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5 great tips for planning your next travel getaway

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5 great tips for planning your next travel getaway

Are you gearing up for your next big adventure but dreading the daunting task of planning? Worry not. We’ve got the ultimate travel toolkit to make organizing your journey a total breeze.

From finding the best flight deals with Kayak to snagging that perfect window seat via ExpertFlyer, we’re diving into the top travel resources that savvy globetrotters swear by. 

So buckle up, and let’s explore how these five great tech tools can turn your travel woes into wows.

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A couple holds hands on the beach while on vacation. (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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1. Best flight finder: Kayak

If flying either domestically or internationally, Kayak is an excellent site to search for the cheapest flight deals. With the exception of airlines such as Southwest, Kayak searches tons of airlines for the cheapest flight based on specific or flexible dates. This is especially helpful if you want to compare costs and amenities across multiple airlines, hotels and rental car companies.

Additionally, they offer “hacker fares,” which help you combine flights from different airlines to create your ideal journey. The only hitch is that you won’t make the final booking on its website. Kayak will guide you to a third-party website, such as Expedia or the airline itself, to book the flight, car or hotel room.

kayak website

Kayak’s website  (Kayak)

MORE: THE BEST TRAVEL GEAR FOR 2024

2. Seat selection savvy: ExpertFlyer

Flying? Any seasoned traveler knows that the seat you pick for your flight can determine how your vacation begins and ends. It can either be the most relaxing flight or a complete nightmare. If you want to beat other travelers on your flight for the best seat on the plane, check out ExpertFlyer.  

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Whether you’ve booked online, offline with a travel agent or directly through the airline, the free account lets you set an alert for a specific seat option (window seat, anyone?). Once you receive the alert, you can change your seat assignment to your preferred seat.

ExpertFlyer's website

ExpertFlyer website  (ExpertFlyer)

MORE: HOW TO MAKE USE OF GOOGLE FLIGHTS’ NEWEST FEATURE

3. Best road trip guide: Roadtrippers

If you’re more interested in taking your vacation via car, motorcycle, or RV, Roadtrippers can help you can help you create the journey by populating fun stops between your departure and destination location. Compatible and accessible across multiple devices, you can plan your trip on your desktop and take it on the road with you on your phone or tablet.

For RV drivers, the Roadtrippers Premium account can give you RV-specific GPS navigation, which includes turn-by-turn directions appropriate for your RV. You get 3 stops for free or 150 stops with the Roadtrippers Premium. The app is available on iOS and Android.

roadtripper's website

Roadtripper website  (Roadtrippers)

MORE: DISCOVER THE FUTURE OF RVING WITH THE ELECTRIC TRANSFORMER HOUSE 

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4. Best last-minute save: HotelTonight

Most travelers tend to book their accommodations as soon as their flights or train tickets are booked. However, even the best-laid plans go haywire in some situations, and you are left looking for a hotel room at the last minute.

Whether you’re dealing with an overbooked hotel or a misleading accommodation listing, HotelTonight can help you find discounted rooms the same day at 1,000 properties worldwide. The app is available on iOS and Android.

HotelTonight'S website

HotelTonight website  (HotelTonight)

MORE: FILTERING FLIGHTS BY AIRCRAFT TYPE UP 15X FOLLOWING 737 MAX 9 INCIDENT

5. Best navigation gets better: Google Maps

While used frequently by many people daily to navigate cross-city traffic, Google Maps boasts new updates that make travel planning and sharing easier. It is available on iOS and Android.

Discoverable lists: Now, you can aggregate lists from top travel and city sites such as Lonely Planet, Open Table and The New York Times. Starting with select cities in the U.S. and Canada, you can search for a curated list of recommendations from others who know the city well. There are also lists based on places other users are interested in or love on Maps. You can search for top, trending and gem restaurant lists.

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WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)?

List customization: Go ahead and compile your recommendations from a variety of different sources, such as social media, so those you share your list with know why you picked a specific place. You can also choose how the list is ordered so you can arrange it by chronology or preference.

Understand better with AI: Ever wish you could get more details while browsing specific restaurant reviews or photos? Now you can with artificial intelligence, which can do things like help you identify the name of a dish or price — making for a more immersive experience.

