In the spring of 2017, my brother, Ed, studied abroad in London. When his four-month long hiatus came to an end, he came back to America with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and travel expertise.
Ed has always been resourceful. Constantly searching for the next best thing, he values convenience, speed, and efficiency. He is actually the one who taught me about most of the travel tips I know today.
Whether you are looking for ease with ticketing, navigating, or dining, your answers literally lie at your fingertips. Traveling has become so much easier because of the tiny device you carry in your hand every day.
In today’s world, there really is no need to print your plane or train ticket. This is all thanks to mobile ticketing.
Mobile ticketing allows customers to order, pay, and validate their tickets on a mobile device. This isn’t just for travel services, but for concerts and performances as well.
Have you ever noticed the Wallet app on your iPhone? That app doesn’t exist solely to store your credit card information for Apple Cash. The app will store boarding passes and concert tickets for you, too!
If you have an iPhone, opt for the the mobile ticketing option next time you book a plane ticket. Most airlines also allow you to check-in to flights 24 hours in advance online. All you will need is your confirmation number and last name. Enter this information on your airline’s website and you will be all set. Definitely take advantage of this to avoid long lines before you even reach security. You may receive an email about mobile check-in, but if not, check the airline’s website for an online check-in option.
When you check-in on your phone, you will be given an option to add the pass to your Passbook. Your Passbook is also known as the Wallet app. From there, you will be prompted to add the pass to your wallet. Once your boarding pass is saved in your wallet, you can access it at any time by opening up the Passbook on your phone. A few hours before your flight, a notification will appear on your lock screen. Simply swipe left on the notification to view your ticket, scan your phone at the gate, and find your seat. Once this notification appears on your lock screen, it will not disappear until you manually turn it off. Meaning, even if you access your pass before you need it, you will still be able to access the pass again! To turn off the notification, go into your passbook, click the desired pass, click the “i” button in the bottom right corner and turn off “Suggest on Lock Screen.” Androids also have a Wallet app that works the same way, so you can utilize this feature no matter what smartphone you have.
With this trick, you won’t have to scramble to find a printer and you won’t have to panic about misplacing your ticket!
My iPhone has become my on-hand navigation system. When my parents try to tell me directions, I respond with, “Don’t worry, I’ll just look it up on my phone.” Thanks to navigation apps, as long as I have service, I am never lost.
While I grew up with the GPS, my parents are still used to hard copy maps. For the longest time, my parents didn’t understand how to find their way on the Maps app. In frustration, my brother and I would yell, “Just follow the blue dot!” Now, being older and wiser, I understand Ed and I should have elaborated more. In an effort to make up for my inability to teach my parents how to use this easy form of navigation, I’ll share this nifty trick with you.
The most important thing to remember when using the Maps app is that the blue dot you see on the screen is you! When you move, the dot moves. So, if you are uncertain which direction to walk in, just start walking one way and see where the dot moves. If the dot moves towards your final destination, then you are heading the right way. If not, turn around accordingly. Maps also gives you step-by-step directions, so you don’t have to just rely on the blue dot. When you enter a specific location, Maps will then give you directions both visually and written. The app will tell you to make a right turn in 500 feet and make a left in 20 miles.
The Maps app can also be used to search shopping centers, gas stations, restaurants, and other general destinations. If you don’t have a specific location in mind but are looking for a gas station nearby, just search “Gas Stations,” and a list of local stations will appear. Click whichever location you prefer and you will get directions.
This app is also useful because it provides different traveling options. If you are walking to a location, you can ask for specific walking directions. The app will also give you the average time it takes to both walk and drive to your desired destination so you can plan accordingly.
In the summer of 2017, my family drove to Chicago to visit Ed during the final days of his internship. After living in the windy city for a few months, my brother was determined to dine at a new restaurant for dinner one night.
After a long day of river tours, sightseeing, and shopping, we found ourselves in the middle of the city searching for a place to eat. Without even taking a breath, Ed pulled out his cell phone and opened the Yelp app. He searched for nearby restaurants and within seconds was scrolling through a list of results.
“This place has five stars and solid reviews. Follow me!” he exclaimed. Just a few blocks away, we stumbled on the establishment and gave our name to the hostess. We later sat down and had one of the best meals of the trip.
Thanks to my brother’s tech-savvy skills and today’s technology, finding a respectable restaurant in an unfamiliar city was a breeze. And, with a simple free download on your smartphone, you can do the same.
Start by downloading the Yelp app on either iPhone or Android. When you open the app, you will be asked to enable location services. This allows the app to find your location and give nearby restaurants, so be sure to click “Allow.” From there, click “Restaurants,” and then search. You will be given a list of places close to you. You can also filter your search to match the criteria you are looking for. Choose your cuisine, average price point, or whether or not you want outdoor seating. You will then see a tailored list of options and below each restaurant is the number of stars based on reviews. Click a restaurant that interests you to explore the menu, read the reviews, and make an informed decision.
This app is useful because it takes the uncertainty out of choosing a place to eat. Download Yelp and you will have a good idea of the type of dining you are committing to before you even get seated.
Next time you travel, don’t forget to utilize your cell phone. These digital tips and tricks will help you navigate a foreign place with ease.
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