The Best and Worst of Traveling with Tech

The Best and Worst of Traveling with Tech

Mike Tyson
Jul 20, 2011

Fresh from a trip overseas and halfway through our monthly theme of travel, we thought it'd be fitting to write a roundup of the best and worst aspects of traveling with tech. Going on a trip soon? Read on to better prepare yourself for what you can expect.

The Best:
Nearly Limitless Apps
Traveling can quickly become confusing being in an unknown place. Not only must you navigate yourself safely around but you want to reach particular destinations in a timely fashion. Luckily, with the advent of smart phones, it is entirely possible to use the multitude of apps available to you to help you find everything from the major landmarks, nearest subway entrances, and even the secret local favorites. Simply searching for apps made for your destination in Google will surely turn up some promising results. A helpful note when looking for map-related apps is to find ones that allow you to download the maps. This is helpful when you're overseas and loading maps won't eat up your expensive data plan.

The Flexibility of Tablets
Forget the laptop and all of its cumbersome features at home. Your tablet will likely satisfy all of your traveling needs (unless you're a dedicated group of techies like those in the above image). Load up your tablet with your favorite movies before you go to the airport, turn that baby on to Airplane Mode, and enjoy the personalized inflight entertainment. Also, bringing along a tablet is an excellent way to help create maps/schedules for your days when you're back at the hotel for the night.

Cheap Storage Capacity
It seems as though when we travel we begin to appreciate the beauty of affordable storage space throughout our devices. When preparing for our trips, we often fill our iPhone up to near-maximum capacity with music so that we know we'll have the perfect soundtrack for whatever we happen to be doing or however we happen to be feeling at any given moment. It's also really helpful when shooting pictures. Our preferred camera card for a weeks worth of photos is 16GB. This tends to leave us plenty of buffer room yet is still in a very affordable zone for us. Because we don't have capabilities of transferring images until after we arrived home, it's important our memory card is capable of holding all of the photos we'll be taking, and then some.

The Worst
International Cell Phone Plans
Is it just us or is this the most unnecessarily complicated scheme across all major carriers? We use AT&T and the entire process of upgrading our plan was confusing, poorly designed, and very expensive. We cant believe some carrier hasn't stepped up with an extremely efficient and streamlined way to upgrade your service and remove it when you return. Forget the fact that we constantly had our calls dropped while we were abroad and the service is ridiculously expensive. Some seasoned travelers will buy phones exclusively with overseas plans so when they go to visit they don't have to deal with the mess.

Airport Wireless
Look, we know everyone likes to make some money. And we know airports are an excellent target for this market but would it kill them to install a free wireless service throughout the airport? Paying per hour or day is such a pain let alone expensive. We all know travelers would rather be online, saying goodbye to friends, making final arrangements for their trip, etc... And we also know that everyone hates to fly and hates airports and that they're boring and no fun. We pay enough money to the airlines in the first place, whats so bad about providing some free wireless while we wait for the inevitably delayed flight?

Hotel Wireless
This is a very similar complaint to the above mentioned wireless issue. When a hotel has a paltry wireless signal or speed, we instantly become filled with frustration. Typically, the hotel should be thought of as your daily hub for communication and planning while on a trip. With a poor internet connection, matters are needlessly complicated further. Our hotel's wireless was constantly timing out and when it worked at all it sluggishly moved from webpage to webpage. Hotel owners, please, for the love of all that is holy, upgrade your wireless service so all of your rooms receive a decent signal and speed especially if your patrons are paying for it!

(Images: Flickr member jayneandd; Flickr member mroach; Flickr member wader licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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