Everyone knows that traveling is fun and exciting, but equally, it can also be pretty complicated. It’s not always easy traveling so far from home! And in some instances, a trip can turn into a stressful adventure, one that has you returning home feeling more tense than when you set off.
Thankfully, as with so many things, technology can help to make your trip more straightforward and enjoyable. There are plenty of ways to use your internet-connected device to get the most from your trip, as we’ll see below. We’ve put together some of the best ways to use your computer or smartphone to make your adventure easier to manage.
Choose an On-Trend Destination
You’ll likely only have limited time to go traveling, so you’ll want to make the most of your time. And that means choosing the best destination — there’s nothing worse than going through the effort of traveling only to end up in a place that doesn’t give you what you were looking for. There are plenty of websites you can use to research the on-trend destinations that are worthwhile visiting during the time you’re looking to travel. You’ll find everything runs smoother when you’re visiting a top-rated corner of the globe!
Read Hotel/Neighborhood Reviews
Some people don’t care about staying in a luxury hotel. But even those people want to stay in a place that’s safe, secure, and clean. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to meet the bare minimum of standards. The internet is awash with hotel review sites that’ll give you a good insight into what your accommodation is really like, rather than what the hotel owners say it’s like. You’ll travel with greater peace of mind if you know that there’s a good bed waiting for you once you finally land.
As well as the hotel, conduct some research about the neighborhood you’ll be staying in. The accommodation might be great, but if it’s located in a distant area from where you want to be, then it might not offer the level of simplicity that you want.
Find the Best Price on Flights
There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll need to spend a fair amount of money if you want to travel, especially if you’re traveling internationally. However, you can control how much you spend by using the web to find the best price on flights. There are websites, such as Skyscanner, that’ll scan all the major airlines and help you find the best price on your flights. In addition to giving the best prices, they’ll also show all the options available to you — for instance, if you just search a specific airline’s website, then you might think you can only travel at a set time. When you see all the flights available to you, you can select the flight time that suits you best.
Organize Your Journey
When most people think about boarding a plane, they think about landing in a cool and exotic destination. But that’s not the reality. You’ll actually be landing at an airport, and that could be located far from where you eventually want to be. Some airports are an hour or more from the destination, and you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to get there once you land. You’ll always be able to make it to the center, but if you haven’t done your research, then you may find that you end up spending more than you should. Before traveling, research all the ways to get from the airport to your final destination, and select one that offers the best value/convenience.
Plan Your Sightseeing Route
You’ll likely only have limited time to explore your chosen destination, especially if you’re visiting an expensive city such as London, Paris, or New York. You might like to spend a few weeks exploring all that it has to offer, but unless you have a lot of money and time on your hands, then that won’t be possible. Before setting off, use your device to make an in-depth sightseeing route that’ll allow you to see everything you want to see within the time you have at the destination. Having Google Maps downloaded on your phone is good for this, since it allows you to save places of interest, making them easily viewable when you’re on the ground.
Handle Logistical Issues
You’ll want to focus largely on all the fun you’ll have when traveling, but keep in mind that there’ll always be logistical issues that you have to contend with. Two of the most common are money and luggage. If you’re arriving early in the morning before you can check in to your accommodation, then it’s best to pre-book luggage storage so you can drop your bags off and begin exploring as soon as you land, without having to drag heavy bags around. For foreign currency, it’s normally best to get a foreign travel card, which typically offers the best exchange rates. Make sure to choose one that offers a reliable app so you can top up your currency while you’re traveling.
Connect With Other Travelers
There’s a lot of value in connecting with others when you’re traveling, but this is sometimes easier said than done. If you’re staying in a hostel then you’ll naturally meet people. If you’re not, or you’re visiting a slightly quieter destination, then it may be more difficult. You can use the web to find events that will connect you with other travelers and locals. Meetup is good for this — simply download the app and see what’s going on around you.
The best travel adventures are the ones that drop you into an entirely different culture. There’s nothing like exploring a land that’s so radically different from where you’re from! And the more different the place is, the better. Alas, while there’s much to celebrate about visiting a land that’s so different, there is usually a pretty big obstacle to overcome: you’re unlikely to speak the language, and that can limit your experience. It’s not feasible to think that you’ll learn the language of every destination you visit, but thankfully you don’t need to. Instead, you can download Google Translate or one of the many other translation apps onto your phone. So long as you have data, you’ll always be able to understand what’s being said to you — and be understood.
Capturing Your Experiences
Think about how many travel memories people must have forgotten in the old days all because they could only take a limited number of photos, if any at all. Today, you’ll have the capacity to capture as much of your trip as you like, provided you have a good smartphone camera and cloud storage. Indeed, it’s so simple to capture your experiences that the main thing is to actively remember to take photos and videos.
If you don’t think you’ll have the time/internet capacity to upload your photos and videos to the cloud while you’re traveling, be sure to upload your current batch of photos before you set off so you have as much storage as possible available on your device.
There’s some magic in getting lost when you’re exploring the world. But you’ll want that to happen when you actively choose to explore without an end destination in mind. For the most part, you’ll want to be guided to where you’re going — or at least have the option to be guided. Before you leave your home country, look at downloading a maps app onto your device and ensure that you have an international data plan. Be aware that there could be “dead” zones — places that don’t have data — in the place you’re visiting, so it’s best to download maps for offline use just in case.
But Don’t Forget to Disconnect!
There’s much to love about using technology to get the most from your traveling adventure, but it’s important not to become too dependent on your smartphone while you’re exploring the world. It’s best to use your device sparingly, or at least commit to keeping it in your pocket some of the time. Part of the fun of traveling is being out of your comfort zone and getting as much of the picture of the destination as possible. You don’t know what you might miss when you’re staring at your device! If nothing else, try to spend some time exploring the destination without using Google Maps. Instead, just go with whatever feels right — you’ll almost certainly stumble upon something of interest.
It’s easy to romanticize traveling in the old days, but the truth is that it would have offered a whole host of challenges that would have made it a stressful experience. Technology, and in particular smartphones, has helped to eliminate or at least reduce the potency of those challenges. So the next time you’re planning a trip, be sure to keep all the tips and tools we’ve outlined above; they’ll help you to have the time of your life.