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Showing posts with label travel tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel tips. Show all posts

Apr 4, 2016

10 Great Smartphone Camera Hacks For Travel

10 Great Smartphone Camera Hacks For Travel

Multiple uses for feature of your device, camera, that is already part of your travel arsenal:

Use it as a mirror
The camera works great to do a quick hair, make-up and teeth check. It’s much more convenient and space saving than carrying an actual mirror. You can also use it look in tight spaces.

Record your parking spot
If you tend to forget where you parked your car in a large parking lot, then take a photo of your pot, specifically the actual spot number or wall or pole next to it. Remember, a photo of the car you’re parked next to is useless if the driver happens to leave before you return.

Save an e-ticket for flights, movies or events
These days I almost always get an e-ticket when I travel. They are easier to carry with you and don't require wasting paper and, therefore, trees. But there have been a couple of times when I’ve had slow cellular service or no WiFi, which makes it hard to access on the spot. Once you get the e-ticket, grab a screenshot so you can pull it up right from your photo library without worrying about log-ins or wireless service.

Save directions
Google Maps app is a great service to use while traveling to find directions and to find places of interest. Though it would not work well if you hit a bad reception area. I have previously put together a guide on how to use the app in such cases:
How To: Use Google Maps Offline When Traveling
This way you load your directions before you leave. As an alternative or in addition, you can take a screenshot of the map and the directions in list view so you have it all easily accessible. This is especially great for rural areas with terrible reception, and urban dwellers who don’t get service underground in the subway. Speaking of which, a screenshot of the local subway map when you travel is a good idea also.

Translate foreign language text
Have you ever been in a foreign country and needed to translate some printed text? These days, that probably involves typing the foreign-language text into your smartphone or laptop and using something like Google Translate to translate it for you. However, there’s a better way — if you’re using Google Translate, you can use the camera function to snap a picture of the text. Google Translate can use optical character recognition (OCR) to automatically interpret the text and translate it for you. It’s does not translate everything it sees 100%, but it can work surprisingly well and is faster than typing in words you don’t recognize. What's also great is that the app will work with no service or in airplane mode for most basic phrases.

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Create digital copies of important documents
Snap photos of your driver’s license, passport, and other important documents, especially when you’re about to travel.  If your phone settings require a password to get in (which it should), you won’t have to worry about someone else gaining access. Plus, if you use an auto cloud-syncing service you’ll have it backed up somewhere besides your phone.

Scan and OCR documents
Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data. You can use your smartphone’s camera as a scanner for receipts and other documents you come across. There are apps that are able to convert those photos by performing OCR to analyze the text and convert it into a searchable document. You won’t get the same image quality you would with a flatbed scanner, but this is a much faster, on-the-go way to scan documents.

Memo(ries) for save keeping
Using the phone's camera you can take mementos during your trip to remember later. You can take a picture of labels from wine or beer bottles that you’ve tried and loved at a restaurant or winery/brewery. Also grab a snapshot of your meal, restaurant name, and hotel room number.

Car rental and rental insurance
When renting a car, take a picture of the car and its license plate. This helps when checking in at a hotel and registering the car, not to mention finding it when you have forgotten what the car looks like. In case of a minor fender bender, pull out your phone, document the damage, snap pictures of insurance cards and drivers license info and get back to your vacation.

Currency converter “cheat sheet”
When traveling out of the country, take a screenshot of the sheet with conversion rates for easy access to the info on the go to do some quick calculations.
OANDA Customizable Currency Cheatsheet - this handy tool puts together a wallet-sized 'cheat sheet' for on-the-fly converting. You input your local currency and that of your destination and you get a currency converting sheet that you can easily take a picture of since it is so compact.
Example (US to Brazilian Real):

Scope out nearby places with augmented reality
Augmented reality overlays relevant information over what your smartphone camera sees.
Just point your camera in a given direction and allow an app, such as Yelp for instance, to show you what's nearby. Once you select something you will also be able to get specific directions.

