Technology - Websites
Ever find yourself daydreaming at work about booking a last-minute trip? Thanks to Jetsetter.com—the latest venture from Gilt Groupe, best known for their utterly addictive designer flash-sales—it’s easier and more tempting than ever to do just that.
Every day, the site sends registered members an email with a new batch of specially negotiated—and deeply discounted—hotel stays around the world (at press time, a City View Junior Suite at the Epic Hotel Miami was going for $169 per night—that’s $158, or nearly 50 percent, less than the hotel’s published rate!).
My friends have been known to call me "Danny Tanner"—the super-organized-to-the-point-of-annoying dad from Full House—when it comes to my travel style. Think typed-up itineraries, folders filled with all necessary phone numbers, addresses, and confirmation codes, and even maps with directions (both to and from all major locations), just in case the GPS doesn’t work.
But things have been pretty hectic lately, which means I haven’t been able to dedicate enough time to being so anal while planning my upcoming trip to Italy. Luckily for me, Tripit.com came into my life to save the day.
To keep Web surfers from drowning in endless oceans of information, task-focused search engines have been multiplying by the minute. Need to research a trip, or just looking for something to do on the weekend? Let Goby, which launched yesterday, do the fishing for you.
With not one, but three search bars (what you’d like to do, where and when), Goby helps travel planners reel in restaurant, activity and hotel recommendations in destinations all over the U.S. Results—sorted by relevance, distance or name—pop up with clickable tabs that provide additional images, pulled from Google and Flickr, and service information broken down in a neat table.
Like all new search engines, Goby is still working hard to iron out the kinks and to connect users with relevant results (the number one listing for a resort spa in Massachusetts? The Brahma Blue, a 12-acre “holistic oasis”…in Ambergis Caye, Belize). Only time will tell if they’ll sink or swim, but we think they're off to a smart start.
Lisa Cheng is an assistant research editor at Travel + Leisure.
Images courtesy of Goby
When not out and about in the world, I am a modern armchair traveler—vicariously visiting the corners of the planet online. I’ve spent whole evenings in South America via GoogleEarth on my iTouch; am addicted to the TravelandLeisure.com and NYTimes.com slideshows; and check in on my bookmarked travel blogs with religious regularity.
Right now, TheAccidentalExtremist.com, a collection of tales of trips gone bad (or somewhat awry) by writers both amateur and celebrated, curated by adventure writer Christian DeBenedetti (with whom I worked at National Geographic Adventure magazine), has me hooked.
It seems like everyone—and every company—is feeling the power of social media these days. In celebration of Hawaii’s 50 years of statehood, Marriott Resorts Hawaii is hopping on the e-bandwagon with a two-part sweepstakes geared toward Twitter and Facebook users, offering 25 all-expense paid trips for two to Kauai, Oahu, Maui or the Big Island and a trip for one lucky tweeter and 11 guests.
Can’t afford to take your kids on an African safari? Or maybe you're just looking for a fun way for them to learn about different parts of the world so they have a greater appreciation when you do book that trip. Well, last week I was introduced to a new website that solves either problem: Wonder Rotunda.
The website is an interactive educational tool for kids. After signing up—a year’s pass to the site is $45—kids create a personalized character and are given a brief tutorial by Mr. Wonder, who remains their tour guide throughout the rest of their animated “travels.”
Switzerland's discretion, especially in terms of banking, is well known. Now, the alpine country thinks that Google should comply with its national penchant for privacy.
On August 18, Google added Street View, 360-degree street-level imagery, to its maps of cities in Switzerland, Taiwan, and Portugal. Three days later, Switzerland's data protection agency asked that the new service be rescinded.
It only launched in testing stages on June 25th, but Google’s new “City Tours” application—in which your Google Map offers multi-day itineraries in destinations around the globe—has the potential to become something great. But right now it’s mostly useless.
Some computer scientists at Cornell, on their way to figuring out how to automate classification of large visual collections, stumbled upon interesting information about "what the world is paying attention to" reports the New Scientist.
Using a sampling of 35 million images uploaded to Flickr.com, they extracted the existing information from them (the geographic coordinates embedded into some digital photos, the text tags that photographers assigned to them, and a kind of formulaic visual scan) and, as a project by-product, used that data to create some fascinating maps of the most photographed cities and landmarks in the world:
Have you visited Bing.com yet? I mentioned it briefly on Weekend Today a few weeks ago, but if you’re unfamiliar, Bing.com is Microsoft’s new search site—and its travel section is my current obsession.
I’m not sure about you, but when it comes to booking a flight, I get a little anxious. Is this the best fare possible? Am I going to get an Airfarewatchdog deals email and see that my $357 round-trip to Miami is now $275? Don’t fret: Help is on the way.