adventures with Kids

b31We all know kids loves adventures. They can get those through TV or you can read this blog, get inspired and live the adventures with your kids. Jody named her blog to reflect her writing style which makes you want to go, try new things and enjoy with the family. Here detailed posts are just a joy to read, check this one out:  The Boston Freedom Trail, Boston, Massachusetts

Jody also shared a lot of tips and deals with her readers. It is about time to bookmark this blog, you can thank me later.

See also Have Kid Will Travel Profile on raveable.

Keeps Me Smiling – For Families on the Go!

b32“What a great name” that was my impression when I first saw Keeps Me Smiling blog. The name alone infuses a sense of joy that can sneak on you in a good way and change your mood. Travel should be a source of joy for the whole family. Lorraine, the co-founder of MyBusyKit.com and the author of this blog, shares a lot of her personal family trips, stories and recommendations. Her post about sailing beyond the Golden Gate is so fascinating.

See also Keeps Me Smiling Profile on raveable.

Welcome to our new Mommy Bloggers. You are all Raveable!

Raveable is all about capturing the hard to find travel stories, reviews and recommendations from all over the web and bring it to the front of the eyes of travelers everywhere. Learn more about YouRave program and how to become one.

Written by Rafik

November 2, 2009 at 10:21 pm

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YouRave Roundup: New Family & Health Ravers

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Another busy week with some updates to blogger profile page which I will cover in another post. It is time to welcome a couple of really nice bloggers to our growing family of travel bloggers:

Kids Go West – Tales of Family Travel in the Western U.S.

Who can give you recommendations for family trips better than a second grade teacher?! Carolina, the author, has a great writing style and thus you will find your self reading and wanting to read some more.

The thing I like the most about Kids Go West are those posts where Carolina blog about her kids picks for favorite things to do, here is a quote from My Kid’s Picks: Best of Yosemite post: “Kids don’t write the guidebooks, but they can help their moms write blog entries. For this post, I’m letting my seven-year old expert give a list of his favorite things to do in Yosemite and I’ll write my thoughts on those places.” … That’s quite creative and insightful! I love it.

Want more? Check out Kids Go West profile on raveable.

Health Conscious Travelnapa

The focus on health and well being while traveling cannot be overstated. I am glad that Melanie, the author, have dedicated this blog to: “Tips to nurture your body, feed your soul, and satisfy you thirst for adventure”. Well said!

The stunning picture you see here is from Melanie review of green hotels in Napa, Going Green in Napa At Long Last .. check it out.

There are a lot of great tips on this blog, for example, here is some recommendations on food to avoid while traveling to fight insomnia: Hate Insomnia? 5 Foods That Sabotage Sleep

Hungry for more? Check out Health Conscious Travel profile on raveable.

Raveable welcomes our new YouRave bloggers.

Raveable is all about capturing the hard to find travel stories, reviews and recommendations from all over the web and bring it to the front of the eyes of travelers everywhere. Learn more about YouRave program and how to become one.

Written by Rafik

October 26, 2009 at 6:21 pm

YouRave Roundup: Welcoming New Ravers

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A week ago I wrote about YouRave program for travel bloggers. Let’s say that it was a busy week. The response from bloggers was very positive and we have several new bloggers sharing their posts with raveable visitors. This post is about them, but before I started let me say that are flattered. Working with every one of you has been a great pleasure for us.

Now, for a quick introduction of the new Ravers:

WeJustGotBack.com – Travel Advice You Can Trustwjgb

An authoritative source for travel advice for families traveling with kids. What I like the most about WeJustGotBack.com is the amazing collection of travel insider guides to popular destination. You can find those on the main site; here check out the San Francisco Insider Guide, or the New York Insider Guide.

But that’s not all. Don’t miss those handy posts offering tips for cheap and free things to do when you travel. On my next trip to San Diego I am going to make sure to have this post handy: 5 fab freebies in San Diego

Want more? Check out WeJustGotBack profile on raveable.

Two Kids And a Map & Pensacola with Kids

My favorite kind of blog: A family of four so passionate about travel sharing their stories, tips and reviews.. Well, here you have it.

Two Kids and a Map: is about all things for family travel; international and domestic.
Pensacola with Kids: you guessed it; it is a special blog for this family home town. I personally like that a lot. Often times I see bloggers paying little attention to in-town trips. I think families in Pensacola are luckier than most!

Check out Two Kids and a Map profile & Pensacola with Kids profile on raveable.

SoloFriendly.com – A Solo Travel Blog

Ok, I get it. Travel is not only for families. There must be some great ideas and tips for the rest of us who are solo. You bet, and SoloFriendly.com is your destination.

First of all, I have to admit that I envy, in a good way, SoloFriendly for here site name. What a catch! Who can forget that?

But more importantly, the recent blog posts about Vegas are to die for. I am glad that Gray, the author of Solo Friendly, shared reviews from here trip to Las Vegas on raveable. I like how she delivered here not-so-positive review of the Paradise Garden Buffet, check it out.

See SoloFriendly profile on raveable.

Finally, I’d like to welcome all of you to our growing family of Ravers.

Written by Rafik

October 19, 2009 at 7:50 pm

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You Rave, We Rave Back

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The web is such a rich medium to exchange ideas, opinions, recommendations, stories ..etc. As with any massive sphere of interactions, only a few of all this content make it to the surface and become mainstream. The travel space is one of those very rich mediums where people write great travel tips, raving reviews of a hotel or a restaurant, or a great attraction for kids and share them through their blogs for the world to see. You feel good about it and people who read your post appreciates your efforts. As a blogger, it feels great to share and have impact on other people. I speak of a personal experience.

