These technology tips, particularly for smartphones, can make an air journey better and easier.
Whenever you travel, whether it’s domestic or international, technology can enhance your journey, as well as make it easier. The twenty-first-century invention of the smartphone will likely go down as the best travel tool invented since the invention of wheeled luggage. While technological advances have made travel easier, safer, and more enjoyable, technology is not without problems that travelers must prevent.
Here are my top ten tech tips for travelers that can be used immediately.
The smartphone is the top twenty-first-century tech invention for travelers.
1. Smartphone technology tips:
In my opinion, the smartphone is the best travel tool ever invented. You can use it to maintain your itinerary and, if necessary, make changes to it on the go. It can receive important notifications from hotels, airlines, cruise ships, tour companies, etc. It can store digital copies of all your travel documents. It’s even a camera and can be a GPS device to help you get around.
Smartphones, of course, are invaluable communication devices, able to send and receive text messages and emails, use the Internet and make phone calls. To me, for travelers, smartphones are indispensable.
2. Important Documents:
Physical documents including identification documentation can be lost, stolen or damaged while traveling. I recommend scanning every physical document for your trips, including your passport, in case they are lost, stolen or damaged, to use in their place and/or facilitate their replacement, if and when necessary.
Store the documents in your smartphone and a cloud data storage service, such as Google Drive or iCloud, for retrieval whenever necessary. Store them in Adobe Acrobat PDF format for easy display on most electronic devices. Password protect them for your privacy.
The capability of safely recharging smartphones while on the go is essential for travelers.
Smartphones need power to work. I recommend a portable battery pack for all smartphone charging. Get one that can fully charge your smartphone twice, if possible. Some smartphones can charge magnetically. Charging magnetically eliminates the need for a charging cable connecting the smartphone with your portable battery pack. You’ll need a charging cable to charge the battery pack, however. If you can’t charge magnetically, you’ll need an appropriate cable to charge your smartphone from the battery pack.
Get a USB charging cable that can charge your portable battery pack from your laptop computer or an alternate USB power source. Get a multi-voltage power adapter that uses your USB charging cable to plug into a power outlet. If you’re traveling internationally, bring an appropriate plug adapter for your destination. If you’re traveling by car, bring a car power adapter.
4. Public Charging Safety:
Newer smartphones have improved security. They generally stop the installation of malware or viruses on smartphones, installed via USB charging connections, that can give hackers access to your emails, text messages, photos, contacts, passwords and other data. That said, there may be unknown security flaws in your smartphone that could be exploited, so always charge your smartphone through your portable battery pack while traveling. The battery packs are malware and virus dead-ends.
VPN services can protect electronic device users’ privacy, prevent some governmental censorship, and generally permit travelers to use their home-based streaming services.
5. VPN Services:
Public Internet connections at airports, hotels, and other locations are not secure, even ones that require a WiFi password to connect to them. Unlike your home WiFi network, you can’t control who may use them. Some users may be hackers attempting to steal personal and private information via the WiFi network.
Whenever you’re connecting to any public Internet service, use a VPN service. VPN (virtual private networking) services provide a software-based tunnel through the Internet.It encrypts your data from the moment it leaves your connected device through its connection to your email service, websites, bank, credit card company, etc. VPN connections are virtually invisible on the Internet and are a perfect technology tip. Even if they are somehow found, they are very hard to follow, intercept, access, or exploit.
6. Governmental Surveillance and Streaming Services:
In addition to maintaining data integrity and privacy, VPN services provide other benefits for international travelers. VPN use masks your Internet location. Internet connections normally reveal the nation in which you’re located; however, if you connect through a VPN service, it will mask your true location and indicate you’re located in the country where your VPN server is located.
By masking your location, VPN services can help you avoid governmental censorship when traveling internationally. If you use a streaming service at home, you may already know that almost all, including Netflix, don’t permit their use when you’re traveling internationally. By using a VPN server located in your home country, your streaming service will likely work because it will think your computer is in your home country.
7. WiFi Auto-Connection Mode:
Disable auto-connect mode on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer to prevent your device from indiscriminately connecting to public WiFi networks while you’re traveling. This technology tipi will enable you to choose which networks you’ll use. Hopefully, each will have at least some security or trustworthiness. This will give you a chance to discriminate between legitimate networks and ones that are spoofing trustworthy networks.
Posting about your trip on social media during your journey can be an invitation for thieves trolling your posts to break into your empty home and steal your belongings.
8. Social Media Postings in Real Time:
It can be great fun to post your travel progress on social media while traveling. Unfortunately, thieves sometimes troll social media for such posts. They want to find homes that are empty to make it easy for them to steal your belongings.
Never post your home address on social media or photos of your home’s exterior. Turn off your smartphone’s GPS locator when making photos at or near your home, or strip your photo’s location information before posting them on social media. In addition, wait until you’re home from your trips to post about them on social media. Don’t make it easy for thieves to make you a victim.
9. Rental Car Photos:
Too many times rental car companies, even the big ones, try to make renters pay for car damages that didn’t occur while they were renting. In addition to requiring a rental car employee to note any existing damage to your rental car on the contract form before you leave the pick-up location, take photos of the exterior and interior as proof of any existing damage. Then do it all over again when you return the car.
Don’t make it easy for snatch and grab thieves to easily steal your belongings, including your tech devices.
10. Theft on the Go:
The best theft protection is commonsense. For example, many people place their smartphones on restaurant table-tops to monitor them for messages and emails while dining. Particularly when seated at a sidewalk cafe, that’s an invitation to snatch and grab thieves. If your phone’s in your bag, don’t sling the bag over the back of your chair or on the ground beside your seat. That’s an open invitation for thieves, too.
These ten technology tips can make your trip easier, safer, and more enjoyable. Protect your gear. Safeguard your identity. Be prepared in case your critical travel documents are lost or stolen. Make the most of your tech devices.
After many years working in corporate America as a chemical engineer, executive and eventually CFO of a multinational manufacturer, Ned founded a tech consulting company and later restarted NSL Photography, his photography business. Before entering the corporate world, Ned worked as a Public Health Engineer for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. As a well known corporate, travel and wildlife photographer, Ned travels the world writing about travel and photography, as well as running photography workshops, seminars and photowalks. Visit Ned’s Photography Blog and Galleries.