We may have a love-hate relationship with our smartphones because we’ve all become slaves to them. But when it comes to travel, smartphones have helped us make more smart moves than not. From GPS to instant access to information in the palm of our hand, it kind of makes you wonder how we ever did things the old-fashioned way. Smartphones not only keep us in touch with friends and family, they give us immediate and constant access to the power of the Internet. And, while there is room for those old-school traditions, when it comes to travel, using your smartphone to your advantage is truly the smart thing to do.
Not convinced? Here is how the smartphone has reshaped the travel industry by becoming an essential travel tool.
Planning is way easier now
These days, if you want to book a trip to Europe, you can do it right from your phone. All the information you need from the quality of hotels to securing your flight is easily accessible by your phone. Want to make reservations at a popular restaurant? How about a group who shares your interests? Smartphones have you covered. It used to take time to make all your arrangements, including actually calling up and speaking to a person. Now you can click and book in just minutes.
Long lines are eliminated
Remember those days when you had to stand on a long line to get your tickets or to find out information? Your smartphone is the one you should thank since now you can stay current while sitting in the airport café sipping a latte. Check in for your flight – already done on your phone. Check flight status – at your fingertips. Wait in a taxi queue – Uber to the rescue. Some major hotel chains are even letting their club members select their room and check in online.
You can always find your way
Maps are amazing creations, but they are best left for displays now. There’s no more fumbling around, trying to fold and unfold a paper map because there’s no need for it. Remember when we were excited to be able to print out Mapquest routes to take with us? Now we can leave the paper behind. With the GPS in your smartphone, you can find your way anywhere you go. Best of all, map apps like Google Maps, Mapquest and Waze use real-time information to help you find the best routes, avoiding accidents and traffic jams.
And you’ll find new things to discover
Another thing about the GPS on your smartphone is that it can help you find the things you’re searching for on your trip. Hungry for pizza? It can help take you to the nearest pizza place. Looking for a good place to shop? It can show you all the malls nearby anywhere in the world! Many museums offer audio tours that you can access on your smartphone. Plus, if you need a ride, you can find Lyft and other ways to get around.
It serves as a camera
We all rejoiced when digital cameras came out, making life easier than the original ones that required waiting a week for the development of the film. But when smartphones came out, it was a game-changer. It eliminated the need to take along a digital camera because smartphones have the capacity to take high-quality photos that you can upload in an instant. And that means you can share those photos immediately with your friends and family back home. The quality of phone cameras has gotten so good that they no longer have to be limited to selfies. Plus, when properly encased, smartphones can be waterproof which means you can get those amazing photos even in the rain and snow.
You can keep in touch more easily
Whether you’re off for business or pleasure, smartphones help you stay connected to those that matter the most. You can easily send emails, post on your social media, or even use your phone the old-fashioned way and call, however most people prefer video calls and texts nowadays.
It helps you stay entertained and informed
If you read a lot while traveling, your smartphone can help you free up some space in your carry-on by holding your favorite books in eBook form. You can also listen to music or play games so when you’re waiting or in your hotel room, you can keep busy. Download movies to your phone to watch on the plane or anywhere you don’t have wifi. And of course, you can learn about everything going on in the world around you so you’ll always be aware. Emergency alerts like severe storm warnings can reach you anywhere
You can use apps to help you communicate
There are some countries you’ll visit where you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone that speaks English. For those countries, there are plenty of apps you can download to help you communicate in the local language. Translate street signs or show locals your message in their language. You can also find apps to help you learn a bit of the language too. While it’s unlikely you’ll master the language before your trip, knowing a few important phrases will be most helpful. For everything else, the translating apps can help you.
Smartphones provide us with so much assistance, particularly when we travel, that it’s like having your own personal assistant with you everywhere you go. Plus, when you’re miles and miles from home and you need to change your travel plans in a moment’s notice, you can use your smartphone to adjust your arrangements and get to where you’re going.
With all the things smartphones can do to help you out, don’t forget to bring yours along on your next trip!