Featured Traveler | Fidel Hart: Scene With A Hart

September 22nd, 2011

Fidel Hart sails the seven seas and takes photos for a living. Sweet, right? Fidel is originally from Columbus, Ohio, and now resides in Japan. The sailor shares his travel experiences on his travel blog,  Scene With A Hart. Find out why Fidel harts travel in our latest Featured Traveler profile.

Name: Fidel Hart

Tell us a little about yourself: My name is Fidel. I’ve been a Sailor in the US Navy for three years. I joined the Navy primarily to travel since I could never get the time to travel like I wanted to when I worked in real estate. Since joining the Navy, I’ve been to more than 20 countries and typically travel six months out of the year. My primary job in the Navy is also my favorite hobby: photography.

Favorite city you’ve been to: Florence, Italy is my favorite city. Florence has every thing I love in a city: friendly people, travelers, great food, good hostels, easy walks, history, art, beautiful women, professional soccer and great shopping.

Favorite restaurant: My favorite restaurant is Roscoe’s Chicken N’ Waffles in Los Angeles. I love American soul food and Roscoe’s has really good fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and collard greens. The atmosphere at Roscoe’s is also great and the people working there are very friendly.

Best place to relax: Just about anywhere in Thailand. If you can’t find a way to relax in Thailand then something is wrong with you.

Best place to have fun: See above answer. Ha ha. It is a toss up between Thailand and Cairns, Australia. Cairns is great for adventure and party lovers. In the same day, you can bungee jump, skydive and party with a hosts of locals and travelers at the best hostel in the world- Gilligan’s.

Best trip you’ve ever taken: I spent an entire month touring Italy in June 2010. It was a dream vacation filled with great eating, beautiful women, delicious wine and did I mention the women?

What one piece of advice do you have for travelers? Keep your mind open to everything.

Where else can we find you on the web? I write a travel journal at www.scenewithahart.com and I’m on Facebook www.facebook.com/ihartravel


Promotions | gtrot September Takeover Sweepstakes Round One

September 19th, 2011

Earlier today, we announced the first round winner of out September Takeover Sweepstakes, Kimberly! She won a $50 Groupon gift card. The second round of the contest started today and will extend through Sunday, September 25, 2011. The second round winner will receive a $100 Groupon gift card. The third round and grand prize winner will receive two free roundtrip flights ($500 value). Don’t procrastinate, get those entries in now!

Don’t forget these important rules :

1. You must sign up for gtrot!

2. There are two ways to enter: Like us on Facebook OR Tweet “I want @gtrot to send me to (insert city here) this fall! #gtrottravel”. You are allowed one Twitter entry a day.

3. Have fun!

Happy travels!

gtrot’s Guide to Chicago

September 16th, 2011

Are you headed to Chicago soon? Do you live in Chicago? If so, you’re in for a treat! A while back we shared a post with Tripping covering our favorite eats, shops and sights in the Windy City. Check out the places where you might catch the gtrot crew hanging out!


Chicago Q – This is one of our gtrotter’s favorite restaurants in Chicago. It’s located in the heart of downtown and serves up tasty gourmet barbecue.

DMK Burger Bar- Looking for a burger? This is you place! They have great burgers and specialty fries! We recommend the Truffle Parmesan!

Purple Pig- Known for it’s ‘Wine, Swine and Cheese’ this tapas bar has a great outdoor patio and a long wine list. Great tapas that change with the season are great for sharing!

Yolk- Breakfast anyone? Red velvet French toast or Nutella crepes? Have your choice at this local favorite.

Terzo Piano- This Italian restaurant has a great view of the city (Millennium Park) and amazing cuisine, which is all local and organic.


Akira- The boutique chain is affordable, trendy and there are numerous locations throughout the city.

Block 37- Located in the downtown area, this new shopping center is on State Street with stores like Zara, Puma, Sephora and more!

Michigan Avenue – Welcome to the Magnificent Mile. If you don’t mind shopping with a lot of people and love the rush, this is your spot. So many flagship stores and restaurants for you to visit.


Barleycorn – Located in Wrigleyville, walk past the Wrigley stadium straight into a lower level restaurant and bar and upper level dance party. Fridays are pretty cray cray!

Big Star- Whew, the margaritas are very strong!

Kingston Mines- At this famous blues bar you can enjoy live music every night.


For more Chicago attractions, check out the full list on the Tripping Blog.

