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Lonely Planet's expert recommendations are coming to Apple Maps

By Alex Butler
January 12, 2022
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Looking to get top travel tips with just a tap on your screen? Lonely Planet will soon be bringing its expert recommendations to Apple Maps.

Lonely Planet has announced plans to provide curated content through a new Apple Maps feature, which was revealed at Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference this week. Launching later this year through software updates for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, users will be able to access initial collections for San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and London.

As travel plans remain uncertain, the collections feature solo and outdoor activities that can be enjoyed while national lockdowns lift. They will feature insider tips so users can check out the most iconic architecture, spectacular day hikes and scenic running routes in their destination.

Colorful Murals in Clarion Alley, Mission District, San Francisco, CaliforniaFind out where to see street art, like Clarion Alley in the Mission District of San Francisco © Federica Grassi / Getty Images

The collections will begin with San Francisco, where travelers can discover the city’s public art and vibrant street murals, its most idyllic parks, and most prized food trucks, all through Apple Maps. From there, the collections will extend to other top cities, where users can learn about New York’s cult-status coffee shops, where to find LA’s finest ice cream shops, or how to enjoy London’s best free experiences.

oJDWTI75_normal.pngLonely Planet ✔@lonelyplanet We’re excited to announce our collaboration with Apple Maps. Starting with San Francisco, then followed by other cities, Lonely Planet will offer a series of curated places to help you discover your neighborhood and beyond. Available on the redesigned Apple Maps app this fall.
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“Lonely Planet has always focused on the needs of travelers and we constantly seek ways to improve and ease their experiences. We reach hundreds of millions of travelers each year through our printed guides, online and through our own mobile products and we are thrilled to offer one more way for people to discover the world around them," says CEO Luis Cabrera.

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Essential questions to ask before planning that post-COVID trip

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For your next trips, consider the “slow” approach to travel, opting for destinations that are geographically closer to you and transport methods with fewer emissions. Ask yourself: how can I preserve the positive environmental changes that have been made during this time of stillness? Which of my old habits were the most damaging and how can I avoid them? The quarantine has given us a chance to look hard at our travel methods and consider better ones for the future.

Travel Tips

Reverse culture shock: understanding your blues when you return home from abroad

Anytime a person an extended yet temporary time abroad they tend to build a lot of strong connections in a short period of time. Something about the impermanence of the time can make everything feel that much more magical and memorable. But, it’s a double-edged sword. These people may also be the most susceptible to an unfortunate condition—reverse culture shock. Suffering from this ailment won’t kill you, but it can be extremely disorienting for reasons that you may not truly understand at first, At its essence, reverse culture-shock (RCS) involves mental and emotional struggles that arise when you return to a place of high familiarity. You come back to a place that should feel like home, but for some reason, it feels like anything but. How I first encountered RCS In my experience, the first sense of extreme RCS hit me after I returned to my home university after studying abroad in Dubai for a year. Something about those first days of classes walking around a university I’d attended for 3 years, but somehow felt completely new, made me feel vertigo. I suppose it feels similar to deja vu—as if abruptly waking from a very long dream. I was passing the same old same but different buildings and familiar yet strange people, feeling like I had never left but simultaneously feeling like I’d never been there before. I felt like I were a spy, taking the classes Gabby would have taken and going to the sorority chapter meetings Gabby would have gone to. Except I wasn’t the person I’d left home as anymore. And that’s when I realized that reverse culture shock is actually one huge identity crisis. Navigating the identity crisis “Pre-Study Abroad Gabby” had lived in Virginia for the past 10 years, has a dog, hates the cold, and has a friend group consisting of mostly artistic college students from northern Virginia. “Pre-Study Abroad Gabby” couldn’t have distinguished between Egyptian, Persian, Lebanese, and Pakistani cultures. “Dubai Gabby” spoke Arabic every single day. She was always conscious of making sure her clothes were appropriate yet stylish for the Muslim culture she was guest to. “Dubai Gabby’s” friends weren’t from the same country, let alone the same continent, and she was constantly learning how many varieties there were of this thing called life. But here I was, standing in my “home” university, now neither of these people. Walking into the dining hall and instinctually saying “Merhaba” to the Chikfila attendant. Completely out of touch with the current college events, about to graduate, not sure who I was still friends with or my place in the university. Who was I now? I felt as if I were left carrying around a ghost of an experience. I was having reverse culture shock, desperately attempting to reconcile who I’d always been and the person I discovered I could be during my extended time abroad. You may be feeling a similar in-betweenness. And you should know it’s okay. It’s okay to exist in-between. You’ve bitten the forbidden fruit and seen the possibilities of life. It’s going to feel as if you’re being asked to pretend it never happened and snap back into your old life! But we all know travel changes us forever. It happened, I promise. Your time abroad was just as magical and meaningful as you remember it and being home does not mean it was a once in a lifetime affair. It happened—and it can happen again! Finally, rest assured. You have not “peaked”. The shift in perspective we gain from travel is not something that can be turned on and off. And if you had a good study abroad experience, you might be feining for another trip right off the bat. You might even be worried, thinking “Will any trip ever compare to that? Have I peaked?” You haven’t. You’re never too old to embark on a new adventure, and there is a world of travel and adventure to be had. Even this COVID-19 travel stall will one day pass, and the people will appreciate exploration and travel more than ever. So relax! Allow reverse culture shock to be the discomfort you need to grow as a person. Let it push you to reprioritize the things you may now realize you truly value, and accept it as an encouragement to get you on that next flight to another new identity and a new adventure. Gabby Beckford is a Gen Z travel and lifestyle entrepreneur who runs the blog Packs Light.

