Travelers across the country had their plans disrupted by last week’s Super Storm Sandy. From being stranded in a powerless New York City, to getting stuck in airports far away from home, their plights yielded some lessons on how to prepare for disaster and what to do when it strikes. And travelers take note, these tips may be useful sooner than expected; a nor'easter is expected to hit the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic this week.
• Use an excellent travel agent, especially if your trip is particularly complicated or important. (See Travel + Leisure’s favorite agents here.) These travel experts can save you time, headaches, and heartache by taking care of all the rerouting and rebooking on your behalf.
Q: What do I do if I lose my passport in a foreign country? —Amy Lin, Bridgewater, N.J.
A: Start by contacting the closest U.S. consulate or embassy to report your lost passport and have it invalidated to prevent identity theft. Ask what time the office opens, then visit first thing in the morning to submit forms DS-11 and DS-64 (available at travel.state.gov) and a copy of your outbound itinerary. If your passport was your only form of documentation, an interview may be necessary to confirm your identity. After paying a $135 fee and a short wait, you’ll be issued either a new passport that is good for 10 years or a temporary one that expires after three months, which should get you home without completely ruining your vacation.
When by-the-hour car-sharing services such as Zipcar and Hertz on Demand arrived on the scene, they upended the traditional model for short-term rentals. Now it’s their turn to be upended. Taking a page from bike-sharing programs, the latest car-sharing services offer by-the-minute rentals. The most traveler-friendly of the half-dozen or so services that have recently emerged is Car2go($35 one-time membership fee), which rents smart cars in five U.S. cities (Austin; San Diego; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and Miami), and 15 more across the globe (Toronto, Berlin, and Amsterdam, among others).
Q: Is it out of the question to travel to the Caribbean in October?
A: While the odds of a hurricane in the region increase in the fall, the ABC islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are hit much less frequently. To be extra safe, T+L A-List agent Scott Kertes suggests a cruise, since ships can steer away from inclement weather. And it doesn’t hurt to buy some travel insurance before packing your bags.
Memo to our friends in the UK: Maybe lay off the jokes about how we Yanks SuperSize all our meals, or walk around cradling two-liter bottles of soda.
In a recent Thomas Cook survey of British travelers, the good ol' U.S.A.—land of the deep-fried Twinkie—ranked only No. 4 as the most likely destination to make you gain weight. (Sure, we're still in the Top 5, but we'll take what we can get.)
Full of southern charm, cutting edge art, and a fast-rising culinary scene, there are treasures abound to be discovered in Charleston, South Carolina’s second largest city. Whether you’re looking to peruse the myriad antique shops, tour the seemingly endless historic sites, or stroll through its many plantations and gardens, there’s something for everyone. But if you’re having a hard time figuring out where to begin, we’re here to help you. We’ve enlisted a team of experts to dish out some fab travel advice so you can start planning your next trip to Chuck Town. The tweet-up, presented by Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, will take place Thursday, October 4, from 2–3 p.m. ET.
1. Log in to Twitter any time from 2–3 p.m. ET and be sure to follow the chat hosts: @TravlandLeisure and @Charleston CVB 2. Use the hashtag #TLSponChat to follow. 3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to http://tweetchat.com/room/TLSponChat 4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own answers to our questions! Or ask your own questions! Take advantage of this special access to this fab panel and get some expert travel advice.
We hope to "see" you there!
Joshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis
All tweets are subject to our social media terms and conditions and may be used in any and all media including editorial, advertising and commercial purposes. See full social media T&Cs.
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.”
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.