Tech: Apps for that International Vacay!
The pent-up demand for travel this summer (after three years of Covid travel restrictions) is creating a crush for information on affordable airfares, tours and other travel needs. Apps and info sites can help the travel-challenged – but don’t expect super cheap fares and do your research! Here are some top tips to give the travel deprived a head start:
Top App Tips:
- Keeping your smartphone working — cheaply. You will be depending on it. When you’re overseas it can be expensive depending on your carrier. You can sign up for Google Fi, use an eSim card or buy a local SIM at your destination. Here’s an article on the cheapest ways to stay connected.
- Download the best travel apps. This site has a great list. Google Maps and iTranslate are at the top. Here’s another list from PC Magazine of the best travel apps for 2023.
- Look for a tour. It’s rough to travel alone when you are older. Even if you’re traveling with a spouse or friend, a tour makes travel much less daunting. Frommers suggests: “head to one of these two websites: TourRadar.com, or TravelStride.com. Each lists dozens of companies and hundreds of tours, and each does so side-by-side so that consumers can easily compare. TourRadar drills down geographically to help you focus on the specific regions you’ll be visiting; instead of listing every tour in Italy, for example, it allows you to search only for Tuscany, Sardinia, or the Amalfi Coast. Travel Stride excels at the social side of touring. It’s the only one of the three to have filters for solo-friendly trips and women-only vacations.”
- Use Hopper to save money on flights. With apps for both Android and IOS, Hopper is a mobile app that uses historical data to predict and analyze flight prices. According to the Thrifty Traveler “Hopper provides information on typical flight prices over time, predicts increases and decreases in flight cost, recommends the best time to purchase, and notifies users when prices for their specific flights are at their predicted lowest points via push notifications on your smartphone.” It’s similar to Expedia or Kayak but better because it provides price predictions. The secret is to use in advance. You’ll get the best deals that way.
Looking for more info on travel apps? Join Senior Planet’s free Zoom class on Online Travel Sites at 4:30 ET on June 12. Register and details are here.
Travel Traps to avoid
- Expired passports. Make sure your passport hasn’t expired. The Issue Date of your passport can be found on the data page of your passport book or on the front of your passport card. Check out this government site for all things passport related. Take care to renew your passport EARLY. It’s expensive and difficult to get or renew a passport at the last minute. It can be done, however. Check out this Forbes article for tips on how.
- Taking on too much physical exertion. Pay attention to the description of trip difficulty. If you are not in great shape or have mobility issues you don’t want to be on a tour that requires a lot of walking or climbing.
- Bringing too much luggage. Airlines have made it more expensive to check luggage—and if you have layovers or are switching planes the chances of your luggage getting lost increase incrementally. It is possible to travel for weeks with just a carry on. Packing light is an art that requires the right luggage, compression packing cubes and choosing the right clothing.
- Medication mismanagement. Keep your meds in your carry on—in their original bottles. Here are the basics you need to know to manage your health issues and medications on your trip.
- Ignoring safety issues. Seniors especially are an easy target for pickpockets and muggers. Protect yourself by carrying valuables in a secure travel pouch. Amazon sells all kinds – and never flash jewelry, cameras or phones. And make sure you double, triple and quadruple check that AirBnB listing in a foreign city.
Can’t afford any foreign travel this year? Never fear! Senior Planet’s Discover Live travel series takes you to fabulous destinations virtually and in real time. Details on the program are here.
There’s a Cultural and Heritage tour to beautiful Santorini, Greece on June 21 from 11-12 EDT. Details are here.
Erica Manfred’s articles and humorous essays have appeared in print and online publications including the Washington Post, Atlantic, Salon, Village Voice, and the New York Times. A self proclaimed Geezer Geek, now in her seventies, she specializes in writing about aging. She’s the author of four books, including her memoir, I’m Old So Why Aren’t I Wise; Snarky Senior in the Sunshine State. You can subscribe to her newsletter at SnarkySenior.com or visit her website at EricaManfred.com.
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