Experts reveal their under-the-radar tips on how to save money on hotels, flights and more. To ensure your hard-earned travel dollars go as far as they can, check out their valuable advice.
Travel, for both business and pleasure, is more convenient and smoother than ever before, assisted by a host of digital tools accessible right from the palm of your hand.
Smartphones make solving travel issues that were common even as recently as a few years ago — such as rummaging for a hotel key in a sea of credit cards, getting around in an unfamiliar part of town, or racing through the airport to find vague displays showing last-minute gate changes — problems of the past. In fact, 91% of Americans think technology has made travel easier than it was a decade ago.
And while weary travelers once had to stand in lengthy lines to speak with airline personnel or concierges, today they're able to access all essential itinerary information and even check in to their rooms with the swipe of a finger.
With the aid of a few indispensable travel apps and services, you'll never have to deal with any of these travel headaches again.
1. Forget about losing travel documents
The days of having to carry and keep track of a paper boarding pass, tickets, travel itinerary information or paper maps are gone — even most major credit cards have gone mobile. Searching through old emails for confirmation numbers is superfluous with today's many digital and mobile apps.
For the tech-savvy traveler, there is a wide array of services to help you keep all your travel documents and itinerary information in one place, or even locate a workspace when you're on the go.
Some apps consolidate all your travel info, keeping track of important events from business meetings to departure times. Sync up with your personal calendar so you never miss a beat.
Locate airport lounges where you can rest up during your travels or jump on a last-minute business call. And of course there are apps to optimize purchasing your flight. Easily scan through billions of flight options to find the lowest possible fare.
Not only are these apps easy to use and integrated, they also help travelers go paperless, cutting down on the number of things to keep track of while in transit. Frequent travelers can say goodbye to paper tickets and space-hogging maps and planners, so there's more room in your carry-on for items that keep you amused and comfortable while on the go.
2. Forget about losing your hotel room key
After a lengthy day of travel, the only thing on your mind is getting into your comfy hotel bed. This used to be easier said than done, with travelers having to go through the entire check-in process, then or root around pockets and purses for the hotel key.
Cue the Digital Key, which allows guests to access rooms, fitness centers and even the parking garage straight from their smartphone. With a simple click, guests can check into their hotel rooms, access the business center or fit in a quick workout at the fitness center without having to keep track of anything more than their phone.
3. Get around an unfamiliar city easily
Nothing screams "tourist" quite like wandering the streets, awkwardly struggling with a paper map. Luckily, Google Maps and other services have digitized navigation and made it much easier to get around.
Uber is also a convenient local service for many travelers, as the ride-sharing app assures a dependable way of getting around an unfamiliar city. It’s one more way technology can help you travel like a local, without having to spend hours on planning.
Other popular apps can help you find fun local events and hot spots that might not appear on any Top Ten lists on a web search.
Google Translate is another must if you'll be visiting a city where you don't speak the language; the app allows users to take photos of signs, menus and more, scanning all of the text and translating it into your native language.
4. Streamline check-in/check-out
The Digital Key isn't the only technological advance at hotels these days. Guests are also able to select their preferred room online, after viewing detailed floor plan maps and photos. Updated in real-time, guests can usually check in via mobile device, tablet or desktop starting the day before arrival.
Once checked in, guests can also buy upgrades or request amenities, all from the convenience of their mobile phone. Digital check-out is also available: When the stay is over, guests can check out automatically from the app, bypassing the front desk.
5. Track down WiFi from anywhere
The traveler’s best friend is a cafe with WiFi… and other mobile hotspots that provide a free, secure WiFi connection anywhere you need it — in the airport, on public transportation, in the back of an Uber or even the middle of a park. Use an app to find the nearest free hotspot so you’ll never be without a connection.
Travel isn't without its problems, but with the help of the newest technologies, it's easier than even to have an enjoyable vacation or business trip with a minimum of glitches.