STEP UP FOR A NEW VERMONT WALKING TOUR
Great Freedom Adventures, known for its fun and well-run Vermont bike tours, branches out this year with a new guided walking and hiking tour that lets you experience the Green Mountain State by foot. The four-day Colors of Vermont Hiking and Walking Tour runs at the same time as, and in parallel with, the company’s new four-day Vermont bike tours, meaning people in your family or group can bike while others hike, and then everyone comes together for breakfasts, dinners, lodging, and certain daytime activities. Rates start at $1,395 and include accommodations, guide, most meals, snacks, a tour of a sugarhouse, and visits to Quechee Gorge and the March-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. 877-545-1864, www.greatfreedomadventures.com.
GUESTROOM CONTROLS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
All 4,004 rooms at Las Vegas’s ARIA Resort and Casino now have in-room Android-based tablets that let you control your surroundings, book hotel services, and look up information in a quick and secure way. With a couple of taps, you can read restaurant menus, make meal reservations, book spa treatments, and order a new pillow or extra towels. Or control the curtains and lights, fiddle with the thermostat, and order exactly what you want from room service: Choose from 14 different styles of eggs, all of which can be customized. The new technology cuts down on paper waste, and the simple layout of the Crave tablets makes them super easy to use. Each guestroom has one to four tablets, depending on the unit’s size. Rates start at $129, double occupancy. 866-359-7757, www.aria.com.
PONDER LIFE ON MARS IN DEATH VALLEY
Find out what life would be like on Mars when you attend a free night sky and space festival in Death Valley National Park, where you can experience the area’s dry climate and alien-like terrain. The Celestial Centennial and MarsFest Symposium 2016, which runs April 8 to 10, brings together educators, scientists, and members of the public interested in learning more about our solar system. Attendees can take guided outings to spots that serve as research and testing sites for real locations on Mars, such as Mars Hill, the Ubehebe Crater, and Badwater Basin. Go to lectures on current Mars research and exploration and don’t miss the nighttime expo, when you can view the universe through high-powered telescopes. The family-friendly event is sponsored by the SETI Institute, the National Park Service, and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, among others. www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/celestial-centennial.htm.
TUNE INTO YOUR WATCH FOR MUSIC AND MORE
Bring TomTom’s new Spark GPS fitness watch on your next active adventure and leave behind your phone, activity tracker, heart-rate monitor chest strap, and more. The sleek, easy-to-use watch has 3GB of space for storing more than 500 songs — or about 56 hours of music — that can be played through your Bluetooth wireless headphones as you run, walk, bike, or workout in the hotel fitness center. That means no more strapping your phone or music player to your arm, or balancing it on the treadmill. Spark also keeps track of your steps, calories, sleep, pace, elapsed workout time, and distance covered. Use it in the pool to monitor pace and count laps. The watch comes with a built-in heart-rate monitor so it measures your heart rate on your wrist (except when swimming). It has just one control button, and is sold with a small or large wrist band. Just remember to pack the proprietary USB charger. $249.99 for Spark Cardio + Music; add $25.99 for TomTom Sports Bluetooth Headphones. www.tomtom.com.
PACK THIS ULTRA-THIN CHARGING CABLE
Small, portable charging cables work really well, as long as you pack them along. LifeLink, a micro USB to USB 2.0 cable, measures just 2.5 millimeters thick and contends that it is the “world’s thinnest USB charging cable.” Slip it into a wallet or back pocket and you’ll hardly know it’s there, or attach it to your keychain. The flexible but sturdy cord measures 7 inches outstretched, but can fold up and clip together for travel. It charges gadgets quickly, offering 2.4 amps of output, and works with Android, Blackberry, Windows, and other devices. Each time a LifeLink is purchased, the Australia-based manufacturer (called plusus) will contribute to any group or project you choose, as long as it helps others in need. www.plusus.com.au