Technology - Mobile
Given the rate of their output, if Le Fooding, the indispensable French restaurant guide, has been taking long French-style vacations, well, they’re obviously burning the midnight oil during the rest of the year. Since launching in 2000 as an insert, the annual publication has rolled out traveling food festivals and star chef pop-ups, which have steadily picked up steam, especially in the past three years.
Dating apps like Tinder are meant to be fun, addictive, and packed with discovery—so why hasn’t anyone adapted the model for social purposes outside the love nest? That’s what the developers of Superb wondered before launching their new app, officially available for iOS this week (Android's on the way). The app uses the same swipe motions as Tinder—swipe right to save something for future reference, swipe left to discard it, and keep swiping as information automatically populates your screen—but for places and things rather than people. Set it to your hometown—or any city you’re visiting—and input your categorical preferences (Arts & Culture; Food & Drink; Shops) to get a practically never-ending stream of ideas. Save the ones you like to a bucket list, scrap the ones that don’t pique your interest, and keep going (it really is hard to stop) until your itinerary takes full form.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Photo courtesy of Superb
Weary of the unpredictability that comes with a last-minute vacation booking? You’re not alone. But HotelTonight, the always pioneering app for travel procrastinators, is coming to the rescue with a new feature called Look Ahead, intended to facilitate so-called “planned spontaneity.”
Debuting in a handful of the app’s major cities—New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and half a dozen others, with many more rolling out soon—the feature will offer a seven-day estimate of inventory and prices in a particular market, using a proprietary algorithm that factors in local events, weather, and historical data from HotelTonight and other booking engines.
Scribd is like Netflix for books: a monthly fee of $8.99 gets you unlimited access to more than 300,000 e-books from 900 publishers, the largest of which is Harper Collins. Today, the company is launching a new travel category through a partnership with Lonely Planet—which means for less than the cost of one title, you can browse hundreds of guidebooks. (The category also includes non-fiction titles, such as 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.)
Scribd is especially useful for travelers: not only is it compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and any web browser, but you can also download books to read off line—ideal when on the road without Internet access. (And you can keep any books you download indefinitely, as long as you remain a member.)
Instagram is able to bring people together in an instantaneous and unique way—now, it’s even happening in person, with what’s being called “InstaMeets."
In late February, 12 Instagrammers from Malayasia and Indonesia, met for a four-day #InstaMeetJiran on East Java’s active volcano, Mount Bromo.
If you’re searching for an activity more interesting than the average tourist attraction while traveling, skip the guidebook and log onto eventseeker. The event recommendation engine—available to all Android users as of last week—uses your social profile and music applications to create a hyper-local, personalized list of suggested activities. It even shows you which friends may be attending.
Since it launched last year, eventseeker has been steadily expanding its global reach. Aside from its ubiquity across all smartphone platforms and social networks, the app now has a presence in more than 2,000 cities worldwide. Partnerships with 150 ticketing agencies have provided access to an unprecedented database of events, ranging from nearby festivals to rock concerts or educational programs.
The next time you're touring a new town, or simply looking to expand your neighborhood knowledge of affairs, let eventseeker do the searching for you.
Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo Courtesy of Eventseeker
Great news for travelers: international texting is soon to be a bygone worry. Yesterday, Facebook has announced a $19 billion purchase of free text service What’s App, not long after Viber, its main competitor, was bought out by Japan’s Amazon-esque Rakuten. Why do we care? The proliferation of free global texting apps is making huge waves—as evidenced by What’s App’s soaring price tag—and phone carriers are responding. First out of the gate was T-Mobile, with their free global data plan. Now AT&T and Verizon are stepping up to the plate: the former announced price cuts to its wireless plans earlier this month, while Verizon just launched their More Everything plans late last week, with unlimited messaging to any mobile number in the world.
Also in the world of global communications news? A promising announcement coming out of the EU, where roaming charges will be made illegal come July. For those heading across the pond, it’s a pretty exciting change—all you’ll need is one SIM card for continent-wide service. Here’s to telecom companies finally getting things right.
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: Folio Images / Alamy
Flu season is at its peak, and with the polar weather showing no signs of taking a mild turn, people across North America are feelings its effects.
Just take a look at the Flu Near You map, which showed a spike in flu-activity for the week ending of January 14. The multicolored dots represent the more than 50,000 participants reporting flu-symptoms or illness, allowing the site to generate a crowd-sourced chart of the disease.
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.
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.
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