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6 Ways to Use Mobile Technology on a Car Trip

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A modern traveler can’t imagine a vacation without a smart mobile device, whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet. And this is caused not only by the desire to stay in touch with loved ones. 

Of course, this list is far from complete – there are still many uses for mobile technology, especially if you are traveling by car without the help of travel agencies. Let’s look at the most common ones:

Communication on social networks

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The world’s most popular social networks have multi-platform applications for mobile devices. As a rule, they allow you to set the statuses of a traveler, exchange messages, post fresh photos and other content related to the location, read the news of friends and expand your space of acquaintances. Today, mobile devices allow us to solve a wide range of tasks. For example, using your smartphone, you can book a hotel room in Miami, reserve a passenger van rental in Albany NY, or find a free table at a restaurant.

You can also see the merging of some of the major travel resources with social media. TripAdvisor is a good example. This is not only a tourist guide with the opportunity to find information about attractions, rent a car or book a room, but also software to share your impressions and read reviews about the point of interest.

The emergence of tourist social networks has made a breakthrough in the development of independent tourism. You can quickly receive both general and personalized reviews from experienced travelers anywhere in the world.

 

Map services, navigation and search for points of interest

nav

With the increase in the performance of mobile devices and the use of satellite navigation, it has become much more convenient to use mobile applications to view maps of the area, navigate and find the necessary points while traveling in a rental car. 

For example, Google Maps provides the ability to search for various establishments, their details and ratings, set your own ratings and leave reviews, find great deals, plan routes, receive information about the road traffic situation, view streets, building schemes and interior panoramas. There are a number of new applications that make life of car travelers much easier:

  • Free Wi-Fi Finder – finding the nearest internet connection points;
  • AroundMe – finding gas stations, ATMs, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, etc.;
  • Road Ninja – searching for any object near you;
  • LocalEats – finding recommendations on local food establishments.

 

Mobile guides

guides

For almost any large tourist center, you can find mobile guidebooks that have more functionality than the traditional one. They can plan a route and give directions on the way, search for information, objects, and cultural events, make reservations, give useful tips, find traffic timetables, city maps, etc. 

Such travel guides are becoming a powerful component of local promotional campaigns. An example of such a solution can be a voice information and reference system using the service for determining the location of the subscriber. When registering an incoming call, the system determines the location of the caller and, depending on the geographical point, offers to receive information about the city as a whole or about nearby attractions. The service is controlled using the mobile phone keyboard and the voice menu.

 

Hotel reservation systems

hotel

The mobile hotel booking market is growing at an accelerating pace. The most common system among travelers is Booking.com and the app of the same name. There are also more exotic offers. For example, HotelTonight is used to search for hot deals for the next night, which sometimes implies big discounts.

 

Booking transport services

transport

Already most of the world’s air carriers offer the possibility of booking tickets using mobile devices. With the help of applications, you can’t only choose and pay for the best travel option by any type of transport, but also choose a convenient seat, receive a notification about changes in the schedule, and submit your boarding pass electronically for control. In order to simplify your search, some applications also provide the ability to select your preferred airline and base airport.

This also applies to car rental services. Modern applications allow you to book a car near me, as well as anywhere in the world. All you need to do is install the appropriate software on your smartphone.

 

Travel planners

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You probably wouldn’t want to find yourself in a situation when you went to the counter to pick up a rental car, but forgot your driver’s license at home. So, mobile applications can greatly facilitate both preparation for the trip and help out in case of loss of documents or other emergency situations. In the first case, the program will control the collection of things for the trip, offering standard lists.

However, you can create your own lists. The TripIt application will help in case of loss of important documents, phone numbers, etc. It helps all the necessary information about the trip, including transportation, accommodation, and entertainment to be structured in the smartphone.