Google Maps

MORE: UNEXPECTED HERO APP TURNS AROUND TERRIFYING TRAVEL TROUBLE  

Kurt’s key takeaways

With so many options and so little time, summer vacation planning can feel like a full-time job. New tech, however, can truly take the guesswork out of the planning. In fact, it can be downright fun. Whether you are traveling by plane or car, summer vacation planning might be as fun as the trip itself.

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What type of traveler are you? Do you like to plan months in advance or the week of the trip? How do you take the stress out of travel planning?  Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact

For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover

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Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com.  All rights reserved.

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Leak: the Asus ROG Ally X will have twice the battery at 80Wh and two USB-C ports

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Leak: the Asus ROG Ally X will have twice the battery at 80Wh and two USB-C ports

While we already knew the Ally X was shooting for double the battery life by including a larger pack, VideoCardz has leaked marketing materials that confirm it’s literally doubling the capacity to 80 watt-hours, up from the original 40Wh pack. And yet, the handheld only weighs an additional 70g (2.5oz) and is just 5mm thicker, a bit thinner than my hands-on estimate. It’s 36.9mm (1.45 inches) thick in total, versus the 32mm (1.27 inches) of the original.

That’s partially due to a thinner fan design: 23 percent smaller, with 50 percent thinner fins, according to the leak, yet with 10 percent increased airflow.

Aside from battery, the most welcome spec might be the addition of a second USB-C port with USB4 speeds. VideoCardz says it replaces the proprietary eGPU port that Asus included previously but doesn’t say if we can charge from both the top and bottom now. (I would expect so since Asus taped up both the top and bottom of the engineering prototype I touched to keep me from sussing ports out.)

As we’ve reported, the Ally X shouldn’t have much increased performance over the original, with the same Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip and seven-inch 120Hz VRR screen, but VideoCardz also corroborates the rumor that it’ll come with 24GB of faster LPDDR5 memory, giving it an additional 8GB of overhead to share with the GPU that could possibly lead to a slight improvement in games.

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Stop thinking about retirement by tapping tech to rediscover what gets you excited

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Stop thinking about retirement by tapping tech to rediscover what gets you excited

Even if you’re retired or well into your career, it’s never too late to learn a new skill. And because you don’t need to go back into a physical classroom to learn those skills anymore (something that can be very anxiety-inducing for some people), taking the leap to study may be much less daunting when you can do it online.

Whether you’re looking for a career change, want to stay relevant at your current job or are looking for something to do post-retirement, why not try something new?

There are so many websites that offer low-cost or even free courses where you can advance your skills on your own time without having to borrow thousands of dollars or change your routine and dedicate yourself to it full time.

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Two women looking at computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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What are the highest-paying jobs in 2024?

If one of the reasons you’re looking to learn a new skill is that you’re interested in a higher-paying job, that’s understandable. Or maybe someone younger than you is asking for advice, and you want to give them some tips on what they can pursue. Perhaps you’re just curious about what the highest-paying jobs are these days. Whatever the reason, it’s good to be current on these questions.

Though year after year doctors, lawyers, accountants and electrical engineers are at the top of the list of the highest-paying jobs, that’s not always the most realistic career path for everyone, especially if you’re looking to skill up quickly for a career change or a hobby. In either case – or maybe you’re just curious – here are the highest-paying jobs in 2024, according to several sources like Yahoo! Finance, Indeed and U.S. News Money.

  1. Loan officer: $192K
  2. IT manager: $164K
  3. Financial manager: $140K
  4. Marketing manager: $140K
  5. Sales manager: $131K
  6. Software developer: $127K
  7. Computer network architect: $127K
  8. Actuary: $114K
  9. Information security analyst: $112K
  10. Scrum master: $106K
  11. Data scientist: $104K
  12. Tax manager: $130K
  13. Real estate analyst: $90K
  14. HR manager: $79K
  15. Virtual assistant: $75K
  16. Digital marketer: $67K
  17. Life insurance agent: $67K
  18. Freelance writer: $59K
  19. Customer service representative: $59K
  20. Translate/interpreter: $58K
  21. Graphic designer: $56K
  22. Online fitness trainer: $53K

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WOMAN with laptop

Online fitness trainer at work (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Do you need an education to do these jobs?

