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Smart tech tips to make summer travel cheaper and less stressful


Travel prices are up about 18% compared to pre-pandemic costs.

Then there are the flight cancellations and extra-long waits to contend with.

To help, I put together a list of the 10 best travel apps for 2023.

Oh, and before you leave your house, be sure to switch on your security system.

Don’t have one?

Alexa can do it for free if you have an Amazon Echo.

Here are more of my best tricks to save you time, money, and headaches before you hit the road or the skies.


Travel prices are up about 18% compared to pre-pandemic costs.
Travel prices are up about 18% compared to pre-pandemic costs.
Shutterstock

1. Know where your bags are

You’ve seen those pictures of dozens of suitcases sitting around at the airport.

Don’t let that be you.

Many major airlines (including United, American, Delta and Air New Zealand) let you track your luggage in real-time through the airline’s official app.

I throw an Apple AirTag in checked bags for extra peace of mind.

  • Apple’s AirTags are ideal if you have an iPhone, Mac, or iPad.
  • The Tile Essentials 4-pack comes with various tags for your keys, wallet, luggage or whatever else you want to try.

I also put one on my dog’s collar, in my cars and everything my husband owns.


Apple Airtag
Apple’s AirTags are ideal if you have an iPhone, Mac, or iPad.

2. Pick the best flight

Delays can stack up as the day goes, so your best bet to make sure you get on the plane is to choose a flight before 3 p.m.

Wednesday is one of the cheapest days to fly, so there’s your plan: Wednesday before 3.

Pro tip: You can check where your plane is to get an idea of whether your upcoming flight will be delayed. The airline you’re flying might display this in the app, or you can use Flight Aware. Enter your flight number to get details on the aircraft and its status.

3. Flying internationally? Get this app

Mobile Passport Control is a free U.S. Customs and Border Protection app that lets you get back home faster.

Unlike CLEAR or TSA PreCheck, you don’t need any pre-approval.


CBP MPC App
Mobile Passport Control is a free U.S. Customs and Border Protection app that lets you get back home faster.
CBP

All you have to do is download the app and fill out the forms when you land, then go to the “Mobile Passport Control” lane at the airport. Sweet.

Download for iPhone or Android.

4. Snap pics before you go

You always need to carry identification when traveling, but having a digital backup is wise, too.

Worst case scenario, you lose your wallet.

Getting home will be much smoother if you have photos of all your important documents.


Google Wallet
You always need to carry identification when traveling, but having a digital backup is wise, too.
Google

The easiest way to do that on an iPhone is to use the handy document scanner built into the native Notes app.

  • Open Notes and tap the compose icon at the bottom right of the screen.
  • Above the keyboard, tap the + sign and then the camera icon.
  • There, you can choose a photo you’ve already taken, take a new photo or scan documents. 

On an Android, snap some photos and mark them as favorites in your picture gallery or scan them in with the Google Drive app. 

Pro tip: Save your identifying documents as PDF files to send them to another device or two, like an iPad or Kindle. Download to access them offline beforehand and send a copy to your travel partner.

Working on the plane? 5 ways you’re killing your laptop’s battery without realizing it.

5. No more paper boarding passes

If you’re not already doing this, you’ll thank me.

Stop fumbling around with a printed board pass and access a digital version.

You can log in to the airline’s website and have them email your boarding pass or download your airline’s app to access it.

From there, you can add it to your phone’s digital wallet.

  • If you get your boarding pass through email, Apple Mail can automatically add it to your wallet. Otherwise, open the email attachment and tap Add to Apple Wallet > Add.
  • On Android, use the Google Wallet app. Follow the instructions here.



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