Travel: a Field Guide to the Future
Here, our clued-in guide to what’s next in travel—from the essential Web sites to the best new resorts and destinations.
What to bring on a travel adventure.
Chewy Think Green bars—the company calls them "portable salad bars"—contain nutritious ingredients like broccoli and beets. But they don’t taste like vegetables; instead, they come in delicious flavors like peanut butter-chocolate ($23 for a box of 15; 866-988-4465 or thinkproducts.com).
Walk for a Cause
TOMS’s espadrille-like canvas slip-ons were inspired by Alpargatas, a traditional Argentine shoe. For every pair sold, the company donates a second pair to a needy child ($38; 800-975-toms or tomsshoes.com).
On-the-Go Skin Care
Olive oil is the key ingredient in La Compagnie De Provence Marseille’s Extrait D’Olive skin-care line, which comes in travel sizes ($4 for 1-oz shower gel; lcdpmarseille-usa.com).
Ice Rocks seals French spring water in travel-friendly plastic cubes. Freeze them for chilled drinks in countries where bottled water is a must ($6 for 48 cubes; aquamaestro.com).
Carry-On Beauty Kit
Somme Institute’s Mobile travel kit contains the products for its five-step skin-care regimen in tiny bottles—enough for a one-week trip ($80; 866-66-somme or sommeinstitute.com).
Comme des Garçons’s Sherbet series includes three unisex scents—peppermint, rhubarb, cinnamon—in one-ounce sprays (from $36 each; flight001.com).
Panasonic’s SDR-S150 digital camcorder uses the same technology as professional broadcast equipment yet weighs less than 10 ounces. It also doubles as a digital camera ($1,000; 800-405-0652 or panasonic.com).
For travelers who want to season their food on the go, each tin of Tsp Spices contains a dozen one-teaspoon packets of organic herbs or spices. Foil-lined pouches keep out light and air for absolute freshness (from $9; tspspices.com).
New York City Audio Tour
The 13 hour-long neighborhood walking tours from Soundwalk are narrated by local celebrities and artists ($13 each; soundwalk.com).
The fabrics in ExOfficio’s innovative Buzz O clothing line contain odorless bug repellent but no harmful chemicals ($65 for top; 800-644-7303 or exofficio.com).
Stylish Cell Phone
The luxe Vertu Constellation cell phone, finished in yellow gold or stainless steel and backed with leather, has remarkable features like a real-time flight tracker, currency converter and world weather forecaster. The phone works in more than 180 countries, on T-Mobile and Cingular in the U.S. (from $4,350; vertu.com).
Earth—known for its hippie shoes from the 1970s—has just introduced its lightweight Lazer shoe, which packs completely flat, then springs back to shape. An ergonomic sole and design that positions the heel lower than the toes promote good posture (from $85; 877-372-2814 or earth.us).
Exciting resorts + the best ways to get there.
Boutique Hotel Web Sites
Tastemakers like fashion designer Stella McCartney review the properties on mrandmrssmith.com and give great insider tips (best rooms to request, for instance, or a favorite hidden beach nearby). The far-reaching collection ranges from luxe African safari camps to 18th-century French châteaus. Anyone can book on the site, but for a fee ($20 and up) members get discounts and perks such as access to VIP airport lounges. Other boutique hotel Web sites worth a look: kiwicollection.com, where travel experts like hotelier Grace Leo-Andrieu vet the site’s 1,900 properties; and tablethotels.com, founded by a design-obsessed young Frenchman.
Dilmah, Sri Lanka’s leading tea producer, recently transformed the former residences of British tea-estate managers into four luxe villas. Guests can take plantation tours and watch pickers at work, then taste single- origin teas like broken orange pekoe (villas from $1,460, all-inclusive; 011-94-112-396-666 or teatrails.com).
