If you’re like the millions of Americans who are planning to go on vacation this summer, you’ll want to have the latest available information before you go. Here are some helpful tech travel tips to consider before you leave that can prepare you to get the most fun out of your getaway or avoid the unexpected hiccups during your trip.
Helpful Smartphone Apps – Americans are successfully integrating smartphones with their everyday lives and the travel industry is no different. If you know where to look there are some great mobile applications available that can make life a little bit easier for travelers.
FlightTrack Pro for the iPhone provides everything a user needs to track the status of their flights in real-time. This app is the most comprehensive flight tracker and allows users to synchronize their itineraries with other apps. Our favorite feature of this app is the layout of over 5,000 airports and flight delay alerts.
When it comes to weather, knowing precisely how the weather is going to be in a particular region can mean the difference between a good time and a bummer trip. Weather.com is always a favorite, and WeatherBug for Android, iPhone and Blackberry users provide current conditions, radar as well as the forecast for your particular destination. What makes this app great is its full integration with mobile operating systems and its precise weather conditions for GPS locations.
Traveling overseas? Don’t leave the U.S. borders without the World Customs & Cultures app. This iPhone app provides a quick snapshot of laws such as legal drinking age or smoking laws of the country you are visiting.
Many destinations in the U.S. or abroad have their own app to clue in guests and travelers of events happening in the area. For example, Florida Beach Resort Sandestin, offers vacationers their own Apple iPhone and Android app, Explore Sandestin. This 2,400-acre white-sand beach resort offers multiple bay-front properties, four championship golf courses, 19 swimming pools, various water sports and engaging children’s activities that benefit from this app’s role as a guide to local events. In fact many resorts are active participants in the world of social media through photo-sharing and networking activities for the whole family.
Tablets – If you’re considering traveling for an extended period of time, ditch your phone for a tablet instead. This convenient hybrid between a smartphone and a laptop makes for the perfect travel companion for e-reading and computing.
Reviews, Blogs and Social Media – Travelers in 2011 have a great asset available to them when it comes to traveling: social media. It’s important that when you are researching hotels, restaurants or attractions you should collectively get an idea of what the majority of people are saying about that particular establishment and not just focus on individual reviews. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Concierge can help you get a better idea of your destination before your arrival.
AAA Fuel Cost Calculator – If you’re planning to drive to your destination, you can save a little money and get accurate gas costs through this great tool from the Auto Club.
Suspend Home Subscriptions – In the past we put a vacation hold on all incoming mail or suspended newspaper subscriptions while we were on vacation. But did you know that Internet retailers such as Netflix and Hulu Plus allow subscribers to temporarily suspend their services?
And lastly, according to Ian Hamilton, a technology reporter for The Orange County Register, the No. 1 tech travel tip is to download everything you can to your mobile devices before you leave the house.
Whether it’s traveling to the beach, the mountains or overseas, Hamilton emphasizes that travelers can save on their data plans and be armed with the latest information while on the road. It’s also good to have a sure bet, because sometimes you can’t depend on Wi-Fi or cellular coverage. Hamilton said that savvy travelers should download apps, games, books, documents or maps at home before the trip, and that lots of mobile apps offer offline access to their content if you are stuck in a dead zone.