January is the time of year everyone seeks to streamline their lives: shedding pounds, decluttering their houses, and organizing their must-haves. And most business travelers want to travel as light as possible, just so you’re not carrying a bunch of unnecessary paper around in your briefcase.
We’ve come up with five different apps that business travelers should have on their mobile phone, their tablet, and their laptop. With these apps, you can store information in the cloud, keep it secure, and get work done no matter where you are.
Evernote. If you’re unfamiliar with this amazing note taking and online storage app, we recommend you investigate it immediately. It allows you to retain stored information in one place so that you don’t have to carry it in physical form. For example, you can create a document with all your loyalty card numbers so that you don’t have to carry the physical cards any more. You can take notes during a meeting and share them with others at a later date. You can save images as well and sync them with your mobile device or laptop. You can even clip articles and websites that you want to read later, like when you’re on the plane. Evernote’s Plus and Premium versions offer even more options.
It’s our worst nightmare: you’re traveling and your phone is either lost or stolen. What’s the first thing you should do? According to Asurion, a technology solutions company, 19 million people have had this happen. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what you can do.
First, try calling or texting your phone. If you’ve lost it, the device may have been found by someone honest. If you’re traveling with someone, you can use their contact information to request a call back, or you can leave the number of the front desk at your hotel and follow up later in the day. Your lock screen will display your most recent text, so send a short message to your phone and hope your Good Samaritan will see it and call you back.
Be sure your phone’s “find my phone” feature is activated. This will enable you to discover its location for retrieval and if you share your account with other users, they too can see the device’s location. Unfortunately, if the phone is powered down, this feature doesn’t work.
Be sure your lock screen is enabled. It may seem like a pain to have to authenticate yourself with your fingerprint or a code every time your phone lapses into sleep mode, but it protects your valuable data. Apple’s lock mode will allow you to access your device remotely and either disable it or display a custom message. It also allows you to disable ApplePay.
Preparing for an international trip with your mobile phone requires research and planning. Get off the plane and just start using it, and you’ll be hit with a variety of fees and roaming charges, easily racking up several hundred dollars in a single week.
Whether you need the ability to call or just the ability to access data and text, the following tips will help you utilize your device to its fullest while keeping overall costs down.
Know your phone and your plan
All phones use either GSM (Global System for Mobiles) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) as their radio systems to communicate with cell towers. GSM phones are unlocked and can be used with any carrier, while CDMA phones are locked to a specific carrier.
Read through your plan to make sure you know what the charges will be for international use, or if you’ll even be able to use your phone while abroad. If you have a GSM phone, you can switch out your SIM card with one in the country you’re visiting (more on that later). Otherwise, you may be able to purchase a temporary plan through your carrier.
If you have a CDMA phone, you may want to buy a pay-as-you-go phone once you arrive in your destination country.
File this under the category “Now We’ve Heard Everything.” According to an article in Smarter Travel, the latest scam to target travelers involves what’s called “juice-jacking.” Travelers desperate for a charge plug into a public charging station that, unbeknownst to them, is masquerading as a data port to steal their phone’s private and personal data.
Once a phone is connected to the station, everything on the device is downloadable: passwords, photos, emails, messages, bank account information. Worse yet, additional malware might also be infecting the device. How can you protect yourself against this new hacking method?
For one thing, be wary of public USB-friendly charging stations. There’s a chance that it’s a bogus charging station, and instead of just charging your batteries, you could give hackers access to your mobile device.
Instead, always travel with your own power pack. Some of our new Crew™ 11 Carry-on models feature a built-in battery pocket and external USB port. No more digging for your accessories or relying on potentially unsafe charging stations. Just plug your battery into the internal charging USB cord, and then plug your normal charging cord into the port on the back of your luggage.
There are some things in life business travelers just can’t change, but for almost everything else there’s a hack. These tips for making your smartphone work for you should make your life easier and avoid some hassles.
Switch SIM cards when traveling abroad. You don’t have to accept exorbitant charges from your cell phone provider just because you’re seeing the world. Simply by switching out your SIM card (provided you have an unlocked phone), you can control how you use your device, whether it’s just for data and texts or only for emergency calls. I know some business travelers who will even have a mobile phone they use for that particular country. But if you don’t want to deal with that, ask your mobile phone provider for a model of phone that lets you swap out SIM cards.
Instead of relying on access to data in order to navigate through an unknown city, download apps that function offline or take screenshots of the map you will need.
If you’re an avid cell phone user, preserving battery life can be an all-consuming obsession. You limit your data usage, you only operate certain mobile apps on wifi, and you may even avoid some of the data hogs your colleagues all swear by.
One thing we’ve always thought about battery extension was that we should close our dormant apps instead of leaving them open.
Turns out, that’s just not true.
According to an Apple support page, “apps that are in a suspended state aren’t actively in use, open, or taking up system resources.”
Android users can also rejoice. According to an ABC News story, David Burke, the vice president of engineering at Android, agrees. “It’s simply not true.”
He says just the opposite occurs when you go to close those apps to conserve power. Closing them actually activates them momentarily which may drain more power than just leaving them in their suspended state.
So, if closing apps is unhelpful, what can you do?
Technology is changing all aspects of our lives, from how we communicate to how we work to how we watch TV. Even our travel is benefitting from new technological advances.
In fact, technological and engineering advances top the list of coming travel-related improvements. DestinationTips.com recently published 15 new travel advances we can expect to see, and we picked out a few of our favorites.
If you have a smartphone, you’ll be especially jazzed by what you can do with that ever-expanding, multi-tasking device.
