International roaming as we know it is on the verge of becoming obsolete: the EU has proposed a single network for all European countries, T-Mobile no longer charges customers when surf the web abroad, and apps like Ringo help you tap onto local networks to circumvent pricey roaming packages and overages. Now, Apple is also getting in on the act with Apple SIM, a proprietary SIM card built into the new iPad Air 2.
Last year, Starwood unveiled plans to swap plastic keycards for Bluetooth technology—enabling guests to unlock their hotel rooms with a simple wave of their smartphone. We predicted it would be one of the biggest travel trends for 2014, and indeed, Hilton Worldwide and Caesars have since announced plans to bring the technology to their hotels as soon as this winter. But this week, Starwood is back in the spotlight as they pull back the curtain on how mobile entry works—and introduce it to ten properties in the Aloft, W, and Element portfolios.
Combine old-fashioned customer service with a novel use of technology, and you get Double Robot. Indianapolis Airport recently rolled out its newest employee to complement guest services and assist in answering passengers' questions—airport transportation, gate locations, direction, more. An airport agent visibly appears and communicates with passengers through a tablet screen, propped up on a roller dressed in a blue customer service shirt similar to other employees. Cute, convenient, or creepy?
Nicoletta Richardson is a freelance editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure
It’s been a full fifteen years since Westin introduced the Heavenly bed—an icon so popular it’s since been adopted by Delta and sold to consumers worldwide. To mark the occasion, the brand is now introducing a sleep sensor lending program in collaboration with wearables company Lark Technologies—the latest in a series of wellness-related innovations by the Starwood brand.
If you were one of the thousands who lined up for a shiny new iPhone 6 last month, get ready to queue up again: Apple is back at it with next-gen iPads that are bound to become instant travel tech classics. Here’s everything you need to know about today’s big news.
Ten-plus years after Skype was first made available for download, the ubiquitous app is gaining a sibling—Qik, Microsoft’s first foray into video messaging. Available now for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, the free, stand-alone app allows users to send short video messages, up to 40 seconds in length, to anyone in your phone book with the tap of a button. Cheeky name aside, it’s a great solution for travelers—the videos are shared almost instantly, cutting out traditionally long relay times, and don’t use up precious phone storage space.
Calling all adventure travelers: GoPro has launched an update to its cultishly beloved action cameras, just in time for the upcoming ski season. The new flagship? The Hero4 Black($499, available now), which doubles the performance of its year-old predecessor and adds 4K shooting capabilities, auto low light modes, an ultra wide-angle lens that offers the “most immersive field of view available,” and twice the dynamic range for audio quality. Also fun: time lapse, manual controls for ISO limits and exposure, and a Quick Capture mode that let you start recording with the push of one button. The physical shape and size will feel familiar—and thankfully, old mounts will still be compatible with new models.
Today Marriott Hotels launches a brand-new, knock-your-socks-off travel experience that allows you to immerse yourself in a virtual-reality version of London and Hawaii, complete with motion, sounds, and even sprays of water for a “4-D” experience that makes typical virtual reality pale in comparison. The Teleporter, as the experience has been tagged, is being rolled out to the public starting today and over the next eight weeks at select Marriotts nationwide (see the full schedule here). Why should you care? Read on...