Shermanstravel Blog

Technology

Nokia Here Apps

Nokia

Today, smartphones are arguably better navigators than those traditional GPS units that sit on the dashboard, thanks to real-time map updates and an infinitely searchable database. That’s as long as you have internet connection, of course. But what happens when you’re in a remote region here in the States without a signal — or are trying to save cash with no data plan abroad? We rounded up a few downloadable maps that allow for perusal and turn-by-turn routing, even when you’re offline.

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Facebook, Emergency Alerts

Darren Murph

The recent Nepal earthquake is devastating, but it’s worth noting that, in the wake of disaster, a handful of technology companies have stepped up to provide help in any way that they can. One of those ways is by enabling people on the ground to easily get the one message that matters back home: “I’m safe.” Planning for unforeseen events is a necessary part of travel, which is why we think it’s importantly to understand exactly how two features from Google and Facebook in particular work, before you head out on your next adventure.

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Google Project Fi

Google

We already know that standard international roaming rates can lead to horror stories of coming home to insanely high smartphone bills. That’s why many of us simply switch our smartphones to airplane mode when heading to a foreign land, relying on spotty and inconsistent WiFi signals to attempt to stay in touch. But there’s a better way, especially with all the different services available — including Google’s new Project Fi. If you’re heading to Europe to take advantage of the current awesome exchange rate that you probably keep hearing about, check out these three services before you go.

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Apple Watch

Apple

With Apple Watch shipping to consumers later this month (April 24th, to be exact), it’s fair to say that the smartwatch revolution is officially underway. Even in Apple’s promotional keynote, it leaned heavily on travel-related examples to prove the product’s value. Many have questioned whether or not you truly need wearable tech like this — particularly if you’re already a savvy smartphone user — but there are indeed useful amenities that make it worth considering for road warriors and leisure travelers alike.

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money saving travel apps for iphone and android

pixabay.com

We’re all about saving money while traveling, but the need for convenience and unexpected complications can bust a budget in a hurry. These apps can come through in a pinch, helping with everything from finding a ride to a fast, affordable meal.

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Hotel Tonight New Features

HotelTonight

One of our favorite money-saving travel apps, HotelTonight, which lets you book last-minute hotel rooms at steep discounts, is introducing some new features today: Bonus Rate and Rate Drop. These updates will give travelers even better last-minute hotel deals. Read more

Chip-and-PIN

Have you seen the new(ish) credit cards with embedded square chips on the front? Or heard travel friends throw around the phrases “chip-and-PIN” or “chip-and-signature”? While these cards — otherwise known as smart cards or EMV cards — are a relatively recent product from American banks, they’re widely used in many regions abroad, particularly in Europe as well as in Australia and parts of Asia. In fact, EMV cards are so common that cards with magnetic stripes, like most from home, can’t be used in some situations abroad.

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etihad airways - 620

Space travel. Bitcoin payments. Suites on airplanes. Some trends just keeping popping up on our news feeds time and time again. Some of these are fantastic and others… not so much. But for better or worse, here are nine that we think are here to stay.

1. Wearable tech.
Now that Apple’s in the game, wearable tech seems more and more like a part of the future — and not just as an ugly fashion trend. While we all love to hate Google Glass, travel brands are already responding to the Apple Watch unveiled in September. For example, Starwood’s new SPG app, which will let guests unlock rooms with their iPhone, is already designed to be Apple Watch-compatible. Of course, at nearly $349 dollars, Apple Watch isn’t a casual purchase, and we bet there will be some software and hardware challenges to overcome. Plus, it needs to be paired with an iPhone, though brands like Samsung are attempting to market what’s essentially a mini-smartphone to wear on your wrist.

2. Space voyages.
Despite the unfortunate Virgin Galactic crash at the end of last month, space travel is going to happen. The brand’s CEO shared that the company is continuing full steam and will “have a new spaceship that’s going to be ready in a few months” (as investigations into the crash continue). Having recently received massive funds from NASA, Boeing is also working on developing passenger aircraft for space. And it’s not just planes we’re talking about here. A Beijing-based company called Space Vision is developing a “high-tech balloon” powered by helium to bring tourists into space, and a Japanese construction company, Obayashi Corporation, is aiming to operate an elevator into space by 2050.

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CanopyPortlandLobbyImage_HR

Last month, Hilton Worldwide announced its latest foray into the lifestyle category with Canopy by Hilton, a new concept from the international hotel behemoth that will localize the guest experience. Poised to open its first set of doors in 2015, we spoke with Gary Steffen, the brand’s global head, who shared five things you should know about Canopy by Hilton.

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neXstep Luggage new

We’re always impressed by the brilliant ideas that we find on crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo — particularly the ones that solve the biggest problems and frustrations in travel. Here are four smart inventions that we think do it right.

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soundlink_mini_large_10

Here at ShermansTravel, we jump at the chance to make traveling less stressful — even fun. From a tool to de-clutter electronics to a simple water hack, here are five surprising accessories that create a better away-from-home experience.

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homesick 1

Homesickness comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s missing the coziness of your own bed. Other times it’s feeling lost without a loved one. And, occasionally, it’s a deep-rooted nostalgia for a functioning dryer. While homesickness certainly dampens your vacation, the obvious tips to solve your sadness — like writing postcards, eating home-y meals, or sleeping with your significant other’s pajamas every night — don’t always keep the pillow dry. Here, a few unordinary, scientifically-backed, and totally effective methods to cure your bout of saudade.

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carnival magic - flickr-El Coleccionista de Instantes

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on charitable itineraries, new pricing structures, and more in this week’s weekly cruise news column.

Call your cousins and neighbors! American Cruise Lines passengers who refer a friend or family member to cruise with the small ship river line will get a reward in the form of a $500 credit toward their next cruise. Planning a group cruise and have already sailed with ACL before? You could conceivably have friends or family make a booking, get your credit, then join them on the same sailing so that everyone can enjoy a little extra.

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facebook.com thermalstrike 2

File this under the “better safe than sorry” category. ThermalStrike, a company specializing in heating technology designed to kill bed bugs, has come out with a new heated suitcase for pest-fearing travelers.

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tappsi

Latin America can be intimidating for first-time travelers. Here are three apps to download, to use with WiFi, to make your trip go more smoothly.

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