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Robot Parks Cars for Travelers at German Airport

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Leave it to the efficient Germans: Düsseldorf Airport now uses a robot to park cars, rather than have travelers search for a spot on their own.

Ray, as the new robot is called, picks up vehicles from six drop-off "transfer boxes" near the terminal before leaving the cars in one of 249 parking spots available through the program—the first of its kind in the world.

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British Airways Tests ‘Happiness Blanket’ to Measure In-Flight Relaxation

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British Airways knows the importance of a “good flight’s sleep,” which is why they began testing its ‘Happiness Blanket’ on passengers last week. Volunteers on board the BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York were among the first to try out the hi-tech throw woven with neurosensors and fiber optics to monitor a user’s relaxation patterns.

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PhoCusWright Travel Innovators Going Strong

201311-hd-phocus-wrightjpgWhen is eight months an eternity? When you’re talking about the world of digital travel. New technologies are launched and companies are born—while others go bust. Since eight months have passed since last November’s PhoCusWright Conference, I wanted to check in with some of my favorite companies from the conference’s Innovation Summit, which showcases the next generation of cutting-edge travel companies. So I rang up the companies’ brass, and here’s what I learned. 

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Why Google's Acquisition of Songza Is Great News for Travelers

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There’s been an overwhelming amount of news following the Google I/O conference last week, but one of the things we’re most excited about is the search giant’s big acquisition of music service Songza. Why? Unlike Pandora or Spotify, Songza ditches the algorithm-based method of suggesting tunes that riff on your existing preferences. Instead, it learns about your circumstantial preferences—where you are, what the weather is like, and so on—to offer up beats that fit for the time and place. And if that sounds interesting for travelers, you’d be right: Songza has a music conciergethat helps you explore the world through regional music. (Ireland? Italy? Brazil? They’re all there.)

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Q+A: Keith Cox Explains How Vacatia Is the StubHub of Timeshares

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Travel + Leisure has long celebrated hotels as the go-to choice for travel accommodations, and in recent years we've covered the explosion of the vacation rental market, from villas to Airbandb.com. Time shares were not often part of the conversation. Their merits as a good investment were questionable—limitations on use and impossible to resell. Enter Vacatia.com. With a special focus on the family market, this online marketplace for timeshares is changing things for the better. We caught up with Keith Cox, Vacatia.com's CEO:

Q: How is Vacatia.com disrupting travel?
A: 
Vacatia is creating a new online sales and marketing channel for the timeshare and fractional ownership industry, a $10B a year market segment of travel that is still selling almost exclusively offline using the same sales strategies that have been used for decades.  In particular, with the recent launch of Vacatia.com, we are bringing transparency and liquidity to the secondary, resale market serving the 8.2MM American families who own timeshare. 

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10 Unbelievable Tours You Can Take Using Google Street View

201406-hd-thrillist-google-streetview-toursjpgYou need a vacation, but all you can afford is an Internet connection. And you don't live in Buffalo, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh, three of America's top staycation destinations. Well relax, we’ve got you covered. Kick your feet up, crack open a cold Summer beer, and stretch out your index finger – Google Street View (GSV) is about to take you on a 360-degree adventure to some the world's most exotic destinations.

SEE MORE AT THRILLIST

Daily Transporter: The World Cup Wired

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Need to know where your FIFA World Cup seats are in relation to the nearest caipirinha vendor? Take a virtual tour of the twelve stadiums hosting this month’s soccer extravaganza thanks to Google Street View. Google has also beefed up its transit coverage in Brazil to help fans find the easiest routes to the goal.

See the World Cup in 25 Selfies You Have to Take This Year

Editor’s Picks: Brazil
Best Places to Travel This Year
Beautiful Beaches to Visit in 2014
World’s Coolest Tourist Attractions

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo: Robert Whitman

Bottle Service in Las Vegas Can Arrive Via Drone

Drones: they're used by the military, even to walk your dog. Now The Cosmopolitan, in Las Vegas, has taken the drone trend to entirely new heights—it'll deliver your drinks. This is bottle service worth writing home about.

How To Get a Free Camera (Or Running Shoes) Tomorrow

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If you own a DSLR and are in New York City, you may be eligible for a free camera upgrade. Tomorrow, Samsung is hosting #DITCHtheDSLR Day, a pop-up event dedicated to their lineup of mirrorless models--and why they're just as powerful as their bulkier counterparts. Head to Times Square between noon and 6pm to take their top-of-the-line NX30 SMART Camera for a spin (with the help of professional photographers, there to take you on photo walks and offer their best shooting tips). If you like what you see, you can trade in your old DSLR and get an NX30--for free. (That's a $999 camera, for those of you keeping track.) But get there early and bring any kit lenses or batteries that came with your dinosaur, as only a limited quantity will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Google's Self-Driving Car Makes The Road Trip of Tomorrow

201405-hd-google-self-driving-carjpgSomewhere in Google’s hometown in Mountain View, California, there is a car navigating the suburban streets without a driver. 

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