Tag: Travel & Leisure

Hotels are making record profits from extra fees on stuff you don’t use

Hotels are making record profits from extra fees on stuff you don’t use

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The Andaz hotel chain, owned by Hyatt, bucks the trend of expensive minibars by offering free local snacks to guests.Image: Flickr, Simon QForget traffic jams, the Are we there yet?! whines, and bad weather. The real headache for many travelers is a quickly-growing list of hotel surcharges, even for items they never use. Guaranteeing two queen beds or one king bed will cost you, as will checking in early or checking out late. Don't need the in-room safe? You're likely still paying. And the overpriced can of soda may be the least of your issues with the hotel minibar. Vacationers are finding it harder to anticipate the true cost of their stay, especially because many of these charges vary from hotel to hotel, even within the same chain. Coming out of the recession, the travel industry gre...
Travel in the time of Ebola: What it’s like to travel to West Africa during the outbreak

Travel in the time of Ebola: What it’s like to travel to West Africa during the outbreak

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A woman walks past an Ebola health care center, rear, to be used for screening for Ebola virus patients at the border village of Kouremale, Mali, between Mali and Guinea, Nov. 17, 2014.Image: Baba Ahmed/Associated PressThe threat of the Ebola virus in Mali was evident before I even entered the airport after landing in the capital city. As I exited the bus carrying us from the tarmac to the terminal at Bamako, the passengers in front of me swiftly headed toward makeshift hand washing stations with signs warning of Ebola and instructing everyone to wash their hands for at least 20-30 seconds. Most obvious sign of Ebola threat in Mali: hand washing stations set up outside almost every building in Bamako and Bougouni. — Katie Aune (@katieaune) November 25, 2014 Next up — still before even en
11 Fulfilling Opportunities for Recent Grads

11 Fulfilling Opportunities for Recent Grads

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Congratulations! You graduated. You must be terrified. The job market may be a little rocky, however, that doesn't mean you can't spend your time wisely. Instead of sitting around at home and sulking or panicking all summer, be productive and do something exciting. If your itinerary is flexible after graduation, take advantage of the opportunity to pack a few interesting and offbeat experiences before selling your soul to a 9-to-5 desk job. Who says you can't be productive in your gap year(s)? Some of these options may require a college degree, like teaching English, but most of these are opportunities anyone could pursue. They will broaden your horizons, teach you valuable skills and sometimes help pay off a little debt. Many will show you a part of the world you've never before, just fo...
9 Online Resources to Plan a Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving

9 Online Resources to Plan a Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving may only occur once a year, but that doesn't mean you have to break the bank to host the festivities. Whether it's your first time impressing new friends and family or you're a seasoned veteran, a few simple steps can help you save a boatload of cash (just in time for Christmas, of course). But, before you start basting that turkey and demolishing that pumpkin pie, listen up. Always Start With a List Write it, type it, put it in your phone or chances are you will forget what you need. Free apps like List Bliss can help you when you are in a hurry. It will even sync to friends' devices, in real time, so they can help add or cross off items as well — effectively cutting down on time spent in the store. For the budget-conscious, the app also includes budget tracking that monit
Stranded Hiker Survived for Days by Eating Bugs and Drinking Melting Ice

Stranded Hiker Survived for Days by Eating Bugs and Drinking Melting Ice

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Sunset on Kearsarge Pinnacles in Kings Canyon National Park. Image: Flickr, Steve DunleavyFRESNO, California — A hiker who was stranded for six days in California's Sierra Nevada with a badly broken leg says survival mode kicked in when he treated his own injury and sought sustenance by eating crickets and moths, and drinking melting ice. Recovering at a Fresno hospital, Gregg Hein, 33, said Wednesday that he was a couple days into a solo hike high in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks northeast of Fresno when a large rock crushed his right leg above the ankle. After letting out a yelp, the Clovis man said his first thought was treating his dangling leg and protruding bone to boost his chances of making it out alive. "I have to get these next moments right," said Hein, an avid ou
3 Small Businesses You’ll Love to Shop Online

3 Small Businesses You’ll Love to Shop Online

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Although small businesses can’t always compete with the blowout deals of the larger retailers, shoppers appreciate the lasting connection they afford. Whether it’s swapping entrepreneurial horror stories with the owners of a favorite boutique, or getting a handwritten thank-you note from an Etsy store owner, personal touch can’t be manufactured. So, if you missed Small Business Saturday—the third-annual event strategically sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday—you’ve got a few more weeks to make up for it: Take time to shop at a few small businesses this holiday season. Often, that means shopping local. But with a little research, you can shop small online, too. Here are a few (mostly) lady-owned small businesses that offer great customer service and gifts for your loved ones.
Camp Inc.: Summer Camp for the Next Mark Zuckerberg