But let’s face it, there are millions of blogs and billions of posts. The question is how to make your content reach the eyes of travelers? Well, that’s a tough questions. Many people try but today I am going to tell you how Raveable is going to help you:

You Rave: Blog to Your Heart’s Contentblogger

You love to blog and share. Don’t let traffic growth deter your passion and desire to help other fellow travelers. Blogs are meant to be personal expression, so enjoy your freedom and insist on:

  • Writing your best and greatest posts
  • Expressing your own opinions on your own blog; don’t write for someone else’s blog.
  • Fully own the right to your content. You write it, you own it.

As you conclude every post and feel like it is useful to someone planning a trip on raveable, then you final step before clicking the publish button is to add Raveable Blogger Badge to the post.

Rave Back: Your Post Reach Travelers on Raveable

I have to confess that I love great posts and admire bloggers so much. We feel that bloggers produce the most authentic content there is. It reflects their personal experience. It is voluntarily and not paid for. It is just an awesome act of kindness that we adore so much. Like no other company in the travel space, we feature bloggers on our most precious page, Raveable Homepage.

It is our mission to bring the best content on the front of the eyes of travelers. A teaser from your post will go alongside our content in very highly relevant fashion. At the end of the teaser we put a direct link to your post. We call it RaveBack link.

You might wonder, why a teaser? Well, the idea is to send traffic your way. If we put the full post on raveable, visitors have no incentive to visit your blog. A word of advice here: be wary of sites that capture the full post as Google dismisses your post if it finds it duplicated on multiple sites. Not good for you.

Moreover, your blog will have a profile on raveable with your featured posts organized by topic and city. We also show links to your twitter and facebook accounts to make it easy for people to find and follow you.

See Examples, Learn More, Get Started

The Mother of all Trips is a great family blog. Mara keeps the blog fresh with a lot of great tips that a traveling family will find of great use.moat

On Raveable, Mara’s blog posts show in the following pages:

On Mather of all Trips blog, raveable badge on posts that Mara chose to feature on reaveable:

  • Example badge: find Raveable badge is stamped at the end of this post

You can learn more about YouRave\RaveBack program on raveable bloggers page. On twitter, you can find me actively twittering on @raveable account. Feel free to ask me a question or follow tweets about new YouRave posts from you and other featured bloggers.

If you are interested in becoming a YouRave’r – ping me through email at (rafik at raveable dot com) or through twitter and I will follow up with you.

Let the YouRaves be heard!

Written by Rafik

October 9, 2009 at 6:51 pm

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A second look into fake hotel reviews debate

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For quite sometime the travel space has been debating the issue of hotel reviews and the possibility of fraud for either monetary gains or tarnishing a competitor reputation. It is hot debate with a lot at stake.

What do we know?

As I am following the debate closely, it got me thinking about the facts the this debate is based on. By that I mean how many reviews that are fraud? Well, everyone seems to very sure of the presence of fraud but cannot quantify it with such a high accuracy. That’s understandable, of course. So let’s try to get a less accurate measurement for the problem. How about a rough percentage? is it 2% fraud or 25% fraud? Hmm, let me tell you that nobody know the answer either. You see where I am going!? No accurate or even credible rough estimate to the extent of the issue. Basically, all we know is fraudulent review exists. That’s it. Ironically, that the same exact thing we know about Wikipedia articles, some entries are incorrect.

Debates feed on the unknown, the unproven, and the un-measureable. I think this debate has the perfect environment to keep going and going … until we can measure things accurately.

Reviews Credibility Test (RCT)

Admittedly, fraudulent reviews will slip through the cracks despite the best efforts for hotel review sites. That’s what makes it hard to measure. But the real question is what can we measure that would give us a real feel of the overall credibility of the system? something that we can measure accurately.

So let’s try this simple test on movie reviews. Let’s say that I don’t know if I should trust reviews written about ‘The Dark Night’ on this new site but then i found that the site rated\ranked given to the movie matched my expectations as I’ve seen the movie before. Let’s also say that this is consistently happening across all movies I’ve seen recently. Well, that sounds like a credible source that I could use for recommendations before watching my next movie. Now if I tell you that the rankings are based on user reviews only. Well, that is an indication that reviews are also credible. Notice that I did not say there are no fraud because that assertion is hard to make without reasonable doubt. This simple thought process applied to hotel reviews will yield the same result.

This simple test tells us at a glance whether a source is credible or not. If the results are way off then we should dig deeper. Put another way, before we debate fake reviews let’s first find those cases where a mediocre hotel made it to the top of the ranking list in a big city; or a bad movie became a blockbuster; or a terrible song at the top of billboards.  This test is measurable and easy.

To me, this is really the catalyst of this debate. A question I always ask in forums and on blogs. To no one surprise; nobody was able to show a single example of bad hotel on top of the rankings. Yet, the debate continues…

Challenge UGC, if you can

In a sign of times, Microsoft discontinued its Encarta product citing the popularity of Wikipedia. That’s a wise decision. I don’t recall using Encarta in years. But what’s so interesting here is that Microsoft did not poke holes on Wikipedia and its open model. It is a losing battle.

The lessons from Encarta are not realized in the hotel reviews space yet. The marketing machines of companies with professionally written reviews are kicking on all the tires taking shots against user generated content review sites. That’s not a surprise. In fact, it is the only way to fight the growing popularity of UGC. The question though is: does it work? Well, ask Microsoft!

If you read this far, you probably have something to say about all this and I am interested to know what you think. Do you think you can rely on the review credibility test (RCT) to get a feel of how trustworthy a review site is?

Written by Rafik

September 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm

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