Archive for November, 2010

My Favorite Things: Shopping and Travel!

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Celebrate the 15th anniversary of Christkindlmarket, a German-American Holiday Market in Chicago

There are two things that I never need an excuse for: traveling and shopping. So when the holidays come along I feel more than justified to do both! 

With holiday decorations and celebrations to keep things merry and bright, why stay put?  Take advantage of early December travel deals on flights and hotels and turn your must-do shopping into an excuse to take a pre-holiday vacation!

Save More in the Windy City

Bundle up in Chicago for a holiday stroll and some shopping on the Magnificant Mile of Michigan Avenue. Holiday festivals abound like the Christkindlmarket, a German holiday market you definitely want to check out.

Glitz, Glam and Great Shopping

Treat yourself like a celebrity and head to Los Angeles – to shop like one too! When you stay in the heart of Hollywood, the shopping on Rodeo Drive and trendy Robertson Blvd. is just minutes away. In LA you are sure to find something for everyone on your list … and maybe even a celeb-sighting for yourself!

Big Deals in “Big D”

If you are looking for cowboy boots, bling and 10-gallon hats for the entire family then Dallas is the city for you. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has more stores and shopping centers per capita than any United States city or metropolitan area.

Take in the Lovely Lights of London

If you really want to feel the Christmas spirit or want to browse the same shops as bride-to-be Kate Middletown, head across the pond for an English holiday. You haven’t shopped until you’ve been to Harrods or enjoyed a spot of tea at Fortnam and Mason and don’t forget to browse London’s street markets.

Expert Tip: Start a holiday shopping tradition and choose a new city each year to visit combining adventure with a bit of retail therapy! Before you go, sign up for the Groupon and Living Social deals for the city that you choose to visit. Also, take a look at coupon websites such as retailmenot.com, slickdeals.net and couponcabin.com to get the 411 on any shopping discounts and deals. 

Make sure to check back here on Monday for a list of more shopping cities to check out!

 
 

 

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Celebrate Thanksgiving with Black Friday and Cyber Monday Savings

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

With the 2010 holiday shopping season about to launch into full swing  this weekend with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, hotels.com is offering a tremendous sale for the busiest shopping days of the year!

In addition to 50 percent off nightly room rates, the first 500 hotels.com customers who book the Hotels.com® 4-Day Sale and use code “4DAY” will receive a Flip™ Ultra camcorder.  

The 4-Day sale goes live at midnight on November 26th and ends at 11:59 p.m. CST on November 29th. Happy shopping!

 
 

 

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Top Honeymoon Destinations for Prince William and Kate Middleton

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

hotels.com offers honeymoon recommendations for the royal couple (photo courtesy of usmagazine.com)

With the recent engagement announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton, speculation is already mounting as to where the royal couple should go for their honeymoon. 

As a result, hotels.com has come up with some of the top dream hotels that Prince William (and you!) should be making for their honeymoon.

Here is the hotels.com HRH (‘Highly Recommended for Honeymoon’) list:

1. Umaid Bhawan Palace- Jodhpur, India. Actress Elizabeth Hurley (of Austin Powers fame) married Indian businessman Arun Nayar in March 2007, and then celebrated Hindu style in India and spent their honeymoon at the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur. They opted for a full upgrade and stayed in Maharani Suites costing close to $10,000 per night.

2. Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, India.  Hollywood couple Katy Perry and Russell Brand exchanged vows at the Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel in Jaipur in front of guests including Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Noel Gallagher.

3. El Careyes Beach Resort- Jalisco, Mexico.  Supermodel Heidi Klum and pop star Seal spent their honeymoon here in May 2005.  Surrounded by sub tropical jungle, this resort emanates peace, elegance and tranquillity.

4. Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa- Bora Bora, French Polynesia. In June 2004, following a ceremony just outside Sydney, Australia, actress Nicole Kidman and country music star Keith Urban escaped to this tropical island paradise flanked by crystal waters and white sandy beaches, where guests can view the spectacular Mount Otemanu volcano from the sea shore.

5. Nikki Beach Resort- Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos. Even though they announced last week that they were getting divorced, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria and professional basketball player Tony Parker honeymooned here amongst the 1,000 acres of unexplored beaches in 2007, enjoying water sports and relaxing in their villa overlooking the turquoise sea.

