Monday, March 23, 2015

Travel 2.0: Smart Suitcases

Call it Travel 2.0, when luggage melds with high technology to morph into a suitcase category called smart bags. What can smart bags do that more sluggish luggage can’t? According to my discoveries at this year’s Travel Goods Showcase in Las Vegas, all sorts of stuff. To wit, you can unlock these smarties remotely, or opt to open the biometric lock with a fingerprint. You can track the bags wherever they go, and however far they may get away from you. You can use them to recharge mobile devices or to get a party started. Indeed, several of the new smart bags feature speakers which transform a suitcase into a boom box. And that's just for starters. As you'll see from the examples below, innovative smart bags are combining brains and beauty in one special package.
The folks who developed The Planet Traveler SpaceCase 1 say it's the most technologically advanced suitcase coming onto the market. Features include a biometric lock, global tracking, a Bluetooth speaker, and lithium power pack. A digital sensor scale sensor is in the wheels, so you don’t actually have to lift the case to weigh it. A downloadable app controls all features, and is designed to serve as a PTA--a personal travel assistant.  The Planet Traveler SpaceCase 1 is expected to be on the market by November. The price: $700 for a full-size bag; $600 for the carry-on bag. High tech doesn’t come cheap, particularly in its first incarnation.



Planet Traveler SpaceCase1



The Andiamo iQ is also expected to hit the market this fall. Among its many smart features are a USB battery charger; a removable mobile power pack; a remote lock and unlock via the app ; a digital scale; and an anti-theft alert system that alerts you (well, your cell phone) when the bag moves 30 meters away from you; and a digital scale. Available only in carry-on, the iQ will cost $599.



Delsey’s Pluggage won't be ready until next spring. But given that it comes from a French company, you can expect a stylish debut. Delsey has been conducting an on-line survey to determine which smart features its clientele most covet. Among the options-- an inside lighting system, an auto weight scale, fingerprint ID via smartphone, and an inside speaker. The crowdsourced feedback will be considered as the revolutionary bag is designed. The price for the carry-on is expected to be in the range of $600.

Pluggage from Delsey (prototype)

Want to hear more? Take a listen to my report on Around the World Radio. The link gets you to the archives. Find the March 19 show and go to the last segment..

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shark Bites: Business Travel Tips from Daymond John

How does a shark take a bite out of travel hassles?  I recently met Daymond John, the snazzy Shark, at the Travel Goods Showcase in Las Vegas. I asked the self-made multi-millionaire how he survives life on the road.

Daymond (because we are, of course, on a first-name basis) travels about 250 days a year. Even assuming he travels only in first or business class, all of that airtime has to take a toll. To stay grounded, he follows these rules religiously:

1. "I always read my list of goals first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to sleep. That way, I can spend the day putting goals into action, and then I set myself up to dream about them during the night."

2. Also on Daymond's to-do list: A workout first thing in the morning.

3. Daymond gets even more exercise while returning telephone calls. He sets aside two hours for phone calls...which he makes while walking.

4. "I never schedule dinners after seven," he says. Good idea, Daymond. Late dinners mean a body has to work overtme on digestion into the wee hours of the night.

5. Finally, a shark on the go has to learn to say no....or better yet, no tanks.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

CNN Coverage: What's the Deal with These Modern Hotel Names?

 Read all about why Moxy, Venu, Jaz in the City, Vib, and other new hotel brand names are being purposely misspelled. Blame those millennials!






For those who prefer video to print, watch this instead, I discussed the topic recently on Let's Talk Live in Washington, DC.



http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/11/travel/quirky-hotel-names/



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Countdown Continues: Travel Writing Gnomes

As loyal readers know, I frequently beef about the current state of travel writing. Too many people are hanging up a 'travel writer' shingle without knowing how to write...and in some cases...not really knowing how to travel. 

Looking for clues as to whether someone is a decent writer? If an article, blog post, and press release is packed with phrases like hidden gems, winter wonderland or the dreaded something for everyone....run away....fast.   