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‘Destinations in Paradise’ Redefining Post-Pandemic Private Villa Rental Service Standards

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It would be an understatement to say that the recent pandemic is ushering in a seismic shift for the travel trade, which suffered a collective gut punch as COVID-19 unrelentingly raged across the globe. New health and safety protocols, crisis management plans and other operational touchpoints are being overhauled to help those in—and dependent upon—the travel industry better pivot and adapt to the unforeseen. For travelers, priorities and sensibilities have also evolved on multiple fronts. For one, various reports extrapolate how privacy has become the new luxury.

In fact, a “Covid Travel Outlook 2021” travel sentiment survey by Indagare found that travelers “feel more comfortable renting a home or private villa for added privacy” and that “more than half of those surveyed said that they are 54 percent more likely to rent a home than they were prior to coronavirus, preferring to ‘Stay at homes not hotels,’ for added security and peace of mind.” Other reports tout the key advantages of private luxury villa accommodations, with privacy and exclusive use entrenched among them.

Amid the surge in category popularity, travelers must also consider ways to aptly vet luxe private villa options amid a burgeoning field. According to an Indagare.com story outlining the benefits of “going private,” proximity is one overarching booking factor noting that “for some travelers, a house close to town or affiliated with a nearby resort or hotel provides the perfect combination of exclusivity and access (to restaurants, coffee shops, fitness classes, etc.). Others prefer staying someplace further removed, opting for a home with fewer amenities or a lavish villa with every convenience under the sun.”

The article also points out another critical aspect that, all too often, is taken for granted: availability. The story cites the reality that “accommodations can fill up months or even a year in advance,” which some more spontaneous wanderers might not expect. Relative to post-pandemic issues, the story further cautions that “this year, with exclusivity at an unprecedented premium and fewer destinations open to international arrivals, early planning is crucial. One reason: Many travelers are opting for longer stays, now that remote work and Zoom classes are ubiquitous, meaning there’s less turnover. For these extended trips—workcations or staycations—having strong WiFi, reliable phone service and separate areas for being productive are key factors when choosing the right rental.”

With this and other public discourse helping spur private villa reservations, I sought to connect with one purveyor in the space that is making due strides: Destinations in Paradise. This boutique agency offers a suite of architectural five-star private villas in four locales: The Big Island and Kauai, Hawaii as well as Los Cabos, Mexico and Mendocino, California. Having personally experienced this company’s brand of haute hospitality on the Big Island, I sought to connect with the founders—David Cohen and Howard Appel—for some clarity on how they’ve apparently adapted so well in the post-pandemic era. Here’s what they had to say.

MK: So, first, let’s talk about the properties, themselves, and also your company at large. What sets Destinations in Paradise apart from other luxury home and private villa purveyors in the various regions where you operate?

Cohen: It’s essentially our caliber of white glove service, which is highly personalized and with the very best amenities that can be provided. The company was started because we wanted to have some fun, as Howard and I had been retired a while. We wanted to give people, especially those desiring privacy and security, the kind of high-caliber experience that we would expect. When someone arrives at one of our homes, they’re greeted and welcomed with enthusiasm and everything to elevate the experience is there. This includes the best linens, a house full of flowers and arrival gifts. In Mendocino, we leave fresh-baked goods and wine. In Mexico, our guests are greeted with cold towels and margaritas. Plus, any special requests are accommodated. Even when guests depart, we give them a thank you gift for having booked a stay with us. Overall, it’s a very personalized experience. It’s akin to having a member of the family come and stay. You get up early in the morning, make them breakfast and generally make them feel at home … that this is their home for the duration of the visit. The difference is that it’s a five-star experience at every touch point.

Appel: We, ourselves, like to travel in luxury and, as we started acquiring the properties, we realized that this is a great opportunity to offer to other people the same kind of treatment we enjoy. It’s the way we all would love to be treated. And we think we offer it differently and more special than others. The business sort of just fell into place as bookings escalated and we started to acquire additional properties.


MK: 
In the luxury travel space, much is said about the importance of personal touches to elevate the experience. So, can you provide an example of things you all do in this regard to go over-and-above for high-end luxury travelers?

