Tag: Travel Apps

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Whale Sightings in BC? There’s An App For That

July 2, 2015 at 12:50 PM | by | Comment (1)

Whale watching season in the Pacific Northwest is in full swing! (Your best chance of seeing whales is from April to September.) If you find yourself in British Columbia this summer, keep an eye out for fins.

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6 Tips for Using Apple Watch on Your Next Flight

June 30, 2015 at 7:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

Apple Watch debuted just two months ago, but from the get-go 10 airlines were ready for the gadget's launch, enabling their mobile apps to work with the flick of a wrist. Yet while having your boarding pass basically imprinted on your body is a technological marvel, using Apple Watch to check in for your flight and board the plane is not as easy as we hoped it would be. Here are some tips on using Apple Watch for your next flight.

1. CHECK-IN ON YOUR IPHONE FIRST
Air France was one of the first airlines to update their app to work with Apple Watch and indeed, the app works like a dream. This contributor could pull up my boarding pass, bar code and all. However, like most functions on the Apple Watch, the app is tied to your iPhone via Bluetooth. So you must log-in to the app on your iPhone first, check-in there and then your watch app will be updated with your flight info and boarding pass.

2. SAVE YOUR PASS TO PASSBOOK
This sounds obvious, but when I arrived at CDG to check-in for a flight, I consulted my watch to show my boarding pass. Except I stupidly went through the Air France app instead of my Passbook. The Air France app was logged out, probably because my phone was in airplane mode (I was trying to save on my international roaming costs), which turns off the Bluetooth connection. Flustered and afraid of making people behind me wait, I pulled out my iPhone and showed my mobile boarding pass at the ticket desk. If only I had pulled up Passbook first.

3. HAVE A BACKUP PASS READY, JUST IN CASE
Whether it's on your iPhone or a paper pass, have it somewhere close-by in case you encounter an airport employee who's not ready to deal with your early tech adopter-ness. This is especially true for customs. The agents stamping my passport needed to see the boarding pass with my name on it. With the Watch, you have to hold out your wrist at an awkward angle and then scroll through the different parts of the pass. It's far easier to carry a paper pass or show your mobile pass, especially when you don't speak the local language. In America, TSA checkpoints should be able to accept your Watch scans, even if you might have to loosen the Watch to get it in front of the scanner.

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Expedia and Tinder Have Hooked Up to Research Romance Travel

June 19, 2015 at 10:04 AM | by | Comments (0)

So, like, here's what we heard happened: Expedia was out one night, and saw Tinder at a bar talking to this total gnome. (Orbitz. Do you know her?) Tinder was looking pretty good — all hot and trendy and whatnot — and Expedia, feeling kind of insecure about getting older and losing its hipness, thought dating younger might totally boost its social stock. "On the surface, we have nothing in common," thought Expedia, making sure its teeth were food-free in a compact mirror. "But I really feel like I'm vibing on some serious chemistry right now." So Expedia sauntered up, introduced itself, and now, like, they're totally moving in together. I heard they even got a dog. (Rescue, obvs.)

Okay, okay. While that may be a fictionalized version of how things went down, the real story ends the same way: Expedia and Tinder have hooked up, with the travel and dating app brands putting their brains together to explore the wide world of romantic travel. How so?

First up, head to Expedia's Instagram page right now and you'll find a link to play its new #MatchMadeInTravel game, a quick browser-based diversion that "matches" you with a perfect travel destination using a Tinder-like approach: It tosses some attractive photos at you, and you swipe left or right depending on how much that location turns you on. (We generally prefer more shirtless pics, but in the case of Australia, we'll swipe right on faith. You know those abs on point.) When your match is determined you have the option of exploring Expedia-based deals related to that destination. Clever.

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Cheers to BLAXi, a Car Service App Specifically Designed For Your Drunk Nights

June 17, 2015 at 10:58 AM | by | Comments (0)

Public Service Announcement: Your excuses for driving drunk are about to go from zero to — less than zero. Sub-zero. You could try to make up a mealy-mouthed excuse, but the profound lack of excuses would cancel it out.

