Business Travelers Increasingly Use Lyft Ride-Sharing Services

September 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

It used to be that, when you needed to get across town or to the airport, a loud whistle or the wave of an arm would bring a car to your feet. There was a time when a cab was the sole form of a solo ride for pedestrians.

Then Uber hit the streets, which began to threaten the public transportation mainstay; coming in from the back of the pack was Lyft. These days, the tried-and-true method has been overtaken by a sleeker, newer model, and ground transportation is becoming a neck-and-neck race between two contenders. And it’s the taxis that may be left out in the cold.

Lyft usage is increasing among business travelersAccording to USA Today, Certify, a business expense tracking company, reported that Lyft is seeing more growth than Uber and the “old-fashioned” taxi.

Certify examined more than 10 million travel receipts and expenses from North America, and found an eight percent increase in market share for Lyft in the second quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, Uber and taxis declined three percent and five percent respectively.

Uber still remains king of ride-hailing with nearly three-quarters of the market (74 percent), having a significant lead over Lyft, clocking a mere 19 percent. Cabs trail significantly with their less than double-digit share of 7 percent.

Ride-hailing services are on the move, according to Certify. The company, which began tracking the market in 2014, reported that Uber had 26 percent of transportation expenses and taxis dominated with 74 percent. At that time, Lyft had less than one percent of market share.

Talk about a comeback.

Uber can also claim the title of costliest, as business travelers spent $26 per Uber ride on average and $22.37 for Lyft.

At this rate, it’s possible for Lyft to overtake Uber in a dramatic finish, although it might take a few more years. Only time will tell as the race continues for the 2018 ground transportation championship. While not as fast as NASCAR, at least the courses are more than just left turns.

Technology also helps those business travelers who drive themselves around and might otherwise spend hours looking for parking. Business travelers are increasingly using apps like SpotHero for the much-coveted parking space, according to USA Today. In fact, the use of SpotHero grew 216 percent from Q2 2017 to Q2 2018. This may be something I have to try when I’m driving around Miami.

Business travelers fueled up with driving services too. According to another USA Today article, GrubHub reported 35 percent of all food deliveries last quarter, a 10 percent drop from 2017. Second place went to Uber Eats with an 11 percent increase (25 percent of market share) and DoorDash came in third with 20 percent. Lagging behind with 11 percent was Postmates.

DoorDash dominated in the amount spent for food delivery though. On average, a DoorDash customer spent $75.21. Meanwhile Uber Eats customers paid less than half of that with transactions averaging $34.30.

Business travelers, do you use ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber? Or do you stick with the tried-and-true taxis and car services? How about your food delivery? Tell us your favorite methods of travel and food delivery on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: PraiseLightMedia (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 4.0)

Lights Out for These Hotel Mattress Myths

September 18, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Ah, the hotel bed. Sometimes it’s a real crap shoot as to whether you find a comfortable bed like you’ve got at home, or something that should be outlawed by the Geneva Convention. If you don’t sleep well while you’re traveling, it may not just be that you’re away from home. It may be that your bed is, well, terrible. Or at least, not very comfortable.

While hotels advertise that their beds will give you “sweet dreams” and dispel any idea of counting sheep, not all guests would support those claims.

According to published reports in a USA Today article, two recent surveys say guests aren’t buying the idea of amazing beds.

The article asserts that hotel beds are at best, just plain old average.

Eighty-one percent of travelers say the “single-most important feature” in a hotel room is the bed, according to a hotel guest survey by MattressAdvisor.com. With plenty of guests complaining about poor sleep, not enough sleep, and restless sleep, what’s a weary traveler to do?

First, be picky about where you stay. Choose wisely.

Interestingly, all major US hotel chains source their mattresses from four companies, according to the article. Serta, Simmons, and Sealy scored just 74 out of a possible 100 on Consumer Reports. The unrated Jamison/Solstice is the fourth company.

In other words, the highly touted Marriott Bed is manufactured by the same people who supply mattresses to Motel 6.

