Hotel room key? Soon there'll be an app for that
You know those sometimes-infuriating key cards that you have to use to gain access to your hotel room? In the future, you may not have to worry about them.
Instead, your phone may be the key to getting into your room. Assa Abloy AB of Sweden, a large maker of door locks, is testing a program that uses near-field communication, which the company describes as a "short-range wireless communication technology standard" that lets you check in, using your phone, before you arrive and sets up your phone as the key -- albeit a digital one.
But this is still a little way off, so don't get too excited just yet.
StowAway Bags fold flat, but hold a lot of gear
Name: StowAway Bags
What they are: Lightweight -- OK, featherweight -- nylon bags that weigh less than a pound and can fold neatly into a zippered pouch that comes with each bag.
How they work: The bags come folded flat in an 11-inch-by-9-inch carrying case, but can expand to hold enough clothing and gear for a weekend getaway or even a weeklong vacation. The bags are available in sizes medium (15 inches by 20 inches) and large (18 inches by 24 inches). They are water-proof and wrinkle-resistant too.
The good: The bags hold a lot of gear and make a perfect carry-on. They're also a great choice when you might have more stuff coming than going and want to take along an extra bag.
The bad: It doesn't offer an optional shoulder strap, which would make it easier to carry and leave hands free.
Cost: Medium bag is $25; large bag is $29.
Where to get it: StowAwayBag.com
Sticker on stateroom key card gets you soda in a glass
Q: If you get the unlimited-soda package on a cruise and they give you an insulated mug, do you actually have to carry it around with you everywhere? If I get all dressed up for formal night, I'll feel like an idiot toting around a giant mug.
A: I don't understand why cruise lines give out mugs. Once you put ice in them, they hold about two sips of soda, they're ugly !-- and how on earth are you supposed to clean them? I don't generally carry dish soap in my toiletry kit. Thankfully, though, you can leave them in your stateroom for dinner. When you buy the soda package, they'll put a sticker on your stateroom key card, which you do need to carry around with you pretty much everywhere. At dinner, you show the sticker to your waiter and they'll bring you soda in a nice, normal glass.