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Tech Thursday: Pintrips Offers A New Way to Compare Flights

Pintrips

There’s no shame in admitting this: I’m a compulsive bargain hunter—never satisfied with paying full price without doing some browsing for a good deal. But I suspect many of us fall under the same umbrella, especially when it comes to airfare. Enter Pintrips, a new tool that helps you look at flight options side-by-side, monitoring them in real time for fluctuations in price. Unlike online booking sites, which let you sort by cost, Pintrips aggregates data to show you when your favorite itineraries—those “pinned” to your dashboard—drop or increase in price, and by how much, offering insight on the right moment to book. Plus, the tool lets you share itineraries with anyone you’d like (my husband and I are simultaneously keeping an eye on flights to Cape Town), and you can manage multiple trips at once, each neatly packaged in its own folder and with its own sharing preferences. The best part: It's free to use. (Though you wouldn't expect otherwise from a site that's all about saving, would you?)

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Image courtesy of Pintrips

Trip Doctor: The Best and Worst International Airlines

FlightStats

(Click to view a larger version)

Comparing international airlines is much more apples and oranges than it seems: Without a central governing agency to collect the data, there’s hardly a way to put carriers head to head. Enter FlightStats, which crunches the numbers each year for their Airline and Airport On-Time Performance Service Awards, and whose 2012 winners were announced today.

Not only does FlightStats determine which airlines are most punctual (arriving to the gate within 15 minutes of scheduled times), but they also look at cancellation numbers, alliance-wide statistics, and more. Plus, they've sliced the data exclusively for us by stacking up all the international data in two handy graphics—a useful tool if you're considering loyalty with a new carier. Take a look at some of the winners here.

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Tech Thursday: Foursquare Launches Best of Lists

romantic cities

According to Foursquare, your feelings about Valentine’s Day may be totally dependent on where you live. As part of a new series of “Best of” lists, the social media company has crunched its data to find America’s most—and least—romantic cities, based on the number of check-ins to date-friendly spots. The results may not surprise you. Topping the list for most romantic is San Francisco, with its postcard-ready bay views and artisan patisseries, followed by New Orleans and New York City. But survey says: if you live in Trenton, NJ, or Akron, OH, don’t count on dazzling your date with a night on the town. For those living in America’s least romantic cities, we recommend homemade sweets and champagne cocktails.

Valentines or Galentines, we’re digging the new Foursquare feature—and with over 30 “Best of” lists for different US cities, it’s our new destination guide on the go. Browse the lists online before you fly, and save any hotspots to your profile: They’ll be waiting for you as soon as your plane touches down.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Tech Thursday: Mophie Juice Pack Helium for the iPhone 5

201302-b-tech-thursday-mophiejpg

We constantly obsess our iPhone accessories here at the T+L offices—deciding between that J.Crew chevron stripped case or the Otterbox may be Trip Doctor's debate of the century—but our eyes are officially turning to a third option. Mophie, the adventure-friendly brand whose juice pack cases add extra battery life (and heft) to your mobile devices, is launching a super-slim model—the first of its kind for the latest generation of iPhones. The Helium is expected to add 80% extra charge to your battery life (that's six hours of talk time, or seven hours of web browsing)—and it also features forward-facing speakers for enhanced sound. Pre-orders opened to the public yesterday, with devices shipping nationwide on February 19. For now, the slim gunmetal finish will do—but we'll take this opportunity to plea for some fresh designs on the Helium 2.0.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of mophie.

City Guides for Coffee Lovers

Best Coffee city guides

I’m guilty of both a caffeine addiction and a picky palate, so easily tracking down coffee spots is fairly critical to my enjoyment of a city. It’s not rocket science abroad, where quality shakeratos and Nesfrappes are the lay of the land, but domestically, we’re still getting our sea legs when it comes to a good cup of Joe. That’s where the Best Coffee city guides come into play: the collection of iPhone, Android, and iPad apps points travelers in the direction of reputable cafes, provides tips on what to order at each spot, and—for the uber geeky among us—denotes the types of beans, grinders, and machines employed there.

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Trip Doctor: OpenTable Acquires Foodspotting for $10 Million

OpenTable

It’s been a big week for tech news, but for this foodie, no announcement was more exciting than OpenTable’s $10 million acquisition of Foodspotting. For starters, the dish-sharing app will bring new, visual content to the reservation titan’s portfolio of listings. But over time, we can expect the partnership to yield unprecedented search tools to help us find (and enjoy) our next great meal.

Officially, the deal isn’t yet written in stone, but OpenTable users will already see some changes. In advance of Tuesday’s announcement, OpenTable began rolling out preliminary features, such as incorporating user-generated photos from Foodspotting onto restaurant listings. Eventually, most restaurants on OpenTable will have a visual menu, documented with snapshots from Foodspotting users. And from a social standpoint, the partnership will allow you to canvass your Facebook friends for their favorite dishes at the restaurants you’re scheduled to visit.

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Trip Doctor: How to Avoid Hotel Wi-Fi Fees

Hotel Wi-Fi: Tether

If you’re an Android user and staying in the U.S., you’re in luck: free apps such as FoxFi let you share a mobile data connection with your laptop at no extra cost. For everyone else, Tether’s service ($29.95 per year) will connect your laptop to your mobile devices via Bluetooth or USB. If you’re traveling internationally, XCom Global rents foreign-based hot spots with unlimited usage for $14.95 a day. Not-so-frequent travelers should try Boingo Wireless, which lets you access hot spots around the world. Subscriptions start at $7.95 a month and can be activated as needed. Bonus: many of its hot spots are in hotels.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of Tether

Trip Doctor: Disney Introduces MyMagic+ RFID Bracelets

Disney's Magic Kingdom

As a native Floridian who spent half her childhood at Walt Disney World, I reacted to the recent announcement of MyMagic+, an RFID-enabled system that lets visitors interact with (and pay for) nearly anything in the Disney village, with a sense of cautious excitement—thrilled by all the possibilities this offers travelers, though wary of the privacy concerns that come with it.

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Trip Doctor: How to Avoid Getting Sick While Flying

how to avoid getting sick while flying

It’s not the air quality you have to worry about (cabin air is well circulated and filtered) but rather germs transmitted through shared surfaces. So wash your hands frequently, use a sanitizer, and clean surfaces with a disinfectant wipe. And always keep yourself hydrated and well-rested.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo by istockphoto

Trip Doctor: American Airlines' New Look

American Airlines

It’s time to say goodbye. After forty years in action, American Airlines’ silver striped planes—the last vestige of sky-high nostalgia—are getting a makeover. Replacing the traditional design we all know and love is a bold, patriotic color scheme, with a flag-like pattern extending from the tail onto the rear fuselage—an updated spin for a brand that nearly collapsed just last year, and is still in the throes of a merger with US Airways. The first new AA plane debuted yesterday at Dallas-Fort Worth, with the full fleet taking five years to convert (a third should be newly painted by the year’s end). But frankly, we’d rather see the cabins get a refresh though—wouldn’t you?

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of American Airlines

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