Tusk, Tusk: Elephants Never Forget Trite Writing
For those seeking to become better writers, or for those looking for a laugh, please take a peek at these popular posts, which cumulatively come in at #4 on my Top 9 Posts countdown list.  

The best of the worst: http://dailysuitcase.blogspot.com/2013/10/9-gnomes-about-travel-writing.html

Mr. Bill says, "Oh, nooooo...
not another travel cliche." 

Objecting to Bad Spelling and Improper Direct Objects: http://dailysuitcase.blogspot.com/2013/09/9-more-gnomes-about-travel-writing.html


On redundancies, cliches and something for everyone:
http://dailysuitcase.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-few-more-gnomes.html

Don't be a horse's......
Hightail it to the dictionary,
your 'mane" source for spelling and homonyms

 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Top 9 Countdown Continues: Happy Sheep Year!

Given that this is The Year of the Sheep, it is somewhat fitting that my pun-filled homage to Idaho's Trailing of the Sheep Festival gets retold today. In fact, the Hemingwayesque tale is among the most popular yarns ever spun on this blog. In fact, as we count down the Top 9 Daily Suitcase posts to date, Idaho entries rank at numbers 6 and 5. Read up and you'll understand why the state should be famous for more than potatoes alone. 



6.  A Farewell to Yarns:  An ode to one of the country's top festivals.



5. Nine Things You Didn't Know About Idaho: Idaho doesn't get a whole lotta love from the rest of the country. Certainly, when most people think of the state, if they think of it at all, images of potato fields and a blue football field come to mind. But Idaho has so much more to offer, including shimmering lakes, spectacular mountains, and quirky museums. I write about the state frequently, but this particular post piqued the most interest.

Payette Lake in McCall

Sun Valley






Sunday, February 15, 2015

Top 9 Posts: The Runner-Ups

I've written hundreds of posts during the five years Daily Suitcase has been in existence. But certain topics always seem to resonate with my dear readers. They include accounts of exotic excursions; my infatuation with Idaho;  my proclivity for punning; and rants against hackneyed travel writing. But by far the most popular post ever...and this is the naked truth...is the tale of going au naturel at a German spa.

But that's just a tease, because I am going to do my Top 9 countdown in reverse, in threesomes. Today, you get numbers seven, eight, and nine.

9. A Trans-Siberian Postscript: An account of  my adventures on the Russian rails.


Riding the Trans-Siberian Route
Along the Shores of Lake Baikal

Me in Front of the World's Largest
Lenin Head in Ulan Ude

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow






















8. It's Just Another Manic Punday: Although I have recently started a #ManicPunday gabfest on Twitter (every other Monday from 12:30-1:00 PM EST....please join in), this success of this early quip of the same name astounds me. If you don't feel like clicking the link, below is the post in its entirety. 

--------------

I have been staying at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando the past few days for a speaking gig at a travel industry conference. Inspired by the ducks that march through the lobby here on a daily basis, I present this week's Punday entry. Hope it quacks you up.

A duck walks into a bar.
He orders a Wild Turkey.
He asks the wader to put it on his bill.
---------------------------------------------------------

7. Go Directly to Jail:: I've been collecting international versions of Monopoly for 25 years. I have nearly 50 boards, but.those bought in Communist countries are my pride and joy. Yes, I have authentic 1980s versions of the game that celebrates capitalism at its most unscrupulous from Yugoslavia, Poland, and Romania. This post recounts tales of the chance discoveries.

One of Two Games Purchased
in Romania. Note the presidential
caricatures on the money.
In the next post, we shall move up the food chain. Expect stories from the Spud State 
and my beefs with bad travel writing.
To be continued ...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Russia Tourism Outlook 2015


If political correctness doesn't affect your travel choices, Russia might be an excellent option for long-haul travel in 2015. The declining ruble makes the place a bargain for anyone spending dollars, euros or pounds.  My story for CNN gauges the travel forecast there.




To read the full story, please go to

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/20/travel/russia-travel/index.html