Simply said, most beds are not a “nightmare” but they’re also not “dreamy.” They are, plain and simple, “unremarkable”.

The highest-rated property for mattresses is the Holiday Inn Report Panama City Beach. Fabulous beach, great beds.

Don't fall for the hotel mattress hype. Photo of a hotel bed with pillows and some art on the wall.Consider the wakeful—and woeful—tale of Jay Marose, writer/publicist and recent guest of a Los Angeles chain hotel.

The feather bed was so worn, it was like sleeping on a bed of nails,” he said in the USA Today article. “There was no duvet cover. There were four flat sheets in a bedding origami that had nothing to do with comfort, just picture taking. I left early.”

The USA Today reporter, Christopher Elliott, added his own details of nightmarish stays.

I feel his pain. I’m on the road 365 days a year, so I sleep – or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, I don’t sleep – on a lot of beds. I’ve stayed at two of the top-rated sleep hotels, the West Baden Springs Hotel in West Baden, Indiana (No. 2), and the Hotel Emma in San Antonio (No. 8), and I slept well in both of them.

But I’ve also stayed in some really nice places – you know, the kind that charge a mandatory $30-a-night ‘resort fee’ on top of their exorbitant room rate – and felt as if I was sleeping on a stone slab.

So let’s bust these hotel bed myths.

Fact: Not all hotel beds are super-premium. Therefore, people do not necessarily sleep better in them.

Fact: The hype about hotel beds is simply a marketing concept. So, no need to purchase one for your very own. You can get one that’s just as good from the regular mattress store.

Fact: Hotel mattresses are fairly generic and average. They are not proprietary and specially made for the hotel. Remember, there are only four sources of mattresses for all hotels.

So, what’s a weary traveler to do?

Learn how to spot a poor mattress. You probably already know what makes up a poor mattress, but maybe didn’t realize it. Does it sag? Can you sit on the edge comfortably?

Harrison Doan, director of analytics at Saatva, a mattress company, told USA Today:

“Checking these things can give you an idea of the mattress quality as well as the quality of sleep you can expect from it,” he said. “Is the stitching clean and consistent? Is the padding on the top of the mattress thick enough to make a difference or just a thin layer thrown on to look nice?”

You can also improve your sleep by making a few room adjustments. The first thing Paul Bromen, publisher of Uponamattress.com suggests is chilling. No, not you. Your room. Turning down the air conditioner a few degrees.

Next, he says bring your own pillow (although we don’t recommend it if you’re flying and only taking a carry-on bag). And be sure to bring a little masking tape to cover up any LEDs scattered around your room.

Bottom line: Don’t believe the hype about a hotel’s mattresses. Unless they tell you they have a memory foam mattress or some exotic mattress handmade by scientists and artisans, don’t fall for it. A hotel mattress is a hotel mattress. Stay at a hotel for the overall experience, not the mattress.

What has been your experience with hotel mattresses and sleeping experiences? Where did you get your best night’s sleep on the road? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Olichel (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)

Robert & Mary Carey Spotlight Seattle, Washington

September 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We are pleased to publish this blog article from Robert & Mary Carey of the RMWorldTravel radio program. Robert and Mary will provide us monthly blog articles covering their different favorite travel destinations.

On our weekly national radio show, we regularly spotlight some of our favorite destinations around the U.S. —- that are less traveled but offer outstanding travel experiences. A recent focus was Seattle, Washington. Seattle is a popular year-round destination for many reasons.

The Seattle city skylineFirst, it’s a city with spectacular views that offers ample outdoor activities for travelers of all ages. On clear days from various points in the city, you can see the Puget Sound, the rugged peaks of the Cascade Mountains and of course, Mount Rainer, the highest mountain in the state of Washington. For more expansive views, the iconic Space Needle reopened in July, after a major renovation and is worth checking out. There is now an observation deck that includes floor to ceiling glass views on the interior and exterior. There’s no shortage of gorgeous views from the top of the Space Needle!

