Blog | Western Union

Cutting-Edge Travel Tech You Shouldn’t Leave Home Without

Nearly one in three American adults have never left the country. Many are concerned that conveniences like their phone and internet won’t work abroad. Some think it’s too cost prohibitive to jet-set across the world. While valid concerns, technology has broken many of the barriers traditionally preventing people from traveling overseas.

From handy apps to clever gadgets, the right technology can make traveling smoother, smarter and cheaper. Check out some of the most cutting edge apps and tech for your next adventure.

Create a custom packing checklist based on your destination

Depending on how adventurous or exotic your trip, packing can be more complicated than you’d think. From plug adaptors to first aid kits, you want to be sure you’ve got all your bases covered when going to a non-English-speaking country. Apps like Triplist can help you create a customized packing list based on information including your destination, the weather forecast, your length of stay, and your planned activities.

Pack better with a smart suitcase

Say goodbye to lost luggage, overweight bag fees and foreign airport electricity outlets. With global tracking devices, built-in scales and rechargeable USB ports, three of the biggest headaches in travel have been alleviated.

Trunkster stands out with its sliding rolltop door that eliminates the need for aggravating zippers, while Bluesmart integrates with a smartphone app.

Organize your trip with a live itinerary

Travel-organizing apps like TripIt can help you combine tons of information into a single, streamlined itinerary. The app scans your email for reservation information, flight times and event confirmations and puts them in chronological order. You can also use the app to receive real-time updates, so you’ll know right away if something on your itinerary changes.

Track your baggage with a mobile device

Lost luggage can ruin an otherwise great vacation. Get some peace of mind with TrakDot’s luggage tracker. Simply turn on the Trakdot device, place it in your bag, check your bag at the airport, and board. You’ll receive a text message, email or app notification if your checked luggage arrived with you.

Beat jet lag with apps and wearables

Jet lag can take days off a trip. But with the help of apps like Jet Lag Rooster, you can wake up feeling refreshed no matter what time zone you’re in. This app helps you adapt your sleep patterns over time with personalized alarm clocks.

To take it a step further, LumosTech and Stamford University are developing a sleep mask that use pulses of light to shift your circadian rhythm while you sleep on the plane so your mind arrives at destination at the same time as your body.

Communicate in another language with real-time translation

Forget your English-Spanish dictionary. With the right technology, every language in the world can fit in your pocket — or on your body — for translating on the spot.

Waverly Lab’s smart earpiece and the ili necklace are wearable technologies in development which will translate multiple languages in real time.

For the present day, Google’s translator app now offers Tap to Translate within any app on Android Phones. You can even hold your camera over foreign text and get a direct translation into your mother tongue.

For non Android users, Google translate also works offline in over 50 languages for iOS. Just remember to download the language pack you need before you lose internet.

Protect your belongings with smart lock technology

Stressing over your belongings and keeping track of tiny keys and lock codes detracts from the mental break you sign up for on vacation. Smart locks like the AirBolt or EgeeTouch only unlock after making contact with your cell phone. Keeping your belongings safe has never been easier.

Spend smart with currency exchange apps

Changing your currency and paying foreign exchange rates can add up. There are a few apps, like XE Currency, that let you check on exchange rates around the world, and even store the latest rates offline so you can find out if you’re getting a good deal when you don’t have phone service.

Another way to be a financially savvy traveler is to use our money transfer app. It’s an easy way to send money ahead of time to your destination, so the local currency is ready to pick up. You can save contact info for repeat sending and even use the app to pay bills that you may have forgotten about before leaving home.

Navigate a new place without using data

Exploring a new city without the help of your familiar WiFi-based navigation apps can get you lost in a hurry. Citymapper works offline in 32 cities, allowing you to navigate streets and public transportation systems without draining your data plan. You can also save Google Maps offline ahead of time to save street names and save important destinations.

Live in the moment with clip on cameras

The GoPro revolutionized how we document our travels, but the next wave is here. The smaller, more versatile Narrative Clip is a clip-on camera that can be worn anywhere a clip can fit. To save you hours of time mining through footage, the Narrative Clip uses machine learning to filter and showcase the best photos and videos on your app.

In addition to the travel tech above, some destinations have custom apps, like the Spain Travel Guide app or the Hong Kong tourism board app. With the right tech at your disposal, you’re ready to tackle any challenge thrown your way on your trip abroad.