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Finding Lost or Stolen Gadgets

lost gadgets

If you’ve ever reached into your carry-on only to find an empty space where your phone, computer, or camera used to be, you know how thoroughly a lost or stolen gadget can ruin your trip. Fortunately, there are services to help track down your missing gear and protect you against identity theft. GadgetTrak Mobile Security ($19.95 per year) brings the features built in to Windows Phone and iOS to Android and BlackBerry users: it will locate your phone using GPS and Wi-Fi and can also lock the device or wipe your data—even if someone inserts another SIM card. CameraTrace ($10 per camera) tracks a registered camera using metadata embedded in digital photos, so it can find any pictures taken with your camera that have been uploaded to one of many popular image-sharing sites.

Knowing the location of your device is useful if you’ve simply misplaced it, but in the case of theft, it won’t do you much good without the help of the law. Unfortunately, limited resources mean few police departments will bother pursuing stolen tech gear. But when a laptop enabled with LoJack for Laptops (from $19.99 per year) is reported stolen, the program’s forensic tools automatically contact LoJack for Laptops’s central command every 15 minutes, making it easy to collect evidence that police can use for, say, a search warrant. “We have about 60 ex-police officers working for us,” says Mark Grace of Absolute Software, the company behind this product, “and they know how to work with law enforcement authorities across the globe to get these cases solved.”

Photo by David Alexander Arnold

TODAY Show Video: Money-Saving Travel Advice

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

Is it true, or a myth? We tackle 7 conventional travel tips to reveal which will actually save you money on your next vacation.

1. If you have enough frequent flyer miles for your next flight, use them.

Myth. It isn't always a good value to cash in your miles. First, use the 1.4-cents-per-mile rule to calculate the value of an award ticket. If the cash price is considerably cheaper than the award ticket calculation, save your miles. For example, if a flight will cost you $300 cash or 50,000 points, you'll get more value out of paying cash since the 50,000 points equal about $700. You'll want to use those points on a ticket that's around $500 or more.

Related: Understanding the Not-So-Fine Print of Airline Rules

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Live the Dream: “EX-PATS” Debuts Second Episode on YouTube

Last month, we introduced you to a new series on YouTube’s Reserve Channel called EX-PATS that took viewers to St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands in its premiere episode. This month, those daydreaming about moving to a foreign country can look forward to another great story from a neighboring island, St. Croix.

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Tweet-Up: Family Travel Tips

ann-shieldsjpgTraveling with the kids in tow can be quite the challenge. Where should you go? How do you guarantee a smooth flight? Can you make everyone happy? What about the adults? Is there something for them to do? It can be exhausting just planning the trip. That being said, there are myriad ways to smooth out the process and help guarantee a memorable trip for everyone involved. How? Well, just join us for a live tweet-up tomorrow, from 2–3 p.m. ET, hosted by T+L Senior Digital Editor (and mom of two) Ann Shields. (Or, as she’s known in the Twittersphere: @aegisnyc.) Joining her will be a panel of experts to help give you some essential tips to help you plan your next family getaway.

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Money-Saving Hotel Booking Sites

Money-Saving Hotel Booking Sites

Priceline’s Name Your Own Price bidding system was once the most novel way to find a discounted hotel room online, but a slew of innovative new booking websites and apps make it easier than ever to prevent buyer’s remorse. The seven-month-old website BackBid turns the Name Your Own Price approach on its head: instead of guests bidding on hotel rooms, hotels bid on guests. After you submit your existing hotel reservation and travel preferences to BackBid, the site invites hotels in the same area to make you offers for less expensive rooms or upgraded ones at the same price. (A five-star hotel was recently offered in place of a three-star property in Washington, D.C.) As long as you have a refundable reservation, you can cancel and book the new room.

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Live the Dream: “EX-PATS” Series Launches on YouTube


The idea of chucking it all and decamping to a new exotic land has surely crossed many a world traveler’s mind. This is a passing daydream for some, but for others, it’s a calling—a chance to truly immerse oneself in a foreign culture and community, and to reinvent one's life.

If you’re interested in what the experience of being an ex-patriot is all about, the risks and the rewards, we invite you to watch the new web-series EX-PATS on YouTube’s Reserve Channel. Created in cooperation with Travel + Leisure (our editors are advisors on the show), the series takes viewers around the world to profile ex-pats who’ve made the move and have some wild and wonderful stories to share.

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Tech Thursday: How to Avoid Travel Scams

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The first time I ever flew into JFK was during a flight back to NYC from Los Angeles. I hadn't gone to bed until the sun came up earlier that day, was running on just a couple hours of sleep, and I was ready to get home and collapse onto my bed. So when faced with the decision to wait in the long taxi line or take up some guy on his car service option, my foggy brain decided the latter was a sound decision. I followed the guy to his “taxi” which was a rusty old pick-up truck, but thankfully had enough sense to stop, say “Absolutely not,” and turn back around to deal with the line for a legit cab.

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Tips from Housekeeping: How to Make a Bed

How to make a bed
Ana Lissa Sison, director of housekeeping at the Peninsula New York, can make a king-size bed in five minutes flat. Her method:

1. Pillows: Karate-chop down the middle to fluff feathers. Fold in half lengthwise and insert into case. From the outside, pinch a corner of pillow; pull case down. Set aside.

2. Bottom Sheet: Use a flat sheet (more durable than fitted). Tuck in top and bottom. At each corner, lift overhang to form a triangle. Pull and tuck sheet under.

3. Top Sheet: Tuck in bottom, leaving sides hanging. Fold top of sheet back six to eight inches.

4. Duvet, Part I: Fold duvet cover in half, with opening facing headboard. Fold duvet as mirror image, and place at foot of bed.

5. Duvet, Part II: Grab duvet at bottom right; pull into right corner of cover. Repeat on left. Holding cover in place, pull it completely over duvet.

6. Finish: Leave duvet untucked, smoothing out wrinkles and crisping corners. Place pillows on top and align patterns. Add accents to taste.

Illustration by L-DOPA

Tech Thursday: Must-Have Apps For the 2012 London Olympics

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If you’re one of the lucky ones to be attending the Olympics this year in London, but are a little nervous about navigating a foreign city—particularly during what will very likely become a rather chaotic time with the huge influx of travelers and athletes—there are a few apps out there that can help you out. (And most of them will still be useful outside of London, after the Games are long over.)

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Taking a Peek Inside a Hotel General Manager's Toiletry Bag

travel-friendly toiletries

Looking good is part of the job description for Omer Acar, the jet-setting general manager of Le Royal Monceau–Raffles Paris. Here, he reveals his travel-friendly toiletries, all 3.4 ounces or less.

Kiehl’s Amino Acid Conditioner ($7): “Blended with coconut and jojoba oils and a savior for my hair.”

Rembrandt toothpaste ($8): “Whitens and brightens.”

Comme des Garçons Incense Kyoto eau de toilette ($85): “The scent is fantastic—rare, earthy, spiced.”

Arnicare Gel ($10): “Arnica has been used since the 1500’s to reduce inflammation.”

Clear Eyes ($4): “I’ll put in a few drops to look fresh just before greeting VIP’s.”

Rubis tweezers ($39): “The Swiss make the best nonslip tweezers—no surprise, in the land of the watch.”

My Blend by Clarins ($145): “A personalized moisturizer only sold at Le Royal Monceau.”

Photo by Charles Masters

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