If you’re an aviation fan, there’s a working tour of the Boeing Factory nearby and a large number of activities and sites at The Museum of Flight, which houses one of the largest air and space collections in the country.

Downtown Seattle skylineSeattle also offers great hiking and is a popular walking and biking city. The city is also known for its lively literary scene and boasts many independent bookstores. Just this year, UNESCO recognized and designated Seattle as a ‘City of Literature.’ Sip a cup of coffee in one of a number of unique local cafes, sample sweet and juicy Rainier Cherries, and enjoy fresh Pacific Northwest salmon, crabs as well as other great seafood. If donuts are your thing, make sure to try the Seattle legend Top Pot!

A few other activities you can enjoy in Seattle are a professional ballgame, the renowned Seattle Aquarium or a day trip to one of the islands in the Puget Sound. We’ve enjoyed Whidbey Island with its clifftop views and historic Fort Casey State Park. But keep in mind, we believe no visit to Seattle is complete without at least a few hours walking around Pikes Place Market.

Opened in 1907, Pikes Place Market is one of the oldest, and in our opinion, one of the most unique and fun continuously operating public farmer’s markets in the United States. Seattle is a beautiful city with plenty of activities to keep all travelers engaged and happy.

Safe and Happy Travels!

Robert & Mary Carey, Hosts
America’s #1 Travel Radio Show
www.RMWorldTravel.com

Photo credit: Skeeze (Pixabay.com, Creative Commons 0)
Photo credit: Pexels (Pixabay.com, Creative Commons 0)

Here Are the Top Reasons Travel Insurance Claims Are Delayed or Denied

September 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating and worrisome. Whether it’s an auto claim, a homeowner claim, or medical claim, the insured is often told a claim is denied or delayed without explanation. Travel insurance is no different. A simple misstep can cause a claim to be delayed or even denied despite the best of intentions.

InsureMyTrip, a travel insurance aggregator, recently published a list of the top reasons claims are delayed or denied.

One reason for a delay or denial is pretty basic, and that’s whether your policy covered this type of claim. Before you sign up for your travel insurance, read the fine print. Many of those crucial details about what you’re getting coverage for are outlined in the fine print. Check your terms and conditions because every policy is worded differently.

You should get travel insurance for trips like cruises and business trips.Not all flight delays qualify for a claim. For example, a delay needs to be three hours or more in order to qualify. So, if your flight is delayed two hours and 59 minutes, your claim will, in all likelihood, be denied.

Has your trip been canceled due to weather? Many vacationers discover they are not covered because the storm’s impact is not sufficient enough to warrant cancellation. Another common reason is that people waited too long to purchase their policy and bought it right before the trip began.

Typically an airline or cruise company has to cease service due to the weather in order for basic coverage to kick in. That means a flight must be grounded, or your resort must be badly damaged and unable to provide service.

Hurricane season typically sees a large spike in claims. If you’re worried about hurricanes, look at the specific ‘hurricane-related’ coverage that your provider offers, and ask questions to make sure you’re covered. A policy review by a travel insurance expert will help you understand what kind of coverage you’re getting, so have one examine your policy prior to buying it.

Illness may be another reason for a canceled trip and filed claim. But if you’re too sick to do anything, yet you don’t seek medical attention, your claim will be denied. How else can you prove you were ill? Insurance companies want proof, and without it, the chances of your claim being approved are slim to none. Not sure if you can make the trip? Get some guidance from the policy holder before making your travel decision.

Documentation is also vital for filing a claim. Your travel insurance company has a process, and will need documentation that you followed that process. The more you do, the less likely you will experience a delay or denial. Seeking treatment prior to returning home and saving all medical documentation is critical to proving both your expense, and the fact that an event occurred. Anything you can do to get an independent, qualified party to document your case will help you during your claim, including additional treatment when you return.

Do you have a pre-existing condition? Request a plan that includes pre-existing medical issue waiver. If you’re not sure, speak to a travel insurance professional about the plan that’s right for you.

