In recent years, travel has been forever changed by a massive wave of technology that now provides us with more convenience and immersion than ever before. It really doesn’t matter your age or how well-traveled you are—anyone heading out to explore the world can benefit from the latest easy-to-use social tools and devices. From helpful smartphone apps and messaging platforms to digital scales and portable chargers, we’re offering up our top picks for enhancing your travel experiences and becoming a more modern explorer.
1. Utilize Smartphone Apps
The first step in becoming a modern traveler is taking advantage of the technology that’s already easily accessible to you. The Google Translate app allows you to translate languages on the go with its camera tool for translating signs and menus and its audio tool for practicing simple phrases. Currency converter apps are also handy, as they calculate the exchange rate for you so you don’t get stuck with a surprise bill. And when it comes to transportation, it’s wise to download Uber or the local transit app when a city offers them.
2. Stay Connected
Want to avoid hefty phone charges while traveling abroad? Download the popular messaging and voice service WhatsApp. The free service only requires you to input your phone number, making it easy to call, text, and share videos with anyone that also has the app. A caveat here is that you need to have internet connection. Luckily, most hotels/accommodations and local cafes have got you covered, but if you really want to invest in staying connected we suggest a mobile WiFi hotspot device, such as Skyroam Solis.
3. Dine with Locals
Immersing yourself in local culture through food is one of the most contemporary and popular ways to enhance your travel experience. On many tours, especially with smarTours, you’re in for a treat with cooking classes, authentic dining, and even meals with local families. If you want to expand your horizons even more with the local dining experience, take advantage of Eatwith. This app and platform offers an expansive array of unique dining and cooking opportunities with people from the area.
4. Save and Share Photos Like a Pro
Create “digital souvenirs” by using a cloud storage site such as Google Photos. You can upload your travel photos, videos, and scanned documents, then access them on any mobile phone, desktop, or tablet where you’re signed in. (This means you can access everything even if your device gets broken or lost). Plus, another popular way to share photos with your family and friends is through private photo-sharing apps, like Cluster. Instead of having to email photos to many different people, you can upload your photos to the app and then decide who you allow to see those photos—they just need to download the app too!
Although some might be hesitant, it can also be fun and helpful to hop on the Instagram bandwagon. This social app is a go-to source for travel inspiration and a creative space to share your photos. Along with posting photos, Instagram also allows you to share “Stories”—a stream of photos and/or videos, which your followers can watch and only lasts for 24 hours before disappearing. It’s the ultimate way to engage, share your experiences, and discover content that will inspire and motivate you to travel.
5. Stay Charged
There’s nothing worse than a dying phone battery, especially when you’re visiting iconic sites around the world and want to take photos or videos. With a little advanced planning, you can keep your phone charged with a quick battery boost from a portable phone charger. There are a variety of chargers on the market to choose from that range in size, capacity and price, with many lightweight enough to pack in a day pack or purse. All you need to do is charge it beforehand and then bring it with you!
6. Avoid Overpacking
Airlines love to charge for excess poundage on your luggage, so to keep your bags at the required weight, we suggest a handheld luggage scale. While packing can be a daunting task, a handy digital scale offers a simple (and cheap!) solution where you can pack with ease, avoid headaches at the airport, and save both time and money. And don’t forget to pack this item with you so that when you’ve loaded up on souvenirs, you can efficiently manage your baggage when it’s time to head home.
While there’s many things to pack and organize for vacation, we recommend putting these travel technology items at the top of your check list. You’ll surely be the envy of all your friends as you make your travel experience a whole lot easier and immersive!