Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Amtrak via The Root. With outlets at every seat, conference tables for holding meetings and cafe cars to grab a bite to eat, Amtrack delivers the speed you expect and the convenience you deserve. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Amtrak.
With outlets at every seat, conference tables for holding meetings and cafe cars to grab a bite to eat, Acela delivers the speed you expect and the convenience you deserve.
It’s that time of year again. Time where families begin preparing for familiar hellos, road trips, and long journeys home for the holidays. Although holiday travel in November and December has a long history of notorious tales (its one of the worst travel times of the year) it doesn’t have to be another headache this time around. If you’re looking to avoid holiday travel hiccups and want a hassle-free travel experience this season, check out these five holiday travel hacks below.
1. Buy Your Ticket For Cheap
When researching your flight, go through the booking process (make sure you don’t click purchase until you’re ready) until you reach the seat selection step. Take a look at the seating chart and see how many open seats are left. If most of the cabin is still available, there’s a good chance that demand is low, so prices may drop. If the cabin is nearly full, however, you’ll probably want to go ahead and purchase at the going rate.
2. Travel Hack Like A VIP
When it comes to traveling by plane there’s nothing’s quite as nice as scoring your very own row of seats for you and your travel buddy. Up your chances of snagging this dream come true the next time you’re travelling with a companion by booking the aisle and window seat, rather than two seats next to each other. If someone does happen to book the middle seat, he or she will likely swap with one of you for the window or aisle. If no one takes the middle seat, you’ve just scored yourself your own row.
3. In Case Of Emergency - Protect Yourself
Who needs paper when you have a smartphone? Instead of carrying an extra set of paper copies of your passport, visa, license and other important travel documents, simply take photos, store them on your smartphone and email them to yourself. In case of emergency, simply log into your email or retrieve photos from your phone and validate your identity immediately.
4. Pack a Pillowcase For Almost Everything
One of my must have travel necessities is a handy satin pillowcase. It is the most useful travel accessory you’ll use from the beginning to the end of your trip. You can stuff it with clothes or your jacket for a makeshift pillow; cover your hotel pillow with a pillow case you already know and love or use it as your laundry bag and stash all your dirty clothes inside during your trip.
5. Keep A Travel Kit Handy
How many times have you gone traveling and forgotten your toothbrush? Avoid this from now on by creating an extra set of those often-forgotten items. A toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, razor and Q-tips are trusty stand-bys, as are an extra phone charger, bottle opener and headphones. Keep this stashed in your suitcase so you never have to worry about forgetting these items next time you go to pack for a trip.
If you follow these travel hacks, you’ll sure to be prepared and ready for your next weekend trip or family vacation this holiday season. What are your favorite holiday tips/tricks for holiday travel survival? Share your favorite tips in the comment section below.
Do you hate fighting for your spot at over-crowded power outlets in airports? Tired of lugging around external battery chargers or charging smartphone cases?
If you’ve ever wanted a truly connected piece of luggage, Bluesmart luggage has just created the perfect carry on for you! Bluesmart luggage connects to a mobile app that allows travelers to track the bag’s proximity, digitally lock and unlock it, check the bag’s weight, show travel data and track routes.
The best feature may not be luggage related at all: The carry-on has a battery in it that can be used to recharge six devices. Currently, the lowest level for a suitcase is a $215 contribution (the first tier of $195 is sold out), the campaign expects to ship the first smart bags in July 2015. For more information on Bluesmart and stylish smart travel visit DivasOnDestinations.com.
Travel enthusiasts and international jet-setters abroad rejoice! There’s a new tool available that will make your international travel a whole lot easier and will make you feel like the ultimate traveling VIP! Best of all, IT’S FREE! With the Mobile Passport App approved by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors can submit customs and immigration details via phone or tablet upon landing and skip the usual passport control lines.
Airports Council International-North America worked closely with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to design and implement a secure, fast, and traveler-friendly process for Mobile Passport Control. The Mobile Passport App was sponsored by ACI-NA and developed by Airside Mobile, Inc., a proven innovator in applying mobile technology to airport processes.
If you’ve ever stood in those border control lines, then you know that they can sometimes last for hours and really kill the excitement of international travel. Once your information is verified, you’ll be sent a bar-coded receipt which will allow you to speed through a special (VIP-like) checkpoint. The service has launched at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in August, with plans to roll it out in other airports throughout the country later this year.
The app is available for download now in Apple’s iTunes App Store and in Google’s Play App Store. Learn more about the Mobile Passport App here: www.mobilepassport.us
Have you tried packing for a vacation or business trip recently? With stories of TSA thefts, airlines magically misplacing luggage and more – packing for an upcoming trip can be stressful. Trying to pack up accessories, make up and toiletries for a weekend trip has become more cumbersome than ever …and those TSA liquid restrictions don’t help out at all. I once had to dump out three bottles of my favorite moisturizer, body spray and shampoo because of the liquid restriction being enforced. That’s why I was thrilled to step up my travel with a little organizational help from the EMME bag.
