Google Maps Offline Mode
Google Maps’s offline mode is by far my favorite travel hack and one that has saved me countless times. This little well-known feature allows you to download maps to your phone so you can access them even when you don’t have service! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve traveled to remote parts of the world and my service gets spotty or drops altogether. It’s not the best feeling to be left stranded without phone service, a map, and no one around for miles, especially if you’re traveling through a foreign country. So, how do you avoid such a disaster?
First, if you haven’t already done so, download the Google Maps app to your phone. Once the app is downloaded it’s really simple to set up. Open the app, go to the menu > offline areas > custom area. Then, drag the map to the area you want to access when you are offline, and press ‘download’. The offline places you download stay on your device for 30 days by default, or even longer if you tweak the option. After you download an area, just use Google Maps as you would normally. Now that you have done this, you will always have a map of where you are even if your phone drops cell coverage.
Emergency Settings on iPhone
This next travel tip is pretty important. As a matter of fact, this feature should be setup on your iPhone even if you don’t travel. The truth is, it can literally save your life. I mean it, here’s why:
Have you ever noticed that there is an emergency setting on the bottom left corner of your iPhone lock screen ? Well, it’s not just for making an emergency call easier when your phone is locked. It’s also used to access key medical information such as health conditions and emergency contacts. You can input as much, or as little information as you want, but at minimum I’d recommend putting emergency contacts in along with any medical conditions emergency responders should be aware of. If you want to learn more about this feature and get it setup, check out this link on Apple’s website.
Low Power Mode On iPhone
Keep this travel tip in mind whenever you aren’t around a power outlet or have an extra energy source in your pack. You may not know that your battery drains at a faster rate when you have bad service, because your phone is constantly searching to improve your connection. Another big source of battery drainage comes from heavy use of social media apps while on the go such as Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat.
Whatever the cause of your low battery woes, consider placing your phone on low power mode before you start your day. That’s right, don’t wait until your iPhone says its going to low power mode, but actually use it proactively to keep your battery fresh! This is a great way to keep your phone’s battery from draining unnecessarily when you are out exploring and disconnecting from the world. You can still get phone calls; all it does is shuts off background data pulls whenever not in use.
iPhone Notes App
Creating notes is a smart way to better organize around your trip. For example, create a checklist to help you pack, create a shopping list of things you still need to buy for your trip, or simply take notes about noteworthy information you found that you could use on future visits. Whichever way you use it, notes can help you out. Here are some more examples of how you can use the notes app to make traveling easier.
- Log your travel confirmation information for easy access
- Create an agenda of things you plan on doing on your trip
- Add pictures of all your identifications and log it, too!
- Create packing lists for your travel needs
- Make a shopping list of items you need to buy before your trip
- Create a checklist of everything you need to do before you leave
- Share your note(s) with a friend or family member!
One added benefit I like about the Notes iPhone app, is the ability to share notes with family and friends. For instance, you may want your significant other to have access to your travel documents, or you want to see what your kids have checked off on their packing lists before a trip. There are lots of benefits to sharing notes, so give it a try before your next trip!
Use Your Calendar App
When planning a trip, I like to correlate it with my calendar app. It’s super easy to create a new calendar, and even share it with friends and family. I like to add and share information with my travel companions for flights, hotel, rental cars, attractions, and reservations. You name it! It makes planning and organizing your travel information so much easier.
If you don’t want to add a calendar, then just use an existing one and add your events to it. Either way, get those activities on your calendar to make your trip that much easier to keep up with. Or, be square and old fashioned and use a piece of paper and pen.
Ok, so this next travel tip only applies to iPhone users. Haven’t set up Apple Pay? Do it! It’s a good backup if you are ever in a situation when you forgot your your wallet or purse, or you just don’t want to carry these around. It’ also a good backup plan if you happen to run out of cash. You never know when you may need it!
This app is also for iphone users only. I use wallet to upload my gift cards to my phone. For example, I once had over $150 in Starbucks gift cards! Don’t ask. Anyway, these came in handy while traveling, and with my virtual wallet, they were easy to store and access. You can also add your flight tickets to your wallet right from the Delta app if you fly with Delta Airlines. This also saves me valuable time at the ticket counter, even if you have to drop off bags! You also save time digging through hard copy tickets if you are transferring throughout your trip.
Take pictures of your Passport or ID’s
This travel tip is pretty important in my opinion. Look, if you’ve never lost your ID or Passport, then congratulations on not having to deal with that headache. It’s never easy, but having a backup of your ID or especially your passport on your phone can certainly make things easier if you ever do lose them. There are a bunch of different ways you can store them on your phone, but my preferred way is to use the Notes app on the iPhone for this stuff.
Keeping a digital copy of these important documents also comes in handy in situations where they aren’t lost, but just simply not with you at the moment. When traveling internationally, sometimes you get discounts or tax free shopping (Japan is a great example!) if you have your passport and can prove that you are a foreign traveler. While this doesn’t always work, sometimes it does, and I just show them my digital copy of my document and I’m on my way (with my discount!). Either way, whether it be digital or physical, make a copy of your identification. ESPECIALLY IF TRAVELING OVERSEAS!!!
So this travel tip isn’t really anything special. I mean, we download music all the time right? Well, actually I’m willing to bet that most of the music on your phone isn’t actually on your phone, and instead it’s being streamed to your device. Most of the good music apps out there have a paid service that will let you access your music when offline, so give it a whirl if you want to make sure you enjoy your tunes when off the beaten path. I mean, there is nothing like driving through Joshua Tree National Park, being inspired to listen to your U2 playlist, then quickly realizing that you totally forgot to download it, so you end up driving through the desert in awkward silence. Not like that happened to me or anything, anyways, plowing ahead…
Download Apps for Flights, Lodging, and Rental Car
If your travel includes flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. then go download those apps right way from the services you are using. For instance, I typically fly Delta, stay at Hilton properties or Airbnb, and rent cars from National. And you best believe that every service I use, I have it downloaded on my phone and accounts setup so I can access all my information. I’ll save the spill about signing up for travel partners for rewards, but simply being able to access all of your reservations, see current status on flights, or checking in to your room or flight makes it so much easier. Trust me.
For added Awesomeness: Use The Cloud!
I know, it is scary to think about; “Put all my stuff in the cloud?…but what if someone hacks me?!?!?!”. Look, I’m one of the most skeptical people out there, but I won’t take you down that rabbit hole. I’m not going to preach on internet safety, do your research and determine what you are comfortable with. Then once you are over your fear, realize it’s important to have backups of all your information in the event you lose your phone, or have the ability to share travel information with your emergency contacts. Perish the thought! But yes, it happens, and all these cool travel tips I talked about with your phone can be added peace of mind in the event your phone is rendered useless. I can literally throw my phone off a cliff and not worry about losing a single thing on it because I have everything backed up. That’s reason enough for me to use the cloud.
BONUS: Add This Website To Your Favorites 🙂
I mean, isn’t that just a no-brainer? Just trying to help you out here!