Apple Drops Google Maps: Will You Miss It?
Back in June, Apple made an announcement that sent shock waves through the techie world and shivers down travelers' spines: When they launch their new iOS6 operating system, they'll officially dump Google Maps and replace it with their own mapping app. It's safe to say that a vast majority of travelers have become completely reliant on Google Maps, for everything from driving directions to public transportation to scoping out new neighborhoods with Street View. So what can you expect from the Apple replacement?
Flyover: Google offers the undeniably cool Street View feature, which has even recently moved beyond city streets and into national parks. So how can Apple compete? The short answer is, so far, it can't. Their new Flyover feature allows users to explore 3–D renderings of a limited number of cities (the Apple campus in Cupertino, Chicago, Copenhagen, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sydney) in zoomable high resolution. A cool feature to be sure, but it's not particularly useful.
Siri: You know her, you love her, you can't get enough of her. Everyone's favorite robot will be fully integrated into Apple's map system. When you ask Siri about a place, you'll get turn–by–turn directions. Perfect for those times when you're too lazy to type in an address.
Local Search: Tap on a business on the map and you'll be greeted with a box full of information like Yelp reviews, photos, phone numbers, and deals.
Do you trust Apple in the cartography department? Will the mapping app be as crisp, user–friendly, and progressive as the rest of their products? Or do you wish Google and Apple could just get along so you could have Google Maps back?
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IKEA Will Build 100 Budget Hotels in Europe
Everyone's favorite affordable furniture store, IKEA, will build a budget hotel chain across Europe. The first one will be in Germany, in 2014. Surprisingly, the 100 hotels in Germany, Austria, Britain, Holland, and Poland won't feature the company's famous flat-pack furniture—or even its brand name, according to a scoop in the Financial Times. Though fans hope that Swedish meatballs will still be served in any hotel restaurants. IKEA aims to cash in on the booming trend in "budget designer hotels," as represented in Europe by Motel One, citizenM, Chic and Basic, Leonardo Hotels, and B&B; Hotels. It's great news that budget hotels are finally getting their day in the sun. The much stronger dollar against the euro also means that Europe is becoming a good value again. Let's just hope guests at the IKEA's hotel chain won't have to assemble the beds and dressers ourselves. Or that the instructions for finding your room won't be as confusing as Ikea's diagrams for building furniture. In 2007, Ikea Norway created a pop-up Ikea Hostel. Earlier this year, Ikea created a pop-up lounge in Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport (Terminal 3). But on a more serious note, if IKEA did go ahead and build a hotel that was just like its stores, would you stay in it if the price were right? SEE MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 26 Gorgeous Hotels You Won't Believe Are Under $150 Photos: World's Best New Affordable Hotels 39 Affordable Hotel Chains Only Locals Know
Looks like Carnival's anti-chair-hogging policy has gone fleet-wide. We told you about the program last month, which was limited to the new Carnival Breeze. It was so successful (and scored so much goodwill with passengers) that the line expanded it to all of their ships. And other cruise lines are jumping on the bandwagon. According to Travel Weekly, Norwegian Cruise Line is testing the waters with on the Norwegian Star—with a 45-minute grace period before your belongings are removed. Unofficial policies are also in place on Holland American and Royal Caribbean, which limit saving to 30-minutes. Don't dilly-dally on some Princess sailings, though—staff is reportedly allowed to remove belongings after just 15 minutes. So three cheers for not having to get up at the crack of dawn to get a good seat by the pool. Now that that's taken care of, where else would you like to see policies like these put in place? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 10 Common Cruise Myths—Debunked 12 Top Tips from the World's Best Cruisers Your Top 5 Money-Saving Cruise Questions—Answered
21 New Airline Routes Launching Soon
Can't decide where to go for your next vacation? With lots of new routes launching, the decision might be easier than you thought. Here is a sampling of what's coming up. Airline: Alaska Airlines Destinations: Washington, D.C, San Antonio, Atlanta, Orlando The airline launched service between Seattle and Washington's Reagan in late August, plus will be adding a Seattle to San Antonio route on September 17—the same day they double the amount of flights between Seattle and Atlanta (from one to two per day). There will also be a new service between San Diego and Orlando starting October 11, with five flights per week. Airline: Allegiant Destination: Hawaii The budget carrier launched flights to Hawaii in June 2012 and are adding five new routes this fall. Starting in November you will be able to fly nonstop to Honolulu from Bellingham, Washington; Eugene, Oregon; Santa Maria, California; and Stockton, California. The airline will also offer a nonstop between Bellingham and Maui starting in November. Airline: Delta Destination: Caribbean December will be a good time to fly to the Caribbean from New York. Starting that month, there will be daily nonstop flights between LaGuardia and Nassau, Bahamas as well as JFK and Aruba and Montego Bay, Jamaica. Daily service will start between JFK and Punta Cana in February 2013, while daily flights between LaGuardia and Bermuda in April 2013. Airline: Frontier Airlines Destination: Orlando Taking the kids to Disney will be a little easier starting in November, when Frontier launches nonstop flights to Orlando from Columbia, Missouri; Greensboro, North Carolina; Trenton, New Jersey; and Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Airline: JetBlue Destination: Charleston Northeasterns looking for some southern comfort can start flying nonstop on JetBlue starting in February 2013. There will be two daily flights from New York's JFK and one from Boston's Logan Airport. Airline: Spirit Destination: Los Cabos The budget airline will launch a nonstop between San Diego and Los Cabos starting in November (with a connection from Dallas/Fort Worth), four times per week. Airline: United Destinations: Bahamas, Paris United is still figuring out routes post merger with Continental and has been on a spree of launching new routes, from Newark to Istanbul to D.C. and Dublin. Expected in the next few months are a weekly nonstop between Chicago and Nassau, Bahamas starting in February (through July 2013) and a daily nonstop between San Francisco and Paris starting in April 2013. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 11 Surprisingly Lovable Airlines 10 Scenic Airport Landings 4 Common Airport Security Questions—Answered!
Another Hotel Chain Adds Trip Advisor Ratings
Everyone has their feelings on Trip Advisor—some take the reviews as bible, others take them with a shaker full of salt. But whatever your feeling, more and more hotel companies are adding links directly to the site whether there are negative reviews or not. Best Western is the latest chain to do so, adding Trip Advisor ratings front–and–center when you search for hotels. Part of an overall site redesign, the new look also includes the five most recent Trip Advisor reviews for the hotel. Back in March, the Wyndham hotel group announced a partnership with Trip Advisor to display ratings in reviews on the site for the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program, with plans to add the content for their more than 7,200 hotels, spread across brands including Wyndham, Ramada, Days Inn, and Travelodge. Are hotels concerned that negative reviews will turn off potential guests? “Most of the reviews we see out there are positive,” Michael Morton, Best Western's vice president of member services, told the Los Angeles Times. “If negative reviews come up, we respond. It’s another way for our hotels to show our priorities.” Of course, not all hotel chains are jumping on the Trip Advisor bandwagon. The Starwood hotel group (which is made up of Le Meridien, Westin, Aloft, and Sheraton hotels, among others) launched a program last October for guests to post reviews after their stay directly on the hotel's site. To cut down on fraudulent reviews, guests have to enter a Starwood Preferred Guest number or confirmation number to even write a review. How important are Trip Advisor reviews to you? Does seeing the rating up front help form your decision, or save you the time it would take to search Trip Advisor directly? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: 30 Hotel Chains Every Traveler Should Know How to Get a Free Upgrade 6 Simple Questions that Will Save You Money on Vacation