Travelling anytime soon? With the main holidays just around the corner, the tourism industry is beginning to brace itself for the peak season. As potential travellers, you should make some preparations as well. One thing to keep in mind, you might want to make sure you’re maximising the use of technological advancements that were made to make travel much easier. You don’t want to be stuck with travel methods or equipment that were made for a decade ago.
That’s why we’re giving you a few helpful tips on modernising your journeys to the next level. We’ve listed down a few phone apps that will make your life easier, named our favourite technologically advanced travel gadgets, and also a few tips on how to make your social media posts that much better. Furthermore, we’ve also indulged on identifying some of the best destinations in the world for connectivity and even peeked into the future of travelling.
8 apps to help you travel without hassle
This app is a great tool for those looking for great domestic and international flights. Comparing prices across millions of flights and hundreds of airlines, SkyScanner helps you choose your trip with just one click. Flights can be filtered by airline, cabin class, price and take-off and landing times. There are also weekly or monthly chart views to keep you informed of prices over time.
When travelling with friends, it can be difficult to decide who pays what. But no worries, Splittr is here to help you easily divide the cost between friends. Just enter a list of expenses, including who paid for which items, and the app will do the rest. To make it even more useful, all major currencies are supported, and can be mixed without your having to do the conversion yourself.
Wolfram Sun Exposure
Lounging under the sun isn’t much fun if you get burnt. With Wolfram Sun Exposure, you can manage your time in the sun safely. Just enter your skin type and the app will calculate how long you can spend sunning yourself safely, based on the time of the day, where you are, and the strength of your sun cream. It also provides UV forecasts for your location.
Carrying thick guidebooks everywhere is so 2014. Triposo is your ultimate travel bible. From Bangladesh to Amsterdam to Singapore, almost every corner of the globe is covered by this app. Each location’s page features a currency converter, local weather, details about tours and information about the local culture. The app will also sync with Apple Watch for offline navigation.
Separated from your friends when travelling? Glympse will help you find them. When your group gets split up, Glympse makes it easy for members to see everybody else’s location. No more asking your friend ‘What do you see around you?’ Glympse will send your location to whoever needs it.
Packing for a trip is always a hassle. But here’s PackPoint, a travel packing wizard that creates a helpful checklist of travel essentials that you need to pack based on the type of trip. You just have to create a profile that includes your destination, length of stay and purpose of travel. PackPoint then creates a customized packing and luggage checklist that takes into account whether you’re travelling for pleasure or business, as well as the weather forecast.
A frequent business traveller? You’ll find that Expensify is your best friend when it comes to keeping a simple expense report. Expensify allows you to manually track expenses, to photolog receipts, and even import purchase info from your credit card for IRS validated eReceipts. It also boasts Smart Scan, which reads a photo of your receipt and generates an expense. Expensify also includes options for travel mileage, time and rate based expenses, and has automatic currency conversion.
Going to a remote spot where you won’t speak the language? Let Bravolol help you connect. Featuring a basic phrasebook for over 13 languages, Bravolol doesn’t need internet connection to operate. Move over, Google Translate. Although the vocabulary is fairly basic, the app pronounces phrases and offers phonetic spelling, which is great for languages that you might not be familiar with or which use different alphabets.
8 best cities to get connected
When you land in Taipei, you can register to receive 30 days of free access to a national, government-backed network of over 5,000 hotspots. For more information, visit http://itaiwan.taiwan.net.tw/FitTravelRegister.aspx
As one of the most futuristic cities in the world, it’s no surprise that Hong Kong is generous when it comes to free internet. There are several free Wi-Fi networks, the key ones being GovWifi (available in parks, libraries, public buildings, ferry terminals, etc.) and MTR Wi-Fi, which provides 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi per device up to five times every day at MTR stations. If you need more, you can buy the official Tourist SIM for your smartphone for HK$69 (£5.40), adding another 12,000 PCCW telecom hotspots to the list.
Just like its neighbours, Macau offers loads of free internet hotspots. Their WiFiGo service has around 150 hotspots available in places like ports, museums, and tourist information centres, which are available between 8am and 11pm each day.