Camp Inc.: Summer Camp for the Next Mark Zuckerberg

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Camp Inc. will focus on teaching entrepreneurship while also infusing elements of traditional sleepaway programs and Jewish values. Campers are intended to step away with an understanding of how to launch a start-up.Image: Potter/Getty ImagesVal Weisler didn't want to wait to graduate to do what she loves, so one Friday afternoon about a year ago the high school sophomore started a company. She made a website after googling instructions on how to build one, put together a Facebook page, and launched The Validation Project, a community and resource for teens. The 16-year-old New York native is passionate about what she does and doesn't mind spending her free time working with professionals much older than she is instead of hanging out with friends. This summer though, Weisler will be immers...
12 Rugged Hotels Exposed to the Elements

12 Rugged Hotels Exposed to the Elements

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Image: WhitepodSummer is the perfect time to get your fill of nature, so why not do it in comfort and style? There's no need to catch Z's in a sleeping bag when you can snooze on a fluffy mattress beneath the stars. Hiking is so much better when there's a massage waiting for you and your sore muscles at the end of the trail. Cooking over a campfire is nice, but sitting back and breathing in the fresh air as your gourmet meal is delivered to you is next-level. It’s the great outdoors — but better. Roughing it takes on a new meaning with these superb outdoor-indoor accommodations. From open-air "star beds" with panoramic views of the Kenyan landscape to lavish cave suites, Mashable rounds up some of the most luxurious ways to get acquainted with nature. 1. Moose Meadow Lodge Image: Tre
15 Things the Kentucky Derby and Coachella Have in Common

15 Things the Kentucky Derby and Coachella Have in Common

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Left: Bastille fan Alice Hamer of Bath, England, reacts to the band's performance during day one of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival on Friday, April 11, 2014, in Indio, Calif. Right: A man attends the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in Louisville Ky., on May 2, 2014.Image: Composite ASSOCIATED PRESS and Chris Pizzello/Invision/APThe Kentucky Derby gallops into Louisville on Saturday, May 3. So prepare for Instagram pics full of lavender bermuda shorts, Vine videos spilling with champagne and more fascinators than you can throw up in. The event comes mere weeks after Coachella 2014, the bohemian, flower-strewn musical utopia — or the sweaty desert sandstorm that just happens to have music, depending on your point of view. In truth, the two crowds couldn't be more different. In the
500-Foot Ship Could Eliminate Seasickness With Artificial Waves

500-Foot Ship Could Eliminate Seasickness With Artificial Waves

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A single-hull hotel ship laid out by Norwegian firm Salt Ship Design is not only the largest of its kind, it might also cure seasickness. The ship, which is 500 feet long, will provide temporary housing to 800 people working on off-shore oil rigs. Thanks to built-in tanks crafted to counteract waves, living there will be almost like living at home. "The ship is designed primarily to have as little motion as possible on the gangway," Johannes Eldøy, a project developer at Salt Ship Design, told Mashable. "These roll reduction tanks have proven very efficient." The tanks are filled with water; air valves on the roof of each blast the water around to create waves of various sizes. The artificial waves balance out the natural ones so the boat doesn't rock. The vessel is also equipped with si
Nanotech Gloves Heat Hands to Ideal Temperature

Nanotech Gloves Heat Hands to Ideal Temperature

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It's difficult to keep your hands toasty in cold weather, even when you're wearing Thinsulate-lined everything. We take gloves on-and-off, making it more challenging to keep our hands warm on cold days or when we're skiing the slopes. But there are some pricey high-tech gloves that fit the bill — using sensors to detect when our digits get too chilly, so the gloves can warm them back up. The Chaval Response-XRT gloves ($390) are for the ultimate outdoors person — or anyone who intends to spend some time in freezing conditions. If you slip your hands into the gloves and one of your fingers is cold, the proprietary nanotechnology (in the form of a thin film inside the glove) will detect this temperature deviation and send more heat to that finger. As the fingertip warms, the film
A Washington, D.C., Maryland and NoVa adventure guide

