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Sony Hackers Reveal Celebrity Hotel Aliases

December 10, 2014 at 9:51 AM | by | Comments (0)

"Hackers Vs. Illuminati." Name of next year's summer blockbuster movie, or inevitable result of this whole Sony scandal?

Both, probably. In case you've been living under a rock, the film studio has been hit by an embarrassing cyber-attack, one that continues to result in leaks of sensitive information: from stars' social security numbers to the kind of very entertaining emails that refer to Angelina Jolie as a "minimally talented spoiled brat." (Oh my.) The latest revelation? Pseudonyms used by various Hollywood celebs when they travel — you know, for hotel check-in and other incognito reservations. We've included some of the recently revealed aliases below, in approximate ascending order of cleverness.

Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg News, investigators have managed to trace the source of the attack back to the five-star St. Regis Bangkok Hotel. Ironically, whoever actually did this dirty work remains the one (in)famous hotel guest with their identity still unknown.

Hackers: 1. Illuminati: 0.

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Cruise Ship WiFi Sails Out of the Dark Ages: An Interview with Royal Caribbean's CIO

December 9, 2014 at 1:01 PM | by | Comments (0)

"This changes everything."

That's the boasty slogan of ads on TV commercials and even plastered on bus shelters around NYC, referring to the newest cruise ship now sailing: Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas.

The Quantum calls itself a "Smartship," deploying fresh technology from bow to stern—in some cases, technology that's never before been seen on a cruise ship, including at-sea WiFi faster than the usual slower-than-stalagmites connection and dedicated apps to help plan your cruise time in real-time.

Between riding the North Star and peeking into multi-level suites, we managed a moment with Bill Martin, Chief Information Officer for Royal Caribbean to discuss faster speeds, better satellites, and what all this means for the bottom line of your cruise folio:

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6 Ways You Could Spend the Navy Secretary's $4.7 Million Travel Budget

December 8, 2014 at 10:08 AM | by | Comments (0)

If you haven't heard, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has spent $4.7 million on travel this year so far. The $4.7 million has taken Mabus over 955,000 miles through Iraq, Afghanistan, numerous trips to German military bases, and a few relationship-typing “we-need-to-talk” type of chats Japan and South Korea.

With this, it’s truly difficult to grasp the magnitude of 955,000 travel miles. To quickly put that in perspective, that’s about the distance between Earth and Mars… times four! For fun, we decided to figure out some crazy, cool, and crazy-cool things to do with a $4.7 million and 955,000-mile travel budget.

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Cue the Nautical Puns. Virgin Cruises is Happening!

December 5, 2014 at 11:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

Branson with a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant in the Bellagio fountain, Las Vegas

As the new year approaches, so does what the cruise industry calls "wave season." This means a slew of great promotions are offered at the beginning of the year, every year. It's perfect timing as most of the country is in a deep freeze. Before the deals, however, comes news of what to expect with cruise ships in 2015 and 2016. Here's the latest:

· Airplanes and spaceships and cruise ships, oh my?

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group confirmed today that Virgin Cruises is a GO, with two planned ships. While itineraries, sail dates, and ship specifics are hush-hush for now, Branson has dropped some hints:

We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love.

They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.

How will the Virgin Cruise experience really compare to or include(?) their other travel offerings, like the airlines and Virgin Hotels? Are we bracing ourselves for another megaship or something more intimate? Where will the itineraries travel to? Will it be the saturated Caribbean, hot spot China, easy Europe? Whatever the decision, we'll be booking that inaugural for sure.

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Become a Resident of Estonia...on the Internet

December 5, 2014 at 10:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

Twenty-five years ago, Estonia, the independent nation, didn’t exist. It was a country stuck behind the Iron Curtain, controlled by the Soviet Union. This week, Estonia launched into a technological forefront by declaring anyone—as long as you’re of age—the chance to become a resident, an e-Resident, that is.

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Yet Another Creative Way to Experience Local Eats

December 4, 2014 at 2:46 PM | by | Comments (0)

Stir Cooking School in Denver, Colorado

Earlier, we took a look at a new service that lets you dive into a destination's food scene by having dinner at a local's house. But if you're looking for something a little more hands on, we've got another idea for you, one that will let you take home far more than leftovers.

Cooking lessons are popular choices for aspiring chefs and locals looking for something different to do on a date, but they can also be pretty cool for tourists as well. Especially since many cooking schools offer classes that deal with local cuisine. So, you not only get to show up, have a few drinks, and cook and eat a local meal, you get to take home the knowledge - and recipes - of the local food scene. Below, we round up a few examples to show you the possibilities:

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A Weak Australian Dollar Means You Should Finally Book That Bucket List Trip to Oz

Where: Australia
December 1, 2014 at 11:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Alright you guys, listen closely because we have the some of the best news ever for travelers with Down Under on the to-do list. This very second is the best time to make moves on planning that trip to Australia.

