It is a small world thanks to the age of digital travel. I am not just talking about the rise of social media which has led to countless holiday snaps and status updates by your friends that you always seem to read as you lie on the couch on a Friday night eating pizza and discovering wayward chips from your couch. (Otherwise known as FOMO) The digital traveller is now armed to the teeth with gadgets and apps that can transform any overseas trip into its own multimedia publishing expedition, and has made it easier than ever before to keep in touch with family and friends back home.
I have not been overseas since 2005. (I am talking long haul flights so excluding New Zealand)
The way I see it there have been three major improvements to travel due to the digital age:
1. Smart phones allow even ET to phone home.
Whilst previously I would leave my phone at home to avoid racking up thousands of dollars in global roaming charges, this time I have a range of travel sims to choose from including Travel Sim, Back Chat and Woolworths Global Roaming. These sims work in most phones including iPhones and provide discounted call rates in more than 100 countries. A call to Audtralia from Europe can cost as little as 0.42 cents a minute compared to using global roaming at more than $3 a min.
2. Ipad and other tablets
If you have an Ipad or other tablet, bring it with you on your trip – it provides quick access to look up nearby accomodation or sights using the readily available free WiFi that exists in most destinations, and is also a handy way to back up photos taken from your camera. The Apple Ipad Camera Adapter provides an easy way to import photos from your digital camera to your Ipad. That way if you lose your camera or run out of space on your memory card, you can back up to the iPad and keep snapping away!
3. Apps to keep you organised and ready for travel
There are a range of packing apps around for iPhone and ipad.
- UPackingList – there are tons of packing apps around but this has been the one I have used for domestic travel the last few years and has worked great – lists can be adapted and are sorted for you into Categories such as Health, Gadgets, Shoes etc
- Trip Advisor Offline City Maps allows you to download before you go so you can use it offline when you are abroad, avoiding international data charges.
- Traveling around Europe by train? Download the free Europe Rail iphone app to look up timetables and check out Eurail Pass discounts near you on the go, all offline.
- Skype is an obvious choice – international phone cards are no longer needed if you are able to access WiFi at your destination, Skype gives you free calls to another Skype account.
- Many airlines allow you to check in before you depart using their app. So check before you depart.
- Expedia, Hotels.com and TripAdvisor Hotel apps allow you to search and book places to stay as you go – these require an internet/data connection though so make sure you are in a WiFi area (preferably a secure WiFi area to avoid hackers)
This infographic by MDG advertising highlights some of the ways travel has changed in the digital era.
- 5 days to go, Apple apps for travelling and travel blogging (oliverandamandaineurope.wordpress.com)
- Mark Hodson: The Best iPhone Travel Photos (huffingtonpost.com)
- Mobile roaming charges to drop in July (euobserver.com)
- Losing an iPad: Simple Things to Protect Identity and Theft on Your Mobile Devices (theedublogger.com)
- Vacation Coming? Here are my favorite iOS photo apps (tuaw.com)