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Lytro Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, December 16 12:45 PM

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Think of a bustling street in Paris. You point your camera and shoot, knowing full well there's no way you'll do justice to that moment of your vacation. Unless, that is, you're toting the groundbreaking new Lytro camera (from $399).

This compact shooter (a lightweight 7.55 ounces) has no shutter delay and a sensor that captures 11 million rays of light to record the intensity of the scene, with the potential to do much more with the image afterward. The technology is complicated, but the low-down is that your image can be infinitely focused and refocused, shifted in perspective, and even viewed in 3-D. And the best bit of all? It's just a lens with a button. Head-scratching science wrapped in simplicity. We like it.

Photo: Courtesy of Lytro

HootRoot Travel Tool

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, November 17 12:01 PM

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To be (green), or not to be, that is the question. When it comes to traveling, the answer is usually "not." But website HootRoot, which has just won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award, aims to change all that.

Plug in your start and end points (say, Boston and New York City), and HootRoot cleverly scans Google Maps and HopStop for routes, travel times, and carbon dioxide emissions for various modes of transport. For the Boston-New York City trip, for example, flying takes only 29 minutes (minus airport time) but emits a whopping 428.9 pounds of CO2, while driving clocks in at four hours and 238.84 pounds. Transit, which takes just minutes longer than a car trip, whittles one's carbon footprint to just 18.07 pounds. Consider it ready ammo for making green decisions--and saving a bundle on offset credits.

Photo: Courtesy of HootRoot

Gogobot App

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, November 11 10:00 AM

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When Gogobot, a mashup of Facebook and Yelp for travelers, appeared on the scene last year, we were charmed. And with the introduction of the Gogobot app, you've now got this excellent planning tool to go.

Gogobot crowdsources recommendations and filters what's hot and what's not through your social network. The app loads your travel plans, pulling up what else is nearby, contact info, and maps at a tap. Snap a photo and turn it into an Instagram-like postcard to tweet or send to your mates (for jealousy now) or turn into an on-the-fly review (for helpfulness later). Everything is collected online in your digital Passport, a scrapbook of spoils to annotate and share. Perhaps it's time you took some friendly advice.

Available from iTunes for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Android version coming early 2012.

Photo: Courtesy of Gogobot

Nikon 1 J1

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, October 12 10:51 AM

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A lion sprints across the savanna and you have to make a split-second decision: pictures or video? Well, thanks to the fine folks at Nikon, the answer can be both. The new Nikon 1 J1 ($649.95) can simultaneously shoot photos and HD movies, capture flip book-like moving images, and switch out lenses to suit your subject. Best of all, there's a new Smart Photo Selector option that shoots ten pics and singles out the sharpest.

The serious functionality is combined with slick simplicity--we dig the monochrome white, red, or silver color options. A camera that looks good and keeps you focused on documenting your vacation? That's worth a shot.

Photo: Courtesy of Nikon

Limited Edition Polaroid SX-70

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, September 12 10:52 AM

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Toting your SLR, tripod, and lenses up the Great Wall might seem like a good idea. But a trip to a Beijing chiropractor later? Not so much. How's a shutterbug like you going to lighten your load? Kick it old-school.

Behold the Polaroid SX-70, resurrected from a basement near you and restored to pristine working order by the fine folks at Mint. These lightweight instant cameras fold flat and pop open when you're ready to shoot. You'll get retro lo-fi images Hipstamatic can only dream of, and your back will thank you.

Limited Edition Polaroid SX-70, $350, available from Photojojo

Photo: Courtesy of Photojojo

Holographic Gate Agents, Orly Airport, Paris

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, September 01 07:00 AM

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Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger had Total Recall and Princess Leia begged for Obi-Wan Kenobi, we've been waiting for our hologram fantasy to become a reality. Now, at Paris's Orly Airport, we're one step closer: holographic gate agents.

An image of an airport employee beamed onto an acrylic silhouette greets passengers and displays gate information. Orly's virtual assistants can be found in Hall 40 of Terminal Ouest, the airport's testing ground for emerging technologies. These agents always smile, never take a bathroom break, and don't go on strike (yet). It's a strange new world, indeed.

Photo: Courtesy Aéroports de Paris / Jean-Pierre Gaborit

ColorWare Leica Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, August 24 11:26 AM

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Your vacation shots are always picture-perfect. But the camera you use to take them? Let's just say serious shooters rarely come in pretty packages. Until now. Thanks to the fine folks at gadget customization company ColorWare, your camera will be ready for its own close-up.

Frankenstein a Leica D-LUX 5 camera (a high-quality point-and-shoot with a 3.8x zoom and 10.1 megapixels) by choosing from 48 different colors and finishes for the back, front, lens, and lens cap. Pair Cobalt blue with Zest orange and a touch of Star Dust yellow, for example, and you've got a camera that's business on the inside, party on the outside.

ColorWare Leica Camera, from $1,200

Photo: Courtesy of ColorWare

Time-Lapse Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, August 10 07:00 AM

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Ever wonder how to catch those time-lapse images of a growing flower or the changing seasons? It usually involves a few thousand dollars' worth of equipment and a whole lot of patience. But now those of us who prefer to spend our vacation in a hammock nursing a daiquiri rather than sitting patiently behind a camera can get in on that pro-style photography.

Just set up this sturdy new Time-Lapse Camera (available from Photojojo, $149), click a few buttons, and leave it to its work shooting frame after frame and stitching them together into a time-lapse video. So you can bring home footage of the changing light across a cityscape, the rise and fall of the equatorial sun, or a full day of your kids frolicking on the beach. All of the payoff with none of the effort? That's our idea of a vacation.