The EMME Bag is a compact nylon travel bag that’s perfect to replace your beauty bag, jewelry bag and toiletries bag on your next trip. The compact design comes with an easy to carry handle and second zipper to expand and increase capacity to handle all of your travel essentials.
Want to travel with your favorite mouthwash, coconut oil, lotion or more? The EMME bag not only has the capacity to handle what you want to pack but has containers for it all.
The EMME Bag comes complete with 14 containers and miniature bottles for eye creams, sprays, balms and more. The 7 interior pockets come with suggestion inserts that help guide you with easy packing suggestions and 2 zip out pouches that can easily be removed and reattached during the TSA screening process.
The clear three panel design makes it super easy to store your items, securely while the zip-out design allows you to keep all your toiletries and jewelry in one place. The EMME Bag is the ultimate travel accessory to suit frequent traveling needs. This high quality, compartmentalized bag is not only for toiletries, but it’s my new favorite frequent flyer supplies bag. Not only does the optimized design makes going through security at the airport as simple as possible but it makes unpacking and settling in your hotel a breeze with the easy unfolding design.
With a quick unzip, you can easily store everything you need using the built-in hanger on a towel rack or door handle for easy access, while freeing up the limited vanity space you need. If you want to take control of your travel packing potential the EMME bag is the ultimate travel accessory for you.
The EMME Bag is available online for $75 at EMMEbag.com. Want to save $15 on the next travel accessory that you’ll ever need? Save 20% and pay only $60 when you enter our special readership discount code - “DIVA” at checkout. Get social and stay in touch with EMME bag on Twitter at @EMMEBag and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/emmetravel today!
A few weeks ago, I received an amazing invitation for an experience of a lifetime compliments of Lincoln Motor Company. Excited for a weekend introduction to the all new Lincoln MKC, I embarked on a cross-country journey to Santa Barbara, California with a very special invited guest… my mother.
Sure I’ve gone on family vacations with my mother, siblings, nieces and nephews – but never have I journeyed on a first-class travel experience like this with my mother before. A luxurious retreat at the Belmond El Encanto, a technologically advanced drive up the coast in the new Lincoln MKC coupled with moments of relaxing and reflecting in lavender fields and more filled our days of bonding and exploring while visiting California together for the first time.
First stop in beautiful Santa Barbara, our first west coast road trip to the beautiful Clairmont Lavender Farm in Los Olivos, CA. During our experience at the Clairmont Lavender Farm, my mom and I walked the fragrant lavender fields, sipped on lavender lemonade and basked in the beauty of the Lincoln MKC with interior designer, Dillon Blanski .
Next stop, a sweet date with mom at Birkholm’s Bakery & Cafe in Solvang, CA. Known for a striking resemblance to small towns found in Denmark, this Danish bakery found in the middle of the tourist attraction of Solvang offered mom and I a great afternoon of delicious treats in a unique town that we’ll never forget.
[Must Read: Five Ways To Live Like A Danish Native In Solvang]
Final stop of the Lincoln MKC experience, Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club in Santa Barbara, CA. Established in 1911, the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the third oldest polo facility in the United States and is world renowned for its four lush polo fields and international outdoor competition.
Want to see more of our mother/daughter Santa Barbara adventure? Discover more from behind the wheel of our unique Lincoln MKC experience on the auto channel, DivasDriveInHeels.com and check out the stories behind our entire travel adventure on DivasOnDestinations.com. Thanks Lincoln Motor Company for a life changing experience that this mother-daughter duo will never forget.
Traveling on the go can be cumbersome if you’re not prepared. Travel interrupts our naturally scheduled programming and is an easy scapegoat for not maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as being out of touch with our friends, families and jobs. Don’t let a change of scenery spoil your New Year’s resolutions – gear up for 2014 with these 10 apps and gadgets to help make your travel experiences exciting and productive.
1) Tile your passport
Tile, one of Kickstarter’s hottest projects of the year, is a matchbook-sized, thin, white plastic square. This self-adhesive device, equipped with GPS, allows any item to be tracked using the owners smartphone app and Tile’s low-Bluetooth technology. Can’t find your passport? If prepared and equipped with a Tile affixed to the passport’s back or case, the owner can located the passport on a map and remotely send the device a signal to emit a sound, hopefully putting an end to the search-and-rescue. This simple device is the “find my iPhone,” for all physical items. Tile, which does not require battery changes or charging, can be pre-ordered for summer 2014 delivery. Tile for travel could keep your passport and checked-luggage always in your pocket. ($19.95 for one Tile, $59.85 for four Tiles, thetileapp.com)
2) Rove hands-free, with your automated travel diary
This free app is an automated timeline, which tracks users’ movements through GPS, estimates the method of travel, and inserts pictures, maps and locations into a timeline. The result is a beautiful visual travel journal– no inputs required. Next time relatives ask to hear all about the trip? Just “Share” from the app and Rove will email a link to the trip’s timeline- allowing the traveler to enjoy the moment and not spend time recording it. Want to keep Rove personal? The app is 100% private unless users choose to share. (Free in the iTunes store)
Best Gadgets And Apps To Simplify Your Weekend Travel
3) Viber App + (friend with) Viber App = Free Calls
The Viber app allows users to make free phone calls, video calls or send text messages, over 4G or WiFi, anywhere in the world, free of charge (as long as both users are connecting through the Viber application). The app is available on all mobile devices and with 200 million active global users, has become one of the largest disruptors in the online global communication space. (Free; runs on: Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone)
Best Gadgets And Apps To Simplify Your Weekend Travel
4) Caught with a dying phone? Bring extra juice
There are many options on the market to pack power for on-the-go charging. Dark Reservoir’s sleekly designed device is on the higher end of the price rage, but the pocket-sized device will provide up to five charges for an iPhone, 1.5 charges for an iPad mini and will charge anything with a micro-USB charger ($129, mydarkenergy.com). Innergie has a wide range of prices and products for back-up batteries, including laptops. (Prices start at $54.99,myinnergie.com/store)
Best Gadgets And Apps To Simplify Your Weekend Travel
What are some of your favorite gadgets and apps that simplify your travel? Feel free to share your favorites below.