Featured Traveler | Colleen Curtis : The Business Travelista

September 15th, 2011

Meet Colleen Curtis. Colleen is a Michigan native who moved from Chicago to Brooklyn. Although she travels often for work, she tries to explore each city to find hidden gems. Read more to learn about her favorite trips and how she plans on visiting all 50 United States!

Name: Colleen Curtis

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a nearly-29-year-old recent transplant (from Chicago) to Brooklyn, NY. I am the East Coast Marketing lead for Yelp.com, a website that connects people (and travelers!) with great local businesses. I travel a lot for my job where I get to collaborate locally with Yelp Community Managers in the Northeast, and they get to show off the awesome local gems in their cities! I have a 9 year old melancholic pitbull mix named Tillie who’s dream is to be featured on hipsterpuppies especially since we’ve relocated to BK. I’ve been to *almost every country in Europe (missed Greece!), Australia and have traveled extensively in Mexico and the United States (I will hit all 50 someday! This summer I crossed off Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island). I know that seems silly to say, but there are a lot of places right in our American backyard that can certainly scratch the travel itch, on multiple budgets.

Favorite city you’ve been to:

I know this may sound insane to the seasoned world travelers, but I really found Pittsburgh, PA extremely…attractive. Robust. Proud. Interesting. Diverse. The finest the Rustbelt has to offer, even. Off the beaten path, but better for it! The locals know what I am talking about! Perhaps my expectations were low (forgive me, Pixburgh!), but I found the city to be extremely charming with wonderful food options (highly recommend Square Cafe for breakfast), great local neighborhoods and I stayed at the unique boutique Priory Hotel, a converted church near the Warhol Museum. There’s depth and strong communities, a beautiful scenic overlook with a view of the entire downtown (Dahntahn?) and rivers at night, truly…remarkable. Plus, one can go to Primanti Bros and eat a sandwich with french fries and cole slaw IN IT. Totally healthy! I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel domestically with a local Yelp CM to guide me to the best spots. Speaking of the Rustbelt, I also think Cleveland and Detroit have some of the most passionate communities of people and local businesses I’ve ever witnessed, and I look forward to hiring and launching Yelp in Buffalo, NY later this year! Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. There is beauty in all things.

Favorite restaurant:

Well…I checked, and I’ve written 648 restaurant reviews on Yelp to date (42 percent of my total, I promise I do other things too!)….so, this really is a tough one. I certainly am no expert, but I do go out to eat a lot! If I have to pick just one currently I will go with Davanti Enoteca (Little Italy, Chicago). A toasty/cozy Italian restaurant in a far-enough-away-from-downtown ‘hood that also serves as a wine shop…be still my heart. Excellent food, and popping over to Beviamo for a nightcap might just be the perfect date night ever. You heard it here, folks.

Best place to relax:

My hometown…Traverse City, Michigan. Cherry Capital of the World, rising food scene, local farms, wineries, breweries, film fests, etc. But really, you can’t beat the Bay or the Dunes (named by GMA as the most beautiful place in America!) on a summer day or the color season in the fall for kicking back. From the day I was born until my most recent trip in August, I haven’t found anything that quite comes close to Northern Michigan in the summer/fall. Someone told me the other day it is the “Hamptons of the Midwest,” which made me spit out my “pop” (soda). Let’s hope it keeps some of its…err…grounded charm with its rise to “fame!”

Best place to have fun:

Well, I live in New York City…if one cannot have fun here, there may be little hope. The city that never sleeps, truly never sleeps. Brooklyn might take a few naps once in a while, but the frenetic energy and sheer number of people/options/things/places to do/see/touch/eat/dance/create is somewhat incomprehensible. Second to that, Chicago. I’ve lived in both…and really, why wouldn’t one want to live in the cities they found to be the most fun!? If you aren’t, you should probably move.

Best trip you’ve ever taken:

Well, clearly my 6 month vacation from American life at 20 years old was by far the best…and the longest. Living in Rome, traveling every weekend to European destinations (favorites: Warsaw, Budapest, Ireland) by train and crazy low-budget airlines…and no work! Capped off with a 3 week stint in Australia (impulsive) because I “wasn’t ready to go home yet,” and yep, that likely sums up the best trip I’ve been on. Oh, the freedom…how its wasted on the young! I may have just paid off the credit cards from that trip recently. Eek. Worth it? Yes. If 9 years later its still the best…well, there you have it.

