Mark Orwoll shares travel websites and apps that will make it easier to book your next trip.
Backbid: Reverse hotel bids Post a reservation request (dates, location, number of stars) with maximum rate you're willing to pay. Hotels in that destination will bid for your business, presenting the lowest rates they can offer. Unlike other bidding sites, you know the specific hotel where you'll be staying using Backbid. When I tried it, I got my first reverse bid within two minutes at a savings of more than 10 percent of what I would have paid on the hotel's own website.
Tingo: Automated hotel rebooking at lower rates Book your hotel through Tingo and if the rates go down, Tingo automatically rebooks you at the lower rate. It's great for those travelers who know which hotel they want to stay at but are concerned whether they really got the "best" rate at time of booking. Tingo only rebooks if there are no rebooking or cancellation penalties and the price difference is refunded automatically to your credit card. All you have to do is enjoy your hotel stay.
Do you know a travel company that's making a difference?
Each year, Travel + Leisure recognizes the standard-bearers for responsible tourism in our Global Vision Awards. From airlines that are lightening their footprints to hotels that are investing in the communities around them, the winners represent travel's best ideas for a better world. (You can find the 2012 Global Vision Awards here.)
Please drop a note to TLGlobalVision@aexp.com if you know of a company or organization that should be among this year's winners. The deadline for the 2013 Global Vision Award application, available here, is April 1, 2013.
Photo: Editor Nancy Novogrod speaks with the jurors and winners of the 2012 Global Vision Awards at the annual luncheon in October.
Sorry to bother you, but can we set a few ground rules? First of all, we love the nightly turndown—thanks for the macaroons!—but really, it’s not necessary to reseal the bed each morning with the decorative coverlet, bolsters, and throw pillows. It might as well be padlocked shut. (We’d considered a siesta after lunch, but unwrapping everything was too much work.)
There are simple things you can do to increase your chances of getting an upgrade on your next flight, hotel stay, or even when you rent a car.
1. Choose Your Frequent Flyer Program Carefully When picking an airline frequent-flyer program, it can pay to choose an airline that isn't headquartered in your city (there will be fewer elite passengers to compete with for an upgrade).
2. Check-in Later Check in to your hotel late in the day; you're more likely to get an upgrade if it looks like a better room will otherwise sit empty.
3. Stay at a New Hotel Stay at a new hotel; staff are more likely to want to woo new guests and spread good word of mouth. You could also think about staying at a large hotel—large hotels with tons of rooms offer a better chance of getting you upgraded.
With each new year comes new places to go and new ways to travel. Rising destinations, cutting-edge apps, and travel industry trends will surely make headlines in 2013. To predict what we'll all be buzzing about, Travel + Leisure has enlisted a panel of experts, who will offer their insight on topics ranging from the splashiest hotel openings and buzziest emerging destinations to the most essential new tech tools. And you're invited to listen in.
The tweet-up will take place TODAY, Wednesday, January 23, from 2–3 p.m. EDT.
The Hosts Amy Farley, Travel + Leisure news editor (@afarles)
Peter Frank, Travel + Leisure director of editorial product development (@pfrank1)
The Panel Barbara Delollis, hotel blogger for USA Today (@barbdelollis)
Jason Clampet, co-founder and head of content at Skift.com (@jasonclampet)
Stacey Small, president and founder of Elite Travel International (@EliteTravelGal)
Over 4,200 beautiful portraits of people around the world were submitted to the final monthly photo contest of 2012, but only 10 images made the cut. Voting ends January 21, so vote now and vote often for your favorite shot.
Your votes will determine which of these semi-finalists will win a Swann SportsCam, a mini camera & DVR combo housed in a rugged waterproof case.
Whether you want to ski or swim, we have some fun and affordable ideas for your getaway this season.
Caribbean Beach: Martinique Stay:Plein Soleil Located 25 minutes from the airport, this chic collection of airy villas faces Thalemont Bay; the pool overlooks the inlet, too. The pretty, soft-white bedrooms here have linen-draped chaise lounges and Koi fish live in the ponds on the terrace. Dine at the open-air restaurant for spicy crab farci and local fruits marinated in mint. American Airlines offers connecting service through San Juan, Puerto Rico from many U.S. gateways. Doubles from $219/night.
If your 2013 resolution is to travel more, watch T+L's feature editor Nilou Motamed reveal the 13 places you have to see in 2013 on the TODAY show, from Puerto Rico and Uco Valley, Argentina, to Amsterdam and Charlevoix, Quebec. See the full list of the Hottest Travel Destinations of 2013 here.