You’ve been dreaming of (and saving for) this moment all year, but before you and the family head out on your big summer adventure, you’d be wise to use a tech trick or two to make sure your trip goes smoothly.
1. BEAT JET LAG
Does jet lag leave you needing a holiday after your holiday? Combat that tired, groggy feeling with the Jet Lag Rooster calculator. You’ll need to remember to fill it in a few days before you travel but it will give you a plan to help you get back to normal ASAP.
Just input your destination, what you have planned how long you’re staying and who’s travelling with you, and you get a checklist of what to bring, right down to how many pairs of socks you’ll need.
I like Packpoint (free for iOS and Android), which also pulls in local weather reports, so you won’t be caught out in a storm.
Luggage is getting smarter, too – Bluesmart’s suitcases, around £325, can talk to your phone through an app, so you can see where they are (in case they get lost in transit) and lock them remotely.
They also have a built-in scale and battery pack, so you can avoid excess baggage costs and charge any gadgets you’ve brought with you.
3. SCOPE YOUR SURROUNDINGSDon’t travel without looking up your hotel/villa/campsite on Google Street View first. This gives a 360° view, so you can get your bearings and plot a route to the nearest shops, the beach and so on.
And if you’re going abroad, download a map of the area to your phone while you’re still in the UK – then you won’t run up a huge data bill or be caught out by a lack of internet access.
The Maps.me app (free for iOS and Android) has detailed free maps that can be downloaded beforehand, covering everyting from big cities to tiny tropical islands.
4. BE ENTERTAINEDTravelling by plane or train? Invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, like the excellent new QC35s from Bose (above), which use a microphone to identify the noise around you and emit a signal to cancel out the sound. They’re best at battling constant noise, such as the drone in an aircraft cabin, but will need charging beforehand.
An e-reader is another must – lighter and easier to read than a tablet, its battery lasts weeks, not hours, and it can hold a library’s worth of books while taking up less space than a single paperback.
We love the Kindle Paperwhite, £110 (top). It lets you access more than four million books, lasts up to six weeks on a single charge and is easy to read in bright sunlight or under the covers.
And don’t forget an extra battery pack, which will keep your gadgets powered up while you’re on the move.
4. DITCH THE PHRASEBOOKS
Who needs ‘Tricolore‘ or language tapes when you have Google Translate?
Enter words by typing, speaking or holding up your camera against written text, and it will decipher them instantly. It can interpret between 90 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu.
5. AVOID ROAMING CHARGESThese will be scrapped in Europe from June 2017, but until then, avoid big bills with a roaming add-on from your carrier. This package of data, texts and minutes to use abroad costs extra, but ultimately saves you money.
If you’re a Three customer, check which countries fall under its Feel At Home policy, which lets you use your UK allowances at no extra cost.
Another option is to buy a Pay-As-You-Go SIM card in the country you’re visiting, or to rely on free Wi-Fi hotspots that you can seek out using apps like JiWire’s WiFi Finder (free for Android), which covers 144 countries.
Just don’t use these open networks to look at bank statements or other sensitive information, as they can be prone to hackers.
Heading off soon? Check out my five best holiday gadgets. AmyTweet