5 ways your smartphone can help you enhance travel
The smartphone has drastically changed how people travel and made exploring the world significantly easier. As long as you have cell service or an internet connection, you can communicate with anyone and reconnect with friends and family around the globe. Here are a few ways your smartphone can enhance your travel experience, making it the best companion when you hit the road.
Communicate With Anyone Through Translation Apps
You don’t have to carry around a bulky language book or be fluent in various languages to communicate internationally. Apps like Google Translate let you speak into your phone or type when you want to say; then the app automatically translates what you want to say – usually in the proper context. In some cases, you can download entire languages, so you can communicate even without an internet connection. These tools make it easy to ask for directions, order off of a menu, or buy train tickets, even if you’re the only English speaker around.
Let Google and Apple Maps Direct You to the Exact Location
While there’s something to be said for wandering the streets of a foreign city and taking in the sights around you, sometimes you just need the best direct route from point A to point B. Smartphone apps help you navigate strange cities, whether you want to find the right road back to your hotel or to your next adventure. Gone are the days of wandering for an hour in the wrong direction or following a map that’s out of date or incomplete. Plus, travelers no longer have to worry about dropping the map into a puddle or getting caught in the rain. Today’s traveler is never lost with a smartphone in their hand.
*Image via Flickr by jennifer.stahn
Blogs and Social Media Sites Provide Advice on Destinations
Before heading out, travelers can research their destinations to see which sites are worth visiting and which ones are tourist traps. In fact, 62 percent of travelers use their smartphones to queue up activities and plan their schedules, whether for that afternoon or several weeks out.
If a traveler does visit a site, they can find advice and tips from the pros on the best time to go, the best things to see, and how to find a discount. With this information, you know to get up early to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa before the crowds arrive and bring a raincoat when visiting Costa Rica in the summer. This kind of inside information makes your trip more enjoyable, and saves you the cost of buying overpriced gear you didn’t know you’d need until you got there.
Stay Connected With Friends and Family on the Road
Homesickness is one of the hardest parts about traveling. You need to somehow keep your life running while traveling. It’s easy to miss out on the opportunities around you if all you can think about is home. Today’s smartphones offer a wealth of communication tools, from social media to chat apps to video calls. For example, you can use your iPhone 6 to take stunning photos, send them to friends and family with Messages, and then use FaceTime to talk to them face-to-face about where you’ve been.
Go Paperless With Online Tickets and Reservations
If you’re traveling for several weeks at a time, all those itineraries and tickets can add up to a lot of paperwork to carry around. Instead, use your smartphone for hotel reservations, flight confirmations, and tour bookings. Many places accept digital tickets, or will point you in the direction of someone who can print them for you. If you do need a physically printed ticket, ask your hotel if they have a business center or printer at the front desk.
These are just a handful of the ways travelers are taking advantage of smartphones to make their journeys easier. After all, travel is stressful. It’s easy to get lost, tired, and frustrated in a new place. With a smartphone in your hand, you have all the tools you need to find your way to whatever comes next.