Using Technology to Travel Smarter, Travel Tips

On the road


10 Quick tips to harness the power of technology on your next trip

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Why read?

While we as parents may lament the hours that our children spend on their cell phones, the fact is technology can make life easier. I recently caught up with Angel Castellanos of Angels Travel Lounge at the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show where he was sharing his top tips for making technology work for you as a traveler. These tips are so good, I just had to share.

1/Back up your phone

Before you leave for the airport, back up your cell phone. Make sure your operating system and all your apps are updated. You won’t find faster WiFi outside of the USA.

2/Enable all your security measures

If you’re an iPhone user, install the Find my iPhone app, just in case you lose your phone or it’s stolen while traveling. Also set up the fingerprint ID feature.

3/Don’t buy an international cell phone package


Buy a SIM card, if your phone is unlocked. To unlock your phone, you’ll need to make sure that your phone is fully paid off. Purchase the SIM card in-country but not at the airport as it’s more expensive. Go to a local phone store instead.

KidTripster Tip: Know that you’ll likely need a copy of your passport to complete the purchase.

4/Or just use WiFi

Go to setting, turn airplane mode on, and leave it on; also disable Bluetooth. That way, your phone won’t continually be downloading emails and texts. Then turn WiFi on when you’re able to connect to a local hotspot at an airport, cafe or hotel.

To make calls for free, download the Skype or What’s Up app.


Photo courtesy: ID Stronghold

Photo courtesy: ID Stronghold

5/Consider an RFID-protected wallet

All U.S. passports issued since 2007 have an RFID - or radio frequency identification - chip in the front cover. This chip contains the personal contact information and photo found on the first page of your passport. Contactless credit cards also have a chip; if your card has one, you’ll see a radio waves symbol on the card.

6/Increase your digital safety

Install a VPN - or virtual private network - on your phone, tablet, and laptop. It allows you to mask your identity when you’re surfing the web on public networks like at the airport or a cafe. Castellanos suggests TunnelBear.

7/Set up alerts

If you’re registered with Apple Pay, get a notified ever time your credit card is charged.

8/Take photos of important information

Photo courtesy: Olloclip

Photo courtesy: Olloclip

When renting a car, take photos of the rental before you leave the parking lot and when you return. Also take a photo of license plate.

If you’re using public transportation, take a photo of the transit map, so that you’re not pulling out a paper map. That says “tourist” to any pickpocketer.

9/Up your photography game

If you want to improve your travel photography without carrying a large camera and multiple lens, Castellanos recommends buying an Ōlloclip. The super-wide version doubles your field of view. The fisheye lens gives a 180° view. Or the macro lens reveals super close-ups.

Ōlloclip only works with iPhones.

10/Pack your electronics more efficiently

Organize a small kit for all your electronics (including your cables and earbuds/headphones) that can fit in the seatback in front of you on an airplane. Also consider packing an extra battery source. Castellanos likes Goal Zero’s power banks.

BONUS: Check out these 12 apps that will make your life easier while traveling.

Editor Shellie Bailey-Shah travels with all her electronics - laptop, cell phone, DSLR camera, and GoPro camera and accessories in a single backpack that never leaves her sight.

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