It seems like no one travels without a cell phone anymore. The really brave ones even take their expensive smartphone along. For me, the smartphone is the perfect technological accompaniment since aside from its camera, it also provides other useful services while traveling.
So let’s start a trip from the very beginning.
Personally, I’m not a fan of paper, which is why I store my booking confirmations in Dropbox and in a special email mailbox, which I always name according to the particular travel destination.
I store almost everything in the Cloud, from vacation documents and booking confirmations to photos and videos. The last item always gobbles up a lot of storage space on the smartphone, which is why I always use a WLAN to upload data.
Before every trip, no matter which country I’m in (except for the DACH countries), I use the itinerisApp to register my trip with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. If a regime is overthrown or if there’s a natural disaster, my home country will know that I’m there and will be able to send the necessary assistance. Aside from this registration service, the app also provides useful information on the specific country. This includes general tips on visas, radioactivity, abduction, and medicine. The app also indicates where to find the nearest embassy and how safe the country is at that time.
Rega, Switzerland’s air-rescue operation, isn’t just known for its help in the mountains. They also help abroad, which is why I clearly bring the Rega app along on every trip
When I see all the people using airport self-service kiosks to check in and get their tickets, I wonder why they don’t make things easier on themselves.
With Swiss, for instance, you can have yourself automatically checked in and get your ticket via email or text.
Personally, I always immediately load the airline’s app on my Samsung S7, select a better seat before the flight, and then check in. Depending on the app, I also get notifications of any gate changes.
Goodbye, Gate Chaos!
I definitely don’t want to say that airports aren’t clearly signed, but when it gets hectic, I’ll often miss one sign or another. The best example of this was our delayed flight from Costa Rica to Zurich via New York’s JFK International Airport.
Even with an on-time arrival, we would have only had 60 minutes of transfer time, which was shortened to 30 minutes through the delay. Thanks to the GateGuru app, as soon as we turned off airplane mode, we got our gate information and were able study the route to the gate. We made it to the airplane right at the last minute, which then still had to struggle with technical difficulties for another 25 minutes.
Another useful function of this app is the review feature for the airport’s different cafes and restaurants.
Once you arrive in a new place, there are always signs that you don’t understand. Knowing exactly what’s on a menu is also often puzzling. With the live translation app, Google Translate provides a service through which you can simply take a picture of something, and Google will translate the text right away.
Google Maps naturally belongs on your smartphone for every trip. Aside from the map, Google Maps also gives you tips on restaurants and bars in the area. Thanks to this app, we were able to navigate our “taxi service” from A to B and save a good 1½ hours.
I love discovering new places on my vacations, and I’ll sometimes walk through an alley or park without knowing where I’ve ended up. Then when I want to go home or would rather head off to some other place, I’m always glad when I can send for an Uber taxi right on the spot. And all of it convenient, trackable, and for the best price
Safe Connect by Swisscom is a new app that I haven’t yet tested while traveling but that’s still very useful. This app creates a VPN via Switzerland, making your Internet secure so that, for instance, you can also use it for e-banking while on vacation. For traveling within countries like China, where services like Google and Facebook are blocked, you can use this VPN to access them.