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  1. holidaytravelThe travel journalists behind MapQuest today unveiled a series of tips for surviving the busiest travel period of the year, which unequivocally falls during Thanksgiving week.  These tips cover off on air, rail and car travel tips to decrease costs, increase convenience and efficiency, and deliver travelers more easily to their destinations.

    “Most of us have experienced the challenges travel can create any given day, but the time around Thanksgiving introduces inclement weather, larger travel crowds, greater variety in travel fluency and increased costs can cause greater chaos and uncertaintly,” said Michael Yessis, editor-in-chief, MapQuest.  “MapQuest has always tried to eliminate the worry from wayfinding, and our tips address the primary pain points of travel during peak times.”

     

    Busiest Time of the Year to Travel

    Some of MapQuest’s heaviest traffic falls prior to Thanksgiving Day when folks are determining bigger vacation itineraries for the holiday season or last-minute plans for smaller getaways and overnights over the Thanksgiving weekend.  The editorial team responds to inquiries MapQuest has received from its community, as well as issues they’ve experienced in their tenures as travel journalists. Though not an exhaustive list, top tips are below:

     

    Charge and Prep Devices

    A delay can sneak up without warning, and coveted outlets are not always readily available at airports or train stations.  Charging a phone or tablet, and also inputting numbers for the customer service line of the airline carrier can serve displaced travelers well.  Portable chargers are another good idea.

     

    Use Twitter as a Travel Resource

    Twitter is increasingly becoming the go-to place for travelers to resolve issues that arise during their travels. Some airlines are responding by stepping up their presence in the social sphere. American Airlines, for instance, will be adding extra resources to its Twitter team around the Thanksgiving holiday. Need help with a missed connection? Can’t locate a checked bag? Need to rebook? Travelers may want to consider Tweeting at their carrier.

     

    Have Alternative Routes and Travel Options Ready

    Those affected by a cancelled flight won’t likely find an agent with time to spend researching re-booking options.  The savvy traveller will take screen shots of other potential itineraries and note local or regional airports as backup destinations.  Having that information at hand can provide travelers with greater flexibility and a greater likelihood they will arrive sooner.

     

    Keep Overnight Items On-person in Case of Delays

    Many tips stem from the possibility of a delay, which can be even greater at certain airports; but nobody wants to be stuck without a toothbrush or contact lens fluid during a delay that extends into the night. Those small personal items can make travelers more comfortable while waylaid without baggage. With the 3-1-1 rule at the airport, though, all liquids must fit in a container of 3.4 ounces or less.

     

    Plan with the MapQuest App

    The MapQuest app provides alternate routes and can direct travelers around trouble spots. Should the vehicle need a tow, run out of gas, lock out the driver, MapQuest’s free navigation apps on iOS, Android and Amazon provide integrated, on-demand roadside assistance via Urgent.ly.  Now travelers can find local, reliable roadside service providers, connect with them via the app and track their arrival to the car in real time.

     

    Gas Up in Advance

    Lines are inevitably long the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Nobody wants to add a gas station pit stop to what will probably be an already long and stressful drive.  Gassing up early in the week can provide shorter lines, better prices and a streamlined start to the holiday weekend.

     

    Board Early Using Amtrak’s Red Cap Baggage Service

    Red Cap agents can carry a passenger’s bags to the train early and, in doing so, deliver that passenger to the train and even to her seat before general boarding. It’s a free service, though tipping is recommended. Red Caps are available at 12 major stations, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Note: Passengers will need to ask an agent to help. Red Caps can’t solicit work.

     

    Stock Up on the Kids’ Stuff

    Charge their devices. Stash extra batteries in the glove compartment. Download a favorite movie onto a tablet. Leave a new game or toy in their seat for them to discover when they get in the car. Pack lots of snacks. And the experienced guardian will also invest in kid-friendly headphones.

     

    Use a GPS Luggage Tracker

    To operate, travelers can place a GPS luggage device inside luggage to always know the location of their belongings. If the bag fails to arrive at the destination, travelers can let the airline know exactly where it is, whether that’s inside the building or on another continent. Engadget points to Trakdot ($49.99) as one option.

     

    Don’t Be That Stressed-out Traveler

    With so many extra errands and activities to facilitate during the holidays, travelers may want an extra hour or two to get to the airport or train station as to not feel harried. Not only will they feel less stress, but they can benevolently reduce other travelers’ stress by stopping to help pick up the toddler’s fallen toy or by stepping aside to let someone through a doorway. Planning ahead can make stressful situations better for all.

     

    MapQuest editors spend every day writing about travel, reading about travel and, yes, actually going on trips. We want to help you travel better, so we’ll be sharing our favorite tips, secrets and discoveries from the road in this Editors’ Column.

    Have comments or questions? Find us on Facebook or Twitter!

  2. MapQuest and MLB.com’s original online video series, “Key to the City,” hosted by Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre comedian Matt Fisher, proudly unveiled it’s “New York Yankees” video today. From Little Italy to 30 Rock, the “Key to the City” series highlights the heart of New York with a Yankees gameday itinerary best experienced with the industry first, seamless MapQuest integration.

