Coloring within the travel lines - Curt Yeomans

You know how it is. You've got a couple of weeks of vacation from work coming up, and you don't know what to do with it.

You could go to some old reliable place that you visit every year. You could go see a new city, and do all the tourist-trap things that all of your friends, who have been to that city, have already done.

But, then again, you could, instead, go on a tiger safari in India, or do some bird watching in Australia.

Six-month-old, United Kingdom-based travel guide web site, www.Explorra.com, is offering up a new way for people to plan their vacations, based on what color they like to look at.

The web site recently launched a "Travel by Color" feature, through which people can pick a favorite color -- and in response -- get suggestions on different places to go where that color is significant.

Of course, I wasn't going to bring this up without first seeing what this is all about. So, I went to the site, and gave it a whirl.

I've tried it out, and I gotta say, it's a pretty nifty idea -- if you're looking for suggestions on what to do on your vacation. The suggestions you get are for places that are all over the world, some of which you probably never would have thought of on your own.

I was curious about this concept, and I must admit a bit skeptical, about this thing when I heard about it through a press release from the company. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I gave it a test drive.

The suggestions were actually pretty interesting, even though several of them were far too expensive for the average blue collar, middle-class family in Clayton and Henry counties to enjoy.

I chose a few colors just to see what I'd get. You pretty much get suggestions on places to go where the color you picked is prevalent in the landscape.

Picking blue gets you suggestions like staying by the ocean in Bermuda; skiing in Zernez, Switzerland; visiting the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, or going to see the tectonic diving in Iceland. When I picked red, the suggestions ranged from seeing the naturally formed rock arches at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, to exploring Chinatown in New York City, to going on a tiger safari in Rajasthan, India.

One place that comes up as a suggestion for fans of the color green is right in our own state -- the Okefenokee Swamp.

Some interesting, and unthought of, suggestions include bird watching in the Kakadu National Park, Near Darwin, Australia (if you like green); shopping in the Stockholm Christmas Market in Sweden (if red is more to your liking); staying in an ice hotel in Sweden (for blue lovers), or going caving in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand (that's for all you orange fans in the world).

Just for fun, I tried to see what suggestions I'd get if I picked hot pink (it is an option, albeit it's called "Razzmatazz"), and the recommendations ranged from the hot-pink-colored Carneros Inn in Napa Valley, in California, to visiting Samsara, the Buddhism/Hinduism-inspired tea house (with a hot pink, tie-dye backdrop!) that is located in Cluj Napoca, in Romania.

I'd suggest people give it try. Certainly, I still recommend you do all the planning for a vacation on your own, and do it over an extended period of time, but this can help you find a place that might make you blush, or leave you green with envy.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.