Generally speaking, InsureMyTrip suggests following a few simple steps to avoid delayed or denied claims

  • Purchase travel insurance as early as possible to increase eligibility and ensure the trip cost is accurate.
  • Understand your policy before leaving.
  • Have your paperwork in hand before you return home, including claims-related medical papers, police reports, etc.
  • Expect processing delays with your claim following major travel events such as hurricanes.

What has been your experience with travel insurance claims? Any tips or pointers you’d like to share with your fellow travelers? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Brendaconway94 (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 4.0)

No Powders Will be Allowed onto Planes, says TSA

August 28, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Starting June 30 it will be more difficult for international travelers to bring powders on their trips, at least in large quantities. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has adopted a stricter policy on baby powder, protein powder, dry spices, coffee, tea, and more through airport security.

Basically, the new regulation states that any passenger on an inbound international flight with 12 ounces or more of powder might be subject to additional screening at security checkpoints. What’s more, if TSA agents can’t identify the powder, then it may be confiscated and thrown away. So while it may not be a problem for coffee and tea drinkers, since that’s easily identifiable, certain spices may pose a potential problem.

The TSA is no longer allowing powders on inbound flights from foreign points of origin.This means even dry baby formula could be subject to a search or even confiscation. Of course, this only affects international flights coming into the US. Flying from North Carolina to visit your sister in Portland, Oregon is still okay.

Still, if you’re trying to bring large amounts of powder through security, you may want to consider shipping it to your final destination anyway. This policy might not be limited only to inbound international flights for very long; it’s possible it could expand to domestic flights in the future.

The change was a result of increased security concerns: July 2017 saw a failed terrorist attack in Australia when someone tried to blow up an Etihad Airways flight with a powder explosive. This has put everyone on alert, and now we have to be concerned about how much powder we travel with in our luggage. However, the TSA has said this was not the only reason for the policy change.

Most international airlines have voluntarily implemented screening for powder according to the TSA. Canada, for example, has added powder and granular material to its list of items prohibited on flights, although baby formula, protein powder, coffee, and tea in any quantity are still allowed.

The TSA will also ask foreign airports with flights into the U.S. to adopt the same policy.

How will you be affected by this policy? Do you travel with larger amounts of powder in your luggage? (Be sure to pack it in a resealable bag, in case something goes wrong.) Tell us how you travel with powder in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter page.

Photo credit: Transportation Safety Administration, (Wikimedia, Public Domain)

Which U.S. Airlines Have the Most Economy Class Legroom?

August 21, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Have you noticed your personal space is shrinking on flights? You’re not imagining things. The space between your seat and the seat in front of you is getting smaller (or maybe a little bigger), depending on your airline. Over time the average seat pitch — the distance between the back of the seat in front of you and the front of your seat back (i.e. your personal space) — has shortened. Only two decades ago the pitch could be anywhere from 34 to 35 inches. Today the legroom is closer to 30 or 31 inches, depending on the airline.

Do you know how much legroom is available in your airplane?There are, however some airlines that may “fit” your need better than others. If you want to stretch your legs and not your budget, here are several airlines and planes worth checking out.

If you don’t want to pay extra for “economy plus” or “premium economy” upgrades in the major airlines, here are the carriers’ current pitch sizes.

