Safety is a constant concern when traveling, whether you’re hopping in the car for a weekend getaway or backpacking across Europe. Besides being unfamiliar with a location, language barriers can also make communication difficult. Cue new mobile security app, React Mobile.
Free to download for iOS and select Android systems, the app allows you to create a list of emergency contacts (friends, parents, doctors, etc.) that will be instantly notified if danger strikes. Just tap once to “activate your shield” and GPS coordinates of your location will be sent to members on your list, with an option to link your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Have a serious problem? Send a message to police directly from the app. React Mobile has world-travelers covered, with availability in 39 countries and four continents including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, European Union, Australia, China, Japan, Israel, Jamaica, Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, and Argentina.
Clearly we’re not the only ones obsessed with globetrotting pets. This week, Virgin Australia launched a new program for its furry fliers, making them the second airline to offer frequent flier miles to its four-legged jet set (JetBlue, with its JetPaws initiative, has been offering miles for a few years). Miles get added to the human handler’s account—Peaches sure isn’t carrying her own status card—and members can expect a minimum of 300 points per pet flight. Now if only the flight attendants could pass out some kibbles along with those pretzels…
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
T+L's features director, Nilou Motamed, announces the 2013 winners of Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards, as voted by readers in our annual survey. Whether it's a rustic safari hideaway or a river cruise line, these hotels, destinations, and travel companies represent the best in travel. For all the winners, click here.
Jennifer Flowers is the Travel News Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.
Procrastinators, rejoice! There’s a slew of new apps aimed at snagging a last-minute hotel deal. Here, our tech expert’s road-tested favorites.
HotelTonight(Android, iOS): The pioneer of same-day booking apps, HotelTonight features staff-vetted properties in more than a hundred cities around the world, with tags like Hip, Luxe, or Charming to guide your search. Expect trendy boutique hotels and even some splashy new openings—but don’t get too attached to any one spot. Deals change daily and can be reserved only from noon onward.
Christian Boyens, general manager of the Ritz Paris—currently undergoing renovations—reveals his short list for where to eat in the City of Light.
First Arr.-Verjus($$$$): French farm food, great setting. Kinugawa($$$): Japanese bento boxes for lunch.
Second Arr.-Chez Georges(pictured; 1 Rue du Mail;$$$): well-preserved classic, market-fresh specials. Le Mesturet($$): real Parisian bistro, good price-to-quality ratio. Le Petit Vendôme($$): hole-in-the-wall for lunch; get the escalope de veau with mushrooms.
Third Arr.-Derrière($$$): young, eclectic scene, great patio, table tennis, rotisserie ham. Chez Janou($$$): French bistro, get the duck and the chocolate mousse; fish soup only so-so.
Q: With so many sunscreens on the market, I’m overwhelmed. Have a favorite? —Janet Bakes, via e-mail
A: We took an informal poll, and the cheekily named Supergoop! SPF 50 Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist($19) is a T+L editor pick. It’s infused with vitamin C (touted by dermatologists as a damage preventer), plus it’s paraben- and fragrance-free, hence easy on your skin. Soleil Organique($42) makes similar mists in varying SPF’s, with a green-tea scent. For daily use on the face, we prefer lightweight and long-lasting Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+($38) and emollient-rich La Prairie Sun Protection Emulsion Face SPF 30($95). Hailing from Norway, Restørsea Rejuvenating Day Lotion SPF 30(pictured; $150) contains anti-aging enzymes and moisturizing algae, though it may be worth the splurge for its pretty packaging alone.
Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure’s style director. Packing is rarely easy—we’re here to help. Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Eiffel Tower has reopened today following a two-day workers’ strike—a perfect excuse for me to start fantasizing about that next trip to Paris. Coincidentally, there’s a spate of hotel news coming out of the City of Light. Here’s a highlight reel:
In the posh 16th arrondissement, the Seine-facing Shangri-La Paris just launched a summer terrace with Eiffel Tower views. If you’re not lucky enough to be staying here, the terrace is open to the public from 5 to 11 p.m. this summer—stop in for a glass of Rosé and watch the sun sink into the horizon. The property also just opened its Garden Wing, adding 20 rooms and suites (half of which have Eiffel Tower views) and a private landscaped French garden.
Woe to frugal miles hoarders like me: United, the world’s largest airline, recently announced annual spending and mileage minimums in order to earn status on its frequent flier program. This seems to be the new reality among legacy carriers: United’s statement comes just a few months after Delta, the world’s second-largest airline, made a similar decree.
Come January 2014, United fliers will need to travel 25,000 miles within a year (or 30 qualifying flight segments) and shell out at least $2,500 total on fares—and buying tickets for other travelers don’t count—to qualify for Premier Silver, the program’s entry-level elite status. And for top-tier 1K Premier status, you need to spend a whopping $10,000. Check out the site for more details.
When reporters were duped on Monday into flying from Moscow to Havana on the Russian airline in hopes of interviewing National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the fugitive leaker was nowhere to be found. One passenger reported that the flight not only had no Snowden, it had "no turbulence and no booze." Seriously? No vodka?! On an Aeroflot flight?! It's true. The Moscow-Havana route is one of seven long-distance itineraries on which Aeroflot has banned alcohol in economy class. Why? Just watch the video above to get a sampling of the verbal assaults, fisticuffs, and other liquor-induced ill behavior seen on hundreds of Aeroflot flights every year. And now some legislators are considering even more stringent measures to stop the moonshine madness.