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Tech Travelling: 9 Must-Haves for Your Big Trip

Tech Travelling: 9 Must-Haves for Your Big Trip

Map reading, shaky language skills, tipping etiquette—some aspects of travel can be a little uncomfortable. Fortunately, tech has now made travelling less awkward, taking us way past all those paper boarding passes and clunky camcorders.

So, be a tech-savvy traveller and lighten your load by considering these tips, apps, and gadgets before hitting the road or boarding the plane.

1. Gogobot

This cool app is basically Facebook for world travellers. Log in and start giving tips and advice on destinations around the world and learn from others who have already visited your holiday location. You can connect with friends—including people you’ve met along the way—and make plans to meet up and exchange experiences and tips.

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2. A Smartphone

OK, we’re not blowing your mind here, but these days your smartphone really is your best travel companion. An unlocked iPhone can be used as a map, flight checker, currency calculator, boarding pass, and much more. Use your iPhone when you’re deciding on a place to eat or the best accommodation in the area. Receive real-time updates on public transportation and on events going on, whether in Berlin or Bangkok. For Android lovers: your phone will do as well.

3. TrustYou

These are reviews and recommendations, pulled from across the internet and analysed to give you the best results. Search for hole-in-the-wall restaurants and pubs and get the best suggestions for a hotel or hostel. This is always better than choosing a place to stay at your own sweet will and suffering from a weird neighbourhood, unpleasant view from the window, or the fact that the desired beach is located seven miles from your hotel.

4. Smart Luggage

Get a suitcase that weighs itself, locks, unlocks, and that you can track with GPS from your iPhone. You’ll never have to wonder where your bags are again or whether they’ve arrived safely at your destination.

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5. Mobile Check-In

If you’re staying in a Starwood hotel (among others), you can now check in using your phone and even enter the room with a mobile room key. Don’t worry about losing your key or it deactivating when it’s near your smartphone. No more wasted time in the lobby and awkward dialogues with the receptionist when you’re in a hurry.

6. GasBuddy

If you’re venturing on a road trip in the States or Canada, you’ll need this handy petrol station finder. With GasBuddy, you can find gas stations near your location as well as the best prices in the area. Plan your stops or just use it when you see the gauge getting low.

7. Google offine maps

Offline maps for both iPhone and Android are now available so that you can avoid all those scary roaming charges while you’re trying to find your way around a city abroad. So no worries if you’ve got no internet connection—everything you need will already be downloaded to your phone.

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8. TripLingo

TripLingo is a mobile translation and culture notes app that requires an unlocked iPhone to use. Use it to translate, calculate tips, and avoid classic faux pas. It will help you get around, order food, shop, and even make friends with the locals (yes, there’s an app for that!).

9. Portable Travel Charger

Stay organised and minimise the clutter with a portable travel charger that allows you to charge up to 4 devices at once. Plug in your iPhone, iPad, and any other device that may need charging. Wrap up your cables, keep things neat, and travel with ease.

The purpose of technology is to save you time and simplify complicated tasks that you come across during your journey. Use our tips and enjoy your trips. Traveling is fun if you know how to do it the right way!

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Featured photo credit: Old Suitcases in The James Hotel in Chicago/Judy via flickr.com

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Melissa Burns

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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