Forget Tickets, Get On Public Transportation With A Ring

While public transportation can be a godsend while traveling, losing your public transportation pass or ticket is not. We’ve all misplaced our bus or metro pass at least a few times in life, and no matter where you are in the world the feeling is always the same.

That changes now.

Thanks to some very intelligent engineering students at MIT, there’s a new device that may forever solve the problem of misplaced transit cards: the Sesame Ring. Built with an embedded RFID tag, it allows you to simply tap to an RFID-based fare reader and get on board. Genius.

The ring currently works with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority in the Boston area, but with the technology that the group has developed there’s no limit to how it could potentially be used. Just imagine a ring that you could re-program for any transit system wherever you are. Now that is smart.

For more details, check out the Kickstarter page for the project.

Travel sketches from BBC’s Tim Baynes draw on a lifetime of travel

One of our favorite new travel blogs this year is from none other than the venerable news organization, the BBC. One of BBC The Passport‘s regular features is “Drawing from Experience” with sketches from Tim Baynes. Baynes’ drawings are an assortment of postcard-perfect scenes, witty observations, and random sketches from his travels around the world and commuting in London. Like many other famous travelers, his medium of choice is the Moleskine notebook, but he often involves other media such as airline ticket stubs as in the New York City skyline drawing above.

Enjoy more of Tim Baynes’ work on the BBC, his personal Flickr stream, or order a copy of his book Doors to Automatic and Cross Check, direct from the artist.

Photo courtesy Tim Baynes’ Flickr page.

Galley Gossip: Gifts for flight attendants (and travelers)

A stun gun, Xanax, travel massager that glows in the dark, ten foot pole for not touching things with, these are just a few of the things my flight attendant friends want for Christmas. What, not your gift-giving style? Okay so perhaps one of these will do….

1. PASSPORT COVER In this day and age you might not want to advertise your country of origin. Not to mention it’s kind of fun dressing up the old passport some of you should be very proud of based on the number of stamps inside. If you’re a passenger, check out the adorable covers at Flight attendants will want to go with Modcloth’s Safety Misinformation Passport Wallet. (pictured)

2. BAG TAGS – All those crew bags lined up against the wall in flight operations look alike. No one wants to end up on a layover with clothes we’ve never seen before. A unique bag tag will help. One of the the funniest ones I’ve ever seen read “Baggage Handlers are Hot.” Ya know that bag made it to its final destination! Flight attendant Bailey loves Anne Taintor’s line of sassy, vintage bag tags. (And he’s going to kill me for sharing this with you.)

3. OVEN MITTS – The oven racks are hot, hot, hot! This is why flight attendants no longer have fingerprints. Because I’m always accidentally leaving mine behind on the airplane, I can never have too many pairs. Flight attendant Eric is a fan of Grips. As for me, I like Fred’s Hot Head dog shaped insulating mitt.

4. MINI TRAVEL ROLLER SET – Looking good is important to flight attendants. This is not always easy when our layovers are only eight hours long and we’re scheduled to work ten to fourteen hours a day. But somehow flight attendant Joann always manages to look fabulous and I have a feeling it has something to do with her Conair mini roller set.5. GREEN TRAVEL/REUSABLE TOTES – My friend Melanie can tell domestic flight attendants from international ones by the bags they carry on their layovers – Harrods vs Trader Joe’s. For just $2.99 you can help us show off our travel style with a fun international tote from World Market. Or how about (sending me) a Loot Bag from Anya Hindmarch, creator of the “I’m not a plastic bag” bag.

6. TRAVEL SOUND MACHINE – At the layover hotels, flight attendants are usually assigned one of two rooms – the one across from the elevator or the one next to the ice machine. My friend Cady wouldn’t have been able to survive a Disney Cruise or her last visit with the in-laws without her Brookstone travel sound machine. It’s great at blocking out noise from others.

7. TIFFANY’S AIRPLANE CHARM BRACELET – Because it’s from Tiffany’s! And it’s an airplane. Need I say more?!

8. A FULL FARE TICKET – So we can actually get to where we’re going! The flights are full and flying standby is not always an option anymore. Earlier this year Jet Blue offered a 30 day all-you-can-jet pass for just $599. Something like that would have been amazing for the commuter in your life.

9. VIDEO CAMERA – Documenting travels can be just as fun, if not more fun, than actually traveling! Don’t believe me? Just ask Sodwee, AKA Airboy – or better yet watch one of his videos. I love the Flip because it’s easy to use.

10. iPAD – Staying connected to family, friends is very important. Being able to do a last minute trip trade is just as important! So is watching movies, listening to music, and surfing the web on a layover. That said, nothing in the world would make a flight attendant happier than an iPad. Santa, you listening?!

Check out my 2009 Gift Guide

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk – Virgin America winner announced!

GadlingTV’s Travel Talk Virgin America Giveaway – Click above to watch video after the jump

June is here, so we’re finally ready to reveal the winner of our Virgin America giveaway! Stay tuned to find out who the lucky winner is & hear some of our favorite responses – thank you to everyone who submitted and don’t forget to tune in for more, bigger contests in the future!

Click below to watch the episode & find out who the lucky winner is!

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

Subscribe via iTunes:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Show directly in iTunes (M4V).
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Huge thanks again to Virgin America & everyone who submitted!
What’s that tea we’re drinking? Check out Travel Talk Episode #5 to find out how to prepare your own Yerba Mate!

Hosts: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea

Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea

Use AirNinja to search low-cost international carriers – Airplanes tip

Looking for a cheap flight in a far-away place? Most low-cost carriers (like Southwest in the US) don’t list or sell their fares through aggregator websites (like Expedia and Travelocity) — you need to book directly with the airline.

To find out what low-cost carriers fly between any two given cities, check out AirNinja. They let you enter in your starting airport (and a destination, if desired), and show what low-cost airlines have departures from that airport and where they go, complete with links out to the airline’s own site for booking. And it’s free!