6. Mount Errigal Hotel, County Donegal, Ireland. This destination hosted Sex And The City’s Sarah Jessica Parker and actor Matthew Broderick  on their honeymoon in 1997. It provides the perfect foothold from which to explore the glorious surroundings of rural Ireland.

7. Conrad Hotel, Rangali Island, Maldives. Albeit that their honeymoon was cut slightly short by a tropical storm, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes spent their first three weeks of married life here in 2006.  They cruised around the 1,192 tiny islands of The Maldives on a friend’s yacht and dined at the underwater restaurant at the hotel itself

What else would YOU add to this list?

 
 

 

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Tips For Healthy Eating While Traveling

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

How healthy are you eating while traveling? (photo courtesy of thehealthage.com)

With Thanksgiving, holiday parties and all sorts of merriment right around the corner, I thought we could all use a few reminders on how NOT to gain 20 pounds this holiday season!

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, it’s important to realize that you can be away and still eat healthfully and mindfully.

I asked Elisa Zied, nationally recognized dietician and author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips, her best advice for healthy eating while traveling.  Here are her top two takeaways:

1. Don’t abandon all your healthful habits! If you do, you’re destined to come back from your getaway feeling worse—the number on the scale will be up, your clothes will feel more tight, and instead of being motivated to get back into a mindfully healthy routine, you may end up seeking comfort by eating more than usual.

2. Find time for fitness! Even 10 minute bursts of activity help you burn calories and help your mind and body feel strong and fit. Ms. Zied recommends:

  • Taking a few laps at the airport
  • Walking up and down escalators instead of taking the stairs
  • Scoping out walking/running trails or routes nearby your hotel
  • Doing some simple exercises in your room like lunges, squats, or push ups, jogging in place or dancing to music

How can we eat healthy when we travel?

It’s really critical to plan ahead in order to eat well when traveling. Having healthy snacks on hand will provide you with ammunition to help you think twice before grabbing a candy bar or some other vending machine treat to get your food fix. Consider homemade trail mix made with whole grain, crunchy cereal, dried fruit (with no sugar added), and your favorite nuts, preferably unsalted so that you’ll always have something on hand to give you energy and key nutrients to help you get through the day. It’s also a great idea to travel with a refillable water bottle (preferably one made of stainless steel) to stay adequately hydrated (pack it empty and refill when on an airplane or at the airport after you’ve gone through security).

What should we be looking for on restaurant menus?

When you read restaurant menus, it’s important to look first and foremost for calorie information if it’s available. For most people, 500 to 600 calories per meal is a good rule of thumb. Of course, we know that most restaurant entrees can have double or triple that amount!

At breakfast or lunch, having vegetables like mushrooms or onions as part of an omelet (made with one yolk and a few egg whites), and having fruit on the side or for dessert (berries, bananas, melons or citrus fruits like grapefruits or oranges) provides lots of water, fiber, and valuable vitamins and minerals; they’re also great sources of carbohydrate—the key fuel for your brain and body.

Planning ahead is particularly important before you go to a business dinner. Try to make it a rule to eat only half the appetizer and half your entrée. Look for a vegetable-based appetizer or order a colorful salad with dressing on the side (you can dip the fork into the dressing). These are great things to start with at dinner to provide key nutrients and fill you up.

For your main course, choose fish, skinless chicken breast, or some lean meat (like sirloin), but ask them to prepare with minimal amounts of oil, butter, and salt. If you choose to have bread from the bread basket, skip starchy vegetables like a baked potato, pasta, or rice. If you choose to have alcohol, stick to only one drink (for example, 5 ounces wine, 12 ounces of light beer, or one shot of hard liquor). Make sure to drink plenty of water – that can help fill you up and counteract some of the harms of too much sodium from your meal.

What can I eat to feel energized while traveling?

The best foods to eat for energy are those rich in simple or complex carbohydrates, and protein. For example, you can pre-make whole grain cracker sandwiches (each made with 2 whole grain crackers and some type of nut butter – like peanut , cashew or almond butter). If you’re traveling with a cooler, having small sandwiches, low fat yogurt, string cheese, and cut up fruit are other healthful, filling options. Making pre-portioned plastic baggies with 2 tablespoons each of cereal, dried fruit, and nuts is a great way to stay fueled and focused without overdoing calories when few options are available.

What should I eat if I need to sleep while traveling?

There’s no one food that will magically help you sleep. What can help is limiting alcohol, fried or fatty foods, and large portions or anything before you slumber. Limiting caffeine a few hours before you plan to sleep can also be helpful.

