If you’re thinking about escaping the mundane this summer, multiple apps are promoting new features that should make traveling a little easier or safer, but your mileage on each may vary depending on which routes you take and whether you’re flying solo.
Google Maps announced it had finally introduced a feature to show toll prices for both Android and iOS users. Tolls are available on just 2,000 roads in the US, Japan and Indonesia, though the company promised more countries would come “soon”.
The app shows the estimated price based on whether or not you have a toll pass, the day of the week and the time you are expected to go through the toll. You must go to the settings of the app to change whether the price is displayed with or without toll pass. The new feature was originally announced in April† There is probably a few features of Google Maps that can make life easier if you’re planning a trip this summer.
When we tried the app, we found that it showed toll prices for some roads leading from our New York City office, but not others. The app showed the toll for the Lincoln Tunnel westbound to Pennsylvania. It offered no tolls if you decide to take the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge when traveling north through the Bronx. Gizmodo contacted Google to ask for a list of which roads were included, but we didn’t hear back immediately.
Airbnb also announced new app features for individual travelers on Monday. When booking, the app can send a trusted contact the location and itinerary for where you’re staying. For those booking as a solo guest, the app promotes a “one-touch” ability to share check-in, check-out and property address.
In addition, the app should provide suggestions for questions to ask hosts after a reservation has been confirmed. The prompts appear in-text and include questions about the neighborhood, whether there will be other people at the site, and whether help will be available during the stay.
It has been accompanied by a flood of people who have decided to travel alone in recent years, probably as a result of the prolonged pandemic quarantines. The companies news item said 26% of all nights booked in 2021 were from people going alone, while more than 50% of nights booked for long-term stays in the first quarter of this year also went alone.
So with that growth in travelers and the wave of Airbnb listings (that reportedly in number apartments in New York City) these features could be more useful. A Twitter user who goes by @foxytaughtyou wrote on Sunday that she and a friend were staying at an Airbnb in Philadelphia where hidden cameras had been placed around the bedroom and bathroom. The user claimed that when they tried to contact the hosts they went unanswered. In further posts, the user claimed that the listing had been removed. A company spokesperson told the independent that they suspended the host and removed the listing while investigating the report.
However, that leaves open the question of why this safety feature is only available to individual travelers. Asked if the company has plans to expand the feature, an Airbnb spokesperson said: “Our focus right now is on developing and improving this feature for individual travelers, and then we’ll consider whether this is a concept.” that we can expand to other types of travelers.”
The feature will initially only be available to English-speaking guests, but the company wrote that it will roll out the feature in more countries and languages over time and eventually expand to full home listings.
“We hope this new product will better equip individual travelers on Airbnb to be more informed travelers by getting their pre-trip questions answered, giving them a better understanding of their environment, and informing the important people in their lives about where they will be. and for how long,” the company wrote.
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