Road Trip Tips: Web Sites for Drivers
AAA.com AAA debuted an enhanced Web site in February that identifies road construction and traffic, then provides alternate routes. An online fuel tracker helps drivers budget for gas based on distance, vehicle make and model, and prices at more than 100,000 U.S. gas stations.
drivinggreen.com This new site lets travelers tally the cost of the carbon dioxide emitted from their cars and flights and pay the total to Driving Green, a group that funds renewable energy resources. A round-trip cross-country flight can be offset for $16.
Road Trip Tips: Audio Books for Food Lovers
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell; a 1933 book of semiautobiographical tales, including his stint as a dishwasher.
As They Were by M.F.K. fisher; collected essays from one of America’s most revered food writers.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Nichael Pollan; an absorbing analysis of exactly where our food today is coming from.
New Resorts for Adventurous Travelers
Armenia Tufenkian Heritage Hotels Founded by the owner of high-end Tufenkian Carpets to bring travelers to his native country—an undiscovered tourist spot—this group of three boutique hotels in the former Soviet republic includes a lakeside mansion and a lovely villa in the capital, Yerevan (doubles from $90; 011-374-1-520-911 or tufenkianheritage.com).
Evason Hideaway & Spa at Zighy Bay Opening this September, this deluxe hotel from the people behind Soneva Fushi in the Maldives is on Oman’s Musandam peninsula, with rugged mountains on one side and a beach and bay on the other. Each of the 82 villas has its own private pool and butler service, and the spa includes two hammams, Middle Eastern steam baths (from $500; 011-971-9-244-3060 or sixsenses.com).
Nam Hai, a five-month-old property from the group behind the Chedi hotels in Thailand, is located on a tranquil stretch of China Beach, an hour from the archaeological site My Son and 20 minutes from the great food city Hoi An. Each of the 60 one-bedroom villas and 46 pool villas has a private garden and views of the South China Sea (from $300; 011-84-510-940-000 or thenamhai.com).
United First-class seats in many of United’s international flights can be transformed into "private" rooms with seats that recline flat into beds and 15.4-inch flat-screen TVs. Starting this summer, first- and business-class passengers on longer flights will be able to order from a menu developed by star chef Charlie Trotter, featuring dishes like duck and soba noodle salad with organic ginger-soy hijiki (united.com).
Singapore Airlines The seats in some of Singapore’s new first-class cabins are 35 inches across, the widest ever, each facing a 23-inch LCD monitor. A panel of chefs, including Gordon Ramsay and Georges Blanc, created menus based on seasonal dishes such as braised quail with chestnuts and Chinese sausage (singaporeair.com).
Delta All of Delta’s international business-class cabins now have 60 inches of legroom and all-leather sleeper seats. Chef Michelle Bernstein of Michy’s in Miami has conceived the new menus, with dishes like grilled beef tenderloin with chimichurri (delta.com).
Tours and Trends
Podcast Guides + Healthy News
Tours to Download
New York City soundwalk.com
Narrated by a mix of hipsters and local celebrities, including novelist Paul Auster and hip-hop icon Jazzy Jay, Soundwalk’s 13 New York City neighborhood walking tours are each about an hour long and hit a perfect mix of sights both iconic (Lombardi’s Pizza in the Little Italy tour) and off-the-beaten-path (subway graffiti in one of the Bronx tours). Each tour can be downloaded ($13) or purchased as a CD ($20); Paris tours are also available.
Flavorhoods, one of the free downloadable podcasts from the Philadelphia tourism association’s Web site, is an impressively expert tour of the city’s food scene. There’s a different narrator for each neighborhood—restaurateur Stephen Starr does the Old City segment, talking up top tables like Amada—with stopping points marked on an interactive Google map.
Sonoma Wine Country fairmont.com
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa recently created two downloadable driving podcasts that are free to anyone, not just hotel guests, on both iTunes and the hotel Web site (fairmont.com/sonoma/audiodrivingtour). Each tour is just under an hour long and includes around 10 segments, such as interviews with local experts like Fairmont executive chef Bruno Tison, who recommends favorite organic producers (Oak Hill Farm) and artisans (Marin French Cheese).