Because coming soon to Los Angeles is BLAXi, an on-demand car service app specifically designed for the inebriated. How so? Hopefully you’re already a responsible sort who hails a taxi or calls an Uber when you know you’ve had one — or two, or three — too many at the bar. But BLAXi summons two (tuxedo shirt-wearing) drivers with the tap of an app: one to drive you home, one to drive your car home. No more cabbing it back to the scene of the vodka- and bad decisions-fueled crime in the morning to fetch your car. You can wake up, bleary-eyed and grasping for Gatorade, knowing that your ride is right outside, waiting to take you to get a greasy bagel sandwich that will make the pain go away. (Of note: Besides impromptu car summons, you’ll be able to pre-schedule a BLAXi pickup up to six hours in advance.)

BLAXi hasn’t yet revealed its rates, but a statement about the impending launch states that the service “charges riders based on mileage, and prices are comparable to other ridesharing services.” (A 10-mile trip, it says, would go for about $29.50.) According to an Indiegogo campaign that is helping to fund the launch, BLAXi will also donate a portion of every ride to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

BLAXi is slated to roll out in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego this summer, and other major cities by late 2015. (Hopefully we’ll have figured out its name by then. Blackout Taxi? Boozy Los Angeles?)

[Screenshot courtesy of BLAXi]

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10 Airlines Already Up and Running With Apple Watch

April 29, 2015 at 9:05 AM | by | Comments (0)

The Apple Watch has arrived, and airlines across the globe have been quick to update apps and software to take advantage of all the new features. Here's ten airlines already up and running with the latest and greatest in fashion technology:

Delta
· Fly Delta for Apple Watch allows you to keep track of your time to departure and arrival, as well as gate and baggage carousel information
· Any eBoarding passes that you save to Passbook will automatically be available on Apple Watch, so just scan your wrist at that gate and go

American Airlines
· Version 4.0.0 is here, and that brings support for Apple Watch
· Sounds like you need to swipe "Keep Me Logged In" on your phone, and then your wrist will show you everything from updates on upcoming trips and check-in to connecting gate and baggage claim information

British Airways
· Your Apple Watch won't skip a beat when crossing the pond, as scheduled departure times, flight status, and weather at your destination are just a few of the features
· Gate change information should also update in real-time, so just check your watch every once in a while while waiting in line for an airport snack to stay up-to-date.

United Airlines
· United calls out a lot of perks and features, but they don't specifically make mention of all the Apple Watch goodies
· Check reservations and flight status right from the face of your watch

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App Alert: Explore National Parks with Your Own Private Tour Guide

April 10, 2015 at 10:40 AM | by | Comments (0)

Would you like to pull a personal tour guide out of your pocket on your next National Parks visit? Me too. But because holograms are not yet an option, here’s Just Ahead.”

This latest entry in the universe of handy travel apps is – well, handy. Like, it fits in your hand, on your smartphone, and calls up half a dozen (and growing) virtual “destination guides” of landmark attractions; the focus is on natural wonders like the Yosemite, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon National Parks.

Each tour includes plenty of points of interest within the parks, and many hours’ worth of narration about the sites provided by award-winning travel journalists. (I guess my invitation got lost in the mail. Um, alongside my awards.)

The audio guide offers advice on where to turn and what to do, but also adapts to your route if you just wheel around exploring. And each program can be downloaded (alongside its map) so it doesn’t matter if you lose GPS capability because your smartphone’s signals are bouncing around on them thar canyon walls.

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The U.S. Mobile Passport App Wants to Get You Through Customs Faster

March 20, 2015 at 10:16 AM | by | Comments (0)

Automated passport kiosks aren’t anything new, and in fact they continue to pop up here, there, and everywhere to streamline the customs clearance process. Well now there’s another technology tidbit joining the process, as Custom and Border Protection is now offering up a mobile app to help keep things moving along.

Available in both Apple and Android flavors the Mobile Passport App helps you enter details in advance, and in theory will do its best to expedite your return back into the nifty fifty. Basically the app eliminates the need for some of the traditional forms, and you’ll be able to tap, swipe, and enter your passport information electronically.

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FlightCar Lets You Rent Out Your Car While Your Traveling

March 6, 2015 at 2:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you find lipstick marks around the tailpipe, please notify a FlightCar representative.