A Washington, D.C., Maryland and NoVa adventure guide

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Image: Nicolas RaymondThere’s more to the nation’s capital than political jurisdiction, and Maryland and Virginia residents often overlook all there is to do and see right under their noses. Those who live in these areas are lucky to have a breadth of adventurous opportunities to venture outside, be active and maybe learn a thing or two. From kayaking and hiking to midnight tours and LED exhibits, D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia and their surroundings offer exciting escapes for residents and visitors alike. Fun in the snow Image: Flickr, Viola AragonWith winter comes ice, and with ice comes the opportunity for icy adventures. Just grab a helmet, a pick and some winter wear, and you’ll be ice climbing in no time. We suggest you enroll in an introductory climbing seminar before attempti
Google Maps Reveals How We Spent Summer Vacation

Google Maps Reveals How We Spent Summer Vacation

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U.S. travelers had visiting scenic landscapes on their mind this summer, as the top three Google Maps searches were park regions in the West: Death Valley National Park, Redwood National Park and Yosemite National Park. Google Maps has released an infographic that details how those in the U.S. and across the Northern Hemisphere traveled from May to September 2012. National parks occupied the top six spots on the list — with the Grand Canyon surprisingly coming it only at no. 6 — followed by the Empire State Building (no. 7), Myrtle Beach (no. 8), Niagara Falls (no. 9) and Times Square (no. 10) Overall, North Americans had their sights set on the best local beaches, while those in Spain, Italy and France searched for community swimming pools. In the U.K., indoor activities such as squash
These Carry-on Bags Will Charge Your Devices and Slide Through Security

These Carry-on Bags Will Charge Your Devices and Slide Through Security

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Traveling can be stressful. If you're anything like me, you often find yourself dashing through the airport, frantically trying to get through security and to the gate with enough time to hunt down an open outlet for one last bit of charge for your laptop. Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to worry about your gadgets running out of battery, or how many bins you need to take all those devices out of your carry-on in order to get through security? Bag and case company ECBC is trying to solve that problem with a line of rolling carry-on luggage that's not only TSA-compliant, it also includes a portable recharging unit. The bags are designed to speed you through security with a front-zippered flap for all your electronic gear. Instead of taking out all your devices, you simply unzip the ...
8 Ways Your Phone Doubles as a Wilderness Survival Tool

8 Ways Your Phone Doubles as a Wilderness Survival Tool

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No one can predict when they'll be in a survival situation, but it's never too late to be prepared. When you're lost in the middle of nowhere with limited resources, everything you have on your person becomes important — including your smartphone. We've combed through outdoorsy smartphone apps to find the ones that would be most appropriate for a survival situation where internet connections and phone signals are nonexistent. 1. Flashlight First, there's the trusty flashlight. The aptly named Flashlight (download for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad) and Brightest Flashlight (download for Android) are simple apps that use your phone's tiny LED flash to illuminate as well as any small modern flashlight you'll find in the camping aisle of your favorite retail store. We chose these two apps for
Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker Works While Floating on Water

Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker Works While Floating on Water

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Speakers and water typically don't mix. Bring them near a swimming pool, in a boat or by the lake and you'll likely regret it. But a new waterproof Bluetooth speaker called "Ecoxbt" claims to stay resilient even when floating on water or fully submerged under it. Creator Ecoxgear, which specializes in products for the outdoor lifestyle, says the Ecoxbt has 100% waterproof protection "from rainstorms, ocean waves, pool parties or kayaking trips." The portable, 1.5-pound device was tested at one meter of depth for 30 minutes, with no leaks, Ecoxgear says, adding that it floats speaker-side up so music won't get muffled by water. In addition to playing music from the Bluetooth-enabled speaker, users can also answer calls, listen to voicemails and hear text notifications through the built-in...
15 Action Items for Your Summer Bucket List

15 Action Items for Your Summer Bucket List

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Image: Flickr, Peretz PartenskyYou skied, you ate more meat than you thought was humanly possible and your mom is still mad at you for wearing that hideous sweater to Thanksgiving at your aunt's. That was winter. This is summer. If you can escape mom's wrath, there are a few rugged activities you should get to this summer. If jetpacks in Hawaii or hand-fishing in Oklahoma intrigue you, check out those and other intrepid items on our summer bucket list. Just remember to apologize to mom before you go canyoneering in Utah. 1. Strap on a water jetpack in Hawaii A water jetpack in Lake Tahoe, Calif.Image: micadewIn the past, hydraulic jetpacks were for characters like James Bond and Iron Man, not you on summer vacation. Today, that’s changed. Next time you’re in Hawaii, rent a jetpack for t
9 Neat Pocket Warmers to Keep Your Hands Cozy

