Map of the month

We're busy looking at different ways of determining what is a good time to visit a destination. One way is to look at how many photos in a destination are taken in a given month. The following world map shows what the results are:

At first glance the following conclusions can be drawn: the Southern hemisphere is popular December to February, the Northern hemisphere June to August. Not much of a surprise, but it is sort of proof that the mechanism works. Places like Mexico, China, Indonesia, Spain, India, Morocco and the Middle East have a profile that is more colorful with visitors in winter and in summer. 
With a bit more detail in the map, you could surely see some more interesting things. Bariloche lighting up in July, Amsterdam in April, that sort of thing. Enough reasons to continue working on this! We'll keep you updated.

London, New York, Berlin and the rest

So it's London, our christmas no. 1!

This weeks travel hack was to come up with a algorithm that ranks cities on how good they are for a mid winter trip.
Based on the algorithms we explained in the two previous posts (1,2) we have compiled a nice Christmas top 100.

So here it finally is, the christmas top 5.

1. London: The Brits invented christmas pudding and got away with it. With christmas lights all over town, shopping at Harrod's and a giant Christmas tree on Trafalgar square London deserves its first place.
2. New York: It's big and it's lit up like a huge Christmas tree - and is there any place that is better for Christmas shopping? We think not.
3. Berlin: the German capital combines traditional german Christmas markets with endless shopping, dining and nightlife possibilities.
4. Cologne: One of the best traditional Christmas markets in one of the prettiest german cities.
5. Nuremberg: the olderst Christmas market in the world makes Nuremberg one of the top places to go.

For the other 95 you can browse the map. If you want a few secret tips: Talinn, Strasbourg and Bratislava are off the beaten track, but they surely deserve their place in our top 100.

London tops most popular Christmas markets list

Yesterday we had the Christmas World map, that showed which regions had relatively many pictures taken around Christmas time. The second step in our Christmas Hack is an analysis showing which cities are often most often on webpages and blogposts about Christmas markets. A nice and clean way to measure the popularity of Christmas markets.

These are the results:

Germany has got the Christmas market market cornered. It seems to me that UK cities are slightly overrated in this result. I'd rate Nuremberg higher than London. My personal surprise was Lincoln - but I looked it up and Lincoln has the biggest christmas market in Europe. I just didn't know.

If we mix these results with yesterdays, correct for the above mentioned flaw and throw in some more things like alround popularity and we have a pretty good mechanism.

The map of Christmas

We're busy making a Christmas Travel hack. We're gathering data to find out which cities are best for a (pre) Christmas trip. One type of data we are analyzing is the number of photo's taken around christmas time. So while we were busy doing that, we had the idea to make a map that shows which percentage of all photo's taking in december in a given location are taken around christmas time. The following map shows the result:

On the map red means that a large percentage of december photos are taken around christmas. As you see, Europe lights up brightly, especially Central Europe - not strange given the popularity of Christmas markets in Germany, the Czech republic and Austria.
Although it's hard to judge by looking at a world map on this scale, you can also conclude from the data that cities are popular around christmas - more so than the countryside.
Mexico also seems quite a popular place around Christmas.

The real christmas hack will come soon - so check back soon to see whether the results of that hack match with this map.

If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium

It's the stereotype of American tourist seeing all of Europe in one week: the weekend in London, Monday for Amsterdam, Tuesday for Belgium and then on to Paris, Rome and Athens. One week and you've seen everything you needed to see. Hop on the plane back home.

And although most people see it as a wrong way of 'doing Europe,' it's an interesting concept. It got us thinking. The question we asked ourselves is: there must be destinations that are more popular for a weekend getaway, and destinations that get a lot of people during weekdays.

So we started collecting travel related social data you can find on the web, analyzing it, and running scripts – all to see what traveler visited which city on which day. We collected over eight million useful dates. And the answer is: if it's Tuesday it's probably not Belgium - Brussels (the capital of Belgium) is a real weekend hangout with most visitors on Sundays and Saturday as a good runner up, both significantly more than any other day of the week.

A few other notable results are:

  • Alkmaar has a 26% percent score on Fridays - when the weekly Cheese market is held.
  • Versailles scores really low on Mondays - when the main Palace is closed.
  • Sunny destinations like Maspalomas on the Canary Islands, Hamamet in Tunisia, Bodrum and Alanya in Turkey or Cancun in Mexico score well the whole week through - no real weekend peak here, which makes perfect sense. You go here for a whole week, not just for a weekend.
  • With a bit of imagination you can see some cultural patterns as well. Most cities in Europe in the US score highest on Saturdays and Sundays - have a look at the islamic world and you see high scores for Fridays - the most popular day in Dubai, Medina, Doha, Damascus, Alexandria, Abu Dhabi among others. Of course there are some exceptions both ways, but the pattern is clearly distinguishable.
  • And Tuesday? Ik took us a while the real winner in Europe. Nice in Southern France is popular on Tuesdays, but Capri, the lovely island just off the coast from Naples is the real place to be on a Tuesday.
It's a lot of fun to browse through the data so go and have a look at yourself on So go explore and have fun!

This is what we are up to

We're up to something again.
Some 10 years ago, we started, a collaborative travel guide online. We believed that the web would change the travel publishing fundamentally. Back then it wasn't so easy to find travel information online. The CIA had its factbook with some good and reliably information about every country, but that was about it. Publishers of books kept their information to themselves.
So we set up a sort of travel wiki (a word we had never heard of) to get user generated content (a word we had never heard of either) and we started mailing people all over the world to help us build an open travel guide.
It worked. When it started working we renamed our project to World66 and it grew to become one of the biggest wiki-style travel sites. World66 and Wikitravel were finally bought by Internet Brands and the twin open content sites probably constitute the biggest wikistyle travel project online.
Just as important as the arrival of open travel guides, is the fact that the way traditional publishers deal with the web has changed considerably. Frommers, Fodor's, the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet put their information online because they need to. Free good quality online travel guides offered the alternative that forced publishers to take the Internet serious.

A lot has changed since the days we first launched the travel site. All the content is there, neatly ordered like the pages of a book. There's loads of information. So much actually that you can do the most amazing things with it.

So we're back with a travel site. We call it Triposo - travel hacks. It will not be a huge travel content portal. It will be about doing new stuff with the information that's out there. Come back every now and then and we'll to show you some of the cool stuff you can do with all the travel data that's out there. There will be small, sometimes silly, style projects that will make you smile and bigger more serious endeavours. All travel related. All fun. Promise.