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Last October, I wrote about Marriott’s efforts to use virtual reality technology in some of its hotels. At the time, it was somewhat unclear how the hotel brand was planning to find practical, day-to-day applications with this new toy — which admittedly, is pretty impressive and fun to use. Their commitment to it continues with a new initiative at two of its properties, the New York Marriott Marquis, and the London Marriott Park Lane, that will run over the coming weeks. With the launch of “VRoom Service,” guests at these two hotels can borrow an headset, which includes a viewer and headphones, that’s preloaded with “travel postcards.” The postcards put users into three travel destinations: Chile’s Andes mountains, a street corner in Bejing, and a patio in front of an ice cream shop in Rwanda. Non-hotel guests can view the postcards too, via the Samsung Milk VR premium video service on the Samsung Gear VR headset.
Saving on travel just got a whole lot easier. Well, if you’re a social media addict, at least. Hotel brands like Kimpton and Marriott are already rewarding active social media users, with a slew of boutique accommodations following suit. Goals vary, but it’s safe to assume that properties are aiming to increase visibility on social media and to ultimately garner more bookings. So, the next time you’re tempted to scour the web for hotel deals, consider Tweeting instead for points and perks.
Travel should always inspire us. But who hasn’t stared blankly at an airline website, or faced the daunting set of choices in a hotel booking engine, hoping that they’re making the right decision? The time spent away from the bustle of our daily lives is so precious, and travel is such a complicated, expensive endeavor. No wonder we’re all feeling a little overwhelmed at the number of options out there. Plus, isn’t travel supposed to be fun?
We here at ShermansTravel believe that it should always be fun — and that the process of discovering and booking your next trip should come with a little bit of its own wonder and excitement. Enter our new vacation recommendation app, WhereTo.
Waiting is rarely easy, and almost never enjoyable, but it’s an inevitable part of travel. During the dark ages, conventional wisdom suggested that one show up well in advance in case of any snags along the way. But these days technology is enabling us to guess less and anticipate more. From theme parks to restaurants to airport security lines, we’ve rounded up the best apps available for those who don’t want to waste time standing around.
It was a late May weekend in New York City — which meant heavy flash rains and muddy streets. Having just gotten into the swing of spring, I was woefully underdressed on my way to Yotel on Tenth Avenue. Thank heavens, then, that I could get my keys straight from a kiosk when I arrived at the hotel. Who ever wants to slink up to a check-in receptionist when they’re dripping wet and completely disheveled?
That’s just one of the many ways that Yotel has carefully designed a “smart” hotel stay, considering the perspective and mindset of travelers today. The brand first made a name for itself with three sleek airport hotels in London and Amsterdam, and it opened its first in-city property off of New York City’s Times Square in 2011. With more hotels coming soon to cities like Brooklyn, San Francisco, Miami, and Dubai, we checked into the NYC location to get a sense of how exactly the Yotel’s savvy tech focus is enhancing the guest experience.
HotelTonight, the last-minute hotel-booking app, has launched a tool called Escape to source the greatest getaway deals for the weekend ahead. Booking a room via the app is already a snap, but Escape makes it more convenient to book an entire getaway that’s up to an additional 30-40 percent off average rates within HotelTonight itself. Here’s how it works.
Your suitcase is going high-tech. From tracking apps to suitcases that weigh themselves, here’s what’s new in the world of suitcases (and a few things we can’t wait to become reality).
Power problems are a major pain in the you-know-what for travelers. Every country seems to have its own voltage and requires its own adapters, accounting for power as well as outlet shape. Even more confusingly, not all adapters work for all devices — we’ve often found, for example, the converters that work for laptops won’t work for hair dryers. Even the technology for chargers and plugs have changed. Here’s what you need to know.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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