Disclosure: As the author, I have been compensated to share experiences found throughout SXSW 2014 including unique AT&T SXSW activations in Austin however, all opinions are my own.
The 21st annual SXSW Interactive Festival returned to Austin and armed with the LG G Flex from AT&T, I uncovered some of best that the conference and Austin had to offer.
The 21st annual SXSW Interactive Festival returned to Austin from Friday, March 7 through Tuesday, March 11. An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2014 event featured five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer.
From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to preview the technology of tomorrow today. SXSW 2014 was huge! From the sessions, the networking, the evening events, the 17th Annual SXSW Interactive Awards, SXSW Accelerator, the SXSW Gaming Expo, the SXSW Trade Show, SXSW Create, the Digital Creative Job Market, cross-industry conversations with attendees from SXSW Film and SXSW Music, and, most of all, the unforgettable inspirational experiences that only SXSW can deliver. I had a great time uncovering what Austin had to offer during SXSW Interactive and I can’t wait to see what’s next during SXSW Film and SXSW Music.
Detroit is a city that has had more than it’s fair share of political drama, economic turmoil and a modern-day Exodus that will go down in history. But America’s great comeback city is so much more than it’s well known home for Motown music and great American-made automobiles. As a born and raised Detroiter, I wanted to highlight just a few of my favorite things that makes the Motor City so special, starting with the largest parade of cars that brings out enthusiasts from far and wide (also known as the Mardi Gras of cars) – the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Detroit may be known for a lot of things, but after viewing each episode of this series hopefully you’ll learn how great the city really is – and re-discover “Dear Detroit”
Want to learn more about the city of Detroit? Do you have an amazing #DearDetroit experience that you’d like to share? Connect with Divas On Destinations, Chevy and Detroit online and follow the conversation using #DearDetroit via Facebook or Twitter below.
Check out DivasOnDestinations.com for weekly installments of the “Dear Detroit” web series all month long. The “Dear Detroit” series has been made possible by Chevrolet and the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. All views, opinions and experiences expressed are my own.
There used to be a time, where dirty looks by flight attendants to last minute smartphone users were always evident moments before flight takeoff. The rule was that once the airplane door is closed, you were off your phone, period. Although there were many passengers who refused to abide by the rule, it appears that the rule is now changing for the better.
Airplane travelers will soon be able to watch videos and play games with their electronic devices throughout their entire flight — and not just above a certain altitude — the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday in a long anticipated announcement.
But don’t expect to be chatting on your cell phone. A ban on using cell phones for voice communication remains in effect.
Until now, passengers in the United States were prohibited from using the devices until their plane rose above 10,000 feet. The timing of the changes will depend on individual airlines, but an FAA statement said it expects “many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.”
“Each airline will determine how and when this will happen,” FAA administrator Michael Huerta told reporters at Reagan National Airport.
Discover which airline is leading the way allowing you to use your electronics during takeoff at DivasOnDestinations.com
Looking for ways to enjoy your Summer In The City? No matter where you live in the world, there’s always unique experiences you can find almost anywhere. There’s no better place in the world like New York City in the summertime, and I want to explore everything the city has to offer. So I thought, why not bring along my girls to do things that we’ve never done before for Essence Magazine’s “Girlfriend Adventures” series. We’ve tackled the rock wall in Brooklyn, learned some salsa moves AND stepped up our game in the kitchen – so our next stop? High flying adventures at Trapeze School New York!
What is Trapeze School New York? Trapeze School New York (TSNY) is dedicated to making flying trapeze available to anyone who seeks inspiration, challenge, fitness or just a couple hours of unique fun. Located atop Pier 40 at Chelsea Piers, TSNY offers flying trapeze classes for all levels (first-timers and beginners welcome) as well as intensive multi-session workshops for more advanced flyers. girlfriend adventures
Remember that Sex And The City Episode? (SATC Season 6 Episode 82 to be exact…) – let’s face it, if you’re a woman and a writer in New York, chances are you’ve experienced at least one Carrie moment in your life… and this was my moment…
Check out the entire experience via Essence Girlfriends series below…