What one piece of advice do you have for travelers?

Fly consistently. Rest your head creatively.

I’m very budget conscious for both work and personal travel. Here’s what I’ve learned: for flying, figure out your home airport (base) and what airline has the most direct flights in/out of that airport. Then, fly it consistently for every trip. Get the rewards credit card for that airline (often comes with perks like free baggage, early check-in, bonus miles at sign-up, access to lounge, etc). To me, all airlines are pretty…errr….2 stars. However if you can pick and stick, the rewards run thick and you’ll be on your way somewhere fun (for free-ish!) before you know it.

Now, I do not hold the same philosophy for hotels. I MUCH prefer to find quirky/offbeat hotels. I don’t find the rewards ever add up to much (though if you travel to the same place over and over for work, definitely stick with it and rack it up!) at the big chains, and most destinations I am hitting might not have the same chains. I like variety. Truly, I search Yelp for cool local recommendations (boutique hotels, etc) and really dig airbnb.com to find unique lodging and people in various cities to stay with. I’ve stayed in a beautiful apartment in Chelsea, NYC while relocating and a classic sunken retreat near the White House in DC for a weekend. Planning a trip to Paris, and we’ll definitely be doing it airbnb style! Much better than hotel prices…and come with local guides! (sometimes)

Where else can we find you on the web?





Promotions | gtrot September Takeover Sweepstakes!

September 14th, 2011

September is the month of giveaways! Not only do we want you to travel and have a great time while doing so, we want you to share your travels with us. Very soon, sharing travel with friends will become a totally different experience, for the better! We’re here to help you get out of dodge and explore the world! Share your trips with us and “Like” us on Facebook for your chance to score some sweet prizes. You can tweet entries, too!

Starting this week, we’ll be giving away Groupon gift cards every week to gtrotters chosen at random, with the final prize being two free roundtrip flights anywhere in the US!  Are you excited yet?

How do you enter? It’s really easy! Sign up for gtrot, if you haven’t already. It’s quick using Facebook Connect (don’t worry we’ll never post anything without your permission)!

There are two ways to enter:

To enter on Facebook, “Like” gtrot on Facebook.

To enter on Twitter, tweet “I want @gtrot to send me to _________ this fall! #gtrottravel”. You can enter with a tweet once a week.

You can enter on Facebook and Twitter.

The Grand Prize winner will be announced on October 3, 2011. The first round of the contest has begun, so start spreading the word!

Prizes and Schedule:

First Round: 9/12/11- 9/18/11 Winner announced 9/19/11

Your Chance to Win $50 Groupon gift card

Second Round: 9/19/11- 9/25/11 Winner announced 9/26/11

Your Chance to Win $100 Groupon gift card

Third Round: 9/26/11-  10/02/11 Winner announced 10/03/11

Your Chance to Win Grand Prize: Two round-trip flights (worth $500) anywhere in the US!

gtrot Takeover Sweepstakes Promotion deets:

1) No purchase necessary. Entries are based on Facebook friends joining gtrot between September 9th and October 2nd, how many Facebook friends “Like” gtrot on Facebook and how many Twitter users tweet the specified link. Weekly winners will be announced at the end of each contest period on Facebook and Twitter (if applicable).

2) The grand prize drawing will take place October 2, 2011. The winner will be notified via email. If they do not claim their prize within 30 days they will forfeit their prize and an alternate will be selected. Winners names will be announced on The Trot Blog.

3) The grand prize includes two roundtrip flights ($500 value).


Travel Tech | Postcard On The Run

September 12th, 2011

You know how much we love sharing our travel on-the-go! We stumbled upon a cool app that allows you to send postcards directly from your iPhone! We’re excited to test out Postcard On The Run! What we like most is that you don’t have to know the person’s address you’re sending the postcard to. Postal Gopher, the In App Address Retrieval, takes care of it all! They’ll contact your friend directly via SMS or email to request their address, and once they respond, Postal Gopher will automatically update your address book. Using Postcard On The Run is really simple. Upload your photo, add a comment, choose your font, sign your name (sweet, right?), add a GPS map to your photo if you want (to give your friends severe wanderlust), preview the postcard, and it’s ready to go! Each postcard is $0.99.

Check out the video below for a detailed view of how Postcard On The Run works.

What do you think? Would you use Postcard On The Run while traveling?