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Best New Outdoor Adventure Apps

Best New Outdoor Adventure Apps

These mobile tools—each vetted by T+L tech correspondent Tom Samiljan—will help you get closer to nature without cutting the (phone) cord. Pick your adventure alter-ego and find out which app is the best for you.

Stargazer: Pocket Universe

Zoom in on a planet (or star) for extra details.

This stargazing app sees the sky through your camera and instantly annotates the applicable constellations. Location-specific animations tell you when you might see certain stars based on where you are anywhere in the world. The best part: this pocket astronomer works seamlessly without data roaming. $2.99, iOS.

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iPhoneography: Tips and Tricks for iPhone 5s

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After carrying the iPhone 5s in my pocket for the past month I can say my favorite upgrades are all in its camera.

 ƒ/2.2 Aperture: Lets in twice as much light compared to the ƒ/2.4 aperture in previous iPhones.

True Tone Flash: Evens out skin-tones in flash photography making subjects less washed out.

Burst Mode: Continuosly captures 10 images per second. The coolest part about this feature is that it auto-suggests the sharpest image and can even detect when someone's eyes are closed!

If you want to do more than just crop or auto-enhance the image, VSCOcam and iPhoto are my go-to apps for fine-tuning.

Bottom line, the new iPhone 5s with its upgraded camera makes it harder and harder to justify lugging a big digital SLR on the road. Any traveling photog will be surprised and delighted.

Check out other fun iPhoneography apps on Carry On here.

Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Apple

HotelTonight Now Allows Booking Before Noon

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The ultimate tool for travel procrastinators has just become a little more democratic. HotelTonight, the pioneer of same-day mobile bookings, has long made their last minute deals available starting at noon on the day of check-in, but now, users will be able to book a full three hours earlier, at 9AM. Given the ever-growing number of competitors that offer same-day deals before noon, we’re not surprised at the news—though it’s a welcome change nonetheless. Especially if it means getting your room settled before boarding that 10AM flight.

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

Photo courtesy of HotelTonight

Best New Walking Tour Apps

Walking Apps

Love exploring cities on your own two feet? These mobile services—each vetted by T+L—put the guide right in your pocket, giving you local expertise wherever you go.

For Spontaneous Adventures: Field Trip
This Google-designed app uses your phone’s location services to pick up on what’s cool around you nearly anywhere in the world. (Use the app’s “Feeling Lucky” setting to minimize data-roaming charges.) Wander the streets of Bangkok, for example, and you’ll get notifications about great restaurants, shops, historic sites, and even special deals nearby—each tip pulls information from resources such as Zagat and the American Institute of Architects. Exploring by car? Set the app on “speaking” mode for a hands-free experience. Free; Android, iOS.

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Can We Stop for a Snack Now? Melbourne Offers “Remote Control Tourists”

Google Maps gives travelers a birds-eye or street view of a location—but now, one tourist board Down Under is offering a live, hipster's-eye view of its city, as a way to entice travelers to plan a trip.

Tourism Victoria last month launched a “go before you go” promotion as part of its Play Melbourne campaign, inviting Facebook or Twitter users to virtually explore the city using “remote control tourists.” You could tell these virtual travelers where to go and what to do around the city, whether that's trying on a sweater in a boutique or checking out a live band.

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Avis: First Car Rental Company Available on Google Wallet

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Avis Car Rental is keeping up its tech-y track record with the integration of Avis Preferred, its express rental service, with Google Wallet—making them the first company in the car rental industry to join Google’s new app. Wallet’s application allows users on Android and iPhone devices to send money, pay for online purchases, and store loyalty program info all in a 24/7 fraud-monitored location. As of today, travelers can enroll in Avis Preferred through the app and have their new Avis Wizard number appear automatically, while existing members can save their Wizard number in the app. Users will then receive offers from Avis directly through Google Wallet, expediting the car rental process—especially convenient for travelers on a tight schedule.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo credit: Newscast / Alamy

Delta Gives Away First-Class Flight Tickets for Staying Powered ON #below10kfeet

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It was just last week that the days of hearing “Please turn off all your electronic devices” on the loudspeaker before flight takeoffs and landings came to an end.

Of course, as with any big change, there has to be a trending hashtag and contest, right?

Delta has rolled out its first contest to award photos taken below 10,000 feet, appropriately using the hashtag: #below10kfeet. They’re encouraging flyers to “take that picture you’ve always wanted during takeoff and submit using Wi-Fi once enabled.” They’ll be putting two First-Class tickets to anywhere in the U.S. up as a prize for the best low-altitude photo taken on a domestic Delta flight.

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JetBlue Celebrates First Flight to Allow Gate-to-Gate Use of Portable Electronic Devices

A few weeks ago, I was scolded by a flight attendant for switching my iPhone into airplane mode instead of powering off. This week, however, we are living in a world where portable electronic devices can be kept on from take off to touch down. JetBlue celebrated its first PED-approved flight on Friday, allowing gate-to-gate usage from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Buffalo Niagara Airport. The video above captures this moment of joy in air travel history. With both JetBlue and Delta's approval of the policy, we can only imagine that more airlines will follow suit and adopt this tech-friendly stance.

Maria Pedone
Maria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Free Global Roaming Announced with T-Mobile

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Today, T-Mobile announced a groundbreaking international roaming plan that squarely puts the carrier in the running for most travel friendly—a prize we’ve historically handed over to either Verizon or AT&T. What’s the fuss all about? All members of the carrier’s Simple Choice plans will automatically receive unlimited data and texting in more than 100 countries around the globe—and phone calls will be charged at a flat rate of 20 cents per minute from any of those countries. Another plus: there won’t be any activation or monthly fees for the service. Said CEO John Legere at T-Mobile’s launch event this morning, “Today’s phones are designed to work around the world, but we’re forced to pay insanely inflated international connectivity fees to actually use them. You can’t leave the country without coming home to bill shock. So we’re making the world your network—at no extra cost.” That’s logic we can all get behind.

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

Photo credit: iStockphoto

DogVacay App Gives Pet Parents a Break

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Tech-savvy pet parents now have a way to discover dog sitters wherever they’re traveling. DogVacay.com has launched their first mobile app (available for iOS) that uses location services to find vetted and insured home boarding, pet sitting, and doggie daycare centers around you. The app functions like a cross between HotelTonight (last-minute booking) and Yelp (user reviews) for your pup, with the ability to schedule meet-and-greets and make reservations with potential pet hosts. Rates claim to start at $15/night, but be weary of your location—services in Midtown Manhattan, for example, range from $35 to $80/night.

Our favorite feature? The doggie pics. Pet hosts can set reminders to send you photo updates of your pet having a ball (or fetching one) directly through the app. So even on your night off, you can have some Instagram-worthy shots of Fluffy to take home.

Maria PedoneMaria Pedone is on the digital team at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.

Photo courtesy of DogVacay

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