According to a study by TripAdvisor, 42 percent of travelers worldwide use smartphones to plan or book their trips. TripAdvisor also found that about 72 percent of connected travelers use their smartphones to look up restaurants while on vacation.
It’s no longer necessary to rely on a travel agent to help navigate your trip. As more people keep their smartphone handy as a steadfast travel companion, the advancement of more and more apps, communication tools and practical uses emerge. Here are just a few reasons why your smartphone is the ultimate travel companion.
Think Safety First
Let friends, family and even the authorities keep tabs on your whereabouts with an app like Companion. Plug in your destination so family and friends can see if you arrived safely, or simply show your current location. When you set off a smart trigger alert, you have 15 seconds to respond before trusted companions are alerted and can automatically contact the police.
Your smartphone can also let you keep tabs on what’s going on at home. Get updates and real-time activity by using a security app. For example, a security camera system through Lorex by FLIR can help you monitor your home from anywhere with live streaming and motion detection push notifications.
Keep in Touch
Picking up your smartphone and calling home is a no-brainer for keeping in touch. But there are easier and more affordable ways to do it. Use Skype with your hotel’s free WiFi to place free, international calls or start an online chat. WhatsApp allows you to send a message without any of the expensive international text messaging rates. You’ll also be able to send videos and messages directly through WhatsApp instead of over your phone’s carrier. Users can also launch a group chat and record audio of chats or out-on-the-town adventures.
Just about every big bank, and even small ones, have their own branded apps with the ability to manage your finances while traveling. Set up automatic bill pay before you leave town to avoid late payments and fees. You can also set a budget with an app like Mint and get a look at what you’re spending.
Remember to call your bank and credit card company before you leave or when arriving at your destination to alert them of your plans. A good bank will flag unusual spending in new places and could freeze your account until they can get ahold of you.
Smartphones are convenient when you need to look up information and see what’s open for dinner, but can be a mishmash of hunting down reliable reviews and sources. Instead of guessing or taking a chance, use Tourist Eye to find vacation tips on attractions, restaurants and more. Acquired by Lonely Planet, TouristEye also features comprehensive and interactive maps, as well as wish lists of places you can’t wait to visit.