In today’s fast-paced world, technology has revolutionised the way we travel. From seamless navigation to staying connected on the go, digital tools have become indispensable companions for modern globetrotters. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the new technologies making it easier to stay connected, cheaper and more comfortable to fly, especially for that long haul flight.
Over the last few months, I have been planning a trip to Scotland and during my research into my stay I found that there is a lot of stuff that can help make your trip that bit easier. These are the top 10 items I found to be useful specifically for long stays overseas.
Initiate your digital travel journey by embracing the convenience of Wise’s multi-currency account and securing their versatile debit card. Wise empowers travelers with a multi-faceted financial solution, allowing you to convert money in your account across 40 currencies at competitive exchange rates and minimal fees. This flexibility extends to creating multiple digital Visa debit cards, seamlessly integrating with digital wallets like Google Wallet or Apple Pay for online or contactless transactions. For those preferring a tangible option, a physical debit card can be purchased for a nominal fee of $14, facilitating cash withdrawals from ATMs in numerous countries, including the UK.
Beyond the fundamental currency conversion features, Wise’s account provides additional advantages. Users can generate digital Visa Debit cards for online purchases in any currency, and in the event of suspicious transactions, the ability to cancel and regenerate digital cards incurs no fees.
Facilitating international transactions, Wise allows you to receive money in any currency by providing a specific account number corresponding to the currency received. This unique feature minimizes conversion fees for payees and offers users transparent visibility into their cross-currency transactions.
Tips for Wise account users include prioritizing the use of digital cards, which are free, as physical cards come at a cost of $15 for replacement. Additionally, account setup requires ample time, as physical cards are dispatched from overseas and may take several weeks to arrive.
While alternatives exist, Wise distinguishes itself by offering a free account setup covering the most extensive range of currencies. The low conversion fees compete favorably with counterparts like Revolut but maintain a significant cost advantage over traditional banks and currency conversion services.
It’s essential to note that while Wise accounts provide practical benefits for travelers, they lack the same level of protection as standard bank accounts. Users are advised against using them to store significant savings and reminded that Wise accounts are not investment vehicles, with no expectation of earning interest.
In conclusion, a Wise multi-currency account emerges as an ideal solution for replacing your standard bank debit card while traveling. Not only does it save money on fees, but it also offers peace of mind, ensuring seamless access to funds during your journeys.
To sign up for an account visit https://wise.com/
2: E-SIM (Airalo)
Bid farewell to the inconvenience of swapping physical SIM cards every time you cross a border—Airalo’s cutting-edge E-SIM technology transforms the way you stay connected during your travels. Seamlessly connect to local networks without the need for physical SIM cards, unlocking cost-effective data plans that keep you online wherever your adventures take you.
Before embracing the benefits of E-SIMs, ensure your phone supports this technology, a concept that has become prevalent in recent years. Most iPhones from version 11 onward and Samsung Galaxy phones from the S20 series are equipped to accept E-SIMs, allowing you to leverage this convenient and innovative solution.
Airalo offers various digital SIM card options, catering to diverse travel needs. From data-only plans for specific countries or regions to global plans with both data and an international phone number, the flexibility ensures you find a plan tailored to your journey. Prices start as low as $US5 for 1GB of data valid for a week, with additional top-ups available. Some plans extend over 30 days, accommodating up to 20GB of data, providing adaptability for various travel scenarios, including layovers.
A crucial tip for E-SIM usage is to activate and set up the E-SIM before your travels. Purchase and install the E-SIM in advance, allowing for a seamless transition by disabling your local SIM in flight mode during the plane journey. Upon turning off flight mode, your phone will automatically connect with the E-SIM, ensuring uninterrupted communication without incurring hefty roaming fees from your local cell network provider.
Optimizing your communication while overseas involves relying on data plans instead of your local SIM. Leverage account-based apps like Facebook Messenger, Skype, or WhatsApp for messaging and video calling. Additionally, for those with multiple layovers, consider regional E-SIMs covering all countries in the layover path, offering a cost-effective alternative to individual country E-SIMs, especially during short or frequent layovers. Airalo’s E-SIM technology not only simplifies connectivity but also provides a strategic and cost-efficient approach to staying online throughout your international travels.
