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“Ok Google, show me my trip.”
Say these words into your smartphone, and watch what happens: The world around you melts into a swirl of Technicolor. Suddenly you’re standing on a lunar landscape that resembles the merged imaginations of Salvador Dali and Willy Wonka. A winged unicorn appears, your spirit guide, and motions for you to mount his back. You take flight across a starry sky, leaving a ribbon of rainbow in your wake.
Sorry, just kidding. It’s not that kind of trip.
Jaunted Interviews / Cruise Travel / Ships / At-Sea WiFi / Quantum of the Seas / Royal Caribbean / Travel News / WiFi / Travel Tech / Technology / O3b Communications / Allure of the Seas / Anthem of the Seas / Oasis of the Seas / Caribbean Travel / → All Tags
"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 sternin 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:
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.
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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.