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Best Travel Tips for 2011

Geo-Tagging

“I geo-tagged a picture of that vintage Soviet coat I want for my birthday, in case you can’t find the stall at the Izmailovsky flea market.”

The process of embedding images, videos, tweets, notes, and other digital files with an exact geographic location, geo-tagging is becoming increasingly pervasive as mobile phones, apps, and even cameras offer the service. For travelers, the benefits include the ability to create travelogues effortlessly, search for images or files by location (or vice versa), and keep friends and family up-to-date. But the service has its drawbacks: Posting an image on Twitter with your exact location is catnip for potential robbers who are on the lookout for unattended houses. By all means geo-tag your pictures, but turn off public sharing of geographic information on apps and websites until you get home. On Twitter, make sure to disable location-sharing when posting a tweet.

Group Buying

“I snapped up cheap massages in Miami for the whole family on the group-buying site livingsocial.com. South Beach, here we come!”

If flash-sale websites were the darlings of the past couple of years, group-buying sites, which offer real-time, in-store deals based on a critical mass of customers, are shaping up to be this year’s favorites. The defining feature of this growing class of sites is a local focus: the spa-themed Wahanda offers up daily “mob deals” in five cities from London to New York City, while Groupon, LivingSocial, and the decidedly upscale Bloomspot focus on discounts in restaurants, boutiques, bars, gyms, and other stores and services in cities across the country. Some sales—like Wahanda’s daily wellness offerings—require a certain number of people to buy in, while others simply have time and availability limits.

T+L Tip: Download the mobile-phone apps of Groupon and LivingSocial to look for deals in cities you’re traveling to.

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