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On your next trip out of town keep an eye out for some charging stations at a few major airports. Sure it’s not worth scoring some airfare just to check them out, but we can’t complain when someone is doing something to make the travel experience that much better.
In total there’s 169 brand new charging stations doing their thing, as they’ve been installed over the last couple weeks at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and Miami International Airport. Look for them in areas where plenty of travelers are coming and going—think spots like the gate areas, the restaurants, and the shops.
Travel Photography / Instagram / Hyperlapse / Videos / Travel Tech / iPhone / → All Tags
Have you posted a Hyperlapse yet?
Hyperlapse from Instagram, a free video app released yesterday to the iTunes app store, is enjoying runaway success, with more than 40,000 Instagrams bearing the #hyperlapse hashtag in just the first 24 hours. The quick uptake isn't surprising; the app is well-designed, easy to use, easy to sync with social media, and inspirational in nature.
It's obvious from the first moment of the first Hyperlapse (Instagram's promo video, above), that this brand new app is
god's Instagram's gift to mobile travel photography. Wired even went so far as to call it a "$15,000 video setup in your hand."
As you return to reality and head off to work after the weekend, we've got a little food for thought to spark a few daydreams. This weekend, we read a very interesting story from the BBC about how a group of psychologists are using virtual reality "time travel" to help people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
In a nutshell, patients enter a virtual world which allows them to interact with a situation they experienced in real life and come to terms with the decisions they made and now regret.
Obviously, the intent of the study has little to do with leisure travel, but the technology being used sure does. For example, the psychologists heading the study said that "participants could walk, talk and move similar to how they would in real life," and that "in virtual reality, the brain's low level perceptual system does not distinguish between the virtual and the real world; the brain takes what it sees and hears in a surrounding environment as given."
We cover a lot of smartphone applications that help make life on the road a little easier. And, without question, these products of technology in our pockets allow us to take shortcuts with our trip planning that were not possible in the past, from driving directions and virtual guidebooks to researching hotel prices from a café.
In that sense, the smartphone has eliminated the risk of “getting lost” while traveling, ensuring we always have a safety net at our side. They also double as our cameras, and have eliminated the need for casual travelers to carry two pieces of equipment.
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Confession: we're extremely heavy users of data on our smartphones, since those phones connect us to social media, work, maps, and pretty much everything else while on foreign soil. We're not ones to "power down" on a trip, unless the destination is completely off the grid. Thus, one of our largest concerns is being smacked with a ridiculously large international data roaming bill upon return home.
To prevent against big bills, we search for SIM card packages offering unlimited data usage, and recently had a great experience with one in Japan, a country with such advanced cell phone technology that it can be challenging to use anything but the latest handset. And, unfortunately, Japan doesn't make it easy for foreigners to purchase a SIM card; one must be rented.
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Two days ago, when checking in for a flight from Denver to Guatemala City on the United app, we were unable to obtain a mobile boarding pass and had to check in at the desk upon arriving at the airport.
The reason for this is that a passenger's passport must be verified before a boarding pass - regardless of whether it's paper or mobile - can be issued on international flights. Surely, you're familiar with the self check-in kiosk that makes you scan your passport, and that send you to the desk agent when it malfunctions.
Here’s something new when it comes to airport technology, and it’s all taking place over at Helsinki Airport.
The airport is going to be the first in the world to actually kind of track passengers, as well as each and every movement that they make as they progress through the terminals and concourses. If WiFi is enabled on your mobile phone then they’ll be able to see where you’re going; however, thankfully it does sound like you need to opt-in to things before airport officials will be checking you out.
Travel Tech / Passports / DTW / Delta / → All Tags
Our favorite piece of travel technology to spread in 2014 is the Automated Passport Control (APC) Kiosk, and every new airport added to the list of users is one more notch for progress. Joining the club this summer have been Newark, Atlanta, andnewest of allDetroit Metropolitan International Airport, who just completed installation of 30 shiny kiosks.
The APC, which began at Vancouver International Airport, now allow travelers arriving from international flights to quickly enter their details, snap a photo, receive a stamp, and continue on their merry way into baggage claim; this is as opposed to waiting in a long line to see an agent for the usual passport review and stamp. It's not Global Entry; it's something better than Global Entry, not to mention the fact it's completely free.
On aircraft with televisions in the seatbacks, the system is pretty self explanatory. But on older planes where there are no personal entertainment systems, the content will need to be accessed through your own device, such as a laptop, iPad, or Tablet. If you're using an older computer or operating system, you'll need to update it in order to stream the database of movies and television shows.
Cruise Travel / Cunard / Queen Mary 2 / Transatlantic Travel / Inmarsat / Travel Tech / WiFi / At-Sea WiFi / Ships / Travel Tips / Viking River Cruises / → All Tags
At-sea WiFI is a beautiful thing, but this beauty doesn’t come without a price tag. Cruise ships around the world have offered connectivity from sea to shining sea for several years thanks to Inmarsat’s satellites buzzing about in space, and yet the cost of using even one hour of internet is shocking and, dare we say it, turning travelers away from oceangoing vacations.
There is hope, however; onboard a recent transatlantic voyage of Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, we hooked onto an internet signal every day, at all hours, from all over the ship, despite our location of “somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean,” and came away with scores of ideas on how to keep those WiFi costs down while still logging on:
Japan Airlines / JAL / Airlines / Airline News / Tech Travel / Travel Tech / HND / Airports / → All Tags
We have been there and you probably have been too, as there’s that situation when it’s time to go and you can’t find the gate agent. Well one airline wants to ensure it’s aware of the gate agents’ location at all times, as they’re hooking them up to a little bit of a tracking device.
Japan Airlines is teaming up with Nomura Research Institute to show off what they can do with an iBeacon and a smart watch. The test run is already underway, as they’re trying things out over at Tokyo-Haneda within Domestic Terminal 1.
Have you seen any of these HappyOrNot Machines in your travels? Apparently these little feedback kiosks have been kicking around at airports across the globe, as well as everywhere else from pizza places to other retail locations.
It’s all part of the plan to gather thoughts and opinions regarding the airport experience, as officials look to improve upon the traveler experience. There’s usually a question, and then some simple smiley faces—or sad faces—and corresponding colors to share your feelings.