Photo: Courtesy of Photojojo

"Saving Grace" App

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, August 04 07:00 AM

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Just because you're always on the road doesn't mean you're any good at packing. Somehow, the cab is always honking outside as you hurriedly shove things into a carry-on. Thankfully, there's a new app to help whip your suitcase into shape.

Meet Saving Grace, your own personal trip organizer. Created by the folks at Grace Hotels, this helpful (and free) app asks what kind of trip you're taking and suggests specialized, thematic packing lists. You can adjust them, add or subtract categories such as baby stuff or videography, check things off as they go into your bag, and save lists for future use. Grace also looks after your other pretrip chores, by suggesting that you clean out your fridge and stop your mail before heading out. And you don't even have to send her a postcard!

Photo: Courtesy of Grace Hotels

Kikkerland's Music Branch Headphone Splitter

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, July 12 07:00 AM

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Tunes and travel go together like O'Hare and lost luggage. But hiding under your headphones keeps you from interacting with other people. Until now. May we introduce you to the new Kikkerland Music Branch Headphone Splitter ($10)?

The mod, woodsy key chain plugs into your iPod and three sets of headphones. So your travel companion and your new best friend from the airport bar can join you in rocking out to your playlist...or run away in horror at your musical taste. (How did Justin Bieber get on here?) But, hey, all that matters is that you extended a musical olive branch.

Photo: Courtesy of Kikkerland

Minox Mini Digital Camera

By Conde Nast Traveler Thursday, July 07 07:00 AM

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The best travel images tend to be stealth shots. But unwieldy digital SLRs can make discreet photography difficult. That's why we'll be packing the new 3.88-ounce mini Minox ($179), brought to you by the creators of 1940s CIA spy cams.

The body, a 5/8th-scale replica of the Cold War-era Leica M3, is pure James Bond cool. But that pretty packaging also shoots with precision, thanks to a German-engineered glass lens and 5.1-megapixel resolution. Best of all, it fits in the palm of your hand.

Photo: Courtesy of Photojojo Store

Lonely Planet Globe Tripper iPhone and iPad App

By Conde Nast Traveler Monday, June 20 10:48 AM

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Bored in line at the post office and need some interactive wanderlust? There's an app for that. Want to ogle some peripatetic pictures or bone up on world cultures while waiting out a flight delay? There's an app for that, too.

The fine folks at Lonely Planet have just released Globe Tripper, a travel trivia game for iPad ($2.99) and iPhone ($1.99). The app lets you travel the globe virtually, answering questions about culture, geography, current events, and language. Challenge friends by posting your stellar scores on Facebook and Twitter. If the thrill of competition isn't enough to get you hooked, the breathtaking photographs will be. Game on!

Photo: Courtesy of Lonely Planet

Sagamore Hotel CEO Package, Miami Beach

By Conde Nast Traveler Friday, May 27 07:00 AM

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From interactive wine lists to loaners in the lobby lounge, iPads are becoming de rigueur in top hotels. Only problem is, those shiny toys aren't yours to keep. Not so at the Sagamore in Miami Beach. Through September 30, the hotel's Chief Entertainment Officer package rewards penthouse stays with more than marble floors, sweeping ocean views, and bragging rights. South Beach CEOs also score a free iPad2 on checkout.

In the stylish suite, accessible by private elevator, crisp white-on-white decor is offset by framed curiosities from the hotel's lauded Cricket Taplin Collection of contemporary art. Three bedrooms and two baths offer enough space for you and five friends, while the whirlpool tub, 42-inch plasma TV, gaming systems, and fully stocked kitchen bar invite partying like it's your job. Being top brass comes with other perks, too: There's executive dining on an 1,800-square-foot terrace, corporate limo (complimentary from the airport), and an expense account (bottle of Moët on arrival, free breakfast buffet, daily beach chairs). Leggy interns? That's on you.

Sagamore CEO package starts at $1,300, two-night minimum. Book via e-mail or phone by May 31.

Photo: Courtesy of Sagamore, The Art Hotel

Miniot iPad Cover

By Conde Nast Traveler Wednesday, April 06 03:59 PM

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Sure, it's what's on the inside that counts. But when what's inside is a sleek iPad, we think it's only right that its cover be suitably cool as well. That's why we're crazy for this new all-wood iPad case by Miniot.

The ultimate marriage of form and function, this Dutch import is handmade from a single piece of oak, cherry, walnut, or padauk with thin grooves that allow it to fold back into a stand. So you can turn your iPad into a movie screen or an upright camera while you're on the road. See? More than just a pretty face to help capture your pretty face.

Photo: Courtesy of Miniot

Electric Literature Broadcastr App

By Conde Nast Traveler Tuesday, March 29 07:16 PM

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There's nothing quite like eavesdropping on an interesting story. Electric Literature's new Broadcastr app plugs you into some really juicy tales, making it both socially acceptable and useful to "listen in" while traveling.

The free app uses a geolocator to find and play stories about your location, anywhere in the world. Some come from famous writers and comedians such as Michael Showalter, some from oral history organizations, including the project run by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. But most are insights from local folks who really know the neighborhood you're in. And if you have a good tale to tell, you can submit it, too.

It's like having a tour guide, a friend, and a window into all the little heartbreaks and triumphs that make up the life of a destination.

Photo: Courtesy of Broadcastr

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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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