3: VPN SurfShark
When it comes to prioritizing online security and privacy during your travels, Surfshark VPN emerges as a reliable ally. Whether connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots or bypassing geo-restrictions, Surfshark ensures a secure and private internet connection, offering the assurance to browse freely without compromising your personal information.
A key benefit of Surfshark VPN for travelers lies in its ability to provide access to essential websites while abroad. By connecting to servers in your home country, Surfshark enables you to maintain a virtual presence, granting access to geo-restricted content and crucial online accounts as if you were physically present. This feature is particularly valuable for accessing local banks or other location-specific services while traveling internationally.
Another significant advantage is the protection Surfshark VPN offers to devices on public Wi-Fi networks. As travelers often seek out free Wi-Fi to conserve data, the security risks associated with unknown networks are a concern. With Surfshark VPN, your connection is encrypted, safeguarding your device from potential hackers on the same network. This layer of protection becomes especially vital in foreign countries where cyber threats may pose a higher risk.
Surfshark VPN also stands out for its affordability and group-friendly features. With plans starting as low as $4 per month, it offers a cost-effective solution for individual travelers. Moreover, the option to use a single subscription for unlimited devices makes it an ideal choice for group travelers, ensuring that everyone in the travel party can benefit from the security and accessibility provided by Surfshark VPN. In essence, Surfshark VPN is not just a virtual shield; it’s an essential tool for travelers seeking a secure, accessible, and budget-friendly online experience throughout their journeys.
For further information https://surfshark.com/
4: Credit Card Rewards (American Express Airpoints Platinum (NZ))
The American Express Airpoints Platinum Card emerges as a beacon of unparalleled benefits, offering a gateway to enhanced experiences and substantial savings. Unlike many local banks constrained by recent legislation, American Express retains the freedom to provide unmatched perks, making it a standout choice for those who prioritize travel rewards.
The Airpoints Platinum Card brings forth a plethora of advantages tailored for globetrotters:
- Accelerated Airpoints and Status Points Accumulation:
Earn 1 Air New Zealand Airpoints dollar for every $59 spent and 1 Status point for every $250 spent on the card, allowing you to accumulate rewards swiftly.
- Luxurious Lounge Access:
Enjoy two complimentary entries per year into Centurion Lounges in Sydney or Melbourne, providing a haven of comfort and amenities before your flight.
- Global Lounge Network Access:
Receive a complimentary subscription to Priority Pass valued at $US99, along with two complimentary passes per year, offering access to a vast network of international lounges.
- Exclusive Discounts and Subscriptions:
Benefit from an annual discount to Koru membership of $145, a waived joining fee for new members ($255), and complimentary domestic and international travel insurance when using the card for flight purchases.
- Tech Perks:
Avail smartphone screen cover when paying for your phone outright or monthly plan with the card, ensuring your tech investments are protected.
- Welcome Bonus:
New members enjoy a bonus of 300 Air New Zealand Airpoints when spending over $1500 in the first three months, kickstarting their travel rewards journey.
The annual fee of $195 is easily offset for frequent travelers, requiring a spend of $11,505 to accrue 195 Airpoints – effectively covering the fee. The additional benefits, including Status points, Priority Pass access, and travel insurance, provide exceptional value for those who can fully utilize them.
While there are considerations, such as limited acceptance at some establishments, the card’s utility is substantial at most petrol stations, supermarkets, and utility providers. For those willing to plan and build up their Airpoints, the move to the American Express Airpoints Platinum Card unlocks immediate advantages, especially with the two Priority Pass lounge vouchers.
Whether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional adventurer, this card offers a pathway to a world of travel perks, making your journeys more rewarding and enjoyable. For those seeking a more straightforward option, American Express also offers a non-platinum version Airpoints Credit Card, providing a no-annual-fee alternative with a solid Airpoints rewards structure.
5: Bluetooth Trackers (Samsung SmartTag2)
The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag2 stands out as an indispensable travel companion for those embarking on overseas adventures. With seamless integration into Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem, it ensures a consistent tracking experience on a global scale. This compatibility proves essential when managing and tracking SmartTags across diverse destinations, offering a centralized hub for users navigating unfamiliar territories.