  1. JetBlue (32″ – 33″): Their Airbus A321 planes have 33 inches of pitch in economy, so those are used primarily for transcontinental flights. Their Airbus A320s have 32 inches in economy class, thanks to a recent retrofit of their entire fleet.
  2. Alaska Airlines (31″ – 32″): Alaska has a fleet of Airbuses with 32 inches of legroom and a fleet of pre-Virgin America merger Boeing 737s with 31 to 32 inches.
  3. Southwest Airlines (31″ – 32″): Most Southwest planes are Boeing 737-700s with 31 inches of pitch; some of their 737-MAXs and 737-800s have 32 inches.
  4. United Airlines (31″ – 32″): Only their Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners offer up to 32 inches. The rest of their fleet clocks in around 31 inches.
  5. Hawaiian Airlines (30″ – 32″): Hawaiian’s Boeing 717s, which they fly between islands, have 30″ of legroom, but the rest of their fleet — Airbus A330s, A321s, and Boeing 767s — have 31 – 32″.
  6. American Airlines (30″ – 32″): American’s Boeing 757s (for international travel) offer 31 to 32 inches of seat pitch while their Airbus A319s and Boeing 737 MAXs (domestic travel) have 30 inches.
  7. Delta (30″ – 32″): Expect anywhere from 30 to 32 inches of seat pitch, although most have 31 inches available. The least amount of space is found on the Airbus A319s, A320s, A321s, and the Boeing 757s with only 30 inches of legroom.

While this may feel small, all is not lost. You can upgrade to the airline’s Economy Plus/Premium Economy (or whatever your favorite airline calls it) and get up to 40 inches of legroom. If you’re a taller traveler, this can be totally worth it. If you’re shorter, you probably won’t notice the difference.

Of course, you’re looking at a cost between $20 – $200, depending on the airline and the destination. Just remember, wherever you’re headed, seat pitch is important and needs to be a consideration in your flight plans. Don’t just get the cheapest ticket you can find, because it will very likely be one of the most uncomfortable. Spend a few extra dollars so you can at least tolerate the ride without hurting yourself or putting yourself through four hours of torture.

What do you look for in seat pitch and legroom? Do you base your travel choices based on legroom? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter page.

Photo credit: Matthew Hurst (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

The Dirtiest Place in the Airport is Not What You Think

August 14, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Often thought of as the filthiest of places, an airport public restroom may not necessarily be the dirtiest place in the airport. What could be worse? Security bins? Ticket counters? The place where you and thousands of other travelers have to take your shoes off?

Curious as to what spot actually is the dirtiest, InsuranceQuotes, a Texas-based insurance company, went to three major U.S. airports and airline flights and performed 18 tests across six different surfaces. Samples were sent off to a laboratory to find the average number of colony forming units (CFU) or bacterial or fungal cells per square inch.

Basically, the more CFUs there are, the more contaminated a surface is.

Self-check-in kiosks is often the dirtiest place in the airport.The results were surprising: self-check kiosks contained the highest level of CFUs with 253,857. Armrests at the gate were second with 21,630 followed by water fountain buttons with 19,181.

It makes sense: all day, countless people tap the same screen to get their tickets, unaware the dirtiest place in the airport is right at their fingertips. The self-check-in kiosk is the one place nearly everyone is forced to touch. Not surprising then is that the world’s business airport, Hartsfield-Jackson, was the germiest of all three subject airports. Just one kiosk alone came back with 1 million CFU.

Remember that “filthy” restroom? An airport toilet contains 172 CFU on average.

The close proximity of other passengers and stale air in the airplane is blamed for illnesses, but maybe it’s the pre-flight contact instead. We may never know.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

The best way is, of course, complete avoidance whenever possible. Check into your flight from your smartphone or at home on your computer (just your germs there).

That being said, if you do find yourself at the airport, here are a few tips for cleaner traveling:

  1. Barefoot is bad! Walking barefoot through security makes you more susceptible to germs and infections like athlete’s foot, so always wear socks through the airport security line.
  2. Hand sanitizer. Carry TSA-approved size mini bottles of hand sanitizer for quick clean ups after touching dirty screens.
  3. Resting your elbows on armrests at your gate is comfortable, but if you wipe them down with disinfectant wipes first, they’ll be comfortable and clean.
  4. No brainer: always, always, always wash your hands after using the restroom. Public or private. Airports and everywhere. Always. Use soap and warm water for seconds; that’s “Happy Birthday” twice or the Alphabet song once.

“Safe travels” has a whole new meaning when you say ‘bon voyage’ to germs.

