Using Technology to Enhance Travel

There is something so satisfying for older adults about taking a vacation later in life, after years of hard work and accumulated experience. Now that the kids are grown and you have fewer responsibilities, this is the time to get out and see the places you’ve always imagined.

airport, traveler, luggage, backpack, computer, laptop, cellphone, smartphone, tourist, adult, entertainment(Airport Traveler using Laptop & Cellphone Photo: Bruce Mars via Unsplash)

These days, traveling can be easier and more enjoyable if you use new technology and apps to help you along the way. Before your next trip, make sure to take stock of the devices that you’ll need to enjoy the journey, along with the applications that can help you to stay secure and healthy during a dream getaway.

Tech for Fun

While most of the fun of vacation should be having new experiences and seeing the amazing beauty our world has to offer, there will be times when technology can fill in the gaps in entertainment during your trip.

Depending on where you are traveling, you may have an extended airplane trip. When you aren’t getting some shut-eye, you can amuse yourself while you’re on the way to your destination. To do so, make sure to bring a tablet, e-reader, or cell phone with you to read a favorite book or catch up on a TV show, if the airline entertainment isn’t enjoyable.

It’s also a great idea to bring your laptop along if space allows. Many smaller laptops are about 13 inches and can fit snugly within your carry-on bag. You can do almost anything on your computer when you are connected, from checking on reservations for your lodgings or car rental, to looking up the weather at your destination so you know what to wear. Your computer can also provide the chance to use Skype and email to keep up with your family, without using data on your cellphone plan.

Cellphone Usage

Your cellphone is a great tool during your travels, especially if you can connect to Wi-Fi, or if you have travel data coverage. While you are cruising around the countryside, you can use the apps it contains, like Google Maps to get from place to place. Instagram will let you post awesome photos of your adventures. A social media app like Facebook Messenger allows you to keep contact with your house sitter or other people at home. While you are waiting in line for tourist attractions, you can use fun apps like Words With Friends to pass the time. Just don’t forget to pay attention to your travel companions!

Senior travelers beware: If you don’t have enough data coverage on your phone while traveling, then you’ll want to limit your data use. Download offline versions of apps you might want to use while away, like mapping tools and games.

Want to ensure you don’t exceed your cellular data plan and get a nasty surprise from cellphone usage fees when the vacation is over? You can use either airplane mode (no connectivity at all), or disable your cellular data so that you can still receive/make calls and texts (charges will depend on your individual cellular carrier and plan). 

Health and Fitness Tech

We know that vacation is a time where you overindulge and go all out with food, drinks, and lying on the beach, but it is a smart idea for older adults to keep an eye on their health too, and tech can help you to do that. For instance, if you are traveling to a different time zone or country, then you may experience jet lag or trouble sleeping. New apps like Prizz can help you get the rest you need by providing soothing sounds that help you to achieve a restful monophasic cycle of eight hours of sleep.

While we love to try new delicacies while we travel abroad, it is also important that you watch your weight, and tech can help seniors there as well. With an app like Noom, you can plan your meals so you don’t eat too much. Use a BMI calculator to set goals for yourself for the weight you hope to be at the end of the month, and as you track your meals, you can decide where you want to eat and how much.

Some of us like to use vacation as an excuse to lie around the hotel room all day, but it is important to fit in physical exercise when you get the chance. Not only will doing so keep you in good shape, by hiking and touring the city, you can also see amazing sights that you won’t always see on TV.

A great way to stay motivated on vacation is a smartwatch like Fitbit or Apple Watch, that not only tracks your progress, but also sends you gentle reminders to get moving after long durations of inactivity. These great gadgets could be just what you need to get out the door and see what your vacation destination can really offer.

App Security

While exploring new destinations is exciting, it is always possible to get lost, have an item stolen, or face another unfortunate situation, so use tech to keep you safe during your travels.

To aid in this regard and to help you get around, install a translation app on your phone (if it’s not already pre-installed). You can find many translation app options on your phone’s app store. These are great because you can not only type in wording you see on menus and street signs and get a quick translation, but you can often speak into the phone or have the person you are talking to speak, and the app will automatically translate what they say.

If you are traveling alone or visiting a place you have never been to before, then you might be interested in an app like BSafe, which tracks your location during your travels and allows your family to see where you are at all times (handy for seniors AND youngsters). If you need help, the app sends out an alarm to specific people on a list you create, so they can come to the rescue in times of need. 

While technology can be very helpful during your travels, apps and electronic devices can be hacked by cybercriminals, so you must keep security in mind in that regard also. While many international regulations are being discussed and implemented to protect tech users around the world, you will need to make an individual effort to protect your data. Make sure that every app you use has a strong password that uses a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Be cautious about using public Wi-Fi. Hackers can create fake networks that are not easy to spot, and if you connect, a criminal could have instant access to your device. 

Tip: Always ask an employee of the establishment you are at for the correct network, BEFORE you connect.

As you can see, technology can be the best friend of the older adult and senior traveler. By trying the apps discussed above and other helpful tools you find, you’ll have a more entertaining trip, while staying safe and healthy in the process.

You may also enjoy Tips for Safe Travel During the Holidays

*This article is for general informational purposes only. 50+ World does endorse any product or service providers, nor does it receive remuneration from them. Obtain expert advice – financial, legal, medical, industry-specific, etc. – from qualified practitioners about your unique situation.*

Frankie Wallace

Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. With an English degree from the University of Montana, Frankie writes about a variety of topics around health and lifestyle. In her spare time, she can be found gardening or cuddling with her cat Casper.

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