One standout feature for international travelers is the augmented reality (AR) finding capability. This innovative tool uses a smartphone’s camera to guide users visually to the precise location of their tagged items, overcoming language barriers and unfamiliar surroundings. The SmartTag2’s extended Bluetooth range and robust signal stability further enhance its utility during international exploration, providing reliable tracking whether in crowded airports or expansive foreign markets.
Designed with the globetrotter in mind, the SmartTag2 boasts a compact and durable design, perfect for attaching to various items essential for international travel. Its multi-device support ensures flexibility, accommodating the diverse tech preferences of travelers worldwide. The user-friendly app interface simplifies tracking, offering an intuitive experience even in foreign languages, while privacy and security features, such as end-to-end encryption, provide global assurance for users concerned about the safety of their tracking information.
In essence, the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag2 emerges as a comprehensive and intelligent tracking solution tailored to the unique needs of international travelers. From its SmartThings integration to augmented reality finding, this tracker is not just a device; it’s an essential tool for seamless and secure exploration across the diverse landscapes of our interconnected world.
To see the range available at pbtech https://www.pbtech.co.nz/search?sf=samsung+galaxy+smarttag2&fs=29100649
6: Over-ear noise cancelling (Sony WH-1000XM4)
The Sony WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones redefine the standard for in-flight audio experiences, catering to the needs of discerning travellers. Their hallmark feature is the unparalleled noise-cancelling technology, immersing users in a tranquil auditory space by effectively reducing ambient sounds, making them a go-to choice for air travel.
Built for endurance during long-haul flights, the WH-1000XM4 headphones boast an impressive battery life that ensures uninterrupted entertainment throughout your journey. The plush ear cups and ergonomic design prioritize comfort, allowing users to enjoy the headphones for extended periods without discomfort, a crucial element for international travel.
Sony’s commitment to audio excellence is evident in the WH-1000XM4, providing a rich and clear sound that enhances the overall in-flight experience. The convenience of wireless connectivity via Bluetooth adds an extra layer of freedom, allowing users to move within the cabin without being constrained by cords.
The foldable design makes these headphones not only high-performance but also highly portable. When not in use, they can be neatly stowed away in a carry-on bag, ensuring that the premium audio experience is always accessible, whether you’re navigating the skies or exploring your destination. In summary, the Sony WH-1000XM4 over-ear headphones stand as a pinnacle of comfort, technology, and audio quality, offering a transformative sonic journey for travellers seeking the utmost in-flight enjoyment.
For more information https://www.sony.co.nz/electronics/headband-headphones/wh-1000xm4
7: e-reader (Kindle)
The Kindle e-reader proves to be an essential travel companion, revolutionizing the way we carry and access information while on the go. The key advantage lies in its ability to load an extensive library, including travel guides, without adding weight to your luggage. This digital alternative ensures that you can have all the destination-specific information you need without the bulk of traditional guidebooks.
The Kindle’s electronic ink display provides a comfortable reading experience, making it an ideal choice for travelers. Its built-in store facilitates easy access to a diverse range of reading materials, from novels to travel guides. Once downloaded, these guides can be accessed offline, ensuring uninterrupted exploration even in areas with limited connectivity.
Compact, lightweight, and portable, the Kindle is designed for efficient packing, making it a go-to device for travelers aiming to travel light. Its customizable reading experience adapts to different lighting conditions and personal preferences, offering optimal visibility. In essence, the Kindle transforms the way we carry and access information during our journeys, providing a digital solution that enhances convenience and comfort for travellers worldwide.
To see the range available for purchase https://www.mightyape.co.nz/electronics/tablets-ebook-ipad/ebook-reader-accessories/all?q=brand%7Eamazon
8: Tablet over laptop
Integrating a tablet into your carry-on arsenal enhances your travel experience, offering a versatile tool for entertainment, productivity, and navigation. A tablet serves as a compact and lightweight alternative to bulky laptops, providing a convenient platform for watching movies, reading e-books, or catching up on work during flights. Its portability ensures that you can carry a wealth of entertainment and productivity wherever your travels take you.