Almost all public areas in Seoul grant you access to the city’s free Wi-Fi network. The best thing about it? The network gives you insane download speeds, about 50 times faster than a regular cable modem connection. Download away, my friend.
Owing to its extensive free internet connection, Perth is known as Australia’s most connected city. Launched in November 2013, Perth Wi-Fi offers free internet throughout the central shopping, eating, and business district.
New York City
Residents and visitors to the City that Never Sleeps stay up all night surfing the internet. NYC has a network of free Wi-Fi hotspots in all major tourist destinations and in most of its parks, subway stations and even hotels. The city tourist office publishes several free Wi-Fi maps to help you get connected without having to spend a cent.
Paris might have to change its name from the ‘City of Love’ to the ‘City of Wi-Fi’. It has a network of over 200 Wi-Fi hotspots that can be accessed for about two hours at a time, and is totally free of cost. The network is available in parks, libraries, museums and town halls.
Buy the city’s multi-museum pass, the Firenze Card for 72 euros, and you’ll get not only tickets to most major museums and for public transport, but also 72 hours of free Wi-Fi at hotspots run by the city. Sites are available all around the centre, including popular parks and piazzas.
5 best gadgets for travelling
Scrubba Wash Bag
Whether you are backpacking through Europe or going camping in Java, you’re going to love Scrubba Wash Bag. Equipped with a flexible washboard, this pocket-size wash bag will let you do your laundry anywhere on the road, saving you time and money. With only 2-4 litres of water and a squirt of washing liquid, you’ll have your clothes freshly laundered in less than 3 minutes.
Scottevest Quest Vest
This vest looks more stylish and feels more comfortable than you might think. With 42 compartments, you can stash an iPad mini, your phone, your chargers, and all other travel gear on your person without anyone else noticing. What’s more, the vest has a $1,000 anti-pickpocket guarantee.
The Digitsole Smartshoe by Zhor Tech
Control your destiny, or at least where your feet are taking you, with this French manufacturer’s idea of the perfect sneakers. Based on a design concept that was ultra-cool in the Back to the Future films, this pair of Digitsole sneakers warms your feet on cold days, tracks your comings and goings, counts your calories, tightens and loosens as required, and adjusts its insoles to manage shock absorption automatically. Can’t see where you’re going? Turn on the built-in lights! And there’s no need to plug your shoes in at night, because they charge wirelessly. Naturally there is an app for this. The shoes will be available for all sizes when they come out this spring, with an estimated price point of around $400.
Royce Freedom Wallet
This durable leather passport wallet with compartments for credit cards and ID is about as high-tech as they come. Tucked inside is a Bluetooth tag that syncs with your phone. So if you misplace the wallet or it gets stolen, your phone will start beeping. An RFID shield also protects you from hackers who might try to steal data from your passport’s RFID chip.
CamelBak All Clear
Most health problems when travelling are caused by drinking contaminated water. This means that a water purification system is a must when you’re travelling abroad, especially if you’re venturing to remote locations. CamelBak All Clear is a state-of-the-art device capable of making water from a tap or any natural source drinkable in just 60 seconds. The 0.75-liter water purifier bottle is equipped with rechargeable lithium ion batteries, and uses UV light to neutralize viruses and bacteria. Overall, this is an excellent way to save money on bottled water.
How travelling will be in 2024
Destination Outer Space
Architects Foster + Partners are currently involved in a project with the European Space Agency that is exploring ways to build structures on the moon with the help of 3D printers, meaning a lunar hotel could be on the horizon. Or, you could also float weightlessly in low Earth orbit for just $75,000 with Virgin America.
Super Hi-Tech Hotel
According to Skyscanner, it won’t be long before travellers will “have no need to encounter a single human being” from the moment they check in to a hotel. Rooms will be digital, hyper-interactive spaces where even the pillows will be “embedded” with electronics to massage your neck and wake you up bright and early in the morning. Walls will display high-definition images of your friends and family, hologramatic personal trainers will hang out with you, and your shower will use sound technology to “agitate” dirt from your body, with a traffic light system indicating when you’re clean enough to get out. Hmm, I’m not so sure about giving up a conventional shower for that though.
