As you prepare to hit the friendly skies, roads or rails, keep these services, apps and gadgets in mind for easy travel.
Spring feels so good, and summer will be even better now that travel is top of mind for everyone, especially those with cabin fever. Whether you are traveling internationally or domestically, it is important to stay abreast and in tune with the latest tidbits, gadgets and apps for safe and efficient traveling.
The Easier Way
You can beat the long lines and get through security fast and effectively with TSA Precheck, CLEAR or Global Entry.
When it comes to TSA PreCheck, more than 200 airports and 81 airlines provide this avenue. With this service, travelers are able to experience a faster screening experience making it through security in just five minutes or less as advertised without being required to remove shoes, laptops, belts, or light jackets. By applying and paying the fee of $85, a membership with this program lasts for five years. However, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are only eligible for this program.
With the Global Entry program, TSA PreCheck is included. Global Entry, similar to TSA PreCheck, allows for an expedited security check and covers individuals traveling by land, air, and sea internationally. Unlike TSA PreCheck, where travelers are only covered by air.
CLEAR is another alternative. This biometrics company is quite different from Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. CLEAR attaches a member’s photo ID and uses biometrics to scan travelers’ eyes and faces to confirm who they are instead of traditional documents. CLEAR also allows travelers to upload proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 test results. Cost is $179 a year and well worth it given you get to skip long security lines and that is just one of the many features.
Travel Gadgets and Accessories
Another way to make travel more pleasurable is by having just the right gizmos and accessories. Popular travel items include Amazon’s Choice twist memory foam pillow, which provides great support to the neck, chin, and spine. It is always best to stay hydrated during your travels and if space is an issue, this collapsible water bottle by Hydaway is the way to go.
Like to hike? Another Amazon recommendation is the Venture Pal 40L Lightweight Packable Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack. It is marketed for the water-resistant nylon and double-layered bottom that allows hikers to hold more “stuff.”
Need to plug in while away? Especially when traveling internationally, this HAOZI Universal Travel Adapter, All-in-one International Power Adapter is the way to go. One adapter that allows you to plug in when visiting over 150 countries.
Always stay charged and ready with this portable charger from Anker. Compact and powerful, use it to charge your iPhone, Android or other smart devices while on the go. Adapters, chargers, cords, batteries —most likely you’re traveling with all of it. Stay organized with this tech organizer that is perfect for all of your on-go needs.
Visit the popular T3.com, where their mission is to showcase beautiful things. Great travel accessories featured include their HUAWEI E5577-321 Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. If you are looking for headphones, the NY Times best gear for travel pick is the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 or try the Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask, which should work well for a long international flight.
Lastly, compression socks may soon become an accessory you can’t leave home without if you travel a lot. These socks help increase blood circulation and reduce the risk of swelling during long flights. The good thing is that you have options when it comes to style, so choose wisely.
A Few Travel Apps to Know
Hopper– Promises to provide travelers with the lowest flights, hotels and rental cars and predict travel prices, instructing you on the best time to book.
Award Wallet – Manages your rewards by keeping track of frequent flyer’s miles, hotel, and credit card points.
XE Currency– Allows you to convert currency to the country you are visiting.
Trip Advisor – This popular resource does more than locate and rate hotels. It allows travelers to find great restaurants and attractions in the area as well.
ICE – (In Case of Emergency) – Gives lifesaving information allowing travelers to create a medical contact card without needing the password to unlock an individual’s phone. Emergency contacts can be stored, allergies, disease conditions, and more.
Remember the days when your phone bill could increase by hundreds of dollars when traveling abroad without the proper coverage? Finding the best plan is essential to your travels and staying connected. You may find the right option to fit your travel needs among Google Fi, T-Mobile, or Verizon.
For international travel Google Fi, serviced by Google, recommends their unlimited plus plan that allows data, calls and text within the U.S., Canada, and Mexico included at no extra cost. When elsewhere around the world, text only is included at no cost.
T-Mobile also has international perks. With their Magenta plans, travelers get unlimited texting and data in 210 countries and destinations. Overall, their plans have some commonalities, therefore, it is best to examine each one and make the right selection to meet your needs.
Verizon’s plans include international selections with limited minutes, messages and data. Also, they promote TravelPass, which is a plan that allows you to access domestic voice, text and data while vacationing in over 185 countries at the cost of $10 a day.
RELATED: Staying Healthy While Traveling
If your mobile provider is AT&T, you also have options. Whether traveling for personal enjoyment or business, select plans allow you to talk in over 210 countries for as low as $10 a day. A call plan for cruising is also available.
Free options that require you to be connected to Wi-Fi include WhatsApp for audio and video calls and group chats which is great when traveling in a group. Google Duo is also great for audio and video needs, keeping you connected with loved ones at all times.
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