Learn how to save money on your next trip with tips from travel guru Johnny Jet and Travelzoo senior travel editor Gabe Saglie on April 18 at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC.
Just in time for spring and summer road trips, here’s an app that can save you time and money.
Name: Gas Guru
Available: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with iOS 7.0 or later. Android on Google Play.
What it does: Locates gas stations by price near your current location. Can also search by city.
What’s hot: I’ve known that apps like this existed, but out of habit I always filled up at the gas station down the street. Once I tried the completely redesigned Gas Guru app, I found a number of stations that were cheaper than my usual spot. Thanks to the app, I could save 30 cents to 54 cents a gallon at stations less than four miles from my house and close to shops I drive by regularly. You can use the app in map mode and get directions or view by list and sort by price or distance. It’s easier to use than its competitor, GasBuddy.
What’s not: I wanted two more features: a “favorites” list, where I could save gas stations, and a road trip calculator. If I find stations I like or want to plan ahead for a trip, I’d like to note my preferences without needing to use another app or pencil and paper.
A day after Indiana’s governor signed a hot-button business law, calls for travel boycotts began. The chief of tech giant Salesforce.com said the San Francisco company will stop sending staff to meetings in Indianapolis with its locally based ExactTarget division. And Gen Con, a gamer convention, and the Disciples of Christ church group were considering pulling their conventions out of Indianapolis.
Singer Céline Dion will return to performing at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in August after an absence to take care of her husband and to address her own health issues.
Have you ever wanted to do something fun outdoors but didn’t want to do it alone? Here’s a website that helps you meet new friends who are interested in the same thing.
What it does: It’s a social network that aims to connect like-minded adventurers and fun seekers across a variety of interests: skiing and snowboarding, climbing, hiking, off-roading, scuba diving, cycling, running, fly fishing and more.
What’s hot: The website and its iOS app (for iPhone and iPad) have a very inviting vibe. They want you to have a great time with good people in the outdoors. There are 15,000 members across the website and app (membership is free). When I clicked “Water Sports,” “Fun in the Sun” and “Anywhere,” I found an inspiring “Early Morning Surf and Breakfast” in Costa Rica and an island-hopping tour in the Philippines. Select “All” activities “Anywhere” in the filter to see the most results.
What’s not: I’d like to see a more advanced way to search for activities by destination and dates. I can search “Newest,” “Popular” or “Upcoming” plans from the home page, but I wanted to see those activities on a map. The next best thing is to go to your filter settings and click on the regions that interest you instead of “Anywhere,” which is the default.
Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Despite Elton John’s now four-year residency in Las Vegas, you might say he’s more of a rarity than a common sight on the stage at Caesars Palace. On Monday, March 23, he celebrates his 100th show, meaning he performs at The Colosseum around 25 times a year.
Stephan Orth, a 35-year-old German writer and editor, went to Iran for two months last year. While there he got arrested (and released two hours later). He got fake-married (and released 10 days later). He couch-surfed in the homes of a dominatrix and a black-market winemaker, among others. And he came back convinced that Iranians are the most hospitable people he has ever visited.
He describes the adventure in a book that was published Monday, “Couchsurfing im Iran.”
The bad news is that the book is in German — that’s why the title is “im” Iran, not “in.” And there’s no English-language publisher yet. But Orth speaks English and has stories to tell — for instance, the day he was walking around the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where graffiti paintings show the Statue of Liberty with a skull as a symbol of death.
“A guy walked past and said ‘Welcome to Iran!’ with a big smile,” Orth told me. “He was just being friendly and didn’t realize how ironic it sounded in those surroundings.”