Hilton and Marriott are in the process of updating the mechanisms that lock their guest rooms so travelers can unlock the door using their smartphone. By simply downloading an app when you check in, your phone acts as a key, and you have one less thing to keep track of during your visit.
We’re more mobile than ever, and not just in our day-to-day lives. Over 1 billion of us traveled internationally last year, and that number is expected to increase by three to four percent this year. There’s lots to manage when you’re on the road, and seven companies have new apps to help you get the most from your experience. We found several new travel start-ups and apps that can ease the burdens of travel and make it a lot more fun.
For those who operate hotels, getting customers to choose your establishment isn’t such a shot in the dark any more. Kaptivating targets potential customers by studying their social media activities and initiates a relationship with them to let them know how a specific hotel could meet their needs.
Want to get out of Dodge but don’t have a traveling companion? Eo will match your interests, budget, and travel plans with others wanting to go where you’re going. Scroll through profiles, make a connection, and make new friends before you leave town.
Ever wondered where in the world all the best jazz festivals or art festivals are held through the year? Cronomio is a travel calendar that will help you sync your travel with events you don’t want to miss (not just jazz and art).
If you’re a tour operator or travel agency desiring to make and maintain connection with your customers before and after a trip, Keeptrax makes that possible. Keeptrax collates travel information, details of places visited, and photos to help travelers remember all the good things that happened on their trips when they’re making their travelogues for friends.
Moving to Bora Bora and need a nanny? Expat Helpers is an app that explains local labor laws and currency denominations to expedite the process of connecting with and hiring local help.
Get Out is an app that connects those with less run-of-the-mill interests who are looking for out of the ordinary travel experiences with one another. This will help you find that needle-in-a-haystack adventure to do underwater basket weaving in the Great Barrier Reef.
Here are a few other apps that will help you travel safely.
STEP stands for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and is a free service of the US State Department that makes the US Embassy in the country you’re traveling to aware of your presence there.
SOS is an emergency app that provides you with local numbers for police, fire, and hospital. It has a location finder to help you know where you are in an unfamiliar city.
Medical ID is an emergency app that will allow someone to access health conditions about you even if your phone is locked and you’re unable to communicate.
Finally, Trip It is a password protected app that collates your itinerary, passport, visa, identification information in one place in case those documents are lost or stolen during travel.
Seeing the world is supposed to be fun, not a hassle. These new apps offer you, the savvy traveler, an individualized, unique experience, tailored to needs and desires.
Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.
Photo credit: PraiseLightMedia (Wikipedia, Creative Commons)
When packing for vacations, should you add in your camera or just rely on your phone to take your travel photos? Smartphone cameras have gotten sophisticated and professional enough, that many of us have no idea where our “real cameras” are now, or when we last charged them.
However, knowing our vacation is coming up can have us digging through our junk drawers, looking not just for the camera, but also for the charging cord and the instructions.
We think that, unless you’re a decent photographer with a good SLR camera, you should skip the little point-and-shoots and just use your phone. The resolution is the same as the compact cameras, it’s one less thing to recharge, and you can upload your photos to your favorite storage site without worrying about downloading.
If you have a high-end camera, or are a skilled, serious photographer, take it along. Taking high quality photos may be part of the vacation experience for you.
Otherwise why bother lugging a compact camera around and adding it to the ever-growing pile of gadgets that need to be recharged? If you just want to take some photos to remember the trip and to upload to social media, the phone will serve you better in any case.
You have a lot of options for storing and sharing photos from a phone that are probably not available on your camera. And with the latest generation of phones, you can even edit photos and videos. You can’t do that on the point-and-shoots.
And if you’re in a pinch, don’t forget that your tablet can also take photos.
What do you think? Do you take your small cameras along, or do you leave them at home and just use your phones? Leave a comment below or over on our Facebook page.
- Go-anywhere compact camera streams video live to YouTube (pcworld.com)
A recent article in Yahoo travel about the mistakes that travelers tend to make got us thinking about our own advice for travelers.
One tip we make over and over is not having cash in hand before we set out on our travels. Although we mostly recommend that travelers use their cards when traveling and to have a limited amount of cash before you set out is extremely helpful because some places in the area you’re visiting might not take cards (for example, the toll booths on the Florida turnpike don’t take plastic).
One of our employees has upcoming travel plans that include Spain and he plans to get Euros at his bank before he heads out. He says that using ATMs overseas can be dicey in that you may have your card flagged. We also feel that the exchange places at and near the airports can be overpriced.
We also believe not researching your destination is a huge mistake. Know what you want to visit before you go. Otherwise, you may end up in a beautiful area and not know what’s so great about it. Smartphones can help in this case, but they may not know important tourist destinations could be booked or you could arrive on the wrong day to hit a hot spot. Know before you go.
Our same globe-trotting employee took a list of destinations on a recent trip to Italy. Once he got there, he and his family cut back on the list and talked to locals about what was really worth their time. They ended up having the best possible trip because they were able to create a big list and cull from it, rather than try to decide where to go each morning, and miss better sights and venues.
The article says that relying heavily on public transport is a mistake. However, we tend to think that renting a car is the bigger mistake relating to getting around while traveling in a foreign land. That’s because it’s hard to really understand the traffic patterns and it’s certainly difficult to navigate when you can’t read the road signs.
It’s probably better to rent a car only if you plan on staying somewhere for an extended period of time. Stick with the public transportation whenever possible; in many of these countries, especially Western Europe, they excel at public transportation, and many locals don’t even own cars because the transportation is so good.
What are some of the travel mistakes you’ve made? What have you seen other people do? Leave us a blog comment or post something on our Facebook page.