What do you find the most difficult thing about eating on vacation?

Not having our favorite breakfast cereals on hand certainly makes eating on vacation a bit of a challenge (sometimes I go as far as to bring a box or two with us)! We also don’t love having to go out for every meal, especially when the food available looks and smells so good. Sometimes we stay at hotels that have a mini kitchen, and that makes it easier for us to at least have healthful breakfast and snack foods and beverages (especially water) on hand. I try to be as consistent as possible in terms of my own eating and encourage my family to do the same when we’re on vacation.

Also, it’s critical to get plenty of physical activity. I know for my family that being active and doing fun things that we might not get a chance to do at home are often the highlights of our family vacations.

About Elisa Zied

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN is a nationally recognized award-winning dietitian and the founder/president of Zied Health Communications, LLC, based in New York, New York. She is a regular contributor to msnbc.com and galtime.com. She’s the author of Nutition At Your Fingertips and co-author of Feed Your Family Right! and So What Can I Eat?!, both written by Ruth Winter. Visit her and sign up for her free e-newsletter The ZIED GUIDE at www.elisazied.com.

 
 

 

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Part 2: Ho-Ho Holiday Hotel Suggestions

Monday, November 15th, 2010

The ICE attraction at Gaylord Hotels is a unique winter wonderland (photo courtesy of blog.wejustgotback.com)

Traveling between Thanksgiving and New Years is one of my favorite times because everything looks more beautiful with twinkle lights. And some resorts really know how to roll out the holiday red carpet! 

I have a few suggestions if you would like to get away during the next month or two but aren’t sure where to stay.

1. Orlando, FL is magical all year but especially at the holidays. The city, the theme parks and all the hotels are decorated beautifully. It’s also a great time to visit because the temperatures are comfortable and the crowds are fewer.

Expert tip: fly into nearby Tampa for cheaper airfare.

At the Magic Kingdom you can experience Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (a special event on select nights in November and December. You can order tickets online or by calling 407-WDISNEY). Disney’s budget-tier of All-Star family hotels is super kid-friendly! They provide free shuttle access to the parks, themed pools, and cafeteria-style dining options. 

Or see Hogwarts during the holidays at Universal Studios’ new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Consider staying at the affordable Nickelodeon Suites Resort with loads of Nick-style festivities, including its Let It Snow event complete with interactive visits with characters and even a New Years Eve Slime Drop. 

Life-sized gingerbread houses can be found at nearly every Ritz-Carlton hotel in the world from Atlanta to Berlin. Children and adults will feel at home for the holidays with long-standing traditions such as Santa nighttime “tuck-ins” and Teddy Bear teas.

2. Gaylord Hotels located in Nashville, Dallas, Orlando and Washington, D.C. stage some of the country’s most memorable holiday celebrations. Guests of the hotels will delight at the unique attraction ICE!, a unique whimsical winter wonderland hand carved from nearly TWO MILLION pounds of ice at each location.

3. New York City is more vibrant and breathtaking during the holidays than any other time of the year.  From the tree at Rockefeller Center, to the Radio City Christmas Show, and all the lights and sounds in between, the magic is palpable! And this year, Bryant Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland complete with shopping, entertainment and seasonal sweets. 

Expert Tip: You will save if you can visit during the first two weeks of December before the peak shopping and holiday rush begins.  

4. Or perhaps something further away from the cold catches your attention such as a Mexico vacay with the family? An all-inclusive resort such as the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum located in the Riviera Maya just south of Cancun may be just what Santa ordered!

One last thought: it’s important to create a sense of holiday tradition, whether your vacation is a one-time thing, or is the tradition itself. No matter where you are visiting, you are sure to find seasonal events that can truly add to your overall trip. Train rides, tours of lights and visits with Santa are some of the things you can expect to find no matter where you go during the holidays.

 
 

 

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Part 1: Tips for Surviving Holiday Travel

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

You can always expect craziness when traveling during the holidays (photo courtesy of news.com.au)

‘Tis the season to pull your hair out, miss your flight, yell at your spouse, get upset at your kids… Now that I have your attention, my goal is to help you avoid that scenario this holiday season!

More people will be traveling this year than previous years and therefore it will be important to be prepared for the madness that can be holiday travel. First and foremost if you are traveling with kids – embrace it! Travel is an amazing gift for a child. Even if it’s a quick flight to grandma’s house, take the time to make it a fun family adventure. 

