Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Simplify Your Travel in 2013

Travel itself can be an exhausting endeavor, not to mention the lengthy - and sometimes costly - process of plotting and planning a getaway. That's why the savviest frequent travelers rely on sanity-saving tips to keep their homes in order while they're away. With a bit of prep, you can minimize stress to make the most of your time on the go... affordably and easily, too.

Get connected (to your living room lamp)
Lately, I've been digging Belkin's line of Wemo home automation products, including Wi-Fi enabled outlets that allow you to control electricity to your front porch lights, living room lamp and, well, anything that plugs into the wall, with one simple push of a button on your iPhone. Pick up an outlet, starting at $50, download the free app and control your home from anywhere, any time.

Manage your money remotely
These days, having a bank account with the branch down the road doesn't offer the same perks as it once did. Instead, seek out an account with travel-friendly features like reimbursement of ATM fees charged by other banks, which allows you to withdrawal money wherever is most convenient, and a mobile app for depositing checks, transferring money or paying bills away from home. Ensure that your money can be easily accessed and retrieved, if needed, by enrolling in an online bank account.

Download sanity-saving apps
Download these apps and reap the rewards of instant help if you find yourself in a tricky position.

  • Lemon Wallet: Store photos and details for all of your ID and credit cards in the case that they get swiped by a pick-pocket in a touristy trap. 
  • Yelp: Want good grub but don't know where the locals hang? Use this app to pinpoint hot restaurants, pubs, salons and more. With reviews, pictures and ratings, it's a gold mine for the unfamiliar.
  • World Lens: Snap a photo of that sign, no matter if it's in Spanish; World Lens will translate it for you instantaneously. Seriously. Does it get any easier than that? 
  • Google Earth: Don't mess with a solid thing. This clean,clever app gets you a bird's eye view of your destination city... a perfect planning tool for the nerdy among us. 

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