7 Tech Tips for Travelers

Gone are the days where the tech we rely on day to day at home would become useless when we head overseas.

Here are 7 tips to make your tech work for you when you’re on the road:

Stock up on apps​

There really is an app for everything. We’ve all heard of TripAdvisor and flight tracker apps like FlightRadar24, but here are some other noteworthy apps that you should know about:

  • Rome2Rio shows you how to get anywhere by plane, train, bus, ferry and automobile. If you want to know how get from Barcelona to Beijing, just plug in the two destinations and Rome2Rio does the work for you!

  • TripIt automatically converts confirmation emails for flights, hotels, rental cars and reservation times into a single, easy-to-read travel itinerary.

  • Airbnb you’ve probably heard about it, but if you haven’t used it yet then you are missing out. You can rent anything from castles and watchtowers, to low budget apartments or even just a room in someone else’s home. It’s a great way to have a unique travel experience!

  • On top of these, look up apps that are relevant to your plans – most cities will have an app for the Metro system, and most airlines have apps where you can check in in advance and skip the queues.

Preload maps and content

Mobile data can be expensive, so when you get some time on Wi-Fi it’s a smart move to think about your plans for the next day or two and preload as many resources as you can.

  • Google Maps allows you to save maps to your device so that you can use them later when you're offline; for example, if you're traveling to a big city, you can save a map for each neighbourhood you're visiting.

  • You can also download offline City Guides from the TripAdvisor app that include self-guided walking tours so that you can explore at your own pace.

  • Look up transport timetables, attraction opening hours, and anything else you want to know and remember to screenshot EVERYTHING!


Maximise power

If you want to fully utilise tech to your advantage when you’re travelling, you have to be smart about powering your devices.

  • Take simple precautions such as lowering the brightness on your displays and leaving them in flight mode as this will preserve your batteries for considerably longer.

  • Buying a portable charging device is also a great move, especially if you are using your phone or tablet extensively throughout the day. You never want to be in a position where you can’t get the perfect photo because you’re out of power!

  • Sometimes the old school tips are the best – bring a power board in your suitcase so you can use or charge multiple things at once with only one plug adaptor. This is especially smart if you will be sharing a room with friends and everyone is competing!

Back everything up – frequently!

It’s either happened to you, or you know someone it’s happened to – something horrible occurs and all those happy snaps and beautiful landscape photos are lost in an instant. Expect the unexpected and be prepared by backing everything up as you go.

  • Carry multiple memory cards and if you have the space, a portable hard drive. Upload all your photos onto the hard drive when you get the chance and keep it in a separate place to your memory cards.

  • Open a Google Drive account before you head overseas. You get 15GB of free space, so you’ll have plenty of space to upload your photos as you go. It’s also a smart move to save copies of your passport and travel insurance details in the folder, just in case!


Stay connected

You’ll find free Wi-Fi in many places, but there are a few things to consider.

  • You’ll find free Wi-Fi in many places but you’ll often have to register for it first. This almost always requires giving your email address, or even worse, a cell phone number. If you’re not travelling with a working phone this can be a barrier to logging on. You can speak with your phone company beforehand to unlock it for overseas use – as long as your data and roaming is switched off, you won’t be slapped with an expensive bill when you get home, and you’ll be able to sign in anywhere.

  • Avoid disclosing any sensitive information online in a free Wi-Fi hotspot, as you are at a much higher risk of scams. This would include banking, credit card information, or other personal data. Wait until you are in a more secure place such as your hostel or apartment!

Keep in touch

Don’t break the bank with expensive data roaming on your plan from back home.

  • Apps like Skype and WhatsApp let travelers make free calls and send texts, images and videos to fellow users worldwide, and with free Wi-Fi in more and more places worldwide this is a very sensible option.

  • If you need to make calls when you aren’t connected to the internet, a local sim card is going to be the cheapest option. If you have a local SIM, apps like Ringo will let you call internationally for rock-bottom rates.

  • For those trips that include many different countries an international sim might be a better option, although they are generally more expensive than local SIM.

Pack smart

If you get a headache just thinking about those long security lines at the airport, you’ll want to integrate some of these tips to properly pack your devices, accessories, and chargers so you can power through security and get to that coffee on the other side as soon as possible.

  • Layer clothes, electronics, and then clothes again inside your carry-on so the security agent can quickly see what's in there.

  • Depending on the way it is viewed, a tangle of cords could look like something potentially dangerous – which means you’ll be stuck with a more thorough and time-consuming bag check. Wrap cords around their devices, pack chargers together in one bag (like a zip lock) and take advantage of rubber bands or twist ties to keep them tangle-free.

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By Jack Lo Russo.