    The new “Key to the City” online video series complements MapQuest’s original Gameday Guides, featuring articles created by MapQuest’s editorial team with area travel experts who know MLB ballparks and cities inside-and-out.  Check out http://gameday.mapquest.com/ for more info.

  3. MapQuest and MLB.com have launched an original online video series, “Key to the City,” hosted by Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre comedian, Matt Fisher, that accompanies MapQuest’s completely customized ballpark content featuring “Gameday Guides” for all 30 MLB teams.

     

    MLB.com “Key to the City” Online Video Series

    The original video series, “Key to the City,” located at gameday.mapquest.com, features new custom content for MapQuest’s community of travelers and baseball fans.  Upright Citizens Brigade comedian and MLB fan, Matt Fisher, hosts the new video series offering a unique, 5-minute episode on what to do on game days in select baseball towns.  From iconic tourism attractions to local hangouts to hidden gems, the “Key to the City” series highlights the heart of each town with an itinerary best experienced with the industry-first, seamless MapQuest integration.

    Feature cities include:

    ·      Denver: Today, Colorado Rockies

    ·      New York City: New York Yankees

    ·      Los Angeles: Los Angeles Dodgers

    ·      Chicago:  Chicago Cubs

    ·      Washington, DC: Washington Nationals

    ·      Boston: Boston Red Sox

     

    MLB Gameday Guides

    The new “Key to the City” online video series complements MapQuest’s original Gameday Guides, featuring articles created by MapQuest’s editorial team with area travel experts who know MLB ballparks and cities inside-and-out.  Each of the Gameday Guides features six chapters:

    ·      Welcome to the Stadium: History and key information

    ·      Before the Game: Get to know the best offerings near the stadiums

    ·      Inside the Stadium:  From gluten-free fare to exclusive micro-brews

    ·      Game on a Budget: When to buy, where to sit and the deals inside

    ·      Best Bets for Families: Make a child’s first visit memorable or get tips on the best experiences for families

    ·      After the Game:  From celebrating wins to drowning gameday sorrows, these places are worth the stop

    This original content series is part of the MLB.com and MapQuest partnership to deliver MapQuest-powered mapping and directions through an exclusive app-to-app experience within the “MLB.com At the Ballpark” smartphone app.

  4. Here at MapQuest, we’re suckers for a good trip. With so many destinations to choose from the U.S. alone, how do we choose where to go next? 

    One way we look for inspiration is by analyzing the search and travel trends of our loyal users. Surely there’s a music venue in Nashville or a deep dish spot in Chicago we haven’t tried yet– all good excuses to hit the road! So, we’ve crunched the numbers, tallied the searches and created our Most Searched List, profiling the top U.S. cities in 2013.

    To arrive at our final list, we examined search volume across our desktop and mobile properties, including our newly re-designed iPhone and Android apps. Topping our Most Searched List in 2013: Las Vegas, Nashville and Orlando! While we’ve visited each in the past, our users teach us time and time again that there is always much more to discover, even in the most well-traveled cities.

    What will you discover in the most-searched for destinations of 2013?

  5. Traveling and exploring new places is a passion of ours at MapQuest. And as any traveler knows, finding the right place to stay during a trip can make all the difference.

    Since February, users have been able to book hotels directly on MapQuest. Today we’ve rolled out our first major innovation on that product:  Hotels at Destination. With Hotels at Destination the hotel booking experience is seamlessly integrated into the MapQuest experience.

    When you search for a long route, we now suggest hotels at your destination that might interest you:

    Hotels on Map - Pin at Destination

    When you click to see the hotels, they are now arranged on a map taking into account distance from your destination. You can then sort them by price and popularity:

    Hotels on Map

    And you can then check out hotel details:

    Hotels on Map - Hotel detail

     

    We’re very proud of the new hotel search functionality. We’re continuing to innovate on this product and you will see improvements in the near future.

    Let us know what’s important to you in a hotel booking experience in the comments!

  6. In case you hadn’t heard, you can now book hotels, flights and rental cars right from MapQuest.com, making it incredibly easy to get directions and book travel all from one place!  To show you how easy it is, we’re giving away one trip per day for the next 30 days.  Yes, that’s 30 trips in 30 days.  How do you enter?  Just book travel on MapQuest and that’s it!  Plus, you can get 3 more chances to win just by sharing on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest after you book.

    Road trippers, business travelers, weekend warriors – you’re booking travel already, why not book on MapQuest and see if your trip will be paid for?  Just like other travel sites, you can search, compare and book hotel rooms at thousands of chain and independent hotels around the world, including hotel specials like instant discounts, free breakfast, and more.  You’ll also have access to thousands of rental cars worldwide and airline tickets with almost all major airlines.

    The only question remaining now is what you would do with all that extra cash…another vacation perhaps?  ;-)

    *No purchase necessary.  Reimbursement up to $5,000.  See Official Rules to learn how to enter without a purchase.