By Robyn Wright
Hopefully you will be taking a vacation this summer. If you are, then your smartphone can be a great travel companion. You can use it to stay in touch with friends and family back home; it can keep you entertained while you wait at airports or take those long road trips; it can help you stay organized; and it can even capture some priceless vacation memories.
Take a few minutes before you leave to download some travel apps and learn how your smartphone can make your vacation even easier and more relaxing. Here are some suggestions:
If you are flying, you can now use your smartphone in-flight but you still need to put it in airplane mode. Airplane mode disables talk, text and data but you can still play games, watch downloaded movies or listen to your playlists (see below). Airplane mode is usually found under Settings and is as simple as tapping an on/off button.
Airplane mode can also be a useful option while you are on the ground, ensuring that you don’t incur any data or roaming charges due to unexpected updates or phone calls.
Most of the major airlines now have mobile apps. As well as providing useful information like flight status and airport directions, they also eliminate the need to print a boarding pass. Just check in via the app and the on-screen boarding pass can be scanned at security prior to boarding your airplane. A bonus tip: take a screenshot of your boarding pass just in case you can’t get a signal at the airport when you need it. The screenshot is scannable as well.
Maps and navigation
Most smartphones have some kind of built-in map and navigation app. Plus, there are many more available in the app stores. Pick one and learn how to use it before you leave. It can be frustrating if you are somewhere new and need directions but you don’t know how to use the app. I love HERE Maps on my Nokia Lumia Icon, especially as it lets me download the maps and use them interactively, even if I have no data connection.
Download your favorite media
Rather than streaming everything, you are better off saving some media (music, movies, video, etc.) directly to your device for your travels. You may not always have a data connection and, even if you do, streaming can eat into your data plan and cost you a lot of money. Even though your airline may have on-board Internet service, you can’t normally stream movies using their connection.
Keep all of your important phones numbers, addresses, confirmation numbers and similar items in notes on your smartphone. You don’t want to have to depend on a data connection to access this information. If you are using an app that requires an Internet connection, then take some screenshots (that save to your photo gallery), so the information is always available.
Turn on photo location services
Many of us turn off the location services on our smartphone cameras while we are at home. However, when you are on vacation you might want to turn these back on. As you snap photos, the location data will be saved and it can help you remember where you were. There are some great apps that will create albums for you, including maps that feature your pictures.
Learning how to perform these simple tasks and getting to know any apps you plan on using during your vacation will save you time and money. We are lucky to have such amazing tools in the palms of our hands that are ready to respond to our every command. Enjoy your trip with your new best travel companion!
Robyn Wright is a social media specialist and blogs on her own blog, RobynsOnlineWorld.com, as well as several other sites. Robyn has a love for family, technology, food and lots of apps!