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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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Published on September 20, 2018

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

Minimizing Tabs

Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

Incognito Mode

Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

Save Webpages as PDF Files

Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

Open Recently-closed Tabs

Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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Solve Mathematical Problems

Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

Play Media Files

Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

Stay Focus(e)d

Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

Grammarly for Editing

Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

Loom

There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

Chrome Calendar Extension

No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

Final Thoughts

Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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