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Trip Doctor: Are You Right for the World's Greatest Internship?

Kura Design Villa

When you think of an internship, chances are you imagine a young collegiate making photocopies and going on coffee runs. But what about spending two weeks living large (while getting your hands dirty) at some of Costa Rica's best eco retreats, including Lapa Rios on the Osa Peninsula, the Fica Rosa Coffee Plantation & Inn, or the chic new Kura Design Villas (pictured) on the Costa Ballena?

Cayuga Collection, the company behind eight pioneering eco resorts in Costa Rica and Nicaragua (and 2010 Global Vision Award winner) is accepting applications for what it calls "The Best Internship in the World," open to anybody with extensive travel experience and interest in getting a behind-the-scenes look at how luxury and sustainability can be compatible. According to Cayuga cofounder Hans Pfister, the successful candidate will be "a well traveled person or couple who can put our blend of high end service and responsible tourism to the test." In other words: "age doesn’t matter, attitude does."

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Trip Doctor: How the U.S. is Losing Tourists at the Airport

airport waiting area

Do you sometimes need a reminder of how great it can be to travel in the U.S.? Apparently overseas travelers do too. According to a new survey conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, 43% of foreign travelers will tell their friends to avoid coming to the States. But it’s not cultural, culinary, or political differences that are turning off the international crowds—it’s our customs entry process, which 84% of visitors complain about and believe could be vastly improved. The survey polled 1,200 non-U.S. Resident overseas travelers—of whom 1 in 7 missed a connection because of long customs lines. First impressions really do speak the loudest, it seems.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo by Jeff Greenberg / Alamy

Free WiFi Coming Soon to IHG Hotels

The winds of change are upon us. IHG, the company behind InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and Hotel Indigo, announced that it will offer free internet access to all 71 million members of its loyalty program beginning in 2014. With this decision, it joins Fairmont, Kimpton, and Omni Hotels, all of which offer free Wi-Fi access to members of their (also free) loyalty programs.

By covering more than 4,600 hotels, IHG is certainly the largest company to make such a commitment to its loyalists of all ranks. And the IHG twist: you won’t need to be a guest of the hotel to access the internet. The service will be available free of charge even to loyalty-program members who just pop into the lobby.

Trip Doctor: How to Deal With Food Poisoning While Traveling

food poisoning

Do...

Ask the local pharmacist for a loperamide-based drug (like Imodium), to prevent dehydration.

Seek medical attention if you experience signs of dehydration, such as dizziness or dry mouth.

Don’t...

Jump back to solid food. Start with electrolyte-fortified liquids (coconut water), then move on to rice and bananas.

Kiss your entire vacation good-bye. Food poisoning usually subsides within two to four days.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Illustration by Joanna Neborsky

F.A.A. May Be Considering New 'Airplane Mode' Rules

Good news for flyers who hate putting away their e-readers or tablets while on the runway: The F.A.A. may be considering changing its rules about the use of electronics during takeoff. According to The New York Times' Nick Bilton, flyers may be allowed to put their devices into "airplane mode" and continue reading, watching videos, or playing games during takeoff as soon as next year.

As Bilton writes: "According to people who work with an industry working group that the Federal Aviation Administration set up last year to study the use of portable electronics on planes, the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones."

This comes as welcome to news to some flyers, but probably none more so than Bilton, who has made "airplane mode" something of a crusade over the years. As the future-looking reporter notes, "The issue is only increasing in importance as more Americans board flights with wearable computers." Yes, it would be a shame if your seat-mate were forced to remove his or her Google Glass during takeoff.


See: The Final Say: Using Electronics on Planes

Trip Doctor: Best Food Apps for Travelers

food apps

We’ve road tested the latest crop of digital tools to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, from the perfect cup of coffee to a last-minute restaurant deal.

For Restaurants You’ll Love: Ness
While the popular Foodspotting app has mastered the art of predicting your next craving based on specific dishes you’ve said you enjoy, up-and-comer Ness uses its algorithm to deliver Pandora-like recommendations of restaurants themselves. The app factors in your preferred price point, cuisine, and more. As with the music service, the suggestions get better the more you use it. Free; iOS.

For Last-Minute Dining Deals: Savored
A cut above the usual dining deal sites, Savored offers discounts at surprisingly excellent (sometimes even trendy) restaurants around the country. The app is best for off-peak days or hours: on Sunday or Monday nights, you might be able to snag 30 percent (or more) off dinner at Mercadito, in Miami, or Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne, in New York City. Free; Android and iOS.