Here are a few of my best tips to make traveling at the holidays go smoothly.

Turkey Day Traffic. If you are traveling for Thanksgiving be aware that the Tuesday before Turkey Day has become one of the busiest travel days for of the peak Thanksgiving week and the Sunday and Monday after Thanksgiving will be the busiest travel days of the season. Arrive early for your flights!  If you are driving, then be prepared for heavy traffic the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Download the MyTSA mobile application for airport status and screening checkpoint wait times. Also, here are some of my tips on weather events.

Airline Fees. If you are flying and have not booked your flights, you can expect to pay holiday surcharges ranging from $10-$30 each way for travel on peak travel days. If you can travel on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day or New Year’s Day proper, you can save a few dollars and will almost always have an easier time with less crowded airports. Also be aware of luggage fees. Southwest Airlines does not charge for checked bags and on Delta and JetBlue the first checked bag is free. 

Heavy Bags. Be conscientious of the weight of your luggage. Anything over 50 lbs is going to cost you a lot more money. That’s why I like the idea of planning ahead and shipping a box of sweaters and presents that would otherwise take up valuable space in my suitcase. Both family members and hotels are usually glad to receive such boxes and store them for your arrival.  Remember, car seats do NOT count as checked luggage, and you will not be charged for them.

Rebates: In fact, some hotel chains such as Holiday Inn and Kimpton Boutique Hotels will rebate checked baggage fees up to $50. Be prepared to show your credit card or confirmation of your hotel booking as well as the receipt for your luggage charges from an airline. Of course, certain restrictions apply. 

Share in the Trip’s Success. Getting the whole family involved in planning vacation activities can definitely reduce conflict later. Let each member of the family (no matter how young) choose something for you all to do, even as simple as a restaurant for dinner. Parents, of course you are responsible for providing the options. But this way you all have an equal stake in the trip’s success.

Holiday Decor. It’s amazing what a string or two of lights, a menorah, some tinseled garland and maybe even a little tree can do to make a hotel feel like home at the holidays. Pack them in your suitcase or ship a box ahead. You can also bring supplies for your kids to make decorations. And don’t forget stockings and a copy of your favorite Christmas movie.  

Presents! Logistically, it can also be an issue transporting gifts for kids on a Christmas vacation. First, make sure that your children let Santa know where they will be for Christmas. Maybe Santa will accommodate your travel plans and leave smaller than normal packages, or maybe he leaves a note that there are still some more surprises waiting at home under the tree?

If you are flying to your destination, do NOT put wrapped gifts in your carry-on luggage. You run a big risk of having them unwrapped at the TSA checkpoint. Familiarize yourself with the 3-1-1 Rule for liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on bags, as well as the handling of food/gifts

Expert tip: Even checked in your suitcase gift-wrap can get damaged. So pack a few gift bags and some tissue paper for easy assembly when you arrive.  Better yet, have your gift list ready and do the shopping when you arrive to your destination. A hotel concierge also makes for a wonderful Santa’s helper! They are happy to store any surprises and help Santa deliver those presents Christmas morning. 

Expect the Unexpected.  Whether you are driving or flying during the holidays you want to keep a few things handy as unexpected weather events and more travelers on the roads can sometimes wreak havoc with our timetables. Extra diapers, baby wipes (which have a thousand uses), any necessary medicines for adults and children, change of clothes, snacks, phone and ipod chargers, and surprise goodies such as activity books or cards when the “are we there yet?” starts, are all things that you should have packed in a carry-on, not in a suitcase.

Be Flexible. The most important tip of all is to be flexible. Lines will be long, traffic will be heavy, flights will be delayed and children (and adults) will get grumpy. But this is the stuff memories are made of! With just a little planning, an open mind, and some holiday spirit, you will survive and enjoy another family vacation. 

Next week, I’ll share some great hotel recommendations that celebrate the season with style!

 
 

 

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HO HO Holidays! Christmas at the Theme Parks

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Enjoy the rides at Santa's Workshop/North Pole in Colorado (photo courtesy of santa-colo.com)

Want to see more Christmas lights than you can imagine? Catch the big jolly guy in the red suit? Perhaps ride a roller coaster all in the same day? Then consider one of America’s theme parks this holiday season! 

From Pennsylvania to California, holiday celebrations abound! Here are a few of the holiday-specific celebrations taking place this year. 

