Lonely Planet Writer

This week in travel...

A view of the Trans-Siberian

What we learned the week of February 15, 2010:

Haiti voluntourism opportunities are starting.

Some observers are worried a 'spring break in Haiti' (to volunteer) is too early to visit, but some volunteer groups are getting ready to rebuild the devastated country as early as April. Erin Courtenay of the New Zealand-based Global Volunteer Network told me they've already received 7000 applications for their upcoming volunteer programs to go rebuild homes, set up small businesses and educate children. 'It's the hugest outburst of interest we've seen for anything.'

Deals! Think post-Olympics Vancouver.

Canada's likely to see a boost of visitors all year generated from the gorgeous views we're seeing from the Winter Olympics on the telly. If you want a slice of Van for yourself, check out these hot hotel deals.

You can take the Trans-Siberian Railway from home.

The new, crazy Google/Russian Railways project shows the view from the Moscow-Vladivostok, along the entire six-plus day ride. Via the map, you can jump ahead to Lake Baikal to see the sea-sized lake (at a maddening 25-degree angle). It's great fun for a quick peek, but even if you watch all six days you don't get to see the real highlight behind the camera.

Lonely Planet, at 37, is still 'young.'

This interesting New York Times article on guidebooks vs user-generated travel sites as trip planners still sees LP as youthful. Exactly what anyone about to turn 40 wants to hear.