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Ask T+L: Twitter for Travelers, In-Flight Cell Phones, and Costa Rica’s Beaches

Q: How can I use Twitter to make traveling easier? —Steve Landman, Michigan City, Ind.

A: “While you can search for what’s trending on Twitter, it’s best to rely on companion websites that help you filter tweets based on your interests. You can sort them by city and eight other categories, including deals and cruises, on Trazzler (buzz.trazzler.com). Meanwhile, at Schmap (schmap.com), you can pinpoint exact locations with Google Maps, so that recommendation of a great dinner or shopping excursion is easy to find no matter where you are. Finally, for fun, check out PicFog (picfog.com) for a live feed of all the photos tweeted, which you can search by region.” —TravelandLeisure.com associate editor Joshua Pramis

Q: We want to try some new restaurants during an upcoming trip to Los Angeles. Any top picks? —Leigh Morrison, Northport, N.Y.

A: Start with breakfast at the husband-and-wife-run Huckleberry (breakfast for two $27) café, in Santa Monica; order the standout “green eggs and ham” (made with La Quercia prosciutto) or pick up a few artisan breads to go. For lunch head to the cavernous Church & State Bistro (lunch for two $50), where chef Walter Manzke turns out French classics, from frisée salad and steak frites to house-made charcuterie. The rustic Animal (dinner for two $95)—imagine heavy wood tabletops and a menu written on recycled paper—serves savory dishes such as balsamic pork ribs paired with roasted squash.

Q: Are there any plans to extend in-flight cell phone use to domestic airlines? —Alex Wu, Newport, R.I.

A: Despite news reports that a handful of international carriers, including Emirates and Ryanair, are now allowing travelers to talk on a cell phone or via Internet (with VoIP services like Skype) while flying, most airlines are not changing their cell phone policies anytime soon. According to Michael Cintron, a spokesperson for the International Airline Passenger Association, about 88 percent of frequent fliers say permitting cell phones on planes would be “a source of great irritation.” The FCC already prohibits cell phone use in flight, and legislation has been introduced in Congress for a permanent ban. If passed, it will make talking on a cell phone or through the Internet while in flight illegal for all domestic airlines as well as all international carriers flying over U.S. territories.

Q: We’re traveling to Costa Rica’s Pacific coast next month. Can you recommend a few resorts with beach access? —Sylvia Moore, San Antonio, Tex.

A: The eco-minded El Remanso Lodge (doubles from $155), set on a 185-acre Osa Peninsula reserve, has 12 streamlined rooms and a private path that leads to a secluded beach with tide pools and waterfalls. Another excellent option is located about a 2 1/2-hour drive southwest of San José: the boutique Xandari by the Pacific Resort & Spa (doubles from $260) has 20 freestanding villas—plus a 3,250-square-foot spa—facing Playa Esterillos Este, a five-mile stretch of sand. And 165 miles northwest in Guanacaste, many of the 22 earth-toned rooms at Hotel Capitán Suizo (doubles from $190) are equipped with private balconies that overlook a quiet part of the otherwise crowded Playa Tamarindo.

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