In theory and according to most people’s experience, the development and adoption of technology is supposed to make our lives more convenient and enjoyable. And yet, if you are not familiar with modern tech applications and the smart devices that populate our increasingly digitalized world, technology can feel like the enemy and work against you instead of for you. There’s no denying that the multitude of tech tools, solutions and gadgets that have emerged over the years have added an extra layer of complexity to our existence and many people have a hard time keeping up with all these developments.
From a traveler’s perspective, technology can be extremely beneficial, but only if you know how to use it to your advantage. From advanced search engines and mobile connectivity solutions like eSIM iPhone to currency converters and translators there are plenty of tech-based services and devices that can help you in numerous ways and make your trips much more exciting and rewarding, whether you’re traveling for business or leisure.
If you haven’t been on good terms with technology until now but would like to befriend it in the future, so you don’t miss out on all the opportunities it provides, this guide will teach you how to become a tech-savvy traveler.
Research and select apps
Want to pack your bags like a pro, find the cheapest and most convenient flights and accommodation or plan your travel itinerary and put together a schedule of things you want to do and visit? There’s (at least) an app for all these travel-related tasks and more. But you won’t be able to enjoy all the perks they provide unless you do your due diligence and install these apps on your phone in advance.
Since there are so many options you can choose from, you need to take your time to research different apps in every category and then select the ones that best suit your needs. As a tech rookie, it’s wiser to stick to popular services like Google Maps for navigation or Holafly for internet connection as they tend to be more reliable and beginner-friendly. Nevertheless, make sure you test out all apps and learn how to use them before you leave, so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises while you’re traveling.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi
When you’re out and about and don’t have an internet connection, you might feel tempted to connect to public Wi-Fi networks as you can find them nearly everywhere: in restaurants, coffee shops, airports, hotels, malls and even in public transport or parks. But as convenient as it might be, using free Wi-Fi can also be dangerous because these networks are mostly open or have low-security levels, and therefore they are more vulnerable to attacks. This means you can easily get hacked when using public Wi-Fi as it makes it easier for cybercriminals to gain access to your personal information and steal valuable data.
If you do have to use a public network, you should at least avoid accessing sites or accounts that hold or require you to type in sensitive information. Alternatively, you can use a VPN to make sure your internet connection is safe and no one can snoop on your online activity. It’s recommended to be extra cautious while traveling and stay vigilant since online fraud and scams are running rampant.
Pack a charger and a power bank
Just like there’s a multitude of apps and software solutions that can help you make the most of your travels, there are also all sorts of gadgets you can take with you on your trips for the same purpose. Smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, laptops, portable speakers, or headphones are just some of the tech devices that have become a staple for modern travelers and digital nomads alike.
All these devices have something in common: they need to be charged in order to work. So, when you’re going over your travel checklist, don’t forget to pack a portable charger for all your gadgets (and adequate adapters, if necessary) so you don’t run out of battery when you most need them. And if you want to be extra careful, consider investing in a portable power bank that you can carry anywhere with you and charge your devices on the go.
Keep your gadgets safe
The safety of your tech devices is also an important aspect to keep in mind. While traveling, people are often too distracted or busy to notice the risk and dangers that surround them, and that makes them vulnerable targets for thieves. Flashing your smartphone or tablet is like sending an open invitation to have your valuables stolen, so try to be as discreet as possible when using your gadgets.
It’s best to carry only the items that you absolutely need and leave the rest of them in a safe place, either in your car’s boot or the hotel’s security box. If you have your laptop or tablet with you, try not to make it obvious by carrying them in a backpack or crossbody bag and keeping them close you you at all times.
Don’t rely on tech entirely
Last but not least, a golden rule for tech-savvy tourists is to limit their reliance on technology. That might sound counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense when you realize that tech devices are not infallible. Your battery might die, a bug or virus might affect the usability of your applications, or your device could get lost, stolen or damaged during your travels and then you’ll have to manage without their assistance.
These situations are more common than one expects, so it’s always good to have a plan B just in case. Making paper copies of important travel documents, having physical information available and backing up your data can save you a lot of trouble when things go south.
Technology has long become an integral part of our lives, so it makes perfect sense to include it in your travel adventures as well. So, next time you’re getting ready to pack your bags give these tips a try and step into the world of tech-savvy travelers.