Updated: Oct 17, 2018
Travelling has become much more tedious since the change in regulations, following the disasters of 9-11. Long lineups, closer scrutiny and ever changing regulations cause confusion, frustration and in some cases, intimidation to tourists, especially if they do not travel frequently.
There are no solutions; however I have turned to my smart phone to help me manage some of the hindrances involved in travelling. First off, it is called a smart phone because it is usually smarter than we are. Secondly, as much as a hindrance technology sometimes is, it can benefit us in the long run.
One of the most important apps any traveller should have is TripIt. It has been around for 12 years, but only recently started becoming popular. The purpose of the app, quite simply, is to track all aspects of an upcoming trip. Whenever I plan a trip, albeit a week in Florida, a shopping trip to New York or an adventure to Easter Island, I simply forward any emails I have that pertain to my adventure to email@example.com.
All of my travel arrangements are then instantly logged into one place, on my phone (and on my PC). Starting with flight numbers, flying time, seats, destinations and everything else (it even tells you the weather where you are heading). Next it logs any car rentals and hotels with confirmation numbers, as well as maps of your destination. The app links to your online calendar as well, and with one easy click you can share your itinerary with anyone you choose. Of course, it is password protected so your information is totally safe. The app will work if there is no Wi-Fi available. If you forget to send your details to the app, not to worry, you can tell TripIt to scan your emails and pick up anything pertaining to your adventure.
Another app that I use all the time is my wallet (also known as Apple Pay or Android Pay). My credit card is locked inside the app and whenever I need to pay for something I simply tap, using my phone (or Apple Watch). On a recent trip to Europe, I discovered the tap limit when using your phone was at $250, as it is considered much more secure than a regular credit card. The reason being, that if you lose your phone it is password or finger print encrypted. This makes it impossible for someone else to access, or at the very least, slows it down long enough for you to put a stop payment on. If you lose your credit card, anyone can pick it up and ‘tap’ it.
Another great travel buddy is Google Translate. It will convert into many languages, which can help you through those ever important phrases like, “Where is the bathroom?” or “What time is lunch served?”
Of course the last app, I would not be without is Uber. Safety when using taxis is becoming a major concern around the world. Rogue (unlicensed) taxis roam through American cities, and you take your life (and belongings) in your hand. Most cities now deter ‘flagging’ a cab, as there are many thieves’ now driving taxi look-a-like vehicles. Once they have you inside, you’re at their mercy.
Uber prevents that and works well in more than sixty countries. The app shows you the license of the car, the make and model, the driver’s name and also a photo of him or her.
Travel is definitely changing and it’s not becoming easier. We have to adapt to stay with the times, especially if we want to enjoy our vacations.