9 Neat Pocket Warmers to Keep Your Hands Cozy

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Cozy Pocket Warmers 1. Aroma Home Cat Knitted Hand Warmers Aroma Home offers an entire range of adorable knitted animal warmers. Cost: $15.99 Image: Aroma Home 2. Cashmere Heart Hand Warmers A pair of cashmere hearts would make a lovely gift for someone special. Cost: $15 Image: WormeWool/Etsy 3. Owl Hot Chick Hand Warmer This cute owl will both warm you and cheer you up. Cost: $7.49 Image: Amazon 4. Rectangle Pocket Hand Warmers These pretty flannel rectangles will release the smell of lavender when you warm them. Cost: $10 Image: ginderellas/Etsy 5. Toysmith Sock Monkey Hand Warmers A couple of cheeky sock monkeys in your pockets will sort you out on a winter's day. Cost: $9.99 Image: Toysmith/Amazon 6. Cu...
Mashable Weekend Recap: 43 Stories You Might Have Missed

Mashable Weekend Recap: 43 Stories You Might Have Missed

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A real-life Star Wars' force glove and Twitter's new rules were among the top headlines this past weekend. Mashable brought you those stories, as well as other tech and social media news during your downtime. Our staff kept tabs on all the latest events, so don't fret if you missed a few articles. Check out all the coverage here, in our handy Weekend Recap. Take a peek at the links below, for the latest. Editor's Picks Curiosity Rover’s Laser Zaps First Martian Rock ‘Star Wars’ Force Glove Lets You Move Objects Without Touching Your Deleted Facebook Photos Will Now Be Gone Forever Google Maps Updates Street View for New Orleans This is Where NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity is Headed [PICS] Apple v. Samsung Case Decided by Verdict-O-Matic [SUNDAY COMICS] Top 10 Pinterest Pins This Week L.A. Re
Pack The Perfect Pinterest Picnic

Pack The Perfect Pinterest Picnic

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Pinterest Picnic DIY Tent Dress your picnic up and protect it from the elements by constructing a small tent. Originally by Apartment Therapy, pinned by se7en_hoods. DIY Picnic Blanket No picnic is complete without a picnic blanket. Decorate your own by painting a drop cloth. They are cheap and come with the added bonus of being waterproof. Originally by Designlovefest, pinned by Shannon Mahoney. ... Or use a shower curtain instead If you don't have time to make your own picnic blanket, throw a shower curtain on the ground first and instantly transform any blanket into the perfect picnic blanket. Originally by Real Simple, pinned by Nathalie Rivard. DIY Picnic Basket Make your own picnic basket out of these recyclable materials. Originally...
Samsonite’s Brand Strategy: ‘The Product Is the Hero’

Samsonite’s Brand Strategy: ‘The Product Is the Hero’

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Image: Flickr, Don O'BrienSamsonite products have been charged by a bull, caught in revolving doors, tossed out of cabs and mauled by the entire Pittsburgh Steelers football team. But they have not — repeat, not — suffered a beat down from a gorilla. Rather, that was a bright red piece of American Tourister luggage, not Samsonite, being manhandled by a primate in an iconic 1971 TV commercial. (It wasn't a real gorilla, animal lovers; it was an actor in a monkey suit.) But Samsonite executives understand, and forgive, the confusion. The company eventually bought American Tourister and revived the gorilla character in its advertising, recognizing a breakout star when it saw one. Samsonite Slogans: Innovation, Durability and History Samsonite, meanwhile, hasn't shied away from using tou
Polo Ralph Lauren Goes Camping on Instagram

Polo Ralph Lauren Goes Camping on Instagram

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These days, it's not just print and television that secure dedicated campaigns — Instagram and Vine are getting them, too. Earlier this week, Polo Ralph Lauren began rolling out a series of nine 15-second videos on Instagram as part of its "Polo Ralph Lauren Survival Guide." As of Sunday, seven of the videos have rolled out, demonstrating, for example, how to pitch a tent (see below), how to start a fire and how to chill and uncork a bottle of champagne. The videos aren't practical guides, of course. Rather, they provide a backdrop to Polo Ralph Lauren's cable-knit sweaters, down jackets and leather boots. A company spokesperson said they're designed "to capture the essence of the new Polo collections — the Explorer's Club and Country Gentleman," collections that are both "rugged yet wear