Sleeping with fish
You don’t have to go skin-diving to see fish swimming around you. Right now Poseidon Underwater Resort in Fiji is building sub-aquatic hotels. Booking in to a room may not cost as much as going to space, but sleeping while surrounded by fish is still going to be beyond the budget of 99% of holidaymakers – when it does finally open, a week at the Poseidon resort in Fiji will cost $12,000.
Houses turned hotels
AirBnB is a big hit with budget travellers these days and is set to take over the world. Within the next decade, between 5-10% of people could be renting out their homes to travellers. Increasingly, “social travel” – from accommodation to supper clubs – is fast becoming part of the traditional travel industry. New tools will lead to collaboration between tourists and people at their destinations, helping create more localised and personal travel.
In pursuit of “bragging rights”, tourists are starting to pursue even greater adventures in extreme destinations. Some travellers want to be the first to drop in on so-called “forbidden zones”, destinations once rendered inaccessible by conflict or political instability, or to be among the last people to see a habitat or species on the verge of extinction.
Return of the Zeppelin?
Ever since the Hindenburg disaster, the idea of travelling beneath a huge balloon filled with highly inflammable gas has – perhaps understandably – not been an attractive proposition. But now this form of transport is back in development. Safe, environmentally friendly and with the potential to stay in the air for weeks at a time, dirigible transportation seems to us like the closest we’ll come to living in the clouds.
Rumour has it that soon we will have a train route from London to New York. King’s Cross to Grand Central without changing trains? That sounds interesting, but isn’t travelling by train somewhat old-fashioned and not at all futuristic?
Getting the best out of social media
Here’s how you can further optimise your social media posts.
Quality over quantity
We all have that one friend who shares every single minute of their vacation. Subpar shots of the hotel lobby, birds in an unremarkable local park, the bathroom at a restaurant, and the list goes on. Trust us, you don’t want to be known as that person. Even if you’re in a spectacular place, try not to post all your shots or stories all at once. This will save your friends some grief, plus you’ll still have enough material to post once your home –perhaps to cure your post-holiday blues.
Keep it natural
Want to take a selfie but your skin’s burnt after a full day on the beach? Don’t opt to beautify the picture by airbrushing your skin tone with one of the many apps out there that allows you to do just that. Your viewers will appreciate moments of candidness more than an obnoxiously soft skin tone. Don’t go overboard by blurring everything you find unattractive. On a similar note, don’t try too hard staging shots of your plates and glasses as you’re having lunch at a Parisian café.
Think outside of the box
If you really want to stand out on social media, try not to take clichéd or overused shots of a certain destination. We’ve all seen those cringe-inducing shots of people trying to “prevent” the Tower of Pisa from falling down. Try to be non-conforming and give your creativity side a chance to flourish. Focus on things that are often overlooked by other people.
Here’s another tip that will save your friends a lot of grief. Both tagging people and using hashtags have their limits. Don’t get overzealous by utilising more than 50 hashtags –ten hashtags are the ideal maximum amount. The same goes with tagging your friends. Only tag when necessary and don’t create a cluster bomb of notifications that will only annoy others, especially if they’re not on vacation with you.
Hone your skills
The bulk of social media is comprised of pictures and videos. With that in mind, it may be tempting to share both at all times, but it’s advisable if you focus on one medium. Don’t try to be the jack of all trades, instead try to master one. If you’re more comfortable shooting video, then by all means edit and upload your diving videos in Bali. Even though both shooting photographs and video seem similar, there are differing nuances that may decrease the quality of your work if you don’t properly utilise them.
Resist the temptation to brag
Yes, you probably earned your vacation by working hard for a good portion of the last year. But try to keep that notion inside your head and don’t let it spill out into your social media accounts. Instead of lining your posts with nonsensical and unimportant captions, why not focus on the story that you’re currently experiencing? It’s informational, substantial, and more importantly, your chances of being unfriended are greatly reduced.
Experience the real thing
When you arrive at a destination, try to take in the atmosphere, ambiance, and energy as much as you can without a lens as a middle man. You might only be at a location for a brief amount of time and therefore it would be better if you focus on the landmark instead of going through all your photo filters while you’re still there. You have time to post and edit your shots later when you’re back at the hotel. (HARIO PRIAMBODHO + HANIFAH MUTYA)
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