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Opinion: The Travel #Humblebrag

travel #humblebrag

Are you traversing the planet in high style? #Goodforyou, but T+L doesn’t want to hear it.

Anthony has checked in to the Armani Hotel Milano. The yacht that Jeremy is on has an awesome diving board, and he posted a photo to prove it. Laura and Jonathan are enjoying a romantic weekend at GoldenEye, Ian Fleming’s Jamaican villa. When one’s own passport has seen less action than a nun, catching up with friends on Facebook can lead to unkind thoughts.

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Tech Thursday: 360° Grand Canyon Panoramas Added to Google Maps

This morning on Lat/Long, the Google Maps blog, a proud product manager unveiled new eye-popping, wig-launching Grand Canyon imagery that will be added to the region in Google Maps. (The shots, taken by hikers wearing 40-lb. packs mounted with Google 360-degree cameras, cover 75 miles of trails.)

Take a stroll through some of these spectacular panoramas while solemnly humming This Land Is Your Land. Kind of beats the pants off finding your childhood home on Google Streetview, eh?


View Larger Map

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Trip Doctor: Egypt Hotel Tweets SOS

Tahir Square

Hotels have harnessed social media to their advantage in innumerable ways in recent years, usually for marketing and customer service initiatives. But the medium has even more powerful and profound applications, as evidenced by the harrowing recent example of Egypt’s Intercontinental Semiramis, located adjacent to Tahir Square in Cairo.

As demonstrations in the city have escalated in recent days, the hotel has found itself in the hot seat. Two days ago, things took a particularly frightening turn as a group of armed marauders apparently used the demonstrations as an opportunity to break into the hotel and begin looting. After its attempts to reach the police for help yielded nothing, the hotel began sending out SOS messages on Twitter—the medium of choice for Egypt’s protest movement. The hotel’s Twitter feed reflects the staff’s growing desperation; “PLEASE SEND HELP #EMERGENCY! WE ARE UNDER ATTACK!” reads one tweet from the early-morning hours of Monday. A little later: “SOS If anyone knows anyone in #Military #Police #Government, please send help! Thugs in Lobby #Emergency #Tahrir #Jan28 #Egypt”

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Recap: T+L Food Twitter Chat

Twitter chat

Recently we hosted a food-centric tweet-up, inviting some of the biggest names in the culinary industry to share their expertise, answering questions about food and, of course, travel. On our panel?

Host: Adam Sachs (@AdamSachs):

Mario Batali (@MarioBatali):
Andrew Carmellini (@AndreCarmellini):
Gabriele Corcos (@TheTuscanGun):
Mitchel Davis (@KitchenSense):
Kat Kinsman (@KittenWithAWhip):
Debi Mazar (@DebiMazar):
Nilou Motamed (@NilouMotamed):
Daniel Patterson (@DCPatterson):
Marcus Samuellson (@MarcusCooks):

Throughout the hour-long conversation, the panel shared a lot of great information. Here are some highlights:

Talk about a food experience you had while traveling that really inspired you.
Adam Sachs: Foraging for wild wasabi in Japan was up there with top food nerd fantasies.
Mario Batali: I’m a huge fan of the Borough Market in London. It’s like a movie set from the Dickens era, with spectacular food.
Mitchell Davis: I recently made my way to Willows Inn for a dinner of fresh, foraged, and local food in a gorgeous setting.
Marcus Samuellson: Tasting fugu (pufferfish) for the first time in Tokyo. Blew my mind.

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Trip Doctor: How to Avoid Hotel Wi-Fi Fees

Hotel Wi-Fi: Tether

If you’re an Android user and staying in the U.S., you’re in luck: free apps such as FoxFi let you share a mobile data connection with your laptop at no extra cost. For everyone else, Tether’s service ($29.95 per year) will connect your laptop to your mobile devices via Bluetooth or USB. If you’re traveling internationally, XCom Global rents foreign-based hot spots with unlimited usage for $14.95 a day. Not-so-frequent travelers should try Boingo Wireless, which lets you access hot spots around the world. Subscriptions start at $7.95 a month and can be activated as needed. Bonus: many of its hot spots are in hotels.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo courtesy of Tether

Do You Need a Chip & PIN Card?

chip and pin card

Q: What’s a Chip & PIN card, and do I need one if I’m going to Europe?

