Traveling (Part 2)

by Brian Katz on June 26, 2013 · 1 comment

So my last post was more about prepping for travel and the basics. SO you have a good idea of how I prep and what I choose to take. The next step is what do I actually do when I am on the road. Just as prep is important, you need to pay attention and use some common sense when you are on the road to make your life a little bit easier.

imageLet’s start back at the airport. If you’re flying, especially in the United States, but really anywhere, you must have your airline’s app if they have one. Most major carriers have an app and they allow you to do multiple things. I usually check in for my flight from the app, and if I am on the iPhone I will add the boarding pass to passbook. It really does make getting on a flight easier. It can also help you rebook a flight if there is a delay and they usually have the contact information for the airline in them as well. I also use an app called Tripit, although WorldMate works very well and Concur has a great app especially if you use their system for travel at work. For most of these apps, you can forward your itinerary directly to the app and it will help you keep track of confirmation numbers, times, and weather. I have found them invaluable when looking for the address of a hotel, finding a confirmation number or just figuring out how to get around as many of them provide local maps in the app.

When I land at my destination airport, I find that one of my most valuable apps is Uber. I can call for a car to the hotel or wherever I need to go in a lot of cities now. If Uber doesn’t exist you can look at apps like Hailo which allow you to call a taxi. It makes getting around much easier. I also download a local transit app, so I can get around on the subway or buses if the city I am in has public transportation. I, of course, have Waze in case I rent a car and use either Google Maps or Apple Maps if I am on an iDevice for mapping walking directions. This week I have walked over 10 miles in downtown Amsterdam and didn’t get lost once. I also didn’t have to fumble with a map like many others were.

If you don’t use a loyalty app like CardStar or any of it’s type you are missing out. I store all of my hotel, supermarket, drug store and rental car numbers in it. No matter where I am, it becomes much easier to find the numbers from the app (which will display the barcode if there is one to be scanned) then to have a keychain or wallet filled with all the different cards. Who wants to be bothered carrying that around.

I already talked about Onavo and Boingo yesterday (also remember iPass) but another use of them is the free WiFi maps that Boingo has included. It’s also great to know where the local Starbucks are (yes they do exist in foreign countries) as the free WiFi can be worth it’s weight in gold. Walking around in Amsterdam on Sunday, I camped out right outside an Apple Store for about 10 minutes to make a free Facetime call with my wife. It was easy and nothing goes on the phone bill.

When I travel internationally I also need adapters for the plugs. When you carry the Belkin 3 plug outlet you only need one adapter for all your devices. The other way to go, is to look at your phone adapter and buy the different plugs. I ordered some European plugs from a reseller for about $3 which fit on all of my Apple adapters and make it easy to plug in anywhere. These same plugs are usually available from many other handset makers, just see if your adapter has an interchange on it.

Always look for a safe in your hotel room. If you travel with as much stuff as I do, you don’t want to carry it around at night. If you decide to use the safe, make sure you test locking it and unlocking it before you put your stuff in it the first time. It can be awfully embarrassing if you can’t get your stuff out of the safe later on. If your hotel doesn’t have an in room safe, they usually have safe boxes at the front desk where they will keep your stuff. Be aware that most hotels don’t hold themselves responsible if you only use the safe in your room for valuables. If you happen to leave that phone adapter at home by mistake, ask at the hotel front desk, they find so many that they can usually lend you one for the duration of your stay. Your phone isn’t much use if it isn’t charged.

If you’re willing to, use social media before you go somewhere to get tips on the location, weather and everything else. I use twitter extensively and have met many friends in real life in many places through the use of twitter. They can also help to amplify the message when you’re having a problem, which may get you help more quickly.

In the end, be prepared to travel with your mobile and by using your mobile. Invariably it can ease the pain of going somewhere new.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

TheyCallMeEllis June 26, 2013 at 8:15 am

Great article. You listed most of what I use. (With the exception of CardStar. But I memorize most of my loyalty numbers, and what I don’t ends up in eWallet).

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