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Italy wasn’t created for one-stop shopping – in fact, it’s not even that well suited to single-destination trips. Rome? Venice? Florence? How to choose? Well, you might not have to. The Italy deal in this week’s Top 25 newsletter offers a six-night train ride including a two-night stop in at each of those iconic cities. Since you won’t be spending the entire trip watching the scenery go by (at least, we hope not), here’s a look at the best shops to visit to take home a one-of-a-kind, easy-to-pack souvenir. Read more
Of course, the best gift you could get for your travel-obsessed friend would be a ticket to some far-off destination. But, no matter how deep the bond of friendship, most of our budgets don’t quite stretch that far. Here are a few more (affordable) ideas.
Maps of all stripes make travelers happy. National Geographic is offering a giant personalized world map. You personalize up to 70 characters of text for the map title, and then your jetsetting friend or loved one can place different colored pins to signify places they’ve been, their dream destinations, and genealogical roots. It’s a little pricey at $169, so, for something cheaper, how about this scratch map ($20) where you scratch off the places you’ve been.
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…
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.
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
For 13 years, Samantha Brown has captivated travel audiences with her down-to-earth, approachable personality, both on screen and off. After hosting countless shows on the Travel Channel (Great Hotels, Passport to Europe, Great Weekends, and Passport to Latin America, to name a few) and traveling to more than 220 cities in 49 countries, she’s much more than a travel expert. I got to speak to her this week about her travels, from what to pack to what her favorite destinations are. Here’s a sampling of our conversation: 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
Renting a car in a foreign country can be a budget-friendly way to take the road less traveled, but can also result in getting lost on streets with names you can’t read. GPS technology can keep you on track, but can also be expensive. Renting a GPS for a weeklong European road trip can easily run you $100 above the cost of the car, and buying downloadable maps for your own Garmin or TomTom will cost about the same. Here’s a solution that can keep you from breaking the bank – Pocket Earth, a $5.99 app (though right now it’s $2.99) that provides turn-by-turn directions without jacking up your phone bill. Read more
New Yorkers had their wishes granted this past Memorial Day with the arrival of Citibike stations throughout Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.
The long-awaited bike share program installed sturdy, easy-to-use bikes on corners throughout the city, opening up the possibility for fast and reliable transportation. While many New Yorkers use the bikes for commuting, they can also be a great way for visitors to see the city.
Here are five fun routes for seeing some of the city’s most iconic views from two wheels. Read more
In many ways, the smartphone has put the conventional in-car GPS to pasture. Five years ago, dashboard-mounted navigation devices were a dime a dozen, and they were probably your gadget of choice when it came to holiday gift giving. The likes of Garmin and TomTom were rolling in the dough as motorists everywhere realized that a single product could almost always prevent them from winding up in the middle of nowhere.
These days, it’s different. Smartphones now include phenomenal mapping systems, the vast majority of which are free. Google Maps is available for Android and iPhone, offering gratis turn-by-turn navigation in almost every developed nation on the planet. (TomTom and Navigon offer apps as well, but those typically cost $30 and up for nearly identical performance.) So, what’s a company like Magellan to do? The old saying applies – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Read more
Ninety-nine percent of the time I travel with just a carry-on. It’s convenient, saves me money and time on both ends of my trip (checking in and skipping baggage claim). But one of my biggest travel pet peeves is when people don’t know the rules to carrying-on, namely the in-flight etiquette. So, I’m breaking it down for you so you can avoid those evil glances from your fellow seatmates on your next flight. Here’s the ultimate guide to carry-on etiquette… Read more
Your smartphone allows you to do everything from tell time to watch all eight Harry Potter films. Apps have also become a thing of necessity on phones from helping us track our flights to playing pointless games involving birds. And the hotel industry isn’t far behind. Today, some of the top brands in the business offer their guests robust apps that allow them such benefits as remote check-in and the ability to book spa treatments.
Take a look at these five hotel brands that are upping the ante in the mobile app space. Read more
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