Remember back in the 90s when all you needed for a good trip was the right back-packing gear, comfortable shoes, a map and a ticket? Well, we all know times have changed. Most of us can’t even go a few hours without connecting to the technology on smart phones, tablets and smart watches. Travelling with the right tech will assist you in making the most of your trip in ways that weren’t even possible in the 90s. Read on to find out about our tips for headphones and music, mobile phone roaming, and our top travel apps.
You might think that you won’t be able to rely on technology you use on a day-to-day basis when you’re overseas. In fact, your gadgets are as transportable and adaptable as you are if you know how to use them correctly. Most destinations in the world have places where you can access Wi-Fi to connect your smartphone or laptop to the Internet. If you are wanting to connect your phone to a mobile network you will need to consider your SIM card or roaming options. If you plan ahead, the gadgets you’ve packed will ensure a trip of a lifetime as soon as you touch down. Actually, the benefits of these gadgets will even help mid-flight!
What’s that sound?
It’s the sweet, sweet sound of absolutely nothing. If a tree falls in a forest and there’s no one around, will it make a sound? Not if you’re wearing Sony MDR-10R Noise-Canceling Headphones! A couple of the technicians here at Geeks on Wheels have these and absolutely rave about them. Sony’s next-level noise-cancelling headphones transmit clear sound regardless of the outside noise you will encounter when travelling on a plane, bus or train. Because the outside noise is cancelled, the volume of the sound coming from the headphones doesn’t need to be as high as standard headphones, therefore minimising the risk of eardrum damage. With a folding design to slip into your suitcase, they’re an incredible piece of tech but they come with a price tag to match – a whopping $499. That said, if you’re looking to roam the streets of Paris listening to your own soundtrack, these might be the headphones for you.
Sony MDR-10R Noise-Canceling Headphones
If you’re looking for something that’s easier on your wallet because you’d rather be spending your coin on some pain au chocolats, then Sony’s EX Monitor Headphones are an in-ear alternative still delivering good bass at the price of $59.
Sony’s EX Monitor Headphones
The Sound of Music
If you are travelling with a group, you might want to pack some Bluetooth speakers for your travels abroad.
The UE Boom by Logitech offers you the perfect mix of features. First of all, it’s water and stain resistant and its size that’s extremely portable. Two, it has incredible sound quality thanks to the 360 degree speakers, that delivers a wide range of sound from accurate high frequency, to deep low bass. Thirdly, it lasts a whole 15 hours without recharging which is perfect for when you have limited access to power outlets. Featured in a wide range of colours and styles, the UE Boom sells for $299.
UE Boom by Logitech
For an even smaller option, check out the tiny Ednet MiniMax Bluetooth Key-ring Speaker. With great sound quality, we sell these for $39. It’ll have you singing along the whole duration of your trip!
Use the Power
If you’re bringing electronic devices for your trip abroad, you’ll need a way of charging them. Ask your Geeks on Wheels technician about the Ednet Power Bank 4400. This credit card sized device is a super convienent travelling companion as it stores power and allows you to charge your smartphone, tablet or mp3 player when you don’t have access to a power outlet.
Ednet Power Bank 4400
If you’re carrying your high-tech gadgets on your trip you’ve got to be aware that most international locations won’t have the same kind of power outlets you do at home. But it’s no big deal. Simply pick up a travel adaptor designed for the country you’re visiting or, even better, if you’re doing a round the world trip you can find adapters that work for multiple countries. For any devices that can be charged by USB including smartphones and tablets, we recommend the Ednet Universal USB Travel Charger. Ask us about this product as charging via USB avoids blowing up your device, it’s a real suitcase space saver and is well priced.
ET Phone Home – Smartphone roaming
If you want to stay in touch with your friends and family every step of your journey, then considering your roaming options is very important. Even if you are seeking a quiet and private get-a-way, you still need to be reachable when you’re abroad. If you think it’s as simple as turning on your roaming switch, you’re right, but get ready for potentially expensive international roaming bills. All calls, texts, and using your mobile data when you’re overseas can come with a hefty price tag – charges are per minute, per text, and per megabyte. Talk to your mobile provider first before travelling.