A: For the past decade, Europe has been moving away from the swipe-and-sign credit cards that we use domestically and toward those employing a Chip & PIN system (also called EMV). These cards protect users from fraud by asking them, with each purchase, to confirm a numeric code that’s stored in the card’s data chip. But although Chip & PIN is now the primary payment method in much of Europe, you can still get by with your American plastic—just as long as you can find an attendant to process the transaction. Even so, it’s best to prepare for the rare occasion when nobody is available. If you don’t already use one, call your bank to establish a four-digit PIN, which will make any card compatible with EMV machines. And while some travelers may feel it’s more hassle than help, you may buy a Chip & PIN Cash Passport from Travelex which allows you to preload euros or British pounds on to a universally accepted card (leftover cash can be transferred back into your bank account).

Amy Send your dilemmas to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @afarles on Twitter.

Photo by Forbes Stuart / Alamy

CES Download: Best New Travel Gadgets for 2013

Best New Travel Gadgets for 2013: Sony Xperia Z

Over 3,000 exhibitors and 1.85 million square feet of eye-popping innovations later, annual gadget industry gala the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has finally wrapped in Las Vegas, leaving frequent travelers surprised in more ways than one.

An evolutionary, not revolutionary, year for technology, key revelations nonetheless spanned the entire spectrum, including the weird (hooray, Internet-enabled forks), wild (see: self-driving cars), and wacky (enter the robotic spider walkers). Happily, a few—i.e. smartphones and tablets with PC-grade power, Android-powered cameras, and remote home security system—may even make sense to the lay viewer. Big trends in 2013: Smart—a.k.a. online-enabled—everything, mass interconnectivity between gizmos, and growing set-top performance from pocket-sized devices, courtesy of performance-obsessed chipmakers like AMD and Qualcomm.

Related: Best Travel Gadgets

Too busy sprinting between connections to enjoy scene-stealers including 110-inch 4K or OLED (read: ultra-crisp, high-def) televisions and table-sized touchscreens, however? No sweat. Try one of these pocket rockets—among the year's top travel gadgets, and each destined to find a welcome home inside any purse or carry-on—instead. So what if they lack the sheer stopping power of living picture windows the size of billboards? All are infinitely easier to cram in an overhead bin, and infinitely more practical in-flight companion.

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Robert Doisneau, Paris les Halles Free iPad App

Doisneau, Paris les Halles

More than 110,000 visitors attended the Spring 2012 exhibition "Doisneau, Paris les Halles," a collection of photographs that portray the city’s demolished wholesale food market at the Hotel de Ville. The exhibition was timely: the old structures are being torn down. But if you missed the show—or were discouraged by the lines and the weather—it’s not too late to capture an enhanced digital experience. Now, you can download the free iPad application, which includes photographs, interviews, and special reports.

Paris-based Tina Isaac is a contributor to TravelandLeisure.com.

Photo courtesy of Doisneau Paris les Halles

This Week in Social Travel News: 12/21/12

facebook-instagrampng

In celebration of the world not ending today*, I decided to start a new blog series highlighting the top social media travel news of the week, for anyone that may have missed the headlines. In the news big this week? Privacy policies.

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Lomography's New Camera

Lomography camera

Long before Hipstamatic and Instagram, the cool kids used Lomography cameras to take nostalgia-inducing photos on film. Now the Austrian company has a Maps Edition series with cartographic motifs: the Diana F+ (pictured) and Diana Mini for dreamy, 70’s-style pics; the Fisheye for distorted images; and the wide-angle La Sardina, which produces saturated colors. Bonus: they won’t drain your iPhone battery. From $99.

Photo courtesy of Lomography

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