And Oh Yeah, you can also use it to take pictures and video :)

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Mar 7, 2016

March Madness Travel and Gadgets

March Madness Travel and Gadgets

Every year best of the best in college basketball go mad with traveling around the country in the NCAA College Basketball Tournament. That is actually part of the reason it is called March Madness, since it portrays the frenetic nature of the NCAA tournament.
This year the Championship Game will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Average temperature in April in Houston is 79° high and 60° low. So pack accordingly for the big game.

Bring shades along since it is hot and sunny most of the time

Travel Umbrella
While it is hot in Houston, it also rains quite a bit. The conditions are those of a rainforest without the designation but with lots of humidity

Travel Bluetooth Speaker
for better quality tunes in your room while pregaming. Trust me, your iPhone volume maxed out ain’t that great.

To catch action shots, the best camera for the traveling sports fan is the one that has a great optical zoom, image stabilization, fast shutter speed and relatively small body. Below are some of the best cameras with these features:

Phone and other chargers
All the gadgets that you will be bringing along to enjoy pre-game and the games need to be charged. This power bank has enough juice to charge your phone and tablet

Travel Power Strip
Belkin Travel Surge Protector came in very handy at the airport and hotel room. We were able to charge multiple gadgets via one and only accessible outlet in the room
(Family Trip to DR - What To PackOne Little Thing Just Can’t Travel Without)

Duffel Bag
A nice carry-on spinner bag is a great option since it is easy to move around the airport.  Though a duffel bag is a sportier option when you don't have too many things or want to look like a baller.

Luggage Spoter
To make your bag standout from the rest and show your team pride, Luggage Spotter is a great travel accessory for your duffel or any other travel bag.

Kindle and MP3 player for the plane

Traveling To Houston Tips:

VisitHouston Travel Tools and Info

Hydrate! A Lot! Water is essential to replenish after salty snacks, screaming and/or alcohol.

Hit the nearest CVS, Walgreens or such to purchase water for less, plus pick up some energy drinks, snacks, and a few beers

As the sun is almost always shining this will be an essential travel item. While you don't spend a lot of time outdoors, it still important to have protection from the sun when you are outside.

Traveling in March, you also should pack an umbrella, see above

Pack a swimsuit. Even if you're not planning to visit the ocean, many Texas hotels have swimming pools.

Houston Travel Tips

Sound-off: Will you be filling out the brackets and/or traveling to the games? Let us know below

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Feb 1, 2016

Happy and Regular Travels and Travel Items to Make it So

Happy and Regular Travels and Travel Items to Make it So

We all do it. At home on the regular. Though when we travel, especially to more exotic destinations, it might become not so regular and an issue. Poop that is. Everyone Poops

Follow these steps to feel better when traveling:
  • Carry around a water bottle with you, and make sure to drink from it regularly. Recommended amount is to drink about eight to ten glasses of water a day. Even more if you are walking around in the sun and/or consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Eat your fruits and vegetables every day. Even on vacation. And especially on vacation since they are likely to be more readily available in warm climates. Apples are a great choice since they contain a lot of fiber. Apple, bananas, oranges, strawberries all have around 3 to 4 grams of fiber. Carrots, beets, and broccoli are also fiber-rich.
  • Get moving! Don’t be a total lump, especially on vacation. Walk around, swim, participate in some activities beyond just sitting in the sun. 
  • Drink coffee - it stimulates muscles, which then helps you go to the bathroom
Traveler's diarrhea is a common problem when away from home, caused by eating food or drinking water that contains bacteria. Bring along these water filters to avoid the bugs:

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with Integrated 1000-Liter LifeStraw Filter

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System

Other things to do to avoid traveler's diarrhea when traveling in a foreign country:
- Do not consume unpasteurized food or beverages.
- Make sure meat is completely cooked through. Try to avoid ordering raw type
- Resist buying food from street vendors.
- Stick to filtered water to brush your teeth, and don't add ice to your drinks unless you’re positive it was made with bottled or filtered water.

Tools that can make it a better go:

Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray

Windsor Direct Just A Drop Bathroom Odor Eliminator

Toilet Tissue To Go

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