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Arrive Like LiLo: Ride in a Police Car at Hotel ZaZa

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Hotel ZaZa, a Texas mini-chain of boutique hotels, retains a fleet of vehicles available to guests at their Dallas and Houston properties. The kooky lineup includes an art car, a hearse, a car with Texas longhorns mounted on the grill, and a police cruiser.

If you want to make a dramatic entrance, the ZaZas will squire you there in idiosyncratic style. No one will forget your name after you pull up to a trade show in a hearse. 

Why settle for a plain old limo when you could join the ever-growing list of former teen stars slumping in the backseats of patrol cars?

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo: Courtesy of Hotel ZaZa

 

A Grouchy Cabbie is One Thing; Pestilence is Another

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You know you have a problem with your city taxis when NYC's cab system is lifted up as a role model.

Indeed, New York cabbies offer charming, sanitary and justice-based services, at least perhaps compared to the taxi drivers in San Francisco. According to a Bay Area publication, San Francisco's complaint line got 1,733 calls last year related to the city's cab drivers; it was a 13 percent uptick from the previous year, and almost double the 900-complaint goal put forward by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

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Rent a Car by the Minute with Car2go

Wheels to Go

When by-the-hour car-sharing services such as Zipcar and Hertz on Demand arrived on the scene, they upended the traditional model for short-term rentals. Now it’s their turn to be upended. Taking a page from bike-sharing programs, the latest car-sharing services offer by-the-minute rentals. The most traveler-friendly of the half-dozen or so services that have recently emerged is Car2go ($35 one-time membership fee), which rents smart cars in five U.S. cities (Austin; San Diego; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and Miami), and 15 more across the globe (Toronto, Berlin, and Amsterdam, among others).

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$100 for a Carry-On Item?! Ship Your Luggage Instead

empty airport corridor

Spirit Airlines announced last week that beginning November 6, passengers arriving at their departure gate with a carry-on bag would be charged $100. If the passenger paid for the carry-on when they booked the ticket, the fee would drop to a who-could-possibly-object $30. For a carry-on bag!

New fees like these continue to be tacked on to airfares—and not just by cut-rate airlines like Spirit—plus travelers who actually pay for and check suitcases have to suffer through the vile rugby scrum at the baggage carousel. Options, like the ScotteVest, the jacket that conceals a Radio-Shack’s worth of gadgets, exist, but, um, our international editor Mark Orwoll looks better in it than I would.

LuggageForward.com, a baggage expeditor that uses UPS, FedEx, and DHL, offers prices that are (still) attractively competitive. Pay them $99 to pick up a 50-lb. suitcase a few days before your flight and it’ll be waiting at your domestic destination when you arrive. If Luggage Forward doesn’t get it there on time, they pay you up to $200.00 per day per item, up to $500. (The company also serves international destinations. And can transport awkward items like skis, bikes, surfboards, and golf bags.)  

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California Okays Autonomous Cars on Public Roads

Growing up I was always fascinated by science fiction movies and television, particularly because they showed off the possibility of technology to come. Though many ideas seemed like pipe dreams, there was always that What if? factor that I latched on to.

So you can imagine my excitement when I read about Google’s development of autonomous cars. (Robot cars!) To further that excitement, I just learned that California’s governor, Jerry Brown, has signed a bill that will allow these autonomous cars to drive along the state’s roads, right alongside vehicles driven by humans. (!!)

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Italy's New High-Speed Train

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It may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but Italy’s new Italo—which connects Turin and Salerno, as well as Rome and Venice—sure looks like one. The sleek design is no surprise: Ferrari chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and Tod’s owner Diego Della Valle are behind the project. Prices mimic the tiered structure of airlines—but perks such as free Wi-Fi for all and a cinema car are better than what you get in the sky.

Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of NTV

Boeing Promises to Speed Up Construction of New 787 Dreamliners

USA Today Travel  |  Boeing has inspected five 787 Dreamliners for a flaw in the fuselage that the company recently discovered, the new head of the 787 program said Monday. Reuters reported that the company remains on schedule to build 10 planes per month by the end of next year.

The company is inspecting the first 55 787s built before it discovered the problem and will make any necessary repairs, Larry Loftis said before a groundbreaking ceremony for a new delivery center, according to Reuters.

The 787 is a more fuel-efficient plane. So far airlines have ordered about 870 of them, Reuters reported. But the plane is about three years behind its original schedule.

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London's Iconic Buses are Back!

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BBC Travel
  |  London's iconic double-decker buses have gotten an update that looks uncannily like the past.

Seven buses with an open hop-on hop-off platform at the rear hit downtown streets on 20 February, running on route 38, between Victoria Station and Hackney, an east London neighbourhood.

Between the 1950s and 2000s, royal red double deckers sported distinctive open platforms in the rear. But in 2005, authorities took that Routemaster model out of service, replacing it with versions that only have an entrance at the front.

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(Photo courtesy of Transport for London.)

Heathrow’s Personal Transit Pods

Passport Blog - BBC Travel |  This week, Heathrow Airport introduced a new form of transport that will look familiar to fans of mid-century science fiction: emission-free, battery operated personal transit pods.

Instead of waiting for an airport shuttle, Heathrow passengers can hop in one of the pods that arrive every 34 seconds and travel along tracks between the terminals and car parks.

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New Taxi App Rolling Out in Major European Cities

20107-b-moscowjpgSeventy-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.

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