Navigate / search

Soon, Your Smartphone Will Also Be Your Hotel Key

Sometimes I think the elusive green entry light on hotel-room doors is my nemesis. At best, it’s a finicky friend–never there when I need it most, and certainly not amenable to coaxing.

But there’s hope for me yet: InterContinental Hotels Group is testing technology that allows guests to bypass the reception desk and enter their room with their smartphones.

Following the lead of airports already using smartphones as boarding passes, the Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago O’Hare Rosemont and the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center will begin granting guests access to rooms via an app for iPhones, Android phones, and BlackBerries.

Win a DataSafe Leather Wallet: The Kena Kai Travelocity Wallet

I think we all remember that ill-fated time I washed my passport. Thanks to that lovely experience I learned all about the RFID chips in new U.S. passports. Even back in 2006 when Bush made the decision to include these chips, travelers were concerned their identities could be stolen through them. And as it turns out–people were right to be concerned. Your identity can be stolen through your RFID chip, but luckily there is something you can do about it.

black wallet

Is Avatar the Future of Travel?

This weekend, along with a sizable portion of the rest of the country, I saw the movie Avatar. Through my 3-D glasses, I entered into the bioluminescent forestlands of a fictional distant moon named Pandora, where flowers bloomed rampantly, trees stretched into the skies, and rivers glowed. Although the plot was a little trite and silly, the Pandora landscape was a true escape. Much like an avatar, while my body sat in a darkened theater surrounded by hundreds of others in our dorky glasses, the rest of me entered into this forest world for 2 ½ hours. On a year when I’d opted not to travel for the holidays, this movie was my ticket to a realm beyond San Francisco, somewhere exotic and indelible—and not once did I have to step on a plane.

Flying Over the Holidays? Here’s Where to Get Your Free Wifi

Hands up if you’re going to be spending a lot on time on planes–or in airports–over the next month or so. Hmm, not just me then? That’s a relief. The great news is Virgin America has partnered with Google to offer free in-flight wifi on all planes through January 15, 2010. Why is this a deal? Well, hooking up to its GoGo Inflight internet system will usually cost you $12.95 for flights of over three hours, $9.95 for flights between 90 minutes and three hours, and $5.95 for flights of less than 90 minutes.

If you’re not flying Virgin America, though, fear not: you can still plug in for free at more than 50 airports—thanks again to the generosity of Google. You’ll find a full list of participating airports right here: they run the gamut from heavy lifters like Washington Dulles (IAD) and Miami (MIA) to smaller stops like Asheville (AVL) and Kalamazoo (AZO).