I'm sure we've all had the same experience at one time or the other: a spur-of-the-moment road trip cooked up with the intention of letting loose and seeing a bit of the gorgeous country we call home, the thrill of it largely contained in the fact that none of it was planned. And then the inevitable happens. Your eyes start to droop, signs start to blur in and out of focus, and your car starts weaving in its lane slightly. You need to find a place to stay for the night. Problem is, you don't know of any around.
Well, now there's an app for that.
The Dutch government yesterday began circulating a commemorative coin that features a scannable QR code on one side and a 3D portrait of Queen Beatrix on the other. Scanning the QR code, one of those black-and-white squares that resemble Space Invaders, brings you to the website of the Royal Dutch Mint for a helter-skelter video tour of the building. The coins, available in silver-tone €5 and gold-tone €10 denominations, were minted in a limited run to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Mint building.
Ever wonder what happens to the bits and bobs of airplanes after they’re decommissioned? You can find them on eBay.
Universal Asset Management buys retired planes and strips them to recycle their components. The company runs an eBay storefront where you can shop for all your engine aft thrust fitting needs—from an entire A320 lavatory (!) to cockpit seats, galley carts, overhead bins, first aid kits, a row of luridly colored 747 seats, to more technical items like circuit panels, wheels, assembly valves, tail cones, and oil gauges. The products that make the eBay store are not longer flight-worthy, of course, except for flights of fancy. Those overhead bins would look cool mounted over a airplane-crazy child's bed...
Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Universal Asset Management.
Still not sure what to buy for those travelers on your gift list? Whether they’re nature-lovers, new parents, or nose-in-the-air fashionistas, the Travel + Leisure “Best Travel Gifts” for 2010 is here to help. Find the complete list here. Or, enjoy this a sneak peek—which just happens to feature my recommendations.
“Keep Calm and Travel On”
Inspired by the WW2-era posters that urged Brits to "keep calm and carry on," this modern update couldn't come at a better time. Worried about a TSA patdown? Keep calm, friend. And, yes, travel on. Available in several colors. Unframed: $15.95; buy 3, get 1 free; etsy.com.
Looking for a stylish, eco-responsible way to tote your newest tech accessory? When Dewdrop Design's Gillian Stevens received an iPad as a gift, her next project was clear: to create chic cases to hold everyone's favorite new device. As if her existing line of recycled leather, hand-made notebooks, passport covers, and travel wallets wasn't dreamy enough, she's just introduced a collection of great-looking iPad sleeves that exude the same nature-inspired, bold-hued, and effortlessly cool look.
As part of an early-adaptor household that snagged an iPad the instant it hit shelves this month, I know it’s one thing to play Scrabble while you’re waiting on line for lattes at Starbucks, to burn through a few chapters of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter before bed, or to ogle and caress its sleek form in the privacy of one’s home, but how does this spring’s hottest must-have gadget fare on the road? For starters, at just 1.5 pounds it weighs far less than the average laptop, and airport security is not forcing owners to pull out their iPads for x-raying like they do computers, but there are some caveats (right now) to be sure.
While traveling, I'm either too slow to take my camera out of my bag to capture that perfect moment, or too nervous to flash such a pricey piece of equipment in public.
Enter the Cloak Bag, the world's first shoot-through camera bag. The bag's unique bottom zipper design allows photographers to snap away without removing their SLR cameras from the bag, which saves time and also affords photographers a bit more discretion when taking photos in unfamiliar locals where thieves may target tourists. For $49, it's a steal to have that peace of mind.
Trekking through this year's Consumer Electronics Show in the vast Las Vegas Convention Center, every three steps seemed to bring another new e-book reader; tales of 3D's impending invasion; or glimpses into the not-so-distant future of home automation. But we decided to venture away from those cliché categories and take the exhibition aisles less traveled. Good thing we did. Because T+L discovered 10 truly game-changing gadgets to help you better enjoy your journeys.
SLIDESHOW: Best Travel Gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show 2010
This first handful of products represents some of the very latest, coolest and smartest innovations and trends. This second handful of products represents different twists on how we do video on-the-go...See the slideshow and prepare to be wowed!
Guestblogger Scott Tharler is a gadget, gambling and travel expert currently based in Biddeford, Maine.
Over the past two years, I’ve been learning how to meditate in an attempt to find balance, quiet my mind and, well, “zone out” on command, which is a nifty skill to have when traveling—especially on long flights. So when I heard about a new literally mind-altering product from Swedish sleep experts and luxury bed makers Hästens called “MindSpa,” I was intrigued.
The device, which was developed by some pretty great minds at Stanford University, uses flashing lights and rhythmic sounds, voice and music, or to use the technical term, "audio visual stimulation" (AVS), to relax the user, igniting Beta (alert), Alpha (calm), Delta (deeply meditative) and Theta (deep sleep) brain states to encourage sleep and refresh circadian rhythms (i.e. it’s great for jet lag).
Wanting to experience this tranquil bliss for myself, I decided to put MindSpa to the test, and had the perfect opportunity when a recent flight of mine was delayed at LaGuardia Airport.
Who wouldn't love a high-tech innovation that involves a low-tech suction cup? A product called iFlyz ($29.95), which bills itself as "your in-flight personal media solution," clamps onto airplane meal trays and holds your iPod, iPhone, or hand-held device for easy access.
The (patented) suction cup clamp, at the end of a gooseneck stem, attaches to the back of your gadget, holding it upright in front of you for easy viewing--and works whether the tray table is up, or down. You'll be the envy of all the passengers who are trying to prop their iPods into stable positions on a folded copy of SkyMall.
Here's my million-dollar, slightly derivative, idea: You know those neck-brace harmonica holders that Bob Dylan uses?Solder a suction cup on one and sell it to the people looking at their iPhones while walking down the street. Interested investors, please contact me at travelandleisure.com.
Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of iFlyz