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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.
You are a little braver—and maybe daring—than we are, as for the most part we will be staying put during the madness that is the Thanksgiving travel week. However, if you’re planning to be on the move this week there’s a few travel tech goodies that might just help the journey go that much more smoothly—or at least a little better.
The folks over at Verizon are getting into the holiday season, and by doing so they are giving away some stuff. It’s all part of a new holiday that they have basically made up, as apparently now the day before Thanksgiving will be known as Connection Day.
Travel Gear / Carry-on Luggage / Checked Luggage / Fugu Luggage / Kickstarter / Travel Tech / Luggage / Baggage / → All Tags
Don't think so? Take a flight without it some time, perhaps on a quick overnight with just a messenger bag, and you'll quickly find that luggage is its own particular brand of torture. Travelers with it are less agile, earlier exhausted, responsible for extra fees, potential crime targets, and forced to spend more time at the airport dealing with it. Then there's the whole separate nightmare of if it's delayed or gone missing.
2014 marks the 100th Anniversary of commercial flight, and it's shocking to think how little the baggage situation has changed in that century. Adding wheels and decreasing weight have seemingly been the most pervasive advances in the luggage industry through the decades, and the most passionate arguments occur over "carry-on only or checked?" and "two-wheel or four-wheel?" rather than contemplating why we're still dragging our belongings behind us like wayward hobos.
There is some hope, however; a company called Fugu Luggage has taken to Kickstarter to seek help producing what may be a breath of fresh air in the stodgy old luggage industry. It literally utilizes air to expand from a compact wheeled carry-on into a durable checked bag, complete with interior organization and "omniwheels."
Picture it: You and your friend are seated aisles away from one another on a plane. The devastation sets in. How are you going to pass the next few hours? The stranger to your left seems uninterested in your running commentary on the sub-par in-flight movie options and relative attractiveness of each flight attendant. This is serious.
Airports / San Fransisco Travel / SFO / Travel News / Social Media / Airport News / Travel Tech / → All Tags
From yoga rooms and prayer rooms to wineries and food trucks, airports sure are thinking outside the box lately. Now, the folks over at San Fransisco International Airport have done the most San Francisco-y thing ever and created a new concept room for travelers to spend a few final minutes brainstorming and networking on the ground before boarding a flight.
A special space called Converge is now set aside for SFO passengers to come together and exchange ideas about technology, start-ups, the shared economy, "disruption," travel, politics, and ways to change the world. While the room is not limited to these ideas, the airport thinks these are good ideas to start. The #Converge brainstorming room is designed to create more of a community for those flyers who might feel lonely on a long layover, or who maybe just seek fresh input. Kitted out with free wi-fi, tables, chairs, power outlets, a white board and a magnetic chalk board, the #Converge room actually sounds like it might also be useful for "digital nomads" in transit.
United Airlines / United / Airlines / Airline News / EWR / Airports / Airport News / iPads / Travel Tech / Tech Travel / → All Tags
The folks over at the airline have just made a pretty big order over at the Apple Store, as they’re spending $120 million on new iPads and other gadgets to modernize bits and pieces of the airport experience. It sounds like the focus will be within Terminal C, as airline officials certainly recognize that their home at the airport is a little tired and certainly less than welcoming. We’re not so sure that travelers can be tricked by a little touch screen trendiness, but we shall see.
Last week, the 2014 World Travel Market Industry Report was released to the public. In short, it is an annual global survey of exhibitors and buyers that highlight travel trends, including who’s buying what and who’s going where and how they’re going about doing it. Like any industry report, it is to be analyzed and regarded as a single, general resource amongst a sea of information, but it is fun, and often useful, to step back and consider some of the major themes brought forth by the report.
The thing that jumped out at me has to do with the ever-emerging and ever-growing segment of peer-to-peer travelers. If an attitude of “ew, I don’t want to sleep in someone else’s bed” ever existed amongst travelers, it has certainly been silenced to the point of a whisper. Preference for vacation rentals, including the rooms to rent found on sites like AirBnb, have grown incredibly in the past decade.
Lost luggage? Thing of the past.
Overweight carry-on? No more.
Forgetting the keys to your TSA baggage locks? Impossible!
It was probably only a matter of time before carry-ons got the smartphone treatment and, thanks to Bluesmart, some hassles of heading to an airport may soon be forgotten.
A new carry-on bag claims to keep travelers connected to their cabin baggage with the help of an iPhone app. It allows travelers to weigh their luggage instantly, locate misplaced bags, remotely lock and unlock the suitcase, and even charge devices while on the road. Here are the major features:
Space Travel / Space Tourism / Virgin / Virgin Galactic / Spaceships / Travel News / Travel Tech / MHV / Ansari X Prize / Science Travel / Richard Branson / Rocket Science / New Mexico Travel / Spaceport America / → All Tags
[Update: This feature was written and published prior to the tragic events of 31 October, 2014, when SpaceShipTwo suffered an "anomaly" and was lost, with one fatality.]
How about Paris for the weekend, or a two-week trip around Southeast Asia? Forget itthat's so 2014, so terrestrial. Should Virgin Galactic have their way, 2015 will be the year you book a vacation of suborbital space travel, or perhaps a supersonic 45-minute flight from California to London.
This month SpaceShipTwo completed her 54th test flight, improving the odds that next year will indeed be the one to finally kick off space tourism. In fact, Virgin Galactic has already begun the big move from Mojave, CA to Las Cruces, NM, the latter being home to Spaceport America and, hopefully soon, flights to space full of paying passengers (6, to be specific, plus 2 pilots).
Seeing as the US treats spaceship technology with something of the same intense secrecy as defense technology, much of what Virgin Galactic's been up to out in their hangar in the California desert is hush-hush top secret. The 10th Anniversary of their Ansari X Prize win however opened up a small window for us to peek behind those massive doors. Here's what we can tell (and show!) you:
Travel Tech / WiFi / In-Flight WiFi / Gogo / TMobile / Train Travel / Amtrak / ICE / DeutscheBahn / On-Track WiFi / → All Tags
Did you know that today, October 29, is National Cat Day? Well it's also International Internet Day, which is a perfect coincidence if we don't say so ourselves. On this day in 1969, the first electronic message was sent over ARPANET. It's this network that developed into the internet we know and use today, no matter where we are traveling in the world.
Travel Tech / Windowless Planes / Technology / Airplanes / Travel News / Bad Ideas / Virtual Balcony / → All Tags
"It's too bright! Close the window, please." - your annoying seatmate
Despite recent reports that "windowless planes" are the wave of the future, air travelers have a love-hate relationship with airplane windows and turning the whole fuselage into a portal to view the sky around you just will not fly (pardon the pun).
You can thank British firm CPI (Centre for Progress Innovation) for the concept and, while it's a fun daydream, there is no way a plane with screens in place of windows will be happening in our lifetime. Here's why:
A few early-stage concepts for what the future of airplane design might look like within the next decade has been making the rounds through the media recently. Three companies in particular, Paris-based Technicon Design, England's Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), and Boston's Spike Aerospace, have emerged at the forefront of the research, and they clearly agree on one thing: Airplanes of the future won't have windows.
You can click on the company links above for more specific details on their individual projects, but the bottom line is that removing windows from fuselages will (eventually) be cheaper and more environmentally friendly due to reduced weight. According to CPI, airplanes without windows are lighter than airplanes with windows, and "for every 1% reduction in weight, the approximate fuel saving is 0.75%. If you save weight, you save fuel. And less fuel means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and lower operational cost."