Today may be the first official day of summer in Oz and sure, the temps are already very warm, but there's plenty season left for you to take advantage of the latest news: the Aussie dollar has hit a 4-year low against the U.S. dollar.

Basically what this means is that your money can now go much further than it has in the past 4 years. To be honest, we have battled with unfavorable exchange rates for about 8 years now. Looking at the numbers, each of our hard-earned greenbacks buys about $1.18 AUD, which turns out to be just under 25% more than in 2010. This can only mean one thing: souvenirs, tours and hotels booked in AUD are nearly 20% less expensive, and if you've been to Oz before, you know this is a helpful "markdown."

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India Finally Launches Visas-on-Arrival for US Travelers

Where: India
December 1, 2014 at 8:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

Almost two months ago, during a visit by the country's Prime Minister to the United States, it was reported that India's visa-on-arrival program would be delayed until the summer of 2015. But last week, as we were enjoying our turkey dinners, India announced that the system was officially up and running for travelers from 43 countries, including the States.

The new program definitely makes entering the country a lot easier for U.S. travelers and is a pretty straighforward process. You apply for the visa online at least four days before your trip and up to 30 days in advance. You will have to upload a photo and pay the $60 fee. When approved, the visa will be sent in an email and is valid for 30 days. Remember that your passport must valid for six months from the dates of travel.

You can find all the information and details online.

[Photo: Flickr]

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First Look: The 2015 Red Bull Air Race Schedule

November 26, 2014 at 5:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

Are you a fan of high-performance airplanes zooming through an obstacle course of pylons while traveling at speeds up to 230 mph only 50-80 feet above water or track? Then you likely had an awesome time this past year for the Red Bull Air Race World Championships, and should mark off your iCal with the news of their 2015 race schedule, just announced today.

2014 marked the return of the race after a nearly 4-year break to re-evaluate safety. The most recent series of races concluded with a stop in Austria in late October after hitting Abu Dhabi, Rovinj (Croatia), Putrajaya (Malaysia), Gdynia (Poland), Ascot (UK), Fort Worth and Las Vegas.

The good news for 2015 is that the US will still be represented on the schedule, with Red Bull returning to the Fort Worth and Las Vegas racetracks. The bad news is that no new US stops are included, and the races will again entirely overlook Australia and South America.

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Venice is Tired of Noisy Rolling Luggage, May Fine Tourists Up to $620

Where: Venice, Italy
November 21, 2014 at 2:23 PM | by | Comments (0)

Remember how we said that luggage is the worst? Yeah, well the whole of Venice, Italy agrees and may even be successful with a new proposal to outlaw rolling baggage.

As there are only two ways to get around Venice (by foot or by boat), tourists who haven't lined their pockets with enough cash for a private water taxi transfer typically have to hoof it along canals, down alleys, and over bridges to reach their accommodation, lugging their baggage the whole way.

2013 was a record year for Venice tourism; La Serenissima welcomed nearly 60,000 daily visitors on average. The Venice Times actually figured out that each Venetian who lives in the historic center (excluding the islands) is "'in charge' of about 354 tourists per day." Compare that to Florence's 22 tourists per resident, and it's obvious Venice is a little crowded. Each visitor naturally arrives with some belongings, and that's exactly the problem.

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A First Look at the First 'Smartship': 210 Original Photos of the Quantum of the Seas

November 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM | by | Comments (0)

What's longer than five 747s and yet can turn on a dime in NYC's Hudson River?

The Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship and the first to be branded a "smartship," is officially out on the ocean. Godmother Kristin Chenoweth christened her at Cape Liberty, New Jersey on November 14 and, with that crash of a massive bottle of Perrier-Jouët champagne, she begins a year of sailings out of New York Harbor to the Bahamas and Caribbean.

We spent the weekend onboard the Quantum, pushing buttons and opening doors to discover her secrets and put the much boasted about technology to the test. But first, let's take a long look at the ship—all 168,000 tonnes of fun—with completely original photos:

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Why Asiana Won't Land at SFO for 45 Days

November 17, 2014 at 9:17 AM | by | Comments (0)

It’s been over a year since the crash of Asiana 214 over at San Francisco International Airport, and now it looks like the government of South Korea is penalizing the carrier for its missteps that day.

The country’s transport ministry has made the call to suspend the airline’s ability to from Seoul over to San Francisco. The flight ban will last 45 days, and things will automatically kick in after six months. There is a chance for the airline to appeal and what not, so we just kind of need to stay tuned to see how things shake out.

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