Shermans Travel » Blog » Technology
Driving is never easy on your wallet. Whether you’ve taken a long road trip, or you’ve found yourself driving a bit too speedily in a bid to make your flight, your wallet has likely felt the effects of all that time on the road. But let’s face it: Most drivers don’t spend a lot of time worrying about fuel efficiency when they’re traveling, or when they need to get somewhere fast.
Thankfully, a new piece of technology is stepping in to take care of that. Automatic Link is a small, user-friendly dongle ($99.95) that works in practically every gasoline-powered automobile produced since 1996. If you own an iPhone, it’ll help you to drive more sanely, save fuel by tweaking your driving habits, and even alert your loved ones if you’re in a crash. Here’s how you can benefit from it: Read more
The FAA made smartphone users leap for joy earlier this month when they announced that electronic devices could – after years of flight attendants’ finger-wagging – be used below 10,000 feet. Now, Southwest is taking things a step further with the launch of gate-to-gate Wifi aboard all flights. Read more
We’ve all been checking in for our flights from home computers and smartphones for long enough now; isn’t it about time we were able to do the same for our hotels? Now, with a new app named Checkmate we can do just that. The app has just launched and is free to download. Here’s how it works: Read more
Meeting new people can be one of the most exhilarating parts of any trip, especially if you’re traveling solo, but it’s not always easy. Approaching strangers can be both intimidating and unnatural for a lot of travelers. With the help of some new apps and web sites, however, you’re not restricted to making new connections at the bar, in tourist hotspots, or in hard-to-find local haunts. If you’ve got a smartphone and wifi, try one of these travel-focused tools…
Although T-Mobile’s latest groundbreaking plan change is making it easier (and cheaper) than ever to text and check e-mail on your phone while in a foreign land, staying in touch is still a chore. The simplest way involves roaming with your home carrier, but if you aren’t careful, you could be paying upwards of $1 to $2 per minute when making a simple call. Thankfully, it’s not all that difficult to get around this, and it’s becoming easier to find free calling options thanks to the proliferation of smartphone apps. Below, a few current favorites. Read more
New York’s MTA transit system contains 468 stations, 345 rail and subway lines and bus routes, and over 2,000 miles of track. No wonder you need a map to figure it out! Here are five of the best smartphone apps for navigating the NYC subway and New York’s regional transit systems. These apps can be a lifesaver for visitors.
If you’ve ever traveled overseas and flipped on your smartphone, you’ve likely been greeted with a message informing you how much you will be penalized (ahem, charged) to roam. There’s no fundamental reason why mobile data in a foreign place should cost so much, and yet, it’s not uncommon to hear of oblivious users racking up thousands of dollars in international data roaming fees – even a quick refresh of your inbox could end up costing $25 or more.
For years, the options for saving money on mobile data while traveling were few, and complicated to boot. You could either rent a mobile hotspot ahead of time for around $10 to $15 per day, or try your luck searching for a local SIM card upon arrival. The latter is a particular challenge when landing at odd hours, or any nation where you don’t speak the native language.
T-Mobile recently unveiled a plan overhaul that fundamentally alters the way Americans look at international data. Bucking the trend of outrageous and arbitrary roaming rates, T-Mobile’s “Simple Choice” customers can now access free data overseas in over 100 nations. We’re talking Aruba, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Russia, China, Israel, India, Japan, the Christmas Island (seriously), and Spain, just to name a few. In case it wasn’t clear, the data is free, as in, $0.00 per month. Oh, and texting? That’s free too. Read more
There are cheaper ways to get around a city than renting a car. Sometimes we’d rather cut costs by using public transportation (a more direct way of experiencing the city anyway), or hitching a ride with friends (cheaper, and more fun!). However, if we had to name one place that requires a little extra deliberation when it comes to getting around, it’s car-obsessed Los Angeles.
Not surprising, then, that LAX airport was announced as the sixth and latest outpost of Silvercar, an upstart car rental company whose distinguishing feature is to simplify the booking process as much as possible with a user-friendly, tap-and-go app.
Oh, and every car in the Silvercar fleet is a silver Audi A4. Read more
When I tell people that I’m learning German via an app, Duolingo, I usually get a blank stare or a chuckle. It seems unlikely to some that learning a language on an iPhone, on a free program and for under 10 minutes per day, could show results. It isn’t until I take out my phone and show the naysayers the streamlined design, helpful features, and game-like structure that they begin to understand my new Duolingo addiction. For those who like to learn a bit of the local language before they travel, this app could be the perfect tool.
The iconic yellow cab is known in practically every culture as a symbol of on-demand transportation, catering to both disoriented tourists and rushed locals alike. But in the digital age, the way we call for and utilize on-demand transport is changing. E-hail apps, as they’re known, harness the power of GPS in order to bring a ride directly to you, thus significantly changing the taxi game. Legislators are still ironing out the kinks in many cities, though both San Francisco and New York have already embraced the cab hailing tech revolution.
Here’s a look at the biggest players, what they offer, and how much they charge for their services. Read more
As the popularity of mobile devices continues to grow, the airline industry – often slow to react to such changes – has begun redefining the notion of in-flight entertainment. Unlike the ceiling-mounted displays that used to force entire cabins to watch the same movie, or even the individual, behind-the-seat monitors we are all accustomed to now, newer hand-held entertainment devices are being tailored exclusively for passengers.
On flights where in-seat displays aren’t available, the addition of tablets is a huge boon, though arguments for their alleged “benefits” (small size, multiple viewing angles, ability to share with neighboring passengers) get a little shaky. However, for die-hard tablet fans – or those simply interested in a different take on in-flight entertainment, here’s a look at which airlines are now offering the devices on-board. Read more
Silicon Valley techies – along with pretty much all Californians – are abuzz with news of the latest venture from entrepreneur Elon Musk: a super-high-speed train called the Hyperloop that is capable of jetting passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in a mere 30 minutes.
Musk, the dynamo who co-founded PayPal and how heads up Tesla Motors, this week unveiled plans for the proposed transit system, which will whisk passengers through a tubular system at speeds up to 700 miles per hour – faster than most commercial airliners and slightly less than the speed of sound.
At a conference earlier this year, Musk described the Hyperloop as “a cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table.” But it will be a while (if ever) before travelers can hop aboard the Hyperloop. Musk estimated he could build a prototype in about three to four years, but some transportation experts doubt the project will ever be realized.
In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the current available routes between the City by the Bay and the City of Angels. Of course, none of them can hold a candle next to the Hyperloop’s supposed 30 minute commute, but until Musk’s vision becomes a reality, it’s nice to know we’ve got options: Read more
For travelers in search of some culinary adventure, you can let your inner foodie geek out with these new food and drink apps – plus a few old favorites that have recently gotten an update. Here’s a sampling of what to download… Read more
Move over, Mickey. There’s a new star in central Florida: her name is Atlantis, and she’s been to outer space an impressive 33 times, capping off the final chapter of the United States’ storied space shuttle program.
As of about a month ago, the awe-inspiring orbiter has found a new home within the $100 million Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, sparking a new wave of tourism to the Space Coast, Florida’s central-eastern stretch where cheering crowds once flocked to see live shuttle launches. Atlantis made its final mission in July 2011, and the sophisticated exhibit recreates for guests the excitement of her inter-stellar voyages.
Here, some insider tips on navigating the new exhibit, as well as the rest of the sprawling, 1,400-acre center, plus where to eat and what else not to miss. Read more
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