Catching up with #girlstravel tweet-chat
Tech Travel Tips was a #girlstravel chat on Twitter this week, hosted by the Go Girl Travel Network, and MashLifeStyle. Unfortunately I missed it, but the great thing about Twitter chats is you can easily catch up on the conversation later. As technology and travel are my two favourite topics of conversation, I thought I would share my contribution here, in a blog post.
Q1. How connected to technology are you when you travel?
I’m plugged into the Matrix most of the time, definitely more of a Digital Resident than Visitor, and most definitely a digital nomad, although that doesn’t mean I’m connected to the web all the time when I travel, but tech is always high on the packing list.
Q2. What gadgets are a must-have when travelling?
The smart phone and in my case, the iPhone has got to be the ultimate compact travelling device; it fulfils so many purposes, I never travel without it. A rechargeable power pack is also incredibly useful, especially if I’m camping in the wild. I love photography, so I pack equipment tailored to each trip and a decent pair of around-the-ear headphones to drown out unwanted noise. I sometimes take my iPad too, depending upon the trip.
Q3. What tech resources do you use when researching an upcoming trip?
The social web for inspiration, reviews and recommendations, and flight scanning sites for deals. I also experiment with different technologies to assist researching trips, including secure cloud storage solutions such as Google Drive, EverNote and wikis like PBWorks, where I store the information I find.
Q4. Do you ever use apps to find good restaurants or places to stay? Which do you use?
The TripAdvisor app provides access to lots of information. AroundMe is also useful to see what is close by and then if necessary, I search the web for reviews. I’ve also used LonelyPlanet city guide apps, I like these because they provide offline content, which is good when you don’t want to connect to the web – or can’t.
Q5. Have you ever used a travel e-book? How did you like it?
I always download the free samples available from the iBook and Kindle stores. If I’m lucky, the sample covers the information I’m looking for! I do buy e-books, although I miss buying print versions, but there’s no denying e-books are a lot lighter, you just have to manage your battery power.
Q6. What’s the most high-tech hotel you’ve ever stayed in?
The Bellagio in Las Vegas is pretty high-tech as well as elegant and extravagant. I stayed in the Salone Suite with an impressive view of The Strip and Bellagio Fountains – one of my favourite places on The Strip. Hotel guests with a view of the Fountains can also enjoy the accompanying music by tuning in via the TV. Technology is used throughout the suite, from a sensor-controlled mini-bar and push-button operation of various in-suite features.
In contrast I’ve stayed in the Original POD Hotel 51, New York and I love the light panel in rooms which indicates when the facilities are free – nice touch! The POD Hotel also has iPads embedded into pillars in the lobby area, which again, is a neat feature.
Q7. Let’s face it; data/minutes abroad can stink. How do you avoid a huge phone bill when travelling?
Switch off data roaming and just use wifi. Last year I was travelling across the USA for a month and I managed fine without buying a local PAYG (Pay As You Go) sim – I did get stung a little for switching data on towards the end of the trip – I was lost, tired and it was getting late in LA, so it was worth it. The most important thing, is to know before you go, exactly what it will cost to use your own data overseas, if that’s what you intend to do, or as in my case, use only if it’s really important.
Q8. When’s the best time to disconnect while abroad (if ever)?
Most of the time! Have the technology to hand, so it’s available when you need it, but you should immerse yourself in the moment. Many times when I’ve been travelling and sat on a beach, I shut my eyes, feel the sun on my skin, smell the sea air and listen to the waves; I try to capture those moments in my mind, so that I can take myself back there, when I return to reality and am stuck in the middle of a hectic working day. It can be a good way to relax as well as remembering the essence of a beautiful place that you’ve visited.
Q9. If you could invent an amazing new travel technology, what would it be (besides teleportation, of course)?
From a practical perspective, juicier and smaller portable power packs. There are already exciting developments in this area though, with power packs that charge using your body heat, for example. I also like the idea of smart luggage which I read about recently. On another note, I’d like to invent a technology which keeps the mosquitoes (and other evil biting insects) away, I get bitten a lot and occasionally experience really bad reactions. I have a few tactics up my sleeve, but nothing is 100% successful.
Q10. Who do you follow on Twitter for great travel tips?
@NomadicMatt @ALadyInLondon @TravMonkey @holidayaddict23 @caroldtravels @bushbirdie @KirstenAlana @RexyEdventures @adventurouskate @solotraveler @breathedreamgo @traveldudes @ytravelblog @GirlsThatTravel and many, many more!
Find out what everyone else had to say about tech travel on Twitter
#GirlsTravel is a weekly 30-minute Twitter chat hosted by the Go Girl Travel Network, every Monday at 6pm GMT.
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