If you travel frequently you probably have at least a few travel hacks up your sleeves. You roll your clothes up to save space and are sure to seal shampoos and lotions in plastic bags to prevent leaks.
In the last 10 years, cell phones and technology have dramatically changed the way we live our daily lives, enhancing everything from choosing your next meal to the way you travel.
Taking advantage of these new technologies requires a little more planning but are well worth it in the end. These high-tech travel hacks will help make going abroad a breeze and will ensure you stay connected.
1. Stay Safe on Free Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi is a wonderful thing, but it does come without its downfalls. Public hotspots are the most dangerous as more tech-savvy individuals can pick up passwords with relative ease from unencrypted data. Consider getting a secure VPN app to encrypt sensitive data on public networks or avoid visiting unsecure (HTTP) sites, opting instead for sites that start with HTTPS – that means they’re secure.
2. Roam with Ease
Your smart phone is your best resource while away. You use it to share pictures, keep in touch with family and keep tabs on things back home. Instead of trying to resist the innate allures of your smart phone, invest in the right roaming program beforehand. For example, for Canadians traveling to the US, TELUS offers US Easy Roam. A simple way to talk, text and use the same data plan that you have at home for only $7 per day. Set it up once and you’re covered automatically on every US trip you make. Traveling a little further, check out TELUS’ international travel plans. You know you will want to use it, so be prepared. You will thank me 100 times over.
Now you can easily find your hotel, check out the local restaurant reviews or stream beach tunes, without stressing about getting hit with a big phone bill when you get back home.
3. Use Google Maps without Any Data
For those without data or that accidentally skipped Tip #2, you can still make use of Google Maps offline. Before leaving that free Wi-Fi hotspot, find a point of interest (like your hotel) and within the settings of Google Maps, tap “Your Places”. Next tap “Save a New Offline Map”, and then click “Save”. You will be prompted to name the map and will subsequently be able to locate it under “Your Places” even when you are without Internet service.
4. Charge Your Phone Lightning Fast
Need to charge a dying phone quickly before a flight? Put it in Airplane Mode. Airplane Mode shuts down most services and uses the bare minimum in terms of power. Without the smart phone drawing more power than it needs, it charges faster than ever.
5. Pass on Postage
Save time trying to figure out how many stamps you need or hunting down a mailbox with the popular App Postagram. This app turns any digital photo into an actual postcard. Pick your photo, write your message and Postagram will mail it to wherever.
6. Manage Your Travel Itinerary
Travel may be idealized as just "get on a plane and go," but planning is more realistic and makes any trip much smoother. Make the most out of a vacation by loosely planning it on apps like TripIt or Tourist Eye. Leave a little wiggle room for the unexpected; you never know where your adventures might take you.
7. Keep those Cables Safe
Taryn Fiol - http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/use-a-sunglass-case-to-store-cables-and-avoid-tangles-in-your-bag-175273
That USB cord may have served faithfully for many years, but when travelling things tend to break, even sturdy cords. Keep all essential cords safe and located in one place by putting them in an eyeglasses case.
8. Keep a Luggage Checklist
Before leaving for a trip, a luggage checklist app will come in handy. Apps like TripList and Travel List allow travellers to put in what they need to pack so they can check it off as they put it in the suitcase. As it turns out, the app is also equally as handy in making sure everything comes back from vacation too.
9. GPS Your Luggage
Like a concerned parent would with their own child, a concerned traveller can also slap some GPS tracking on their luggage. Devices like Trakdot allow travellers to avoid the heartbreak of stolen or lost luggage by allowing them to see where their bag is, anywhere in the world, right on their phone.
10. Take Advantage of the Hotel TV
Forgot the USB wall plug for the phone or tablet? Try this simple hack. Any hotel that has modern flat screen televisions will have at least one USB outlet somewhere on the side or the back that will charge USB devices. Now that USB has become a common charging medium, some hotels even have clocks with USB ports, making charging a breeze.
11. Translate Signs in Any Language
We both know you can't learn every language. Even those proficient in the language of the country they are visiting will run into at least one sign that stumps them.
Easily decipher most international languages in an instant with Word Lens, a camera-enabled app that instantly scans and translates written text, then presents the translation in context, right on your phone screen.
12. Make New Airport Friends through a Power Bar
Airports simply weren't built to accommodate the modern age. For one, there are never enough outlets. Instead of fist fighting an old lady for use of the last free electrical plug, bring a small power bar.
They don't take up much space and other weary travellers will all be so thankful for the extra outlet. Some models even come with USB plugs for even more phone charging and friend making opportunities.