Cohen: Here’s one interesting example about the Mexican property, for example: It’s two acres of the most gorgeous landscaping that you’ve ever seen. Even though it’s in the middle of a desert, we are desalinating seawater using solar power, so the yards and the landscaping and the flowers are all very lush, but still desert-type plants. The interesting thing is that Howard and I have worked together for close to 40 years and, until we actually got into this business, I had no idea that he had this artistic flair. The landscaping at all of the houses is beyond spectacular. My own personal favorite is the Mendocino home, which has the equivalent of an English country garden. You can just go and sit in there and read a book, sitting in the fresh air with beautiful butterflies and bees buzzing around. The Hawaiian property is the same; it’s just gorgeous, perfect Hawaii.

Appel: It’s important to note that these homes are indoor-outdoor homes. We want to make sure we carry the luxury on both sides. If you actually do a search of our home in Cabo on Google Earth, you can easily spot it because it’s the only significant patch of green anywhere along the east scape. This kind of lush, natural beauty is just one of the many ways that we cater to our guests relative to the luxurious aspects both inside and outside of the homes.

MK: You touched on some of it already, but what are some other special amenities and activities that you offer in, and around, the homes that are available to guests?

Appel: One key aspect is that each home comes with a concierge service. Our guests can partake in any activity in the local surroundings. We try to offer the opportunities within the local community and try to personalize that. In Mexico, it might be premiere deep-sea fishing, surfing and paddle boarding. In Mendocino, we’re about 30-minutes from Anderson Valley, so we can arrange for private wine tours. Especially during the recent pandemic, to help our guests have fun but also avoid big crowds was important to us. Of course, the homes in Hawaii and Mexico have beautiful pools, swim-up bars and each property has its own set of unique amenities on-site a like solar-lighted tennis court. In fact, when we travel to Mexico—in the seven or eight times we’ve been there—I think we’ve left the property twice. There’s no reason to go elsewhere because everything is there with you. Whatever you want to do, whatever the guests would like, we can make it happen.

MK: Speaking of the pandemic, obviously the past year and a half has been tough for the travel industry, so how have the recent health concerns impacted your business with respect to private villa versus hotel, resort or other kinds of accommodations? And, also, the guest experience while actually visiting a property?

Appel: We took COVID very seriously from the beginning and, yes, 2020 was a hard year for us. We lost almost all of our business, but we used that down time as an opportunity to continue to enhance the homes. Even now, when guests come to one of our properties, they’re greeted in a manner that best assures their health and safety. We have our house managers maintain their distance and use masks, of course. But, during the guests’ stay, we also make sure we work around their calendars to not intrude on their stay there.  We take it very seriously. And, in fact, when a guest leaves, we have a minimum 48 hours between guests so we can properly clean and sanitize the home for the next guest.

MK: Many people often associate private villa experiences more with leisure travel versus business. But I know Destinations in Paradise properties are also utilized in business—especially when there are privacy, exclusivity and health-related preferences. Plus, of course, the properties are also perfectly suited for corporate events, retreats and even utilized as incentives and rewards for employees and business partners. So, tell us about these kinds of corporate benefits.

Cohen: Even though the houses are focused on providing a safe, comfortable environment for families and extended small events, we do also host small, medium and large-scale corporate events at the houses. Whether it’s a two-person law firm figuring out how they’re going to run their businesses remotely, to a large distillery that wants to try and get their name out for a new product for, say, tequila in Mexico, our homes are an apt venue. Of course, we host weddings and social media is prompting bookings from people like rappers who want a place to chill out and rethink what their next shows or postings are going to be. And we’ve hosted philanthropic events like releasing baby turtles in the beaches of Mexico to address species endangerment. For that, a university in Mexico held a business meeting at our property, and as a gift we paid and supported their release of 600 hatchlings. Howard has also had some dealings with movie studios that are interested in hosting either corporate get togethers and business strategy meetings. And, in at least two instances that I can recall, they’ve considered using the homes as part of a movie production. I should also mention that each of the homes have the ability to cater for large and small groups. If we bring chefs in, that event never ever needs to leave the property. The house in Mexico, for instance, has two kitchens that are fully capable of catering to as many people as the property can accommodate, which is substantial, but each of the homes have the ability to cater internally and not rely on outside services.

