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Trip Doctor: Top Translation Apps

translation apps

Looking for the nearest ATM in Paris and rusty on your French? These tools—all road-tested by T+L ensures you’ll never be misunderstood again.

Most Comprehensive: Google Translate (free; Android, iOS)
In addition to having 64 languages for typed and spoken translations, Google Translate is particularly savvy when it comes to brand names, knowing not to suggest the literal “équipe du ciel” when you’re asking about the nearest SkyTeam lounge in French, for example. The data-dependent app offers the best results, but Android users can get exclusive language packs that cover the basics and can be used offline.

Best for International Travel: Jibbigo Translator (offline language packs from $4.99; Android, iOS)
Data connections aren’t required for Jibbigo’s thorough, vetted language packs (with more than 40,000 words each), which have set the standard for the past five years. Currently, it offers easy-to-use typed translations for 20-plus languages and spoken translations for 13; more are being rolled out soon. Especially useful are its customizable glossaries, which let you add terms you know you’ll need ahead of time.

Best for Signs and Menus: S Translator (free; only on Samsung’s Galaxy S4) and Word Lens ($4.99 per language; Android, iOS)
Point your smartphone’s camera at any word or phrase, and these apps give you its meaning. We love S Translator’s handy pronunciation tips and its ability to read simplified Chinese characters. Other Android and iPhone users can try the similar but more limited Word Lens. It offers help in French, Spanish, Italian, and German—no data connection needed.

Best For Longer Conversations: Verbalizeit ($10 for five minutes of translator talk time; Android, iOS)
Wish you had a native speaker in your pocket? With Verbalizeit, you can locate and call a live translator with the push of a button—ideal for technical conversations, such as seeing a doctor abroad. The app may require a little patience: depending on demand, it can take a few (unbilled) minutes for a translator to become available, but each one is tested for proficiency and ability to meet travelers’ needs.

Coming Soon
If you need to make restaurant reservations by phone in Mandarin, a pocket app may not cut it. But new technologies are addressing these 2.0 needs. The innovative, though still-being-refined Lexifone app (free; Android) lets you call through its interface and will translate as you speak. Microsoft, meanwhile, is working on perhaps the coolest translator yet: it promises to convert your speech into a translated audio file that sounds just like your voice.

Illustration by Jasper Rietman

Trip Doctor: 5 Best Sunscreens

Best Sunscreens:  Restorsea Rejuvenating Day Lotion SPF 30

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 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

Tech Thursday: Google Glass—Half Empty or Half Full?

Google Glass

Blending in with the locals. For most travelers, that’s the goal. We know that pulling out a guidebook never helps. But what about sporting funky headgear?

That’s what I was trying to figure out as I did a test drive yesterday of Google Glass at the company’s New York offices. Lens-less glasses with wraparound arms and a tiny screen above your right eye: Glass isn’t obstructive (that’s the whole point, after all), but it’s also not unobtrusive. And as my Google handler—who has worn hers in public—told me, you have to be prepared for some stares.

So do the benefits outweigh those stares?

Read More

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.

Read More

New Trip Planning Tool: OneNote

201305-hd-onenote-travel-and-leisurejpg

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

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