For many people, joining the “sharing economy” is sort of like entering an open relationship. It sounds like a good idea at first — enjoy stability, plus fringe benefits! But once you actually see a stranger peel away in your car, or find a stray hair left behind in your Airbnb-loaned bed, the reality of letting someone else manhandle your precious possessions suddenly feels unsettling.

On the other hand, what you don’t know can’t hurt you.

Such is the premise behind FlightCar. This smart-sounding service lets drivers make use of the hundreds of autos that sit idling in airport parking garages while their owners are out of town.

Want to make some extra money while you’re traveling? Agree to share your car via FlightCar, and when you drop it off (for free parking) at one of 11 partner airports FlightCar will hook it up with a pre-screened (read: responsible) driver to use it while you’re gone.

You score easy cash, and the car is back waiting for you – like nothing ever happened! – upon your return.

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Dining App, Reserve, Offers Check-Free Dining...For a Price

February 23, 2015 at 2:15 PM | by | Comments (2)

You’re hungry. You’re indecisive. You shirk unnecessary human contact. Don’t worry, now there’s an app for that--it's called Reserve.

Jared Leto, Jon Favreau, and Will.i.am are among the celebrity investors in this mobile dining app — or rather, "digital concierge," per its website — which lets foodies in Boston, Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco secure seats, and automatically pay the tab, at over 100 different restaurants. (Chicago: you’re up next.)

Reserve users enter the size of their party and specify a window of time in which they’d like to dine; the app notifies them when the seats are locked down. It’s not readily apparent what distinguishes this process from the old-fashioned method of calling ahead, except for removing all that pesky immediacy. It is helpful that restaurant options are limited to a “curated” selection of quality spots, rather than overwhelming users with every Yelp-reviewed eatery around.

More intriguing is the payment system, which takes a cue from Uber. (One of that ride-hailing app’s founders is also behind the scenes on Reserve.)

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Headed to Colorado? This Adventure Travel App Can Help You Get Off the Beaten Path

February 18, 2015 at 6:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

Travelers looking to discover lesser known outdoor adventures in Colorado should worry not - there's an app for that.

Gociety, a Denver-based startup, is a social network for adventurers. The free site allows members to share and connect with the rest of the Gociety community about outdoor sports, such as rock climbing, skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.

Users can get recommendations from locals or join in on already planned outings with other members. Aka - you can meet up with locals who might be hiking or climbing in an area that you would not have discovered otherwise.

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MSC Cruises' New App Lets You Tour Ships and More (No Dramamine Needed)

January 26, 2015 at 12:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

How you remotely toured a cruise ship in 1989: Go to the mall, find the temporary “ship deck” installation by the escalator, sidestep some inflatable Mylar palm trees and procure an informational pamphlet from a cruise line salesperson in a sailor hat.

How you remotely tour a cruise ship in 2015: Download an app.

Last week, MSC Cruises announced the launch of their mobile app that lets smartphone users, and prospective cruisers, take virtual tours of the fleet’s 12 ships. The free download lets you explore the nooks and crannies of each ship – from staterooms and restaurants to spas and theaters – while offering a litany of other features: like cruise itineraries, background info about destinations and ports, global positioning features that let you track the movements of the fleet, and even live onboard webcam feeds. (Which is really the cheapest way to travel, when you think about it.)

Overall it’s a pretty solid idea from MSC, which cruises year-round in the Mediterranean and seasonally throughout other worldwide waters. Download the app here to start cyber-surfing in preparation for your next cruise IRL.

[Image: msccruisesusa.com]

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Travel App Review: Let RideScout Do the Navigating in 69 Cities

December 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

Booking a plane ticket to a new city is, for the most part, fairly easy. It's the arriving in that city which can be a headache, figuring out how best to explore and get around. Fret no more, because that's all RideScout's specialty.

This newish mobile app, available for both Apple and Android devices, helps travelers get from point A to point B faster and smarter using some GPS technology and an easy-to-use interface. RideScout gathers together all the ground transportation in the area and presents it as simply as possible, including directions, estimated cost, and arrival times, ensuring that you get where you need to go by cab, public transport, car-sharing, or biking.

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