Appel: All the homes offer businesses a unique opportunity to host meetings and events, from the very large as in Mexico, to even Mendocino for smaller gatherings. They’re all unique and offer the privacy, security and comfort that private villa venues offer—all, of course, with our discerning five-star touch.

~~~

Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the nationally-syndicated “Savvy Living TV show. As a prolific consumer and business trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReports / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListReports / Facebook www.Facebook.com/LuxeListReports / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate if this is review editorial, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

 

Sources:

* Photos courtesy of www.DestinationsInParadise.com

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2015 Volkswagen Passat Motor Oil Buying Guide

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If you love your vehicle, you want to keep the engine running smoothly. One of the best and simplest ways to do this is by always changing your motor oil on schedule, and by using the optimal oil for your car’s engine. By providing quality lubrication to the many moving parts of your engine, oil keeps these components running with as little friction as possible. This prevents engine damage and saves you money.

When looking for 2015 Volkswagen Passat motor oil, you have many options. You will have a choice of quality brands including Castrol, Mobil, STP and Valvoline. Since your engine is newer, it will always use full synthetic oil, which means you can safely go longer between oil changes, often as long as 5,000 miles. Whether you change the oil yourself or take it into the car shop, you will want to make sure you keep track of when the next oil change is needed.

What To Look for In Your Motor Oil

When buying Volkswagen Passat oil you are always looking for a quality brand that is specifically designed with your vehicle in mind. For the Passat, this typically means 5W-40 oil. It is scientifically formulated to insulate your engine’s parts from unnecessary wear and tear, and it cleanses the engine of impurities. The optimal oil also helps with fuel economy and protects against rust and corrosion. Failure to use clean oil can have serious impacts:

• Engine overheating

• Car breakdowns

• High repair bills

• Engine fires

Despite some of the technical features of engine protection, handling your car’s oil needs is really pretty simple. Buy the appropriate oil. Change the oil on the schedule recommended in your owner’s manual. Heed any check engine warnings. Monitor the performance of your vehicle at all times.

If you notice your oil is running darker than usual, you might want to get an oil change even if you are not scheduled for one at the moment. Clean oil is the lifeblood of your engine.

How To Dispose of Your Used Oil at AutoZone

Whether you are a solid mechanic or just getting into maintaining your car, an oil change is something you can do yourself. You will save lots of money over the vehicle’s lifespan and will have the satisfaction of completing an important job. To protect the environment, you will want to recycle your engine oil by taking it to your local auto parts store. This is a simple and important task.

Once you drain the oil from your Passat or some other vehicle, you want to make sure it does not spill into the environment. Either use a closed oil drain pan or transfer the used oil into a container that can be sealed. Next, bring the oil into a place that will recycle the liquid and keep it from harming the natural world. Just a little oil in waterways can foul thousands of gallons of clean water.

Shop for the best deals for motor oil and other parts online or in person. Find the parts you need to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

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Traveling With Alexa: How Amazon Echo Frames Can Assist Backpackers Throughout Their Journeys

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It seems that the world is getting smaller and smaller as our access and accessibility to it grows and grows. From the rough and ready nature of travellers to the cool and calm nature of hotel hoppers, technology had become a huge part of the travelling experience for so many people. With the smartphone being a modern-day tool for travellers, the accessories that come paired with it are making more of an appearance too.

The growth of smart technology and intelligent virtual assistants 

The growth of smart technology has been one of the biggest developments in the modern world and the introduction of intelligent virtual assistants (VA) into the average home is becoming more of a staple than a novelty. 

An intelligent virtual assistant is a personal assistant software agent that can perform tasks and services based on an individual’s commands or questions. Amazon Alexa or Siri by Apple are perfect examples of a virtual assistant. 

