Travel; it can excite some and strike fear into the hearts of others.
In my life, that usually depends on the destination and who is accompanying me!
I love hearing what works for other people, but today I thought I would share some of the apps and tech that I use to make travelling for work easier.
I completely understand that travelling with family and children is a different beast! So I’ll cover that in a future post.
Travel: Apps I Rely On
- If you haven’t discovered it yet, I highly recommend that you download the app for the airline you are flying. You can always delete it after your trip, but I just keep the airlines I frequently use on my phone. It makes checking in for your flight and getting through security that much easier, when you don’t have to keep track of a slip of paper (your boarding pass). Not to mention, when there are flight changes, you really are the first to know, before it’s even announced at the airport.
- The Weather Channel app. You can put in your destination before the trip to help you pack, and it will provide alerts for the area you are in while on travel. This saved me a couple times on a recent trip to South Carolina. They were having flash thunderstorms and getting the alert that they were coming let me plan my evening meal or activity accordingly.
- Google Maps. You can enter the address of your hotel or your work site ahead of time and save it. Alternatively, you can do it when you land using your current location. Airports are so darned confusing, especially if you have a rental car to pick up and return. One downside, though, was a recent trip to Boston. Logan Airport is on an island and there are several tunnels you have to use to get out or get back in. Google Maps does NOT work well in tunnels!
- What’s App. The app allows the sending of text messages and voice calls, as well as video calls, images and other media, documents, and user location. I use What’s App most when travelling to a foreign country so I don’t have to worry about roaming charges. Yes, you need a wifi connection, but I have not found that to be a problem at all while travelling, even overseas.
- Kindle App. Kindle is my favorite reading app and I never leave home without it. It is easy to use, there are millions of books that are compatible, you can put it on many devices, and it definitely makes all the wait times associated with travelling a lot easier to bear. On that trip to South Carolina I mentioned, we sat on the tarmac at the airport for 90 minutes while a thunderstorm rolled through. Instead of getting excessively irritated, I read about 6 chapters in my book.
Travel: Tech I Depend On
Naturally, the apps I mentioned would not be very effective without some tech to use it on!
Confession time: I am an Apple fan, so I have an iPhone 6S Plus, an iPad, and an Apple Watch. I don’t have the very latest versions (clearly, since my phone is 3 or 4 models behind…) but they all work together beautifully and truly make me a more productive and informed traveler.
Other than those, here are my favorite tech gadgets for traveling:
- Bose Noise Canceling Headphones. These are excellent headphones for any purpose, but I only use these when I fly and I never fly without them. You can plug them in to listen to in-flight entertainment, or just use them to block out the plane noise. Mine are the over-ear style, but Bose offers newer versions that are in-ear style.
- USB hub. I have a fairly straightforward 5-port hub that I use next to my bed. I have ports for my phone, tablet and smart watch. Plus a couple extra that I keep a micro-USB cable in. When I travel, I pack up the whole thing, charging cables and all, and pack it with me. No more worrying about charging bricks and not enough outlets in a hotel room (or cruise ship cabin!). Here’s an article I found listing the 15 best USB hubs on Amazon.
- External Battery. When I’m traveling, I spend hours away from an outlet but need to keep my gadgets juiced. It doesn’t help to rely on Google Maps to get me to my hotel, if I drained the battery on the plane! Bottom line is that I’m dependent on my devices and don’t want my battery to go dead. So I keep an external battery and charger handy. Mine gives me 3-4 charges on my device before it needs to be charged via micro-USB. Here’s a different article on the best external chargers 2018 has to offer.
Travel: Tools I Love
I’m using the word tools a bit loosely here, but I can’t decide what else to call this roundup of travel must-haves!
- Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack. This is an amazingly comfortable and reasonably sized backpack that I travel with every time. I like to go carry-on whenever I can for ease and speed. This allows me to fly stand-by on earlier flights, which you cannot do if you have checked luggage. I have packed for a 2 wk overseas trip in this backpack before, so it’s as roomy as can be. I also have never had to gate-check my bag, no matter how small the plane.
- Blanket scarf. It’s a fashion accessory, a blanket, a pillow, even a lumbar support! Fall through Spring, I wear a blanket scarf to travel. If there was a way not to look ridiculous in the summer, I’d use it then, too!
- Inflatable Neck Pillow. On a long flight, these are a must, especially if you are taking a red-eye and have to function the next day. That means you HAVE to get some sleep and these pillows help make that happen. They take up virtually no room when they’re deflated, and I have used one only a quarter full as a lumbar cushion, too.
There you have it! My list of must-haves for work travel! Since I have a couple of big trips coming up, you can be sure that I’ll be packing all these things.