One notable advantage is the ability to download media for offline use, mitigating the need for a constant internet connection. This proves invaluable during flights, layovers, or in areas with limited connectivity. Loading your tablet with e-books, movies, and travel apps ensures that you stay entertained and informed, transforming downtime into an opportunity for relaxation or exploration.
Moreover, tablets often come equipped with long battery life, minimizing the need for constant charging while on the move. Whether you’re navigating through airports, exploring your destination, or settling into a long-haul flight, a fully charged tablet ensures that you stay connected and entertained throughout your journey. In essence, incorporating a tablet into your carry-on essentials adds a layer of convenience and versatility, making it a must-have companion for modern-day travelers.
9: Universal Power Adaptor (Mogics Super Bagel)
The Mogics Super Bagel emerges as a game-changer for travellers seeking a compact and efficient charging solution. This innovative travel gadget offers a circular design with multiple built-in power ports, eliminating the need for carrying multiple chargers and adapters. With its unique shape, the Super Bagel allows for simultaneous charging of various devices, transforming a cluttered charging scenario into a streamlined and organised one.
One of the standout features of the Mogics Super Bagel is its portability. Its compact design and flexible form make it easy to fit into any bag or luggage, ensuring that you have a powerful charging hub at your disposal wherever your journeys take you. The Super Bagel’s universal compatibility and international plug options further enhance its utility, making it an ideal companion for global travelers.
Additionally, the Mogics Super Bagel is equipped with a smart circuit system that intelligently manages power distribution. This ensures safe and efficient charging for your devices, providing peace of mind for travellers concerned about the safety of their gadgets. In summary, the Mogics Super Bagel is a travel essential, combining convenience, versatility, and safety to revolutionise the way you power up your devices on the go.
For more information https://www.mogics.com/super-bagel
10: GAN Charger (Belkin 65W Dual USB-C GaN charger)
The Belkin 65W Dual USB-C GaN charger exemplifies the pinnacle of travel-friendly charging solutions, leveraging Gallium Nitride (GaN) technology for enhanced performance. This compact powerhouse provides multiple ports, allowing simultaneous charging of various devices with a robust 65W output. GaN chargers, like the Belkin model, revolutionize travel charging by delivering high power in a smaller and lighter form factor compared to traditional chargers.
One of the primary benefits of multi-port 65W GaN chargers is their ability to efficiently charge a range of devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops, all with one compact adapter. This eliminates the need for carrying multiple chargers, streamlining your travel gear and reducing clutter in your bag. The Belkin 65W Dual USB-C GaN charger, specifically, features two USB-C ports, making it versatile enough to power up compatible laptops, smartphones, and other USB-C devices simultaneously.
The efficiency of GaN technology ensures that these chargers generate less heat, resulting in a more stable and reliable charging experience. This is particularly advantageous during travel, as it minimizes the risk of overheating and optimizes the overall performance of your devices. With the Belkin 65W GaN charger, you not only benefit from its impressive power output and dual USB-C ports but also from a travel companion that prioritizes both convenience and reliability. In essence, embracing the capabilities of multi-port 65W GaN chargers enhances your travel charging setup, providing a compact and powerful solution for all your electronic devices on the go.
There are various multi-port options around but you can get this one here from pbTech for about $60. Another popular brand is Anker however their products are significantly higher in price.
Conclusion: Streamlining Your Travel Experience
Gear up for an enhanced travel adventure with these digital tips. The Wise multi-currency account simplifies financial transactions globally, while Surfshark VPN secures your online privacy during public Wi-Fi use. The Mogics Super Bagel and Belkin 65W Dual USB-C GaN charger streamline charging, minimizing cable clutter and providing efficient power for multiple devices.
Pack your Kindle and tablet for lightweight access to entertainment and travel guides. Sony XM4 headphones offer immersive audio during flights, and Samsung Galaxy SmartTag2 trackers keep your belongings secure. Embrace Airalo’s E-SIM for seamless connectivity without physical SIM cards, and safeguard your online activities with Surfshark VPN.
Lastly, the American Express Airpoints Platinum Card becomes your travel essential, offering accelerated Airpoints, lounge access, and numerous perks. With these tips, optimize your journey, stay connected, and make every moment count for a seamless and enriched travel experience. Safe travels!