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charlesarthur : travel   14

Great Escape: travel inspiration by price
Rather neat: finds cheap flights from nearby you to various points around the world. The sort of thing that could be enjoyable around the Easter break. Apologies to Australians and New Zealanders, though then again you've already got it good.
travel  maps  flights 
april 2019 by charlesarthur
Best Western® Hotels & Resorts and IBM Watson Advertising introduce AI-powered ad to help consumers • PR Newswire
<p>Consumers can start a conversation with Best Western's AI-powered ad by simply engaging the ad and providing information on their current or upcoming travel plans. Through a series of dialogue prompts, the consumer will be guided seamlessly through a conversation about their travel needs and the AI-powered ad will respond with tailored suggestions on how to make the most out of their vacation and how they can take advantage of Best Western's locations across North America.</p>

How great to come up with a product that literally nobody will want to use.
ibm  watson  advertising  travel 
july 2018 by charlesarthur
Mexico resort blackouts: TripAdvisor blocked warnings, tourists say • Journal Sentinel
Raquel Rutledge and Andrew Mollica:
<p>Since July, when the Journal Sentinel began investigating the mysterious death of a Wisconsin college student in Mexico — and found widespread problems with tainted alcohol, derelict law enforcement and price gouging from hospitals — more than a dozen travelers from across the country have said TripAdvisor muzzled their first-hand stories of blackouts, rapes and other ways they were injured while vacationing in Mexico.

“To me it’s like censoring,” said Wendy Avery-Swanson of Phoenix, whose recent review of a Mexican resort — describing how she blacked out from a small amount of alcohol served at the swim-up bar — was removed from the website. 

“It wasn’t hearsay,” as TripAdvisor claimed, said Avery-Swanson, 52. “It actually happened to me.”

Massachusetts-based TripAdvisor touts its more than 535 million user reviews of hotels, restaurants and attractions around the globe. And company officials say it uses finely tuned software to detect fake reviews and has hundreds of employees dedicated to policing posts and ensuring “content integrity.”

 A Journal Sentinel investigation into the workings of the $1.5 billion company has found that it is what TripAdvisor does not publish that poses real problems for travelers.
The company’s policies and practices obscure the public’s ability to fully evaluate the information on its site. Secret algorithms determine which hotels and resorts appear when consumers search. Some hotels pay TripAdvisor when travelers click on their links; some pay commissions when tourists book or travel. 

An untold number of TripAdvisor users have been granted special privileges, including the ability to delete forum posts. But the company won’t disclose how those users are selected.

There’s no way to know how many negative reviews are withheld by TripAdvisor; how many true, terrifying experiences never get told; or for site users to know that much of what they see has been specifically selected and crafted to encourage them to spend.</p>

The flip side of sites which let anyone post anything, and are thus open to spam.
tripadvisor  risk  travel  censorship 
november 2017 by charlesarthur
A beginner’s guide to using My Get Me There • Medium
Susil Nash on "Manchester’s hilarious attempt at reinventing London’s Oyster" (the latter, for Americans, is an RFID system which can be used to pay contactlessly for trips on buses and underground; it's worked, pretty much perfectly, since 2004:
<p>The first of the new system’s fun quirks is that My Get Me There isn’t just a card. It’s an app too. Now, you might think that’s to be expected — it’s a convenient way to manage your card, right? The two work together in harmony, right? Wrong. The app and the (presumably ironically-named) ‘Smart Card’ are two completely separate systems that work entirely independently of one another.

Your first decision is therefore whether to opt for the app, the Smart Card or, as will be the case for most travellers, both. The app is certainly less tricky to get hold of (more on that in a moment) but the significant downside is that it can only be used on Metrolink — Manchester’s tram network. Which means no smartphone fun for Team Bus or the vehicle-agnostics, but app-tastic news for all tram devotees.
Having said that, there are a couple of things that even you dedicated Metrolinkers should watch out for before ditching the paper tix. Firstly, know that you’ll need to make sure you’re not low on battery when heading out the door because, if your phone gives up mid-travels, you could be hit with a £100 fine. Secondly, you’ll need to remain online… ish. The reason for the ‘ish’ is that you don’t actually need web access to use the app once you’ve bought your ticket. However, any tickets on your phone will expire if that device “has not been connected to the internet for a long period” (that’s literally the timescale specified on their website).

So do make sure your phone has a plenty of juice and has been connected to the internet at least once in the most recent ‘long period’.</p>

Even worse: it's not a top-up scheme. It's a "specific tickets for specific journeys" system. And you have to be over 16. It's as if they wanted to keep cash forever.
travel  transport  manchester 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Why even the Hyperloop probably wouldn’t change your commute time • The New York Times
Emily Badger points out that most people commute for about 30 minutes to reach their work:
<p>The general law of the 30-minute commute is known as Marchetti’s constant, named for the Italian physicist Cesare Marchetti, a mentor to Mr. Ausubel. Mr. Marchetti picked up the work of Yacov Zahavi, a transportation engineer who theorized in the 1970s and ’80s that people have a fixed travel-time budget. We allocate part of our day to getting around. And that amount, about an hour, Mr. Zahavi argued, holds steady no matter where we live or how we travel.

