Dreading the seemingly inevitable headache that tends to go hand-in-hand with traveling around the holidays, particularly Thanksgiving? While crowded airports, congested highways, and cranky little ones may not be completely avoidable, there are some tricks that can make the whole order a little less painful.
To help you plan your travels this Thanksgiving, we're hosting a live Twitter chat on Thursday, 11/17, from 3p.m. until 4p.m. EST, along with Travel + Leisure International Editor Mark Orwoll.
Also joining us is a panel of travel experts, all eager to answer your burning holiday travel questions. Our expert panelists include:
Who He Is: The 31-year-old rock-climbing enthusiast and Stanford University computer science Ph.D. is a pioneer in light field photography, a process that captures all the light information in a camera’s field of view (every angle, color, etc.), allowing for pictures that can be manipulated, then edited in extraordinary ways.
His Big Idea: Light field photography usually requires upward of 100 digicams, but Ng managed to capture the technology into the pocket-size Lytro camera(on sale by the end of 2011) that offers two revolutionary features: lightning-fast picture-taking (even in low light) and the ability to focus pictures after you take them, so later you can decide: Do you want those distant mountains as your subject? Or that nearby flower? “It’s camera 3.0,” Ng says.
Yesterday, the world lost a true visionary. At the age of just 56, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and innovator of some of the most groundbreaking technologies of our time, died after a long bout with pancreatic cancer. His amazing creations changed the way we all live our day-to-day lives.
Who He Is: Not since Richard Branson has Britain seen an entrepreneur as iconoclastic as Woodroffe. He designed rock shows for Stevie Wonder and Rod Stewart, launched the chain of conveyor-belt YO! Sushi restaurants, and then created Yotel in 2007, which blends the self-service of Japanese pod hotels (touch-screen check-in kiosks; motorized retractable beds) with a stylish, airplane-cabin vibe.
His Big Idea: Woodroffe’s newest outpost, Yotel Times Square(doubles from $259), in New York City, is a living demonstration of convenience through technology. The hotel features the world’s first luggage robot, a cranelike contraption that retrieves bags and stores them in a sleek white wall of drawers in the lobby. At its restaurant, Dohyo, the tables can be lowered into the floor, opening up the space for performances. Guest “cabins” all have Yotel’s trademark “techno-wall,” with flat-screen TV’s, music and power services, and device-storage areas.
For anyone that knows who Adam Richman—of Travel Channel’s Man v. Foodand Man v. Food Nation fame—is, his name likely conjures up images of the insanely over-the-top extreme food challenges that always top off his show. As a big fan of the show, I’ve watched him sweat his way through the spiciest of hot wings; dive into a 7 lb. breakfast burrito; and even worse, have at a 12 lb. hamburger. Each time, my mouth watered while simultaneously my stomach (and heart) hurt at even just the mere thought of taking on any of these challenges.
Being such a fan of the show, when I had the opportunity to speak with Adam about his new partnership with a social travel-sharing endeavor called Memory Mapper, I jumped at the opportunity to be able to pick his brain, even if just briefly. Memory Mapper is a Facebook app that easily let’s you take your travel photos and videos to create a slideshow of sorts; but the cool part about it is that it connects with Google Earth so people watching also feel like they’re being taken there with you.
The Dutch government yesterday began circulating a commemorative coin that features a scannable QR code on one side and a 3D portrait of Queen Beatrix on the other. Scanning the QR code, one of those black-and-white squares that resemble Space Invaders, brings you to the website of the Royal Dutch Mint for a helter-skelter video tour of the building. The coins, available in silver-tone €5 and gold-tone €10 denominations, were minted in a limited run to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Mint building.
Whenever I head out of town, I turn to my small but trusty band of Twitter followers for recommendations in my destination, but I really discovered the power of social media during my visit to San Francisco last month. As has become the norm for me now before any of my trips, in the days leading up to my departure I hashtagged away to glory and beseeched strangers and friends alike for tips.
Soon an itinerary was taking shape (many thanks, @PaperDaydream, @JasleenK, @streetno8, @BeautyNDFeast, @LettuceVeg, and @chiratsu!), incorporating classic landmarks like Lombard Street with restaurants and neighborhoods I never would have found in my guidebook. One place that kept making its way onto my Twitter timeline was a sandwich shop called Ike’s Place (3489 16th St.) on the fringes of the colorful, mural-bedecked Mission District. It generated so much buzz in response to my queries that the first thing I did was plug the address into my GPS to make it my starting point.
Before formulating the plan, Sterne led a comprehensive 90-day review of the city’s current use of web, social media and mobile technology, and surveyed thousands of public and private sector organizations, and residential users in New York to understand what was missing, and what’s working well so far.
In light of her findings, and according to a public statement from her office, New York City has committed to: READ MORE
Thanks to the rise of social networking, smartphones, and faster Internet speeds, it’s never been easier to immerse yourself in a new language without even leaving home.
The best-known method is Rosetta Stone, the interactive, total-immersion-style program that uses intuitive flash-card-like video games to teach students in the same way a child might learn a language. In other words: no boring grammar lectures or lessons. The service’s Totale Version 4 program ($249; rosettastone.com) offers interactive, voice-recognition-enabled lessons in any of 24 languages on CD, online, or via an app for iPhone, as well as through live online sessions with a native speaker. For the more scholarly minded, Livemocha’s Active classes($99–$399 per year; livemocha.com) for French, Italian, Spanish, and German deliver a mix of text-based grammar and usage lessons and repeat-after-me-style exercises that use voice recognition to test pronunciation. Learners also interact with teachers and native speakers online, both in live video sessions and via e-mail and recorded voice messages.