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Video: Travel Tips for New Orleans

From hotel deals to cooking classes, Travel + Leisure's digital projects director, Sarah Spagnolo, shares her favorite tips for making the most of New Orleans right now.

The Best New Accessories for Your iPad

For my last round-up, I shared a collection of my favorite new cell phone accessories. This week I want to showcase a my fave iPad accessories. So let’s just cut to the chase and dive right on in, shall we?

201204-b-techsafe-casejpgNot everyone likes to bring their iPads with them when they’re walking around a strange city. For starters, showing off your flashy, expensive toy can turn you into a target for a mugging. Second, you kind of look like a jerk using an iPad as a camera. I’m sorry, but it had to be said. However, it can be understandably nerve-wracking leaving it behind in your hotel room, especially when there is no personal safe. For peace of mind, pick up the TechSafe Case ($80; griffintechnology.com), which connects to a steel cable that can be tethered to just about anything (like the heavy hotel desk, perhaps).

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Ask An Editor Day: T+L Answers Your Travel Questions

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Need help planning your next dream vacation? Looking for a few money-saving travel tips? You’re in luck! T+L invites you to our first-ever "Ask An Editor Day," taking place right on our Facebook Wall tomorrow, April 12.

From 10 a.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET, you can post your travel quandary on our Wall—and throughout the day our expert editors will respond with an answer.

Simply like our Facebook page and then head over to the Wall, where the Q+A party will take place. Don’t miss this chance to access T+L's expert editors—and get tips straight from the ultimate travel source! We look forward to hearing from you.

Travel Tweet-Up: Europe Travel Tips

Booking a trip to Europe? Have a ton questions that need answering? Then join us tomorrow (April 11), from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. ET, for a live “tweet-up” chat. Hosting the chat will be Travel + Leisure Senior Editor Clara Sedlak. Also joining in the conversation is a panel of travel experts, all eager to answer your burning travel questions. Our expert panelists include:

- Alexia Gobit-Abril, Manadarin Oriental, Paris: @MO_Paris
- Dan Askin + John Deiner, Cruise Critic: @CruiseCritic
- Ellen Lecompte, T+L A-List Travel Agent, with Brownell Travel: @BrownellTravel
- Geri Jacobs, Vice Chairman for the European Travel Commission: @VisitEurope

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter any time from 3-4 p.m. ET and be sure to follow the chat hosts: @TravlandLeisure and @csedlak1
2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow and participate in the Getting Great Service Tweet-Up.
3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to http://tweetchat.com/room/tl_chat
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!

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Joshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis

Owe The IRS? Bill Would Suspend Passport Rights For Delinquent Taxpayers

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A bill authored by a Southland lawmaker that could potentially allow the federal government to prevent any Americans who owe back taxes from traveling outside the U.S. is one step closer to becoming law.

Senate Bill 1813 was introduced back in November by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Los Angeles) to “reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”

After clearing the Senate on a 74 – 22 vote on March 14, SB 1813 is now headed for a vote in the House of Representatives, where it’s expected to encounter stiffer opposition among the GOP majority.

In addition to authorizing appropriations for federal transportation and infrastructure programs, the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act” or “MAP-21″ includes a provision that would allow for the “revocation or denial” of a passport for anyone with “certain unpaid taxes” or “tax delinquencies”.

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The Best New Accessories for Your Smart Phone

I’m addicted to my iPhone. There, I said it. I feel better. Now that that’s out of the way, I should also admit another addiction: I can’t get enough of cell phone accessories. It doesn’t matter if it’s something like a cool new case, or an addictive—and in many cases, mind-numbing—game that I’ve downloaded to waste time while busing back and forth between NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia, as I’m known to do. (Yes, I do consider an app a cell phone accessory, of sorts.) I just love anything that makes my already cool phone even cooler.