The quick answer? No, not necessarily. But it will take some skill leveling up. You can get some of these roles by educating yourself online or enrolling in online courses. And these courses don’t typically ask you for a degree to enroll.

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Why? They understand that a person might want to learn new skills for many reasons. Of course, if getting a higher-paid job or wanting a promotion is your reason for learning a new skill in the first place, then certainly having some college education may help you land one of these jobs sooner.

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WOMAN taking class on laptop

A woman taking an online course (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Where to take online courses

 There are several excellent online platforms where you can continue your education, acquire new skills and explore various subjects. Here are some of the top online learning platforms.

edEX: Ideal for tech enthusiasts and career-minded individuals seeking courses from top universities on subjects like AI, coding and data analytics.

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Coursera: Perfect for those looking for university-level courses, specializations and degrees from renowned institutions worldwide, with financial aid options available.

Udacity: Ideal for aspiring programmers and tech enthusiasts seeking hands-on experience and industry connections through Nanodegree programs.

LinkedIn Learning: Suitable for professionals looking to advance their careers with courses on leadership, marketing and project management with personalized recommendations and LinkedIn integration.

WOMAN ON computer

A woman taking an online course (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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What if I am late in my career or near retirement?

Then, yes, you can take one of these courses (or many of them). Again, the whole purpose of online learning is to make it accessible to everyone. So, even though there may be other students in your cohort who are younger or at a totally different stage of their careers or their lives, don’t let that hold you back.

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Learning a new skill, even if you’ve been in your career for decades, can help you stay on top of your game as new tech and trends roll in. If you’re a parent or a grandparent, learning a new skill can help you relate more to your children as they grow and pursue their careers. And, if you’re near retirement or already retired, learning a new skill helps keep the mind sharp and maybe even gives you the education you need to start a new venture.

man on phone

Man on his phone and computer (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

How to choose the best online course for you

Choosing the best online course depends on several factors. Understand the reputation of the course, the length of time you have to complete it, whether courses are asynchronous or synchronous, your learning styles, budget, etc. 

You can look at reviews, talk to students who have taken the course, and find out who in your network has attended one of these programs and ask about their job prospects. Again, it all depends on why you’re taking the course in the first place. If you just want to do it for fun, perhaps you’ll join a course taught by a favorite celebrity on MasterClass.

Learning from home

A woman learning from home (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

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Kurt’s key takeaways

Learning new skills isn’t only for recent high school or college grads. It’s for anyone. Going “back to school” has never been easier with online courses. No matter your age and your intention, there is a course – and platform – out there for you.

Have you or anyone you know advanced any of your skills using one of the methods above? What about a friend who took an online course as a hobby? What was the experience like? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

For more of my tech tips and security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter.

Ask Kurt a question or let us know what stories you’d like us to cover.

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Copyright 2024 CyberGuy.com. All rights reserved.

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Microsoft Bing issue takes down Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and ChatGPT search features

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Microsoft Bing issue takes down Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and ChatGPT search features

Search capabilities for ChatGPT, Copilot, DuckDuckGo, and other platforms aren’t working properly right now due to a Microsoft outage that appears to be related to the Bing application programming interface (API). Sites and services are either completely unavailable or only intermittently responding at the time of publication.

The issues — which began around 3AM ET — appear to be linked to Bing’s API and any service that relies upon it. While Microsoft’s own web search engine Bing was also seemingly affected earlier, according to Techcrunch, the service now appears to be correctly loading search results.

Search engines like DuckDuckGo relying on Bing’s API are displaying error messages.
Image: DuckDuckGo

Other search engines like DuckDuckGo and Ecosia, which rely on Bing’s API, are unable to load any search results. Microsoft’s Copilot is also experiencing similar issues, displaying a loading loop that prevents users from accessing the service. ChatGPT, which allows Plus subscribers to perform web searches, is similarly displaying an error message when users attempt to make a search enquiry.

Microsoft has acknowledged the loading issues with its Copilot service, saying it’s “working to isolate the cause of the issue.” Meanwhile, Microsoft’s service health platform doesn’t flag any other service outages currently. OpenAI and Ecosia have confirmed that they are experiencing issues with their platform’s search features, and OpenAI says it’s also investigating the issue.

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