There is no doubt that technology has significantly seeped into our lives. In some ways, it is for the better and other ways no so much. When it comes to travel, though, I do believe there are some significantly positive benefits that technology provides. We can now carry so much information in such a small device it is hard not to be impressed.
Today I have a few things to consider for the next time you are travelling. Some you might think obvious while other’s might be of interest.
Electronic Guide Books
When it comes to travel guidebooks, there is not much need to carry the big heavy physical books anymore. There are more and more options coming for electronic versions of guides for many of your favourite destinations.
One option that might be attractive for many people is Kindle for your guidebooks. Depending on the device you are using they might work a little different. While there won’t be any colourful pictures if you are using some of the dedicated kindle readers.
But with that being said there are some significant benefits. One is a weight saving if you are carrying a Kindle or iPad anyway why add the weight of the guidebook. There can also be some potential cost savings. Looking at one of the Lonely Planet guidebooks, it would work out around half the price to buy the Kindle version instead of the Physical book.
If you do not own a Kindle or do not want to use the app, there are still other options.
Lonely Planet offers a range of their travel guides for purchase on their website in multiple different formats. There is a smaller range available when you select ebooks over destination guides. However, one benefit is that you have a choose of formats (Pub, Mobi & PDF). You can choose to buy the whole book or select which chapters you would like.
Depending on where you are travelling there are also some other options as well. The brand DK offers real or ebook options on their website. You can also find some rather in-depth independent options as well. All it takes is doing a little research to find your choices.
Downloadable Google Maps
Carrying that big page with a map that you got from the hotel is one of the greatest things that says tourist anywhere. What if you were able to have the maps you need in your pocket without having to connect to the internet.
Google Maps makes this a possibility with the ability to download maps for different localities. The maps will work much the same as if you were connected to the internet. However, are restricted to only providing driving directions. For public transport, bicycle and walking directions you will need internet access.
But still having the ability to look up a map on your phone without looking like a tourist is a big benefit I believe. If you need some help working out how to download the Google Maps visit their website. They provide directions for Android, iPhone and iPad at the Google Maps Help Page.
There are more and more options becoming available for different apps to help you travel better. There are far too many apps to get into to much detail here, but there are thousands.
You need to consider that they are not all created equal, though. There are a couple of things you can do to find the best apps.
- Start with looking for apps that have user reviews. The more reviews, the better as this can help you gauge the value of the app.
- Many apps are free to download with In-App purchases, so you are essentially only paying for what you need. Just take a good look at this before getting too involved with one app.
- Make sure you look at how often the app is updated or find out how often the content is updated. As you might imagine if the content or app is not updated it might not be the most useful guide.
- Look for apps produced by the local tourism office, they might not be super comprehensive, but you may also find they are free.
Apps can be great combining information and maps and the like. But only if they are good, so if you are unsure I would suggest sticking to the guidebooks.
The idea of entertainment on our phones and tablets is not a new concept, the idea of planning ahead is. More and more these days we are getting to the point where streaming is the way of things.
There are options to stream your music without having to keep it on your phone. The same with movies and tv we are streaming it through internet based services. It poses a problem when you board a plane and suddenly don’t have internet access.
What is needed is to plan ahead for when you travel. With some of the services allowing you options to download content. Along with preparing other options before leaving home. I will cover just a couple of options here, but there is more than enough if you know where to look.
- Apple music allows you to download tracks and albums to listen to offline.
- Netflix allows you to download select tv shows and movies on both iOS and Android devices.
- Youtube allows you to download and watch offline if you are a YouTube Red member, with some restrictions.
There are also other options for entertainment content when you are travelling. But they all require some time to prepare them in advance.
- Podcasts – There are thousands of podcasts all on different topics. But it does require finding the podcast you are interested and signing up before leaving home. You will also want to ensure some of the episodes are downloaded.
- Audiobooks – There is some options for audiobooks, from Audible.com even to your local library. Again these may require downloading an app and ensure you have downloaded the audio book before leaving home.
- Books – There is nothing like reading a book when you are travelling. While the physical thing may be not ideal to carry, there is always ebook options.
- Games and Apps – If you are likely to be looking for something a little more fun, consider downloading a game or two.
Enjoy The Journey
However you decide to use the technology to make your trip better, I hope it is a great trip. Just try and not get too tied into the technology that you do not enjoy the journey.