By Robin Cherry
You don’t like to compromise. With your 2014 Chevrolet Equinox crossover, you don’t have to sacrifice fuel efficiency for space or style. The 2014 Equinox combines fuel-efficient* performance with crossover convenience so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. And you certainly don’t want to compromise when it comes to your vacation.
That’s where these new travel sites come in. They let you customize your trip itinerary using images as building blocks, thus eliminating the element of surprise and ensuring you end up with your perfect getaway. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and never is that more true than when you can see inside hotel rooms, restaurants, museums and shops, and preview beaches, hiking trails and hands-on classes.
Peek promises “insider tips on the best things to do, places to see, and restaurants to visit,” and tips are accompanied by inspiring travel magazine-worthy photographs. Insider tips include “Perfect Day” recommendations from celebrity tastemakers like Chef Wolfgang Puck, who offers his favorite spots in Los Angeles, including LACMA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and the coffee shop in the Beverly Hills Hotel. Former CNN anchor Piers Morgan favors classic Hollywood eateries Madeo and The Ivy. Newly minted MSNBC host Ronan Farrow, activist, lawyer and journalist, lists among his “not to be missed activities” as “Watching a Supreme Court argument.” Fortunately, he likes to chill as well, recommending Friday night jazz at the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art.
For now, Peek’s official Tastemakers (which feature local bloggers as well as celebrities) focus on major U.S. cities and tourist spots, including New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas and Hawaii, as well as two international destinations: London and Paris. The site’s recommendations are rounded out by a community of contributors who cover more far-flung destinations such as the Caribbean and Romania. Peek also invites visitors to join the community and create their own “Perfect Day.” And once you’ve decided on a destination, Peek offers specific tours that you can purchase quite reasonably with the click of a button. They range from the opportunity to skip the line at the Louvre for $62 or take a glass bottom snorkel tour in Maui from $48. You can also use your Chevrolet MyLink to connect to your smartphone so you can research destinations and download tours using the Peek Mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch.
Mygola lets you create your dream itinerary using stunning photographs of sites, activities, restaurants and shops in more than 20,000 destinations around the world. The site’s goal is to convert six weeks of itinerary planning drudgery into a manageable (and enjoyable) 15 minutes. Pick a destination and route and then click on an activity and add it to your plan. The site then gives you an estimate for how much time each activity takes and arranges them in a multi-day timeline, factoring in opening times and distance between locales. Its platform converts structured itineraries from other sources (like guidebooks and fellow travelers) into a customizable schedule designed by you and for you.
Mygola is especially well suited to road trips and offers many customizable itineraries like a food lover’s trip down the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Cruz to Santa Monica. Recommended stops include Norm’s Market in Pescadero for world famous artichoke bread, Earthbound Farm in Carmel for fresh veggies and gourmet treats from the world’s largest grower of organic produce, and Paula’s Pancake House, where you have to decide between thin Danish pancakes with whipped cream and fruit, or fluffy pecan-topped buttermilk pancakes. A Cross-Country Odyssey from San Francisco to New Orleans stops in Yosemite National Park, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon (where you may fancy a helicopter tour over the canyon followed by a champagne picnic lunch) before continuing on to the art galleries of Santa Fe and then on to San Antonio to visit the Alamo and stroll along the shops and restaurants that line the River Walk. A Mississippi River-inspired jaunt from Chicago to Key West takes in some of America’s most important music cities, including St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, before pulling into Ernest Hemingway’s beloved Key West. Another benefit of Mygola is that if you decide to make changes to your itinerary—adding an extra night in New Orleans, for example—Mygola will adjust it accordingly. And if you have any questions, your Mygola User Happiness Officer will be happy to help you.
Like your Chevrolet Equinox, which is designed with versatility to keep you connected and safe from unexpected challenges on the road, Peek and Mygola give you the information and visual images you need to design your perfect vacation getaway in your Equinox.
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Robin Cherry is a Hudson Valley-based travel and food writer. Her first book was Catalog: The Illustrated History of Mail-Order Shopping. Her second, forthcoming this year, is on the history of garlic.
*EPA Est. MPG 22/32 4 cyl. city/hwy FWD models.