You 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.
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
Photo: Robert Whitman
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.
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.
Somewhere in Google’s hometown in Mountain View, California, there is a car navigating the suburban streets without a driver.
Yesterday Foursquare pushed its new app, Swarm, to the iTunes and Google Play stores, revealing to the world what it had been teasing for weeks: a tool to help you connect with friends globally, in a way that’s more socially-driven than the Foursquare we’ve long known and loved. Swarm differs from Foursquare by focusing on interactions, and not solitary check-ins or points, which were hardly being used in the competitive, socially-charged way that had once been intended.
Social media engagement has become increasingly valuable to hotel brands and travel companies—look no further than our own SMITTY Award winners—but today, Marriott is becoming the first company to place a real dollar value on customers’ tweets, check-ins, and likes. With PlusPoints, a new feature of the brand’s much loved rewards program, visitors who download the Marriott Rewards app and synch their social media accounts will now see their points balances increase with every digital interaction—up to 2,000 points each month. Says Rich Toohey, VP of Marriott Rewards, “It’s a way to provide immediate gratification for our members, who happy to be very active on social media channels.” Immediate is right: most interactions (geo-tagged Instagram pics; Facebook comments; check-ins and tweets) will yield an automatic deposited of 25 points to your Marriott Rewards account, while one-time activities, such as liking a property page on Facebook, will boost your balance by 250 points.
Pop up notifications about your flight status. Instant visual translations. Directions to your hotel within seconds of your asking. Google Glass has been targeting travelers for months, with an arsenal of tools that intend to get you looking away from your smart phone and around at world. Today, the company is making a bigger push than ever into the travel space, with the release of three new apps that any jetsetter will no doubt recognize—TripIt, Foursquare, and OpenTable—plus a smart re-release of the exploration tool, Field Trip, which now lets you ask for sightseeing suggestions based on its eclectic catalogue of local sites and venues.
Cameras mounted on unmanned drones have found a place in nature photographer’s arsenal (case in point: this breathtaking GoPro video taken at Arches NP in Moab) but as of last week, the National Park Service has banned the use of drones inside vast Yosemite, saying that they disrupt both peace and emergency services.
See Yosemite in World’s Scariest Hikes
Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest
The Travel + Leisure weekly news round-up includes the latest airline to introduce new add-on fees, Google’s update on self-driving cars, a possible bikini ban in Mallorca, and some of the best places to celebrate Bike Month.