Best travel gadgets for 2022 according to tech experts.

Best travel gadgets for 2022 according to tech experts.

By Lokal Team

Essential Tech Tips for Sustainable Travelers

Stay connected and safe during your sustainable travels with these essential tech tips, including using local SIM cards, translation apps, and securing your data.

Use Local SIM Cards for Better Connectivity and Affordability

When planning a trip abroad, one of the most efficient ways to stay connected and save money is by using a local SIM card. By switching to a local SIM card, travelers can reap several benefits that contribute to an enhanced travel experience.

Cost Savings on Roaming Charges

Using a local SIM card during your travels can significantly reduce your mobile expenses. International carriers often charge high fees for roaming data, which can accumulate quickly if you're using your phone frequently. Local SIM cards, on the other hand, typically offer more reasonable rates, allowing you to stay connected without overspending.

Improved Communication with Locals and Fellow Travelers

Another advantage of using a local SIM card is the ease of communication it provides. When you switch to a new SIM card, you receive a new local phone number, which can be helpful when making plans with local residents or keeping in touch with your travel companions. Having a local number can be particularly beneficial if you're traveling in a group or meeting up with friends or relatives in the area.

Access to Local Services and Apps

Switching to a local SIM card can also grant you access to location-specific services and apps. Many countries have their own app stores and services that may not be accessible with a foreign SIM card. By using a local SIM card, you can take advantage of these unique offerings, making your trip more convenient and enjoyable.

Enhanced Security and Data Protection

Using a local SIM card can provide an added layer of security for your personal information. When traveling abroad, you're often connected to unfamiliar networks and systems, which can make your phone more susceptible to hacking and other security threats. By utilizing a local SIM card, you can benefit from the security measures and protocols in place in the country you're visiting, helping to protect your data and maintain your privacy. In summary, using a local SIM card while traveling abroad offers numerous advantages such as cost savings on roaming charges, improved communication with locals and fellow travelers, access to local services and apps, and enhanced security and data protection. By considering a local SIM card for your next trip, you can make the most of your sustainable travel experience.

Translation Apps and how to use them

If you're planning to travel abroad, one of the most valuable tools you can have in your arsenal is a good translation app. With a translation app, you can quickly and easily translate signs, menus, and other written materials, which can make your trip much more convenient and enjoyable. But with so many different translation apps on the market, how do you choose the right one for you? In this post, we'll go over some of the key features to look for in a translation app, as well as some of the most popular options available.

One of the key features to look for in a translation app is visual translation capabilities. This means that the app can use your phone's camera to scan and translate written text in real-time. This can be especially useful for translating signs, menus, and other written materials that you come across during your trip. Google Translate is one of the most popular options for visual translation, and it's available for both iOS and Android. Other popular visual translation apps include Baidu Translate and Microsoft Translate.

Another feature to look for in a translation app is the ability to listen to and translate spoken phrases or conversations. This can be useful for communicating with locals who don't speak your language, or for translating announcements and other spoken content. Some of the most popular spoken translation apps include Google Translate, SayHi, iTranslate, and VoiceTra. These apps allow you to speak into your phone, and they will automatically translate your words into the desired language.

In addition to visual and spoken translation capabilities, you should also look for an app that offers a wide range of languages. The more languages the app supports, the more useful it will be during your travels. Some apps, like Google Translate, support over 100 languages, while others may only support a handful. Make sure to check the app's language support before you download it to make sure it will be useful for your specific needs.

One final feature to look for in a translation app is offline support. This means that the app can work without an internet connection, which can be especially useful when you're traveling in an area with limited or unreliable internet access. Some apps, like Google Translate, offer offline support for a limited number of languages, while others may require an internet connection to work. Be sure to check the app's offline capabilities before you download it to make sure it will be useful for your trip.

Overall, a good translation app can be an invaluable tool for travelers. Whether you need to translate written text, spoken phrases, or entire conversations, there's an app out there that can help and I personally recommend Google Translate for that task. With the right app, you can make your trip more convenient, enjoyable, and stress-free, no matter where you're traveling.

Staying Connected During Your Sustainable Tourism Adventure

Learn how to find the perfect balance of connectivity and disconnection during your sustainable tourism adventure!