Amazon Alexa was first platformed by the use of Amazon Echo Smart Speaker which is a tool used to accommodate smart technology. The Echo, in particular, is a voice-controlled speaker that works with Alexa and has the capability to enforce a range of commands, such as music playback commands, creating to-do lists, playing audiobooks, providing weather information and operating your smart home features.

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Alexa has become a common household feature and can be used to control so many areas of our lives and the technology that we can use to facilitate that is only widening and developing. 

Outside of the household, consumers are now trying to travel with Alexa. With wi-fi being the necessary factor when using a virtual assistant, people are now taking their speakers with them and then connecting them to hotel wifi connections to use them on holiday. With some hotels and holiday destinations accommodating the reliance that some people have on Alexa and having smart speakers installed on their premises, the demand for virtual assistants is becoming more and more apparent. 

Although it seems like a convenience that hotels are offering the option for their customers to use their Alexa devices, it can’t always be the most convenient thing to have to travel with a speaker as part of your travel arsenal.

How do travellers currently use smart technology?

In the modern world, travellers are more often than not heavily reliant on smart technology to create efficiency and ease of travel. From using smart technology to book tickets, plan and calculate routes and establish an itinerary, a whole experience and the credentials for it can be housed using smart technology.

The introduction of the smartwatch provides an opportunity to have more accurate tracking and give insight into a person’s daily movement and activities without being in the vicinity of their smartphone. This variety in smart hardware use when travelling is only predicted to grow. The remote nature of smart accessories offers an even more personal way to interact with your virtual needs and the use of glasses within this can be said to assist.

The Amazon Echo Frames 

As the use of smart technology is growing, the repertoire of accessories available to consumers is widening and becoming more personal. We no longer have to rely on our smartphone to stay connected with the virtual world and our online requirements. The popularity of the smartwatch ensures ease of access to information, particularly when travelling and the introduction of smart glasses is adding another dimension. With over half of the American population wears glasses, the use of this accessory and eyewear as smart technology very much has a place. 

The Amazon Echo Frames are a piece of hardware that is compatible with Alexa and can give consumers a way to use Alexa without using a smart speaker. Reviewed by some critics as having comfortable frames, these smart glasses could be making more of an appearance amongst travellers and backpackers alike. 

Providing efficiency and ease of access that the hardware of the Amazon smart speaker doesn’t, the Echo Frames provide backpackers a gateway to information and virtual needs whilst on the go. Establishing a more personal way of using a virtual assistant, the features of these smart glasses could start becoming a more popular remote smart wear choice

How can smart glasses assist backpackers?

With regards to the Amazon Echo frames the audio features within the glasses can aid a backpacker whilst on the move. The glasses are linked to Alexa and could arguably be more accessible than using Alexa on a smartphone and of course, the hands-free element is a plus.

Having been commented on for their comfortable nature, the Amazon smart glasses, unlike some other smart glasses has very streamlined hardware, which makes taking calls and setting reminders more conspicuous – this is ideal for travellers who are arranging schedules and navigating routes whilst on the move.

The frames themselves are accommodating to those with varying eyesight needs. So backpackers who need and wear any kind of prescription lens will be able to use smart glasses whilst on the go. This also goes for specific situational lenses, such as night vision glasses or specific climate requirements.

The frames are designed for everyday wear so provide the functionality of smart notifications whilst having the ability to replace your everyday glasses frames. The audio notification functions could be both a positive and an annoyance to travellers, however, the world of smart wearables are ever-widening and being developed.

Although the world of smart glasses is still very much in its infancy, the option to have them as a travel accessory is very much plausible. We are yet to see the wide adoption of smart glasses in modern-day life so are still yet to create a general rapport amongst the travelling world.             

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