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Trip Doctor: Avis + Zipcar- What It Means for Travelers

Zipcar

You've come a long way, Zipcar.

The recent announcement that the Avis Budget Group is aiming to acquire the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company for nearly $500 million marked the pioneering car-sharing service's evolution from an upstart launched at the turn of the Millennium to a lucrative brand with serious international potential. Though Zipcar members (a.k.a. Zipsters) may squirm at the idea of a traditional (read: staid) car-rental agency holding sway over their quirky, beloved service, the deal could have great advantages for everyone.

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T+L's Favorite Travel Shoes: Tieks

Tieks foldable shoes

Q: I’ve seen a lot of folding travel shoes that seem like they’d be comfortable (especially after an evening in high heels). Which are your favorites? —Cass Mitchell, Santa Monica, Calif.

A: You’re right—there are dozens of collapsible shoes on the market, but some are flimsy. Personally, I love Tieks by Gavrieli (from $165), which have a sturdy rubber sole and a breathable leather innersole. Each pair comes in a pouch—and with a small nylon bag to carry your heels. They’re incredibly versatile, transition easily from day to night, and are available in bright patent-leather colors for extra kick.

Packing is rarely easy—we’re here to help. Send your question to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Photo by John Lawton

Trip Doctor: Airplane Etiquette—What to Do About a Space-Hogging Seatmate

airplane etiquette

Do...

Assert your territory early on: claim your overhead and under-seat space, and put the armrests down.

Be sensitive about passengers of size. Alert your flight attendant discreetly; you may be able to switch seats.

Don’t...

Resort to dirty looks, or subtle little pushes. Being passive-aggressive only escalates the problem.

Be greedy. Airplane etiquette says that the middle-seat passenger has rights to both inner armrests.

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

Illustration by Tom Gauld

Expert Tips for National Parks Photography

national parks photographer Ian Shive

Photographer Ian Shive has shot hundreds of our nation’s wildest spaces, many of which appeared in The National Parks, Our American Landscape (Earth Aware). The only trouble: they’re often overrun with visitors. Here, Shive reveals five of his favorite experiences in parks both familiar and unsung.

National Parks: Maine

Acadia National Park: Scrambling up the granite rocks of Cadillac Mountain is a classic, but Shive recommends staying after sunset to watch the town of Bar Harbor light up. Where to sleep? “The Harborside Hotel ($$$) has a cozy, old Americana vibe.”

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Stuff We Love: Biaggi Collapsible Suitcases

As Trip Doctors, we’re always on the hunt for great luggage to support our regular, on-the-job abuse. So when Biaggi’s collapsible suitcases made their way into my home recently, I found myself surprised that a new brand could bring so much innovation to a fairly standardized market. The premise: each bag’s sturdy sides snap into place while in use, and fold flat when you’re ready to store. The result? Ultra-compact storage—that doesn’t require you to play Russian dolls with your whole set to unearth the carry-on. A stylish design, super-sturdy handle, and four-wheel spinner function add to the appeal—and the pretty colors don’t hurt, either.

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

 

Trip Doctor: Getting Partial Refunds on an Orbitz-Booked Trip

airplane

Q: I booked a flight on Orbitz, and the price dropped the next day. Can I get my money back for the difference? —Heather Browne, Colorado Springs, Colo.

A: Most online booking engines offer price-assurance guarantees that protect you when fares fluctuate. Orbitz has a hassle-free policy that will automatically issue you a refund check if another customer books a cheaper fare. Other sites make you do the legwork: Travelocity, Expedia, and Priceline give credits toward future purchases on top of the price difference if you spot a better deal within 24 hours—but it can be time-consuming to make sure you’re matching all the criteria that qualify you for a refund (dates, fare category, cancellation policies, and more). Alternatively, if you book directly with a carrier, sites such as Yapta can monitor your fare and alert you when you can request a refund.

More From Travel + Leisure:
America's Worst Airports for Flight Delays
Best Secret Islands on Earth
America's Coolest City Parks

AmyHave a travel conundrum? The Trip Doctor is in. Send questions to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

 

Photo by iStockphoto

Trip Doctor: Get Paid to Travel

Worksurfers

Nearly every Ask an Editor Day, you’ve asked us the same question: How can I get paid to travel? Here’s a new way to make it happen: Worksurfers. The recently launched startup aims to connect creative professionals with short-term freelance assignments around the world, allowing them to hop the globe—or prolong an existing vacation—while broadening their portfolio. Simply sign up and input the type of work you’d be looking for (and where) and you’ll be e-mailed job leads as they’re made available.

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TODAY Show: How to Pack Like a Pro

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

As the holiday season comes to an end, seemingly countless numbers of travelers are making their ways home. But with ever-changing rules implemented by airlines, packing isn't as cut and dry as it once was. So this morning T+L Features Director Nilou Motamedstopped by the set of the Today Show to discuss some strategic tips to help make the process a lot smoother.  

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Trip Doctor: Noisy Hotel Neighbors Do's and Don'ts

noisy hotel
guest

Do

...call the manager on duty. He can dispatch security. He’ll also know when your rowdy floor mates are checking out.

...ask for earplugs. Most hotels expect some type of noise pollution, be it from tropical birds, traffic, or a wailing toddler.

Don’t

...take matters into your own hands. You want the hotel to be involved early on in case the culprit is uncooperative.

...demand that other guests move for your sake. If you want a quieter space, expect to switch rooms yourself.

Have a travel conundrum? The Trip Doctor is in. Send questions to tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Illustration by Peter Arkle

Trip Doctor: Stylish Compression Socks for Long-Haul Flights

201208-hd-b-stylish-compression-socksjpg 

Q: As a frequent long-haul flier, I’m concerned about deep vein thrombosis—is there such a thing as stylish compression socks?

A: Surprisingly, there is! We found a great selection of colors, patterns (houndstooth, polka-dot, etc.), and styles on rejuvahealth.com. Look for socks with 15–20 mmHg compression—and be sure they fit correctly.

Need a travel Rx? The Trip Doctor is in. Send your question to Amy at tripdoctor@aexp.com.

Photo courtesy of rejuvahealth.com

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