Saturday - February 24,2024
Travel

Traveling Soon? 5 Smart Tech Steps to Take Before You Hit the Road

In contemporary times, travel entails having your tickets, maps, hotel reservations, rental car details, and more conveniently stored on your phone.

However, the potential predicament arises if your phone goes missing.  Another common phone emergency involves a dying battery precisely when you need to head to the airport.

Travel, while undoubtedly stressful, can be significantly eased with these helpful hacks.

1. Keep a (digital) eye on your stuff

Dan Eastman of Ship Tracking says, Leveraging digital trackers, such as the Apple AirTag, proves invaluable for monitoring and locating your belongings if they go missing. I’ve personally affixed AirTags to my dog’s collar, keychains, bike, and cars, discovering numerous clever ways to utilize this technology.

AirTags operate by utilizing signals from other iPhones, enabling precise location tracking through the Find My app for every AirTag linked to your account. A particularly practical application is placing one in your checked baggage, providing real-time updates on its whereabouts and ensuring it reaches your destination.

It’s essential to note that the AirTag may lose effectiveness when passing through the airport’s inner conveyor belt system, where there may not be enough nearby iPhones for the AirTag to function optimally. However, once your luggage is out of this zone, you’ll have accurate information on its location.

Considering picking up a few now while it’s on your mind?

  • For those with an iPhone, Mac, or iPad, Apple’s AirTags prove to be an ideal choice.
  • Alternatively, the Tile 2-pack, compatible with Android, includes a tracker for your luggage and another to easily slide into your wallet.

2. Track flights the easy way

Sean Philips of FlightRadar Online says, Here’s a useful iPhone tip for when a family member or friend is picking you up from the airport: send a text containing your airline and flight number, for example, “Southwest Airlines 1175.”

Upon receiving the message, they can simply tap on it to open a built-in flight tracker, allowing them to effortlessly monitor the flight’s progress and estimate its arrival time without the need to search online or use a tracking site. It’s a convenient solution! For those using Android, a quick web search for the airline and flight number provides the same information.

This travel hack proves especially beneficial! Uber introduces a new feature that ensures a car is ready for you upon landing. Your Uber driver will automatically track your flight, streamlining the process for a seamless pickup.

Stay updated with the latest data breach and security news as it unfolds.

3. Get these photos on your phone

Andrew Adams of Vluchten Volgen says, Ensure the essential photos on your phone, particularly critical documents, are readily available for a smoother process in case of a worst-case scenario like losing your wallet.

It’s advisable to include pictures of crucial documents such as your license, passport, and health insurance card.

On an iPhone, efficiently achieve this by utilizing the built-in document scanner in the native Notes app. Simply open the Notes app, create a new note, tap the camera icon, and select Scan Documents.

For Android users, snap photos and mark them as favorites in your picture gallery or utilize the scan feature in Google Drive. Additionally, consider saving your identifying documents as PDF files and storing a copy in your iOS Books, Android eBook app, or even sending it to your Kindle.

This way, you can access them offline, and it might be prudent to share a copy with your travel partner.

4. Check your rental for hidden spy cameras

Ivan Wainwright of RDW Kenteken says, I’ve personally encountered the unsettling experience of realizing I was being watched by multiple cameras after settling into a rented home. This situation can be distressing, and it’s crucial to be vigilant. If you’re using Airbnb, note that cameras are permissible in public and common spaces but strictly prohibited in bathrooms or bedrooms. Moreover, they must be visible and disclosed in the listing descriptions. Vrbo, on the other hand, prohibits indoor cameras entirely but allows outdoor cameras for reasonable monitoring.

Detecting larger cameras is relatively straightforward, but smaller ones can be discreetly hidden behind furniture, vents, or decorations. Some hidden cameras even masquerade as everyday objects like a Roku or an outlet extender. To spot most types of cameras, look for lens reflections. Turn off the lights, scan the room with a flashlight or laser pointer, and inspect multiple spots to ensure no hidden cameras escape notice. Pay particular attention to vents, holes, or gaps in the walls or ceilings.

For added assurance, consider using an RF detector, which can pick up wireless cameras that may be imperceptible to the naked eye. If you can connect to the rental’s wireless network, tools like Wireless Network Watcher can reveal connected devices, potentially helping you identify hidden cameras. Keep in mind that the owner might have separate networks for the cameras or opt for wired or record-only setups.

If, despite these precautions, you discover an undisclosed indoor surveillance camera, take immediate action. Contact the police and inform them that you have concrete evidence of unauthorized surveillance within your rental home. Document the situation with photos and videos on your smartphone. Once you have a police report, reach out to the rental platform to report the violation and seek appropriate resolution.

5. Find the comfiest seat

For tall individuals, securing a few extra inches of legroom can make a significant difference between comfort and discomfort during a flight that spans hours. While Google Flights is a reliable tool for finding affordable flights, there’s an additional step you can take to identify the most comfortable seat.

Optimize your experience by installing the Chrome browser extension called “Legrooms for Google Flights.” This extension not only aids in finding the cheapest flights but also provides insights into the amount of legroom available per seat for the selected flights on Google Flights.

Alternatively, SeatGuru.com is another excellent option. Simply input your airline and flight number, and you’ll gain access to a map showcasing the best seats with optimal legroom. The best part? No downloads are necessary.

In this episode, we’ll also delve into the world of “buy now, pay later” services impacting credit reports and explore intriguing items you can purchase, such as a vertical mouse or headphones that proved life-saving for a gamer. Additionally, stay tuned for the latest AirTag news and a fascinating new Zoom trick that enables you to communicate using hand gestures.