How do you avoid germs on your trips? What did you think the dirtiest place in the airport was? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter page.

Photo credit: Marek Ślusarczyk (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.5)

Which Travel Vaccinations Do You Need for International Trips?

August 9, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Our bodies are homebodies. While you may like the idea of visiting exotic foreign destinations and experiencing all the culture has to offer, our bodies don’t embrace it. But if you get travel vaccinations before you embark on this dream trip, your body won’t have to worry about “what’s in the water,” and you won’t come home with a souvenir you never wanted.

Some courses of these vaccines were administered when you were a child and you’re covered for life. Others require a booster or must be administered over a period of weeks or months prior to departure, so have a conversation with your travel agent and doctor as soon as you determine your itinerary.

Zona Sur area of La Paz, Bolivia. You need travel vaccinations if you visit Central or South America.

Zona Sur area of La Paz, Bolivia

Here’s a list of some of the vaccinations readily available either through your doctor’s office or county health department (borrowed from Matt Karsten over at Expert Vagabond). You may be required to show proof of vaccination in order to enter the destination of your choice, so do your homework as part of your preparations. If you’re afraid of needles, don’t despair. Some vaccinations can be administered in pill form. Otherwise, close your eyes and dream of your destination.

TDaP (Tetanus, Diptheria, and Pertussis): Yes, you were vaccinated for this when you were a baby, but if you’re going out of the country it’s a good idea to get a booster of this combo in order to avoid tetanospasmin, a deadly bacterial toxin found in the soil and animal excrement. Any open wound you may have exposes you to this possibility, and if left untreated, tetanus can be fatal. Diptheria and pertussis are also bacterial diseases which are prevented with the vaccine.
Recommended: All countries, regardless of where you’re going.

Typhoid Fever: This is another deadly disease spread that’s caused by animal excrement contaminating the water supply. It’s 100 percent fatal.
Recommended: Central and South America, Asia, Africa, and Pacific Islands

Malaria: Think of how many times over the course of the summer you’ve swatted at a mosquito without wondering if the insect was a female carrying one of four strains of this parasite infection. While some may dispute whether travelers really need to get this vaccine, talk with anyone who has ever had malaria, and they’ll advise you to follow the protocol.
Recommended: Africa, South America, parts of the Middle East and Asia

Japanese Encephalitis: Never heard of it? Neither had we, but it too is spread through mosquitoes in rural farming areas. If you are traveling during monsoon season to the Far East and Southeast Asia, this is one vaccination you should seriously consider.
Recommended: Asia and Southeast Asia

Cholera: This is one of the cheapest vaccines available and may save you from wasting valuable adventure time in the bathroom. It’s spread by consuming food or water contaminated with feces of an infected person.
Recommended: Africa, Southeast Asia, and Haiti

Are you headed on any international trips? Or have you been on any lately? What kinds of vaccinations did you get? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter page.

Photo credit: Matthew Straubmuller (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

Take Care of Yourself if You Travel Frequently

August 7, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

If you travel frequently — 15 or more days a month on business — you can consider yourself a road warrior. But a new study by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and City University of New York says a better description might be wounded warrior.

The study of 18,000 business travelers who are away from home half the month or more found these individuals struggling greatly with their health. Many have mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, and they are sleep deprived and overly dependent on alcohol. They don’t get exercise and they tend to smoke more than those who don’t spend as much time away from home for work. They also have higher blood pressure and lower than acceptable good cholesterol levels.

Hotel Gym at Casa Velas Hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A hotel gym is a great place to work out if you travel frequently.

Hotel Gym at Casa Velas Hotel in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

One of the study’s lead authors, Andrew Rundle, wrote in the Harvard Review that “the clustering of all these health conditions among extensive business travelers is worrying, both for their own health and the health of the organizations they work for.” He suggests education both for the individuals as well as for the companies as a good first step toward changing this alarming situation.

