Use Your Smartphone Wisely When You Travel
I recently attended a jazz concert sponsored by the city in my neighborhood’s park and decided to take pictures of the crowd enjoying the show for use on the community website. When I downloaded the photos, I was disappointed to find that most of them showed people who were more involved with their phones than they were with the neighbors or the music, hardly an advertisement for my exciting urban lifestyle.
While cell phones drive me insane when their owners use them to communicate with everyone but the people right next to them, I’m addicted to some of my iPhone apps, especially when I’m on the road, and I don’t have access to a computer.
If you travel overseas, you probably know that the first thing you need to do is turn off the data and roaming to avoid a huge bill. If you can find a café or hotel with Internet access, you can still take advantage of Wi-Fi to use your apps. McDonald’s offers free Wi-Fi, and the coffee wins awards in several countries, so it’s a good option in a pinch.
There’a an app for that. There are lots of apps, many of them free, that can simplify travel. Following are some of favorites:
Know where to go. While a map app can be a great travel tool, it’s still a good idea to print out a map that shows the location of your hotel before you leave. While I’m on this topic, research the best way to go from the airport to wherever you’re staying by doing a search for “transportation from whatever airport to whatever town.” You can compare prices between shuttles, taxis and whatever modes of transportation available and learn how and where to buy tickets. You will probably be tired and disoriented when you arrive, so it won’t be a good time to start figuring out where you are and where you need to be, especially if you won’t be in an English-speaking country.
Take a picture. You’ve probably heard that you should keep a copy of your passport in a separate bag. But what of you lose your bag? What if you lose your passport and you just can’t get to your bag? As a simple safeguard, take a picture of your passport and email it to yourself. You can also take a picture with your cell phone. If the phone or the camera uses a flash, make sure your photo, the passport number and expiration date are still visible. As I mentioned in my last entry, use your phone to take a picture of your suitcase just before you leave for your trip. That way, if the airline loses it, you can show someone exactly what it looks like.
I hope you get a lot of use out of your phone while you’re away, but I also hope that you don’t become so involved with it that you miss out on all of the exciting activities and scenery around you. And if you come across a must-have app, please let me know.
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