Travel Tips

How to get the most out of your vacation time with a full-time job

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This is to help those with limited PTO visualize, strategize, and most importantly utilize it in the most cost-effective and way. Highlight the Long Weekends. Most people see long weekends as an extra night to stay up late, another morning to sleep in. I see them in the same way… while traveling. Long weekends are opportunities to travel without using PTO or important university classes and often come about when federal holidays that fall on Fridays or Wednesdays. This is prime travel time for short domestic trips and weekends away. Start by consulting a list of established federal holidays for the year such as the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day, and make sure they are on your calendar. Then note birthdays, anniversaries, religious holidays, Coachella, or any other events that you will likely travel for. Now you’ll have mapped out when is optimal for you to travel, and when you prefer to travel, and you can work on integrating them together. Example: Perhaps your birthday is on May 20th, which in 2020 lands on a Wednesday. Not very convenient for celebrating. However, if you map out your calendar you’ll see that Memorial day lands on May 25. Not so far away! If you truly wanted to celebrate on your birthday, you could use 3 days of PTO for 3 days, May 20-22, but be on vacation a total of 6 days, May 20-25. Knowing when and how much PTO you might use as early as possible can help you prioritize your spending so that you’re sure you’ll have enough when you need it. Now you can spend your birthday in the Republic of Georgia instead of Georgia. Outline the low seasons for regions you’re interested in. Would you go to South Korea in February? Iceland in August? Banff in July? Well, if you’re looking for huge cost-savings on your international vacations, you should consider it! These times are known as the off-season, shoulder-season, or low-season because they are not the peak tourism months for a location. With a few simple Google Searches, you can identify the low season for a few regions you’re interested in visiting i.e. The Mediterranean, The Caribbean, The Middle East, The Pacific Islands, etc. I recommend searching by region instead of country or continent because regions are separated by more subjective variables like climate, and will be a more accurate representation. This usually means that you will experience less than desirable weather—a little bit of rain, a little bit of humidity—but what you get in exchange is worth it, in my opinion. Fewer tourists, more locals, smaller crowds (which means better photos), shorter lines, lower prices, and best of all, tourism industries who are coveting low-season business and are extra motivated to please! For example, I’ve been to Cancun during its rainy season. I was there for 5 days and, as expected, it rained every single day… for an hour. Each day would begin with gorgeous weather, sprinkled every from 1-3 PM, and then revert back to its sunny gorgeousness. But because it was the low season, the beaches were practically private and the service was VIP. We even got a free room upgrade because of availability. Of course, you don’t want to head into the Caribbean during hurricane season. But by doing your research and going during the rainy season can give you a premium result as I had! One small reminder before you book: in the slower tourist seasons you might experience local businesses having shorter hours or be completely closed for short stints. This occurs often in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, either because of the weather or because the locals themselves are taking advantage of the slower business to travel. However, the remaining locals themselves still have shopping and eating needs so I’ve found that just enough of the attractions stays open for me to enjoy the destination and it still is worth avoiding the huge crowds and cruise ships of people. Why Should You Do This? This may seem like a lot of effort for bad weather and a few long weekends. Why should you bother? Aside from the overall better travel experience afforded by smaller crowds, I do think this method is worth it for keeping good graces at your job. If you work a 9-5 but want to travel, you may find yourself constantly asking management to reserve vacation days (and possibly being rejected), or constantly haggling hours with coworkers and sacrificing some holidays for others. This can cause office tension and ultimately damage your work environment. But by using this method, you are optimizing the vacation time you already have with your weekends, and burdening your work team as little as possible! Also, by mapping your prime travel times at the beginning of the year, you give yourself the opportunity to book flights, accommodations, excursions (and haggle with tour operators for the best group prices), some months in advance. This can result in thousands of dollars in savings! With a bit of research and forethought, your 9-5 job does not have to keep you from seeing the world. ___ Gabby Beckford is an early 20-something with a passion for travel and an eye for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You can read more of her blog at https://www.packslight.com/.