Connectivity Options for Sustainable Tourism Destinations

When planning a sustainable tourism trip, one vital factor to consider is the availability of wifi and cell coverage at your chosen destination. This is especially crucial if you need to stay connected for work or personal reasons or wish to share your memorable experiences with friends and family back home. At Lokal Travel, we offer comprehensive information about the connectivity options for each lodging and activity in our listings. This includes details about wifi and cell coverage, allowing you to make an informed decision about where to stay and what to do. Keep in mind that some locations might have limited connectivity, so it's essential to check the "Connectivity" section of our listings before making a reservation. But, it's also important to remember that sometimes the best part of a vacation is not being reachable.

Custom Trips and Connectivity Considerations

For tailor-made trips, it's also crucial to inquire about connectivity options with your planner. If staying connected is vital for you, make sure to inform your planner, and they will provide you with more detailed information about the availability of wifi and cell coverage in the areas you plan to visit. But we also encourage you to use the limited connectivity as a way to disconnect and immerse yourself in the culture around you.

Balancing Connectivity and Disconnection on Your Sustainable Travel Adventure

Ultimately, the need for connectivity during your sustainable tourism trip depends on your personal preferences and requirements. Some travelers may be content with disconnecting from their professional and social media lives, while others may need to post updates and photos regularly. By reviewing the connectivity information on our listings and consulting with your planner about custom trips, you can ensure the ideal balance of connectivity and disconnection for your sustainable travel experience.

Eco-Friendly Portable Chargers for Sustainable Travelers

When embarking on a sustainable tourism adventure, it's crucial to stay connected with your mobile devices while minimizing your environmental impact. Having a reliable and eco-friendly portable charger can make all the difference, ensuring you are always able to access essential information like trip planners, QR codes for boarding passes, and eco-conscious transportation options. In this section, we will explore the best green portable chargers to keep your devices powered and your travels sustainable.

There's a variety of environmentally-friendly portable chargers available to suit different needs and budgets. Some chargers rely on traditional power sources, while others harness solar energy – an excellent option for off-grid adventurers. When comparing chargers, take note of their capacity, measured in "milliamp-hours" (mAh). Higher capacity chargers may cost more, but they will charge your devices faster and more efficiently.

When choosing an eco-friendly portable charger, consider the compatibility of its charging ports. For example, some chargers feature USB-A ports, which work with numerous devices, while others offer USB-C ports for faster, more efficient charging. Additionally, consider the charger's size, weight, and any extra features, such as built-in cables or multiple charging ports, to suit your sustainable travel needs.

Search Amazon for Powerbanks

Be wary of "free wifi"

If you're traveling, it's important to be wary of "free wifi" SSIDs that you come across. While it may be tempting to connect to these access points to save on data costs, it's important to remember that they can be dangerous. In many cases, these "free wifi" SSIDs are set up by scammers who are looking to steal your personal information, such as your credit card details.

When you connect to one of these access points, the scammer can intercept your traffic and route it through their own code. This allows them to capture your username, first and last name, and other sensitive information that you enter into websites. In some cases, you may even see a warning in your browser about the certificate of the site you're trying to visit. If you see this warning, do not skip past it. This warning is telling you that the access point is pretending to be the site you want to visit, but it cannot demonstrate that it is the real site due to an incorrect certificate.

To avoid falling victim to these scams, it's important to avoid connecting to "free wifi" SSIDs while you're traveling. If you need wifi, look for access points that are provided by your hotel, cafe, or other trusted establishments. If you're unsure whether an access point is safe, ask the staff at your hotel or cafe for more information.

In addition to avoiding "free wifi" SSIDs, you may also want to consider purchasing an in-country SIM card. This will give you access to a local data plan, which can be more affordable and convenient than using wifi. Plus, you won't need to worry about finding and connecting to "free wifi" hotspots, which can be time-consuming and very risky.

In conclusion, "free wifi" SSIDs can be dangerous, and it's important to avoid them while you're traveling. To stay safe, look for wifi access points provided by trusted establishments, and consider purchasing an in-country SIM card for more affordable and convenient access to data. By taking these steps, you can protect yourself from scammers and enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip.

GPS Pre-download

If you're planning to travel and want to save on data usage, one useful tip is to download GPS data ahead of time. This will allow you to navigate using your phone's GPS even when you don't have an internet connection.

