We're always on the lookout for smart travel tools, and World Taximeter is no exception. It's an intelligent mashup, combining directions from Google Maps with local cab fares. It'll let you know how much the ride should cost using local rates by distance and time of day, and combining that with live traffic estimations from Google. Depending on what country you're in, it'll also give you the heads up on any additional charges, like if you're booking it over the phone, or traveling on a weekend. For anyone who's visiting a foreign country … Read more
Tripit, which I mentioned in an earlier post about Planjam, is a do-it-all travel service that helps people organize their travel plans (flight numbers, car rental info, accommodations, etc.) in one central location that can be updated and accessed on the go. Today they're launching a new feature called "closeness" alerts.
Much like Dopplr, which we peeked at last month, the whole idea behind the alerts is to let you know when your buddies (Tripit calls them "colleagues") will be in town or traveling in or around the same place at the same time. The … Read more
I just got off a plane to arrive in Vegas for CES (where I'll be blogging here for y'all's reading pleasure). I saw this animation right before departing and it didn't make me feel real good about how many other people would be in the air at the same time...
On December 28, an Associated Press story was making the rounds that said in part:
To help reduce the risk of fires, air travelers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning January 1, the Transportation Department said Friday.
Passengers can still check baggage with lithium batteries, if they are installed in electronic devices, such as cameras, cell phones, and laptop computers. If packed in plastic bags, batteries may be in carry-on baggage. The limit is two batteries per passenger.
This caused me to perk up at my computer. After all, I routinely travel … Read more
Travel search engine Kayak.com says it has raised $196 million in a round of venture funding. At least $150 million of that will go toward the purchase of rival SideStep. The company will use some of those funds to expand internationally, and hopes to take on Expedia as the No. 1 travel site online.
Kango, launching in private beta today, is yet another travel recommendation site. This one's special sauce is its "understanding" of the travel lingo, so it can turn out better advice for you.
For example, if you're searching for a family-friendly hotel, Kango will return results that mention "kids." It will also give you hotels with pools, since it knows that families often go swimming on vacation. This type of word-mapping is becoming common in new specialized commerce sites (see also Snooth for wine, and Retrevo for tech products). The site also displays abstracts based … Read more
As a user of several Web photo hosting services, I've settled on Flickr, and one of the things it's really good for is loading a bunch of vacation pictures into a set and sending a link to that to my family members. That's about where the experience ends, though. There's not a built-in blogging tool, or a simple way to set up your shots with a lot of narration short of writing extensive captions. Many folks I know simply opened up WordPress or Blogger accounts and started up a disposable travel blog for such a purpose. … Read more
Read the full story on Popsci.com: The Hypersonic Age is near.
Dopplr, which I briefly mentioned making an appearance at O'Reilly's Where 2.0 conference back in late May, has opened up its doors today after being in private beta for the last seven months. The service is designed to let friends and other small groups share their travel plans with one another. In an ideal world, if all your friends used Dopplr, you'd be able to see when they're in town, or elsewhere to coordinate things like meet-ups or shared accommodations.
To get going with Dopplr, you simply need to plug in the dates and location of your next vacation or business trip. This information gets slotted onto your profile as a Dopplr trip, and assuming you've made friends on the service, they'll be allowed to see your schedule and visa versa. In order to add your buddies, you can invite them one at a time, or make use of your contact list from Gmail, Flickr, Twitter, or with an HCard microformat import.
Like Facebook's news feed, Dopplr keeps a running tab on your activity and that of your friends, so you can view it in one big stream. For those not inclined to check on the site every day, Dopplr is set up by default to send you weekly newsletters with your friends' latest trip additions and journal entries, along with a list of other Dopplr users who are visiting your home city. There's also a mobile version that gives you quick access to your slated trips, as well as the option to add a new one. In many ways, it's similar to the iPhone version of Google Calendar, albeit with a little less panache.
In many ways Dopplr attempts to solve a problem that could be managed with existing solutions given a little elbow grease on the part of users. For example, my family uses Google calendar, and we've got a separate calendar set up just for trips we want to share with one another. What sets Dopplr apart is its social side, which has a number of small conveniences thrown in for both privacy and keeping track of others. One of them is frequency, which shows you which of your friends visits a place the most. You can also see if you're visiting any of your friend's hometowns, and if they'll be there when you are--which can help you avoid those "oh no, we were in the same place and didn't meet up?" moments.
Personal travel aggregation service TripIt has received a very important update this morning. It's now able to sync up travel plans that are sent its way to a handful of popular calendaring tools including Google Calendar, Apple iCal, Plaxo, Outlook, or any other service that can handle URL events. What this means for you as the traveler, is that if you're sent a change notice from whatever travel service you booked with, TripIt will spit that out to both your e-mail and your linked-up calendars, saving you the bother of having to manually go in and make changes.… Read more