For Your Caffeine Fix: Best Coffee
If you turn your nose up at Starbucks, try these café-centric maps, which pinpoint independent coffee shops in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and London (more cities are coming later this year). Staff-written reviews note brewing methods, Wi-Fi availability, and even the types of grinders used. From 99 cents; Android and iOS.

For the Best Local Brews: Untappd
Like a Yelp for beer-lovers, Untappd helps locate the best bars around you—and pinpoints their top microbrews. A notepad function keeps track of beers you like and ones you’d like to try next. You can also share your finds on Facebook. Free; Android, BlackBerry, and iOS.

For Tips From the Pros: Chefs Feed
Who better to seek out for advice on where to eat than the professionals themselves? This app canvasses well-regarded chefs in 16 global cities for their local picks. Insider tips range from Chris Galvin’s favorite quintessentially English meal (calf’s liver and bacon at London’s Delaunay restaurant) to Graham Elliot’s beloved Chicago deep-dish haunt (Lou Malnati’s). Free; iOS.

One to Watch: Evernote Food
Digital note-taking pioneer Evernote’s culinary spin-off might be the best new documenting and sharing tool for foodies. Built-in templates let you record your meal (with everything from maps to photographs) on the fly. When you’re done, your notes instantly upload to your account and become digital mementos of your gastronomic pilgrimages. Free; Android and iOS.

Tom Samiljan is Travel + Leisure’s Tech Correspondent.

Have a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

Illustration by Joanna Neborsky

Trip Doctor Series: Villa of the Week (Caribbean)

100 Pond Bay villa

Fancy a Caribbean escape (at a reasonable price)? Check out this hidden gem in the British Virgin Islands. For more inspiration, scan our full list of agents and Standout Properties in the March issue’s Global Guide to Villa Rentals.

THE BEACH RETREAT
100 Pond Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
$200 per night, per room
The Details: The five light-filled bedrooms at this hillside hideaway, which faces mesmerizing azure waters, are separate pavilions with private indoor-outdoor showers. Take a dip in one of the villa’s three pools, or make your way down to the white-sand Pond Bay Beach, just a five-minute stroll away.
The Agent: McLaughlin Anderson; 800/537-6246; mclaughlinanderson.com.

Jennifer FlowersJennifer Flowers is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.

 

Photo by Don Hebert

JetBlue Going Upscale?

JetBlue, arguably to most egalitarian of domestic carriers, announced this week that it will be introducing premium seating on transcontinental flights from New York to San Francisco next year in an effort to remain competitive on these routes. There's no word yet on what form these seats will take: first, business, lie-flat, behind a curtain, etc.

The airline also laid out plans to enhance its fleet with a new—and fast—in-flight wi-fi service called Fly-Fi, which should launch on the first JetBlue plane later this year. Giving the masses have something to celebrate, the airline also confirmed that basic wi-fi connections will be free—at least initially.

 Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

Trip Doctor: Room Service Tipping Etiquette

Room Service Tipping Etiquette

Q: Is the “service charge” on my room-service bill the same as a gratuity?

A: Though the exact definition varies from hotel to hotel, service charge usually indicates a pooled tip, to be divided up by the entire room service department. If your specific attendant was particularly good, you may consider giving an extra gratuity—but are in no way obliged to do so. To be sure, ask what the hotel’s policy is when placing your order.

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@aexp.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.

 

Photo by Gus Bradley / Alamy

Tech Thursday: Google’s New Field Trip App

Field Trip app

Want the Google results without the search? That's essentially the conceit behind Field Trip, the tech giant's latest app for iPhone and Android that helps you find the great things nearby. First, tell the app a little bit about your interests—are you an architecture buff? Do you search for deals wherever you go? Maybe it's just little-known historical trivia that adds color to your neighborhood walks. Either way, Field Trip will cast its net for the parameters you set—no matter how broad or specific.

The results are impressively curated, pulling from all our favorite local resources, from Eater to Thrillist to Remodelista—all blogs whose recommendations we’re happy to follow. Additionally, the app filters in special deals on offer through other apps, like Scoutmob, so that we could net 50% off an Italian restaurant 147 meters away. But our favorite feature was feeling like we had our own little guide in our pocket, telling us that The Godfather was filmed one block away or that T+L's building was a hugely popular Vaudeville venue in the early 20th-Century. Who knew?

Like most apps that rely on tracking your location, this one can drain your battery if you're not careful. But it won’t keep us from exploring our own city—or those that we visit—any time soon.

Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

Photo by Nikki Ekstein

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