Mr. Marchetti noted supporting historical clues: Ancient Rome, Persepolis and Marrakesh were about five kilometers across, or the maximum distance most people can travel in an hour on foot. He diagramed the growth of Berlin, which appeared to expand concentrically as transportation advances enlarged the land people could cover. He found it not coincidental that modern-day prisons still allow inmates one humane concession — the freedom to pace for an hour outdoors.

“From our anthropological point of view, humans are territorial animals,” said Mr. Ausubel, who wrote numerous papers with Mr. Marchetti on the topic. “So they seek to maximize range, which equates with resources. And those resources can be jobs or education, or fields for rice or wheat, or social life.”

We’re hard-wired to roam farther, they argue, when more speed allows us to. (By this same theory, delays in the New York subway disturb something deeply embedded in the human mind.)

Researchers today are not universally sold on Marchetti’s constant. Some developing-world cities have monstrous commutes. Alex Anas, an economist who has modeled the future growth of cities like Chicago, finds that commute times stay relatively stable even as population and developed land area grow. But that’s because the distribution of jobs and the behavior of workers shift in response to congestion, he says. It’s not because humans have some innate hour-long travel budget. “Economists don’t buy that,” Mr. Anas said.</p>

How long is your commute? (There's also the <a href="">UK Travel Time map</a> - linked here before, but always valuable.
travel  commuting 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
About • Lolatravel
<p>We’re a new kind of travel company that provides on-demand, personal travel service through a smartphone app. The Lola app instantly connects people to our team of travel agents who find and book flights, hotels, and cars for our customers. We also provide support while they’re on their trips.

The name Lola is shorthand for longitude and latitude, a system created to make seaborne navigation easier, and in that same spirit, we started Lola to give more people access to a premium level of travel care.</p>

Human travel agents? Weren't they supposed to be out of work now? Turns out: no. My daughter has been trying to book travel abroad, and our local travel agent has done far better at finding affordable travel and accommodation. Neat idea; an app for iOS only, for now. (Via Tim O'Reilly's talk in Cambridge on Tuesday.)
Travel  app  bot  ai 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
A map of wireless passwords from airports and lounges around the world • foXnoMad
Anil Polat:
<p>Finding an open wireless connection in many airports isn’t always easy, or possible, without a password (or local phone number which is stupid). The difficulty of getting online is why I asked you for and created an always-up-to-date list of airport wireless passwords around the world. You’ve been sending me your tips regularly and I post on the foXnoMad Facebook page when there’s a new password or airport added.

Recently, reader Zach made a great suggestion that will make it easier for you to search, add, and keep up with this airport wireless password list.

Below is a regularly updated map of all the airport wireless and lounge passwords you send and I come across on my travels. I’ll still be updating the original how to get wireless passwords from airports page with this information as well but now you can search around on the map directly.</p>

Now also available as an app for iOS or Android.
wifi  travel  airport 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
UK tourists to US may get asked to hand in passwords or be denied entry • The Guardian
Alex Hern:
<p>Tourists from the UK and other US allies including Germany and France, could be forced to reveal personal data, as well as disclose financial information and face detailed ideological questioning, according to Trump administration officials quoted by the Wall Street Journal. While US citizens have established rights against unlawful searches at the border, the extent to which foreign travellers can resist requests to hand over personal information is unclear.

The US customs and border patrol told the Guardian: “All international travellers arriving to the US are subject to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection. This inspection may include electronic devices such as computers, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones and other communication devices, cameras, music and other media players and any other electronic or digital devices.

“Keeping America safe and enforcing our nation’s laws in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully examine all materials entering the US,” it added. The CBP said it strives to process arriving travellers as efficiently and securely as possible while ensuring compliance with laws and regulations governing the international arrival process. It did not answer specific questions about social media accounts and devices.</p>

This isn't proportionate. The assumption appears to be guilt. It's going to be a big turnoff for would-be tourists (perhaps as much as the weakened pound).
trump  travel  socialmedia 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Stop fabricating travel security advice • Medium
"The Grugq" (who is, convincingly, an information security researcher):
<p>Recently travel to the US has become even more stressful as CBP have been more aggressively exercising their authority to examine digital devices. Their theory goes something like “we can open a cargo container to check whats inside therefore we can open a digital device to check whats inside.” Along with the apparent increase in searching traveller’s laptops and phones, there has been a rise in amateur smuggling suggestions (seemingly by US citizens who aren’t exposed to any risk at the border.) This advice is terrible, dangerous and possibly endangers anyone reckless enough to follow it.

