We are well into the Holiday travel season and we thought we would update our Traveling Tech post from last year with some updates to help you make your holiday travel a bit easier.
The bags you bring matter more and more as airlines do everything they can to squeeze more money out of their passengers. The first thing you should do is make sure that your bags will in fact fit in the overhead compartment. Check with your airlines for any updates to bag dimension limits. Generally speaking, you should be good with a 21” bag, but some planes are smaller so do your homework. A light weight spinner makes getting one and off the plane much easier than even the wheeled luggage of even few years ago. But make sure that YOU can lift your bag into the overhead bin. The flight attendants are not there to assist you with that and some will refuse to help. It is on you to get that bag up and down on your own.
Another thing we’ve started to do is bag-in-bag. We now pack up our day bag, which is a cross-body satchel-type bag, with what we will generally use day-to-day in our travels once at our destination. This makes it easy to drop off your luggage and get on with the fun when you arrive. We keep the USB battery pack and charging cables, power bars, sunglasses, etc. in that bag so we always know where to find that stuff.
Things to Remember
Sunglasses are always something we used to forget. But buying them at the destination is often a costly endeavor and we end up with sunglasses we don’t really like. Make sure to pack a pair that you like.
Chargers for your phone. Both the "wall-wart" and cables you need to power up your devices. Make sure they're in your carry-on and not in your checked bags.
Extension Cord - Too often the wall outlet is too far away to make it convenient to power up your devices. Keeping a cord in your carry-on helps, since you can sometimes find outlets in airports, etc.
Headphones - a good pair of noise-cancelling or noise-isolating headphones help drown out the screaming baby and the chatty person next to you and allows you to hear your music. Even if you don't plug them into anything, they make good ear plugs too.
Kindle - Now that you can use your electronic devices, the Kindle app is even more indepensible. Load it up with books and reduce the amount of weight you're hauling around. And it's easy to add new books and magazines without having to visit the newstand. The lowest priced version is under $70 and you can read it in the sun, so it is perfect for pool-side. And you won’t cry if it does get broken at that price...
Power-bars - Go to GNC, Walmart and other stores to find bars that you like. Bars higher in protein will help curb your appetite more. Keeping a few in your bag helps keep you from starving without breaking the bank hitting the food court.
USB Battery Pack - this is a definite nice to have item. There are battery backs that fit right on your phone, but my preference is to use an external battery pack that can be used with a variety of devices and that have enough juice to charge tablets as well as phones. Amazon has tons of options here. Pay attention to battery capacity and output ability. Also pay attention to weight, as this will be something you’ll keep in your carry-on as well.
Apps To Have
TripIt - free and paid versions with no ads. Allows you to organize all of your travel plans in one place. Easily add flight, hotel, car rental and other information to TripIt via email and put it in one easy to use app. Access itineraries anytime, on any device or web browser. Offers ability to view directions, maps and weather for each destination. And it makes it easy to share your itineraries with loved ones, staff, etc. with just a few clicks. We pay for the Pro version, which tells us of changes to our itinerary, such as a cancelled flight and makes it easy to do airline check-in.
FlightAware - Provides Free, live flight tracker and flight status. Works on iPad, iPhone. Allows you to track the real-time flight status and tracking map of any commercial flight worldwide. Provides push notification for flight departure/arrival info as well as cancellation, gate changes, delays and diversions. Alternative: App in the Air
Dropbox - This one is probably a bit unexpected, but here me out. Scan your passport, copies of any paper tickets and other documents you might need and upload them to Dropbox so that you can always have access to your imporant documents.
Garmin USA - If you're traveling outside your country or will be traveling in poor coverage areas, having a GPS app that allows you to download maps is extremely useful. This will be help you get you where you're going without racking up roaming or data usage. Not as pretty as Waze or Google Maps, but those use data that can really add up. Just make sure you open it and update any maps before you leave!