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Battle of the Smart-Phone Keyboards

smart-phone keyboard

Whether you’re dashing off a quick text before the airplane door closes or typing a business report on the go, the accuracy and comfort of your smart-phone keyboard are important. Contrary to popular belief, touch screens haven’t entirely taken over. New BlackBerry-style handsets with physical keyboards are still coming out at a consistent clip, while innovative on-screen keyboard technologies such as the Android-compatible Swype, which allows you to drag your finger across the “keys,” connect-the-dots-style, are supplying revolutionary ways to make touch screens more accurate and simpler to use.

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How to Book Airline Award Tickets

Frequent-flier miles have gotten a bad reputation: easy to earn, hard to burn. But the truth is, finding an award seat actually got a little less difficult this year, according to a study by consulting agency IdeaWorks, which did trial runs on 24 frequent-flier programs worldwide by attempting to book award tickets on each for travel between June and October 2011. In the programs tested, availability rose to 68.6 percent, up from 66.1 in 2010. But your chances of snagging a free seat depend on which program you’re using. Low-fare airlines around the world scored best. Among the U.S. carriers, Southwest is the easiest to book on, with a 99.3 percent availability rate.

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Heathrow’s Personal Transit Pods

Passport Blog - BBC Travel |  This week, Heathrow Airport introduced a new form of transport that will look familiar to fans of mid-century science fiction: emission-free, battery operated personal transit pods.

Instead of waiting for an airport shuttle, Heathrow passengers can hop in one of the pods that arrive every 34 seconds and travel along tracks between the terminals and car parks.

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Gogobot Launches iPhone App



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At T+L, we’ve long been covering the travel app space, and admittedly take a special shine to products that make our trips (and yours!) a little easier—and more fun.

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Enter Gogobot’s spanking-new mobile app for the iPhone. Out today, the free iOS app replicates the Gogobot experience, a social travel network that seamlessly integrates with Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter allowing friends to share travel advice and information on the go. Layer on easy access to personalized trip plans created on Gogobot.com, a GPS-enabled “what’s nearby” geo-search feature for restaurants, bars, shops, etc., plus nifty digital postcard capabilities, and you have a pretty powerful travel resource in the palm of your hands.

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New Book: Etiquette Tips for Today's Travelers

Emily
Post's Etiquette, 18th Edition

If you’re sentenced to the middle seat on an airplane, are you entitled to both armrests? For this answer (along with answers to a range of etiquette quandaries) consider Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, by Peggy Post, Anna Post, Lizzie Post, and Daniel Post Senning. In this revamped 736-page volume, which is on-sale today, the authority on American manners tackles a range of issues—from tweeting and texting to online dating and adventure traveling.

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T+L's Photography Tips

Travel + Leisure photo editor Whitney Lawson evaluates five snapshots from finalists of our monthly photo contest and explains why they work.

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This shot of Prague is set apart by its aerial perspective, which makes the people and buildings look almost like toys. Most European cities have churches or clock towers that you can climb for a couple of euros—it’s the easiest way to capture the streets below from a unique vantage point.

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Proposed Airline Ticket Tax Bump Has Tempers Soaring

USA Today |  President Obama is asking passengers to pay a few dollars more in taxes for an airline ticket — which already is about 20% taxes and fees. And the travel industry is in an uproar about it.

Big airlines say people would buy fewer tickets if Congress approves the president's proposal to help cut the deficit and pay for the nation's aviation system.

Regional airlines, which carry more than half of domestic fliers each day, say it could force them to pull out of small cities.

Small-city airports worry about that.

And some travelers and consumer groups say it's just unfair to ask passengers to pay more on top of the taxes and fees that government and airports already charge.

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CBS Early Show: Hidden Hotel Fees

Did you know some hotels are now charging for early check-ins? International editor Mark Orwoll shares the latest hidden hotel fees—what to ask, and how to avoid them.

Great Social Travel Websites

Great Travel Social Websites

What’s the best hotel in Aspen? According to Web entrepreneur Travis Katz, it all depends on who you are: a Goldman Sachs banker might want the luxury and cosseting service of the Little Nell, while a 20-year-old yoga instructor on a budget might opt for the more-bang-for-your-buck Limelight Lodge. Earlier this year, Katz, a former MySpace executive, officially launched gogobot.com, a sort of Facebook for travelers that lets you exchange tailored hotel, restaurant, and other destination recommendations with like-minded friends on the site and through other social networks. Gogobot, which creates stylish destination scrapbooks for users by drawing from their manually submitted reviews and FourSquare and Facebook check-ins, is based on the premise that travelers trust their friends’ recommendations over those of guidebooks or online user-generated review sites like TripAdvisor.

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Editor Find: Loeffler Randall's Rain Booties

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Until recently, rainy days on vacations seemed unbearable. Packing rain boots is never easy; not only do they weigh down the suitcase, they take up half of the limited space!

But, Loeffler Randall has brightened my rainy days and made my vacations easier. I don't have to worry about the bulky boots anymore with their sleek designs. These rain booties are so light and comfortable you might even find yourself wearing them on dry days. Jessie Randall, founder and creative director, explains how her designs are so easy to wear: "These boots are great for being out on a rainy day and getting a lot of work done. I can push a stroller, grab groceries, take the dog out for a quick walk in them."

Today Loeffler Randall launches their latest season of rain boots and booties, which will add a new silhouette and colors to their existing line. With prices ranging from $150-$195, the only thing you will have to stress over will be determining which style is most appropriate for your lifestyle. Try on a pair at your local Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue or, if you're confident in your size you can purchase a pair through their website today.

Jessie Bandy is the assistant fashion editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Loeffler Randall

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