Mrs. Tech and I have delayed our 10-year anniversary vacation a couple of months in order to set sail to Honduras and Mexico for 5 nights with fellow couples for the Black and Married With Kids Cruise organized by my friends and Power Couple Lamar and Ronnie Tyler.
In case you’re wondering we are NOT taking our kids #Turnt
There are 3 things I do NOT do when I go on a major vacation like a cruise 1) Diet & exercise 2) Work 3) Be online. Even though I will keep my online interaction to a bare minimum, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t use technology to get organized before and enjoy my time during our cruise.
Instead of keeping all my secrets to myself, here are 6 tech tools you can use to help you make the most of your next vacation.
If you’re familiar with me my and my go-to service for just about everything, then there is no surprise that I use Evernote for my main place to store/sync trip information.
This is just a short list of trip stuff I use Evernote for: Save important correspondence with travel agents. Collect all my travel documents (airline/cruise boarding passes). Save pictures of luggage tags. Make trip tasks and to-do lists. Clip random information about our destination from the web. I can also share that information with Mrs. Tech, just in case she wants to keep tabs on our plans. When I do need to recall something important, I can pull up all that information via Evernote from my smartphone.
I do save all of my travel confirmation documents in Evernote, but I use TripIt to automatically convert my confirmations into an easy to follow itinerary, complete with confirmation numbers, addresses, phone numbers, maps & directions, and weather forecasts, all on one web and mobile app.
Once I get a confirmation email for my airline, hotel, shuttle, and cruise plans, I simply forward them to TripIt and let it do all the work creating the itinerary right on my phone. I can also manually add events, meetings, etc. to my itinerary so everything is in one place. Mrs. Tech is listed as a “traveler” on TripIt so she can see what’s going on (so she doesn’t have to ask me every 10 minutes…Heyyy Bae).
SurfEasy Mobile VPN
I’m probably lying about never being online during my vacation. I’m sure there is something I will want to look up on my phone while we are out at the hotel or while docked. I won’t be using my own data plan internationally because my name isn’t BrothaRich, so I will use every opportunity to use some free WiFi to learn more about the area or upload photos to show everyone how much fun we’re having.
Smart, but dangerous as now hackers can very easily set up shop and siphon personal information from devices connected to free (and open) WiFi spots provided in places like airports, hotels, and your popular coffee shop (rhymes with Starbucks).
An easy way protect your personal data while traveling is by using a secure VPN (Virtual Private Network) that acts as a middleman between the open WiFi and the data on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Services like SurfEasy can keep your data safe and secure on your device while you browse the web. SurfEasy is free for 500MB up to 5 devices, and paid plans start at $5 bucks/month for unlimited browsing.
MOTA Portable Battery Stick
Since I know I’m lying about staying connected when I travel, I atleast want to make sure my smartphone has enough juice to last while I take a ton of pictures to
immediately eventually upload to Social Media.
Since I don’t like to carry a bunch of stuff when I travel, the MOTA Portable Battery Stick is small enough to fit in my shorts pocket, but have enough juice to charge my smartphone when I get down to the dreaded 1% indication, and doubles as an LED flashlight because…McGyver. The MOTA Battery Stick also comes with a ton of adapters so you can charge just about any small gadget (smartphone, camera, Bluetooth earbud) or tablet.
Grid-It Gadget Organizer
I said I don’t like to get online (but probably will) I never said anything about bringing all my tech. With all my gadgets come all my gadgets cables, connections, and other accessories which makes leaving room in my suitcase for duty-free
alcohol cigars souvenirs, shopping swag, and other travel knick-knacks a problem.
The Grid-It Gadget organizer is a pouch that comes in different sizes that include straps that help you organize all of your small to medium-sized gadgets, as well as all their cables and accessories. You just don’t have to use it for tech. Ladies can also use Grid-It to organize all their makeup and beauty supplies.
StickNFind Bluetooth Tracker Stickers
Tourists (no matter how hard you try to NOT look like a tourist) are easy marks for professional pick-pockets. I imagine there’s nothing like filing police reports, cancelling credit cards, and tracking down lost/stolen luggage and valuables…while on vacation.
StickNFind Bluetooth trackers are little devices about the size of a quarter that you can put in your purse/bag/luggage or stick to your gadgets that can alert you if they leave your proximity. With the associated app, you can get notifications on your smartphone just in case your stuff grows legs, as well as activate an audible tone with a radar on your phone’s display to help you find your lost stuff.
Do you have some go-to apps, services, or gadgets you use while on vacation? Let a Brotha know in the comments section
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