Summer is upon us and with it comes heat, humidity, and family vacations. Below are a few tips that may make your travels easier.
In this the age of connectivity, a smart phone can be an indispensable travel tool. So whether your weapon of choice is an iPhone, Android or Blackberry, make sure it is outfitted with these essential travel apps:
Kayak: all in one travel tool, includes directories for every major airport. A good place to start when shopping for flights.
TripIt: track flights, build itineraries, and share with your family.
Yelp: uses your current location to find anything - restaurants, convenience stores. It is a location based yellow pages.
WiFi Finder: locate the nearest free WiFi network anywhere in the world.
OnTheFly: easiest way to research and book flights.
TripAdvisor: reviews of hotels, restaurants, etc. written by fellow travelers. Also, works like a location based yellow pages.
Google Translate: ask for the check in a foreign tongue.
Also, check for phone apps that are specific to your favorite travel site - Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz, and apps specific to your destination - subway maps, tourist guides, theme park wait times - the possibilities are endless.
If you're traveling abroad, make sure that you figure out the complexities of international calling plans for your cell phone before you leave the country. Most cell phone carriers have affordable international plans for calling and data, but they need to be activated prior to your trip to avoid the dreaded international roaming charges.
If you are truly tech-savvy, consider using Skype on your mobile device when traveling internationally. It can be much cheaper than cell phones but requires a reliable WiFi connection.
It is no secret the Internet all but demolished the travel agent business model back in the 90's. Out of the ashes has risen a new breed of travel advisor catering exclusively to high-end clientele. They provide special deals, exclusive access and sometime better pricing on first-class travel worldwide. If you enjoy exclusive travel, they can be a great resource. Locate a Virtuoso Travel Advisor here.
Time is our most valuable resource, especially on vacation. So, research your destinations and look for opportunities to make reservations or pre-purchase tickets. You'll save time, avoid lines, and hopefully have a more enjoyable experience overall. Nothing is more rewarding than bypassing a four hour wait at the Eiffel Tower simply by purchasing tickets online from your hotel the night before…..believe me, I know.
Enjoy your summer!
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