Nine travel tech hacks you won’t believe you lived without – from using a VPN to get cut-price flights to getting ChatGPT to create your entire itinerary
- Apps can help you check in early, translate menus and find a seat on the plane
- Little known hack helps you hook your Airpods to in-flight system
- READ MORE: The craziest cellphone features to try right now
With cheap flights and multinational companies, traveling has become a necessary evil in the modern world — but it doesn’t have to be a miserable experience.
DailyMail.com has compiled nine tech travel hacks that are built to help you plan cheap trips, travel in comfort and make life easier when you arrive at your destination.
With the help of modern apps and tech, you can forget tinny airplane earphones, physically writing out itineraries and having to do mental gymnastics to convert foreign currencies.
Connect your Airpods to in-flight entertainment
Don’t slum it with the cheap headphones provided by your airline – there’s now a way to connect your AirPods wirelessly to the in-flight entertainment system.
Instagram user Nikias Molina showed off the hack on a United flight.
He said: ‘You can now connect your AirPods to your airplane’s display. Tap on the Bluetooth icon.
‘Reset your AirPods. They magically appear by tapping on your AirPods.
‘You are now connected. Choose a movie. You can also adjust the volume and adjust noise cancellation.’
Get AI to plan your trip
ChatGPT is good at creating itineraries
ChatGPT is actually a surprisingly good tour guide, condensing and presenting all the freely available information on a destination you might want to visit.
Ask ChatGPT about must-see attractions in a destination, get it to list the best tourist sites in an area – or ask what time of year is ideal to visit.
If you ask ChatGPT to ‘create an itinerary for a two-day trip to New York,’ for example, it will do so.
ChatGPT’s knowledge of the world stops in 2021, though, so don’t rely on it for up-to-date restaurant recommendations.
Use a VPN to get cheap flights
Using VPN software can help you get cheaper flights, by making you appear as if you are buying from a different country.
VPN software (you can get it for either your phone or PC) routes your requests via a server in different countries – and airlines often vary their prices by where people are buying from.
Using a VPN can reduce prices by up to 47 percent, according to research by VPN provider NordVPN.
Visual Text lets you translate and convert currencies
It’s usually worth paying for VPNs, as the free ones are often pretty dubious, but the savings are very real.
Translate the menu instantly (and convert currencies)
You can translate text instantly just by pointing your phone camera at it – as long as you have an up-to-date iPhone
On iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and later, Camera can copy, share, look up, and translate text that appears within the camera frame.
The camera app also provides quick actions to easily call phone numbers, visit websites, convert currencies, and more, based on the text that appears in the frame.
Open Camera, then position iPhone so the text appears within the camera frame.
After the yellow frame appears around detected text, tap the menu icon, then select Translate to translate text.
Tap a quick action at the bottom of the screen to do things like convert currencies, and more.
Identify landmarks (or flowers) instantly
Visual Look-Up lets you identifies flowers or nearby landmarks (Apple)
You can identify landmarks instantly using Visual Look Up on iPhone (and you can also use this to identify plants and animals you might see on your travels.
Open a photo in full screen; an ‘information’ icon indicates Visual Look Up information is available for that photo.
Swipe up on the photo or tap the information icon.
Tap the icon as it appears on the photo or at the top of the photo information results to view Siri Knowledge and more information about the object.
Android users can access similar functions via Lens (it’s accessible under Modes in the Camera app on Pixel handsets, and can also be downloaded in the Play Store).
Choose your seat on the plane
SeatGuru – now a subsidiary of TripAdvisor – is a great service to help you pick seats, and work out in-flight amenities.
Seats are ranked from ‘Poor’ upwards, and offer info such as where there is available power on the aircraft.
The service offers seat maps for a huge number of aircraft.
Get a flyover of a city before you visit
Flyover lets you get a feel for a city before you visit
Apple Maps lets you take a ‘virtual helicopter ride’ over a city before visiting – thanks to the Flyover function in Apple Maps.
It’s a great way to get a feel for a city before booking a trip.
To access it, use the button at the top right to select any map except Transit.
Tap the name of a city or the name of a landmark. Tap Flyover on the place card.
For some landmarks, if Flyover doesn’t appear on the place card, tap the X Icon then tap Flyover.
Tap Start Tour or Start City Tour in the card at the bottom of the screen.
Keep track of your luggage
Apple’s Airtags (or Tile if you are an Android user) are a great way to keep track of luggage while traveling.
The $29 tracker falls within the Federal Aviation Administration’s permitted guidelines for the amount of lithium in hold luggage, so it’s legal to use.
It will let you use the Find My function to find your suitcases – or attach a tracker to your passport or keys.
Airtags are an invaluable travel companion
Work out what you need to fly
Covid vaccine requirements are no longer as big a deal as they were a year ago, but plenty of countries still require inoculations or visas to travel.
The service Join Sherpa offers a great overview of these for any destination.
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