Whether you are traveling for work or for pleasure, it is always good to be prepared. And let’s be real, we can’t function without our smartphones and apps. I have been traveling quite a bit lately (for fun) and I have some tips to share.

1. Plan ahead

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By plan ahead, I really mean download your apps ahead of time in the comfort of your own home WiFi, or at least using your own data. Nothing sucks more than needing an app to hurry up and download when you are on a tight schedule…or at 2 AM after a late night dance in a city you have never been to before. I went to New Orleans for the first time this past April and before I left the cushy comfort of my home WiFi I had downloaded and set up Uber and two apps for NOLA public transportation. That leads me to tip two…

2. Research

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Several cities have their own apps, especially for public transportation. I was really happy to find that New Orleans had an app that let me track when and where I could get on a bus or trolley as well as buy passes digitally, because I rarely have cash or change.

You know what else you should research? The ratings on any app you download. Make sure they are from a reputable source. This is just a good practice before you download any kind of app.

3. Phone finding apps

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Being in a new city can be distracting and you might accidentally misplace your phone. Or, heavens forbid, it might get stolen. Apple has the “Find My iPhone” app which allows you to locate your phone on a map, play a loud sounds, lock your screen and display a message, or even remotely wipe your phone’s contents. This of course would need to be set up in advance and would require another device with which to access iCloud.com to locate your device.

Google has a similar app called Android Device Manager that also lets you locate Androids associated with your Google account, reset the lock screen PIN and even erase phone data if necessary. And these two apps are by no means the only apps available. Look around your app stores. Do research. Pick the app that works best for you.

4. Safety

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Ladies (and gentlemen), please be safe when you are traveling. I have been lucky enough to always have amazing people to travel with, and I have yet to have to walk anywhere questionable in the dark by myself. There are apps for your safety as well.

VithU is an app that lets you skip the dialing process by pressing the power button on your phone twice to send out emergency messages to a set of contacts as well as you GPS coordinates every two minutes. Another app, Watch Over Me, will track you via GPS for a predetermined amount of time, after which if you have not checked in, it will alert your contacts. Plus, it has an emergency shake function that turns on your phone’s camera to record what is happening. Once again, there are so many other apps out there to choose from. Look for one that you feel comfortable using.

5. Extra battery packs

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Okay, so this isn’t really a tip about an app, but it is the most important tip, because those apps need power to work. Just trust me. I can think of one distinct situation where my phone was about to die and I was so relieved that I had a backup battery pack I was able to charge it with. The main thing to remember here is to make sure you have the spare battery fully charged before you leave your house or hotel.

Erin Osborne

Lead Designer at SAC
A graphic design mastermind with a strong background in print design, Erin never backs down from a project. She is also an avid tabletop gamer, a fledgling dungeon master and, most importantly, a swing and blues dances enthusiast.

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