Travel Tips

How to find the cheapest Mediterranean cruise and hit the seas for under $200

Whether you’re gazing upon the Trevi Fountain in Rome, dining on baguettes in the South of France, or trying to wrap your head around the Acropolis in Athens, a Mediterranean cruise is the trip of a lifetime. When to book a Mediterranean cruise Booking far in advance (two years or more) or relatively last minute (two months or less) can often find you cheaper prices. June, July and August tend to be the busiest, and most expensive, months to take a Mediterranean cruise. Your money will often go further if you plan for the shoulder seasons in spring and fall, when the weather is still reliable, if chillier and grayer. Winter will get you even steeper discounts and fewer crowds, but in most cases, it lacks the sunshine and warm weather the Mediterranean is known for, and you’ll have fewer daylight hours to explore. How to find the best cruise deals Discount sites like Expedia, Kayak, or cruise-specific sites like Cruise Critic can lead to excellent prices. Cruises typically set their rates as per-person with an assumed double occupancy, or as per-day prices. Consider what’s included in that price. For longer trips, is there self-service laundry on board, or is there a fee? Are drinks ­– coffee, alcohol, juices, sodas – included? What are your food options, and what to reviews say about food quality? You’ll be spending a lot of time on the ship, so know what you’re paying for. Below, we’ve tried to give you an idea of the cheapest Mediterranean cruise options. Everything is in per-person rates. MSC and Costa dominate as the lowest-priced options (under $500) when it comes to Mediterranean itineraries, although Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean will sometimes have deals of note. How to choose a Western Mediterranean vs. Eastern Mediterranean cruises Both areas have Unesco World Heritage sites, unbeatable local cuisine and excellent shopping. Western cruises in the budget realm tend to focus on Spain, France, Tunisia, and western parts of Italy, such as Genoa and Rome. Eastern Mediterranean cruises hit Italian destinations like Venice, as well as Greece, Montenegro and Croatia. If you’re most thrilled by warm sandy beaches, the Eastern Mediterranean will be the best choice. Some Eastern Mediterranean itineraries may also include Albania or as far as Turkey and Middle Eastern countries, though we couldn’t find them on any budget itineraries. The best budget Western Mediterranean cruises If you want to keep your cruise real short, MSC runs deals on single-night itineraries from one western Mediterranean city to another for less than $100 per person. For example, as of this writing, there are April 2020 overnights from Genoa, Italy, to Marseille, France or Barcelona, Spain for $69. Keep an eye out for MSC’s promotional deals, which often include a 2-for-1 price with kids sailing free. For example, an eight day, seven night sailing on MSC Poesia (one of the most elegant ships in MSC’s fleet) to Italy, France, Spain and Tunisia in November starts as little as $389. On Costa Cruises, a three-night western Mediterranean itinerary can be as cheap as $231 in October, sailing to Marseille, Barcelona and Genoa. This one is on their Costa Magica ship, which attracts a lot of Italian cruisers and has Italian-themed decor to match. If you’re the plan-ahead type, you can spend three days visiting Rome, Naples and Barcelona on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, currently the world’s second largest cruise ship, for less than $400 per person, but you’ll need to book as far out as October 2021. When it comes to high season prices, the newly-launched Costa Smerelda sails to Barcelona, Palma, Cagliari, Rome, Savona, and Marseilles for as low as $669 in June. Bonus: the ship was designed to use 100% liquefied natural petrol to cut exhaust emissions. Royal Caribbean International’s best deal is a seven night trip in August through Italy, Spain and France on Explorer of the Seas – which has an ice skating rink, surf simulator, and rock climbing wall onboard – for $754. The best budget Eastern Mediterranean cruises: Eastern Italy, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro Limited on time and money? See three countries in four days for $279 aboard the MSC Musica in October, which sails to Greece, Montenegro and Venice, Italy. For folks with more vacation days, spend seven nights on the MSC Lirica to see several spots in Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, and Greece for $347. When it comes to the high season, Costa has a late May steal of a deal for a seven night cruise for $649 on the Costa Deliziosa, a relatively small ship with room for less than 2,300 passengers. This route stops in Venice and Bari, Italy, as well as several ports in Greece. Royal Caribbean International has seven night July itineraries that explore Greece and Croatia for less than $800 on Rhapsody of the Seas, which has run numerous awards from Cruise Critic, including 2018’s best dining, best entertainment, best overall cruise ship, and best value. A seven-day trip on the Celebrity Infinity in late June hovers around $940, likely because the ship is getting a planned major overhaul later in the year. But hey, it’s still a great way to Venice, Split, Kotor, Corfu, Naples and Rome, and people regularly praise the variety of restaurants onboard, renovation or not.