At T+L, we’ve long been covering the travel app space, and admittedly take a special shine to products that make our trips (and yours!) a little easier—and more fun.
Enter Gogobot’s spanking-new mobile app for the iPhone. Out today, the free iOS app replicates the Gogobot experience, a social travel network that seamlessly integrates with Facebook, Foursquare, and Twitter allowing friends to share travel advice and information on the go. Layer on easy access to personalized trip plans created on Gogobot.com, a GPS-enabled “what’s nearby” geo-search feature for restaurants, bars, shops, etc., plus nifty digital postcard capabilities, and you have a pretty powerful travel resource in the palm of your hands.
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.
Do you have iPad envy? Book your next trip at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and you can pretend like you own one during your stay. Each of its 285 rooms and suites will be stocked with iPad2s for guests to use throughout their stay starting October 3.
Each iPad comes with an innovative program called ICE (Interactive Customer Experience™) from Intelity that will make you feel like you're staying at the Jetson's. How does it work? Instead of picking up the phone to order room service, just press a few buttons and food arrives at your door. You can also make restaurant reservations, request valet parking, airport transportation, spa treatments, and housekeeping. So far, the Four Seasons LA is only hotel on the West Coast and the first Four Seasons property to offer this cool and convenient amenity.
Lyndsey Matthews in an online editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
Amazon today announced some big news in the world of portable devices, with the release of three new, crazy affordable products that are expected to really shake things up in the marketplace.
Amazon Kindle Fire Finally, Amazon enters into the über competitive world of tablets. And from what I can tell, they did it well and will be a force to be reckoned with. While the Fire doesn’t have all the assets you’ll get with an iPad and other tablets—there’s no camera, mic, and it’s not 3G/4G-compatible—it is the perfect (and affordable) happy medium for folks who want a mobile, web-ready device, but really have no use for all the fancy bells and whistles that come with other tablets. Initial public testing shows that it’s lightning-fast, visually crisp (the pixels-per-inch ratio actually exceeds the iPad, meaning the display is noticeably better), and at just 14.6 ounces, it’s super lightweight. Oh, and did I mention? It might only have 8GB storage, but it utilizes Amazon’s amazingly efficient cloud technology, which means there’s no need for files to be downloaded onto the tablet in order for you to access them. And the best part? The Fire will be introduced to the market at the astoundingly low cost of just $199.
Bringing social media to the skiing experience is just one of the ways Vail Resorts has stayed ahead of the curve. And they did it in dramatic fashion, with EpicMix, their app that tracks vertical feet and awards digital pins based on RF-enabled ski passes. Up to now, though, the all-important photography aspect has been missing from EpicMix. No longer.
Sure, you can snap smartphone pics, upload them to your account, and share them on Facebook and Twitter. But Vail Resorts has given the photo experience a couple unique twists.
New websites and apps offer previously unavailable insight about hotels. Check out these great new resources:
Hipmunk Hotels: Bringing its innovative airfare comparison technology to hotels and AirBnB rentals, the Hipmunk website and app maps out rooms and color-codes them according to their value relative to local rates. You can also filter properties by proximity to nightlife, food, shopping, and even “vice.”
Concierge Insider Guides: The new app from InterContinental Hotels delivers worldwide destination guides (complete with interactive maps and video tours) from the ultimate hotel insiders: the company’s 120 concierges.
Oyster.com: This site sends out an army of professional reviewers to critique and photograph thousands of properties around the world. Especially revealing is the “photo fakeouts” section, which juxtaposes misleading hotel promotional images with real-life Oyster shots.
Who She Is: Splitting her time between New York and London, with an Italian passport to boot, Pavia Rosati—who was the executive editor of DailyCandy for nearly a decade—has always been a go-to person for travel tips. “I once planned a honeymoon in Greece for my intern’s brother’s best friend’s cousin, whom I never even met!” she says—fodder for her recent venture.
Her Big Idea: The new website Fathom compiles vintage-style e-postcards—complete with personalized snapshots—from celebrities, trendsetters, and regular folk in the know. The result is a lively, opinionated travel blog with a fun, retro feel. “We’re all for edited, user-generated content,” Rosati says. Up next? A mobile app with guides for everywhere from Buenos Aires to Beirut, plus an online boutique that’s meant to be “a one-stop shop for all your travel needs.”
When it comes to the environment, technology can be a double-edged sword. New devices use up energy and precious resources, but they also offer exciting ways to travel green. These days, the best are doing this while also lightening their footprints. Take the Android-powered Samsung Replenish smartphone ($50), made from recycled plastic and without many of the toxic chemicals found in other phones. It is loaded with a bundle of eco-friendly apps (Treehugger; National Audubon Society) and can be powered using a solar battery charger. Music lovers, meanwhile, can take comfort in knowing that the new Etón Soulra XL($300) iPod dock, which is designed to resemble an old-school boom box, not only charges while it plays but lasts up to five hours on a single solar charge—perfect for the beach. Unfortunately, most travel-size solar chargers are still not strong enough to power your laptop. In the meantime, though, there’s the Energy Star–rated IDAPT i1 Eco($24.99). Constructed of recycled materials, it lets you charge nearly any device on the go. The green edge: when a gadget is fully powered, the IDAPT turns itself off—conserving essential electricity.
Seventy-nine billionaires now live in Moscow—more than in any other city—and it’s easy to see how they get around. Mercedes, Bentley, Maserati, and other luxury brands clog the roads. As for the millions of other Muscovites, they can flag down any enterprising driver for a ride. Locals make extra rubles by offering impromptu cab services at rates negotiated on the spot. And then there are the vans known as matrushkas that swerve through traffic, picking up passengers and dropping them at requested stops.