<img src="*P_S9uL56-W1n-h8pLwb0iA.png" width="100%" />

Rather than collecting the garbage advice, I’ll bundle it all into a generic set of terrible ideas and the flawed beliefs that underpin them. To be absolutely crystal clear — DO NOT DO THESE THINGS!</p>

His <a href="">suggestion of what you should do is simpler</a>: "Use travel hardware: laptop, iPad, iPhone. Take only the data you need. Create accounts for travel gear. Use different user/pass."
travel  security 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Securing a travel iPhone • Filippo
<a href="">Filippo Valsorda</a> (who works at CloudFlare's security team) has a number of recommendations, with the general ones being:
<p>Turn the phone off before entering any situation that might lead to you being coerced to use your fingerprint to unlock the phone. ProTip: if you reboot the phone and not unlock it, it will still let you listen to music if you use the EarBuds remote.

Upon entering hostile networks, start refusing iOS, app and carrier updates. Use Airplane mode extensively. Turn off WiFi when you don't need it.

Avoid syncing or pairing the phone with a computer. To extract pictures, use Dropbox Camera Upload with a dedicated account and a shared folder going to your primary account. To save notes, message or email them to your main account. (Remember that email is unencrypted!)

Needless to say, keep the phone on your person at all times.</p>

You'd have to be expecting pretty hostile security environments for this stuff, but some people do. Maybe Hillary Clinton's next phone will be one of these?
apple  security  travel 
july 2016 by charlesarthur
Amid Andrews trial, female sports reporters open up about safety »
Richard Deitsch:
<p>Erin Andrews’s <a href="">lawsuit and trial this month against the Nashville Marriott</a> (Andrews is suing the hotel for allowing a stalker to book the room next to hers and surreptitiously film nude videos of her in 2008 while she worked for ESPN) has not gone unnoticed for front-facing women in the sports media who travel regularly for work. Last week I contacted seven women who appear on television regularly (ESPN’s Josina Anderson, SNY’s Kerith Burke, Fox Sports reporter Laura Okmin, SportsNetLA Dodgers host and reporter Alanna Rizzo, NBC Sunday Night Football reporter Michele Tafoya, YES Network’s Yankees reporter Meredith Marakovits and Kusnierek). With them, I discussed the topic of security while on the road. I was curious if what happened to Andrews changed their approach about where they stay, what they do at hotels, or produced any new travel precautions for them.

“I don’t have a lot of say in where I stay or what hotel chains my company uses,” said Burke. “I do remember feeling sad and scared after what happened to Erin. I travel with Band-Aids to put over the peepholes. I prefer to join a coworker at the hotel restaurant or bar so strangers don’t approach me as much. There’s a noticeable difference when I eat or drink alone. I don’t like hotel rooms on the first floor. I don’t like rooms by the elevators. Depending on the length of my stay, I don’t get maid service because I don’t want anyone in my room except me.”

“I am very cautious,” said Rizzo. “I never post on social media where the team is staying. I used to stay under my actual name at hotels but this year that will be changed. There have been several occurrences when savvy fans have located the team hotel and have called my room asking me for a date or for money for their fundraisers.”</p>

Erin Andrews was awarded millions of dollars against the hotel chain which failed to prevent the stalker making reservations.

Most men don't realise how for women staying alone in a hotel isn't necessarily a fun-packed fest; it's more like a test of nerve, where they take multiple precautions. (It's not just female sports reporters.)
women  travel  security 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Google revamps travel search queries, almost making web results irrelevant » Search Engine Land
Barry Schwartz:
<p>Google has <a href="">quietly</a> revamped the mobile user interface for travel-related searches. The result of the change makes it really hard to get to the organic web results once you click on the “more destinations” button. Let me walk you through the experience.</p>

This is called "thrusting the user head-first into the sales funnel".
google  travel  search 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Why you should never consider a travel planning startup » Tnooz
Nadav Gur, principal at NG Vanguard Enterprises:
<p>First, you need to acquire users. Guess what — if they’re not planning a trip, they’re not interested in travel planners. They don’t even acknowledge their existence.

People are bombarded by new websites/apps/brands all the time, and they filter for what’s relevant.

That’s what you see GEICO ads on TV all the time – cause the only way to get your attention those 1–2 times a year when you give a damn about insurance, is to be in front of you all the time.
No matter how much press/word-of-mouth/viral exposure you’re getting, it only registers if/when it happens to be relevant.

Inevitably this means that you too have to advertise a lot. And no, free user acquisition schemes like SEO do not work in 2015 at scale in established markets.

The Priceline Group spends over $2bn per year on Google Ads alone. Guess why?</p>

Not so easily disrupted. And that's before you get to the question of how many people spend enough on travel for any affiliate amounts to be worthwhile.
travel  startup 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
The best travel gear of 2014 >> Co.Design
If you need an unusual present for someone who's always in and out of airports, or rides a bike, or needs an umbrella, here you go. Some great ideas in here.
travel  presents  gear 
november 2014 by charlesarthur

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