“At the individual level, employees who travel extensively need to take responsibility for the decisions they make around diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and sleep,” Rundle explains. “However, to do this, employees will likely need support in the form of education, training, and a corporate culture that emphasizes healthy business travel.”

Rundle offered practical tips for employees that included being very selective about when travel is absolutely necessary and being honest with themselves about what constant travel is doing to their health and well-being.

One thing he suggested could serve as a tangible affirmation of the company’s commitment to the health of its warriors is providing memberships to national fitness centers for these frequent travelers.

Bottom line: If you travel frequently, please eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get plenty of sleep, and exercise 20 minutes per day, three times a week. That means things like walking to appointments, working out in the hotel gym, or just going for a walk in the evening. Don’t load up on rich heavy meals in restaurants, avoid soda and lots of alcohol, and drink water throughout the day. If you can do that, you can improve your health greatly while you travel.

Do you travel frequently for business? Do you take care of yourself, exercise, and get plenty of sleep, or do you find yourself lacking in a couple of those areas? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter page.

Photo credit: Casa Velas Hotel (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

Five Apps to Keep you Entertained and Informed

July 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

We’re busier than ever. While we used to have to DVR our shows and catch up with them later — and before that, we videotaped them or made sure to sit down when they actually aired! — mobile devices now give us the opportunity to not only be entertained but informed, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

We used to be held captive by the TV monitor at the airport gate area, now we can use some mobile apps to control the content we read, watch, or hear. While everyone knows about apps like Spotify, ESPN, and Netflix, we wanted to share some more unusual, lesser-known apps for your consideration as you’re on the go. You can use these while you’re in the car, on the plane, or just shuffling around your hotel room as you get ready for bed. And you can use them at home as well.

TuneIn Radio - One of the five best entertainment apps

TuneIn Radio

If you like listening to the radio, particularly to keep yourself updated about what’s going on in your hometown, TuneIn Radio allows you to hear your local commercial or NPR station from anywhere in the world. It will let you listen to any local radio station that also broadcasts on the Internet, as well as download podcasts and even listen to certain sporting events, like MLB, NFL, and even the World Cup.

The same is true for your local TV station and your local newspaper. An easy check in your app store will let you know if your local ABC, NBC, or CBS affiliate has an app where you can find local news. If your town’s newspaper doesn’t have its own app, you might be able to access it if it’s owned by Gannett Company. The publisher of USA Today also owns over 100 daily newspapers and over 1,000 weekly newspapers and offers this local content through its app. All these can provide you with a taste of home even when you’re away.

Six of our favorite entertainment apps for when you're on the road

Six apps to help you stay entertained and informed while you’re on the road.

If you want to stream content on your phone or tablet and protect yourself from being throttled by your data provider, you may want to look into VPN Unlimited. While not an app, this virtual private network service allows you to sign in and choose from a list of preselected servers in different countries. For example, you can access international content from these servers such as World Cup coverage in Iceland or the Olympics as they’re televised in Canada. For those who don’t have cable, this is one way to access premium sports coverage without paying. You’re just watching content provided by another country’s public access channels. Finally, if you’re traveling overseas and want to watch Netflix, you can’t, since Netflix doesn’t allow access to U.S content from outside the country. To work around that lockout, VPN Unlimited also has a dedicated Netflix server which allows you to watch your U.S.-based Netflix from anywhere in the world.

NPR One is the news junkie’s favorite app. Unlike the regular NPR app, which is sort of like a streamlined public radio-only version of TuneIn, the NPR One app lets you select the news, stories, and podcasts just for you. It’s like building your own NPR newscast. The regular NPR app is great for if you want to find your favorite classical, jazz, or eclectic music radio station (like KCRW’s Eclectic24 from Santa Monica, California), but I especially like NPR One for its focus on news and information.

What kinds of entertainment apps do you use to stay entertained and informed? How do you keep up with news from home or your favorite destination? Share them with us, the more esoteric the better! Leave us a comment on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter page.

Photo credit: Erik Deckers (Used with permission)

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