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The Rise of the Mobile Concierge

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For those who make a habit of frequenting the concierge desk before a day on the town, there’s a new way to tap into the local scene—no fold-out map necessary. These four hotel brands are putting the concierge in your pocket. What could be more convenient?

Conrad This all-in-one concierge app handles wake-up calls, dinner reservations, valet parking, bath amenities, and even check-in. Android, iPad, iPhone.

Hyatt  When you use the tag @hyattconcierge on Twitter, you will get a response from a concierge within 15 minutes.

InterContinental Concierges from each of InterContinental’s 127 destinations package their little black books for your smartphone in an app that has tips on where to shop, what to eat, and what to pack. iPad, iPhone.

Ritz-Carlton Along with location-based suggestions for sites and activities, this app includes QR codes that unlock anything from cocktail recipes to kid-friendly scavenger hunts. Android, iPhone.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of Conrad Concierge App

Trip Doctor: Tag Heuer's Waterproof Watch

Tag Heuer waterproof watch

Q: We’re going scuba diving in Belize, and I’m looking for a watch that works as well underwater as it does on land. —Anthony Dwyer, Westport, Conn.

A: Just ask the U.S. Navy SEALs, who tested and approved elements of the Tag Heuer Limited Edition Oracle Team USA Aquaracer 500M ($4,200). It’s the latest in sporting chronographs: water-resistant to 1,640 feet, with rhodium-plated hands and a scratch-resistant crystal—and cool-looking, to boot.

Mimi LombardoMimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure’s style director. Packing is rarely easy-we're here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Tag Heuer

Trip Doctor: The Final Say on "Stealing" Hotel Shampoo

stealing shampoo from hotels

Our informal poll of luxury hotels found that taking one set of toiletries a day is generally acceptable—even expected. (They know us well.) But don’t be surprised if the hotel—especially a mid- or lower-tier property—cuts you off during a longer stay. if that happens, you’ll just have to dig some of that shampoo back out of your suitcase.

17: The percentage of U.S. hotel guests who admit to taking linens and towels from their rooms in a Hotels.com survey.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

Illustration by Ben Wiseman

Trip Doctor: What to Wear in Nantucket

Ray-Ban aviators

Q: I’m heading to Nantucket’s Wauwinet resort in July. Any New England summer wardrobe tips? —Jake Collistro, Santa Monica, Calif.

A: The Wauwinet is a casual classic; you won’t feel out of place in a few East Coast mainstays. A preppy nylon windbreaker from Gant Rugger ($225) and wrinkle-free seersucker Mac pants ($225) are fantastic options in the summer months, when afternoon temperatures hover around 75 degrees but nights are cool. For accessories, we love these lightweight yet sturdy Hush Puppies slip-ons ($89)—perfect for walking Great Point beach—and Steve McQueen–worthy folding Ray-Ban aviators ($470).

Mimi LombardoMimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure’s style director. Packing is rarely easy-we're here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

 

Photo by John Lawton

Trip Doctor: What is a Resort Fee, and Do I Really Have to Pay It?

resort fees

Question from Bill Smith, Eagle, Colo.

A: Good question. And one you should ask of your hotel, too. Resort fees, which can add a full 30 percent onto a hotel bill, may cover everything from wireless Internet and gym access to faxing and use of a notary (huh?)—services and amenities that you may have no interest in using. Yet travelers who kick and scream about baggage fees are often surprisingly mute when it comes to these hotel charges. The difference? In the case of baggage, you’re at least paying for a service that you intend to use.

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New Trip Planning Tool: OneNote

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To help with summer travel planning, Microsoft is releasing a special edition, travel-themed OneNote template. And T+L is excited to be part of it—we wrote the travel tips and packing lists featured in this new, free, release.

You’ll find advice from our editors on the summer’s trendiest destinations, activities for everyone in the family, must-try dishes from around the world, and essential items to pack, whether you’re battling the humidity or enjoying the water (or both).

OneNote is available with Microsoft Office 365 Home PremiumCheck it out and bring it with you on your next summer adventure.

Photo credit: OneNote

Best New River Cruise Itineraries

river cruise

As river cruising continues to gain steam, Jane Wooldridge shares the best new itineraries for every sort of traveler.

For the History Buff: Tauck has introduced a 10-night Mississippi voyage designed by filmmaker Ken Burns aboard the American Queen paddle wheeler. Don’t miss the tour of Louisiana’s 1837 Oak Alley, or Oakley Plantation, where John James Audubon worked on his Birds of America. In Europe, AmaWaterwaysJewels of France sets out from Arles and cruises along the Rhône and Seine, with stops in the medieval town of Perpignan and at Avignon’s massive Gothic papal palace.

For the Epicure: Visit Porto, Portugal, the birthplace of port wine, on a 10-day Douro River journey aboard a Viking River Cruises longship. The Po River trip from Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection sails from Venice to the foodie haven of Bologna (think mortadella, tortellini, and Parmesan cheese).

For the Explorer: In Egypt, Sanctuary Retreats’ 32-passenger Sanctuary Nile Adventurer ferries guests along a stretch of the Nile that has just reopened after 15 years. (The rock tombs at Beni Hasan are a notable stop.) Even farther afield: Burma, where Orient Express Trains & Cruises is adding a second, smaller boat for sailings on the Irrawaddy to the temples of Bagan and into the remote, rugged region along the Chindwin River.

Jane WoolridgeJane Wooldridge is the cruise editor at Travel + Leisure.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises; Illustration by Michael Hoeweler

Trip Doctor: Packing Light for Buenos Aires

Packing for Buenos Aires: dress

Q: We’re off to Buenos Aires, and I want to pack light. Can you recommend some dual-purpose clothing? —Patricia Broder, Santa Monica, Calif.

A: If you’re headed to the tango-shoe capital of the world, you’d better pack light—you’ll need lots of room in your bag for new acquisitions, especially footwear. We’re excited about Derek Lam’s affordable DesigNation line for Kohl’s—it looks good but isn’t too precious to throw in a suitcase. Our pick for your trip? The wood-grain-print cotton shirtdress ($70), to be worn alone or over leggings. We also adore this space-saving Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent dress ($298)—it can be worn with the V-neck in front, in the back for a boatneck look, as pictured, or over your swimsuit as a cover-up.

Mimi Lombardo Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure's style director. Packing is rarely easy-we're here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @TLTripDoctor on Twitter.

Photo by John Lawton

Trip Doctor: Compare Smartphones—Which Platform is Best for You?

compare smartphones

Android, Windows, and even BlackBerry are stepping up their game against Apple, benefiting travelers. T+L’s tech expert finds which platform is best for you.

For the Organization Wiz

Windows 8: Seamless integration with any Windows device is the greatest selling point for this platform. We also love its resizable “live” tiles, which let you put what’s important to you—flight alerts, for example—front and center; innovative tap-to-pay technology; and travel-friendly features, from built-in Skype to top-of-the-line photo capabilities.

The Phone to Get: The sexy and slim Nokia Lumia 920 ($99) has some of the best picture modes we’ve ever tried.

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Trip Doctor: Best Travel Sneakers

fitness shoes

Q: Any suggestions for a multitasking fitness shoe? —Karen Lemster, via E-Mail

A: Try the new Adidas ClimaCool sneaker ($60). The sporty cousin of the boat shoe weighs in at four ounces, with mesh uppers (great for keeping feet cool while walking). One important tip: break in any new pair of kicks before hitting the road.

Mimi Lombardo Mimi Lombardo is Travel + Leisure's style director. Packing is rarely easy-we're here to help. Send your questions to tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @TLTripDoctor on Twitter.

Photo by John Lawton

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