Yeah yeah, “there’s an app for that,” but is there really an application to replace a person?
It seems so thanks to a bevy of iPhone apps aimed to help golfers both at their home courses and while traveling. (Bad news for teenagers loafing around the country clubs and even worse news for expensive SkyCaddies and rangefinders.)
The Wind Meter application uses the iPhone’s microphone to determine winds up to 28 mph— sure beats holding a wet finger to the breeze. Everyone, it seems, is getting on board, from surfers to hunters, which may explain why the Wind Meter has remained in the top 10 weather apps for the past 6 months. And at just 99 cents, the program is much more affordable than hiring a caddy.
CNN (Washington) | To the list of instructions you hear at airport checkpoints, add this: "Put your palms forward, please."
The Transportation Security Administration soon will begin randomly swabbing passengers' hands at checkpoints and airport gates to test them for traces of explosives.
Previously, screeners swabbed some carry-on luggage and other objects as they searched for the needle in the security haystack—components of terrorist bombs in an endless stream of luggage.
eTurbo News | If you've ever been hit with a surprise fee when you rented a car or booked an airline ticket and found yourself saying, "There ought to be a law," I have some good news for you: There is. Or at least, there could be.
There could be two laws, actually. The Clear Airfares Act is a Senate bill that would require airlines and online travel agencies to disclose any additional fees before you buy a ticket. And the End Discriminatory State Taxes for Automobile Renters Act would prohibit states or localities from collecting a discriminatory tax on motor vehicle rentals.
Just one problem: Neither of these bills have been passed.
But these proposed rules could make your next trip better, and they deserve our attention.
If you happen to be one of the lucky 2.3 million predicted spectators for this year’s Winter Olympics (starting tonight!), the latest pocket-sized Zagat guide ($6.95) has arrived just in time for your trip.
Zagat Vancouver 2010, released on December 16, covers nearly 300 restaurants surveyed by over 2,700 consumers.
It seems the Olympics have helped keep Vancouver on top of its culinary game,” says Zagat editor Tim Pawsey. To start, two internationally renowned French chefs, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud, have brought their talents to the city: Jean-Georges with a second branch of Market, his wildly popular Parisian restaurant, and Boulud with a new db Bistro Moderne (the first is in New York).
Los Angeles Times (Associated Press) | Next time you think about flying standby on American Airlines, be prepared to give the gate agent your name and $50.
The days of hanging around the agent's desk, hoping for a free switch to an earlier flight are over at American for many passengers.
The nation's second-largest airline said Wednesday that starting with tickets bought on Feb. 22, only elite frequent fliers, travelers in first or business class, military personnel and people who bought pricey coach tickets will be allowed to fly standby for free.
Everyone else switching flights on their day of travel will have to pay $50 to get a confirmed seat.
Where’s the best place to practice your hole-in-one double entendres? Golf travel website, The A Position released a list of the World’s Sexiest Golf Resorts.
What makes for a particularly sexy golf resort? Warm weather, spa treatments, dark corners for stolen…putting practice? The site’s press release goes so far as to suggest “provocative golf course mounding” as a qualifying factor. That’s odd, usually I get frustrated when caught between moguls. But maybe that's the point...
NBC Los Angeles | The Hollywood sign might look different Thursday—as in, completely covered.
For Public Lands, a nature conservation group, said it has reached a
deal that would protect a huge swath of land above the Hollywood sign
from being developed into luxury homes. The group's president, Will Rogers, said Monday that the Trust secured an option to buy the rugged 138-acre parcel for about $12 million from Chicago-based Fox River Financial Resources.
part of its initiative to save land near the sign from development,
Trust for Public Lands wants to cover the sign with a shroud that
reads, "Save the Peak."
Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
Reuters | The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co will close its five-diamond property in Las Vegas this May, after the hotel struggled with a slide in demand and revenue.
"It's nothing the hotel did. It's a simple lack of business and a decline in the tourism industry," said Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman Vivian Deuschl.
The owners of the 348-room property, Village Hospitality LLC, an arm of Deutsche Bank, will stop funding the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas day-to-day operations on May 2.
"That was the owner's decision and we reluctantly agreed to go along with it," Deuschl said.
Luxury properties have been hit hard in the past year and a half. Corporate travel and business from associations accounts for the bulk revenue of these hotels, but companies and groups have cut back on travel spending in the past year.
New York Times | American Airlines quietly announced last week that it would
eliminate free blankets in coach and sell an $8 packet that includes a
pillow and blanket starting May 1.
According to Joesentme.com, a
subscription travel site that reported the move last Friday, the
airline based its decision on consumer surveys. Joe Brancatelli, the
site’s publisher, raised a skeptical brow. “American executives run
focus groups on blankets?,” he said. “You think they’d look for
customer focus group data on what fliers think about American’s
worst-in-the-nation on-time performance, its atrocious baggage-handling
ability or the hideous condition of its planes.”
If watching the video of last Saturday’s gleeful, well-attended snowball fight at Dupont Circle makes you as envious as it makes me, maybe you’re ready to head to D.C. for some cold comfort. The Jefferson, a posh Beaux-Arts hotel between Dupont Circle and Logan Circle, has dropped the rates on their deluxe rooms from their usual $380 to $195 for the next couple of days.
So, own your own piece of the Snowpocalypse (or, D.C. residents, wait out the approaching storm in luxury, no snow shovels required). Call the Jefferson directly at (202) 448-2300 and ask for the Winter Storm Special. Pack your snowpants and mittens.
(By the way, you can keep up with plans for the next organized snowball fight by going to the Official Dupont Circle Snowball Fight page on Facebook.com.)
UPDATE: The D.C.-area Kimpton hotels (including the Hotel George, Hotel Helix, Hotel Madera, Hotel Monaco, Hotel Palomar, Hotel Rouge, and Topaz Hotel) have jumped on the wagon with a special snow-day rate that starts at $99. Use SNW as the booking code. (See if you can talk them into combining the snow special with the Rub the One You're With spa treatment package!)
Ann Shields is an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo credit: Stirling Elmendorf