Tips For Using Your Smartphone When You’re On Vacation

Tips For Using Your Smartphone When You're On Vacation

Chinese New Year Smartphone by Mr. T in DC

Today’s travelers who go abroad can pack a multitude of useful tools into their smartphones. Here are tips for using your smartphone when you’re on vacation.

Getting Started

The smartphone’s maps, apps, and GPS abilities mean travelers no longer have to contend with confusing paper maps. You can plan your day’s destinations and head straight to them, even if you don’t speak the local language. However, a language or translating app such as Fodor’s Travel Phrases can make communicating your needs much simpler.

Travel Guides Made Mobile

Travel guides are another popular travel tool for the smartphone. You can purchase e-books for your favorite region or city or select among different travel guide apps. Lonely Planet has a selection of apps and e-books for iPhone and Android that you can read on your smartphone.

Tourist attractions and restaurant recommendations are easier to find with a smartphone. Quiz your fellow travelers on Facebook or Twitter or seek out Yelp for dining options abroad. Don’t forget to check the hours of operation for the places you’re visiting in case your visit coincides with a local holiday.

You can enlist your smartphone to check flight times or find public transportation information if you need to travel by rail or bus. A currency converter app is a must have, also.

When you travel with a group, you’ll want a way to keep track of everyone. Put your day’s itinerary on your calendar app and share it with your group. Collect their contact information in case anyone becomes separated from the group. If someone wants to split up for a day, check the map app for a good place to meet again later.

Your Travel Channel

Your smartphone can also act as a journal of your experiences. Use a note app to list your day’s exploits and enhance your travel diary with pictures and videos. Later, you’ll be able to share your pictures with friends and family or you can use a service to print pictures or postcards. Upload your favorite travel videos to YouTube or other sites as well.

Another way to broaden your travel experience with your smartphone is to buy examples of local music to listen to once back home. Update your blog with your dining experiences and musings on your trip, too. If a younger traveler needs a break, a game or video can provide a respite.

Staying in Touch for Less

Before you depart home, check your voice, data, and texting plans. International rates might be higher than you expect. You may find it cheaper to install a texting app or make calls with a service like Skype. Check for free local Wi-Fi at a fast food restaurant or other public location, as hotel rates for Internet access might be costly.

Schedule reminders if you need to check in with work. Account for time differences if you’ve flown to another time zone so you don’t call too early. Emailing colleagues and family is another option for keeping up without disrupting your vacation.

A smartphone can provide a lot of assistance when you’re on vacation. For your next trip, load it up with beneficial apps and enjoy your time off.

Dawn Knight is an avid travel blogger; she played around with many of these tips during her recent trip to Villas del Mar.