Technology is changing all the time, and travel technology is finding new ways to keep up with the latest technological developments. We occasionally find some new travel tech hacks based on what's happening in the technology world. This time, Kim Komando, USA Today's technology guru, shared some of her favorite new travel tech hacks with the world, and we added a few of our own.
So before you decide to hit the road on another trip, consider some of these tips to help you have a great trip.
Before you leave, take photos of your important documents.
You'll need your important documents like your driver's license and passport with you, but it's also good to have a backup in case you lose them. In the past, we recommended that you take photocopies and then stash them somewhere safe in your luggage, as well as share a copy with a trusted family member or friend.
Nowadays, it's better to take photos on your phone and save them to the cloud, or even store them on a USB drive that you carry in a pocket or on your keychain.
Kim Komando recommends storing the photos in your Notes app if you have an iPhone, or even storing them on a Kindle, but I prefer using Evernote instead. For one thing, Evernote is cloud-based, so you can access it on someone else's computer, such as an Internet café or the embassy, plus you can get Evernote on every device, whether it's a phone, laptop, tablet, or e-reader.
On a side note, you can save those documents as PDF files and save a copy to your Apple iBook app, Android e-book app, or even your Kindle. Just make sure you download those to your device so you can have offline access to them. (You can also do this with Evernote.)
Get your digital driver's license
Some states are offering the ability for people to get digital licenses. Each state varies with its process, but having that license in a digital format is convenient and accessible, especially if you lose your physical driver's license.
Right now, you can get digital licenses in at least 17 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
Use digital tags to track your belongings
It's easy to lose things before or during your trip, so digital trackers make it easy to monitor your most important items. You don't need to track everything, like a pair of socks or your pants. But they can use your phone, laptop, tablet, wallet, luggage, backpack, and other things.
You can get a Tile Essentials 4-pack to use Bluetooth to track your keys, wallet, and many other items. Or you can try Apple AirTags for your iPhone, laptop, or iPad, or even your luggage.
Also, use Evernote or another note-taking app to create your packing list and then re-use it when you're repacking to make sure you didn't miss anything.
Digital boarding pass
We've said it many times before, but we'll say it again: Use digital boarding passes on your airline's mobile app. Skip the paper boarding passes because you can lose those, and you certainly want to avoid using the check-in kiosks at the airport, because they're some of the dirtiest surfaces in the entire airport.
Digital boarding passes have been a great tool for travelers, they provide less risk of being lost and accessible on multiple devices. You can lose your paper boarding pass, but not with the digital boarding pass.
You can also log into your airline's website and get the pass emailed to you. Then just pull it up on your email app and scan yourself in that way. Plus, if you can avoid checking any bags and just operate with a carry-on bag and a personal item, you can skip the front-of-the-airport check-in, cruise through security (they'll scan the e-pass on your phone), and then onto the plane (they'll also scan your e-pass).
And if you have an iPhone, you can also add your boarding pass to your Apple Wallet.
For Android users, you can sync Google Pay and Gmail accounts to add boarding passes to the app. Open Google Pay and click the three bars, then click Settings --> General, then go to Gmail imports and click Connect to Gmail.
Carry a portable hotspot.
This one isn't on Kim Komando's list, but it's on ours: If you're going to be somewhere that's going to have spotty wifi, or they're going to charge you for a one-day pass, consider using a portable wifi hotspot. Depending on your wireless carrier, you can either turn your phone into a hotspot (helpful if you have an unlimited data plan), or you can pick up a portable hotspot at your local mobile dealer.
Or if you really want to rock out the travel tech hacks, consider the Skyroam Wifi Hotspot. It works in over 130 countries, and you can pay by the GB, by the month, or even get their $99/month unlimited data plan.
What are some of your favorite travel tech hacks? Do you have a gadget you carry, or a special secret tip you always do, like taking photos of your important documents? Share your ideas with us.