Peer-to-peer, local, authentic: these are all buzzwords permeating the travel world—with no hints of disappearing any time soon. Our latest P2P find takes a page out of Vayable, a worldwide marketplace of local-led experiences. The Barcelona-based Trip4Real, which launched last year, is solely focused on Spain, with 3,000-plus activities in 50 cities, from popular spots such as Barcelona and Madrid to small towns in Basque Country.
This week, T-Mobile continued on its rampage to break all the rules we've ever come to know about mobile carriers, this time with a move that throws the need for a 4G network all but out the window. The big reveal? Wi-Fi calling on all new T-Mobile smartphones, a feature that will make roaming workaround apps like Viber largely irrelevant. This comes on the heels of Apple's iPhone 6 debut, which also included Wi-Fi calling as a standard feature.
The implication for travelers is huge. First and foremost, it signals an enormous change in the way we think about roaming and international phone charges (already, the carrier has made data roaming and music streaming abroad worries of the past).
Is T-Mobile trying to be the world's best network for travelers? All signs say yes. You likely already know about T-Mobile's free international data roaming features. Earlier we reported on T-Mobile's Wi-Fi calling features. Now, there's one more feather in the carrier's cap: free in-flight texting, picture messaging, and visual voicemail on all gogo-powered flights. The service is made possible thanks to a partnership with the in-flight Wi-Fi provider; like most announcements of this kind, this is being considered a limited time promotion (no end date has been announced).
Welcome to airline strike season in Europe. Air France canceled half of its flights today as pilots expressed their opposition to the airline's plan to shift focus to a lower-cost (and lower-paying) subsidiary. Thousands of travelers across Europe have been impacted—a number that will surely increase if the strikes continue through the week as planned.
And in Frankfurt, Lufthansa pilots declared an eight-hour strike set for Tuesday, which will disrupt the airline’s long-haul flights. In negotiations regarding Lufthansa’s early retirements packages, the pilots union has led strikes (at the budget subsidiary Germanwings) and walkouts since August.
Both airlines have worked proactively to minimize the strikes’ impact on travelers, rebooking with partner carriers and offering hotel-stays in the event that no alternative flight is found.
While strikes can throw a wrench in anyone’s travel plans, there are a few ways to lower your risks, as detailed by T+L’s Trip Doctor, Amy Farley. Here's what you need to know:
Oceania Cruises is the latest luxury line to launch complimentary Internet access on its five ships—a first for the brand. It joins Regent Seven Seas, which announced that it was adding free WiFi last month. The on-board Wi-Fi system was recently upgraded across its five mid-size ships, bringing connectivity that’s twice as fast as before to public spaces, outdoor decks, plus all suites and staterooms.
Confession: I'm a Friends addict. For nearly the entire ten years since the cult comedy took its last now, I've watched reruns every night as my bedtime ritual (true story). But I know I'm not alone. And for all of you Rachel and Ross cheerleaders, who know that the TV guide always came to "Ms. Chanandler Bong" and that there's no good answer to "How you doin'," there's big news up ahead. Next week, Warner Bros Television Group, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Eight O’Clock Coffee will be honoring the show's 20th anniversary by recreating Central Perk, with a month-long pop-up in lower Manhattan (at 199 Lafayette St.), kicking off next Wednesday. Among the fun details: a soundtrack of Phoebe's best songs, props from the original set, and guess appearances from none other than James Michael Tyler (AKA, Gunther). Naturally, coffee will be served all day long. The only thing that could be better? Making that ever-elusive Friends reunion—with more than just three members of the gang—a reality. Fingers crossed.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Today the iPhone got a long-awaited upgrade—and Apple finally unveiled its rumored plans for the Apple Watch. What’s in it for travelers? Here’s a closer look at how the world’s most popular travel accessory is changing—and the latest round of innovations by the technology giant.
Are you tired? Stressed from work? Want to take a vacation but feel like no one else can do your job or that you’ll return to an avalanche of unanswered e-mails and Excel spreadsheets? You are not alone; using paid time off is a pipe dream for many working Americans.
According to a survey conducted GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications for the U.S. Travel Association, one in four American workers are reporting that they are “very” or “extremely” stressed. But almost four out of ten American employees do not plan to use all of their paid time off (PTO) in 2014, despite having paid vacation days as part of their employment compensation.