To download GPS data, open Google Maps and search for the location you want to visit, such as your hotel or a local attraction. Then, click the "..." in the upper right corner of the screen and select "Download offline map." This will allow you to zoom out and download a larger area of the map. Once you've selected the area you want to download, tap "Download" in the lower right corner of the screen.

After you've downloaded the map, you can use your phone's GPS to navigate even when you don't have an internet connection. This is especially useful if you're traveling to an area with limited or unreliable connectivity. And even if you're not traveling, you can use this feature to save on data usage when you're using your phone for navigation around your city. Simply download your entire city, and you can use your phone's GPS without using data.

It's important to note that offline maps can become outdated over time. To ensure that you have the most accurate data available, be sure to update your offline maps at least once a month. To do this, simply open Google Maps, click the "..." in the upper right corner, and select "Update offline maps." This will allow you to download the latest data for your saved maps, so you can be sure you're using the most up-to-date information.

In conclusion, downloading GPS data ahead of time is a useful tip for saving on data usage while traveling.

Some is better than None...

When traveling to a foreign country, it's important to show respect for the local culture and language. Even if you only know a few phrases in the local language, it's better to make an effort to speak it than to expect everyone to speak English to you. By showing that you're willing to learn and speak the local language, you'll be seen as a respectful and considerate visitor.

Learning even a few phrases in the local language can make a big difference in how you're received by the locals. Basic phrases like "hello," "my name is," and "thank you" can go a long way in showing respect and making connections with the people you meet. And if you want to learn more than just the basics, there are plenty of resources available, such as apps like Duo Lingo or YouTube videos with common travel phrases.

In addition to showing respect and making connections, speaking the local language can also be practical. For example, if you need directions or help with something, being able to ask in the local language will make it easier for people to understand you and provide assistance. And if you're not confident in your language skills, using tools like Google Translate can help you communicate more effectively.

In conclusion, showing respect for the local culture and language is an important part of being a good visitor when traveling abroad. By making an effort to learn and speak the local language, you'll be seen as a respectful and considerate traveler, and you'll be able to connect with the locals more easily. So don't be afraid to brush up on your language skills

FireTV for hotels

When you're away from home, being able to catch up on YouTube subscriptions or HBO/Netflix/Showtime/Disney+/Amazon programs is a great way to unwind and feel more "at home." Anymore, most hotel rooms have flatscreen TVs with HDMI inputs and also have WIFI. So, just bring your Amazon FireTV stick, USB power cable & remote. It takes very little space in your bag, but you can bring a piece of home with you as you travel. Rather than watching random shows on what the hotel/motel has available, you can keep up with your favorite shows. By having that sense of familiarity, you might be able to cancel out the well-known "FNE" (First Night Effect where researchers have recognized for over 50 years that the first night in a new location will result in bad sleep since half of your brain stays awake to monitor surroundings). By bringing more "home" with you, you'll hopefully be able to sleep better by tricking your brain to not see things as totally new.

Sometimes there are content restrictions, where if you're in Kenya, you cannot access your Hulu content. Your FireStick can have a VPN installed on it and allow you to connect to any service you want appearing to be from any country you want. NordVPN is a popular option, but there are many!

Amazon FireTV Stick 4K with TV Controls Amazon FireTV Stick Light (not 4K, no TV Controls)

Be reasonable with airline workers

In the event of a travel hiccup, it's crucial to remember that the person behind the counter is not responsible, and has likely been dealing with negative reactions from upset passengers.

During a winter break from my freshman year, I was flying back home for the festivities. The plane that my friends and I were due to catch had a malfunctioning radar, which is housed in the plane's "nose." It's a relief that this issue was identified on the ground, rather than mid-flight - cheers to the diligent mechanics who ensure our safety!

This situation, however, brought about a logistical inconvenience as passengers had to be re-routed through other airlines or provided complimentary hotel accommodations.

Upon reaching the counter, my friends and I addressed the airline staff courteously, expressing empathy for the unwarranted blame they had been receiving and appreciating the diligence of the mechanics. We even offered her some sweets and a coffee, which she politely declined.

