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Dec 9, 2019

New Monthly Series - Ah Smartphone - Smartphone and Travel

New Weekly Series - Ah Smartphone - Smartphone and Travel

It hit me the other day. Almost every article I write about travel gadgets includes smartphone in one way or the other. It is the most essential travel device for travelers. So, starting from this one, I will be kicking off the "Ah Smartphone" post series that talks about the many different ways that smartphones touch, improve, and part of our travel.

This post may contain affiliate links, please read my disclosure here

Ah smartphone, it changed how we communicate, how we don’t communicate, changed how we get our information, and overall changed the world.

Smartphones have a multitude of different uses and capabilities for travel. Some of them I have listed out below and will include the post series. The use of smartphones during travel has its advantages and disadvantages. I will look to touch on both for each functionality.
  1. Communication
  2. Information
  3. Access to info
  4. Data storage
  5. Camera
  6. Photo storage
  7. Map/GPS
  8. tracking apps
  9. Write down travel stories
  10. Access social media on the go
  11. Mobile payment system
  12. Translator
  13. Relationship building
  14. Transportation (Lyft, Uber, Transit apps, Bus/Train Schedules, Directions...)

Mobile phones changed how we communicate. We are no longer tied to a wall or an outlet. Over the years, not only did the wireless phone gave us mobility, but with advances in technology, it gave us a computer in our pockets.

Instant voice communications

Just by reaching into your pocket or bag, you can be connected with another person across the street, town, country, or even the globe. You can have a conversation about just about anything you would like and as long as you like depending on the service subscription you have and how much you need to or like talking to that person. Before or during travel, it became a lot easier to get in touch with people while en route or to discuss matters of business and otherwise.


Would you like to reach a person, but they are not answering? No problem, you can still have a conversation, just one-sided, by leaving a voice mail for them. When traveling you can leave details of your travels, catch up with your family and friends on your whereabouts via a voice message. This phone service feature is getting a bit outdated however and more frequently used by robocalls. Instead, it is being replaced by the next one...


Walkie-talkie for the fingers. Available or not, you don't even need to check. You can text another person at any time as long as you have their phone number. These days you can get a delivery confirmation if your text message made it through. And for some folks, you can even see if they have read the said message. Most savvy phone users turn off that feature right away as it can lead to some uncomfortable situations. PSA: on iPhone, go to Settings, Messages, scroll down to Send Read Receipts, and switch that to off. You are welcome.
Texting has become the go-to phone communication. It does not involve long pauses, gives you time to think of what to write, and importantly, to edit what you are about to send. While folks don't always use that to their advantage when they should.
Similar to voicemail, texting can quickly know your location and travel plans to your friends and relatives. You can also collaborate to organize easier while traveling with group text messages.


When smartphones first came about with texting capabilities and wireless services started offering that as a feature, you had to pay for the data used for texting. Most phone plans now offer texting for "free" or included in the monthly plan. However, to bypass some of the cost initially, messaging services popped up that allowed you to send text messages within the app to your group of friends for free. They proliferated even after texting became cheaper or free as some of them offer additional features, digital walls, and additional security.

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Smartphone Chargers That Fit In Your Wallet Or Phone Case
How To Wirelessly Charge Your New Phone with New Case

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