If you’re setting off on a road trip or a flight this weekend, chances are you’re frantically searching for ways to stay connected and limit your boredom and hassles while travelling. Whether it’s sniffing out Wi-Fi passwords or making sure you have access to key documents, we’ve got your travel toolkit covered for smartphones and laptops.
Trick Out Your Smartphone
Whether you’re travelling to a brand new place or retreading the same highways you take every year, loading up your smartphone with apps is a great way to prevent anything horrible from happening along the way (like being bored or without internet access).
Find free Wi-Fi: If you’re in a new town, you might not feel like asking every cafe owner for the Wi-Fi password. On iOS, you can use previously mentioned 4sqwifi, which uses Foursquare’s resource of Wi-Fi passwords to sniff out locations you can log into. For Android try Wifi Tracker to help find local and free Wi-Fi hotspots using Google Maps. And check our guide to finding free Wi-Fi for other ideas.
Track your trip: Regardless of whether you’re flying or driving, keeping track of an itinerary can be hard. Tripit makes things a bit easier by consolidating your flight, hotel and rental car information into one place. The suite of mobile apps makes it simple to check on the go, provided you’re using an iPhone, Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone 7.
Figure out the weather: Swackett for iOS is a weather app that not just tells you the temperature, it also helps you get dressed. It’s a little silly when you’re in your home climate, but if you’re travelling somewhere with a totally different environment, it can help you figure out what to wear.
Keep yourself safe and ready for disasters: If you’re taking a long road trip, you’re probably going to go through some nasty weather along the way, but having wikiHow: How to and Survival Kit for iOS loaded up on you phone ahead of time will ensure you now how to deal with everything from escaping a car on the edge of a cliff to starting a fire in a snow storm. Other smartphone users can use the webapp to track similar information.
Make an exit plan: No matter how much you love your family, you will probably want to skip out at some point. Even if you’re visiting your old hometown, it doesn’t mean you know what to do. So do some research in advance. Yelp is now an option for Australians as well.
Prep Your Laptop for Travel
If you want to get a bit of work done while you’re travelling, or you just want to keep your laptop handy to watch movies, you should load up a few programs before you leave the house.
Get your files synced: It’s easy to forget that you might not have internet wherever you’re going, so if you’re using a cloud storage service like Dropbox, remember to pop open the laptop and let it sync before you leave. If you’re not already using one, we’ve broken down the main contenders to help you choose the right service.
Find Wi-Fi: iStumbler for Mac and WeFi for Windows can help you find an open Wi-Fi network wherever you are. Just be sure you prepare your computer for safely browsing on public Wi-Fi before you leave.
Get access to your home computer: There’s always a good chance you’ll forget something on your home computer, so it’s not a bad idea to set up a remote login on your home computer and your laptop before you go. You have plenty of options out there, but LogMeIn is one of the simplest to use.
Don’t Forget The Extra Gadgets
Depending on where you’re heading, a few additional gadgets might also help you out along the way. That includes an emergency battery charger for your laptop or smartphone that can help prevent your tech from going dry while on the road or a plane.
With all of your gadgets properly loaded up, you should be able to spend less time dealing with setting things up and more time ignoring whatever family argument is going on at the moment. Do you bring your gadgets along for the ride? What’s in your travel toolkit?