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