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Here, There, and Everywhere

July 1, 2012
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Portland by pedal power

Give your barking dogs a break in Portland, Maine. Hop on one of eight new eco-friendly pedicabs that now roam the city. Each 21-speed, easy-to-spot tricycle has room for two passengers on its lime-green back seat and a knowledgeable driver-guide who aims to entertain riders while transporting them around downtown and the Old Port. Or hop on for a scenic ride along Portland’s multipurpose trails. Rides are free, whether you are crossing town or aboard for only a block or two, though a tip is expected if you liked the service. Maine Pedicab is a subsidiary of USA Pedicab, which started in Boston in 2005 and now operates in eight cities nationwide.

207-430-7011, mainepedicab.com

CAMBRIDGE-BOSTON

CYCLE

Prefer to pedal yourself around town? Check in at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge and you can check out an Electra Amsterdam classic 3-speed, with a handlebar basket, a leather saddle with matching hand grips, a map pouch, and a bell. Hop on your cruiser and roll alongside the Charles River or tool around Harvard Square, Beacon Hill, or other local hot spots. Bikes are free for hotel guests. Rooms start at $359 per person, based on double occupancy.  800-882-1818, charleshotel.com

Navigate resort interiors

It’s easy to lose your sense of time, space, and direction when you get inside a sprawling casino. Google Maps can’t tell what day it is, but can help you navigate all MGM properties in Las Vegas, including Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, The Mirage, and Luxor, plus Caesars Resort and The Venetian, among others. Use Google’s new indoor maps to locate a theater or restaurant, find a restroom, figure out the exit closest to your next destination, or track down your favorite slot machine. Indoor floor plans are also available for many US airports, including Logan International. Sorry, Apple users: The mapping program works only with Android devices and Google Maps’ mobile version 6.0 and above. maps.google.com

Bunk-style lodging in NYC

If you want clean and affordable lodging in New York, and don’t mind sharing a room with other travelers, check out The Bowery House. This stylish hotel offers dorm-style rooms with bunk beds and lots of amenities, including bike rentals, free Wi-Fi, and access to a rooftop garden. Choose from a six-person male- or female-only room, or stay in a mixed bunk room that sleeps eight or 12 people (private rooms also available). You won’t sacrifice comfort: The hotel offers high-end mattresses and linens, bathrooms with heated floors, an eclectic mix of furniture and artwork by local artists, and Parisian light fixtures and marble floors throughout. In the 1940s, the historic hotel temporarily housed soldiers returning from war. Rooms start at $69. 212-837-2373, theboweryhouse.com

Inside the Russian Space Program

Get VIP access to witness the manned launch of the Soyuz rocket ship, and then watch it dock with the International Space Station from your seat in mission control. Inside the Russian Space Program, a 10-day trip led by Seattle-based MIR Corp, Oct. 9-18, starting in Moscow, gives participants other special opportunities: Visit a massive hydro lab where astronauts learn how to walk in space and explore the MIR Space Station simulator. Sign up for the optional cosmonaut training program and you can experience zero gravity in a military aircraft and up to 4 Gs (a gravitational force of up to four) on the world’s largest centrifuge, the TsF-18, and even try on a Russian-engineered space suit. Cost: $13,995 per person, based on double occupancy; $5,500 for cosmonaut training.  800-424-7289, mircorp.com

Better navigate the wilderness

Get wonderfully detailed views of the great outdoors when you upload National Geographic topographic maps to your compatible Magellan GPS device. National Geographic TOPO! provides accurate and easy-to-read visuals, along with user-friendly navigational content, on outdoor recreation areas throughout the United States. Use TOPO! to quickly plan trips or browse through maps to locate interesting destinations. The full-color USGS 1:100,000-scale topographic maps help with big-picture planning, while the USGS 1:24,000-scale maps offer more detailed views of the terrain. TOPO! maps are compatible with Magellan eXplorist GPS devices, models 310 to 710. Cost: $29.99 for an annual subscription, which lets you download any National Geographic TOPO! map for the continental United States.  800-707-9971, www.magellangps.com/maps

An alarming bag

Bags by iSafe can help protect you whether you are crossing town or exploring a foreign land. Each one comes equipped with a piercing alarm that you can trigger by pulling a hidden yet easy-to-access cord. Deactivate the 125-decibel alarm by reinserting the pin on the end of the cord in its low-profile “housing.” The alarm also triggers a high-intensity strobe light. Choose a bag that suits your style, from the iGirl messenger bag (in a pink floral print) to a black messenger bag, a waist pack, a sling, or backpacks in a variety of sizes and designs. The backpacks and messenger bags come with lots of handy pockets, and a sleeve that fits laptops up to 15.4 inches. Bags range from $40 to $90.  888-689-3034, isafebags.com

KARI BODNARCHUK

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