In a move that many might see as either Orwellian or plain-old useful, Google has just launched a new feature that lets you canvass all your personal information—appointments, bookings, photos—simply by asking spoken questions. It’s a bit like Siri, but smarter: ask Google to show you all the pictures you took in London, and those will pop right up. Ask whether your flight is delayed, and it will cross check your confirmation email with the airline’s most current information. Want to figure out how to get to your hotel? It won’t just show you the booking record—it’ll find the address and pop it into your Google Maps. Naturally, it works best if you use all of Google’s organizational tools, from Gmail to Google Calendar. But those on Apple devices reap the same benefits as long as they’re signed into their Google accounts. Importantly, all the information is kept private and secure, and the feature can be disabled for those who find it creepy. But why would you? This is smart technology at its best.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Photo by istockphoto
The one gadget that makes every hotel a workstation: CB2's ultra-compact Universal Travel Adapter ($23). It's half the size of its competitors and has one simple switch that toggles between built-in plugs for virtually every destination around the world. It comes in four bright colors, making it easy to find in your suitcase.
Nikki Ekstein is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Photo courtesy of CB2
Are the latest beauty and wellness products worthy of a spot in your teensy carry-on? T+L Associate Editor Kathryn O’Shea-Evans shares her take.
The Product: Aveda Stress-Fix Concentrate, $22.
Pros: The lipstick-sized rollerball dispenses a highly-soothing blend of essential oils (French lavender, lavandin, and clary sage are sustainably derived from the sun-lit fields of northern Provence). Perfect for pre-flight jitters or a jet lag sleep aid.
Cons: Unfortunately, the scent didn’t last on my skin longer than ten minutes (probably because it’s all natural and not filled with chemicals… perhaps that’s actually a pro?).
Kathryn O'Shea-Evans is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo (above) courtesy of Aveda
For this sharp shoe designer, flying is all about unplugging and head-to-toe comfort.
As the creative director of Via Spiga—not to mention the talent behind a namesake line of women’s shoes and the men’s footwear brand Casbia—Edmundo Castillo has a pretty hectic life. Which is why he loves air travel: “It’s my time to disconnect and not have the phone ringing,” he says.
Castillo gets ample time to himself en route to factory visits in Milan (where he keeps an apartment), business trips in China, and vacations in Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, and his native Puerto Rico. In flight, he watches 30 Rock and Mad Men on his iPad, which he carries in a vintage-corduroy sleeve by Milan-based Pijama (from $38). When he wants to sleep, Castillo relies on his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones (from $200) because “they block all the noise.” As for his on-the-go outfit: “I usually land and go straight to work,” he says, “so it’s important to stay in style, but also feel comfortable.”
We have always loved the lightweight nearly indestructible Rimowa case, but the lack of space to quickly stash passports and headphones was always a problem. The Salsa Deluxe collection uniquely features three front pockets, providing us the desired room we’ve always longed for. Combining simplicity and durability in one sleek design, we consider this to be the ultimate gift for your globetrotting valentine!
The pictured Salsa Deluxe case in oriental red is $695 and available for purchase at Rimowa boutiques nationwide. For more information visit rimowa.com.
Jessie Bandy is the assistant fashion editor at Travel + Leisure.
If you like Globe-Trotter luggage as much as some of us, you’ll love this: for the first time in its 114-year history, the British brand, known for creating vulcanized fiberboard cases (Sirs Winston Churchill and Edmund Hilary would attest to their durability), has launched a collection of discreetly stylish carry-ons, totes, and accessories all handcrafted using—wait for it!—super-soft leather.
I'm sure we've all had the same experience at one time or the other: a spur-of-the-moment road trip cooked up with the intention of letting loose and seeing a bit of the gorgeous country we call home, the thrill of it largely contained in the fact that none of it was planned. And then the inevitable happens. Your eyes start to droop, signs start to blur in and out of focus, and your car starts weaving in its lane slightly. You need to find a place to stay for the night. Problem is, you don't know of any around.
Well, now there's an app for that.
Roll It: On your face, lips, or body, that is. Using natural antioxidants and a clear form of zinc oxide, the Own Active Block ball ($15; ownproducts.com) gives you all-around SPF 30 coverage without any surfer streaks. Plus, it’s fun to toss—and easy to find—in your beach bag.
Sweep It: A translucent mineral powder that flows through a portable, refillable brush, Chantecaille Protection Naturelle SPF 46 ($65; chantecaille.com) prevents both shining and burning, and gives you a healthy glow to boot.
Swipe It: Combining water-resistant UV protection with soothing green tea and vitamin E, these fragrance-free, SPF 30 Supergoop Sunscreen Swipes ($34 per box of 21; nordstrom.com) are great for sensitive skin. Individually wrapped, they’re also perfect for travel.
Wear It: The cotton-poplin Mott 50 tunic ($119; mott50.com) proves that sun-protective clothing can also be stylish. The brand’s easy, UPF 50 dresses and tops get the Skin Cancer Foundation’s stamp of approval—and T+L’s, too.
Photo by Lars Klove
For a shoe traditionally made out of canvas and esparto grass, the espadrille has logged a lot of miles over the years. First worn by Catalan peasants in the 1200’s, by the mid 1900’s they were all over Europe, slipping on and off the feet of Salvador Dalí, Coco Chanel, and Brigitte Bardot. In 1970 the look went high fashion when Yves Saint Laurent sent a high-heeled, gold-ribboned pair down his runway. Since then the shoe has been reimagined season after season, appearing on travelers from Malibu to Marrakesh—and no wonder. Whether a graphic Tory Burch flat or a wedge sandal by Coach, the espadrille is the tunic of footwear: easily tucked into a weekender, it can go for a stroll along the beach or a night out on the town.
Photo by Charles Masters
Ever wished you could hold up a photo to a search engine and say, “Hey computer! Find me this, and make it snappy!”?
With Google Search (free; iPhone, iPod, iPad), a picture is worth a thousand keywords. The newly upgraded app makes it even easier to scour the Web with images straight from your smartphone camera.