Between the two apps, I preferred TripIt because it was less cluttered and showed my trip information in a timeline that is easy to read; Google’s app is crammed with extra features like coupons and recommendations for things to do.
A major caveat for both apps: They regularly scan your inbox to find travel-related emails. So if you are paranoid about privacy, create a separate email account just for travel documents and forward all your itineraries and booking confirmations to that address.
Traveling abroad with a smartphone
When traveling overseas, the idea of a digital detox sounds romantic, but a smartphone is handy for retrieving maps or finding places to eat nearby. There are several options for taking your mobile phone abroad.
The cheapest way is to unlock the phone and use a foreign SIM card, which I detailed in a previous guide. The downside is that this can require more research because rates for international carriers vary widely, and if you travel to multiple countries, you may have to juggle several SIM cards.
Less confusing options include T-Mobile’s free international roaming, included with that carrier’s cellular plans, or signing up for Project Fi, Google’s wireless plan that costs at least $30 a month to use in more than 135 countries. The caveat for T-Mobile is that the free international data service may be slow, and the downside of Project Fi is that it works only with a small set of Android phones like the Google Pixel.
For Verizon and AT&T users, a simple but pricey option is to sign up for an international data pass, which costs $10 a day on top of the rates for their normal plans. For example, if you have an individual plan that costs about $100 a month and you want to use your smartphone for a 14-day trip to France, you would pay an extra $140, bringing your bill to $240 that month.
Battery life is crucial while you are out with your smartphone for many hours. To give your device extra juice, carry an external battery pack like the Anker PowerCore 20100, which has enough power to charge a smartphone a day for about a week.
A smoother road trip
When on the road, your top priority should be driving safely, your second priority should be finding the most efficient route to your destination, and your third priority is probably keeping yourself from going crazy by listening to your favorite songs and podcasts.
On long drives, I have found an inexpensive car mount to be the most important…