That being said, I want to share my latest favorite cell phone accessories:

201203-b-tripodjpgI just picked up the XSories Mini Deluxe Tripod ($29.99; xsories.com), and am in love. It works with just about any smart phone by gripping it via a spring-operated clasp and is perfect if you, like me, use your phone as your primary camera while out and about. It’s small enough that it can fit in your bag, or even a back pocket. It's super lightweight, and you can even bend the legs for even more flexibility with positioning it. Couple it with the Photo Timer app (free; iOS) and you can make sure the whole gang gets in the shot.

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Doggie Vacation: Pairing Pooches with Homestays

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MSNBC.com Travel
  |  Valerie Steiger, a life coach in Canyon Country, Calif., had a 4-month-old puppy and tickets for a 10-day trip to Thailand.

Steiger knew that Joey, a cavalier King Charles spaniel-shih tzu mix, would need more attention than what a traditional stop-by-the-house pet sitter could provide, so she went online in search of a good boarding kennel.

Instead she found DogVacay.com.

The site, which officially launched March 1 in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and soon after in other major cities, matches dog owners in need of pet-care services with people willing to host dogs in their homes for a fee. (Photo courtesy of Debra.)

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Travelocity Tops Expedia in Annual Satisfaction Survey

MSNBC.com Travel  |  Squeezed between travel providers on one side and meta-search sites on the other, it seems online travel agencies (OTAs) have one ace in the hole: Consumers still like using them.

That’s the upshot of a new American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report released on Tuesday. Focusing on Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity, the report rated overall satisfaction with the sites at 78 on a 100-point scale last year, matching the record high set the year before.

“A score of 78 is good,” said Larry Freed, CEO and president at ForeSee, which helps produce the Index. “We consider 80 the threshold for a great performing site and they’re bumping up right against it.”

While the aggregate score was unchanged, individual results showed more fluctuation. After nine years in the top spot, Expedia slipped 3 percent, from 79 points to 77, losing its crown to Travelocity, which climbed from 77 to 79.

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Travel Tweet-Up: How To Get Great Treatment

sarah spagnoloExcellent service is one of the most important parts of travel; the type of treatment you receive can make or break a trip. With that in mind, we decided to host a special service-oriented chat on Twitter, bringing in a team of experts from all corners of the travel world, to find out just what goes into making your trip extra memorable.

So join us tomorrow (February 22), from 3p.m. until 4p.m. ET; the chat will be hosted by Travel + Leisure Digital Projects Editor, Sarah Spagnolo [twitter.com/sarahspagnolo], and special guest Anna Post [twitter.com/EmilyPostInst], the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, and the co-author of the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette.

Also joining in the conversation is a panel of travel experts, all eager to answer your burning travel questions. Our expert panelists include:

- JetBlue - @JetBlue
- Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India - @OberoiGroup
- Seabourn - @SeabournCruise
- Stafford London By Kempinski - @StaffordLondon

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter any time from 3-4p.m. EST and be sure to follow the chat hosts: @TravlandLeisure, @SarahSpagnolo, & @EmilyPostInst.
2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow and participate in the Getting Great Service Tweet-Up.
3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to http://tweetchat.com/room/tl_chat
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!

2010-hs-josh-pramisjpgJoshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis

 

 

Finding Top Restaurant Deals with Bitehunter

Bitehunter inventor Gil Harel

Innovator Gil Harel

Who He Is: Though he got his start working in the marketing department of Israel’s Isrotel hotel chain and at Expedia, the 39-year-old Cornell MBA now focuses on the restaurant and bar industry with his new website, Bitehunter.

His Big Idea: The Bitehunter site and its iPhone app scour more than 500 online sources including Gilt City, OpenTable, restaurant.com, and even Twitter to locate the best deals in any given area. It’s a Kayak-style approach for dining deals, which Harel acknowledges as inspiration for his food-focused search engine: “Historically, airlines adopt cutting-edge technology first, followed by hotels, then restaurants.” And as foodie deal services such as Groupon and BlackboardEats continue to proliferate, his simple aggregator is a welcome resource.

Photo courtesy of Hila Harel

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