Expedia will accept bitcoin for its online hotel bookings, the company announced yesterday.
Travelers choosing the new payment method will be redirected to Coinbase, a digital money exchange, where they will have ten minutes to complete the transaction. How many bitcoins does a hotel cost? At around $640 per bitcoin, a $200 hotel-stay will run 0.32 bitcoins. Coinbase also charges a miniscule "miner fee," worth roughly twelve cents.
Looking to book a Shanghai street-food tour or a Provençal cooking class? Let these new food apps and sites take care of the legwork.
Best For Tailored Recommendations: Peek
Like an OpenTable for guided activities and food crawls, Peek(free; iOS) provides direct booking service straight from the app or website. Its real strength lies in its carefully curated content—all outings are vetted by Peek staff or trusted tastemakers. Take a quick personality quiz for customized suggestions.
Why Foodies Love It: Unique offerings—a dinner cruise on the Thames in London; a coffee plantation visit in Maui—are the rule, not the exception.
Today, we’re excited to launch the Travel + Leisure Quick Tips video series. Each week, we’ll offer ideas for how to travel better, from where to dine in London to the best rain gear for your travels. Want to save money when you hit the road? Our weekly series tackles affordable travel, too, with tips straight from Travel + Leisure editors.
This week's video news round-up includes the latest on preparations in Brazil for World Cup 2014, details on an attack of California’s giant Redwood trees, President Obama's warning for many U.S. airports, and details on a new resource for traveling seniors.
AirBnB is taking a page out of the HotelTonight handbook today, opening their network of apartment rentals to the last-minute market. But unlike every other booking tool for spontaneous travelers, this one’s not focused on markdowns. Says an AirBnB spokesperson, the new feature responds to a “lifestyle shift” among travelers, who are more willing than ever to plan getaways on the fly. But it’s also thanks to an increasing number of AirBnB listings featuring “instant booking,” a one-click checkout system that requires no back-and-forth messaging between the traveler and host (the company says they’re up to 90,000 such listings, from just 30,000 last year).
Yesterday we found out that Google has brought Room 77 into its portfolio of travel tools—and we think it’s big news. While the deal may not be the largest of the company’s partnerships or acquisitions to date, it’s a sign of what’s to come: As far as we can see it, Google is positioning itself to disrupt the travel sphere. Simply consider the acquisitions already in its portfolio, including travel search tool ITA—a $676 million buyout four years ago—Zagat, and Frommers (though the latter no longer belongs to Google, its content was integrated back in 2012). What it all adds up to is a growing arsenal of travel tools ready to be unleashed—the only question is when.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
The latest player in the peer-to-peer vacation rental game? The France-based Cosmopolit Home, which is trying to revolutionize a concept they call “nightswapping.” The idea is the brainchild of Serge Duriavig, who, after experiencing some downfalls of home swapping—agreeing on dates, finding accommodations up to his standards—created a new avenue to book free overnight stays.
True or false: booking a hotel and airfare package is cheaper than booking each component separately. If you guessed true, you’re right—most of the time, anyway. But there are exceptions. Helping you navigate those murky waters is Kayak, which has just launched a tool to aggregate package pricing and help you find the best options.
A new kids program, littlepassport.com, promises to turn your toddlers into international pen pals. Here's how it works: your kids get real, actual, non-virtual mail every month from Sam and Sofia, two characters who travel around the globe embarking on various adventures. The first delivery is your Explorer's Kit, with a tiny suitcase, a personal letter from the mini-globetrotters, a world wall map, a passport, activity sheets, and special access to games online. Every time Sam and Sofia visit a new country-Italy, France, Brazil, Japan-you'll get another package with stickers and photos of famous landmarks, souvenirs, and a note detailing their journeys. It's sure to inspire wanderlust in you and your little ones.
Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @csedlak1.
Think you know Africa? Guess again. YouDontKnowAfrica.com will test your knowledge of all 54 countries nestled in the world’s second-largest continent—a challenge for even the most seasoned traveler. Start the game off slow with 20 random countries and work your way to the “super-difficult” level (that’s 50 countries, and no hints!). Keep at it and you’ll be an Africa-aficionado in no time, from the Saharan sands in Morocco to Zambia’s mighty Victoria Falls.
Maria Pedone is contributor to TravelandLeisure.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mariapedestrian.