This is, of course, avoidable with some smart planning. First, put your phone into airplane mode and turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Or, turn off cellular data and roaming for the duration of your trip. The problem with this is unless you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, your smartphone is limited in its uses. Don’t despair, there are options!
Get a local SIM card
You know what a SIM card is right? That wee card that pops out from under your battery when you accidently drop your phone?! If you have an unlocked phone that isn’t on a contract and can take other SIM cards, you can get a pre-paid SIM card from a local carrier wherever you are in the world. You’ll have to do a bit of research to find a local carrier that will work with your phone, but this will be a lot cheaper than using your existing plan internationally – trust me I know first hand! I’m still haunted by the bill. You can pick these SIM cards up at the airport or at a local phone shop in your destination city.
Get a pre-paid phone
Often, the cheapest option is picking up a cheap, pre-paid mobile phone in the country you’re visiting. While it won’t be the newest iPhone, it will help you with making calls and sending texts. So say so long to CandyCrush for a while! It’s really all you need for keeping in touch on the go. You can find these cheaper mobiles at the airport. However, don’t buy phones from market stalls. They may be a lot cheaper but you don’t know if they’re fake, broken or stolen!
Talk to your phone service provider
They may have special roaming/international plans or deals you can take advantage of to help avoid a giant bill when you return home.
With technology getting better and better, nothing makes life easier than a really useful and well designed app. They can help with the complications and annoyances of planning and booking a trip abroad. While travel agents, DIY travel sites and travel blogs are still great for info gathering, it’s time to turn to our smartphones to check out what travel apps can do for you and your future holiday! Here are our top ten:
If you’re not smart with money, you could run into some difficulties on your trip abroad. This free app is not only user friendly but it uses live currency rates making it ridiculously accurate. It’s been downloaded over 5 MILLION TIMES for a good reason: to travel better, you’ve got to know your currency exchange rates.
The shame of it – some people truly do not know how to pack their own bags! This is the app to help them. This is how it works: you tell the app where you’re going and it comes back to you with a list of things you should bring.
This intuitive app offers weather reports for over two million geographical locations. This app is one of the most accurate weather forecasting apps available. Avoid getting caught in an outdoor activity on a rough day!
- JetLag Genie
Gradually altering your sleeping habits before your trip and during is the only thing that will cure jet lag. Simply key in your destination, dates and sleep schedule and this handy app will create personalised alarm clocks to set your internal clock straight.
If you’re looking forward to someone’s impending arrival and you want to be there on time, this is the app for you. This app enables you to check out the paths of all international flights with detailed info on departure gates, delays and even pesky cancellations. Never miss another flight again!
- Perfect World Clock
Access the time in hundreds of different cities the world over, all at the same time. Imagine calling your friends and family at a decent time of the day! It also allows you to keep time zones at your fingertips by adding several clocks as home-screen savers. What time is it? It’s time to get this app.
- TravelSafe Pro
This app is basically your lifesaver. It’s a database of emergency service numbers for every country on the planet that you’d want to visit, and a quite few you wouldn’t! But it gets better. If you’re prone to losing your stuff while travelling, like that very important thing we call “a passport”, there are embassy details to help you get the help you need fast.
You don’t need an assistant to help you plan your travel, you don’t even need a brain because this app does it all for you. All you do is forward your various confirmation emails for flights, hotels, rental cars and restaurant bookings and the app magically creates an itemised itinerary. It’s too good to be true, right? Did I mention that it’s also free?!
- Pin Drop
This basically enables you to create your own guidebook of the places you’ve been by allowing you to drop a GPS pin onto a cyber map when you come across something or someplace interesting. Users can then make lists recommending the best places in town, whether you’re looking to shop, sleep, dance or eat.
- Better Translator Pro
Say hello or bonjour or ola to the highest rated translation app on Android. This impressive app has more than 50 languages programed into it, with a few that even come with a voice recognition feature.
These may be our top ten apps, and a selection of cool travel gadgets, but we’ve got plenty more tricks up our sleeves when it comes to technology. Our experts will make sure you are equipped with the knowledge to get the most out of your tech and ensure you have a great holiday abroad. Whether it’s setting up your new devices ready for an overseas trip, or you are wanting to purchase some of the awesome tech mentioned in this article, get in touch with us today.