We inquired about any slim-chance alternatives that she might be withholding from other passengers, fearing their backlash if things didn't pan out. To our surprise, there were indeed options she hadn't disclosed to anyone else. She suggested a slight possibility of us catching a flight with a competitor airline as standby passengers, trusting that we wouldn't react negatively if it didn't materialize.

Incredibly, all six of us managed to secure spots on that standby flight! The lesson here is that airline workers are humans who respond to kindness and respect. You might even be privy to a long-shot solution if they trust you to handle potential disappointment gracefully. They are people, after all. Engaging them with empathy, even if it's just to optimize your own chances, is simply a good way to conduct oneself.

Make sure you get on WiFi when you can!

If you're on iPhone or Android, if you've set yourself up correctly, your photos are being backed up via iCloud or Google Photos or both (or other options provided by Samsung, etc)! If you have your phone set to the WiFi of the hotel, make sure when you connect that you see that your pictures are transferring (on iPhone open the Photos app and at the bottom it shows your status of new pics to upload). With some mobile settings, they will ONLY transfer while plugged in.

If you get an in-country SIM card with a lot of data, then you can use that for sure. But be careful with your usage because if you run out of data while you're needing to use Google Maps to find the nearest bus stop and see when it's arriving, that's typically higher priority than having your photos backed up while away from wifi and you could have just used WiFi at the hotel to do photo/video transfers.

Let's say you do 4 days of a 7 day adventure then lose your phone, it was stolen in town, destroyed or lost, if you've done everything to have your photos backed up, at least you'd have the memories you'd captured. The phone is replaceable, the photos aren't.

Use Airplane Mode when no service

If you're going on a long hike or you're in a very remote area and you're not expecting to have any service, putting your phone into "Airplane Mode" prevents your device from using battery to both run the antennae and processor looking for a signal. This is important for any time you're going to be away from cell towers for an extended period. Lokal offers many trips where cell coverage is weak or not at all!

When outside of cell coverage, your phone starts to kind of freak out. During this mode, it continuously scans for a cell signal to get connected again. This requires that battery is used to power the antennae at full power as well as run the code that searches through all of the possible frequencies to connect with and it can severely reduce your battery life!

You can go from having your phone power off within 8 hours to lasting for several days when it's in airplane mode and no longer looking for a tower.

Just remember once you're back to civilization/cell-coverage, turn your Airplane Mode off.

AirTags or Tile

Tile has been around for years. Essentially, it's a small piece of plastic with a battery, some electronics that use very low energy Bluetooth transmissions. Any time another Tile user passes by a Tile that is away from it's owner, it's logged and the owner can see where it is on a map. As the owner, you can also make them make a sound and locate them when they are nearby but you can't see them.

You can use Tiles for anything! Your car keys, your pet, your wallet, but with travelers it's used for luggage!

Apple came out with a competing product in April of 2021 and if you have an iPhone, I would definitely recommend AirTags over Tile. Tile has actually filed a suit that AirTags are anti-competitive since it works with so many millions more iPhones where as their service only works if the user passing by your luggage also has their Tile app installed. Think of how many hundreds of millions of iPhone users there are and what a tiny percentage of users of iPhones or Androids have Tile installed! If someone passes by your luggage, and they have location sharing on, it will report back to Apple that user's location when they passed by it and you'll know where your luggage is!

View Tile's Amazon Store View AirTags 1 pack or 4 pack View AirTags and related products on Amazon

USB Data Blockers! Protect yourself from "juice jacking"

Here's something many travelers never consider because they don't know that it's possible! Be wary of free USB charging! (This does not apply to Chi/wireless charging)

Malicious users (which there are many who prey on touristy areas!) can give you a convenient option to charge your device but actually they're stealing your data and even installing malware on your device without you knowing. It's not yet super wide-spread, but is a growing issue.

Here's a Norton Security article about Juice Jacking.

There's a very simple fix, use one of these to block the data wires of USB cables so that only power is transferred.

Be sure to watch the video on either of these links. Hackers can own your phone and see everything you do even after you're not connected because they install malware on your phone to collect bank account numbers, passwords, they can even remotely take a picture without you knowing. USB-A to USB-A blocker USB-A to USB-C blocker

The FBI warned of "juice jacking" in April 2023 and that it's a growing problem.

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Stay safely connected!

Header photo courtesy of NASA.


Lokal Team

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