1. The North Pole and Santa’s Workshop

Located south of Denver in Colorado Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak, this Christmas-themed park shines during the holiday season. Enjoy the Candy Cane Coaster and the Peppermint Slide, and of course get some time with old Saint Nick at Santa’s House.

2010 dates: The park is open daily except Wednesdays and Thursdays, through Dec. 24. 

2. Hersheypark

In Hershey, PA you’ll find the Hersheypark Christmas Candylane complete with rides for all ages, festive decorations and lots of hot chocolate. Hershey Sweet Lights is a drive trail that features two miles of twinkling lights on 600 animated displays.

2010 dates: Nov. 12 to 21, 24 to 28, Dec. 2 to 5, 9 to 23, and 26 to 31. 

3. Dollywood

Located in Pigeon Forge (near Knoxville), TN, the sounds of the season are already in full effect in Dollywood and its Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration that features musicals such as Babes in Toyland and Christmas in the Smokies and of course, a Parade of Lights. At Santa’s Workshop, children will be able to make their own holiday craft projects.

2010 dates: Nov. 6 – Jan. 1. 

4. Disney’s Magic Kingdom

Nothing says Christmas quite like a night at Mickey’s Very Magic Christmas Party, a special event held each winter on select nights at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando, FL.  Snow falls on Main Street, hot cocoa and cookie stations pepper the park, and parades fill the night with music and lights.

2010 dates: Nov. 8, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 30 and Dec. 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14 ,16, 17, 19. Order tickets ahead by calling (407) WDISNEY. 

5. Universal Studios Orlando

Experience the Macy’s Holiday Parade all season long including some of Macy’s signature giant balloons, floats, street performers, and guest marching bands. This year there are nightly music performances and a holiday village at the Orlando, FL theme park. There will also be a daily tree-lighting ceremony, and smaller holiday shows featuring some of the park’s characters.

2010 dates: Dec. 4 to Jan. 1.

6. Legoland

Experience Holly Jolly Holidays at Legoland California near San Diego. Legoland lights its unique Christmas tree made entirely of Lego bricks as well as a Lego brick Santa and reindeer. The whole family will enjoy the Let It Snow holiday show which begins performances on November 20th.

2010 dates: December 2010.

Wherever you may be going this holiday season, I wish you problem-free travels and wonderful memories in the making! In the meantime, here are a few reminders for traveling with kids and packing.  I’ll have more holiday travel tips for you in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!

 
 

 

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Need a Hotel? Try a Bed & Breakfast

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

A Premier Bed and Breakfast Property, the Maison Perrier is a Victorian Mansion Located in New Orleans

Are you longing for a romantic getaway, need a quiet weekend away from the kids, or just want to stay somewhere truly unique and perhaps historic? Then I recommend you give a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) a try.  

Bed & Breakfasts offer a certain charm and comfort that you don’t often find in a traditional hotel. Each property is as unique as its owners and locale. Most are located off the beaten path, which offers a wonderful opportunity to explore nearby towns, try the best in local cuisine and get a bit removed from the mainstream. But that’s not all!  

When I compare costs between a luxury B&B and a nice hotel, the B&B often comes out the better value although the “sticker price” may initially seem higher. The “free benefits” of B&Bs far outweigh those of traditional hotels. Things such as free breakfasts (and I don’t just mean a danish and some coffee), snacks, desserts, evening wine and cheese receptions, sodas and tea, wireless Internet, and parking are typically included in the price of your stay in a B&B. Here’s the best part; while you could travel across the country, you don’t have to go far to find one of these charming spots! I can almost guarantee that your next B&B stay could be located less than an hours drive from where you are now.

Travel Smart Blog’s Recommendations for Bed & Breakfasts. 

Wondering what’s close to you? Send me an e-mail at TravelSmartBlog@gmail.com and I’ll let you know! 

1. The Inn on Lake Granbury is about an hour from Fort Worth, TX and a true respite from the world. Opened just five years ago, this luxurious inn has a reputation for relaxation and rejuvenation. The breakfasts are as big as one could expect in Texas, and in the afternoon guests are served homemade cookies and tea. This B&B even makes a great spot for team retreats with a separate meeting/retreat facility with wood burning fireplaces, a wraparound patio and board games that guests can use.

2. Amongst the moss-covered trees and historic downtown squares you’ll find The Gastonian in Savannah, GA. More than 100-years-old, this B&B is steeped in southern elegance and hospitality. A breakfast buffet and snacks are available throughout the day and desserts seem to disappear in the evening. Don’t take my word for it, just read the guest reviews to see how past guests have raved about it.

