Have technology, will travel

February 15, 2011

Some of the most useful travel accessories at our fingertips are hand held devices and apps. Whether you need reservations, information/entertainment between destinations, assistance while vacationing, or plan to read that new book while relaxing, you'll be traveling light. New technology ensures you access to a plethora of travel guides, maps and contact information, at the press of a button or touch of a screen. It's information when and where you need it!

1. Planning Guides. From the moment you start planning and making Quintess or DUO reservations, online Planning Guides make the process a pleasure. Pointers on reservations, travel documents, tipping, banking, weather, restaurants and even flower deliveries are just a click away. You can also save the Planning Guide PDFs to your mobile device for later reference. If you're traveling outside the U.S., use the Planning Guide to check voltages/currents and read the National Counterintelligence Executive's tips for traveling overseas with mobile phones, laptops, PDAs and other electronic devices. This website contains suggestions such as to ignore "remember me" and suggests entering your passwords each log-in to ensure maximum security. Most mobile-type electronics now have built-in converters, but don't assume — it's worth checking the manual before you leave home.

2. Apps, Apps and more Apps. Depending on your destination(s), load up on apps beforehand. Prices range from free to monthly charges and they can ensure smoother flight connections, find restaurants, send "postcards" and more. The new app Boiling Frog, for example, isn't a culinary connection like its name implies — but combines worldwide travel and first aid advice on health treatments and international medicines, as well as a universal picture dictionary and what to expect when driving.

Locate local attractions with The Hear Planet app and listen to the Wikipedia description. Who needs a tour guide? Air Sharing (free) saves time and money when downloading docs abroad, since it allows you to save HTML pages, PDFs, text files and more. Send vacation photos and comments in a flash with Tweetie while IAmHere keeps your family and friends in the know by sending a link to Google Maps, accurate within a hundred feet. Wi-Fi Finder (free) can track over two million hotspots in 135 countries and is essential if you plan on using Skype. Finally, a free app from the Weather Channel lets you track multiple locations at a glance.

3. The beloved e-reader. A space-saver of note, eReaders make it possible to travel with a whole library—50 million, if Google Books succeeds. Amazon's Best-eReaders.com can help you navigate the debates as to which product is best, though you may find that an application works just fine since apps can easily put books on other devices and phones. If you're looking for the ultimate travel read, go to Worldhum.com where you'll find a list of the 100 most celebrated travel books of all time.

What is your favorite tech friend and how do they transform your travel experiences? We'd like to hear your tips and recommendations!

~ Deborah-Eve, Guest Contributor