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.
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.
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.
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.)
Those of you traveling to Madrid this summer are doubly lucky because until July 22nd you will find PHotoEspaña in full swing. The photography festival, a long-standing highlight on the city's summer cultural calendar, brings more than 70 exhibits to town displaying work by history’s and today’s greatest lensmen.
Exclusive GloboMaestro Video: Say hello to the new New-York Historical Society. For years New York City's oldest museum was perhaps best known for the placement of a hyphen between "New" and "York" in its title (a common usage during the museum’s founding in 1804). While steadfastly holding on to its own history, the New-York Historical Society has transformed into a cultural powerhouse thanks to a recent three-year $70 million renovation. Exhibitions are enhanced by shrewd uses of new technologies, from touch-screens to state-of-the-art video projections. Paintings, photographs, maps, and documents have never looked more attractive. It'll make you fall in love all over again with Gotham.
Briana Fasone is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Don't you hate it when you get to a new city and have no idea where to find a great restaurant? More often than not, unfortunately, a lack of knowledge leads to mediocre meals and a poor understanding of local cuisine. Google is out to fix that.
Google has added a new feature to their Google+ social network: Local. Like its competitor, Yelp, Google+ Local will show you recommended businesses, museums, and even—yes—restaurants that are nearby.
Exclusive GloboMaestro Video: Few cinemas are as iconic as the films they show, but The Paris Theatre, America's oldest continuously operated art-house cinema, is itself a celebrity. The cinema, located just a stone's throw away from The Plaza Hotel, was opened by Marlene Dietrich in 1948 and remains one of the New York's last single screen theaters. You won't catch this summer's blockbuster here (the theater shows only movies shot on film), but you'll be sure to see some of the finest independent and foreign films. While only one flick is shown each week, this cinephile wonderland never ever plays any pre-show ads.