3. The sprawling ranch-style Brookside Mountain Mist Inn in Waynesville, North Carolina has oversized bedrooms, beautiful mountain views and is a stone’s throw from art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, a golf course, the historic Biltmore Estate and one of the most famous drives on the East Coast, “The Tail of the Dragon.”

4. Laurel Grove Inn on the South River in Annapolis, MD is a great escape from neighboring Washington D.C. November and December are beautiful months for a cozy visit to the 18th-century seaport town. This B&B is situated on three serene wooded acres overlooking the South River, and is often described as a home away from home, but better! The owners are gracious and giving and the inn is beautifully decorated and exceedingly comfortable.

5. Step back in time with a stay at the Maison Perrier in New Orleans, LA. Built in 1892, this Victorian mansion is registered as a historic place by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Once rumored to have been a gentleman’s club (the rooms are even named after the ladies who may have entertained there), Maison Perrier today features spacious bedrooms and glorious bathrooms. Offering a breakfast that changes daily with features such as Praline French Toast, and a complimentary wine and cheese hour with other guests. 

 
 

 

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The Web’s Newest and Most Useful Application for Travelers

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Oscar Guido is offering Travel Smart Blog readers an exlusive opportunity to use the coolest, new travel application, Glass

Hey everybody! There is an outstanding new web application that the tech world is lauding as “humanizing the internet.”  In fact, it’s so new that they’ve created a special access code just for you, the readers of TravelSmartBlog.com! Just read below to get it. 

It’s called Write On Glass and it can make booking travel much easier and more enjoyable, especially when you are collaborating with friends or loved ones. I interviewed Oscar Guido, COO and Co-Founder of Border Stylo, the technology startup behind Glass, and wanted to share his thoughts with you on how this works.

1. What is Glass?

It’s an application that allows people to have private conversations on top of any webpage. For example, you can leave your thoughts about a hotel deal you found on hotels.com literally on top of that page, and the only people that will see that comment are those with whom you share it. Glass allows you to now point specifically to information online without having to leave the page. 

2. How does it work?

All you have to do is install an add-on to your web browser, which allows you to overlay a virtual layer of glass above the internet. This way, you can place your messages on top without having to copy a link, open a new tab, sign into your email, or create a new message. Glass saves you all of those steps. Why should you have to go somewhere else online to share stuff? This allows you to share ideas in the moment, on-the-fly, and in the context of what you are talking about. 

Here’s a short video of Glass in action.

3. How would Glass work for making travel plans?

I’ve used it to plan an entire vacation! Instead of copying links and listing them in a separate document, risking losing the context and photos of the place, I’ve used Glass. I simply leave my notes (or “slides” as they’re called) about destination hotels and resorts on top of the webpage. Glass makes it easy to retrieve those notes through a “feed” if you need to go back, and you can even bookmark special messages among the rest. 

For example, the last time my girlfriend and I traveled to Palm Springs it allowed us to compare different hotel room options. We would leave ‘slides’ on the list of varying amenities, by the different room types. We could discuss what was most important to us (pool view vs. bed size) in the context of the hotel room pictures. Then, we could link to video reviews that we found from YouTube about the hotel and its different room sizes right on top of that same site. In essence, we made our decision about what room to book by looking at the options through a conversation. In fact, we even went as far as to plan our dinners for the weekend getaway by commenting on menu selections of the best Yelp’ed restaurant reviews near the hotel. 

4. How can we start using Glass?

Since Glass is in beta, sign-ups are limited. But we’ve created the invite code “travelsmart” (all together, no quotes) for the readers of this blog to join Glass. Once inside, users can invite as many contacts as they’d like. In order for your contacts to see your messages, they will also have to be using Glass. It currently works for both Firefox and Chrome web browsers.

5. Where are your favorite places to travel?

Personally, as the product may have already hinted, I prefer privacy above all =) so my favorite places are ones where I can get away with my lovely better-half and not be bothered. That means privacy can be in the form of anonymity (by not knowing anyone else in the city or place we are visiting). A shoreline and a good selection of brews also help!

6. What’s your biggest traveling pet peeve?

Long security lines. I know, not very original, but I cannot wrap my mind around why people take forever to put their stuff in a tray. I mean, we’ve all been waiting in line for the last 15 minutes with the same purpose, right?

 
 

 

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