From the practical to the just-plain fun, these gadgets are our favorite travel companions for the summer of 2014.
1. 4-in-1 Adapter
This wall charger is not only compatible with outlets in 150 countries, it’s color-coded for ease of use and aesthetic appeal.
2. The Jump Cable
Use this charger on the go and it’ll give your phone a 30 percent power boost even when unplugged, thanks to the built-in battery pack. Plug it in to an outlet and it’ll charge your phone and the backup battery at the same time.
3. EZ Grill
Light up this lightweight, portable grill with a single match and get up to 90 minutes of cooking time. Even better, it uses natural charcoal soaked in mineral oil, so no chemicals will contaminate your burgers. Keep one handy in the trunk of your car for impromptu tailgating.
Developed by a family physician, these flat, removable speakers are built into a cozy fleece headband so you can fall asleep listening to music without the discomfort of earbuds or rigid headphones. Perfect for long plane flights.
Whatever your listening preference, this app will create a 10-hour personalized playlist of music, sports, news, comedy, and more. Try it for your next road trip.
With a fiber-enforced resin shell, this wireless speaker can travel anywhere safely—even poolside, thanks to a waterproof covering (sold separately). It also boasts 40 hours of battery life and Siri/Google Now capability.
By Ingrid Ahlgren
While commuting on the New York City subway the other day, I admired a poster by artist Sophie Blackall. The poster, part of the MTA’s Arts for Transit program, is just one of the creations straphangers can enjoy in New York. The city’s subway system is home to oodles of art, ranging from the gorgeous mosaics in many stations to talented musicians who perform on trains and platforms to poetry inside the cars.
New York isn’t the only city where travelers can enjoy art on their way from one place to another. Boston’s Green Street Gallery, a non-profit, artist-run space, is located in a subway station. In Chicago, a program called Art on Track transforms a train into a moving gallery once a year.
Outside of the United States, there’s also great art to discover while using public transit. Many of Montreal’s subway stations boast sculptures and other works of art. Stockholm’s tunnelbana, which has artwork in 90 of its 100 stations, has been called the “world’s longest art exhibit.” In Lisbon, contemporary art is featured in all metro stations.
Sometimes, the subway stations themselves are works of art. Paris’ Metro is known for its elegant art-nouveau entryways. In Bilbao, Spain, many new stations have been designed by Sir Norman Foster. The unique curved glass structures at street level are known as “Fosteritos.” Some of Moscow’s legendary undergrounds have chandeliers and marble-clad walls. And in Dubai, metro stations have modern designs but incorporate some of the region’s traditional architectural elements such as alleyways and arches.
Which of the world’s subway systems do you think are worth a detour?
Scotsman Ian Keown reports on a ceilidh, Culloden and Cawdor, “congenial and cultivated fellow passengers,” magical landscapes, cuisine of high caliber and an encounter with a “soignée lady” aboard “one of the world’s most luxurious touring trains,” The Royal Scotsman.
“For American visitors, of course, the train is a godsend, eliminating the stress of driving on the left….And let’s face it, you can’t savor 35 of Scotland’s grandest malts when you’re driving.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
When you’re traveling with a group you can sometimes feel like a bull in a herd of cattle. Everyone on the bus! Everyone off the bus! Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Of course there are terrains that call for small bus travel. But since you’re not going to be regaling your friends and family with tales of riding a bus, we’re offering a few more creative means of transportation. We think a hot air balloon ride over the spectacular landscape of Cappadocia might just be worth a postcard home. And a trek over the dunes of the Gobi Desert astride a Bactrian camel in Dunhuang or a zig-zagging ride through the narrow alleyways of Delhi in a cycle-rickshaw past colorful bazaars, temples and India’s ever-vibrant street life would lead to plenty of fodder for many cocktail parties to come!
Trainophiles will want to follow the Silk Road on the opulent Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express, travel through southern India on the elegant Golden Chariot or head to the Highlands on the Edwardian-style Royal Scotsman.
How about making a grand entrance into the Venetian Lagoon aboard the three-masted sailing yacht Sea Cloud II? Or circumventing the crowds by sailing right into Venlo for Floriade, the renowned exhibition of flowers and plants that takes place only once every 10 years in the Netherlands?
Land-based programs also often offer a chance to get out on the water for a different perspective. Admire the fabled skyline of Istanbul, dotted with graceful minarets and splendid palaces, on a private Bosphorus cruise. Or get great shots of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge on a private yacht traveling past the iconic sights of Sydney’s spectacular harbor.
You will never be tempted to “moo” again.